Ordination and Excommunication Sunday

Traducción española/Click for Spanish Translation

Ordination of Clare Julian Carbone

Ordination of Clare Julian Carbone

As the procession of women entered the church I swallowed a gasp. I knew I was attending the ordination of Clare Julian Carbone to the Roman Catholic priesthood (unsanctioned by the Vatican). I knew that those ordaining the first female Catholic priest in Salt Lake City would be women, previously ordained through a priesthood lineage they trace back to Jesus Christ. But I didn’t know. I only imagined what it would be like to have women presiding and officiating in ordination rite. The surprise of women dressed in robes of service and devotion, leading in a holy space overwhelmed me with joy.  Tears spilled out as I looked up at a stand and podium presided over by women (with a talented man playing the piano).  

I marveled at how different the scene before me was compared to the LDS Sacrament service I attended a few hours earlier. In my LDS ward I looked up at a stand full of men in suits with a woman leading the music and a woman at the organ. The LDS scene communicated to me that women are the accompaniment. Men are the main story. The opening hymn for my LDS Sacrament meeting was Hymn 59, Come O Thou King if Kings. I choked as I sang verse four:

Hail! Prince of life and peace!

Thrice  welcome to thy throne!

While all the chosen race

Their Lord and Savior own,

The heathen nations bow the knee,

And ev’ry tongue sounds praise to thee.

Was I the chosen race that owns their Lord and Savior? Or am I of the heathen nation bowing the knee? I felt keenly, “I do not belong here. This is a space for white men. Not me.” No more sound came out of me after the word “race.” I could not sing the words, “Heathen nation.”

In contrast, the sight of male and female congregants smiling in fellowship as we looked up to female presiding leaders astonished me with feelings of peace and well being. As I looked at female bodies, dressed in white robes that remind me of my temple clothes, I felt like I belonged. Then we sang an opening hymn:

Let us build a house where all are named,

Their songs and visions heard

And loved and treasured, taught and claimed

As words within the Word.

Built of tears and cries and laughter,

Prayers of faith and songs of grace;

Let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:

All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

Waves of happiness and delight washed over me as I joined in singing these words of inclusion and belonging. I pondered on the lyrics, “Where all are named” and recalled the hour I spent earlier in my LDS Primary during the singing portion of Sharing Time.  A sleepy three-year-old curled up on my lap, gently snoozing as all around him boisterously memorized the names of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to the tune of The Books of the Book of Mormon (Children’s Songbook, #119). Loud and soft, then fast and slow, we repeated 15 male names. We erased names from the white board as the children learned the song and quickly mastered the names of fifteen men in order of ecclesiastical seniority. As much as I enjoyed the cozy exuberance of a warm child in my lap and children singing, I felt a sting pain as I questioned, “Who are the women whose names we memorize in the LDS faith?”

As part of the ordination ritual, Clare Julian prostrated herself upon the ground while a litany of saints was called upon to bless her. Many female saints were named. Men and women read liturgies as part of the meeting. Men and women named other holy men and women we could look to for guidance and example.

Clare Julian prostrate on ground as Sainta re called upon to bless her.

Clare Julian prostrate on ground as a litany of Saints  are called upon to bless her.

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan in her introductory remarks reassured the congregants that no man could cancel our baptism in Jesus Christ. I looked to my right and saw Kate Kelly sitting in the pews. I said a prayer that every person unrighteously excommunicated while honestly standing for truth might have the same surety as Bishop Meehan. As I considered what excommunication means in the LDS faith, I was humbled by the boldness and bravery of Clare Julian, entering ordination with the full knowledge that the act of her ordination instantly excommunicates her from her Roman Catholic faith. Bishop Meehan shared the story of two formerly excommunicated nuns, Mother Theodore Guerin and Mother Mary MacKillop, canonized in recent years by Pope Benedict. She cheerfully summarized,

Excommunicated today, canonized tomorrow. Excommunication is the new fast track to canonization.

Praying for Clare Julian in her new calling.

Praying for Clare Julian in her new calling.

In the faces of the excommunicated women on the stand, I saw no fear of being separated from the love of Jesus Christ. No doubt in his grace. This forty year old movement of Catholics seeking female ordination showed me what equality looks like. After the ordination the congregants were invited to come forward and lay hands upon Clare Julian and pray for her in her new calling. I joined with a man and two women as we silently prayed together for our sister, Clare Julian. 

Seeing women leading, feeling their power. It was not in the robes or words of my faith, but I felt so welcomed and incorporated into the body of Christ. I looked over at Kate Kelly again and thought about how she was excommunicated for asking our leaders to pray about women’s ordination. She asked publicly. She asked with the wrong tone. I considered the daring of my brothers and sisters in the Catholic faith.

On December 28th, 1970, Bishop Felix Davidek ordained Ludmila Javorova a priest. In 1991, Cardinal Miloslav of Prague confirmed that five other women were also ordained as priests. Now, over 220 women have been ordained as priests. Catholic women are not asking Pope Francis to pray about whether or not they might be ordained. They are asking him and all of the Vatican to recognize their ordinations. They are ordaining and being ordained. They are excommunicated. They are living the truth their leaders must acknowledge: women are equal in the sight of our loving God. Equal in faith. Equal in power. They should be ordained. 

IMG_20151018_161332As I witnessed the ordination of Clare Julian I felt a deep shift within me as to how I perceive excommunication. The moment she was ordained she was excommunicated. But as she sat a few pews over from me with her palms turned upward and head bowed, meditatively preparing for her ordination and excommunication, I could see my sister in Christ was preparing to be more tightly bound up in the body of Christ. I thought of my own hands turning upward in the LDS temple to receive the mercy of God.

Excommunication from her faith did not sever Clare Julian from Faith or from our Lord Jesus. I began to consider, what if excommunication draws me closer to God and divine love? What if being excommunicated is not to be feared as spiritual death, but welcomed as a consequence of doing what is right and letting the consequence follow? Maybe for LDS women, excommunication is the fast track to authentic living in the light of Christ. Maybe it is the fast track to exaltation.




Ordenación de Clare Julian Carbone

A medida que la procesión de mujeres entró en la iglesia me tragué un jadeo.Yo sabía que estaba asistiendo a la ordenación de Clare Julian Carbone para el sacerdocio católico romano (no reconocida por el Vaticano). Yo sabía que los ordenando el primer sacerdote católico femenino en Salt Lake City serían mujeres, ordenadas previamente a través de un linaje sacerdotal que se remontan a Jesucristo. Pero yo no lo sé.Sólo imaginé lo que sería como tener las mujeres que presiden y oficiando en rito de ordenación. La sorpresa de mujeres vestidas con túnicas de servicio y devoción, lo que lleva en un espacio sagrado me abrumó con alegría. Las lágrimas se derramaron como Miré hacia arriba en un puesto y el podio presidido por mujeres (con un hombre con talento tocando el piano).

Me maravillé de lo diferente que se comparó la escena delante de mí al servicio LDS Sacramento asistí a un par de horas antes. En mi barrio SUD Miré hacia arriba en un stand lleno de hombres de traje con una mujer que lleva la música y una mujer en el órgano. La escena LDS me comunicó que las mujeres son el acompañamiento. Los hombres son la historia principal. El himno de apertura para mi reunión LDS Sacramento fue Himno 59: Ven, oh rey, si los Reyes. Me atraganté mientras cantaba el versículo cuatro:

¡Granizo! Príncipe de la vida y de la paz!

Tres veces la bienvenida a tu trono!

Si bien toda la carrera elegida

Su Señor y Salvador de su propiedad,

Las naciones paganas doblar la rodilla,

Y la lengua ev’ry suena alabanza a ti.

Yo era la raza elegida que posee su Señor y Salvador? O soy de la nación pagana inclinando la rodilla? Me sentí profundamente, “Yo no pertenezco a este lugar. Este es un espacio para los hombres blancos. Yo no. “No más sonido salió de mí después de la palabra” raza. “No podía cantar las palabras” nación pagana. ”

Por el contrario, a la vista de feligreses masculinos y femeninos sonrientes en comunión mientras mirábamos a los líderes que presiden mujeres me sorprendió con sentimientos de paz y bienestar. Mientras miraba los cuerpos femeninos, vestidos con túnicas blancas que me recuerdan a mi ropa del templo, me sentí como yo pertenecía. Luego cantamos el himno de apertura:

Construyamos una casa donde todos se nombran,

Sus canciones y visiones escuchadas

Y amado y preciado, enseñado y afirmado

Como palabras dentro de la Palabra.

Construida con lágrimas y gritos y risas,

Las oraciones de fe y canciones de la gracia;

Que esta casa proclamar desde el suelo hasta Rafter:

Todos son bienvenidos, todos son bienvenidos, todos son bienvenidos en este lugar.

Las olas de la felicidad y la alegría se apoderó de mí como me uní a cantar estas palabras de inclusión y pertenencia. Reflexioné sobre las letras, “Cuando todo se nombran” y recordó la hora que pasé antes en mi LDS Primaria durante la parte de canto del Tiempo para compartir. Un sueño de tres años de edad, se acurrucó en mi regazo, durmiendo suavemente mientras a su alrededor bulliciosamente memorizado los nombres de la Primera Presidencia y el Quórum de los Doce Apóstoles, con la música de los libros del Libro de Mormón (Canciones para los niños, # 119 ). Fuerte y suave, luego rápido y lento, repetimos 15 nombres masculinos. Borramos nombres de la pizarra como los niños aprendieron la canción y rápidamente dominaron los nombres de quince hombres por orden de antigüedad eclesiástica. Por mucho que me gustó el acogedor exuberancia de un niño caliente en mi regazo y niños cantando, sentí un dolor pinchazo a medida que me cuestioné, “¿Quiénes son las mujeres cuyos nombres memorizamos en la fe mormona?”

Como parte del ritual de la ordenación, Clare Julian postró en el suelo, mientras que una letanía de los santos fue llamado para bendecirla. Muchos santas femeninas fueron nombradas. Los hombres y las mujeres leen liturgias como parte de la reunión. Los hombres y las mujeres nombradas otros hombres y mujeres santos que podíamos mirar en busca de orientación y el ejemplo.

Clare Julian se postran en el suelo como re llama Sainta a bendecirla.

La Obispa Bridget María Meehan en sus observaciones introductorias aseguró a los congregantes que ningún hombre podía cancelar nuestro bautismo en Jesucristo. Miré a mi derecha y vi a Kate Kelly sentadas en las bancas. Dije una oración que cada persona injustamente excomulgada mientras honestidad de pie por la verdad podría tener la misma garantía como la Obispa Meehan.Mientras consideraba lo que significa la excomunión en la fe mormona, fui honrado por la audacia y la valentía de Clare Julian, entrando en ordinación con el pleno conocimiento de que el acto de su ordenación al instante su excomulga de su fe católica. La Obispa Meehan compartió la historia de dos monjas anteriormente excomulgadas, Madre Theodore Guerin y la Madre Mary MacKillop, canonizado en los últimos años por el Papa Benedicto XVI. Ella alegremente resumido,

Excomulgadas hoy, mañana canonizado. La excomunión es la nueva vía rápida a la canonización.

Orando por Clare Julian en su nueva vocación.

En los rostros de las mujeres excomulgados en el stand, no vi ningún temor de ser separado del amor de Jesucristo. Sin duda, en su gracia. Esta cuarenta años el movimiento de los católicos que buscan la ordenación femenina me mostró lo que la igualdad se parece. Después de la ordenación se invitó a los feligreses a presentarse y poner las manos sobre Clare Julian y orar por ella en su nueva vocación. Me uní con un hombre y dos mujeres, ya que en silencio oramos juntos por nuestra hermana, Clara Julian.

Ver a las mujeres líderes, sintiendo su poder. No estaba en las ropas o palabras de mi fe, pero me sentí tan bienvenida e incorporada en el cuerpo de Cristo. Miré a Kate Kelly de nuevo y pensé en lo que fue excomulgada por preguntar a nuestros líderes para orar sobre la ordenación de mujeres. Pidió públicamente. Ella preguntó con el tono equivocado. Consideré la audacia de mis hermanos y hermanas en la fe católica.

El 28 de diciembre de 1970, el obispo Félix Davidek ordenó a Ludmila Javorova una sacerdote. En 1991, el cardenal Miloslav de Praga confirmó que otras cinco mujeres también fueron ordenados como sacerdotes. Ahora, más de 220 mujeres han sido ordenados como sacerdotes. Mujeres católicas no están pidiendo Francisco para orar acerca de si tienen o no pueden ser ordenadas.Ellos lo están pidiendo y todo el Vaticano a reconocer sus ordenaciones. Están ordenar y ser ordenadas. Están excomulgadas. Están viviendo la verdad que sus líderes deben reconocer: las mujeres son iguales a los ojos de nuestro Dios amoroso. Igualdad en la fe. Igualdad en el poder.Deben ser ordenados.

IMG_20151018_161332Como fui testigo de la ordenación de Clare Julian me sentí un cambio profundo dentro de mí en cuanto a cómo percibo la excomunión. En el momento en que fue ordenada que fue excomulgada. Pero mientras se sentaba unos bancos más de mí con sus palmas hacia arriba y la cabeza inclinada, meditabundo preparación para su ordenación y la excomunión, pude ver a mi hermana en Cristo se estaba preparando para ser más estrechamente ligado en el cuerpo de Cristo. Pensé en mis propias manos girando hacia arriba en el templo de LDS para recibir la misericordia de Dios.

La excomunión de su fe no rompió a Clare Julian de la fe o de nuestro Señor Jesús. Empecé a tener en cuenta, ¿qué pasa si la excomunión me acerca a Dios y el amor divino? ¿Y si ser excomulgada no es de temer que la muerte espiritual, pero dio la bienvenida como consecuencia de hacer lo correcto y dejar que la consecuencia seguir? Tal vez para LDS mujeres, la excomunión es la vía rápida a la auténtica vida a la luz de Cristo. Tal vez es la vía rápida a la exaltación.

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18 Responses

  1. Ziff says:

    I love this, Cruelest Month!

  2. Heather says:

    “Where all are named.” That quote is going to stay with me.

  3. Caroline says:

    So many beautiful things about this ordination you attended. I love the inclusive hymn. I love the images. I love that this woman is doing what she feels God is calling her to do, despite her institutional church’s stance. Thanks so much for sharing this, Cruelest Month.

  4. spunky says:

    I wept reading this entire essay. Thank you so much, Cruelest Month.

    “Maybe [excommunication] is the fast track to exaltation.”- for women, this seems more and more to be true. This will stay with me.

  5. Thank you for sharing this beautiful experience with us.

  6. Regina says:

    So powerful. Thank you.

  7. Patty says:

    Beautiful. I loved the hymn.

  8. Clare Julian says:

    Thank you for this kind review. And thanks for being there!
    Clare Julian ?

    • Cruelest Month says:

      I feel deeply blessed to have witnessed and shared in this sacred event.

      • Clare Julian says:

        Dear April,
        Just to say my thoughts and prayers are with you and the LDS community as many of you witness in solidarity at Temple Square today.
        Many blessings,
        Clare Julian ?

  9. What a beautifully moving article! Thank you for sharing our unending joy! And the best to Clare Julian, as our newest priest.

  10. Edmund John says:

    Thank you for a wonderful article that conveys the powerful experience that women are having as they commit to God’s calling them to priesthood. I also want to recognize their willingness to face excommunication for following their primacy of conscience, in which they have prayed and discerned that this calling from God is valid and can no longer be denied in their life.

    I am grateful to ARCWP for recognizing that calling as well in men, both single and married, and feel honored that they accepted me and recognized my lifelong calling. I was ordained a deacon in July and will be ordained a priest next October, thus allowing me, as a married man, to finally answer God’s call. Unlike the Vatican hierarchy, the ARCWP recognizes equality of men and women, welcoming all to the circle of faith.

    Edmund John

    • Rosemarie Smead says:

      Dear Cruelest Month, My heart breaks that this is your “cruelest month”… Your sharing of deeply experienced thoughts and feelings during Clare Julian’s ordination are a gift of treasured insights to other women, and men, thinking through this painful transformational time in our beloved Church. The call comes silently, then the knock, knock, knocking on our heart’s door persists. After many dark nights, many experiences such as going to an ordination, many of us realize that Primacy of Conscience is the central issue we must “get” to take the step forward. ARCWP, well, I felt I’ve finally come home. Slowly, slowly in a community of equals, we are growing a renewed priestly ministry, just as Jesus meant us to have long ago. Rosemarie Smead, ARCWP

      • Cruelest Month says:

        Thank you so much for your kindness and compassion. I blog under the pseudonym Cruelest Month because my name is April (which T.S. Eliot called the cruelest month) and I didn’t want to cause confusion with the name of the brilliant April YB who also blogs here at The Exponent.

    • Cruelest Month says:

      I hope I will have opportunities to gather with the ARCWP community again. The spiritual strength of the ARCWP is both healing and empowering.

  11. I found this article beautiful & thought-provoking. Made me wonder if women who want to be in service to God in their highest capacities, interests, skills, & heart-and-soul desires have explored other faith traditions that may be a better fit? Why fight against a system when one’s time & energies can be more effective & appreciated elsewhere? Why not be in a religion that does not need to excommunicate, does not have gender roles, does not have huge, unwieldy hierarchies? What about a simple but profound approach to God, where worship is prayerful/meditative/joyful moment-by-moment, daily–beyond a Sabbath day ritual, but including a Sabbath gathering for celebration? Of course, I asked my dear friend Clare Julian these questions, & her answer was that for her, she loves everything about the Roman Catholic Church, except the denial of women to be priests, so for her it is the “good fight”. I appreciate that. This is one way to bring down the walls. And I say, “Go for it, sisters!”

  12. Jordan of Saxony says:

    Beautiful, powerful. Praying for “Cruelest Month” to find her ministry.

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