Will the bishop wear white?

Will the bishop wear white?

Genevieve Kineke points out a story that was inevitable once the Episcopal Church started ordaining women as bishops: A female bishop in Rhode Island is getting married and that presents all kinds of problems. What it illustrates is how priorities can get mixed up.

Bishop Wolf said she hasn’t picked out a wedding dress as yet but plans on wearing a white A-line gown rather than her usual Episcopal garb.

“I think that on this one day, being a bride is more important than being a bishop,” she said. [emphasis added]

On the one hand, it should be true that a woman’s biggest day is when she becomes a bride, but consider her other role. A bishop should be a spiritual father to his flock, and I suppose if you’re going to allow a woman to be bishop you’re saying she’s a spiritual mother. Can you imagine a single mother saying that on her wedding day being a bride is more important than being a bishop? Should anything ever supersede motherhood apart from one’s personal obligations toward God?

Add on top of that the mixed up imagery we’re presented with, the bishop simultaneously standing in persona Christi as the Bridegroom of the Church and being the bride herself. It’s just wrong. Genevieve adds:

Instinctively, she recognises her distinct vocation within marriage, but it runs counter [to] the reality charade [sic] she undertakes in her presumed vocation to the priesthood.

The Catholic Church has always made a firm distinction between a celibate priesthood (simply a discipline) and the all-male priesthood (a dogma). I found her dilemma fascinating, and her choice bodes well for the man she’s marrying, though problemmatic (as ever) for the flock she leads.

I think this case illustrates well why a celibate male priesthood, especially a celibate episcopacy, is so important for the Latin Church.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli