Walking Dead Edition! (Your Catholic Week in Review)

Walking Dead Edition! (Your Catholic Week in Review)

Michael Hichborn – 7/13/18

They’re baaaaack!

This whole “deaconness” thing isn’t going away.  No sooner do we complete a campaign on this issue, thinking the matter will take a rest, then it pops up again somewhere else.

To wit, a “non-binding” but Vatican hosted document entitled “An Agreed Statement of The Third Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission” is revisiting the role of deaconnesses in the Church, with novelties that are barely a year old…

While the Commission recognizes that some decisions regarding ministry made by provinces of the Anglican Communion are not open to the Roman Catholic community, others potentially are, e.g. a female diaconate; a fuller implementation of licensed lay pastoral assistants; the priestly ordination of mature married men (viri probati); and the authorization of lay people to preach. Given that the lay faithful already exercise their participation in the tria munera by ministering to the Christian community, there is reason to suggest an enlarged role for authorized lay ministry, including the canonical opening of the ministry of lector to women. (cf. 102)

Once again, we find ourselves presented with syncretism rather than ecumenism, and once again, the ugly Hydra of female ordination comes screaming into view and refuses to let go.  And like a thick smoke, this pollution is looking for any possible entryway to infect the purity of the Church.

And just about the same time LifeSiteNews set a spotlight on this story, the Vatican published something even more alarming.  The document, titled, “Ecclesiae Sponsae Imago,” provides a new set of guidelines stating thatthose seeking to join the order of consecrated virgins no longer have to be virgins.  From the report:

The new Instruction for the Order of Virgins, “Ecclesiae Sponsae Imago” (“Image of  the Bride-Church”), released July 4 by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, says the call to perpetual chastity as a consecrated woman living in the world cannot be reduced to “the symbol of physical integrity.”

Therefore, the instruction continues, “ … to have kept her body in perfect continence or to have practiced the virtue of chastity in an exemplary way, while of great importance with regard to the discernment, are not essential prerequisites in the absence of which consecration is not possible” (ESI, 88).  

Nevertheless, no woman who has ever been married is permitted to join the order.

Canon lawyer Ed Peters pointed out a paradox. “Now, according to the plain terms of ESI, the Blessed Virgin Mary, archetype of virginity consecrated to God, would not be eligible for admission to the order of virgins, but Mary Magdalene, model for women who, Deo gratias, set aside a promiscuous life, would be eligible.”

Given the timing, one is almost forced to ask whether these two events are linked?  Here’s the thing.  Deaconnesses were never ordained (as in, receiving Holy Orders and powers from the Holy Spirit) by the early Church, so it was the title reserved for women who helped perform tasks like baptizing women by immersion where a priest or deacon could be morally compromised.

And consecrated virgins have always been just that … VIRGINS.  Certainly the degree of confusion opens the door to all sorts of wild possibilities, and through these cracks the smoke of Satan continues to pour into Mother Church.

Of course, we should pray daily for the reunification of the Anglican Communion and all Christians to the bosom of the Holy Catholic Church — but as Catholics, not as Anglicans or Lutherans or any other malignancy.  Linking heresy to the Body of Christ is no different than ingesting rancid meat.  More often than not, it is spit back out. (Rev. 3:15-16)

Amazingly enough, my talk in Albuquerque, New Mexico regarding the “closed door” on female ordination seems to be gathering more attention than I ever though it would!  

This doesn’t mean that the Association for United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP) promoting this sort of heterodoxy isn’t gaining steam.  Just five years ago, their number included 950 members.  Today, their ranks have swelled to approximately 1,300 members.

Just to give you some idea of their strength, in 2013 a priest in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati — the head of priestly formation for the diocese, no less — issued a direct critique of AUSCP and their activities.  The campaign against this priest was so intense (going to the archbishop himself, reportedly) that the priest requested to be returned to full-time ministry.

The AUSCP may be small, but they can be extremely dangerous to faithful priests — that is, unless our bishops are made fully aware of what the AUSCP is and what they are about.

…which is all the more reason why boldly and fearlessly speaking truth fearlessly matters so much in dire times.

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