Friday, July 22, 2005

Michele Birch-Conery to be Ordained Priestess

DIRK MEISSNER, Canadian Press
07/15/2005 20:55 EST

VICTORIA (CP) - An English literature instructor from Vancouver Island says she will be ordained as Canada's first woman Roman Catholic priest in a ceremony conducted on the waters of the St. Lawrence River.

Michele Birch-Conery of Parksville said Friday she expects the church to threaten her with excommunication, but she believes she is fighting a human rights issue. Birch-Conery, 65, is one of eight woman from North America who will attend a special ordination service July 25 on the river between the United States and Canada, where no church diocese has jurisdiction.

The proceedings will be held near the Ontario vacation community of Gananoque. Birch-Conery said she wants to become part of the struggle to change church canon law that prohibits women from entering the priesthood. "We're taking a stand that to keep that canon law which says women cannot be ordained is a violation of our human rights as women in the church," she said. "We'll have to see what it unfolds into. I don't know where it is going to go."

The church hierarchy, from the Vatican down, officially rejects women priests, but there is a movement within the Catholic church, including unnamed bishops, who quietly support the efforts of the women, she said. "People privately are all over the lot on this issue," Birch-Conery said. "If the church continues to hold these stands people will be saying, ' you can't do that,' this is against our civil rights, our human rights."

The Victoria diocese of the Catholic church could not be reached for comment. The Vatican, which doesn't allow women to serve as priests, excommunicated seven women ordained in 2002 in Europe. At least two male Catholic bishops secretly participated in the European ceremony, Birch-Conery said. The names of the bishops will not be made public until their deaths, she said.

Three of the women ordained in 2002 will be part of the Ontario ceremony later this month, Birch-Conery said. "The Vatican is in a tough position, as are we, so hopefully we get it all sorted out as time goes by," she said. "Until we address this gender issue we're actually going nowhere in this church, except round and round in circles."

Birch-Conery said she thinks Pope Benedict XVI knows about the July 25 ceremony. "Of course he knows," she said. "He's the person who excommunicated the first seven (women priests) in 2002. It was Benedict, who was then Cardinal (Joseph) Ratzinger."

Birch-Conery, who has spent the last 18 years teaching English literature [and women's studies] courses at North Island College in Port Alberni, said she has been involved in the church for most of her life. She received her doctorate in English literature from the University of Iowa. She writes poetry when she gets the chance.

Birch-Conery said she was born in Vancouver, but left Canada for the United States when she was 23 years old to join a congregation of religious sisters in the United States. The gender issue in the church also caused her to stay away from religion for years, but her academic background, especially her study of women's rights and equality issues, pulled her back to the church to attempt to force change, she said.

"If I've been teaching women's studies and gender equality all this time, I suppose I should come back in and address these issues," said Birch-Conery. Birch-Conery said she has attended Catholic churches on Vancouver Island in Parksville, Port Alberni and Duncan. She said she is willing to conduct some church rites with followers, but doesn't expect to be invited to preach sermons at local churches.
You might think I am opposed to this theological putsch, but you would be wrong. I had a Damascus experience while reading the article and I now say, "Go for it girl!" Release your inner id and let slip the eschatological dogs of theology. Actualize your ontological dreams! Let your oppressed feelings flow wherever thwarted ambitions are, er ....thwarted! Arise oppressed, uh .... masses .... so to speak.

I say that freedom and liberty are for those brave enough to seize the day and dodge Paul Martin's steamships out on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Close your eyes and imagine with all your might and ... and uh ... and it will be. Build it and it will uh, .... be built. In with the good, out with the bad. The positive ions of this approach will spread throughout Gaia and transform the earth. Father-Sister-Doctor Birch-Conery has shown me the light.

Of course, I am not the only one who she has tutored to the truth. Here are three evaluations of her teaching from Father-Sister-Doctor's students at North Island College.
"Completely Unclear. A lot of time spent on irrelevant topics. A lot of time organizing into groups. A lot of her own personal problems. More reminiscent of group therapy. Will do my best to avoid her classes in the future."

"I found this class to be very unclear. I was not at all impressed with this class, and will go out of my way to make sure that I do not have her as a professor again."

"I found Michele to be very nice, but not very clear with what she means when asking a question. Lots of class time spent organizing groups and not really doing the work."
You might think these evaluations are rather unflattering but you probably stuck in a patriarchal paradigm. Not me, ... at least any longer.

I want to be the President of the United States. Ever since I saw George Bush land on that aircraft carrier in the spiffy flight suit, I have yearned to be Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces. It is not good Accordingly, consistent with the emerging "seize the pulpit" zeitgeist, I have decided to be inaugurated President of the United States next week in a place where neither American not Canadian sovereignty is recognized. I will take the oath of office in Quebec City.

My presidential inauguration will be attended by three justices of the US Supreme Court and several congressmen and senators; unfortunately in covert operations mode. Plastic surgery will render their physical faces unrecognisable , but I'll let Dan Rather know their identities just so I can authenticate their presence in his forthcoming memoir. If Dan says it's true, I just know you'll believe me. He used to be a TV anchor, you know.

Unfortunately, Senator Hillary Clinton has said she can't attend my swearing-in as she is currently working on a bid to gain the Democratic presidential nomination for 2008. That is so, .... like ... hierarchical and 1990s. I'll just swear the oath and assume office.

I'll also seal a tape of the inauguration event into a time capsule and bury it under the high altar of the first Catholic church in which Fr.-Sr.-Dr. Birch-Conery is appointed pastor. After all the justices and politicians are dead, the time capsule will be unearthed during a sacred liturgical dance by womendeacons on All Hallows Eve and all will be revealed. Truly. Dan Rather will give the voice over. It could revive his career.

Until now, I have been prevented from realizing my deeply convicted ambition to be president because of an archaic and unjust law which says that a US president must be born in the United States. This is immensely wounding to non-Americans, not to mention career limiting to the current Governor of California. So I must act. Opening the office of the president to excluded "others" will liberate orgone energy and suppress mad cow prions.

Thank you Fr. Sr. Dr. Birch-Conery. You've changed my life with your paradigm shift. Next we must work together to abolish this silly idea that people must be Catholic to be ordained a Catholic priest. Just what, pray tell, is wrong with Bhuddists? Restricting orders to Catholics is so like exclusionary. We must get the word out. Don't worry, I'll lend you Air Force One so you can spread the good news.


At 10:50 am, July 23, 2005 , Blogger Kermit said...

What a cheapskate! I can hardly wait until John the Mad shifts a whole quarter instead of just a pair of dimes.

Getting giggly here. It's time to visit Jimmy Buffet on the beach. I think that I'll have the bartender at the Tavern on the Bog pour me up a vacation.

Peace and all good,


At 1:20 pm, July 25, 2005 , Anonymous c matt said...

Catholic priest...President of the US... you guys are wasting this incredible paradigm shift on such small pomme-de-terres. I hereby declare myself President, CEO and Chairman for life of Microsoft, General Motors, VisaMasterCard and ExxonMobil (with stock options and perquisites attendant thereto). I wonder how long it will take Bill to pack and move out of them swell digs in Washington?


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