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Boston Catholic Journal - Critical Catholic Commentary in the Twilight of Reason



A Strange Ritual during the Priestly Ordination of 11 Men in Boston May 25 2024

The Ritualization of Absurdity and

The Priestly Ordination of 11 Men in Boston May 25 2024
(click to view video)

the Priestly Ordination of 11 Men in Boston
by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, May 25, 2024


Some things are the explanation of a problem themselves without further comment. Others paint a much broader picture of a problem— not simply as instances of the problems themselves, but of the institutionalization — in this case, the ritualization — of the problem itself.

We do not know why the particular culture that was presented was chosen, nor why it was not (apparently) in English (it  certainly was not Latin). We do not know why it was accompanied by tropical drum beats, dancing, hooting, and hollering; why the ritual was exclusively enacted by women during the ordination of men, or what sacred significance the vegetation had that was waved by the dancing and singing women.

What we do know is that it had absolutely no place in the ordination of men to the priesthood and the conferring of Holy Orders. It has no place at a Mass — any Mass recognizable as Catholic.

At the end of the brief video, O’Malley suitably looks as clueless as you probably did when you first watched the video and wondered … what on earth?

What absurd, what strange ... what exotic memories will these young men also recall when they look back upon their ordination?


Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal

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