26 October 2008

emergency meeting

Well, it has happened. The arch-diocese of Sydney has authorized deacons to preside at Eucharist. The terms of the resolution permit the archbishop to license lay persons too, but for deacons it is effective without any additional license.

What is going on here is interesting at several levels.

First, we need to remember that this is the arch-diocese that adamantly opposes the ordination of women to the priesthood. And yet it has female deacons. The difference is of course that careers, payroll, advancement to bishop, all of these are reserved to priests and bishops. So, women can be clergy, if they do not compete against men. Am I suggesting cowardice? No, I am proclaiming it!

Second, there are not that many men, even sheltered from competition provided by scary potentially competent women, who are excited about clerical careers in the archdiocese. Given its highly isolated view of the church, the rest of Australia not only has women priest it has women bishops, the career potential is limited.

Third, well, if you need a priest, and a priest has to be male, shortages develop.

Now a reasonable solution might be to look at the women who are deacons and ordain the most competent or send them to seminary. But if the object of the exercise is to protect the career of male clerics, identifying the best women, is not an option.

So, given that Sydney is so low church one has to crawl under the doors, we come up with a solution. Call it "lay presidency!" See, women can consecrate Eucharist, as long as women cannot be consecrated.


This does greater damage to the fabric of catholic communion than anything an honest gay bishop joining the closeted could ever cause. Where is the Archbishop of Canterbury? Why don't we have a date for the emergency meeting of primates? Hmm....


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