Reverend Joan (Part Two)

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 27th Dec 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2qx_ltok/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>General Fiction

In Part One of Reverend Joan, the Catholic Church has seen fit to ordain women, but not everyone is happy with the change. One who is has returned to church to welcome the new priest with open arms and whatever other comfort she can offer. May one day this not be mere fiction; until then, peace.

Rev Joan Part Two

This is the Second Part of a Four Part Series. Please click here if you missed Part One.

Reverend Joan (Part Two)

After we had ordered and as we were snacking on bread sticks, I filled Joan in on Cottonmouth’s grand fuss butt. She dismissed him quickly, saying, “Well, he’s not alone in the world.”

My husband, Lucas, tried to change the subject while I got the kids seated and was helping Jaime navigate the bread stick to the sauce cup. “So, how was Divinity School? Were you the only woman there, or what?”

“The years I spent there were a blessing,” Joan replied, “and there were lots of us – women, I mean – but the others came and went. They never stayed long. They got frustrated – God was calling but the Church kept saying ‘We’re sorry. The number you have reached has been disconnected or is no longer in service. Please hang up.’”

“Play telephone?” asked Jaime.

“No sweetie, no telephone now.”

“Joan, you sound funny like the operator,” Jordan said. “Daddy lets me talk to the operator when Mommy’s on the Internet.”

“Oh, he does, does he?” I looked at Lucas, trying to be angry. That could explain some of my mysterious disconnections when I'd been doing research for articles.

“So what did the other women do? Where did they go?” Lucas asked, avoiding my stare and trying to get VERY involved in the conversation.

Joan politely ignored my glare and continued. “If their call was to preach, they had to go Protestant and give up teaching about the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception. If their call was service, they could enter a convent, but they wouldn’t receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Deacons, Sisters, and Brothers are all considered lay ministry, and Holy Orders is the Sacrament reserved for priests.”

“I knew that.” Lucas said. He knew because I told him. I had uncovered that bit of research almost ten years ago, after running an Op-Ed on Maria’s marriage in “The Sound of Music.”

“Well, you’re ahead of the pack,” Joan said. “Anyway, many leave school and go on to “normal” lives – teaching, counseling, that sort of thing – and then serve as ministers of the Eucharist or the Word or try to get elected to Parish Council.” She stopped long enough to drink some of her tea.

Sticking it Out

“It’ll be just another minute on your pizza,” the waiter said to us as he passed our table.

“I was blessed to stick it out, because each of the alternatives led to more rejection.” Joan lowered her voice as she continued, “It felt like God was asking Mary to conceive and bear a son and then Joseph insisting that she give up Jesus for adoption! Praise God he didn’t. Or like burning my namesake, Joan of Arc, at the stake for heresy after she’d spent all that time saving France. We had a burning desire to serve Christ, and a willingness to die for His sake. But we didn’t expect to be crucified in this day and age for being women. I pray those days will soon be over now that the restriction is lifted.”

“What about your parents?” Lucas asked.

“When the Pope was calling it a sin for women to 'claim' God’s call to priesthood, my mother was saying ‘Amen!’ When I finally told her I was one of those crazy women, she said she’d pray for my sinfulness. Once she even asked me to repent, and offered to take me to confession, but...”

“So did you go?” Lucas asked.

“To confession? Not for that.” Joan laughed. We all did.

Pizza and Confessions Arrive

“Your pizza, folks. Sorry ‘bout the wait,” the waiter jostled the pizzas onto the table in front of the kids. Lucas and I moved deftly to fix that little problem.

I confessed, “When I told Mother I was engaged to Lucas, a non-Catholic, and we weren’t having a Church wedding, she had a conniption fit. My Dad converted after they got married, so she thought Lucas should, too.” I reached self-consciously for my husband’s hand. In the early years of our marriage, reconciling with my mother was a huge issue, and one that kept coming back. “Since Dad was a convert, he wasn’t too concerned either way...”

“Uh-huh.”

“...but Mom wouldn’t even tell people I was getting married because she was so, well, I really don’t know what she was, but it wasn’t happy. And I still have relatives who claim my kids are illegitimate. We’ve been married for ten years, and they still say that.”

“That’s a shame. Would it help if I blessed your wedding?”

“Why? We are blessed. Just look at those two.” Three year old Jaime and seven year old Jordan were very busy with the pizza, eating at least as much as they were wearing. Or at least Jaime was. Jordan picked the toppings off the pizza first and set them aside. Then Jordan would eat the cheese, then Jaime’s forgotten bread stick – with a huge grin. Finally, the toppings would be consumed. Jordan loved bread sticks, but never ate the pizza crust. Ever.

After a Moment to Think...

“That was rude of me,” I said, remembering myself. I also had to intervene on the kids’ pizza, getting Jaime a new bread stick and asking Jordan to eat each slice together and nicely. “I mean, if you wanted to bless our wedding because you are our friend and my priest, that’s one thing. But I don’t want anyone getting the idea that I felt our marriage ‘had’ to be blessed in order to be real. For one thing, it might send the wrong message to our kids, and I don’t want to do that.”

“So what message do you send them – especially if you haven’t been going to Church?”

“We teach Jordan and Jaime that God is Love, and if we want to be like God, we have to love people. We read stories from all the great holy books so they learn about God and people and how important it is to accept every faith. We say our prayers every night. They know Mommy quit going to the Church because some men weren’t letting God be there,” I said.

"What about the sacraments?” Joan asked. “Are they baptized?”

“If they ask to be baptized, then we’ll go from there,” I replied. “I tell them that religion is a choice, but God isn’t. What some people say is God’s will isn’t.” Then, turning to Jordan, “Jordan, please eat your pizza, not Jaime’s. Jaime, eat more bread stick and less sauce. When they are old enough to want to choose,” I said, returning to the adult conversation, “I know they’ll make a choice they'll be happy with. But I’m not going to force anything on them – especially something I didn’t agree with – for the sake of tradition or keeping up appearances.”

Joan finds paths of agreement...

“Not about all of it, but in some ways I agree with you,” Joan said. “I feel that some Church decisions, especially ones related to clergy, were choices a few men were making to assert their power over other people, and in a way, God. I’m not going to try to tell you what you should do. That is, unless you ask.”

“I wish Mom felt that way. It’s a very sore subject between us.”

“Some people will agree and others won’t. Most think the concern is so minor,” Joan said.

“They just let it go so they wouldn’t cause problems in the church.”

“You mean that they didn’t want another split like Martin Luther’s,” Lucas chimed in.

“In an effort to keep the church together, they didn’t realize they were helping to widen the divide. They didn’t want to rock the boat – God’s boat. So the few who decided to run it all ended up with more power. And then it became too hard for anyone to change anything. I think we can all agree it was a bad move,” Joan said, not accusingly or conspiratorially, but just stated -- like facts from a history book.

Abuse of Man Power

“And power wasn’t enough. Some men started to abuse people. And kids.” I was upset. Joan could be factual. She didn’t have kids to look after. This was a big open sore for me.

“You’re right. For many families, the sex-abuse scandals, cover-ups, and lawsuits broke the camel’s back. But I don’t suppose I have to tell you that.”

“No kidding. With full knowledge of abuse that went on for years, men in power chose to forgive those men, retain them, and deny women a chance to serve. They denied my right to choose to serve God as a priest, insisting I could only want fame or glory or power?!”

“Did you want to be a priest?” Joan asked expectantly.

“I don’t know. At one time, I thought there might have been a calling, but I wasn’t sure. I wanted the option – to be able to find out more and see if maybe I was being called. Back then, I didn’t even consider the possibility of a priest having ‘power’ any more than a school teacher--” I looked over at the children “--or a parent – does. I’m really glad I didn’t fight it, because I am glad to be with my husband and love my kids, but....”

“Pizza?” Jaime’s sticky hands were offering me the last slice.

“No, dear, thank you.” I kissed my child’s head, and the building tension was broken.

“Would anyone else like the last piece – compliments of Jaime?”

No one did. Sweet, sticky Jaime. Too young to be interrupting, too old to be a baby in any eyes but mine.

“This is my calling from God now. Jordan and Jaime – and you, dear husband,” I said, smiling at the "dear" but not joking about it. “This is my mission and my paradise.”

Coming Up in Part 3

The Third Part of Reverend Joan will lead the group back to the rectory, where all is not well.

Reverend Joan: The 4 Part Series:
Part 1
Part 2 -- This Page
Part 3
Part 4

I hope you will be called to read on, LEAVE A COMMENT, or CREATE YOUR OWN ARTICLE FOR WIKINUT.

*All images are Courtesy of MorgueFile.com

Tags

Catholicism, Hate, Men, Persecution, Perseverance, Religion, Sexism, Women, Women As Priests, Women Discrimination, Women Of Achievement, Womens Issues

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
28th Dec 2013 (#)

fascinating and I love the love part...well done my friend...

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
28th Dec 2013 (#)

Thanks, dear. Parts 3 and 4 are submitted. Finding realistic-looking pictures was tough!!

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
28th Dec 2013 (#)

Awesome! Can't wait for the next installment. Great star page, Phyl. Thank you.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
28th Dec 2013 (#)

Thank you, Steve! Your earlier comments prompted me to get this out and dust it off, so really -- thank you!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
29th Dec 2013 (#)

Interesting read, Phyl. Let us make it easy for the young to find love without borders for a better world. Less of rituals is the way forward - siva

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
30th Dec 2013 (#)

I think so, Siva! I think so!

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author avatar Kingwell
10th Jan 2014 (#)

Awesome!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
10th Jan 2014 (#)

Thanks!

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