A comment from Mujerlatina has stirred the YIMC pot the past couple of days. Courageously, she wrote that, though she is a cradle Catholic in her 40s, her ongoing formation as a Catholic has had “nothing to do with any clergy person!” Her extended remarks were the basis of this post from Monday. Commenters alternately seconded and criticized her statement. Not one to back down, Mujerlatina sent me a further comment about her particular experience as a woman:
I firmly believe that my experience is cut somewhat down gender lines. Here's how: The one female commenter who has a spiritual advisor found him in the FRIEND of her son—ergo a man much younger than she. I think that as women, because of the inherent celibacy issue of the priestly vocation, we are held at ARM'S DISTANCE from the priests. This is my impression. It is anecdotal. However, it is compelling. I have come to understand that, as a woman, the clergy really cannot bring me into the “fellowship fold.” Hence, no Father Barnes for the likes of me. So how's THAT for an inflammatory statement?
I will also add, that, while without priests there would be no Real Presence, God made Jesus incarnate to be in relation with fellow humans. So to say that the priest functions sufficiently in just a sacramental way is illogical. They need to also be there as humans, relating to the parish community—outside of liturgical activities. That does not mean they need to be there individual-for-individual, but to say mass and disappear until confession or a funeral or baptism is not their only role! The priest, consecrated lay person, monk etc. could provide more meaningful “food for the journey” as it were, by offering more communal reconciliation services, missions, prayer and healing masses etc. Wow, so sorry to drivel on. But these are very germane issues.
Might I add that I really gained much sustenance and insight from all the comments -- whether pro or con. Pax Christi.
In an e-mail to me, Mujerlatina asked whether I was concerned that this blog might become an “estrogen festival.” I answered that I think, with two guys at the controls, this jet might really fly with estrogen in the gas tank.