Friday, September 3, 2010

An Invitation for Input

Dearest Friends,
As a pastor, one of the truly difficult tasks is discerning when a reply in the public forum is necessary, helpful, or prudent. If it is something that can be addressed in my own bulletin or in homilies then that is what I prefer. However, there are times when your target audience is not in your parish or within the reach of the community "grapevine". I have been known to respond in the public forum when the attack is against my own parish such as happened this past spring with regards to the alienation of property and fixtures from a church building that is no longer in use. But this one is a real clinker for me. Thus, the invitation.

There is a woman in Winona, MN, who claims to be a Catholic Priest. She is part of the "Roman Catholic Womanpriest" movement. Normally I'd figure, she's in the Winona Diocese, let them deal with it. The problem is, she regularly writes letters to the editor or is afforded "guest editorial" space in order to publicize her heretical views and many of my parishioners take that particular paper and are thus confronted with this. It is also the case that she is a "chaplain" at one of the local healthcare institutions.

So, my question is this: What would you want your pastor to do? Would it be best to rebutt her in the same forum in which she has put forward her views so that there is no confusion on the part of the faithful and others as to where their pastor(s) and the Church stand? Does this give her too much standing? (Maybe that's why the Winona Diocese has said nothing since the notification of her "ex communication" was explained some time ago.) Maybe it's best to simply deal with this in my own bulletin. But then, what about the salvation of this woman's soul? (Of course, the best of all worlds would be that the laity could/would rebutt her when in the public square.) It's a real conundrum. It would be wonderful to receive your input/insights. Thanks! and, Blessings + to you all!


  1. Father

    Although I am no longer a member of the Diocese of La Crosse, I still feel a strong connection - and with the prospect of moving to the Diocese of Winona (?) I have a few small thoughts.

    1. Your parishoners (and obviously those in Winona) need to hear the truth of the Church, some may not want to hear it, but nevertheless....need. (A gentle reminder never hurt anyone.)

    2. A few weeks ago two situations made news regarding Priests and Bishops - please watch the videos for fuller content. Many people are confused precisely because no one speaks the truth -in charity- on hot button topics.

    3. Remember the ways we can be culpable for others sin - silence.

    4. God bless you for opening up your blog for dialogue. Thank you for your vocation and service.

    Verso L'alto

  2. It's a good question Father. The fact no one from the Diocese of Winona is aware or willing to engage this in public makes it all the more troubling. I would want my pastor to respond publicly. A couple different ways it could be done, you could write to a Wisconsin paper like the LAX Trib to express your opinion so as not to overstep your bounds so to speak. But honestly I don't see any problem with you engaging in dialog in the Winona paper. Of course it is also good to hear this from the pulpit but for the most of us as Mass we have at least some comprehension of Holy Orders and would agree with you I'm sure. But it's those cafeteria Catholics who would most benefit from a public response. Most are willing to hear a reasonable argument made in favor of the Priesthood, but unfortunately for Winona-ites(?) they're only getting one side of the story.


Comments are most welcome! As always, be charitable and remember the 8th Commandment (Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor).