Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Pope Benedict Embraces Anglican Traditionalists, Impact on women priests and women bishops

Ordination of RCWP women bishops in California (historical note: A male Roman Catholic bishop with apostolic succession/in full communion with the pope, ordained Bishops Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Patricia Fresen, who in turn ordained our women bishops in Europe and the U.S., making our ordinations valid, but in violation of an unjust canon law that discriminates against women.)

VATICAN CITY — "In an extraordinary bid to lure traditionalist Anglicans en masse, the Vatican on Tuesday announced that it would make it easier for Anglicans who are uncomfortable with their church’s acceptance of women priests and openly gay bishops to join the Roman Catholic Church."

My Comment:
This latest decision by the Vatican appears to set up more "personal ordinariates" in communion with the Roman Catholic Church similar to the Byzantine Rite which retains their own Eastern liturgy, prayers, and practices such as a married priesthood etc.

One positive outcome: This Vatican action sets a precedent that one day can be used for the acceptance of Roman Catholic Womenpriests. (my guess: twenty years or less, see yesterday's post for a creative hopeful view of this total transformation which of course will adopt our RCWP inclusive liturgies!)

Right now, there is no doubt about the hostile attitude of the Vatican toward women priests and openly gay bishops. I don't understand this negative attitude toward gays when so many Roman Catholic priests and bishops are gay. Read Monsignor Cozzens' book, http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_0_13?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=sacred+silence&sprefix=Sacred+silenc

This Vatican outreach to married Anglican priests will certainly expand the married Catholic priesthood, but what about our married Roman Catholic priests? After all, Peter was married. Why does the Vatican insist on this mandatory discipline? Jesus didn't require celibacy of his male or female disciples. There are over 25,000 married Catholic priests in the U.S. alone. This is an injustice to them. Unless, the pope is going to dispense with this rule, and this is his prelude.

Other major questions: what impact will the Vatican's embrace of Anglican Tradtionalists have on relations between the two churches and how will it affect the Anglican-Roman Dialogue? Will it be a major setback or for the Anglicans a solution to a vexing series of problems?

George Pitcher stated in his article in the Telegraph, can this be seen as a positive step: "Pope Benedict has thrown them a timely lifeline. He has also thrown one to Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury. The issue of women bishops, approved by the Church of England’s Synod, was running into the sand, with a controversial proposal this month to impose a two-tier structure, with male bishops still having oversight in dioceses over those Anglicans who couldn’t accept women’s episcopacy. Women priests quite rightly resisted the suggestion that they would be second-class bishops."

Indeed, as my 85 year old Irish father, Jack, concluded after watching a news story tonight on the Pope's welcoming of Anglican Traditionalists into the Roman Catholic Church:"This is really blatant discrimination against women priests." Yes, Dad, among other things...!

Perhaps, many more open-minded, progressive Roman Catholics will decide that they want womenpriests now. One in ten Catholcs in the U.S. is a former Catholic. There are many faith communities without priests in the U.S,and this topic is definitely on the table! I am convinced that there are many women called to serve God and their communities as priests. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are ready to serve wherever there is a need. The world is our parish and our numbers are growing.

"The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.."Adrienne Rich.

Our challenge as women priests and bishops is to continue to follow Jesus' example of Gospel equality, form Christ-centered inclusive communities where all are welcome, and none are turned away from the Sacred Banquet. The story of the Samaritan woman demonstrates that everyone is invited to drink the living water and belong to the community of faith. There are no outsiders. All that is required is that we worship in spirit and truth. It is mind-blowing that Jesus revealed his identity as Messiah and who God is to an outsider, a foreigner, and a woman living with a man who is not her husband. In this encounter Jesus goes beyond the religious taboos of his time. He breaks the rules. In spite of all the negatives of her situation, Jesus chose the Samaritan woman to evangelize her town. This story challenges church leaders to break the bondage of patriarchy and sexism, and to follow Jesus' example by ordaining women as leaders in an inclusive church.

Justice is an issue for all- including women in all religious traditions. May Roman Catholic and Anglican womenpriests and bishops support one another as we make justice a reality for women in the church. I look forward to the ordination of Anglican women bishops. We are companions on a journey breaking our churches' glass ceilings!

Perhaps, we should be grateful to Pope Benedict, for heaping more coals on the fire for justice and equality for women in the church. Indeed, the full equality of women in all areas of life, including religion, is the call of God in our time!
Bridget Mary Meehan, rcwp


Catholic News Story:

BBC Report
Groups of Anglicans will be able to join the Roman Catholic Church but maintain a distinct religious identity under changes announced by the Pope.

"The measure, known as an Apostolic Constitution, was shown to leaders of the Church of England just two weeks ago.Under its terms announced by the Vatican, groupings of Anglicans would be able to join "personal ordinariates".

This would allow them to enter full communion with the Catholic church, but also preserve elements of the Anglican traditions including the possible use of Anglican prayer books."

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