Chris Gillibrand of Cathcon has this picture of the “pastoral team” of a parish in Linz, Austria, a diocese where crypto-Protestant liberal priests disguise their women friends as ordained clergy. The woman on the right is dressed in a garment clearly indicating that she is a deacon. In fact – no offence – she is no more a Catholic deacon than the MacBook on which I’m writing this post.
“Stealth priestesses” is the way these ladies are described by their opponents (ie, orthodox Catholics). The use of the word “priestess” might seem rude – but, remember, the Roman Catholic Church is irrevocably committed to an all-male priesthood, so the prospect of Catholic women priests or deacons will always be Tabletista fantasy.
What may well happen, however, is that parishes and even dioceses will secede from the Church: this is highly unlikely in Britain – but in parts of Germany and Austria most parishes offer a liturgy which is already barely recognisable as Catholicism, inspired by liberal theology considerably to the Left of mainstream Anglicanism.
My guess is that, 15 or 20 years down the line, these churches (along with a certain magazine) will have found a new home in an Episcopal communion modelled on the American Episcopal Church (TEC) rather than the Church of England. And you have to wonder: might the Catholic Church actually be healthier as a result?
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