Friday, May 14, 2010

Dept. of Just Not Getting It: Papal Press Edition

Maria Longhitano, a member of the Old Catholic Church, will be ordained shortly in Italy. This is, no doubt, quite a milestone in her own life. We congratulate her.

That said, we confess to some frustration with the press coverage. One headline reads: Italy to Ordain First Female Priest. That's not just wrong, it's stupid. "Italy," being a secular nation, doesn't ordain anybody. Yes, it's synecdoche; but it's also deliberately confusing to readers who will jump to the wrong conclusion.

The BBC, linked above, tries to be clearer, but still says foolish things like:

The event may energise the debate among Roman Catholics about the role of women, a BBC correspondent says....

Although Mrs Longhitano will not be a Roman Catholic priest, her ordination in the borrowed Anglican church will be acutely uncomfortable for the Vatican, he says.

Well, no. It won't.

We aren't privy to the Pope's daily comfort level, but we're willing to bet that he suffers considerably more discomfort from, say, indigestion than he will from Longhitano's ordination. And do you know why? Yes, in fact, you do. And so does the BBC, since it came right out and said she "won't be a Roman Catholic priest."

The Pope may in fact have a mild interest in the ordination of women when it occurs in those churches with which he has some hope of effecting a reunion. And we imagine that the old Catholics (the BBC report leaves us a bit unclear about which Old Catholics, and as we understand it they are really a family of autonomous churches; we welcome reader clarifications) are among those churches. But so, as recent news reports have made clear, are the Lutherans and Anglicans. And they ordain women all the time. Have been for decades, in fact. Since 1940 in Romania, if you wondered.

Even Longhitano's denomination has been ordaining women since 1996, per the Beeb. She's obviously not the first. She does appear to be the first woman ordained within a few blocks of the Vatican -- on the doorstep, as it were. But so what? The Pope is a citizen of the world; he gets around. He may not like the sight of women in albs and stoles, but it isn't exactly a novelty.

And let's be honest. Other recent BBC headlines, linked from that same report when we checked it last, include winners like:
So, all told, we don't think the guy has sweat to spare for what are, in his eyes, the irregular ordinations of separated churches whose orders are already, at best, irregular in themselves.


PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Also, why would we care about a corespondent's opinion???

Father said...

Seriously! Quote a cardinal or go home.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Well, you provided our morning entertainment. I guess we are easily amused. And we're both curious about anything we don't know about. I read the word Synecdoche and I could tell that was one figure of speech that I didn't recognize, even though I'm an old English major, emphasis on old. At breakfast today, I asked my husband if he knew that word, but he didn't. He immediately got out the dictionary and was confused by the definition. This word isn't in my encyclopedia and not in the English writing handbooks that I own.

Further searching on the web reveals that it is very common, something we all do all the time, so I'm puzzled that I didn't know the word before.

BTW, supper entertainment was provided by a bird that killed itself by hitting our window. We tried to identify it. It didn't really match anything that is suppose to live here, but maybe it was migrating.