Pink Smoke Over the Vatican: Holy Toledo!

Women priests!  How outrageous.  What’s an all-men’s club going to do about women who want to join their exclusive XY-chromosonal cartel? Excommunicate! The rack! Burning at the stake! How dare she!

Toledo’s bishop awoke this morning to the news that women in his diocese want the keys to the church door. The Toledo Blade ran a front page story this Sunday morning on the women priest movement and focused on a local woman who came out into the open to declare her desire to join the priesthood. Beverly Bingle is the courageous woman who shared her story to the religion editor of The Blade. No doubt she is feeling the pins being stuck in voodo dolls all across the diocese by righteous Catholics who believe that she is violating church laws.

Blade Photo

Blade reporter David Yonke cites one quite humorous and idiotic defense of an all-male priesthood: that the Catholic Church has traditionally been referred to as Holy Mother Church and that priests become the bridegrooms of the Church.  Toledo Bishop Blair is quoted, “Catholic faith from earliest times has referred to ‘Holy Mother Church’ and to the fatherhood of the clergy. Men are ordained as priests to act ‘in the very person’ of Christ the bridegroom, the head of his body and bride, the church.” How sexually perverted is that!

Ms. Bingle said that there are other women in the program, but they may not go public with their process.  She said, “Two are likely to be “catacomb priests” who never go public, and a third now works for the Toledo Diocese and fears she could lose her job and retirement benefits if the church finds out.”  Lose her job? Retirement benefits?  Because she has two Y-chromosomes. Can you imagine that here in the first decade of the 21st century?

There will be quite a buzz  in the pews this Sunday morning as Catholics head off to church and whisper to each other about this story. I wonder if any of the priests celebrating mass will have the guts to discuss it in their homilies? Or will they hope that Ms. Bingle will kidnapped by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith- the 21st century edition of the Inquisition.

I saw the documentary, Pink Smoke Over the Vatican, twice with Ms. Bingle.  It is a touching yet powerful expose’ of the deep desire of  Catholic women drawn to the priesthood and their struggle to be heard by a defiant, all-male clergy. The film will be shown twice this month, April 15 and April 29 at 2 p.m. at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1702 Upton Ave in Toledo. It will be interesting to see who attends and if there will be any protests of its showing by fundamentalist Catholics. I’ll be reporting on that situation on the 15th.


22 thoughts on “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican: Holy Toledo!

  1. My initial comment, M_R, is why should we care what sex is
    a priest or not? Btw, our next door neighbor is a recently ordained
    Anglican priest, Rev. Judy! She is Pastor of the Episcopalian
    Church a few blocks from us, St. Peter by the Lake. And, yes,
    she has tried to recruit us, but to no avail yet. Since your run of
    Posts on Bishop Spong, I have been wanting to ask her about him,
    but am afraid to do so as that just might encourage her to save
    us that much more, lol. Have you heard that old saying about
    being an Episcopalian that says an Episcopalian is one step
    removed from being an atheist?

    I was tired and bored yesterday afternoon and was flipping
    through the cable stations and came upon last weeks sermon
    at the First Baptist Church of Jackson. (Have you ever heard of
    the Second, Third, Fourth Baptist Church?) Anyway, the
    First Baptist is like the “cathedral” for Baptists in the Jackson
    Metro; the church for the most elite and the hanger-ons;dripping
    in money; covering at least four city blocks in the downtown
    area. For the month of April the members are to call on as many
    people in the area and pray for them. I can hardly wait, lol.

    So, he begins his sermon with what he says was an experience on
    a flight back to Memphis from a conference he had just attended.
    Seated next to him was a young woman who insisted on talking
    with him after they had introduced themselves, and he had told
    her that he was a Baptist Minister. She said that she was
    Catholic(how convenient, huh) and didn’t know much about
    Baptists except that she was told it was a mistaken religion. Would he explain the difference to her in the Catholic and Baptist beliefs?

    He proceeds to tell his congregation that he first told the young
    lady that we Baptists believe in the Bible, both the Old and New
    Testaments. That the Bible is the sacred word of Almighty and
    Just God. But, the Roman Catholic Church believes in sacred
    laws made by men and affirmed by the Pope. The Roman Catholic is a religion of men, and Baptists are the religion of sacred scripture from God alone. And she responded that the Bible was not
    encouraged to be read, but instead was told about stories in the Bible, called parables. He then said he told her that another
    difference is that Baptists place their emphasis on salavation
    on the death and resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ. That
    Christ is Lord and Savior and the only way to salvation is through
    Christ. He said, however, the Catholic Church emphasized acts
    or good works as a way to merit salvation, but the only way a person
    is saved is to accept Christ as his savior and redeemer. Baptists
    have faith in the Lord Jesus as the only way to salvation. When they
    landed in Memphis and as they left the plane, the Minister handed
    here the Baptist message pamphlet and said he would be praying
    for her.

    This then was the tie in for the month long of prayer visitation
    in the community. That there are so many people who, like this
    young woman, do not understand the christian religion and
    that through your visiting with strangers in the community and
    praying with them you will show that this is a Baptist community
    that is interested in their union with the Lord forever.

    There, you go, M_R. How do we reconcile this religious thought
    which basically still views the Roman Catholic Church as
    heretical and the Baptists as possession the true belief in attaining
    salvation? And, how do the people remaining in the Catholic
    Church accept the political ideas of the Baptists? The fundies
    and the reactionary evangelicals are still not religiously tolerant, yet
    yet the Catholics follow them along with the social and cultural
    issues. What is the link that holds them together?

    1. How do we reconcile this religious thought
      which basically still views the Roman Catholic Church as
      heretical and the Baptists as possession the true belief in attaining

      Sounds to me just like a Republican and DEmocrat. Neither one thinks the other is worth a hill of beans. The problem is that religion actually doesn’t matter in the long run,m but governance of the United States does.

      1. I don’t care, call me a shit-stirrer if you must……I’m gonna make some phone calls. And if my “women’s libbers” sisters don’t join in, there’s gonna be some trouble in West Toledo!

    2. “…she has tried to recruit us, but to no avail yet.” No sooner
      written and she’s baaaaack, lol. After I submitted the above
      comment, my grandson came over and cut the yard for the
      “old folks”. Well, he wasn’t paying attention to yard boundaries
      and ended up cutting half of the parsonage’s front yard, lol…The
      wife calls the Reverend up to apologize. A couple of hours later
      the doorbell rings, and it’s Pastor Judy bringing us tickets for
      a “free” dinner that the Church is having. What a revolting
      development this is, lol….

  2. Well, on paper, classically, Baptists and Catholics differ on basic dogma, but religious zealots always can find common cause. Politics all about believing in ideas and religion is all about believing in beliefs. How can Fundamentalist Christians find common cause with Orthodox Jews? They do, because their fanaticism allows them to believe that they can use each other.
    This post is about how religions view women and subjugates them by denying them the ritual authority of men. Some religions have evolved their position and allow women to be ministers. I believe that there are reformed jewish women rabbis now.
    I’m reading a very interesting book now, called Passionate Minds by David Bodanis.
    It is the history of the relationship between Voltaire and Emilie du Chatelet, who you probably never heard of. Yet, Emelie was one of the most enlightened minds of the period. She proved and advanced Newtons theories and conducted much original ground breaking mathematical work and research that she was forced to publish under the authorship of Voltaire. Her name appeared and it was tacitly acknowledged that it was her work and Voltaire readily admitted that she was his intellectual superior, but her entire life was struggle to gain the freedom to be a female scientist and theorist. It is only now that her work is being appreciated in the context of the time. The history of their relationship is really a great tale.
    At the time it was unthinkable for a woman to be the intellectual equal, much less the intellectual superior of a man. We are still fighting the same battle. This battle for equality in the church is part of it.

    1. What I wonder about is why these women actually want to be part of the misogynistic church at all. Why not start a parallel New Catholic church with a more liberal theology. The customs and rituals need not be changed, just the practice of it.

      1. I’ve wondered about that for years. But if you actually think about it, there are years of family tradition tied up with the Church. Then you got all that money and property. Money and property that the Pope in Rome has legally removed from you.

        1. And one more thing……the Church owns the bodies of all your ancestors buried in their cemeteries*.

          * Most Catholic cemeteries aren’t currently legally owned by the Pope, but he is actually working on getting the paperwork done to transfer them to his control. That’s why I’m so frustrated by the fringe groups making such a big deal about a Roman Catholic doctrine most Catholics don’t care about, outright disagree with, or don’t abide by. How in the hell do they not see that the U.S. Congress is trying to do something for the Pope that he would never be able to do himself?

  3. And one more thing……the Church owns the bodies of all your ancestors buried in their cemeteries*….Amazing statement! It sounds like the Vatican is trying to amass what ever legal claim to the physical property of the cemeteries in America. America is huge source of revenue for the Vatican. They own much property. The legal system in America allows religious institutions to own property. This anomaly allows the Anglican Church in effect to own very valuable properties in Lower Manhattan and collect the rents, They have been the property owners and landlords since colonial times.
    Here, the churches and the graveyards are owned by the French State. I was recently in a 12th century basilica in Nuevy St. Sepulcher…it’s a wonderful octaganal romanesque, still being used. It was a sunny day and we went in…I am fascinated by ancient places. There was a central altar, but in the side chapel, there was a glass window over the dark altar. It had a slot where you put a Euro and the lights came on illuminating a fantastic medieval reliquary. The legend informed us that inside the glass bejeweled container of the reliquary was what was purported to be a drop of Christs blood brought back by the local Comte during a crusade, sold to him by an enterprising entrepreneur. It’s sat there for 750 years. But the Catholic Church doesn’t own it and never will…it’s property of the French State.
    The mayor of the Village I onced lived in Ajat is a very good friend. Ajat has a magnificent church built by the Templar Knights in the mid 13th century. The roof needed to be replaced and Didier, the mayor is having it done in the traditional style, instead of tiles, the entire roof is being rebuilt and covered with thin slices of limestone, called lauzes. Again, the church is State Property and the work is being paid for by the Beaux Arts Agency…as the preservation and restoration of a historical monument.
    On my blog, last month, I presented a video of an excavation of medieval graveyard in the center of Brive la Gaillarde under the paving stones surrounding the ancient church or St. Martin. The graves date to the 6th century! They were discovered when the city of Brive was doing work on the sub structure under the streets…It was the actual ground level of Brive in the 6th century around the church that predated the present 12th century structure. It was pretty cool, I got to go into the excavation site and talk to the archeological workers and go down into the pits and look at the uncovered skeletons up close. Again, this is not church property…the work is done as academic research. It belongs to the city of Brive. When the excavation and research is finished, the graves will be recovered as they were and then the entire square will be repaved with the original stones.
    I suppose I am writing this to emphasize the different attitude regarding religion here. People are born Catholic, but frankly, most men go into a church for their baptism, communion, weddings and funerals. If you are part of a community, you might show up midnight mass…c’est la tradition, but most small town churches cannot afford and there aren’t enough priests to have regularly scheduled services. If you were a fanatic, you could drive to the village where there was sunday mass scheduled…but the difference between the strict compulsory sunday mass attendance in America and here is striking. Only the right wing and far right nationalists try to use religion as a political issue and it never works….

    1. I got to go into the excavation site and talk to the archeological workers and go down into the pits and look at the uncovered skeletons up close. Lucky you! How very exciting, indeed! I apparently missed that post- can you provide the link and the photos you took?

      Only the right wing and far right nationalists try to use religion as a political issue and it never works….

      I’m starting a new book, whose name I cannot recall [that’s one disadvantage of the Kindle] whose author purports that, despite the rhetoric we here in the U.S., fundamentalist churches here are NOT growing and are actually in the same boat as the traditional Protestant churches- losing membership. Of course, so are the Catholic churches.

      The author [and Spong and several others] reports that there is a world-wide movement afoot that is sweeping across large swathes of the globe. This is a non-religious, yet ‘spiritual’ movement which may signal the end of organized religion- most especially the Christian religions.

      Wouldn’t that be grand! Christians, the author says, are not finding personal ‘spirituality’ inside of these churches and congregations. Many have stopped ‘believing’ in the dogma they’ve been fed. Of course, the definition of ‘spirituality’ varies, but essentially it suggests becoming fully-mature and aware of one’s place in the universe. The God in the Sky and the so-called ‘divinity’ of Jesus are myths and need to be relegated to fictional section of the library.

      That type of ‘spirituality’ appeals to me- the one devoid of deities, magic and miracles. The respect for human life and for the planet as well attracts me; that which goes on inside of church doors repels me.

      1. “…fundamentalist churches here are NOT growing…”

        Interesting; I just assumed what I was hearing was true because they seem to be in the news a lot and building new churches in Western Lucas County. Do you think this falloff of attendance is responsible for The Church on Strater and Cold Creek Ministries getting very “vocal” about hot button issues recently?

        1. I don’t know the answer to your question, but I assume that they want to draw in more like-minded people. Many of the newer churches are non-denominational and attract people who have left their more conservative churches. However, what seems to be lacking in the traditional churches is that many people are doubting all of the miracles as well as the divinity of Jesus and feel betrayed by the ministers who preach the worship-sin-repent-reward scenario. There is great emptiness there when the laity begin to use their brains rather than the beliefs taught them from an early age. Great emptiness which calls for a reevaluation of God/god as well as questions about Jesus. I doubt that the mega-churches will fill that gap. After the singing and praising and socializing, they go home with no better answers than they had in their old churches.

  4. I sort of wandered around in my earlier post describing the historical, the living history of Europe…where religion can be seen as a historical influence, a major part of the evolution of the state and it’s claim to authority. I suppose that is the intellectual luxury of living in Europe. It’s easier to see these things in context. There is a major movement in Italy now to be legally unbaptized…I described my experience in Nuevy, seeing the little altar with the coin lit time regulated supposed reliquary with the dried blood of Christ in the context it is presented as…a questionable scam regarding a questionable “souvenir” sold to a rich crusading count by a wily merchant…but that scam was revered for 700 years. Evolution is a messy process. We think we see the logic but we are only novice observers of the real process. Sexual equality makes perfect sense, but why do we have such a hard time with it? It’s hard to see the big picture when you are but a daub of paint in the pattern. Shit happens, bottlenecks are the result. What makes it through the bottle neck is successful. The intellectual evolution of our specie is experiencing a bottle neck. Religion was a major part of our intellectual development, but it has become the problem. It is our history, our identity, but not our future. We have been evolving towards something else for quite a while now…I am trying to get through the bottle neck, and I sincerely hope you all will be there when we get to the other side…
    Here’s my link to my day in Brive last month when I went into the pits and met the skeletons of the Merovingians. There is a video at the end.

    1. When we were at Mont St Odile, Alsace we visited the Merovingian cemetery on the grounds and I was aghast at being right there, standing over the graves of that group of people. It must have been extra exciting [and satisfying] to see the skeletons of the Merovingians!

      As you know, Microdot, the Limoges region is the ancestral home of my distant family, when they were nobility. J’ai du sang bleu!

  5. Speaking of cemeteries and skeletons, has any one heard of a
    supposed Mormon practice of baptizing skeletons. Is that fact
    or fiction?

    MD, question on burial in the European countries. Are the remains
    buried just for a specific time, like 75 years, then exhumed, the
    bones removed to the “bone yard”, and the exhumed plot reused?

  6. M_R wrote above, “The problem is that religion actually doesn’t matter in the long run,m but governance of the United States does.”

    It seems to me the reverse is true. Religion seems to be more
    important to most Americans than the affairs of government.
    Religion seems to drive a significant political group of Americans
    to the polls. Religion drove Catholics to vote for JFK in 1960 as
    just one example. The defeat of Kerry in Ohio in 2004 was due
    to aa amendment prohibiting gay marriage. Religion is fueling
    the Gop anti immigration stance as Latinos are Catholics and vote

    1. Well, we are both right, UptheFLag. My point ought to have been written as, ““The problem is that religion actually OUGHT NOT matter in the long run, but governance of the United States SHOULD.” On that we are both in the same ballpark.

      Did you see the cover of this week’s Time Magazine? Rethinking Heaven.

      I would have framed the cover to say, Heaven! Where the Hell is it?

  7. Engineer…how do you think the GOP Primary in MD went? It
    seems from the exit polling that the Tea Party went for the
    moderate candidate, Romney. What gives in MD?

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