Sunday, 4 December 2011

Spiritus Christi becoming too traditional

Read and opine.
Ten years after her historic ordination, Mary Ramerman rarely makes it into the papers anymore. Watching her {not}minister as a {non}priest today, it may be hard{less} to believe that she was at the center of a highly publicized, painful battle between the diocese of Rochester, N.Y., and the parish then known as Corpus Christi in the late 1990s.
Back then, Corpus Christi was a Roman Catholic parish on the fringe. {though an understatement, at least they admit it somewhat} Led by Fr. Jim Callan, a charismatic{re:charismatic} priest with a radical commitment to the poor{that's commendable, but good works are dead without good faith} and marginalized,{the marginalised he says} the church was known for taking risks.
They invited everyone to Communion, they blessed the unions of gay and lesbian couples (though never on diocesan property) {yes, of course, never on diocesan property.}and they allowed Mary Ramerman, the parish's lay associate pastor,{there is not one document or law, rule, regulation, or any place for a "lay associate pastor". Priests are priests, the laity are the laity} to preach and to stand with Callan at the altar during the Eucharistic prayer. {special treatment. Isn't that marginalising the rest of the congregation?}Eventually, she was also invited to raise the chalice during the consecration.{probably invalid}In time, all of this radical inclusiveness caught up with them. Diocesan officials moved Callan to another parish. They replaced him with a group of pastoral administrators,{replaced a Priest with laymen?} including two women, who fired Ramerman in October 1998{sensible, they wre at least}. Most of the rest of the staff were let go just before Christmas of that year.
A large part of the community regrouped and, with Ramerman's leadership, renamed themselves Spiritus Christi.{re:latin} Callan joined them for a service and, as a result, was automatically barred from serving the Rochester diocese. After that, he joined the community, too.  {skipped a bit......}

They cherish their identity as {non-}Catholics, love the sacramental tradition {apparently not, if they reject them. You can't love something but yet detest them at once}and are grounded in the theology of the preferential option for the poor. {"grounded"}They don't think much about Rome or the hierarchy of the diocese of Rochester anymore.{hence, they're not Catholic!}
"I have found it so immensely freeing to not have to hang on to that mode of thinking that says, 'We are Catholic, you are not Catholic,'" {oh the poor dear, having to hang on to "that mode of thinking" must really wear one out}Ramerman told me in an interview earlier this week. "When I became free of that system, it opened up such a greater understanding of God and the people around me."{a proper understanding?}
Ramerman admits that, initially, Spiritus Christi did hope to be welcomed back into the institutional church. "A lot of people don't realize that after our split with the diocese, we continued as a parish led by a celibate, male priest. {...}We thought that maybe in a year or two they would miss us and welcome us back."{"miss us, and welcome us back. A church is not a dog}
Here is the punch line:
Ramerman admits that Spiritus is sometimes criticized for being too traditional.
"They ask me, 'Why do you wear an alb?' or 'Why do you allow people to call you reverend?'" she said. "Given our size, we can grow quickly in terms of preaching or social action, but other areas, like changing these traditions, have to move a lot more slowly."
Emphasis and comments mine.
Read the full thing here

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