I had read the Decree of Extra-Judicial Adjudication in the matter of Sr. Louise Lears when it first was promulgated on the 26th of June. However, a reader who read it in the St. Louis Review, where it was published last Friday, pointed out some very intriguing language that raises an interesting question about Sr. Lears.
On page 2, the Archbishop’s decree states, in its recitation for the considerations requiring the decree, in relevant part:
“Considering:… 2) that anyone …who publicly, as a woman, imposes hands on another woman, in reply to the invitation extended to ordained ministers to do so…
Now, this language prompts some reflection. The decree recites this consideration as a reason for its issuance. Therefore, it suggests (at the very least) that Sr. Lears laid hands on McGrath and Hudson in the fake ordination ceremony. So far, this is not surprising. Progressives seem to like to lay hands on people and give blessings in all sorts of situations.
However, if Sr. Lears came forth and imposed her hands on the sorta-nands after an invitation to “ordained ministers” to do so was issued, it raises the question: Was Sr. Lears the subject of an attempted ordination herself?
In one sense, of course, someone might consider herself an “ordained minister” if she has a particular ministry assigned to her (like DRE, or “pastoral team” member) and thus she was “ordained” in a general sense to fulfill this ministry.
Or she might have been the subject of an attempted “ordination” to the priesthood herself.
While the language does raise suspicion on this front, it is certainly not conclusive. If there were proof of a public ceremony ordaining Sr. Lears one would presume the decree would have specifically covered it, and that the penalty would be more severe than interdict.
Unless Lears herself comes forward to address the issue or someone who may have witnessed something relevant does instead, we cannot know for sure. Perhaps someone close to her will give this information to NCR.
In the meantime, I spoke with Aisha Taylor, the Executive Director for the Women’s Ordination Conference, and asked her if she were aware of any putative ordination of Sr. Lears. She said there was no public putative ordination of Sr. Lears of which she knew. When I asked her if there may have been a private ceremony, she very politely suggested that I ask Sr. Lears, but she knew of none.
It is just a question. But one, I think, worth asking.