Thursday, December 6, 2012

"I Wasn't Trying To Show Off For The Ladies,"

Former Priest Ray Bourgeois and Janice Sevre-Duszynska
The Rev. Bill Brennan, a longtime peace activist, has been ordered not to celebrate the Eucharist or other sacraments publicly, or to present himself publicly as a priest by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and his religious order, the Society of Jesus. It comes three weeks after Brennan celebrated Mass with Milwaukee native the Janice Sevre-Duszynska during an annual protest at what was historically known as the School of the Americas at Fort Benning near Columbus, Ga. And it follows the excommunication and defrocking of School of the Americas Watch founder the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who participated in Sevre-Duszynska's 2008 ordination in Lexington, Ky. (The former School of the Americas is now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.) Brennan, who remains a priest and lives with other retired Jesuits in a Wauwatosa retirement home, said he knew he risked censure when he celebrated the sacrament with a woman priest. "Sometimes in our lives we have to trust our conscience and bring about the consequences," said Brennan, a Wauwatosa native who taught at Marquette University High School beginning in 1968 and spent 17 years working in Latin America. "I wasn't trying to show off for the ladies," he said. Fellow peace and social justice advocates voiced disappointment in the censure. And Sevre-Duszynska called it "outrageous" and Brennan "prophetic." "Bill has exemplified with his life the fruits of the spirit," she said. 
"He has worked for justice with the oppressed and marginalized, and for the liberation that Jesus teaches in the Gospel." 
In the Catholic Church, the local bishop -- in this case Archbishop Jerome Listecki -- confers the "faculties" priests require to serve publicly in a geographic area. Jesuit spokesman Jeremy Langford and Listecki's chief of staff, Jerry Topczewski, said it was a joint decision to withdraw Brennan's faculties for public ministry.
Unlike Bourgeois' sanction, the move does not appear to have prompted a Vatican review, at least for now. Both the Jesuits and the archdiocese said they planned to take no further actions against the elderly priest. Brennan, who was arrested during a protest at Fort Benning in 2011, is one of two Milwaukee-area priests who have been sanctioned, at least in part for their actions there.
 A 75-year-old Franciscan priest and peace activist, the Rev. Jerry Zawada, was suspended by the Franklin-based Franciscan Friars Assumption BVM province after celebrating Mass at Fort Benning with Sevre-Duszynska in 2010 and 2011. His case is pending before the Vatican, said the Franciscan provincial, the Rev. John Puodziunas . Zawada, who served previously in the Tucson, Ariz., diocese, said he's had no assignment since his suspension. The Catholic Church prohibits the ordination of women. Sevre-Duszynska, of Lexington, Wis., is ordained in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, which represents about 124 priests and 10 bishops around the world. The group claims legitimacy, saying the bishop who ordained its first women bishops stood in apostolic succession -- the line of Catholic bishops who stretch back to Jesus' apostles. The Vatican rejects that argument. The ordination of women in the Catholic Church is highly controversial, though a majority of Catholics appear to support it -- 59 percent, according to a 2010 New York Times and CBS News poll. Theologians have long debated the legitimacy of the ban, and advocates for women priests often are dealt with harshly.
In 2008, the Vatican decreed that women who seek ordination and those who ordain them face automatic excommunication from the church. And in 2010 it listed the attempted ordination of women as a grave sin on par with pedophilia and heresy. 
Brennan said his decision to celebrate Mass with Sevre-Duszynska grew not out of some "wild-eyed liberal" protest or heady theological research, but from his deep admiration for his own mother.
Link (here)


Anonymous said...

The impossibility of ordaining women to the priesthood is infallible dogma. Case closed. Women will never be ordained. NEVER.

Get with the Church or get out of her. Theological liberalism is passé and was never going to be the future of the Church because Christ promised that the gates of hell would never prevail against the Church.

I hope that priest reconciles with the Lord before his death; he doesn't have many more years left.

TonyD said...

It's hard to find anything positive in this story - for Fr. Brennan or for the Church.

Specific judgment techniques are rarely shared. But there is so much miscommunication of "love your neighbor" (eg. Some ignore or subvert others' genuinely held values in the name of God). Perhaps clarifying "love your neighbor" can mitigate the punishment that extends outside of this construct? Too many people are failing. And the cost is higher than I can describe.

It is possible to observe that a person has ten values. It is also possible to observe the way in which that person holds those values. Each of those values can have a level of deficit or surfeit associated with it. It is then possible to judge the person on the particular values held, the levels associated with those values, and the associated burden placed upon others by those levels.

Someone coming into contact with this person may hold the exact same values but have different levels ("equally yoked"). That person would be judged far differently. This person, like the other, would be expected to "love your neighbor" and adapt to the values held by the other person. (Thus, you see why the way that you hold your values expresses a burden on others.)

So each person can be judged based on their own values, the way that they hold their values, and their adaptiveness to other's values. This is just "love your neighbor". At an individual level, judgment about a person's unwillingness to adapt to others levels may result in a wide variety of punishments - disease, poverty, unhappiness, and the construction of other's negative attitudes towards you.

This is about internal change. After internal change it becomes possible for more to be shared with specific individuals -- as they prove themselves worthy of sharing community with God.

Anonymous said...

"Get with the Church or get out of her. "

Well, that certainly is open to many meanings!

God bless Fr. Brennan for his brave stand. Like many good people of faith--some of them saints--his view will win out long after the storm troopers are gone.

Anonymous said...

It's like trying to explain someone that a priest can't get pregnant. Where do you even begin with such a confused soul?

c matt said...

Seems like Fr. Brennan has forgotten his Augustine:

Roma locuta est; causa finita est.

I would have had more respect for him if he had done it out of some heady theological contortions rather than sentimentality. At least that means he would have been thinking.

Anonymous said...

There is no sound theological or scriptural reason why women can't be priests. Or deacons. Change is on the way!

Anonymous said...

There is a sound reason that suffices: the magisterium has pronounced definitively on the matter.

God has revealed that women cannot become priests.

Take it up with God if you don't like it.

The only change coming to the Church is greater orthodoxy as the liberals die off.

Anonymous said...

as liberal die off.........hmmmmm
have you checked some numbers lately ?

again I do not know what cave you dwell in but your psycoconservative church is on the verge of collapse - the church in Ireland is dead as well as in Europe 10 people show up for mass if you are lucky - rome needs financial support and Africa is not shipping its bounty to Benedict who is on his deathbed so tell me Mr Anon ? who is dying off?
i look forward to churches finally paying taxes especially if they do not offer equal rights to all - that will finally silence your precious Bells of St Mary's

Anonymous said...

They will be left with small congregations of uber-conservative storm troopers flaying without power. Big empty churches, finger wagging, and little else.

mcasey said...

"God has revealed that women cannot become priests."

For real? To you alone or have others been told? I was aware that some males within the Church feel this way, but when did God stop by to discuss female ordination? Did He bring donuts?
Don't put your words into God's mouth...

Maria said...

Christ instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders on Holy Thursday. You will never guess. No girls, angry lesbians or otherwise.