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Dorothy Day would be appalled

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 08/25/15


Back in the 1950s, the venerable woman who founded The Catholic Worker wrote a famous essay on “holy obedience”:

Most cradle Catholics have gone through, or need to go through, a second conversion which binds them with a more profound, a more mature love and obedience to the Church. I do know that my nature is such that gratitude alone, gratitude for the faith, that most splendid gift, a gift not earned by me, a gratuitous gift, is enough to bind me in holy obedience to Holy Mother Church and her commands.

So I can only imagine what she would have made of this piece of news, out of Des Moines:

A Des Moines Catholic group has been told it can no longer host Mass after allowing a woman to perform sacramental services in December. Bishop Richard Pates of the Diocese of Des Moines ordered the Catholic Worker House to cease holding services in a letter dated May 5. An article explaining the ruling appeared in the August issue of “The Catholic Mirror,” the diocese’s monthly newspaper. “This matter has been reviewed by the Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Des Moines,” the letter reads. “Members expressed great offense at this action of a rite that is so precious to them and others.” The council of priests voted unanimously to strip the Des Moines Catholic Worker House of its authority to hold Mass “for the time.” The Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska, who presided over the Eucharist service, was ordained as a priest in Lexington, Ky., by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in 2008. The independent group is not recognized by the Vatican. …While the group is known for speaking out against traditional Catholic teachings, [Catholic Worker House co-founder] Frank Cordaro said the Mass wasn’t meant to draw attention or cross a line. The organization has worked for 40 years to bring light to social issues within the church, specifically women’s rights in leadership, he said. “It’s really a bullying position that doesn’t do the Eucharist service,” Cordaro said. “I wish our bishops would see their teaching authority in a more positive light than when people disagree with them, (to) punish them.”

There’s “bullying” and then there’s enforcing the law of the Church. This falls into the latter category. This wasn’t a matter of simply “people disagreeing” with the bishops. What the Catholic Worker folks were doing was flagrantly disobedient, a violation of Catholic teaching, and they knew it.

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