Father Zed has done an excellent job fisking an article by the NCReporter, about the consequences for a Woman Religious who attempted ordination in the diocese of Saint Louis. The piece combines some facts with some reactions, creating a typically biased piece which is long on feelings and short on doctrine. (Father's comments are in red.)
Sister of Charity Louise Lears, forced out of all church ministerial roles [Ummm… she attempted ordination – for crying out loud! Can you say "excommunication"?] by Saint Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, is described by friends and colleagues in near saintly terms.
They call her a bright, energetic, compassionate and faith-filled woman. They see her as a creative, generous and selfless person, a highly effective parish minister. They say she is first rate teacher and preacher. They view her as a person guided by the gospels including an unwavering commitment to justice and the local poor. [Do they see her as a contumacious excommunicate and probably a heretic?]
These seemingly universal accolades, however, were not enough to save Lears from a severe interdict by Burke who banished her from all Saint Louis church ministries last week.
He also banned her from receiving any of the Sacraments in the archdiocese.
It was her belief that all church ministries, including women’s ordination, should be open to women. [Which seems to trump what the CHURCH says about the matter. "I want it this way!"] Curiously, this seems to have been only one of many of her passions and, perhaps, not her central passion, which seems to have been parish work.
There are many good things in his analysis, but I think two comments missing. Since his combox is off (perhaps for his sanity's sake) then I'll provide them here.
1. In making the point that the Church has lost the wide range of gifts that this Sister has provided -- as parish administrator, as college professor, as guide for troubled women, as advocate for victims of brutality, and helper to the homeless, the writer forgets the wider, more obvious point: look how much the Church appreciates the feminine genius in all its manifestations. Even without ordination, there is so much to be done by laity and religious -- and she sounds like a very accomplished, compassionate and busy woman.
2. More importantly, as the above snippet makes clear, ordination was not her "central passion." This is staggering, given that she risked it all to make a point that wasn't even about her true "vocation." A man with a vocation to the priesthood would be consumed by the necessary holocaust of his life -- given in imitation of Christ, sacrificing everything so that he could be true to God's call. The way this is phrased, it sounds like she embraced the premise that women should be ordained, and pursued it to make a point -- going through the motion "in principle." If she cannot see the scandal of her disobedience, then at least can she consider the scandal of pretending a vocation to make a point?
Whatever her angle on the charitable works (and we'll have to assume it was all pure of intention for the greater glory of God) the angle on ordination is coy and political, which is as bad as any theological "misunderstanding" behind it. Wrong and bad, and I'm glad Apb. Burke dealt firmly to safeguard the flock and the sacramental games. May he stand as firmly by these principles in his new post at the Signatura.