The Washington Post’s coverage of the simulated ordination of a group of women in Pittsburgh this weekend has an ignominious start, right from the headline: “Reclaiming the Feminine Spirit in the Catholic Priesthood.” Okay, for one thing, what feminine spirit was there in the priesthood? Just because a few crackpot historians claim that there used to be Catholic priestesses in the early Church doesn’t make it so.
And let’s have all of the press get this straight: This is a non-story. If a dozen Americans decided to declare themselves members of Congress by holding a swearing-in on a barge somewhere (claiming that the judge who’s swearing them in was himself sworn in by an anonymous Supreme Court justice), it doesn’t make them members of Congress. It makes them nutjobs. If they try to vote on legislation, no one’s going to even pay attention to them, never mind debate whether their votes should be counted.
As I asked recently, who gets to decide who is a Catholic priest? If someone out there decides for himself, “I’m a Washington Post reporter,” does that make him a Post reporter? Is there even any question?
But let’s face it, this is more than just a simple question of who gets to decide. This story encompasses the bigger themes of old, stodgy all-male institution versus new, modern female uprising. (Although to look at these women, you’d be forgiven for wondering how “new” this is; more like re-runs from the ‘70s.)
Playing at priesthood