Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Iowa City woman [not] ordained as a bishop

 What's with the title ("Bishop?") Article uses the word "priest", and she isn't one of those either.

BY CATHRYN SLOANE | JUNE 14, 2010at least

Mary Kay Kusner was raised as a quite traditional Roman Catholic.

On Sunday, she was [not] ordained as a priest — a role for women that is anything but traditional in the Catholic Church.

Kusner’s [non-]ordination was made possible by the Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization, a group loyal to the church in its teachings and rituals but denounced by the church for its belief that women, too, can be priests.

“We’re growing [old] very quickly, and the people are accepting us,” Roman Catholic Woman Bishop, Bridget Mary Meehan said.

Meehan, who actively keeps a blog on the movement, was one of the first eight women in the country to [not] be ordained as priests in 2006. Now, there are more than 100 female priests in the nation, she said.

Several people have made it clear that they are strongly against this movement. In a press release from Catholic Online, Bishop Martin Amos of the Diocese of Davenport was firm in his opposition.

“I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful,” he wrote.

Kusner has battled against this belief for most of her life.

Before becoming a priest, Kusner acted as a palliative chaplain, offering end-of-life counseling and an open ear.

The only frustration she had was the fact that she could not continue to do her job once the patients needed sacraments. The Catholic Church required her to send for a priest, but Kusner noticed that her patients wanted to continue talking to her instead.

“I recognized that I was doing a role of a priest,” she said. “It took two years for me to recognize that this is my calling.”

Kusner says that the Vatican’s refusal to recognize the status of woman priests challenges her emotionally, but in the end, it’s her relationship to God that matters, not the Catholic Church’s.

“I think the system has become so invalid itself,” she said. “ Unfortunately, the love for power has overruled gospel values. I believe the spirit of [God’s covenant] needs to take precedence.”

Meehan feels the same way. 

Emphasizing that the female priest movement is confronting injustice, Meehan said matters of faith, including the ordination of priests, should be inclusive.

“We’re like the Rosa Parks of the Catholic Church,” Meehan said. “We are leading the way and following Jesus who had both male and female disciples. All are special, and all are welcome.”

She also pointed out that women were [not] allowed to be ordained in the early history of the Catholic Church and said the modern Vatican policies are sexist.

Ordination has not been the only struggle for Kusner. Her parents have not supported her priesthood, either. She said she hopes they will eventually be able to “see things in a different light.”

Currently, the Roman Catholic Womenpriests are sharing their story in hopes of getting more women to follow in their footsteps.

“My faith is what grounds my life,” she said. “To know my truth is leading this, that’s very empowering.”

Second article (at least their title didn't include the word "Bishop."):

Iowa City Woman Ordained Priest by Roman Catholic Womenpriests

Mary Kay Kusner of Iowa City presides over the presentation of the Eucharist Sunday during her ordination service. Kusner was ordained a priest by the Roman Catholic Womenpriests. (Cliff Jette)

By Molly Rossiter

CORALVILLE - Mary Kay Kusner was a little shaken when she got the letter from Bishop Martin Amos of the Diocese of Davenport, withdrawing his support of her chaplaincy and excommunicating her from the Roman Catholic Church.

She was not, however, deterred.

Kusner, 50, of Iowa City, topped off a two-year spiritual journey Sunday afternoon when she was [not] ordained a Catholic priest by the Roman Catholic Womenpriests in front of nearly 300 people at First United Christian Church, 900 Lincolnshire Pl., in Coralville.

“It was Mother Church saying, ‘You’ve done something wrong and we no longer support you,’ and it was very strong,” Kusner said of her feelings on receiving the letter. “But it did not change my drive — that is something that has been very solid.”

Kusner at times was emotional during the service, particularly when she took her place at the altar next to Bishop Regina Nicolosi of Red Wing, Minn.

“This morning just felt surreal,” Kusner said. “This, to me, is the culmination of so much prayerful discernment, prayerful questions wondering whether I’m doing the right thing.”

The amount of public support at the ordination service — in which a Minnesota woman, Monique Gamache Venne, was also ordained a deacon — was “overwhelming.”

“I’ve gotten a lot of supportive e-mails and phone calls, but to see this many people come out is wonderful,” Kusner said.

Christine Grothe, 40, of Conesville, was one of those who attended the service to support Kusner.

Grothe said she and Kusner met when Grothe’s daughter Nora was stillborn nine years ago, and the two women forged a strong friendship. Watching her friend become ordained — and go through the process — has brought Grothe back to the church, she said.

“I was so disillusioned and so not interested before,” Grothe said. “I feel closer to God now because of Mary Kay.”

Kusner [didn't] became one of 11 ordained women in Roman Catholic Womenpriests’ Midwest region. The organization, founded in 2002, calls itself “a new model of ordained ministry in a renewed Roman Catholic Church,” although much of the Roman Catholic hierarchy does not recognize the organization as one representative of the church.

For the women in the movement, however, that’s something that will likely change with time.

“No one thought the Berlin Wall would fall. No one thought we’d see the end of apartheid,” said the Rev. Alice Iaquinta, an ordained Womanpriest and program coordinator for the Midwest region. “This time is coming.”

“It’s all coming together,” she said. “Will I see it in my lifetime? One can hope. The ‘church’ is the people of God — it is not the Roman hierarchy and the Vatican.” 

1 comment:

Gina said...

"A group loyal to the church in its teachings and rituals but denounced by the church for its belief that women, too, can be priests."

Um, hate to state the obvious, but you can't be loyal to something and be against something at the same time.

Has journalism degraded so far that journalists don't even know what words mean anymore?

Or are they simply counting on the readers not knowing what words mean, so they can say whatever they feel like saying without consequence?