25 March 2017

Different types of women priests

Opening one of the undergraduate freebies in this University and looking at the pictures in the 'Fashion' section, I found myself saying "I know her!!".

"Her" was the Chaplain of Lincoln College. I knew her because when I was at S Thomas's we went on pilgrimage to Walsingham accompanied by some members of the Mags congregation. She was one of them; she had not yet entered the Anglican Ministry. She was a very bright young woman, good company, who was reading for a doctorate in Tacitus; an obscurely opaque Roman who, I think (I can't be sure about such details), may have written about History. I think, on stylistic grounds, he must have been born in New Zealand.

Many Anglican womenpriests are natural Bergoglians; that is to say, they are not Rigid and Doctrinal and Liturgical. They very often have had no training except in 'Ministerial Training Courses' in which Anglican candidates for Holy Orders are prepared part-time together with aspirants for non-Conformist ministries. These ladies do provide eucharistic services when their deplorably old-fashioned laity expect them, but they really prefer a form of event known as Messy Church. I would love to give you a description of this style of activity, did anautopsia not prevent me. Readers will have fertile enough imaginations ...

But there is a very different type of womanpriest, of which there are several examples in Oxford ... sharp and academically considerable, who never wanted to be foolish folksy creatures like their 'messy' sisters. What they wanted to be was ... Priests.

Such is the lady of whom I speak. In her newspaper Interview, she gives a very sound explanation of the rationale of wearing cassocks (all the time) and vestments and refers always to "saying Mass". And the paper's Fashion Correspondent includes a picture of her vested in red.

Those of you with a sharp eye for liturgical detail would instantly spot that she is wearing ... unlike the Saint in Westminster Cathedral about whom I recently wrote ... a maniple! That is not always an easy thing to do nowadays, because back in the 1960s the then dominant tendenz realised that the obvious way to get the Huddled Masses back into Church was to have bonfires of maniples. This means that, even in churches where the vestments are of respectable material, cut, and design, a 'set' very often lacks its matching maniple. Archaising clergy have to make a real effort to find a spare maniple somewhence with which to 'make up' the sets in their charge. These spares are, naturally, very often not en suite with their stoles and chasubles.

The photographs do not show her wearing a biretta, but ...

I do hope you will not shout at me. In giving you this information, I advance no agenda and certainly not the Ordination of Women. I simply wish to impart anthropological enlightenment.

 


22 comments:

Joshua said...

A formerly Anglican, now Catholic priest was most amused at an ecumenical event to see a Uniting Church lady minister wearing an alb with a crossed stole.

I have heard tell that numbers of women ordained in the Anglican Church fairly soon gave away their ministry, almost as if, once the novelty of it all wore off, and the victory won for Woman, the humdrum nature of clergy pastimes paled… any truth to this?

Lillibet said...

I guess her sistern who are in the messy church would have to wear a womaniple or possibly a personiple in order to avoid being thought too rigid.

Speaking of maniples, I heard a religious once refer to the maniple as a mandible; deadly serious she was and not a trad hater. Probably a slip of the tongue as a result of not having to use the term for so many years.

the Savage said...

Linda Poindexter, the wife of former Reagan Administration National Security Advisor and Admiral John Poindexter, was an ordained Episcopal priest for 13 years before converting to Catholicism. Maybe there is hope for your chaplain friend yet!

Deimater said...

As a Canadian and member of the Ordinariate of the Chair of S. Peter, I must and do protest the gratuitous zing launched at the good people in our sister realm of New Zealand. The fact that they recently voted to retain the Union Jack in their flag is proof positive that they've oodles of style.

DrAndroSF said...

A historical truth which was brought home to me by seeing a photo of grinning females in mitres and copes lined up before some benighted high altar: all women priestettes are in drag. Although the clerical attire is flowing, it was made for and, until ten minutes ago, always worn only by males. These ladies are drag-priests, decked out in the opposite sex's garments. It is as if, when first, and lamentably, elected to public office, women took to wearing suits and ties and bowler hats.

Richard Griffith said...

A very engaging article. One is not sure how to categorize an individual in whom a catholic expression of ordained live is so positively expressed, yet dismisses such a fundamental component of our humanity. May Our Lady of Walsingham help this lady reach through the shadows of modern sexual confusion.

Kathleen1031 said...

If she were really as orthodox as her interest in attire seems to demonstrate, she would realize her apparent situation as a "priest" is impossible, as well as a spiritual dead end. I'm sure she has good intentions.

Fr. Hunwicke, the very idea! No one should ever "shout" at you. That would be exceedingly rude and unappreciative toward you, our learned and congenial friend.
Surely no one here would do such a thing.
Thank you for all you do here. God bless you.

Ben of the Bayou said...

One thing is shows is that, however so misguided their aspiration for what can never be, they even still have more liturgical and aesthetic sense than the blokes who really could be (are?) Priests.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Deimater

Tacitus wrote in a very clipped, elliptical sort of Latin.

Sir Ronald Syme, the great student of Tacitus, spent so long studying Tacitus that he ended up writing English in the same sort of clipped, elliptical style as Tacitus' Latin.

Sir Ronald was a New Zealander.

Didn't you realise all that?

Oliver Nicholson said...

At Trinity the War Memorial gates are inscribed simply Suos Domus Luget Laudat. There are two schools of thought about the authorship of the inscription, one that it is by Thomas Higham, the Mods don in that era, the other that it is by Sir R. Syme, ancient history don until promoted to the Camden Chair (and so to Brasenose). My theory is that T. Higham wrote something of the usual length and that Sir Ronald reduced it to the four essential words.
I recall seeing him at Encaenia receiving an honorary doctorate, where the Public Orator described him as 'de Tacito non tacitus' - no verb.

Little Black Sambo said...

Perhaps the maniple-less sacristy should be provided with a maniple of plain linen in some neutral colour that could be worn with any set of vestments?

Woody said...

Many thanks for explaining the in joke, Father. As to Linda Poindexter, whom I had the privilege to meet at a Back to Rome conference, she said her conversion was spurred on by the obviously stronger pro-life witness in the Catholic Church. I believe the admiral also converted after a time. Sadly their astronaut son died in an auto accident here in Houston a few years ago.

Most Holy Theotokos, Save Us!

Woody said...

Actually, a Google search reveals that Admiral and Mrs. Poindexter's son, Alan, a retired astronaut, was killed in a tragic jet ski accident in Florida.

Deimater said...

My dear Father Hunwicke, *everyone* knows that. I just assumed you would never use an association fallacy, which obviously fooled thus trusting and devoted follower.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

Dear Deimater

I earnestly and truly repent me of my sins ... and crave your forgiveness ...

Deimater said...

How could I not? For it is you who led me from the desert of the reformed Roman Rite to the Promised Land of the Ordinariate, where I have thrived quasi natus. Best wishes from Timothy Humphries, S. Thomas More parish, Toronto

Br. Gabriel Thomas, OP said...

I've always been confused by the wearing of the cassock by such women. After all, the cassock is not a unisex garment.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

I heard RS's prose comps were marked down until they realised he was writing in modo taciti nec ciceronice. At least that was what I was told as an undergrad.

Banshee said...

For any person of goodwill who appreciates tradition or even just Church continuity and normality (which is the same thing), there is a lot of trouble finding out about the existence of Things One Should Know, as opposed to just pitching in with whatever mix of sense and propaganda one has been given.

When I was a girl in Catholic school, I was trying to be Catholic just like my contemplative saint heroes, like St. Therese. But I had no idea how to do that, because I did not know the hidden assumptions. Therefore, I innocently swallowed a lot of liberal codswallop that we were fed by liberal teachers, while innocently not helping some of the more traditional things going on. I thought of myself as very conservative and rooted.

The same thing persisted into early adulthood. I have said and done things that make me cringe today. But all the while, I had no idea I had even picked the Latin verbal side at such moments, because the existence of another side in most of these matters was largely hidden from me.

Needless to say, I was very angry and bitter when I found out the truth of matters over the next several years. I felt that I had been lied to. I also felt guilty and ashamed of my participation in such things. I had to spend nearly a decade learning and amending my knowledge, and I still don't think I give a good example of a laywoman. If one had actually gotten throgh seminary and taken up duties, it would be a lot harder road.

But the truth is more interesting and more worthy of love than any lies, misconceptions, or pretty illusions.

Colin Spinks said...

Although I write as a supporter of the Ordination of women, I believe your caricatures of these two types of women clergy are quite accurate. It is the first category you describe I find most troublesome, because I would argue that they do not see THEMSELVES as priests, more as ecclesiastical social workers.

Jonathan Dandridge said...

Many of us were or are in Banshee's situation. I have found Fr. John Hardon's Catholic Catechism a good and very readable way to start to find out Things One Should Know. Not having grown up in a practicing Catholic family I think the hardest things are the little things that make up Catholic life such as devotions, sacramentals, having Masses said for people, that Cradle Catholics at least used to have already in their DNA by the time they came of age.

To follow on from what Colin Spinks said, seems to me to be a priest one has to be aware that the are offering a Sacrifice; if one is merely presiding over a meal and not acting in persona Christi to re-present the one sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, can one, male or female, really call themselves a priest?

Rose Marie said...

For a wonderful introduction to or review of the Catholic Faith, try God and the World by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Peter Seewald.