Mike Crosby Vatican ll giant

Croosby

Although I am hard to find on Facebook, I am there if anybody wants to find me…and marvellous in the telling, several former students to my delight have found me. Johnny Quinn, the inttrepid Scouser posted a story last week on a rare visit to the site that shook me up. It was the death of my friend Mike Crosby, the prophetic Capuchin priest who expired with remarkable grace on August 5.

When in June doctors informed Crosby that their attempts to control the cancer in his body were failing, he described himself in a letter to friends as “surprisingly am embracing” the diagnosis that he only had several months left to live.

I have no fear of dying; in fact I must admit … I actually prefer to depart from this form of my life sooner than later; I believe in heaven. I am at peace and very thankful for this peace.

“I’ve tried to follow Jesus all my life as a Capuchin, and you have been part of this journey; for you I am so grateful,” Crosby wrote in a letter to friends. “I wait in joyful hope what is in store for me. Pray that I’ll be faithful.”

 

Mike was the quintessential Vatican ll priest, an author of over a dozen books which fused biblical justice and spirituality. These books are well marked in my library.

 

CEL

Mike was a brave but gentle prophet who refused to stop speaking  in the ice age of John Paul ll and Benedict XVI. These misguided leaders destroyed a lot of theological reputations but they never broke Mike’s spirit. One fanatic bishop would find out where he was giving one of his conferences and try to have him cancelled.
Like his master, he was always in trouble. He challenged the near dogmatic ruling of JP ll that celibacy was forever and not a discipline which could be (and should be) changed.

“We still have to worship a God that the Vatican says ‘wills that women not be ordained.’ That god is literally ‘unbelievable.’ It is a false god; it cannot be worshiped. And the prophet must speak truth to that power and be willing to accept the consequence of calling for justice, stopping the violence and bringing about the reign of God.”

Not only did Mike say this in open but he said it to popes:

For example, when he first oversaw the release of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Nov. 18, 1995, declaration by Pope John Paul II regarding the non-ordination of women, he sent Cardinal Ratzinger a letter outlining some of the reasons why he did not believe his rationale about God’s will and women’s non-ordination. he wrote:

I find it illogical, inconsistent and ill-conceived to argue that because Jesus didn’t choose women to be his apostles that anyone can thus conclude that, in that given milieu, he intended this in a way to exclude them from full leadership in the future. Also, to argue that such a “non-choice” represents not only the will of the Jesus of history but of the Christ of our faith in whom there is neither male nor female appears to me even less convincing. Finally, somehow to make a conclusion that this is the actual will of our God (in whom there is no exclusiveness) is beyond my comprehension.

I never received a response.
Afterward

Womenp

 

Afterward, when Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI and reiterated virtually the same statement about God’s will being that women not be ordained, I again privately wrote him my disagreement. I explained respectfully why I could not believe in such a God, especially when the God of my belief has been revealed to be a Trinity of equals who has made male and female to be Trinitarian in the way God is Trinitarian (see Mt. 5:48). I also summarized in that letter my theological rationale for my nonacceptance of his declaration that it is God’s will that women not be ordained, even though I think right now might not be the time for women’s ordination because of some significant local churches’ cultural bias against women in such a role.
I wrote:

Next, I addressed the argument he made as a cardinal in 1997 that he reiterated as pope:

… the teaching that “the church has not been given the power” to ordain women. This seems to belie Matthew 28:16-20 as well as the fact that “the church” was never given the power to limit priesthood in the Latin Church to celibates in a way that restricts the pool of sincere men and women for priesthood and the laity for capable and equipped ministers.

Although my letter described my deeply held faith concerns about his teaching, I received not even as much as a note acknowledging receipt of my letter, much less its contents.

 

Because of such a nonresponse to these and other communications I have sent to the Vatican in the last 15 years,

 

Repair

I decided to make some of them public in my recent book, Repair My House: Becoming a “Kindom” Catholic (Orbis, 2012). Furthermore, given the recent actions of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Bishop Blair, I believe my private dissent on the issue of women’s full equality in our patriarchal, clerical church should be made public lest any perceived silence on the matter by clerics like me might be construed as consent.

Thus, I reiterate here what I wrote in those letters above,

A blessing to have called this courageous man a friend.

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1 Comment »

  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    The really disappointing part about this story is the fact that so few Catholic lay people will not recognize this man.

    We have an uneducated laity that has diminished in numbers but still pays, prays and obeys.

    The Catholic Church after 500 years is still no closer ecumenically to the Protestant world and even more light years away from other world religions.

    The Berrigans, Day, Merton to name a few will go down in history as Church reformers. Most Catholics today would never recognize these names.

    Crazy sad world. An institutional church suffering from an abuse of power. A poor educated Argentinian leader surrounded by male authoritarian trained seals who have no intention of relinquishing their power or authority.

    In time, just as we are seeing across the Canadian continent, local Canadian priests will be a thing of the past as the Church we once knew becomes obsolete and without meaning.


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