The Summer Sun          Beltaine 1999
| Cover | Welcome | Gems | Beltaine | Taséag | Letters | Coming Up | Deireadh |
| Back to the Crossroads |

Another Sinead Infection  

     Taking 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.  
     The Latin 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Vatican Council, is heretical, particularly the adoption of the vernacular in the Mass and the liturgical reform that outdated the Tridentine Mass.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).

     What does 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."

     Sinead forbid!  


The above editorial expresses the opinion, fictional or otherwise, of the editor alone.
It is not intended to represent the corporate opinion of The Summerlands
or the publisher of The Summer Sun.
Do not try this at home without proper training and supervision.
Responses may be sent to the Editor at
and may be considered for publication.