Such bullshit

Dateline: Mon 16 Apr 2012|topnews|text|News|topnews|text|News

 The Star's story about the "ordination of a woman to the Catholic church priesthood" Monday is a fabrication.

 Just because this woman ( a 71-year-old former nun, part of a radical group) puts on a cassock and calls herself a priest is the equivalent of reporter T.J. Banes thinking that because this is published, she is a journalist -- it is simply not true. This was a miscarriage of journalism, with no effort whatsoever to base the story in reality, truth or facts.

  Whatever your politics are about the Catholic church and the ordination of women may be, the truth is: The church does not recognize the ordination of women priests. For the Star to promote this on Page 1 -- "A FIRST FOR INDIANA: WOMAN NOW A PRIEST" is simply a lie. That the Star bought this story shows how badly the newspaper needs strong editors, copy editors and a fair and balanced perspective.

   This woman was not ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.

   The play is offensive to thousand if not millions of Catholics who accept the church's position that women cannot be ordained.

   There was such a bullshit factor to this story: that Maria Mclain, the woman in question, will "perform a public Mass... at a Unitarian Universalist Church" etc. Hello, that's not a Catholic church.

   The story badly needed to emphasize the other side of this story -- the church does not accept ordination of women. Thousands of Catholics in Central Indiana and around the globe are comfortable with the church's ruling, or at least accept it. For the Star to promote this story in such a biased fashion shows how pathetic the editorial direction of the newspaer has become.

    Look at the comments on Facebook for a more accurate description of the church's position.

    This story should have been reported by a seasoned religion writer, not a feature writer who knows not of which she speaks.

    Shame, shame, on the newspaper, for its biased promotion of a story that is complex and nuanced. Lousy reporting, in the dregs. The worst. Bad, bad, bad. And total bullshit.




hendy [Member] said:

+1, as they say.

2012-04-16 22:31:12

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

I agree with all that you wrote, Ruth. I'm not Catholic, but I have studied Catholic doctrine in depth and have discussed doctrine with priests, nuns and monastics.

If this woman wants to be a minister, then she needs to join another denomination that ordains women. At present, she's no more a Catholic priest than I am.

A foundational precept of Catholicism is that the Pope establishes church doctrine and that Catholics accept established doctrine. Unless the Pope changes church doctrine to allow for ordination of women, then there are no female Roman Catholic priests.

I am not making a statement against the ordination of women in Christianity. I am making a statement that historic tradition. including the pope's authority, are central to the Catholic faith.

That article in The Star was really ludicrous.

2012-04-16 23:16:52

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Well, there's certainly room for argument on whether women should be ordained. And whether an elderly man in Rome can or should make that kind of determination. But I'll leave that to the Catholics.

The story was a sham. I read it twice to be sure I didn't miss some ground-breaking news about a rebel with a cause.

It was just theatre.

And the reporter/editors were willling co-conspirators. So sad.

2012-04-17 07:41:44

John M [unverified] said:

I wondered if you would comment on this, Ruth. As you and the commenters above note, it's just a shockingly bad piece of journalism, and all the more shocking that it made it through some sort of editing process (indeed, as bad as the story was, the headline, which can't be pinned on the reporter, was the worst part). An essential part of the Catholic Church (perhaps *the* essential thing that sets Catholics apart from all other Christians) is acknowledging the Bishop of Rome as the head of the Church and accepting that he alone appoints bishops, and that those bishops then appoint and ordain priests. Love it or hate it (and the hierarchical nature of the Church is something that many of the Church's critics), that's the deal. Rejecting the Pope's authority in this regard is the very definition of Protestantism. At the very least, the article and headline should have been up-front with the controversial and disputed nature of this woman's claim that she has been ordained a Catholic priest. In reality, these splinter groups are a dime a dozen, and I seriously doubt that there haven't been other such ordinations of women in Indiana by groups that claim to be Catholic but are not by any reasonable definition. Nobody can know everything about every subject matter, but the truly dangerous are the people who don't know what they don't know. TJ Banes and her editors seem to fit the latter category. Where is the skepticism that should be part of a journalist's practice?

2012-04-17 08:38:02

George Stuteville [unverified] said:

You are totally right, Ruthie. The reporter was way out of her depth in doing this story...unless, of course, the outlines of the story were dictated and edited in. As I read into the article, I saw what I thought were edit points that were inconsistent with the reporter's writing. Here, I am thinking about the paragraph dealing with WTHR's involvement.

It's a shame. The event could have served as a jump-off point for a larger and smarter piece if smarter people with a larger frame of reference could have seen it for such and treated it thus before they decided to go with it as they did.

All that said...I believe we will see a time when women are ordained in the Catholic church.

2012-04-17 08:48:12

hendy [Member] said:

George, ordination of women will not happen in our lifetime. The Catholic Church has no need to change, in their opinion. They are right, and have God on their side, or so they believe, and so you are wrong, wrong, wrong, but you can be forgiven. Now go on your way as you're bothering them, you homo sympathizer.

2012-04-17 08:55:53

hendy [Member] said:

That said, Ruth is dead-on WRT the reporting. Clearly, the reporter is clueless about the issues and gave a misleading, superficial-at-best treatment to what actually happened. I wonder if The Star has a retraction today.

2012-04-17 08:57:32

ruthholl [Member] said:

I support the ordination of women, too -- as Father Robert Kress of Evansville used to argue, the question is: do women have souls? If they do, there is no reason not to ordain them.
But that's a different discussion than the one generated by Banes' story, which showed a woeful ignorance about the position of the church, altho maybe I quibble more with the play the story got -- promo'd on page one with that totally false teaser (re: first woman priest ordained) and then the featurish lead. The story deserves reporting, but as George says, it could have been a jumping off point for a deeper look at the issues. Plus, I think the story was slanted to make it sound as this is something Catholics support, when in fact, it is a small handful who are pushing this agenda. WTHR-13 actually had a more indepth take -- so sad when TV goes deeper than print -- but the reporter quoted a lot of different sources supporting ordination and also had some voices of opposition. It was much more reasonable.
But time to move on...unless the Star sends TJ to cover this woman's first service at the Unitarian center. Argh. Head. Ache.

2012-04-17 12:28:48

George Stuteville [unverified] said:

Do they even have a religion beat at The Star these days? You were so good at it, Ruthie. And Carol Elrod. It was excellent to sit back there in the old city room near you both when you were doing religion stories, I remember some of the great discussions that erupted among you, Cavinder, Carp, and that whole cast of characters.

Hendy: I guess I am a homo sympathizer, and it clouds my vision to see nothing but a time ahead when the Catholics have women priests and when they approve of contraception. The church must change...of course, this is my take as an Episcopalian, which we all know is Catholic sans all the guilt!

2012-04-17 12:59:26

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Just a follow-up to my previous post. Some years ago, I was seriously considering becoming a member of the Catholic Church. But, there were a few issues concerning Catholic doctrine that I could not embrace.

I talked to a kindly old (80-something) priest about these issues and he said, with a smile: "Well, you're going to have to accept all of Catholic doctrine if you want to become a Catholic. "

So I didn't become Catholic.

I agree with others that we do not know if some clueless copy editor messed up this woman's feature story (I had that happen to me on numerous occasions when I wrote for The Star). But the reporter apparently didn't do much to inform herself about church tradition to be able to lend much perspective to her article.

As far as the issue itself of women becoming preachers, I'm against both women and men becoming preachers. This is based upon the Apostle Paul's teaching on "the priesthood of ALL believers." In my opinion, we don't need religious CEOs. I did a search in the Bible and found only one reference to the title "pastor" - which is a role defined as a shepherd rather than as a holy exalted mouthpiece for God.

2012-04-17 13:17:47

David [unverified] said:

I was going to proclaim a donkey to be editor of the Indianapolis Star, but Gannett beat me to it and already has an ass in place as editor at the Star.

2012-04-17 13:32:38

John M [unverified] said:

Take a look at Ms. Banes's Twitter feed. It is, uh, not exculpatory.

If anything, she goes beyond the erros in the article, describing the Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization as "an international initiative within the Roman Catholic Church" and indicating that she is present at "the ordination of Maria Thornton McClain into Roman Catholic priesthood."

2012-04-17 14:04:30

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

But it's sooooo much easier to write a story like this one than actually go out and cover what's interesting in religion news.

An LDS temple in Hamilton County, for example. Now, that is a first for Indiana!

2012-04-17 14:40:43

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Objecting to a pope is "...the very definition of Protestantism" ? Well, how ecumenical of you.

What an asshat comment.

2012-04-17 15:24:34

Ms. Cynical [unverified] said:

"Objecting to the pope" is a long-standing tradition among Catholics, too. Think: Avignon (for starters).

2012-04-17 15:51:47

John M [unverified] said:

"What an asshat comment."

I'm taken aback, TTT. Seriously. I certainly didn't mean to offend, and I'm struggling to figure out how to respond. I certainly wasn't suggesting that "objecting to the Pope" is all there is to the various Protestant denominations. I don't believe that at all. But objection to the authority of the Pope is where it all started. My statement wasn't intended to be "Catholics right/Protestants wrong." Not at all. But the authority of the Pope is a fundamental disagreement between Catholics and Protestants. I can't imagine that any Catholic or Protestant would disagree with that. Again, I'm surprised at the reaction and didn't mean to stick my thumb in anyone's eye.

2012-04-17 16:31:05

hendy [Member] said:

TTT, of many tenets, rejecting the papacy is one of the strongest. Ms Cynical is absolutely correct, historically, regarding criticism and objecting to a standing Pope.

As a post-Catholic, I can't deny it's a part of me. Another part of me watches women placed in subservient roles in the church, and denied equal status. Very convenient for a bunch of MEN, IMHO. Others believe that this is the way it's supposed to be. I disagree with them. The number of points where I disagree is so profound and so long, that I left. It's not for me, but I respect that it's for others, including neo-Catholics (Lutherans, the Anglican and Orthodox co-communicant communities, etc.). And I also respect that for some, Allah (blessed be his holy name) is for others still, as are other monotheistic manifestations of God. Fine. IMHO, drawing distinctions is the first problem, and emerges from our tribal behavior.

The fact that a first celebration of this self-described priest (of some type of creed) will be at a Unitarian church is the only reason that I even go, very occasionally, to Unitarian churches. I wish her well. As to the hierarchy of the Catholic church, I wish them enlightenment.

Like George, I'm a homo sympathizer. This and other reasons make me believe that Catholicism isn't likely change; there are too many legs long made of prejudice to fall before a guy like me would become a communicant. It is a great sadness of my life that I find the facts surrounding most of organized theocracies to be just a story of long and strong prejudice. At another level, below the hierarchies, are a bunch of really good joes and janes.

2012-04-17 17:15:51

Jeff [unverified] said:


The Star did print a "correction" this morning:

"A story Monday on Page B1 mischaracterized Maria Thornton McClain's ordination Sunday as a priest. She could not be ordained as a Catholic priest because the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize the ordination of women."

2012-04-17 19:23:00

hendy [Member] said:

Thanks for the info, Jeff.

2012-04-17 20:56:53

ComputerWheels [Member] said:

I'm flabbergasted. So they print garbage and then invalidate it with a "correction"? Is anyone even minding the store? There goes credibility.

2012-04-19 05:07:27

Jon Edwards [unverified] said:

This woman is no more a priest than the Indianapolis Star is a credible news source.

2012-04-20 17:26:42

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