Baseball91's Weblog

January 8, 2009

Civil Commotion

Filed under: History,Law,Minnesota,Roman Catholic,woman — baseball91 @ 3:19 AM
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Sexism and the church:  I wonder how Mary viewed the recent excommunication of Ray Bourgois,for giving a blessing to a woman who was ordained 5 months ago?  He was said to have delivered a homily at a ceremony purporting to ordain a woman to the Catholic priesthood at a Unitarian church.  Challenging authority to be more, there was Father Bourgois.  Challenging Washington on the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (with the brand name change from School of the Americas in 2001) there was Father Bourgois.  Challenging church authority to be more, on issues of morality, there was Father Bourgois.  More than the institution had been last year?  More than the institution had been ten years ago.  More than the institution one hundred years ago.  And the Church was excommunicating him?  


The Church of Rome was particularly dysfunctional on the role of women in the church, in an urban  world that had changed the role of women everywhere.  Speaking of pride, and the sins of pride.  Why would a priest get excommunicated for sharing a blessing?  It was not like he ordained the woman.  Yes, every priests took canon law and knew what acts were prohibited.  And Father Bourgois knew he was wrong at the time he attended the ordination.      


But what about matters of a faith and morals?  If the Church of Rome continued to promote slavery, barring priests on the basis of color, what would be the appropriate form of disobedience?  Was slavery immoral?  On issues of a faith and morals, was sexism immoral?  I wonder how it all looked to Mary, the God-bearer (literally Theotokos).  Was racism immoral?  On issues of a moral theology, why did only cardinals have voting rights in the election of popes?  Should a priest get excommunicated for sharing a blessing, in a form of civil disobedience even though he knew he was wrong.  Wrong in the letter of the law, in the eyes of the Pharisees.  How is church dissent handled, on matters of  faith and morals?


Challenging authority to be more, Father Bourgois had suffered what was to be expected.  And, yes Father Bourgois had suffered his own sin of pride, thinking he was greater than the sum of the parts.  Fr. Bourgeois felt he can engage the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide) on his own to change the doctrine of the Church, without respecting due process, the 2000 year tradition of the Church.  But was there anything in canon law that allowed a Catholic to challenge the immorality of sexism in the name of Jesus Christ? 


At this point having brought the excommunication upon himself, ignoring canon law, he was offered reconciliation but was not expected to recant.


Canon law was an expression of pontifical authority:  The revised Code of Canon Law is dated January 25, 1983.  It was on January 25, 1959 when Pope John XXIII announced his intent to hold a synod of the Diocese of Rome, to convoke an ecumenical council, and his decision to reform the existing corpus of canonical legislation which had been promulgated on Pentecost Sunday 1917.  The same collegiality seems to have been missing at the time of the January 25, 1983 pronouncement.  


With a stated Intention of the renewal of Christian living, the revised Code of Canon was presented as the people of God and its hierarchical constitution appears based on the college of bishops united with its head.  Well, by January 25, 1983 it seems to have been time to ask, “What about the girls?”  I was only now starting to read the Canon law.  It might be time for all of us to read it, with the music in the background, like Gregorian chant, “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.”  It might be time for some women suffrage in the next papal election.  Before the women start screaming, it might be time to engage them in the discussions of power sharing in the 21st century.   If this was all about a goal of unity.   


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