For some journalists, the only good and interesting nun….

… is a former and now dissenting nun:

For Diane Dougherty, it is a way to live up to her calling and to challenge the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. It is a hierarchy that Dougherty maintains is sexist. Though not recognized by the Vatican, the Coweta County resident and longtime former nun will be ordained next week and will become the first female Catholic priest in Georgia. (

An Atlanta woman, a former nun, is seeking to change the Roman Catholic Church, realizing that what she will get her excommunicated from the Church. On Saturday Diane Dougherty is going to be ordained as a priest, not in the Catholic Church, but in an organization called The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. It is an international organization that the Church condemns. (

A former nun is taking a big leap of faith, preparing to become the first female Catholic priest in Georgia. “I’ve had a calling and I’ve known since I’ve been in the seventh grade,” Diane Dougherty told Channel 2’s Sophia Choi. She’ll be ordained this Sunday at Atlanta’s First Metropolitan Community Church by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. No Catholic church will have her, as it goes against the religion. Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory said ordaining women “brings division and fractures unity in the church.” (

A metro Atlanta woman is set to be ordained as Georgia’s first female Catholic priest on Saturday. However, the Roman Catholic Church says she will be excommunicated because the church doesn’t recognize women priests or the ordination service that she will participate in. Diane Dougherty says that as a former nun and parochial school teacher, she is very familiar with the rules of the Roman Catholic Church. The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain her. Dougherty said that she knows she is about to make both history and enemies. (

And so forth and so on. Of course, the Washington Post published Dougherty’s story, which is all victimhood and grievances, with at least five references to the heinious evil of “clericalism”. I put it in scare quotes because her definition of clericalism is a bit self-serving. And, at times, quite vague. For instance:

What I felt, but did not have words to describe, was the growing politic of clericalism creeping throughout the South by the strategic appointment of bishops and priests.

Oh. This statement sheds a bit more light on the matter:

I saw that from generation to generation clericalism’s all-male-elite hierarchy dominates Catholicism. It acts as a virus, spreading through healthy people and communities, dividing them, setting one person or group against another, working to make the group smaller and easier to control. It superimposes its self-made rules on the gospel confusing the people of God. Because it is male dominated, women and educated laity are a threat to the culture and their influence must be minimized. Once named, I realized one could not reason, collaborate, negotiate, challenge or control it.

“Clericalism”, for the former nun, is an all-male priesthood. Which means, I suppose, that Jesus was all about “clericalism”. This is not to deny that actual clericalism is not a problem; it is, and it probably always will be. But guess what? Laitism is also a problem, even if isn’t an actual word. The primary symptom of laitsm, at least in recent times, is rebellion against Church doctrine (also known as “heresy”), refusal to carry out the vocation of laity in the world (something “Lumen Gentium” speaks strongly about), and an unhealthy belief that democracy trumps dogma (see “modernism”). There are other qualities as well, but those are notable. “Clericalism” is also, for the former nun, another word for sexism:

“I am choosing to make a stand against sexism, an illness that is killing the very heart of our church,” Dougherty said. ”I do not want the children of the next generation to believe this is what God would have them do. I do not want little boys to grow up believing they are somehow ‘better’ than girls. Nor do I want little girls growing up to believe God would never call them into the fullness of discipleship because they are women. Separate but equal has been proven to be a false foundation for any culture and most particularly, any religion.”

And so the lines are drawn. Actually, the Church teaches what might be called “distinct but equal” when it comes to the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of all believers. The equality, however, is rooted in baptism and Christ’s call to discipleship, not in secular notions about gender and political-correctness. It is the same with marriage: men and women are distinct but equal, and marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in matrimony, monogamous and complimentary. Christ is male, and the Church, the Bride of Christ, is female. And so forth. The point being that trying to assert a false equality through eliminating God-given differrences only leads to more conflict, more strife, and more division. Dougherty’s use of “separate” is badly misleading; it is part and parcel of a feminism that seeks to empower women by eroding what is truly feminine and unique about women. (Which is why many radical feminists who claim to be Catholic have a startling disdain for the Blessed Virgin Mary.)

Finally, something that strikes me as quite interesting is how journalists who normally wouldn’t bother with anyone claiming to have a direct line to God’s heart and mind, will soak it up when it comes to women seeking “ordination”:

“If God calls, you have to respond,” Doughtery says, never more certain that her mission is divinely inspired and led. “So I’ve said I’m not leaving Catholicism, I’m just going to lead it in a different direction.” … “I’m saddened by the Archbishop and the notions he has that women cannot be priests,” Dougherty says, “because it’s Christ who gives the calling, and if Christ gives the calling and a woman has the calling, and they say we can’t do this, then it’s almost idolatry, because how do they know God would or God wouldn’t?”

The hubris here is astounding: “I’m just going to lead it in a different direction”! What other group of people can claim such supernatural powers and get this sort of fawning coverage? (Yes, I can think of few. But I’ll stop for now.)

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About Carl E. Olson 1233 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.