Lisa Frey has two contradictory visions of the future Roman
In one, a priest shortage means Catholics often stay home
on Sunday because Mass is a rarity. But in Ms. Frey’s preferred vision, Mass
is said frequently because the priesthood has been expanded to include women,
like her, and married men who aspire to ordination.
“I actually have begun to think if it’s open to me, I would
seriously consider seminary,” said Ms. Frey, 38, a leadership council member
of FutureChurch, a group working for grassroots Catholic acceptance of a priesthood
not limited to unmarried men.
Philosophically, FutureChurch has much in common with the
bigger, Chicago-based Call to Action.
Much in common? That is an understatement.
Ms. Frey, who is single, already has a feel for what life
might be like in the priesthood: She serves with a priest and a nun as part
of a three-member team running a suburban parish. A former teacher at a Catholic
girls’ high school, Ms. Frey has preached at communal penance services at the
1,200-family Church of the Resurrection in Solon, a Cleveland suburb. Sometimes
presiding at weekday prayer services, sometimes distributing communion, Ms.
Frey also directs youth ministry and social justice programs at Resurrection.
The priest in the trio handles liturgy matters like the Mass, but “we all sign
checks,” Ms. Frey said.
Oh yeah, “signing checks” is just so much more important
then “matters” like the Mass.
“The Eucharist is at the core of everything we are about
as a Catholic community,” said Sister Christine Schenk, executive director
of FutureChurch. “We think the gender or marital status of the presider is
not nearly as important as having Mass available.”
The Lutherans and the Episcopalian Churches both allow married
men and women, why aren’t they growing in leaps and bound if it is only a matter
of infusion into the ranks from other sources? Of course they don’t have a
valid priesthood or a valid Mass. The Orthodox Churches allow
married priests (not married Bishops), they should also be growing if their
solution was true. I almost wish these people would just leave the Church and
start up their own flavor of a church. Unfortunately our rats don’t seem to
leave the Church anymore but just try to gnaw it to death from within. I am
also really beginning to dislike the word "presider", it seems to have taken
on a political meaning which is used to reduce the importance of the priesthood.
I don’t remember reading "You are a presider forever according to the order
She is encouraged that Cleveland Bishop Anthony M. Pilla,
president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, has declined to condemn
the efforts of groups like FutureChurch. (To avoid conflicts with critical
bishops, some of her speaking engagements have been scheduled away from church
property.) Pilla, who will preside over the bishops’ Nov. 16-19 meeting in
Washington, responded to a request for comment on FutureChurch with a brief
written statement saying that the group isn’t a diocesan organization, doesn’t
have his approval and is responsible for its own programs. He has said he supports
the Vatican position limiting the priesthood to unmarried men.
Nice of him to support the “Vatican’s
position” though. Women’s ordination is not a Vatican talking points memo but
part of the deposit of the faith. Of course this is not surprising from a diocese
that has this
spiffy rainbow colored page on their web site. If you dig far enough you
can find the reference on their site from the “Current
Catholic Catechism statements on the topic of homosexuality:” on what the