On May 29, Monica Kilburn Smith of Calgary will be welcomed into the small worldwide community of female Roman Catholic priests, according to the Calgary Herald.
Hooray, says the editorialist, I mean the journalist. Never mind that her ordination ceremony will take place in a United Church and, of course, will not be recognized by the Catholic Church.
Kilburn Smith and local supporters of major reform within the Church say it will be one more small step in a campaign to “bring up questions, start discussion, open eyes and, eventually, win hearts.”
Isn’t that nice? The woman, Killjoy…I mean Kilburn Smith said, “The Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement… seems prophetic and courageous, something I feel called to be a part of.”
Is it possible you feel called to be an Episcopalian? Or how about a Hindu because maybe you’ll be reincarnated as a man next time.
Kilburn Smith says she’s eager to play a pastoral role for what she believes is a growing community of people who feel disconnected from the current church, but who remain Catholic at heart. (But not really)
Local members of my new favorite group called “Friends of Vatican II” who are working for reform within the Catholic church, say they don’t hide their opinions when talking to other Catholics, but they don’t actively try to proselytize – but then of course do so in the newspaper.
“It comes up in conversations after church and in other settings,” says Shelagh Mikulak. “I think there are a lot of Catholics who wouldn’t have a problem with female priests, but they don’t feel comfortable to come out in the open with their support…
Kilburn Smith says she and other Roman Catholic women priests value the sacramental tradition of their church, (Once again, but not really) but are practising a non-clerical, non-hierarchical form of ordained ministry.
“It’s leadership modelled on Jesus’ example of inclusivity and non-judgmental love,” she says.
Kilburn Smith says her concept of a priest’s role is, among other things, one who is “the holder of the sacred space” and who, like many, feels moved to use his or her God-given gifts in compassionate ministry.
The holder of the sacred space? I can’t make fun of it because I don’t even know what she’s saying there.
Jesus says the Kingdom of God is within you, and that statement doesn’t just apply to men. We are each called to minister in our own way. I believe being a priest is my way.”
Kilburn Smith says the historic Catholic rejection of a female priesthood is akin to “gender apartheid” and amounts to a tragic waste of human potential at a time when many Catholic parishes worldwide are without priests.
Supporter Angelina Waldon draws a comparison to the American civil rights movement and its early pioneers who faced entrenched attitudes with courage. “It’s like Rosa Parks; someone, somewhere has to be the first to stand up for what is right,” says Waldon.
Kilburn Smith says she and other Catholic women who aspire to the priesthood are often asked why they don’t simply move to another Christian denomination, such as Anglican, United or Presbyterian, where female clergy are welcomed.
“I’m Catholic in my bones,” she says. (Obviously not in her head) “If you want to bring about change, you have to stay within, not walk away and give up. If we didn’t care about the church and its future, we wouldn’t be doing this.”
Ready for the ending of this “news” piece? You might think you are but you’re not. Here it comes:
As the spring sun warms the earth and thoughts turn to the leafy renewal of spring, Kilburn Smith is convinced a more inclusive Catholic Church will bloom in the years ahead.
“This is a transition time in the Catholic world. We’ve been a long time in that moist soil,” Kilburn Smith says of those advocating for renewal.
“But now we are starting to sprout up. There is nothing that lives that does not change.”
I don’t even care about the “Rosa Parks” of the Church. I’m more interested right now in bringing that writer up on charges of malpractice for that paragraph.