Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Bishop Richard Pates of the Diocese of Des Moines has ordered a local Catholic Worker House to cease celebrating Mass on its premises “for the time being” after allowing a woman “priest”, ordained by a dissident Catholic group, to say Mass in the facility.
According to The Des Moines Register, a liberal newspaper that featured only supporters of women “priests” in their article, the Catholic Worker House of Des Moines allowed the Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska, to celebrate Mass at the facility in December of 2014.
Sevre-Duszynska was “ordained” by the dissident Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in 2008. She is one of an estimated 124 female “priests” and 10 “bishops” worldwide who are posing as Catholic clerics even though they are not recognized by the Vatican.
As a result, Bishop Pates has rescinded the center’s Mass privileges “for the time being.”
“In response to publicity generated by the Catholic Worker House in Des Moines, Bishop Pates, upon the unanimous recommendation by the Diocesan Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Des Moines, has revoked the privilege of celebrating the Roman Catholic Mass at the Catholic Worker House for the time being,” the diocese announced in the August edition of The Catholic Mirror. “The concerns are related to variances in Catholic liturgical rubrics, doctrine and practice.”
Even though this revocation of privileges was sent to the leadership of the Catholic Worker House on May 5, “no corrective or substantive response has been made to the bishop or Presbyteral Council,” the diocese informs.
The statement goes on to praise the Catholic Worker Movement in Des Moines and throughout the country which was co-founded by Servant of God Dorothy Day (1897-1980). Day was an American journalist, social activist and Catholic convert who founded the organization as a pacifist movement to aid the poor and homeless. There are currently 213 houses in the U.S.
Unfortunately, the Register gathered quotes only from supporters of women “priests”, such as Frank Cordaro, a co-founder of the Catholic Worker House in Des Moines, who called the bishop’s actions bullying.
“It’s really a bullying position that doesn’t do the Eucharist service,” Cordaro said. “I wish our bishops would see their teaching authority in a more positive light than when people disagree with them, (to) punish them.”
They also interviewed Sevre-Duszynska who gave a predictably radical-feminist response to the situation.
“I don’t believe he [Bishop Pates] was demonstrating the compassion and the attitudes that Jesus taught us, which are about calling us to transform unjust structures that cause poverty, abuse and inequality in our world,” she said. “I think Jesus teaches us that he’s doing a paradigm shift from domination and subordination to a circle, emphasizing more compassion and justice than emphasizing rules and rituals.”
In an attempt to excuse its biased coverage of the matter, the Register claims that the diocese failed to return their calls.
However, had they used more than just a snippet from the diocese’s statement, they could have informed readers that the actions of Sevre-Duszynska and the beliefs of Cordaro are not in keeping with the philosophy of their own founder!
As the diocese states, even though Day held controversial views in her own day, she was always “faithful to the liturgical traditions of the Church and followed them with great dedication . . .”
Had the Catholic Worker House of Des Moines been true to her legacy, the poor and needy might still be receiving the Body and Blood Christ on their premises. Instead, their illicit actions are depriving spiritual nourishment to the very population they have dedicated themselves to serve.
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