Ordination Witness: At the Cathedral in Rochester June 4, 2016

(Click on images to enlarge)

Yesterday, I protested the exclusion of women from the RC priesthood at the Cathedral here in Rochester. It was an interesting day as always.   Unlike last week, the Bishop made sure to bless me this time (or exorcise me ). The main doors to the Cathedral are made of wood with glass panels and the clergy line up along these doors. When the procession starts we protesters stand facing the doors with our signs making it easy for clergy to see our signs as they are on the move. Today I stood alone in front of the back door. It’s surprising how many of the clergy wave in support. The Bishop, who is always the last to process in, made a deliberate stop to let me know he saw me, then blessed me. I didn’t respond at first but he kept on doing it, so I reciprocated. Strange! Unlike last week, when it was over, photos were not taken on the outside front steps of the Church. I heard that one of the reasons for this was that the Bishop didn’t want the focus to be on me. Apparently my photo appeared in some article.    A nice elderly priest came prepared this time with a response to us. He handed me an index card with the following statement: “Jesus Christ did not exclude women from the Roman Catholic priesthood. He exempted them from the Priesthood. Mary is the creature of God the Father and the Mother of God the Son and The Spouse of the Holy Spirit. She is the Mother of all priests. (and he signed his name). Sigh.   A young seminarian from the archdiocese of NYC (ordination in 2 years to priesthood) approached me at the end and we had a long conversation. Of course we agreed to disagree and shook hands before we parted ways and asked each other’s name . One of the things he said to me was that he didn’t know any or of any women who wanted to be priests. Sigh. Are they all this naive or uninformed??? Still it was good to have this conversation. I managed to get in Fr. Tony Flannery’s take on the matter: “The argument that a woman cannot be a minister because she cannot be ‘in persona Christi’ is such a ridiculous argument…that belongs to the time of the flat earth, when Galileo was persecuted.” (I paraphrased.)   A very elderly priest told me you either believe the Holy Father or you don’t. I said the Pope is human and he cut me off and said, so you see, you don’t believe and he walked off.   Two Hispanic priests were outside for a bit checking their cell phone and going over the program. One of them was very friendly and waved hello. I asked a bit later if he wanted to take my picture and he said yes. I like pictures of my sign because I hope they reach others.   Always good to see people we know and who support our cause (that includes clergy). A friend of Spiritus Christi and frequent visitor with his wife, Fran Cardella, was there to support one of the young deacons in his parish who was being ordained a priest. He’s very supportive of our cause and took some of the photos displayed here. He’s pictured with me in one of the pics.   I thought it was nice of the usher to come out and ask if I wanted water… it was a hot day. Both he and security staff were very nice to us this weekend and last. I received about 5 mean or insensitive remarks.. all from women. But we also got a lot of words and gestures of support from women, too. Two of the not-so-nice comments came from two women who, along with others, arrived at the event via shuttle. Good or bad, it’s great when you can help create awareness in people from out of town.   Thank you, Judy K. and Jim H. for being there today. And way to go our friends in Buffalo and Syracuse for doing their own witness at local ordinations last weekend and this weekend.