Saturday, July 29, 2006

When is a priest not a priest?

When she's a woman...
Fraud detected but unpunished in Off the Record

Jean Marie Marchant is one of the 9 women who claimed to have been ordained as Catholic priests in a surrealistic ceremony that took place last year in international waters. Like most of the other would-be priestesses, Marchant showed her courage by using a false name.

But now she had identified herself in a letter to Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley, forcing him to make some public response.
There's more. The sympathetic Boston Globe story minimizes the damage done by Marchant's treachery, assuring readers that she did not often perform priestly functions, although "she has quietly anointed some she has quietly anointed some sick people and privately consecrated the Eucharist."

Wrong. She pretended to anoint sick people and consecrate the Eucharist. She can't actually perform those priestly functions, because she isn't a priest. (Yes, I know she thinks she's a priest. But if you wake up tomorrow under the illusion that you are Napoleon Bonaparte, you still won't have an army.) Insofar as any bewildered Catholics relied on Jean Marie Marchant to fulfill their spiritual needs, they were denied the sacraments-- by an official of the Boston archdiocese.

From the pastoral perspective that is a very, very serious offense. Even from the secular perspective it's a form of fraud. And in response to that fraud, the cardinal-archbishop "has imposed no penalty." Thereby making it very likely that similar frauds will occur in the near future.
I wish there was more backbone displayed in these cases. Then there are the nutty Poncho LadiesTM planning on being ordained in international waters. Someone wearing a red hat needs to say that these women are NOT priests. Why is the Church always behind the curve in the PR world?


DimBulb said...

O happy regions, Italy and Spain.

I want the good old days i read about, when a bishop wasn't afraid to kick butt rather than slap wrists.

Brian Michael Page said...

Cool - the poncho ladies got a trademark! Thanks Argent! ;-)