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Archbishop Burke Has Courage

On November 11, 2007, two more women were “ordained” priestesses by the so-called Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement. Rose Marie Dunn Hudson, 67, a certified lay pastoral minister in the St. Louis Archdiocese, and Elsie Hainz McGrath, 69, a retired editor at the (Catholic) Ligouri publishing house and previously a campus minister at St. Louis University — both converts from Protestantism — were “ordained” by “Bishop” Patricia Fresen, a former Dominican nun. The “ordinations” took place at a Jewish synagogue, the Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis. Senior Rabbi Susan Talve offered to host the ceremony (“one of our core values is hospitality and providing a shelter of peace for those who are looking for a safe place…which come right from the Torah”), and her synagogue board unanimously approved her decision. Elsie and Rose became the 21st and 22nd American women to be “ordained” priestesses by Roman Catholic Womenpriests.

Gerry Rauch, Vice President of the Women’s Ordination Conference, told the Riverfront Times (Nov. 8, 2007), “My hope for the new priests…is that they’ll be a light for people who…have divorced and remarried, or those who are gay and lesbian and transgendered.” Rabbi Susan told the National Catholic Reporter (Nov. 9, 2007), “I have received dozens of letters, scores of emails and many phones calls from Catholics — women religious especially” in support of her hosting the ceremony. Ronald Modras, a professor of theological studies at the Jesuit-run St. Louis University, told the Reporter, “It’s a remarkable demonstration of sisterhood. You have women of two faiths, Catholic and Jewish, standing together against patriarchal exclusion.”

Throw in another one: Elsie and Rose planned to establish their “faith community” beginning on December 1, 2007, by holding Saturday evening “liturgies” at the First Unitarian Church in St. Louis, across the street from Susan’s synagogue. Talk about syncretism!

In our New Oxford Note “A New Catholic Community” (Oct. 2006), we told the story of Victoria Rue, who was “ordained” by “Bishop” Patricia in Canada in 2005. According to the Roman Catholic Womenpriests’s website, Rue “lives with her beloved Kathryn.” She had been offering her “Masses” in an interfaith chapel at San Jose State University. The Bishop of San Jose, Patrick McGrath, we reported, “has no plans to reprimand or excommunicate or in any other way acknowledge Victoria Rue.”

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