Walsingham bites back

You may remember, dear readers, that a wee while ago I was reminiscing on visits I have made to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. Many people made some interesting and supportive comments. Today I received this comment from Fr Dominic:

I found all this very interesting and very one sided. The rant of M/s Ruth seems to ignore the hurt that she and her “ordained” friends have done to the English Church.As an Anglican priest I am expected to be polite to the priestess but she can be as rude and nasty as she likes to me. And I have experienced this at Walsingham. They see Walsingham as the last bastion that they must break into and are doing all they pushing well can to achieve this.

Let me make some comments here, in the open, in response.

Fr Dominic, you say it was one sided. Yes, indeed I gave my thoughts. There is one of me. The fact that many of the comments agreed with my opinion perhaps reflects the views of the majority in our Church. But thank you for offering another side.

You say that M/s Ruth (that’s me) ignores the hurt me and my ‘ordained’ friends have done to the English Church. Let me respond by saying that far from ignoring the hurt felt by those opposed to the ordination of women, I have been instrumental in bringing about dialogue in many places between the two ‘sides’. In fact, many people who were once opposed (and I include myself in that group) have got to know women priests and have come to accept their ministry. By putting the word ‘ordained’ in inverted commas I am presuming that you do not believe we are actually ordained. Do you not hold with the Canons of your Church then? Do you not believe that I was called by God to the priesthood? Did I imagine it? And please believe that I have not been near the ‘English’ Church. I am a Scottish Episcopalian, and proud of it.

Next, you say that you are expected to be polite to the priestess… Em, you do realise that using the term ‘priestess’ is not polite at all, don’t you? You can’t have it both ways. And as far as I am aware I have never met you and try not to be rude or nasty to any of God’s creatures.

Finally you say that we are trying to break into that last bastion – Walsingham. Did my wee comment indicate a siege mentality? It is interesting that you use the word ‘bastion’. I have always thought of it as a Shrine to Our Lady. Perhaps you are projecting your own images on to that holy place. I am not sure what you mean by ‘are doing all they pushing well can to achieve this’. Please believe that I have not pushed anyone, nor have I said a peep to the Shrine staff.

I shall continue to pray that one day, Fr Dominic, you and I may stand side by side and share in the presiding of the Holy Mysteries at the altar. Until then, I shall hold you in my prayers.

May St Francis, who recognised the value of women’s ministry in St Clare, pray for us all.

4 thoughts on “Walsingham bites back

  1. Good for you Ruth. I was quite shocked when my aunt was ordained in Canada long before such a thing was possible in this country. I am glad to say that I listened to and read the arguments long before I had any personal experience of women priests in this country, so when I argued in favour of women priests at Deanery Synod (well, I think, since my views prevailed and went forward to Diocesan Synod) sometime in the late 1980s/early 1990s, I was arguing the merits of the case rather than from any personal likes or dislikes of individuals.

    Since then I have known a number of women priests, including our last rector, whose ministry has convinced many people where pure reason did not.

    I am very sorry that there are still those like Fr. Dominic. I visted Walsingham back in the 1970s and found myself wanting to run out shouting about idolaters, ready to start the reformation all over again (something I have never felt in an RC church, but have occasionally in Anglo-Catholic churches), although I think my reaction may be more aesthetic than religious as in any setting I tend to find over ornamentation unpleasing to say the least, all the more so when there is a lot of gilding and the overpowering smell of incense.

  2. Dear Mother Ruth ! Thank you for your love and prayers and,believe me,I do appreciate both.I am not a male priest I am a priest, you are not a female priest you are a priestess. One is male one is female. You are correct I do not believe you are ordained.I do not doubt you have a vocation to serve our Blessed Lord but that, as I understand it, is not in the ordained ministry.
    I have known two priestess well both being hospital chaplains marvellous girls both of them one,in fact,’ordained’in the church in Scotland by Bishop Holloway (for what that is worth).We accepted where we stood and understood each other and I have great respect for both of them. Do not think that I am a misogynist nor do I swish.
    I have lived all my life as an Anglican Catholic and love the English Church and hurt more that I can tell as I see what I believe is being destroyed. I pray that I will be able to continue in the church I love. A Free Province I do not know!!! But we do have the Act of Synod and so I can continue. But there are those of your people who wish and work for it to be deleted.The priestess at Walsingham said to me ” If you do not like it get out go to Rome”
    Oh well I’m afraid that we shall not agree but if we ever meet I shall not ignore you and will behave toward you as I would to any women with respect.

  3. Ruth, I’m sorry you’ve had to face this degree of rudeness and bigotry not once but twice now.

    Like you, I have worked closely with people who struggle to — or simply cannot — accept the ordination of women, and have usually found that we could maintain respect and love and courtesy despite the real pain that was felt on both sides by our differing beliefs.

    Sadly, one occasionally encounters someone who is just nasty about it.

    I hope you are given the grace to keep praying for Fr Dominic without getting caught up in the emotional turmoil he is trying to stir.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.