Priestess with the leastest (sense of discretion)

It is making great headway in the blogosphere and beyond: the priestette who has a sticker on the back of her car with the acronym “wtfwjd?”.

The vicarette might get a shock with what Jesus could do to her.

Heaven knows what the Hebrew sticker on the right says! Anybody?

It is, of course, a play on the (in)famous acronym “WWJD?”, or “what would Jesus do”, which has been oh-so-wittily combined with the even more infamous acronym, “WTF?” meaning “What the ****?”… you get the idea.

You can read the article in the Mail as linked above to see her specious defence based on Anglo-Saxon and other such bumf. You can also see the several photos for which she posed, dressed in a way that clearly harmonizes with her approach in sporting the sticker.

The Irreverend Alice Goodman

The Irreverend Alice Goodman

She combines a full Roman collar with tight black jeans. The garb does not flatter this 54-year old in any way, not least in reflecting her pastoral methodology. Her sticker and her garb, and her apologia indeed, betray that married to her desperate need to be modern, relevant and attention grabbing, is an equally pronounced lack of discretion and abundance of ego. I am long past blushing at the f-word (I worked for the Police for 3 years after all), but that any Christian (let alone clergy) can even think of using the f-word in conjunction with the Most Holy Name of Jesus is staggering. Such indiscretion beggars belief, and must surely cast into doubt her pastoral practice in whatever poor parish she has been inflicted upon.

She cannot help herself in the Mail’s interview. She is quoted as saying,

‘I would suggest that anyone who thinks it is inappropriate should get out a little more.(‘)

We might suggest that she get out a little less, as she must frequenting some very rough pubs indeed. She might the better spend her time reading a little more scripture, sound spiritual masters and the most effective evangelists and catechists. She might learn something.

May the Lord forgive her.

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33 thoughts on “Priestess with the leastest (sense of discretion)

  1. fitzrufus says:

    Roman collars with jeans should just never happen, regardless of age, status or grocery habits. Just, I mean, um, no.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      Quite.

      In Rome I saw a lot of young priests dashing about in modern clerical shirts (with tunnel collars) and jeans. I thought it tasteless but it did not offend me so much since at least it was a piece with their age. That said, I thought it also rather suggested a minimalism in observance, as if they were saying “At least we are wearing collars, yes?!” But to be fair, in the Roman heat I can forgive the need to claw some comfort from the climate.

      Perhaps I have hardened with age….

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  2. JamesM says:

    And yet another example of how far from Christianity the “church of England” has fallen.

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  3. Fidelis Cygnus says:

    Going off piste a little, the body language of the woman ‘Priest’ the second photo is almost the perfect example of one of the points I raise when I am having a moan about the ordination female ‘priests’. It’s a very provocative pose almost suggesting her thoughts are “I’m a woman, I’m ordained and there is nothing you can do about it. I’ll do what I like!” We hear constantly that the ordination of women is not a feminist issue! I just don’t accept that. I have stumbled a couple of times upon the dreadful, dreadful website of the hideously heretical womenpriest movement and in most of the ‘ordination’ photos the women have their hands raised in triumph. Lets think about that word for a minute. Triumph! not acting in a manner of humble acceptance of the path that Christ has chosen them for (but of course he absolutely hasn’t let’s be clear about that!). It is a triumphant gesture over Rome and every good Catholic that follows the teaching of Christ and the Church faithfully. It’s just appalling and this women is another example of that. I don’t hate women in any way shape or form I just believe that He is the Christ, the son of the Living God and he doesn’t make mistakes! Jesu Domine.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      The mere fact that they can think that they are “ordained” in defiance of Christ’s vicar and the successors to the apostles is evidence enough of their totally deficient concept of ordination. For them it is about power, and power is something one can grab and hold, even by force. For the Church ordination is about leadership in service, and service is something that is offered, never forced.

      These women have constituted themselves their own authority, acting unilaterally and still pretend to be the Church. This is nothing new. It is called Protestantism. So see the Wymynpriest coven as just another Protestant sect. One you do, you can ignore them. By the look of their age profile they have barely a decade left as a movement of any consequence.

      So the Irreverend Alice Goodperson is in the right place: a dying Protestant sect. Not very ecumenical I know, nor very sensitive. But is not this the bottom line?

      Let’s pray for her and her ilk.

      Pax.

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    • fitzrufus says:

      Your use of the phrase ‘body language’ helped me identify something else that had struck me about the piece and the photos, although it had been ‘under the surface’ somewhat.

      In typing this I’m aware I’m going to come across as an enormous prude, and not a little bit hypocritical. At least I can learn from myself… :)

      There are three photos of – er, I’m not even sure how to refer to her. Mrs. Hill? There are three photos of her in the article. They’re all posed, and in two of them we can see how she’s standing. She’s not standing up straight, but slouches on one hip, or leans on an arm.

      Here’s the leap which will label me as a maniacal repressed bitter old lady: I posit that such stances, certainly in more exaggerated forms, are about emphasising body shape. Making a deal of one’s figure almost.

      Which is something a bit weird from a married lady and a (so-called) priest. A married couple can surely show off their, ahm, assets to one another (falling into lust notwithstanding). But why stand in such a way for a photo which so many people will see?

      Never mind someone claiming to be in receipt of the sacramental priesthood. This is someone who is (or claims to be) chosen and made worthy to stand in front of the terrible altar of Christ and humbly offer adoration on behalf of the rest of us. Should human attractiveness come into play here? How can a holy countenance exude from a priest if he’s also known for jutting his hips out?

      I’m in no way saying that Mrs. Hill does this deliberately. I’m not even claiming my thoughts have any kind of solid foundation! Perhaps it’s an effort on her part to be ‘approachable’ or something. Perhaps the Mail’s photographer asked her to stand so and she’s as uncomfortable with it as I would be.

      But there is such a thing as deportment, and it’s not about wearing sacks and hiding your figure (says she who has a figure that would defy any sack-attempt, ahem).

      Ok, this was a poorly-worded idea to begin with and it’s not getting any better. I’ll quit while I’m behind!

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        Well, you touch on something I felt it more discreet to avoid mentioning (an especially providential move given one hysterical reaction to the little I did say), and it is no bad thing that a woman raised the issue. But I tried to hint at it in my use of the word “posed”. All I will say is that I think you hit the nail on the head in exposing the full extent of her indiscretion.

        You are quite generous in offering that she might not have done so deliberately. I disagree; I think she was very deliberate, though perhaps unconscious of the reaction her poses might provoke in some. If she hasd been asked by the photographer to strike such a pose (not impossible at all) I still see little excuse for her – she is a big girl now and can say “no”!

        Pax.

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  4. I don’t know whether I want to scream or cry. See Father why I’ve wandered away, far away, from my anglican roots??!!—-she is a disgrace to any Christian order of clergy…let alone a disgrace to Christianity—-but I suppose I shouldn’t look at it like that. I wrote a post back in March based on names (What’s in a Name) and the lack of reverence that seems to be plaguing our society–from stickers of such ilk that adorns this woman’s car (I can’t call her a priest–ess) to the causal use of the name of Jesus used so often profanely.
    I marvel at the sheer wonder our Orthodox brothers and sisters use when reciting the Jesus prayer–the belief of the power that is in that name…as there is truly Holiness…and yet, sadly, so many in our society, such as this woman, just rattle it off as a word of frustration or in mockery—as to most, it is just another word.
    When Moses met God on Mt Horeb at the burning bush Moses asks who this is speaking to him from a bush that is burning yet is not consumed and the reply is “I AM WHO I AM” Those two words, “I AM” become the most powerful two words at that instant. Power in this most Holy of identities—-can this woman, cannot most people, see the importance of the name even of God?? Oh that she, who is supposedly Christ’s representative here on earth, but then again she is a she and that becomes a bit dicey but I won’t go there, does she hold any reverence whatsoever…..oh I am so so sad—-

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  5. fdsfasdfasd says:

    i’d rather pray for a rain on brimstone befall on her

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      I can understand the sentiment as a spontaneous reaction to a very silly woman. But really, our duty is to pray for her to come to her senses (which of course means, at the end of the day, that she renounce her collar and denomination, and enter the Christ’s Church). In the meantime we are justified also in praying that she does nothing more to dishonour the Holy Name.

      Pax.

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  6. Henry says:

    Alice Goodman can fairly be criticised for her language but to criticise a woman for her appearance or to belittle the ministry of another Christian is neither gentlemanly nor charitable. It may be acceptable in Australia but it is not acceptable in polite society in this country. Shame on you.

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      Actually, Henry, you should read more carefully. I was criticizing her choice of clothing, which given the number of poses she struck was obviously deliberate, very imprudent for a woman (or man) of her age, and reflected, as I said, her misguided pastoral approach.

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  7. Henry says:

    The Hebrew ‘tikkun olam’ means ‘repairing the world’. Not achieved by attacking people!

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    • Fidelis Cygnus says:

      Perhaps you might take your own advice?

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      You would do better to forego the emotive words, as they appear hysterical in the circumstances. If someone representing a Christian denomination does something un-Christian they deserve to be criticized. She has been criticized by many more than me – that should tell you something.

      Racism isn’t very nice, and is certainly very un-Christian too. Just saying.

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    • Athanasius says:

      I must disagree. I would be very interested to hear how you came to this translation. At best it could be translated as ‘fixed in eternity’, but is probably translated more accurately as ‘prepared for eternity’. I may look more closely at this and post something more comprehensive on my own blog – if I do I shall return here and let you know.

      I daresay Mrs Goodman would prefer the former translation as it begins with ‘f’. Either way, contrasting this with her other self-adhesive adornment, two words come to mind: ‘how’ and ‘ironic’.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        Hi Athanasius.

        Thank you for your clarification (Hebrew is a language I have only a microscopic acquaintance with, and its script foxes me totally). Your translation honours the sticker with more spirituality than is supplied by “repairing the world”, and infinitely more than its neighbouring sticker! That said, it seems not to reflect the true state of its owner.

        I should probably now remain silent on Ms Goodperson’s preference for the letter “f”: it might only encourage her if she reads such things.

        Pax!

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  8. Athanasius says:

    Hello Fr.

    Yes, it may indeed be a source of encouragement to dwell on this letter.

    Hebrew script really does throw one at first – it’s more like drawing than writing when you first begin – but the ‘alien-ness’ of it actually assists in picking it up after the initial reaction. I studied both Anglo-Saxon and Old Icelandic as an undergraduate and, although my native tongue itself is English, and thus also Germanic, Hebrew is much easier.

    I wonder if Mrs Goodman knows what her Hebrew sticker actually says? Perhaps some unscrupulous graphics salesman told her it said ‘My other car is a f@#’#@ Rolls Royce?’

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  9. Father, I know you are wanting to put this little conversation to rest— I am, however, rather troubled by reading through the latest thread of conversation–with considerable attention being placed on Ms Goodman and of her appearance, etc–I find it sadly interesting that the true issue, which was initially the profane sticker on the car, which certainly repels me as a Christian and attempts to desecrate the very name of Jesus, is more or less tossed to the wayside–it is the sheer flippancy exercised by this “person of the cloth” and the careless attitude taken towards the name of and of the very person of our Savior and Lord, that she is taxed with extolling to the masses, which seems to be the real, sad and alarming issue that most readers seem to be missing. Praying without ceasing and moving forward we shall.
    Blessing to you—Julie

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    • fitzrufus says:

      Julie, I cannot speak for Fr., of course, but I will beg his indulgence in adding a comment here.

      I think your concern – that an ill-treatment of the Holy Name be eclipsed by musings on Mrs. Hill’s appearance – in some way strengthens the very point made, albeit indirectly, above. Were she dressed and standing modestly, perhaps people would more readily give serious thought to her arguments. But her appearance in the article distracts from that; it almost invites a reader of the original article to comment on herself rather than the issue at hand.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        Thanks for your post, and sorry to Julie – been distracted these last few days.

        Yes, things did seem to veer too much towards Ms Goodman’s appearance. You make a good point that she seems to dress deliberately in such a way as to distract from whatever point she was trying to make (and I am yet to see any vaguely reasonable point to her displaying that sticker).

        But I would suggest that both the sticker and her mode of dress reflect the seem underlying factor: that Ms Goodman’s main interest is herself. Call it self-promotion, hey-I’m-cool, liberated Christian … whatever. Her main statement is about herself. When the main issue for a clergyman or evangelist is oneself then only trouble can follow.

        Pax.

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  10. Amen!!—a person of the cloth—if memory serves, is to be a representative of Christ here one earth—as all Christians are small representatives, it’s just that the clergy seems taxed with more of that responsibility. The picture of Ms. Goodman, the picture of her car with the most “lovely” sticker, both not only make me want to run in the opposite direction but simply reinforces why I (who just so happens to be of the female persuasion) do not support women in the priesthood of either Catholic, Anglican or any other denomination or church—-and when a woman does unfortunately feel justified by taking on such a position, at least, please, be humble and serving and nurturing of a flock–not arrogant, boastful, a braggart, attention seeking…which defeats the whole shepherding, proclaiming the One True Gospel and feeding of the lambs responsibilities….I could go on and on but I don’t think this Ms Goodman is worthy of such…
    blessings to all—
    Julie

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  11. Cathy Wattebot says:

    Dear Hugh,
    Speaking as a woman, your remarks here about Alice Goodman’s style come over to me as at once ad feminam, designed to belittle by physical remarks and also quite incredibly outdated. The last person I heard until now commenting negatively on women in trousers was born in 1905, and I feel he had some excuse as being past adjusting to new dress conventions. Women have been wearing jeans for many decades, and I can’t for the life of me see anything special about the ones in the picture above. We could comment on the day to day clothing and appearance of priests and bishops of whatever sex, but that would not be very courteous.
    As to what you raise about language and dress conventions and ministry, perhaps we need to remember that Jesus mixed very freely with people of all classes, welcoming all, and there is no record of his commenting on edgy idioms or dress codes. I don’t feel convinced either that using the term “priestess” conveys the respect we owe to all our sisters and brothers.
    Blessings, Cathy

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      Whether you are a woman or not is immaterial to me, and it is immaterial to any argument about Alice Goodman’s antics. You speak as a woman – so what? Likewise your reference to our Lord mixing with all classes of people is irrelevant to the matter at hand. In the even he certainly never used a profanity, least of all with the Name that could not even be uttered in prayer by Jews!

      You obviously did not read either my post or my subsequent comments very carefully. Her wearing trousers was not my focus. Jeans are inappropriate when paired with a clerical collar, be it on a man or a woman. And my point is not that a woman is wearing jeans; it is that a supposed cleric is wearing them as some form of appropriate clerical garb. That was my point, which on re-reading the post is pretty clear enough. You have read into what I wrote an anti-female meaning which is present only in your mind.

      My other and principal point about her garb was that it was consistent with her gross irreverence to the Holy Name of Jesus. To criticize her for her grossly inadequate pastoral practice is not to disrespect her. In the event I gave her far more respect that she gave to the Holy Name,and far more than she deserved.

      Priestess? That is the proper feminine noun for her supposed state in life. Calling something by its honest name is not disrespect either. She is not a priest and never can be, so I will never call her one. In that I reflect Catholic teaching for which I make no apology. If it is disrespect to name the truth that she is not a priest, then so be it.

      Pax.

      Fr Hugh

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      • Fidelis Cygnus says:

        The Church cannot give in to the howling discontent of secularism and the ‘pretestant movement’ within Christ’s Church regarding the ordaination of women because they simply do not have the authority to do so. This, I believe, was confirmed by JPII and more recently Francis. Sure the dead horse has been sufficiently flogged?
        Also, I wouldn’t dream of calling a member of the clergy by their first name without the correct clerical prefix unless permission was specifically given (even then I would be extremely hesitant to do so). I think its extremely disrespectful. Just my own opinion.

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      • Fr Hugh says:

        Indeed there must be no flesh left on the decayed corpse of women’s ordination (actually, it never had life, so perhaps a better image is of a mannequin which has had the stuffing flogged out of it). But it is still live as a secular issue, and nothing affronts the world more than when religion will not yield to its ‘enlightened’ demands.

        I had determined not to comment on the amazing liberty of calling me by my first name alone. This is partly because if I were to do so I would be open to accusations of obsessing about titles and status etc. Of course, the true liberal believes there is no distinction between priest and layperson, and certainly no ontological difference (despite the clear teaching of the Church). Using my first name cuts me down to size, as it were. It is also partly because I am so used to liberties, in fact outright rudeness, from the liberated that it does not really register any more. But to be sure I was always taught as a boy that you never used anyone’s first name without first being invited to do so (unless it were another child). As for clergy, yikes – never! In fact there are still some Jesuits who taught me whom I call “Father”: they do not object and I do not give it a second thought, so fitting is it.

        How times change…

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      • Fidelis Cygnus says:

        Hi Father,
        For some reason there has developed a distinct lack if protocol in the correct address of the Clergy, particularly where Bishops are concerned.

        I know certainly in our Diocese there are many people who call Bishop Philip. ‘Father’. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that Crispian was very informal but this really does make me cringe. I see Bp Philip on a fairly regular basis and always call him ‘My Lord’ as well as ALWAYS showing the correct reverence by kissing his ring (which many people do surprisingly enough in this day and age!) and wonderfully he is totally comfortable with it. In fact he always make sure his right hand is always free to allow this to happen.
        There is, however, a general feeling among some at the Cathedral that this is very antiquated and quaint and that he should be called Father. Worse still when Cardinal Murphy-O’Conner and Archbishop Nichols were visiting both were called Father almost constantly (except by me and my Wife I might add!)
        What’s happened to us!?! If it were a member of the Royal Family nobody would think twice about bowing/curtsying and using the correct form if address.

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  12. Cathy Wattebot says:

    Dear Hugh
    Just a quick note. My meaning was that women are more practised at noticing language which belittles females since they are more often on the receiving end of it. I am sorry that you feel you have to pick up peripheral aspects of a woman priest’s practice perhaps to defend your belief that women cannot be ordained. It is a matter on which there is for now no agreement among Roman Catholics, and the fact that our previous Pope himself broke the silence he had requested on this matter last year encourages further prayer and discussion.
    Blessings, Cathy

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    • Fr Hugh says:

      I can accept that women can be more sensitive to language, but that can make some perceive slights that are not actually there.

      That women cannot be ordained is not “my” belief, it is the Church’s clear, explicit and unbroken doctrine. Pope Francis upheld that teaching if you read all of what he said rather than only the bit you liked. It cannot be changed and advocating the impossible is not only disobedient but plain destructive and downright stupid. Whether some who call themselves Catholics disagree is irrelevant as doctrine is not decided by popular vote, thank God. Pope Francis is trying to get those women who cannot accept that they can never be priests to let go and think creatively on how they can best serve the Church (yes, SERVE) rather than sell their souls to a secular power paradigm.

      Fr Hugh

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