It's a tough category, to be sure, but Lona O'Connor wins the prize for the worst story I've ever seen about female, non-Roman Catholic priests. It ran in the Palm Beach Post and it's just absolutely embarrassing from top to bottom. Here's the lede, which I do not believe is satire:
Like the first Christians, they are outcasts. They meet in private homes and sympathetic Protestant churches.
They are a small band of women priests and the people who believe that they can melt the rock-solid determination of the Vatican to keep the Catholic priesthood all male.
Since 2002, when the first women were ordained by a male priest, their numbers have grown to about 100 worldwide. The priest, Roy Bourgeois, was excommunicated for his act of defiance.
I'm trying to think of anything positive to say and the only thing that comes to mind is that it's nice of the reporter to lay her biases out so clearly. I don't really have to explain why the article is so bad so much as just quote from it. OK, but in addition to the story's framing (the female priests are an unimpeachable band of holy heroes, anyone who thinks otherwise is, clearly, evil incarnate), it's also riddled with errors and poorly written. I mean, is the writer trying to say that the first Christians met in sympathetic Protestant churches?
More substantively, Ray Bourgeois was excommunicated for his participation in an ordination service but it was for a service in 2008, not 2002. That whole paragraph displays a remarkable confusion about how ordination happens in the Catholic Church, too. Hint: priests aren't sufficient. This is a job for bishops.
It doesn't really get better. Take this paragraph:
Two weeks ago, the Vatican released revisions to church law that strengthened penalties against pedophile priests. But within the document was an item that enraged women Catholics from New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd to nuns in India. Among the grave crimes listed by the Vatican were heresy, apostasy, schism and the attempted ordination of women.
Not Catholic women such as Maureen Dowd! Anyway, I would love to learn more about these enraged nuns in India but they're mentioned only in this paragraph. We don't get the name of their order or any evidence to support the reporter's claim.
OK, I can't quote the whole piece, but I'm pretty sure GetReligion readers will enjoy this:
"Shame on the Vatican," said Bridget Mary Meehan, a woman bishop considered a rogue by the institutional church. "They must truly be desperate. What's next, the Inquisition?"
The women priests sustain themselves on a broth of faith and outrage.
"A broth of faith and outrage." Yes, someone really wrote that. And it made it through editors. And it went into the paper. No, I have no idea why journalism is facing tough times these days. It's really saying something when the Inquisition line is not the most ridiculous part of that excerpt.
You may enjoy reading this alleged news report just for the laughs. But, needless to say, there is no explanation offered of the church's teaching about a male-only priesthood. There is only one quote in the lengthy piece that counters the reporter's poorly written cri du coeur. There are doses of loaded language at a rate that would make a political campaigner blush. The reporter even uses multiple uncorroborated stories in order to paint the church in the worst possible light. It's really a train wreck that must be seen to be believed.