“Catholic Women Ordained,” Guest Article by Jeanette Blonigen Clancy, Catholic Lay Theologian, Educator, and Writer

Jeanette Blonigen Clancy

Jeanette Blonigen Clancy, a Catholic lay theologian, earned a Master’s degree in systematic theology from St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota. This graduate degree led to her independent study of the historical Jesus, mythology, scripture, spirituality, and comparative religion. She is also an educator and published author, living in Avon, Minnesota. Among her published works are two local history books, articles in the National Catholic Reporter, and God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky: Cherishing Christianity Without Its Exclusive Claims. She also writes a blog with this same title.

Jeanette has not been ordained, but she advocates for the ordination of women. She is active in the Roman Catholic Womenpriest movement and in Mary Magdalene, First Apostle Church, led by women priests. The following article was first published on her blog, “God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky.” (“Catholic Women Ordained,” May 24, 2013: http://godisnot3guyscom-jeanette.blogspot.com).

“Being active in the Roman Catholic Womenpriest movement motivates me to stay in the Church by giving me a way to actively oppose its oppressive power structure from within. I see women as the greatest hope for the Church’s future as we move out of the submissive, subordinate role assigned us by male-dominant religious language.

Sexist God-talk indirectly, but effectively, endorses violence against women and other vulnerable people. In its scope and long-term damage, I consider it to be the most serious sin against society perpetrated by the institutional Church, even more dangerous than clerical sex abuse, because the latter developed as a consequence of the dominant male god invoked in churches.

I am as delighted as everyone else by Pope Francis’ humble and compassionate and innovative approach to the papacy. But I am afraid he has not transcended the mindset formed in him by 70 plus years of praying to “The Lord.” In his talks about women he still repeats the old saw that women have “a special role,” code for no role in leadership or decision making. I am afraid he still assumes it proper for women to be secondary helpers, not the ones in charge. As he deals with women religious, he seems unable to imagine women leading with dignity. He seems unable to imagine the Church acceding to decisions made by women.

I have been looking for a definitive event to topple the curial regime in Rome but that’s not going to happen. Instead, its support is being nibbled away in tiny increments, Pope Francis’ election a larger increment. The repressive structure maintained by ultra-conservatives is weakening and crumbling, but gradually. Hans Küng writes that reform may have to come from the bottom up. (National Catholic Reporter, May 21, 2013: http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/paradox-pope-francis)

This is happening right now, led by women of the womenpriest movement. The danger of our movement to the present structure of power can be measured by the extreme reactions it incites in Catholic officials. I confess that the excommunications and condemnations and ludicrous arguments for male-only ordination amuse me because they speak so loudly about our effectiveness.

Catholic women priests

• claim the right to stand in persona Christi, in the person of Christ, as equal to men.

• inform Catholics of women’s leadership roles in the early Church.

• reform church structure from within by reimaging and reshaping.

• work with a new model of church: no hierarchy, no clericalism, no patriarchy, no authoritarian structure. Our bishops have no administrative power.

• work without clerical trappings: no forced celibacy, no salaries, no titles. Vestments are simple.

• celebrate Eucharist in a circle when possible, with everyone saying the words of consecration.

• use inclusive language. We do not pray to “The Lord.”

The last is often the first thing noticed by new congregants, and to me, the most effective tool of reform.”

Read more about Jeanette Blonigen Clancy elsewhere on my blog: https://jannaldredgeclanton.com/blog/?p=604

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