Pregnant “Catholic Priest”

I bet Jesus is turning in His grave over this one.

A little over a year ago, 26-year-old Jessica Rowley shattered the stained-glass ceiling, so to speak, by being ordained a Catholic priest. Now the St. Louisan is on the verge of giving birth to her first child, and a Washington, D.C.-based group that advocates for women’s ordination says that makes Rowley the world’s firstpregnant Catholic priest.

Yes, she was “ordained a Catholic priest”; you can bet your sweet paasbroad that then-Archbishop Burke had nothing to do with this.

“I’m due November 19, but the doctor believes it could be any day,” says Rowley. “I’m feeling very ripe.”

Rowley is one of roughly a dozen pastors with two X chromosomes presiding over churches in the Ecumencial Catholic Communion, a splinter group of the Roman Catholic Church.

Members of the ECC, which formed in 2003, don’t claim any papal lineage, in contrast to Roman Catholic Womenpriests, another splinter group that ordains women and which does claim direct ties to the Vatican.

Of course, the real kicker of this story (Yes, it get more bizarre.) is that “Mother”(?) Rowley is not only a “Catholic priest”, but a particularly “ecumenical” “Catholic”:

Rowley says her congregation cheered when she told them she and her husband, a minister for the United Church of Christ, were expecting.

So what church – the ECC or the UCC — will Rowley’s baby boy join?

“That’s a good question,” says Rowley, with a laugh. “It’s a topic of conversation in our home a lot. We’re going to baptize him in both churches. But eventually he’ll be able to make a decision for himself.

Oy vey! Where’s the Inquisition when we need it?

Homer Simpson, sent unwittingly on a mission trip (to avoid the PBS-pledge collectors), once fielded a question, from a precocious young native whom he had dubbed “Lisa Jr.”, about which religion is correct. He replied that they’re all pretty good, except for Unitarianism. “If that’s the one true faith, I’ll eat my hat.” Substitute “United Church of Christ” or, now, it seems, “Ecumenical ‘Catholic’ Communion”, and the statement loses nothing. 


One Response

  1. I love phrases like “splinter group OF” the Roman Catholic Church; as if by splintering it is still somehow OF the Church. Kind of like that splinter group OF Roman Catholicism that Luther started.

    I also enjoy that the Roman Catholic Womenpriests “claim direct ties to the Vatican.” Can you really have “direct ties” if the other end in no way acknowledges such “ties?” Isn’t that like my “direct ties” to Jessica Alba…in my dreams?

    And what does “Ecumenical” mean here? Or “Communion?” Or “Catholic” for that matter???


    Pax Christi,

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