Another Sinead Infection
her cue from the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, Sinead O'Connor has announced
her own name change. No, she has not decided to become a Prince herself,
but a mother, specifically Mother Bernadette Mary, first woman priest of
the Latin Tridentine Church. She has also announced that her ordination
by Bishop Michael Cox had nothing to do with a $200,000 donation she made
to the church, and that, while she has already celebrated Mass, she will
study with the bishop for 6 whole weeks before being ready
to take on parochial duties.
Tridentine Church is a Roman Catholic splinter group which believes that
Church reform beginning in the 60's, namely anything coming out of the
Second Vatican Council, is heretical, particularly the adoption of the
vernacular in the Mass and the liturgical reform that outdated the Tridentine
Mass. Latin Tridentine Church goers believe themselves to be, in
essence, more orthodox than the pope, at least the ones from Paul VI through
the John Pauls. As a matter of fact, the Sinead-ination has already
led to a schism within the Latin Tridentine Church itself as one bishop
and his flock has announced that they cannot be associated with such an
act of apparent simony (the selling of Church offices).
this have to do at all with neo-pagan, Celtophile, Druid types? At
the very least it is a lesson in the watering down of doctrines. Sure,
there are many who would love to see many doctrines drowned, let alone
watered. Yet it is important for everyone to remember that if it can happen
to them, it can happen to anyone. Any faith is a mixture of spiritual
practice and doctrine. Is it ever right, for whatever reason, to modify
a church's belief and still hold onto its label?
The Roman Catholic Church and, until recently,
the whole of the Latin Tridentine Church, has always made a distinction
between what is taught as divinely inspired law and what is given as human
law, noting that both may exist side-by-side in any community of believers.
Divinely inspired rules, such as the prohibition against a female clergy,
mean, in effect, "Hands Off!" Human laws, such as those requiring celibacy
for clergy, may be changed by the same humans who made them. Whether or
not one believes that a particular rule is divine or human is not the point
at all. If the teaching authority, or tradition, of a faith says it is
one or the other, when does questioning cross the line into disrespect,
prejudice, and intolerance? How do pagans feel when told that their divinities
are imagined or invented? Do we arbitrarily choose to whom to show what
we feel is justifiable prejudice? I have yet to hear an outcry against
the fact that there has never been a Dalai Lamette.
So Sinead is a female Catholic priest. Many would
cheer. Maybe next she can become a Hindu Beefeater, a Buddhist War-Monger,
a Tibetan Sinophile. Maybe she would like to be a Pantheistic Jew,
or a Native American Industrialist. She may even want to become a
Celt of Celt-less tongue. I prefer the term "human god."
Shall we strive to do better? There are other
issues in this for everyone including Druids, Celts and neo- or quasi-pagans
to think about: What should be the requirements for ministry? Notoriety?
Fame? A hefty donation? Can it be accomplished in six weeks? Twenty years?
As a ten-year old? With a mail-order certificate? We might be able to arrive
at these answers if we ever learned to save our breath trying to outdo
the "competition" by tearing it down. Then we may find ourselves one day
bestowing the blessing of mediocrity, saying with Salieri, "I am its priest."