Not the best worst/female priests story

royThanksgiving is all about family traditions. And what could be more traditional than a GetReligion look at a Roman Catholic Womenpriests story? So everyone pull out the blankets and cuddle by the fire as we look through the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's recent entry for the Best Worst Roman Catholic Female Priest story. If you look at the headline -- "Newnan woman challenges Catholic church: Diane Dougherty pushes to allow women to be deacons" -- you'll see that there's no way this is the best worst entry. But, as the reader who sent it in notes, it's fittingly described as public relations more than journalism, filled with praise for the woman challenging church teaching and unquestioning acceptance of her claims. Here's the less-than-balanced lede:

Diane Dougherty lives in a neat, white house that she shares with her cats, Pete and Gypsy Rose. She teaches second grade in Fayetteville. She smiles a lot, her eyes flashing with intellect.

She hardly looks like someone flouting centuries of tradition, challenging the Roman Catholic Church.

Dougherty, 65, wants to be a deacon. But in the Catholic Church, the position of deacon -- like that of priest and bishop -- is held by men only.

The Newnan resident is in the forefront of a movement that seeks to change all that. In ordination ceremonies in the United States and across the world, nearly 200 Catholic women have declared themselves deacons, priests and bishops. A male priest whose support of ordaining women drew a rebuke from the Vatican calls the issue "unstoppable."

Her eyes blaze with smartness! I love that.

The article goes on but you get the point. Guess who the "male" "priest" who supports female ordination is: Roy Bourgeois. Here's how they describe his discipline:

The Rev. Roy Bourgeois, whose support of ordaining women has placed him at odds with the Vatican, thinks it's only a matter of time before women take a place in Catholic pulpits.

A priest, Bourgeois attended the ordination of a female priest two years ago in Lexington. He received a letter from the Vatican asking him to recant his support or face excommunication, said Bourgeois. Bourgeois said he has not recanted.

He didn't just attend, but participated in the ordination service. He's the guy in the picture accompanying this post. Anyway, Bourgeois has since publicly acknowledged his excommunication, which the Vatican views as automatic if you flout church teaching in the manner that Bourgeois did.

Read the whole thing if you want. Sometimes I joke that these articles attempt to paint women seeking ordination as Rosa Parks archetypes. This article literally includes that reference. Still, the competition for the best worst is fierce and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution will have to include more errors and cliches if they want to be a serious contender.

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