A presentation by the Institute for Religion, Education, and Public Policy at Cal State Bakersfield of the film, "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican," inspired Valerie Schultz's May 19 column, "Film documents battle for women to be priests." This headline is misleading because the matter of women's ordination has long been settled within the Roman Catholic Church -- priestly ordination is reserved to men alone. As has occurred throughout its history, the church continues to clarify its teachings when contemporary circumstances dictate. Because of dissenting voices within the church in our own time, Pope John Paul II felt it necessary to state, yet again, the church's teaching in regard to priestly ordination in his apostolic letter "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis," issued May 22, 1994.
What is so disheartening about Schultz's article is the context in which it was written. She is writing as a board member of CSUB's Institute for Religion, Education, and Public Policy (IREPP), an organization with the self-described mission to "advance knowledge and understanding of the varied roles religious movements, institutions, and ideas play in the contemporary world; explore challenges posed by religious pluralism and tensions between religious and secular values; and examine the influence of religion on politics, civic culture, family life, gender roles, and other issues locally, nationally, and globally." However, her column indicates she and the IREPP are instead using CSUB's resources to disparage and condemn a key aspect of Catholic theology.
Schultz's comments about the "patriarchal wind that has long blown from Rome" or Pope Benedict XVI's use of the "global pulpit" reveals her personal disdain for innate aspects of Catholicism itself. She quotes Galatians 3:28 as a scriptural support of her position regarding ordination, yet that piece of Scripture speaks not to ordination but to the universal salvation of all -- irrespective of all human divisions. She fails to understand why Father Bourgeois, a priest interviewed in the film, was excommunicated and dismissed from his order due to "his refusal to recant his public support of women priests."
One has to question the credentials of any IREPP board member who fails to understand why a Catholic priest should be dismissed when he leads others away from the faith he had vowed to profess. Moreover, Schultz's journalistic integrity is called into question when she presents Juanita Cordero as "an ordained Roman Catholic woman priest" who was "ordained in 2007." This is factually false and a misrepresentation of Roman Catholic ordinations. Rather than clarify why Cordero considers herself "ordained," Schultz presents this as a fact to readers of The Californian.
As a CSUB alumnus and Bakersfield resident, it frustrates me to see such a forum supported by my university. As a deacon ordained in the Roman Catholic Church, it saddens me to see the Catholic expression of Christianity misrepresented in the name of "higher education" by a fellow Catholic who continues to publicly denounce essential tenets of the faith in The Californian. This IREPP event did not foster an understanding of Catholicism and how its practice influences society. Instead, it sowed confusion within the general public's understanding of this particular tenet of the Catholic faith.
The smoke in Schultz's article may be pink, but it is still just part of the smoke and mirrors used to deceive the uninformed.
Deacon Daniel Rindge of Christ the King Catholic Church in Oildale received his Bachelor of Public Administration from Cal State Bakersfield, graduating magna cum laude. Another View presents a critical response to a previous editorial, column or news story.