Last month, my job got a whole lot more interesting as I found myself participating in my first music video filming. After the positive reception WOC received at the Call to Action conference for the flash mob to the “Call me Maybe” parody, “Ordain a Lady,” it was decided that a music video ought to be made so that it could be shared with more friends.
I knew that the release date was to be over the holidays, but I was incredibly excited when I checked my email on December 31st to see WOC’s “Ordain a Lady” revealed! If you haven’t seen it yet, do feel free to take a look:
Since the music video’s reveal, it has been viewed over 87,000 times. Obviously, not everyone who sees it is going to be a fan. Just as we have been motivated by the positive reception (thank you!), we have also had to deal with negative feedback from our more conservative brothers and sisters. While thick skin is something anyone fighting an uphill battle has to possess, it can still be disheartening at times to hear feedback along the lines of:
- If you don’t like what the Catholic Church has decided, then you aren’t Catholic and should just leave.
- You can’t pick and choose what to believe in. Take in all of the Church’s teachings and decrees or look elsewhere.
Now, this is not where I will make the argument for why women who feel called to the priesthood ought to be able to pursue their call from God; our website does a much more comprehensive and eloquent job at that than I could. This is where I will make the argument that those of us “progressive Catholics” who do advocate and work for change in the Church are Catholics who care too much about our Church and faith to leave her.
These negative comments made me feel as if the term “Cafeteria Catholic” was being flounced around. I have never been fond of this term, I actually find it to be offensive. For people of faith, their religion is not a simple issue that can be approached with an “I like this, but not that” mindset. The idea of the “Cafeteria Catholic” completely ignores the inner conflict that arises when an individual’s conscience begins to question their religious teachings. As Catholics, we have been taught that our conscience is not something that we can ignore. Those of us who advocate and work for change in our Church have each had our own personal struggles in confronting our teachings with questions of conscience.
As our Catechism teaches us: “Man has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. “He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.1782” As Catholics, we form our conscience through thoughtful prayer and reflection, listening to our teachings and to our God. I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but there are stances that the Church has made that my conscience cannot reconcile with; women’s ordination is one such stance.
However, my disagreement with the Church on women’s ordination does not nullify my identity as a Catholic. Some of us may disagree with our Church, but those who advocate and work for change clearly cannot simply walk away. You don’t give up on something you love and believe in. If progressive Catholics weren’t truly Catholic, why would we work so hard to bring about change to our Church?
We can’t give up on our Church, she means far too much to us. Believe me, I recognize that this is an uphill struggle, but why would anyone take part in such a movement if we didn’t believe in our bones that is what is right and it is what our Church deserves. Our faith deserves a Church that reflects our diverse people and our loving, accepting God.
That is why we continue. That is what makes such struggles worthwhile. That is what helps thicken my skin against negative comments about a fun and silly pro-women’s ordination music video.