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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Oregon's First Female Catholic Priest

No joke. Check it out.
RESHAM, Ore. - Oregon's first female Catholic priest was ordained in Gresham on Sunday. It's a history-making milestone, but one the Catholic Church does not recognize.

The Vatican says only men can be priests. But since 2002, there has been a growing international movement to defy that law and give women the same status as men, and ordain them.

Toni Tortorilla said she was called to the priesthood when she was 5 years old, and she believes the law is unjust.

The bishop who ordained her at a United Church of Christ, Patricia Fresen of Germany, was herself ordained by a male bishop in good standing in South Africa. Fresen's Dominican order expelled her, but she became the driving force to ordain more women.

There are now 22 women priests and five deacons internationally. None of them has been ex-communicated, but neither will the Church recognize them.

By the end of the summer, the women priest program expects to ordain another nine North American women as priests, and 14 as deacons.
Indeed it is an injustice when a woman is refused the opportunity to answer God's call merely because she is a woman!

For more on this movement of Roman Catholic Women Priests, click here.


Blogger texasinafrica said...

How interesting. There's a movement in Western Kenya of Catholic priests who get married. This is a longstanding problem for the Catholic church in Africa because a boy isn't considered a man until he's married and has children. I think the church might be planning to excommunicate them, however...

1:53 AM

Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

I suspect that these women priests, and maybe the Kenyan married priests, too, will end up breaking with Rome and becoming part of the growing Independent Catholic Movement. (The movement began with Vatican I from those Catholics who refused to call the pope "infallible" as the new Council demanded. But they may have connected to even older Catholic movements which never recognized papal supremacy.)

9:34 AM

Blogger healtheland said...

You mean that obeying God's Word clearly given in scripture is unjust?

1:13 PM

Anonymous Michael Westmoreland-White said...

No, Heatheland, it is ignoring the Biblical claims that God is no respecter of persons, that in baptism God has broken down all dividing walls and done away with Jew/Gentile, male/female, slave/free (e.g., distinctions of race, gender, and class)--ignoring all this in God's Word that is unjust.

2:54 PM

Blogger D.R. said...


Come on man, that is clearly the most simplistic and lackidasical answer to a most complicated issue that I have ever heard you give. God calling men and women to differing roles in the family and in the Church is clearly not a violation of any of those passages you noted. After all, is God unjust to only allow women to have children, or only have given women the appropriate glands to feed children, or in giving men biologically different bodies allowing them more physical strength than women? Or is all of that only because of the Fall? If so, what about the roles that God gave Adam and Eve in the Garden that correspond to His Word in various places in both the Old AND New Testaments.

You see, while you accuse conservatives of ignoring passages, we do the same to you when you skip over several Pauline passages and how you ignore that Jesus chose 12 MEN and never said that women were called to the same roles as men (even instructing John to take care of His mother).

You just can't simplify this debate down to conservatives being ignorant male-chauvinists (especially since many, many intelligent women - including my wife - hold to Complimentarianism as well). And after all, we do have a strong Scriptural basis and Church History as testaments to our view.

We might disagree, but at least give enough respect to the history and teachings of the Church to not act like we are vile misinterpreters of Scripture, and sinful bigots to boot.

12:52 PM

Blogger Monk-in-Training said...

I hope you don't mind me interjecting.

I agree with you that Christ and the Apostles were Men, but don't forget Mary Maglene, who Jesus first showed Himself too after the Resurrection. A choice that was as intentional as any other.

You may consider also the prophecy of Joel, 2:28 where daughters are equal with men in prophesy, and the Spirit is equally poured out. However if your preference is for Pauline Scripture, then what about Gal 3:28 or the woman Junia that Paul calls an Apostle who was in Christ before him. (later scholars converted her into Junias, a man).

Or perhaps we could look at Philippians 4:2, where Paul refers to two women, Euodia and Syntyche, as his co-workers who were active in the spread of the gospel.

Be all that as it may, I feel that, there is more than manhood to consider here. The following has a lot pulled from a posting I did on the matter.

I assume you accept along with all modern Churches Definition of Chalcedon* as the base for understanding Who Jesus was and is. Those that do not are considered cults, the Mormons for example.

If we take that understanding as a basis, it is understood by the teaching of Chalcedon that what is not assumed (by Christ in the Incarnation) is not redeemed.

I strongly believe, and the Church has taught for centuries that Christ assumed the totality of human nature when He was made Incarnate. The Definition of Chalcedon goes on to tell us that the nature He received, was solely from His mother, the Virgin Mary, the God-bearer. No human male being involved and she was, obviously, a woman.

So, having the affirmation of the Chalcedonian Council that whatever it is in human nature that needed to be assumed by Christ (since that whole point of the Incarnation) came through a woman (the Virgin Mary, the God-bearer) we have to realize that she could not pass on to Jesus what she did not possess. So, then His maleness is not of salvic importance, but the totality of what makes us human IS.

Considering the weight of all the above, where do you see the barrier to female Priests?

*Definition of Chalcedon
(451 AD)

Following, then, the holy fathers, we unite in teaching all men to confess the one and only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. This selfsame one is perfect both in deity and in humanness; this selfsame one is also actually God and actually man, with a rational soul and a body. He is of the same reality as God as far as his deity is concerned and of the same reality as we ourselves as far as his humanness is concerned; thus like us in all respects, sin only excepted. Before time began he was begotten of the Father, in respect of his deity, and now in these "last days," for us and behalf of our salvation, this selfsame one was born of Mary the virgin, who is God-bearer in respect of his humanness.

We also teach that we apprehend this one and only Christ-Son, Lord, only-begotten -- in two natures; and we do this without confusing the two natures, without transmuting one nature into the other, without dividing them into two separate categories, without con- trasting them according to area or function. The distinctiveness of each nature is not nullified by the union. Instead, the "properties" of each nature are conserved and both natures concur in one "person" and in one reality . They are not divided or cut into two persons, but are together the one and only and only-begotten Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus have the prophets of old testified; thus the Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us; thus the Symbol of Fathers has handed down to us.

11:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that these women have no intention of leaving the Roman Catholic Church or causing a schism. Go to romancatholicwomenpriests.org and read what is there. Many of them are highly educated theologians and Patricia Fresen studied for 7 years in Rome and taught seminarians for 7 years in South Africa. This is a deep authentic calling and they know they will probably not see any change in the institution in their lifetime. They are not on an ego trip by any means. The Holy Spirit blows where it wills. We are all equal in the sight of God. Jesus Christ is much more inclusive than we are.

6:52 PM


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