Over the millennia, Christendom has had popes and priests, deacons and disciples, presbyters and prophets.
Now it has a Minister of Irritation, too. Technically, Janice Sevre-Duszynska is co-chair of the Ministry of Irritation of the Women’s Ordination Conference — a group that supports female priests in the Catholic Church.
It’s a title that other WOC activists dreamed up, but Sevre-Duszynska has embraced it.
I thought that "Woodstock Theological Seminary" was one of the most apt names, but I think Ministry of Irritation is even a more accurate one. They certainly are irritating like annoying bug bites that won’t quite make you sick but that if would be nice if totally eliminated.
Later this month, she’ll confront the nation’s bishops when they gather in Los Angeles. In July, she is planning to be ordained as a deacon by a group of renegadeCatholics in Pittsburgh.
The 56-year-old woman, whose actions have frequently captured headlines, doesn’t like to be referred to as a protester. “It’s prophetic obedience,” she said.
Now that is just downright funny – "Prophetic obedience." Creative orthodoxy was also pretty funny, but this one gets the prize. I will have to try that one some time. If I am ever pulled over for speeding I will tell the officer that I wasn’t disobeying the law because I knew that one day in the future the speed limit it will be increased. It would be cool though if there was a time-traveling bishop from the future that could come to our time and tell them that sorry 2000 years in the future the Church is still teaching the same thing and women are still not being ordained. I have pondered about this aspect from time to time. Barring the Second Coming of Christ you have to wonder what people a thousand of years or so in the future will make of the Catholic Church which still will be consistently teaching the truth. Hopefully of course they will be coming to deeper theological understandings of those truths, but I am sure it will be irritating to those who have not yet accepted the Church to see the Church as a rock that so-called progress will not have beat down into societal conformity. You know, the gates of Hell and all that.
For church leaders, Sevre-Duszynska has been a thorn-in-the-side for years. She interrupted the ordination of a Lexington, Ky., priest in 1998, trying unsuccessfully to persuade then-Bishop J. Kendrick Williams to ordain her.
Two years later in Washington, posing as a journalist, she crashed a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and demanded that the church’s American hierarchy “bring justice for women in the church.”
The Hyatt hotel, where the meeting was held, banned her for three years. She was also evicted from the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
She has also clashed with government officials over war and nuclear weapons. She was arrested for trespassing at Fort Benning, Ga., during a protest in 2001 and spent three months behind bars. Fayette County, Ga., school district officials wanted to fire her, but the dismissal was overturned on appeal.
But most of her efforts are church-related. Dressed in clergy garb purchased from a Protestant supply catalog, she has lobbied the bishops in Dallas, St. Louis, Denver and Chicago.
Bill Ryan, a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, declined to comment on Sevre-Duszynska’s protests, but he suggested that the woman is wasting her time.