Saturday, March 28, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests:Clips of Liturgy/ Liturgical Dance at Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Liturgy



Sheila Carey, performs liturgical dance

at meditation after Communion:

Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic Community

Liturgy at St. Andrew Church in Sarasota, Fl.
March 28, 2009




Bridget Mary Meehan, co-presider with
Married priests: Michael Rigdon and Lee Breyer

On March 28, 2009, Mary of Mother of Jesus Catholic Community celebrated a liturgy that we would like to share with the world. In the following clips that up on youtube, you will get glimpses into our open, inclusive, enthusiastic, faith-filled community worship at St. Andrew Church in Sarasota, Florida. (UCC) Sheila Carey performed a beautiful liturgical dance at the meditation time after communion. Married priests Michael Rigdon and Lee Breyer co-presided with me/Bridget Mary Meehan, Roman Catholic Womanpriest. Our community prays together the consecratory prayers of the Eucharistic prayer and participates in a dialogue homily. Jack Meehan, my Dad, played a rousing edition of "When the Saints go marching in" as our recessional. Enjoy!!

Offertory Prayers

Communion

Liturgical Dance/Communion Meditation: Sheila Carey
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwvUKAsHxZ8

Recessional: Jack Meehan plays "When saints go marching in"

Friday, March 27, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Cloud of Witnesses Retreat

Another lovely poetic prayer inspired by Hildegard of Bingen by Mary Malone in Praying with the Women Mystics
p. 93

I Want Radiance

What Mary says to me is clarity;
I am muddled, confused, mumbling.
Mary, free me from my destructive ways;
I want your radiance.

What Mary says to me is “Be radical”:
Root yourself in the rich soil of humanity;
Your body, like that of a lily, is the container of joy.
Be deeply green and dazzlingly white.
Be radiant.

What Mary says to me is flight,
The soaring flight of birds in song.
Look up, listen, drink it in.
Go is overflying the world
From beyond the furthest stars.
In Mary’s arms God comes,
Greeting us eternally
With a kiss of heavenly peace.
Be flight.

Martyr or heretic? Bishop Morlino fires church employee over her beliefs

http://www.madison.com/

Link to "Why I am not a nun: an Open Letter to Apostolic Visitor, Mother Mary Clara Millea" by Kate Childs Graham

" Why I am not a nun: An Open Letter to Apostolic Visitor, Mother Mary Clare Millea, ASCJ "

by Kate Childs Graham

http://ncronline.org/blogs/young-voices/why-i%E2%80%99m-not-nun

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Cloud of Witnesses Retreat


Ordinations in Chicago 2008

To our RCWP USA sisters and brothers,

Good -Morning, Regina,
Thankyou for the list of our 6 incarcerated living saints and thousands martyred
Father Luis Barrios Presente
Therese Cusimano Presente
Sister Diane Therese
Pinochet OSA. Presente
Sister Dorothy Kazel (requescat in pace)
"Raped and murdered by soldiers
in el salvador who were trained at SOA"
Sister Dorothy Presente
Thousands of others Presente

Al Simmons Presente
Louis Wolf Presente

Thanks Regina. I will act by following the links you provided today.

Let us pray that our bishop-elect Regina Nicolosi and all of us have the courage of these saints with us. That we are willing to lay down our lives for the injustices we encounter and whose outcomes we embrace as we resists and protest for change. May we we recognize how deep and wide violence is within our church and worldwide throughout many systemic pathological constructions..Let us also remember that people often have choices and that we hold them accountabe as we hold ourselves accountable for how we will address the terrors of our times.

Let us pray that in RCWP we stand in solidarity together at all times so that we may become an empowered priesthood of women and men who bring transformative change in joy. Let us stay with our God and our Cloud of Witnesses from all time-- time past, present and in the future, and in the name of Jesus Wisdom Sophia embrace our holy destinies.

The music we start with first today, since we are honoring these saints is Johann
Sebastian Bach's "Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben

Most of us will recognize this as Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring.

As today is the Feast of the Annunciation you can expect a few more entries from the Cloud of Witnesses and more music as the day and evening goes by.

Much love,
RCWP Canada and Europe-West

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

An Open Letter to Ruth M. Kolpack and to all the women who have been or are being abused by Church Hierarchy

An Open Letter to Ruth M. Kolpack,
and all the women who have been or are being abused by Church Hierarchy

Dear Ruth,

You and I have never met. But I post this letter experiencing a profound sorrow and anger over the treatment that you received from the leader of your diocese, Bishop Robert Morlino. I know that many other Catholics and people of good will feel the same sorrow and anger.

Your Bishop summoned you for a 10 minute meeting in which you were never given an opportunity to defend your paper, indeed the philosophy which underlined the concepts of that paper. You were instead, told to denounce (renounce?) the ideas expressed in your paper and to take an oath of loyalty and orthodoxy.

But a request to denounce (renounce) the concepts expressed in your paper is in itself, an affront to orthodoxy. It would require you to renounce your freedom of conscience. That freedom of conscience is a gift from God, not from the Church. It is a gift given to all women and men---regardless of their race, color, gender, or creed (or lack of a creed). It is a gift that is your birthright as a human being. To denounce your paper (and your freedom of conscience) would be to deny your basic rights as a human being, the right to express your thoughts, in freedom, and as your life experience has formed them.

As far as orthodoxy is concerned, your Bishop should have known that freedom of conscience has always been defended in the Church. In the Decrees and Declarations of Vatican Council II, there is a document entitled “Declaration of Religious Freedom.” Paraphrasing from the document: ‘No one should ever be forced to act in a way that is contrary to his or her beliefs. No one is to be forced by other individuals, by social groups or by any other human power, to act against those rights. This right should be written into civil law as a basic human right everywhere on earth.’except in your diocese—and many others.

As experienced by many people, many women, and by you, Ruth, Primacy of Conscience is rarely preached by the hierarchy, and seldom if ever defended as a God-given right.

Our Church leaders preach a gospel of social justice, but always for the vast multitude, nameless and faceless. They preach for the people “out there.” It certainly is not applied to those who work within the Church---for those who have names and faces. It is not for the people who give so much of their time, energy, love and life to their ministries. For people like you, Ruth, there is none of that Justice that the Church preaches and proclaims so proudly, and practices so poorly. That is why church teaching on social justice rings hollow; It is not practiced at home.

Unlike your Bishop, Ruth, I read your thesis completely and I also noted your sources. I do not believe that your Bishop fired you on the basis on the thesis. The ideas you expressed did not spring up there a week ago Thursday, nor in 2003 when you submitted your work to St. Francis Seminary. The expressed concepts have been spoken in the Church for many years. And unless Bishop Morlino is a mental and theological Rip Van Winkle (asleep for 25 years) he has heard them before. The people who wrote the books and articles that you used for sources are theologians and scripture scholars who have not been silenced by the Church---they are still writing books. Elizabeth A. Johnson (one of the authors you used for source material) just completed another book before the end of 2008.

Instead, Ruth, your Bishop was prompted by frightened people (from your parish?) who have heard you speak or express comments that startled them, that shook their beliefs about God and how they think about God.

You wrote that, “the very celebration that invites us into communion with God and one another is adulterated with exclusive language.” These are scary words, terrifying ideas for those who want to cling to certitude and find security in conformism. Your anonymous ‘spies’ are fear-full.
They cannot control the events of their world, their nation, their economy, their city, and their front street, maybe not even in their families. But by golly, they will do all that they can to control superficial beliefs to which they have clung all of their lives, never having grown beyond conventional wisdom.

There is a sense of security in being a conformist—albeit a false one. Your pastor listened to these people and so did your Bishop, mistaking conformity with orthodoxy. The very concept of describing God as a woman, of using feminine words to describe God threatens the male chauvinistic model of hierarchical Church. God couldn’t possibly have feminine attributes! Not when the Church, whose leadership is comprised of men who use only masculine terms to describe God, tells us that the only correct pronoun to use in speaking of God is HE!

But the language that we use over and over again reveals our deepest held beliefs, values, and working principles. Ruth, as you have believed, written, and experienced it; Our Church does not value women very much. They can clean the church, cook for church dinners, decorate the church, keep house, mother children, visit the sick, and teach---but not be Church leaders. The Hierarchy does not view women’s ideas, experiences, their hopes and dreams as being as valuable as men’s. We certainly saw this in Africa as the Pope visited the bishops, priests, and leaders of the Muslims. He spoke about women’s rights but did not even consider speaking to the women, to the women who work in the parish churches, or to the women who are consecrated religious. After all, who are women?

Ruth, you ideas are considered dangerous by the head of your diocese, whose leadership style is replete with paranoia, is reactionary, and is adversarial. He apparently believes that acting as a bully is part and parcel of his God bestowed authority as an ecclesial leader. He is a pathetic example of the type of leadership that Jesus DID NOT encourage in his apostles. “Do not be as the great ones of the earth who lord it over those assigned to them….”

The ecclesial environment in your diocese is not peaceful, just, or a place for creative energizing. But it is selective, exclusive, and filled with suspicion. And women who are educated, who think, who act, who have the courage to believe that God can be proclaimed in a new way---are considered most dangerous.

Yet, in spite of all the degradation foisted upon women over the centuries, in the name of God, your paper concludes with the hope that women, women like you, Ruth, “will (continue to) expose the incongruity between what the Church says and what it does, and challenge it to take the next step to embrace the full dignity of all people.”

Ruth, never lose hope! Never lose hope for the future, because if hope for the future is lost, there will be no effort, no energy to do the hard work of the present, now.

May God, SHE WHO IS, be your support, your Mother, your Comfort, your Courage in the days, months and years ahead.

Love,
John Chuchman, MA
Pastoral Bereavement Educator and Companion
(Published with John Chuchman's permission)
poetman@torchlake.com and www.torchlake.com/poetman

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Cloud of Witnesses Retreat

Today let us continue our reflections and prayer and focus on Joan of Arc as one of our great saints. Here is an intercession that I found in Joan Chittister's book, Life Ablaze, A Woman's Novena. (pg. 13)
"God of Strength, may the spirit of fortitude that filled Joan of Arc fill the women [and men] of our day as well so that your will may come to pass whatever the situation and wherever the evil that seeks to deter it. Give us the courage to persist in the face of defeat and to continue in the face of weariness so that what you will for creation may, in the end, triumph over lesser goals."
Please enjoy this contemplative piece of music, and may the grace and love of our Creator God inspire you and our bishops elect with the same courage of Joan of Arc. Amen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtu2h-BROHQ&feature=related
Blessings and Light,
Jim Lauder
RCWP Canada West

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Cloud of Witnesses Retreat

Today let us continue our reflections and prayer and focus on Joan of Arc as one of our great saints. Here is an intercession that I found in Joan Chittister's book, Life Ablaze, A Woman's Novena. (pg. 13)
"God of Strength, may the spirit of fortitude that filled Joan of Arc fill the women [and men] of our day as well so that your will may come to pass whatever the situation and wherever the evil that seeks to deter it. Give us the courage to persist in the face of defeat and to continue in the face of weariness so that what you will for creation may, in the end, triumph over lesser goals."
Please enjoy this contemplative piece of music, and may the grace and love of our Creator God inspire you and our bishops elect with the same courage of Joan of Arc. Amen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtu2h-BROHQ&feature=related
Blessings and Light,
Jim Lauder
RCWP Canada West

Monday, March 23, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Cloud of Witnesses Retreat

To my sisters and brothers, as we continue our reflections, prayers and blessings in our Cloud of Witness I am honored to offer you some history of a most important saint, St. Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc was steadfast in her belief in her calling and she endured betrayal from clergy, coercion, and intimidation as well, that culminated in her most horrible death. Her story, reminds me that most of us in our communities have experienced forms of intimidation, rejection and certainly a great deal of mocking, but thankfully not horrible deaths! I believe Joan of Arc is an example of a courageous woman so resolute in her faith that we have much to learn from her.
Here is an overview of herstory.

“St. Joan of Arc was born at Domrémy, France circa 6 January 1412. Citing a mandate from God to drive the English out of France, she was eventually given an escort to bring her before Charles of Ponthieu (later known as King Charles VII). After gaining the approval of the Church scholars at Poitiers in March of 1429, she was granted titular command of an army which quickly lifted the siege of Orléans on 8 May 1429, captured Jargeau, Meung-sur-Loire, and Beaugency in mid-June, and defeated an English army at Patay on June 18. After accepting the surrender of the city of Troyes and other towns, the army escorted Charles to the city of Rheims for his coronation on July 17. An unsuccessful attack was made on Paris on September 8, followed by the successful capture of St-Pierre-le-Moutier on November 4. As a reward for her service, Charles VII granted her noble status along with her family on 29 December 1429. She returned to the field the following year, despite predicting her own defeat. Captured at Compiègne on 23 May 1430 and transferred to the English, she was placed on trial in Rouen by a selected group of pro-English clergy, many of whom nevertheless had to be coerced into voting for a guilty verdict. Convicted and executed on 30 May 1431, she was subsequently declared innocent by an Inquisitorial court on 7 July 1456 after a lengthy re-trial process which was initiated shortly after the English were finally driven from Rouen, thereby allowing access to the documents and witnesses associated with her trial. The presiding Inquisitor, Jean Bréhal, ruled that the original trial had been tainted by fraud, illegal procedures, and intimidation of both the defendant and many of the clergy who had taken part in the trial, and she was therefore described as a martyr by the Inquisitor. After the usual lengthy delay associated with the sluggish process of canonization, she was beatified on April 11, 1909 and canonized as a saint on 16 May 1920.”
http://www.joanofarc.info/


One of St. Joan’s replies to the ecclesiastical judges of Rouen:
"Everything I have said or done is in the hands of God. I commit myself to Him! I certify to you that I would do or say nothing against the Christian faith." Virginia Frohlick stjoan@nmia.com

A Prayer for Bishop Elect Joan Houk
Creator God we give you thanks for Joan, a woman of great courage, compassion and dignity called to be a bishop in our prophetic community. Keep her strong and give her every grace as she continues to offer her many gifts in service to all the people of God. Like St. Joan she has endured much, and as a result held firm in her faith and determination when she said, “we need to take a stand for women” who “are the image of God”. She said with conviction around the time of her ordination, “this is really why I have to do what I am doing.”
During this most sacred season of Lent help us remain firm in our faith and resolve to endure the challenges before us, as we like Joan Houk lead with boldness, not with blood and sword, but with love, non-violence and compassion in service to the all the People of God. Amen
Please enjoy this lovely ballad that honors Joan of Arc and also reminds us of the courage and leadership of Joan Hoak.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHcSxeVFAPE
Blessings and light to you Joan, and all our sisters and brothers on the Holy Road.
Jim Lauder, RCWP Canada West

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Report from Janice Sevre-Duszynska-United Nations 53rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women- March 2-13, 2009


Janice Sevre Duszynska's ordination to the priesthood on
Aug. 9, 2009 in Lexington, Kentucky, USA
Link to interview with Janice Sevre-Duszynska on radio;
http://www.weku.fm/tib.htm

Dear Community,

Finally a chance to reflect about the UN experience (53rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women - March 2-13, 2009). Dorothy Irvin and I were designated reps of St. Joan's International Alliance, a 98-year old Catholic feminist group. There were 2,000 registered participants and 5,000 gave input into the process.

The primary topic was "equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving within the context of HIV/AIDS."

We attended meetings of the CSW in which statements were given by the 45-member states that are part of the Commission as well as many parallel events held across the street at the Church Center. The latter were informative talks given by permanent missions at the UN as well as NGO organizations from around the world. Some of the talks we attended included the relationship between religion and reproductive rights, disarmament, research on HIV/AIDS, caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDs, gender equality, preventing violence against women, human trafficing and engaging men in sharing responsibility. What I want to emphasize is that many NGOs (women and men) are making the connections between sexism and religion and violence.

It was important to attend morning briefings, NGO caucuses and evening coordinating caucuses. Our days started very early and ended quite late. We organized and reviewed our efforts during our morning conversation on the bus, sometimes at lunch at the UN or at dinner.

Each day during the session, I gave out and posted information about RCWP and our book, the Fact Sheet on Women's Ordination and Top Ten 10 reasons to Ordain Women from Women's Ordination Conference (WOC), the postcards in which people pledge not to contribute another dollar to our Church until it ordains women and the address list for Church leaders. While I am familiar with the UN's legal efforts to promote women's rights as human rights and have had discussions about it over the years, the article by Kate Childs Graham in WOC's latest New Women/New Church about women's ordination, gender equality and international law was helpful as a summary of the process. RCWP Michele Birch Conery has also followed the advancement of gender equality and universal rights at the UN and is knowledgeable about the connections. Archaeologist and theologian Dorothy Irvin, a longtime member of St. Joan's International Alliance -- which has had NGO status at the UN since 1951 -- has repeatedly talked about the importance of women's groups to become NGOs at the UN to challenge the Vatican's discriminatory practices against the ordination of women and other critical issues affecting women, children and men.

Whenever the opportunity arose, I took the mike to speak about the movement. The response was enthusiastic. People clapped, some hugged me and asked for material -- which I always carried with me. (I made copies several times). When the women at the Latin American caucus did not show up, I started talking about the movement to the women who were gathering. They told me to take the mike. I spoke for about 10 minutes, answered a couple of questions and they all wanted the handouts.

At the Sunday Ecumenical Church service I waited until after the women who were scheduled to tell their stories had finished. Then before the song, "We got big ovaries," I hurried up to the front, took the mike, asked forgiveness for my big ovaries, and told the people gathered that I was an ordained RCWP and that the movement for women priests in the Roman Catholic Church had begun. I kept it short; people clapped enthusiastically and many asked for information. At the reception I walked around to chat and give out information. The women were eager to talk about our church and RCWP, ask questions and take the handouts.

On two occasions two different African women told me I was not a Roman Catholic because I was not following the Pope. I said I was not following the Pope because he does not follow Jesus. I also talked with a couple of women from Europe who asked why I would want to be a priest in the present Church. I explained to them that our movement didn't just add women and stir but rather that we incorporated the reforms we had talked about for so many years: We don't take vows of obedience to a bishop like male priests do but rather try to live with an informed conscience. We practice a servant priesthood (not a cult); we are worker priests. All are welcome at our table. We are a discipleship of equals and make our decisions in a circle. We are not a hierarchy.

I met reps from the School Sisters of Notre Dame, the Maryknolls, Sisters of the Good Shepherd, The Grail, and others. We exchanged email addresses with many NGOs At lunch we talked with UN government employees from all over the world..

Julianne from Belgium (originally from Belgian Congo) arrived for the second week. She will be the new president of St. Joan's International Alliance. She has prior experience with the UN at conferences in Geneva and in New York. She talked about what has been happening over the years in the Congo, the Sudan and elsewhere in Africa. She and a number of the European women are in in communication with African-based NGOs and are aware of what is happening to the people at the grassroots level. As she talked I asked myself why we in the U.S. are not as in touch with what is happening with our South American sisters and brothers.

Dorothy, Julianne and I held a preliminary caucus and then a regular one during the second week entitled "Religions (starting with your own) and Violence Against Women." We had a good gathering for each session: Presbyterians, Anglicans, Methodists, Roman Catholics and others. We shared stories and they expressed their support for RCWP. We were interviewed by UN Radio.

Dorothy and I learned the CSW process by asking questions and going through the experience as we were unable to be at the March 1st Orientation Day, which some of the women attended. Next year we will be better prepared to do advocacy with the U.S. Caucus as well as work on the draft outcomes document. In its final form, it is called the Agreed Conclusions and contains a set of recommendations for Governments, intergovernmental bodies, civil society actors and relevant stakesholders to be implemented at the international, national, regional and local levels. I hope others from our community will be with us at the next session in March 2010. To acquaint yourself with this process, visit
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/53sess.htm .

By the way, on the first day I collected many UN publications which have the latest research on women's issues.These were offered to us free. I got a box, filled it up and mailed it home from the U.S. Post Office at the UN. These documents will be useful as references.

While I did not get to read my 3-minute statement to the entire CSW Commission, I did read it to several hundred NGO delegates at our morning briefing. They clapped and came up for copies of the statement which follows. Another version is up on the WEKU. FM website for Women's History month and their "This I believe" program. Bridget Mary's essay is also up on their website.

Since he was out of the country, I did not meet Miguel d'Escoto, friend of Roy Bourgeois', suspended Maryknoll priest and President of the UN General Assembly. However, I did make contact with his assistant and had delivered to him a letter for d'Escoto with our various materials in the envelope, including SOA Watch's newspaper, "Presente." On p. 14 Roy speaks to the people of the SOA Watch Movement about his trouble with the Vatican and his support for women priests -- which he says is as important to him as closing the School of the Americas.

Many thanks to Gabriella Velardi Ward for all of her thoughtfulness. She introduced us to her community at a Saturday workshop she invited Dorothy and me to give. Dorothy showed photos on her computer from her calendars and spoke about the archaeological evidence for women's leadership in our church and I talked about my journey to the priesthood. Dorothy has asked Gabriella to be the St. Joan's rep in New York and she has accepted. This means she will be able to attend monthly meetings at the UN and affect the Economic and Security Council. This is an important opening for us.

Before I arrived in New York, I was in correspondence with Catholics for Choice and received an informative and useful press release from their president, Jon O'Brien. In it he points out the Holy See's status at the UN as a Non-member State Permanent Observer and how "the Holy See's claims to statehood change depending on the circumstances." (See O'Brien's essay on Bridget Mary's blog for further information especially in regard to the sex abuse cases in the United States). "This status allow the Holy See to have some state privileges at the UN, such as being able to speak and vote at UN conferences. No other religious body is granted this elevated status; instead other religious bodies participate at the UN as nongovernmental organizations."

What this means, as we well know, is that the hierarchy represents its views at the UN which do not reflect the views of the world's billion-plus Catholics. Said O'Brien: "The Holy See's opposition to policies that promote reproductive health, including especially its opposition to the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV, overshadows the work that many members of the church do. The impact of these policies is enhanced by the political role that the Holy See plays in the world."

I made a point of sitting in the Holy See's seat in Conference Room 2 at the UN, where we gathered for morning briefings. While in the General Assembly, I also took note of their seat. Plenty of thoughts ran through my mind, especially the figure that came up often in discussions of the predicted 25 million African children with HIV/AIDS by 2015.

O'Brien calls for the "United Nations and other bodies to start treating the Vatican for what it is: the government of a religious institution."

As we were working on the draft outcome document, I read two paragraphs that were added by the Holy See. That day at the meeting of the U.S. Caucus I took the mike, identified myself as an RCWP and said that the Holy See does not speak for Roman Catholic women...we speak for ourselves. To be emphatic I asked a question: "Isn't this the 53rd Session of the Commisssion on the Status of Women"?

I strongly urge our community to apply for NGO status. (I am willing to do the paperwork). Our presence and voice at the UN is crucial to connect the dots for women's leadership in our Church and to end the discrimination of the Vatican. The 1979 Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Beijing Platform for Action are laws which connect women's decision-making and leadership as human rights issues.The latter also points out the horrific consequences of patriarchal religions that affect us all:

"Religion, spirituality, and belief lay a central role in the lives of millions of women and men...The right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religions is inalienable and must be universally enjoyed...However, it is acknowledge that any form of extremism may have a negative impact on women and can lead to violence and discrimination."

What is crucial now is to contact our senators and representatives to get CEDAW passed. Only eight of the 192 UN member states have not ratified CEDAW, including the U.S. We must campaign for this important ratification.

Peace and All Blessings,
Janice

------
Here is the statement I read at the UN. The first web publication of this statement adapted for a general audience can be found at http://www.weku.fm/tib.htm as part of Women's History Month, "This I believe" program.

The connections between sexism in the Roman Catholic Church and violence in our world.

We are the people of God. However, if you are a Roman Catholic woman, the Mystery of God never looks like you: "He" doesn't have a body like yours. "He" doesn't give birth or breastfeed. God is always referred to as "He", "Him" or "Father". The people who interpret what "He" is about -- who celebrate the sacraments -- who interpret the meaning of the Gospels and who preach the Word from the altar, are males.

As Mary Daly said: "If God is male, male is God." The results: Men become empowered, women marginalized and oppressed. Dominance and militarism prevail and our world community -- of women, children and men -- suffers.

Although theologians say we have had women priests, deacons and bishops through the 12th century, the Vatican says if we are women, we do not and cannot image the Sacred -- the imago Dei -- on the altar. Yet our world cries out for us women to interpret the meaning and significance of the Gospels from our everyday lives -- from our womanly living and dying.

Sexism, like racism, is immoral.

In the sinfully sexist Roman Catholic Church, the voices of women are not named. Therefore, our needs are not heard and the world suffers.

We women of Saint Joan's International Alliance say here today that the Roman Catholic Church, the men at the Vatican and our male bishops do not speak for Roman Catholic women -- or any women.

We speak for ourselves. We are making the connections between sexism and religion. Sexism and militarism. Sexism and nationalism. Sexism and racism. Sexism and colonialism. Sexism and capitalism. Sexism and homophobia. Sexism and disrespect for Mother Earth. Sexism and violence of all kinds.

We as women choose to live with an informed conscience and choose to control our own bodies.

How can we counter patriarchal religions, including the Roman Catholic Church?

We need our children -- including our boys -- to be taught in schools every day from kindergarten on, in classes that teach non-violence, mediation, equality, and sexual responsibility as well as parenting.

For men to mature spiritually into adulthood, we need media campaigns to teach equality, shared responsibility and decision making between women and men, and people in relationships.

The 1979 UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, especially Articles 5 and 7, grants women equality in decision-making and leadership of governmental bodies and non-governmental orgnizations. I ask all of you who work here at the UN to help us. Women's freedom and women priests are a human rights issue.

My name is Janice and I am an ordained Roman Catholic Womanpriest.

http://www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org/