On July 20, 2011, Cal Catholic reported on the habit of Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill (east of San Francisco, just north of Walnut Creek) to celebrate the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, whose feast day is July 22, as a new High Holy Day. That designation was given in Christ the King’s July 17, 2011 parish bulletin by Father Brian Joyce, pastor of Christ the King. On May 16, 2011, Cal Catholic had reported that Women of Magdala had hosted house Masses performed by Roman Catholic “women priest” (and open lesbian) Victoria Rue.
The Christ the King bulletin of July 14, 2013 includes the entry: “Mary Magdalene Celebrations-CTK Parishioners are invited to two celebrations of the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene on Monday July 22: A Mass and Breakfast at Christ the King beginning at 8 am and Women Working Together, a gathering at St. Perpetua Parish at 7 pm the same evening. Both are open to all. At Christ the King, Mass 8 am, presider Father Joyce, homilist Kate Doherty, breakfast afterward in Ministry Center dining room. At St. Perpetua, 7 pm, presentation (“Women Working Together”) by Professor Gina Hens-Piazza of Santa Clara U & GTU Berkeley, plus a brief scripture study and video prayer service.”
Readers with long memories will remember that on May 27, 2011 Father Joyce’s pastor’s message contained an excerpt from a letter of Father John Kasper, pastor of St. Perpetua, in which he wrote “I believe that one of the struggles in the current controversy is the reluctance, even fear, on the part of a male hierarchy to open itself to the voice and experience of women.”
It’s more likely that the fear on the part of the “male hierarchy” is for the loss of souls. Since Cal Catholic’s first article on the Women of Magdala, one of their members, Maureen Mancuso, has been ordained as a deacon and then as a womanpriest in the association of Roman Catholic Womanpriests. The ordination caused Mancuso’s immediate excommunication from the Catholic Church. Prior to her ordination Mancuso had served as an RCIA instructor at Christ the King.
Another church which makes a habit of turning the Feast of St. Mary Magdala on its head is San Francisco’s St. John of God. The July 21, 2013 parish bulletin for St. John of God contains this entry: “Mary of Magdala July 22, 2013. As is our custom here at St. John of God, we celebrate the memorial of St. Mary Magdalene on Monday, July 22. Mary Magdalene was the first witness of Christ’s resurrection and the “Apostle to the Apostles.”
The entry then offers a number of scripture references, and lists a series of woman whose actions are described in the Old and New Testament, then says: “The source of this material is the book WomanWord, written by Miriam Therese Winter, Medical Mission Sister, Crossroads Publishing Company.”
Winter is also the author of Out of the Depths: the Story of Ludmila Javorova, Ordained Roman Catholic Priest. Not coincidentally, the Christ the King parish bulletin of August 28, 2011 publicized a three-part study session which the parish would be holding on Out of the Depths, the Story of Ludmila Javorova.
Like Christ the King, St. John of God seems to be positively encouraging women to excommunicate themselves. In the past the church has allowed the Catholic Women’s Advocacy Group to host events on its property. The group’s statement of principles never makes an outright demand for women’s ordination, instead offering euphemisms (“Women and men are called to equal roles in Church ministry… Support women as they work toward full acceptance in the Catholic Church….Speak out in favor of women’s rights in church and society”).
But the organization’s mailing address is the same as that of Maria Eitz. As Cal Catholic reported on July 3, 2012, Eitz, a member of St. John of God’s liturgy committee, was ordained deacon on June 23, 2012. Following the ordination her name was removed from the liturgy committee roster on the St. John of God website. Since that time, Eitz has also been ordained a womanpriest. Like Mancuso, Eitz’s ordination caused her immediate excommunication from the Catholic Church.