Bishop Patricia Fresen was one of the women bishops ordained by
a male Roman Catholic bishop with apostolic succession. He told Patricia
that he ordained her to promote justice for women in the church.
RCWP: A RENEWED MODEL OF ORDAINED MINISTRY
IN A RENEWED CHURCH
This renewed model of ordained ministry is part of the great post-modern paradigm-shift in which the earth, the world and the church are involved.
As the church changes, we need a model of ministry that fits into the model towards which the church is being led. The people of God are moving ahead of the official church in this regard, towards a church of the people rather than a clerical church. Therefore we in RCWP try to avoid clericalism. We do not want to join the “clerical caste” with the negative implications of this. So we cherish a community-based, inclusive model of servant-leadership. This implies simplicity in vestments and liturgical vessels, and also in our attitudes and behaviour. We are called to be women and men of prayer, building into our lives regular times of prayer, reflection and contemplation as well as times of retreat, individual and communal.
1. A reflective, contemplative lifestyle which seeks to follow, in prophetic
obedience, where the Spirit leads. We do this individually and together.
2. Servant leadership: empowerment, rather than domination & control
(both within RCWP and in pastoral ministry and relationships).
3. Communitarian rather than hierarchical structures. Leadership elected
by community and constitution written by community.
4. No mandatory celibacy.
5. Inclusiveness: re gender, sexual orientation, other church traditions.
(We try to be consciously ecumenically inclusive at ordinations and
whenever possible. We also include within our RCWP regions, people who are supportive even if they have no intention of ever being ordained, or are already priests.)
6. Separation of administrative and sacramental leadership. Both elected
by community. (Regions are administered by administrator, not bishop.)
7. Accountability of all elected leaders to community (according to agreed
mandate). Financial accountability and transparency.
8. Unity in diversity, rather than uniformity.
(This applies to our RCWP Regions, which differ from one another, but also to different countries in
their RCWP “styles” and liturgical expression, e.g. Germany is very different from the
Netherlands and these are both different from Canada,
in the way the Regions function and in the liturgy.)
9. Justice and human dignity.
10.We are worker-priests, in the sense of being self-supporting & financially independent of hierarchy. (Hopefully, once we are ordained and serving a community, the community will contribute something towards the priest’s income. This is arranged locally.)
11. Understanding chaos as having creative potential: interplay between
chaos and self- organization is part of organic growth.
12. Non-violence & interdependence: earth, human community, churches.