Friday, 24 September 2010

Women acting like spoilt children decide that Sunday Mass is a mere political football, that by organising a ‘boycott’ of Mass, they can win women's ordination


And forgive me for seeming obsessed with this stuff, but I’ve had to do lots of research on this because I wrote an article against this ‘boycott’ of Holy Mass for an Irish newspaper.It’s all started in Cork, but it’s going global by virtue of the internet.Jennifer Sleeman, a spirited octogenarian from West Cork is calling on women in her home town, and all over the world to stay at home this Sunday and ‘boycott’ Mass. Jennifer is an active member of her small-town Clonakilty and the mother of a monk. Jennifer’s game is that if enough women refuse to go to Mass, there will be so many empty pews that the Vatican will get scared and start ordaining women. Jennifer Sleeman’s famous declaration being “whatever change you long for, recognition, ordination, the end of celibacy, which is another means of keeping women out, join with your sisters and let the hierarchy know by your absence that the days of an exclusively male-dominated church are over.” “By your absence” – this is her inspiration she gives others not to attend Holy Mass this Sunday September 26th But Jennifer wants to ‘boycott’ Mass to get her way. This is using the Mass as political football, and it’s an insult to Christ. Boycotting Mass essentially means boycotting Christ. Oh, but her son, Fr. Simon of Glenstall Abbey has supported mum in this.
This plot of Jennifer’s is the spoilt child routine. The spoilt child who doesn’t like her parents’ rules, cue stamping of feet, and refusal to eat her dinner when she doesn’t get his own way. Jennifer and her group are determined to change the Catholic Church into what they would like. Are Jennifer and her ilk too intolerant and prejudiced in that they conveniently forget that there are Catholic women who wish to differ, and believe that the Church should stay faithful to its male founder, Jesus Christ?Sleeman is a former Presbyterian who converted to Catholicism 54 years ago, she said: “I am not a cradle Catholic. I chose to join as an adult helped by meeting a wonderful priest . . . but I now wonder did I do the right thing?” She has found that “somehow I have grown up but the church has not”. Grown up? Pardon me for sounding discourteous, but when is the spoilt child persona a sign of having grown up? If anything dear, it’s the opposite.
I asked a number of my friends, all in their twenties what they thought of Jennifer’s protest. One said, ‘What will they want next, that men become nuns?’ Another of my friends made a very smart observation, ‘now we have an eighty year old telling us not to go to Mass, this makes me want to go all the more!’ Another friend said, ‘Nothing would stop me from going to Mass. I’m going to receive Jesus, and no protest can substitute Jesus for me’.
Another friend of mine said, ‘if the Church started to ordain women, it would be like saying that Jesus Christ was wrong to only ordain men. That would be…blasphemy.’ Does Jennifer Sleeman and her group think that Jesus was wrong to only ordain men? And if they do think that Christ who founded Christianity was wrong, why are they bothering to be Christians/Catholics at all? An essential part of being a Catholic is that you believe that Christ was perfect – he was without sin and didn’t make glitches.
Jennifer and her group are demanding that women be ordained, and I hope this doesn’t sound disrespectful, but this sort of hassling is more of the spoilt child antics. No one can demand to be ordained! The vast majority of men will never be ordained, and some men spend years in the seminary only to be told that they are not suitable to be priests. There are often very good reasons for not ordaining some men and these men cannot turn around and insist that they be ordained.
I write for an Irish newspaper from London, where we have just had the most wonderful days in the company of Pope Benedict. The vigil in Hyde Park began as the night sky darkened, and the candles lit and passed around. There was total silence when Benedict put the Host on the altar for us to have Eucharistic Adoration. The Pope knelt in front of Our Lord in the Eucharist. We knelt with our Pope, and together we recited the Divine Praises to Our Lord Jesus, which included ‘Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man’. And yes, it’s was not mere happenstance that Jesus was a man, and that every priest and every pope must be a man to fully represent the male humanity of Jesus. The Catholic Church must stay true to the way Jesus founded it, and not change into some would like it to become.

6 comments:

  1. Besides the obvious pathos of someone thinking God can be "boycotted", even feminists like Elisabeth Fiorenza who called for womens' ordination earlier are now disappointed after seeing Anglican female priests - who as they say, have been ordained into subordination!

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  2. This is an interesting one! I'll report back on Monday on whether this 'strike' against the Mass had any effect in my local parish (in Ireland).

    I suspect that the success of the Pope's visit to the UK has regained the momentum from this splinter movement somewhat.

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  3. As soon as someone talks about 'growing up' you realise that they haven't really absorbed Our Lord's teachings, especially on humility... we are called to be like the little children.

    It's a bit like the arguments often put forward in favour of standing to receive Communion: we're a 'grown up' and 'mature' people of God now, they claim (of course, it took until VII to 'grow up', bizarrely). Why can't people just let God be God?

    Thank you for continuing to provide the coherent response that is so urgently needed (even if many will ignore it for now). Given the Pope's vision of a smaller but more faithful Church, I would think boycott's of Mass won't frighten anyone into anything - although it is tragic for these poor people's souls, which is the real issue. Another sign that they are forgetting Who God is and what the liturgy is for.

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  4. Well, the results are in and it seems the protest didn't quite materialise, certainly not in my parish anyhow and no green-armbands either.

    Here's an article from the Irish Times stating that mass numbers are not down, and of course, explaining that it is "difficult to guage support" for the protest!
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2010/0926/breaking29.html

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  5. Mass goers were as plentiful as ever at my parish church, more women than men, as usual. No armbands. Lots of Catholic papers sold, and holy water bottles taken. The talk was all of the Pope's visit and how well the English people received him. Do the Mass boycott proposers ever stand at church gates and just talk to people? Do they ever pray for an increase of faith so that can attend the Mass better? I dont think so. Do they even know why believing Catholics go to Mass? It must be hard to boycott something when you dont know what it is.

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  6. Well if they boycott Mass then we shall have the 100% holy card carrying, magesterium following, doctrine believing Catholics there. That's one way to separate the chaff from the wheat, right?

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