Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Real Reformer

If today were not a Sunday, we would be celebrating the feast of St Catherine of Siena, Dominican Tertiary and Doctor of the Church.  In Europe, we honour her particularly as one of our patrons. 

Catherine, as you known, is one of the Church's most remarkable figures, and one of her most dynamic reformers.  Her life and career undermines the radical feminist charge that all women in the Catholic Church were oppressed.  She also shows how a woman can work and have an influential role in the Church without having to be ordained.  Interestingly in all the debates I have had with those seeking the ordination of women, they never refer to Catherine, or, funnily enough to St Teresa of Avila, or St Bridget of Sweden. I wonder why.

Anyway, as reform is on everyone's lips at the moment, and as the Holy Father has reminded us recently that authentic reform cannot come from dissent, and as some dissident priests are being investigated here in Ireland, it might be no harm to look at the life, teaching, and sanctity of one of the great reformers.  There is an excellent article on St Catherine in the Catholic World Report which is worth reading.

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