Saturday, June 18, 2005

Say what?

The Rev. Ned Reidy, writing in the Palm Springs Desert Sun congratulates us on the sign of the Holy Spirit among us. No, it's not Pentecost, which we celebrate this weekend: "I read this week that the Orthodox Church has opened ordination to women to serve as deacons."

Well, I've been hearing of deaconnesses and rumors of deaconnesses for years, in distant times and places, and if there had been an event like this, it's funny that the Rev. Reidy would hear of it first.

Or maybe not. The Rev. is co-pastor, along with Rev. Kathy McCarthy, of the Pathfinder Community of the Risen Christ in Bermuda Dunes, California. The Pathfinder Community of the Risen Christ is part of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, whose presiding bishop is in Orange, California.

You know that a church is freelancing when its website has a page called "The Apostolic Succession of [BISHOP'S NAME]." In that case, apostolic succession gives a certain bouquet of sanctity, of being grounded in tradition, without the tiresome requirement of actually maintaining that tradition. If you're going to be Catholic (or Orthodox or Baptist or whatever), for God's sake be Catholic (or whatever). If you're going to be ordaining the Rev. Kathy to the priesthood, then you've left the Catholic Church, and having a web page showing your bishop's pedigree doesn't change that at all. If you ordain women priests, then don't pretend to be Catholic, because Catholics don't.

And if you're not even pretending to be Orthodox, even if you do assert that your "deacons, priests and bishops participate in the same historic apostolic succession as do the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and other apostolic Churches," then don't go wading into a complicated issue like the ordination of women to the diaconate. It's like congratulating your next-door neighbors on their decision to put in a swimming pool when they've only been discussing it and certainly haven't decided to go forward with it.

Unless he's talking about the Most Excellent Orthodox Church, Dude, of Venice Beach, California, headed by the Most Reverential Bishop EVLOGIA, who's also got an apostolic succession page on his website.

In which case, perhaps there's also a historic reunification in the works of the two divided Sister Churches after more than a thousand years of separation.

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