It’s Dowd what done it…
Maureen Dowd — the red-haired doyenne of liberal journalism — whose New York Times columns provoke mirth and wrath, has united both liberal and conservative American Catholics with her latest column, which deals with the Apostolic Visitation of Women Religious currently taking place in the US.
It is a rare occasion that finds Fr John Zuhlsdorf of What does the Prayer Really Say on the same side as Michael Sean Winters, a journalist who writes for the Jesuit America Magazine — but it’s Dowd what done it.
Both men have censured her, even if the reasons they give are somewhat different.
MSW ended his post on the America with this: “It is not that she is wrong, it is that she is so contentedly wrong, so confident in her ignorance, so comprehensively prejudiced against the Church. Why doesn’t she just become a Protestant and have done with it? If you heard her rant on the street, you would give her a dollar and hope she doesn’t spend it on booze. Reading her rant in the Times, you can just flip the page.”
Now the Grey Lady has published the letters in response to the flame-haired lady’s column.
One such respondent writes:
“Lay as well as religious people ask for one right and one only when they give their free adhesion to the Roman Catholic Church: the right to use their talents toward the redemption of the world from the slavery of sin. They endow the pope, through the hierarchy, with the power to decide where and how these talents will be most beneficial toward this end.
In so doing they make a sacrifice of themselves. From the Latin “sacrum facere,” sacrifice means to make yourself “sacred” — that is, reserved to a special function, unique. As we believe that in the Christian community every person is sacred, devoted to a unique role, each person is awarded the same dignity, irrespective of his or her role.
Lack of access to priesthood cannot be constructed as a form of disrespect or discrimination, as Maureen Dowd seems to imply.
I am a liberal Democrat who has supported every single feminist issue, save for abortion (an issue on which feminists themselves are divided), but don’t expect that my political and social views should shape the organization of the church I credit for allowing me to live a very gifted life.
Tampa, Fla., Oct. 25, 2009
The writer is a doctor.