Friday, December 31, 2010

Prayers for Greeting the New Year 2011: From the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests


We pray that God will fill our hearts with peace and joy even in the midst of uncertainty and turmoil.

We pray that we may be instruments of divine love and that our acts of kindness will lighten others burdens.

We pray that we may stand in solidarity with those who are on the margins.

We pray for those who work for social justice, that their hearts be strengthened to touch the lives of the poor, homeless and marginalized.
We pray that our gifts of time and treasure will help those in need.

We pray that all people will slow down enough to hear Godde's words of love for them.

We pray that our world government leaders will listen as well as speak.

We pray that all people will be obedient to what Godde calls each of us to be/do in the New Year.

We pray for the greening of hearts in the midst of a cold winter.

We pray for a deep sense of laughter that overshadows present pain.

We pray for calm in the middle of every conflict, calm so deep it shelters the light of faith that will bring in hope for new beginnings.

We pray for enlightenment that leads every person through the darkness.

We pray for fullness of life that moves in when emptiness carves a hole in our souls.

We pray that we may grow in love with the gifts of creation and that the desires of our hearts may match God’s fondest dreams for us .

We pray for light and joy for all and for a steadfast spirit as we give ourselves in service of others.

We pray for indescribable energy that moves believers of all nations to turn toward those in need and say, Yes, we Can!

We pray for equality for all in our world. We are one!

We pray for an end to hunger- for food, for justice, for peace and for love as we link arms, and together move forward carrying the Christlight burning bright forever.

This New Year:

-May we be slower to speak and quicker to listen,

-May we be less closed and more open to the suffering of others

-May we live the Good News of our Brother Jesus in thought, word and deed.

-May we open our arms and encircle the world in loving embrace of forgiveness and reconciliation.

-May we live peace in our own hearts, families, communities and the world.

- May we laugh more, cry more, hug more, dance more as we move more deeply into your Mystery of Being inviting others into the dance of humanity evolving toward Godliness.

From the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/

NCR's Person of the Year for 2010: Sister Carol Keehan, Daughter of Charity

Dec. 31, 2010
An NCR Editorial
http://ncronline.org/news/people/ncrs-person-year-2010
"In the spring of 2010, as the national debate on health care reform seemed deadlocked, Sr. Carol Keehan, the Daughter of Charity who is president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, led her organization to endorse the legislation and thus helped pass it through Congress. The move put health care coverage within the reach of an additional 32 million Americans..."
And then, last month, Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted
withdrew the “Catholic” designation from St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center because he said the hospital wouldn’t accept his full authority about a medical case that he had deemed to be an abortion. The hospital had said it was acting to save a life.
As NCR tried to report on St. Joseph’s losing its Catholic status, we sought comments from ecclesial authorities and canon lawyers. Despite copious commentary produced over several months from ethicists and moral theologians who reasoned the hospital had acted compassionately and morally, no one had much to say for the record on this latest development, beyond acknowledging Olmsted’s right to do what he thinks best in his own diocese. No one, that is, except the Catholic Health Association, led by Keehan,
who supported the hospital... "
"And that’s why Sr. Carol Keehan is NCR’s person of the year for 2010..."


Bridget Mary's Reflection
Congratulations, Sister Carol Keehan, for speaking truth to power and reflecting the highest ethical, moral standards, our Church teaches. Sometimes, the bishops, including Bishop Olmsted get it wrong. This is one of those times. Let us pray for the courage to follow Sr. Carol Keehan's example in not keeping a low profile as advised by the "don't rock the hierarchial boat" crowd. In my view, our institutional church needs a good rocking now and again to set it on course !www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Gambling with history: Benedict and the Legion of Christ"

http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/gambling-history-benedict-and-legion-christ

"While the question for Benedict is both immediate and risky, there is probably more at stake, depending on how those questions are answered, for the late John Paul and his legacy. How the story evolves and who controls the narrative could greatly influence whether John Paul continues to be viewed purely in heroic terms or as someone whose papacy was tainted by a scandal that came to light just five years after his election, but that he acknowledged only in the late days of his reign."

Links to TIME and Huffington Post Stories: Roman Catholic Women Priests make Top Stories of 2010


First Latin American Woman Priest
TIME Link :Roman Catholic Women Priests- #6 top story
http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2035319_2034971_2034954,00.html Huffington Post: Roman Catholic Women Priests -#5 top story
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-archer/holiday-hot-list-10-great_b_796257.html

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
We give thanks for the prayers and public support of the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement. We trust God's Spirit to lead us in 2011 as a renewed model of priestly ministry in a community of equals in grassroots communities in Europe, Canada, USA and Latin America. I give thanks for all who have been part of my journey to priestly ministry. (See my story in Living Gospel Equality Now: Loving in the Heart of God- A Roman Catholic Woman Priest Story
http://www.virtualbookworm.com/bookstore/product/woman_priest.html)
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Women priests, a top story, 'dog bites man stories/Washington Post

"As for the U.S. Catholic bishops, ditto. They are continuing to lose touch with the majority of the Catholic laity by their unbending opposition to in vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, women priests, abortion under all circumstances, and every form of gay rights--including civil partnerships that stop short of marriage..."
http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/susan_jacoby/2010/12/dog_bites_man_stories_selected_as_top_religious_news_of_the_year.html

"Change we can believe in: The pope, condoms, and church teaching" How about Women Priests?



Anointing of hands at Ordination of

First Latin American Woman Priest
http://www.uscatholic.org/church/2010/12/change-we-can-believe-pope-condoms-and-church-teaching

U.S. Catholic
Bryan Cones
..." in excerpts of his new book-length interview Light of the World (Ignatius), Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged the moral possibility of a person with HIV using a condom to prevent the infection of a sexual partner"...
"This change-phobia among many Catholics is perhaps the more interesting dimension of the story. Despite the fact that church history is littered with changes in not only custom and practice but moral teaching (slavery, torture, and usury, to name a few), acknowledging them is almost anathema. ..."

"Paul first restates Jesus’ command in four different ways but then modifies it: “If the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound” (1 Cor. 7:15), therefore free to remarry. Faced with a new problem, Paul adapts. Jesus said no divorce; Paul says no divorce, too—unless there is a really good reason.
..."It just means that the fullness of truth, as a dimension of the divine mystery, is beyond our human comprehension.
Our salvation, after all, isn’t predicated on being right about everything all the time. In fact, thank God, we’re still saved even when we’re wrong. "
Bryan Cones is managing editor. This article appears in the February 2011 issue of U.S. Catholic (Vol. 76, No. 2, page 8).


Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Will Pope Benedict change his mind about women priests like he did about condoms? In Light of the World, his new book, Pope Benedict stated that even if the church wanted to ordain women, it could not! Does that mean he (sorta, maybe, wants to if it was alright with Jesus), but, insists he can't do it because Jesus only ordained the Twelve. So if we followed this line of reasoning, the Catholic Church would only ordain married Jewish males!
But, the good news is that even Vatican scholarship has indicated change is possible on the issue of women priests. The Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1976 concluded that there is nothing in scripture to prohibit women's ordination. Jesus did not ordain anyone, male or female. The priesthood as we know it emerged later in the church's history and there were women priests, deacons and bishops. (See Ute Eisen, Women Officeholders in the Early Church, and Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women's Ordination, and Dorothy Irvin's archaelogical discoveries for the evidence.)
There are over 100 Roman Catholic Women Priests in Europe, Canada, the United States, and Latin America. TIME rated women priests #6th most popular religious story in 2010, the Huffington Post rated us #5 top story. Yes, indeed, the Holy Spirit is a'moving in the Catholic Church as we offer the church the gift of a renewed priestly ministry in a community of equals. You can view clips of our ordinations, liturgies in movies on youtube and read about our experiences and ministries in books such as Come by Here by Judy Lee, Living Gospel Equality Now by Bridget Mary Meehan and Women Find a Way (edited by Elsie McGrath, Bridget Mary Meehan and Ida Raming) now available in German!
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/


Monday, December 27, 2010

"The moral analysis rejected by Bishop Olmsted", Not an Abortion, according to Theologian Lysaught

http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=11494



December 21, 2010, 7:04 pm
Posted by
Grant Gallicho
"Last summer, Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix asked
Catholic Healthcare West to provide a moral analysis of the case that started this controversy. So CHW secured the services of the moral theologian M. Therese Lysaught. Her analysis, sent to the bishop in October, was rejected by Olmsted last month. We have obtained Lysaught’s cover letter to CHW along with her analysis.
In her cover letter, Lysaught summarizes her conclusion: “The procedure performed at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center on November 5, 2009, cannot properly be described as an abortion. The act, per its moral object, must accurately be described as saving the life of the mother. The death of the fetus was, at maximum, nondirect and praeter intentionem. More likely, the fetus was already dying due to the pathological situation prior to the intervention; as such, it is inaccurate to understand the death of the fetus as an accessory consequence to the intervention.”

Archbishop Niederauer Initiates Dialogue with Catholic Healthcare West About Questions Raised by Bishop Olmsted - Abortion that Saved Mother's Life

"Archbishop Niederauer to confer with leadership of Catholic Healthcare West December 23rd, 2010By Catholic San Francisco


San Francisco Archbiship George Niederauer "intends to initiate a dialogue" with the leadership of Catholic Healthcare West regarding questions raised by Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted over CHW affiliate St. Joseph's Hospital's compliance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services used by the U.S. bishops to govern moral choices in Catholic health care. The corporate offices of Catholic Healthcare West are located in the San Francisco archdiocese."

Here is the full text of the statement, which is headlined "Shared Responsibility":

-- Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, has authority and responsibility to interpret the moral law and to teach the Catholic faith in the Diocese of Phoenix, a jurisdiction that includes St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix which is operated by Catholic Healthcare West (CHW). The local bishop of a diocese has authority and responsibility for Catholic institutions located in his diocese regarding compliance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs), issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

-- Some questions have been raised about the implementation of the ERDs as they relate to Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), a system headquartered within the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The Most Reverend George H. Niederauer, Archbishop of San Francisco, intends to initiate a dialogue with the leadership of Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) regarding those questions. Recent discussions within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, especially within its Task Force on Health Care, regarding implementation among individual Catholic institutions and Catholic health care systems, will contribute to that dialogue.

In May, officials at St. Joseph's publicly acknowledged that an abortion occurred at the hospital in late 2009.

"Consistent with our values of dignity and justice, if we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman's life, our first priority is to save both patients," St. Joseph's President Linda Hunt said in a statement. "If that is not possible, we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case.

"We continue to stand by the decision, which was made in collaboration with the patient, her family, her caregivers and our ethics committee," she added. "Morally, ethically and legally we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save."

Directive 45 of the ERD states that abortion is never permitted.

Directive 47 states that "Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child."


Bridget Mary's Reflection:
When I was a teen, I saw a movie that depicted a bishop, the brother of a pregnant woman, who loved his sister, but when the chips were down and it was her life or the baby's life, the choice was his to make and he chose the baby. I will never forget how horrible I felt that his sister was powerless in this situation, and that the decision was her brother's to make.
So today, here we are again, reflecting on the controversy surrounding the mother in Phoenix whose life was saved by the the ethical team at St. Joseph's Catholic Hospital. As directive 47 indicates, one is obliged to save both lives, but if that is not possible then the moral principle is to save the life that can be saved. Surely, Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix is not implying that the hospital should have let the mother die when her life not only could be but was saved! Hopefully, Bishop Olmsted, Bishop Niederauer will clarify their positions in this kind of tragic situation when pregnant women's lives are at risk.
This controversy raises many questions.
Will Catholic hospitals continue to follow directive #47? What is the role of the umbrella organization Catholic Healthcare West? What decision-making responsibility do Catholic hospitals have in pregnancies that result in life or death decisions? Does the local bishop play a role in medical decisions made by ethical boards in Catholic hospitals ? What does it mean to be a "Catholic" institution, organization? Do such entities need hierarchial approval?
Vatican II teaches that the people of God are the church, and so by our baptism, we are all equals in our church. Are the people of God, the "baptized" members of the church responsible for the church? In the ideal situation, this relationship with the bishops should be a partnership. So perhaps, this "dialogue" between San Francisco Archbiship George Niederauer and Catholic Healthcare West may be a positive step forward.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Homily for Holy Family Sunday- Roberta Meehan, RCWP


Homily for Holy Family Sunday – 26 December 2010


Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14

Psalm 128:1-5

Colossians 3:12-21 [Shorter: Colossians 3:12-17]

Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23


[In some translations of the Bible, the Book of Sirach is found in the Apocryphal section.]


Is your family holy? Today is the feast of the Holy Family – the last Sunday of the calendar year. Why ever do we assume that the only Holy Family is the one comprised of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph? Why have a feast that sets apart one family unless there is a logical application for us and our families too? Why cannot our families also be holy families? Well, they can be! Each of the readings today offers us directions on how ours can be a Holy Family. But, we tend not to look at these as directions for how we can be Holy Families. We tend to think instead of the original Holy Family.

In Sirach we learn about honoring our parents and about being considerate and kind. In the Psalm we hear of godly things that happen to God-loving people. In Colossians we have specific instructions on family life. (More on that in a moment.) Finally, we have Matthew’s account of the flight into Egypt – which, in many ways, is a family prototype. How, then, can we be a Holy Family? Listen to who our families are – we are blended families, we are single parent families, we are gay and lesbian families, we are single people with no interest in marrying, we are widowed, we are divorced, we are alone and many miles from our families of origin. We are even Internet families. The list goes on and on. How can we all be Holy Families? Very, very few families fit the norm. We sometimes think the norm is the nuclear family, but it is not. Throughout most of history the nuclear family has been the exception. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were probably a nuclear family for their brief stay in Egypt – but not for the rest of the story.

But, what is the norm? Is there a norm? Or is this norm a mythical and maybe artificially unrealistic ideal that we of recent decades have invented? Maybe we are missing what the norm truly is.

Let us look at the today’s gospel for an understanding of what a family norm might be – regardless of whether our family is biological and nuclear or whether it is as broad and universal as the other side of our computer screen. This reading from Matthew begins with the magi departing from their visit. Earlier in that gospel we learned that the magi had come to the house. This was probably an extended family setting – if not in the immediate house, at least in the surrounding houses. How many of us live in the immediate vicinity of many of our blood relatives? Not a lot. How many of us have magi visit – particularly with the kinds of gifts the gospel’s magi bring? Probably not many of us at all. From there Joseph is warned in a dream to flee the country – fast! How many of us are warned of anything in a dream? Maybe a few of us, but probably very few. But, how many of us have kings chasing us down? This is hardly typical.

Joseph fled and thus expatriated for at least a couple of years in Egypt. He was thus a foreigner in a foreign land – away from his family and friends. This was highly unusual for the society of his day, though not quite as unusual for us today. He may have had to learn a new language – or at least a new dialect of an old language. Think of all the other tribulations he had in moving to a strange country! He had to make new friends and find a new job. He had to become established in Egypt.

Then, finally – and probably after he was established and becoming comfortable in his new surroundings, he returned home where he and Mary and Jesus became a part of a small community called Nazareth where probably almost everyone was related to almost everyone else. If we trace the concept of family here, we see first a home in an extended family setting, followed by an isolation in a strange land, followed by a repatriation in a community where the nuclear family was hardly the norm. And it was in this community that Jesus grew up. The point is that the norm is the unusual. The norm does not fit the standard definitions of norm. It never did fit. And because it never did fit, now we all fit.

Every one of us has a different story. Some are dramatic, some are mundane, some are calm, some are stormy. Every family story (whether family of origin or family of choice) is different – just as the story of the prototype Holy Family is different. Perhaps we need to stop looking at the externals of what makes a family holy. Perhaps, realizing that our stories are just as atypical as the story of the original Holy Family, we might be ready to go back and look at the directions for how we, in our individual situations, can truly be Holy Families.

The gospel story concentrates on Joseph’s willingness and obedience but each member of the original Holy Family also did as God had directed. And that is really what being a Holy Family is all about. That is what we are supposed to do. What does God want each family – and each family member – to do? The directions are quite clear. Go back to Sirach. Sirach is a wisdom book and, as such, contains practical advice. Here the advice is centered around the interaction between parents and children and what God expects. The advice is given in a very loving way – and that advice about honor and respect and kindness is certainly as valid today as it was over 2500 years ago when Sirach was written.

The real key, however, for our families being Holy Families comes from Colossians. Paul’s advice is for everyone. “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.” It seems that if we each follow Paul’s advice, we will be doing God’s will (just as the original Holy Family did). And, if we do God’s will, regardless of our physical circumstances, we too will be Holy Families.

-- Roberta M. Meehan

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Homily by Roberta Meehan, RCWP


Christmas Homily – 1999 – revised 2005 – revised 2008 – revised 2009 – revised 2010

I Isaiah 62:1-5

Acts 13:16-17, 22-25

Matthew 1:1-25

II Isaiah 9:1-6

Titus 2:11-14

Luke 2:1-14

III Isaiah 62:11-12

Titus 3:4-7

Luke 2:15-20

IV Isaiah 52:7-10

Hebrews 1:1-6

John 1:1-18


The theophanic crescendo of the Christmas story begins humbly and prophetically with the vigil liturgy.

Theophany – the manifestation of God…. That is what this Christmas story is all about – the story about how God came to be with us.

Indeed, this is the story of the beginnings of how we came to be known as the People of God. Four separate liturgies (vigil, midnight, dawn, day) are used to tell our Christmas story and each liturgy becomes more intense than the preceding liturgy, building – crescendo-ing, as it were – until we reach the gospel of the final liturgy and we are told without any doubt who this Jesus – this Babe of Bethlehem – really is.

The liturgy of the vigil establishes the claim of Jesus – a prophecy from the Book of Isaiah, followed by an explanation of Jesus as the rightful heir of David from the Acts of the Apostles, and culminating in a legal genealogy of Jesus – a point of utmost importance to Matthew's Jewish audience. Yes, there could be no doubt. Jesus was the rightful heir; his claim was valid!

The liturgy at midnight tells the story of the birth of Jesus – a prediction from the Book of Isaiah, followed by an explanation of the meaning of Christmas from the letter to Titus, and concluding with Luke's beautiful story of the birth of Jesus. We feel we are there with the shepherds as they hear the angels’ message and the crescendo of the heavenly music – “Glory to God in the highest!”

The liturgy at dawn explains that Jesus was the timelessness of the Savior – another prophecy from Isaiah, another description from Titus, and finally the story of the shepherds and what they did after hearing the angels. The shepherds went to Bethlehem to find this infant who was wrapped in swaddling clothes – the clothes of royal infants! – and lying in a manger.

The theophany culminates with the liturgy of Christmas Day – a poetic exhilaration from Isaiah, followed by a prosaic wonderment from the Letter to the Hebrews, and at long last the prologue from the Gospel of John – a hymn pronouncing the Messianic message from the beginning of all time.

Allow me to use these four scriptural sequences (transitioned and paraphrased slightly for clarity's sake) to retell the story of the beginnings of our salvation.


CHAPTER I - Our God will not be quiet until the vindication of Jerusalem shines forth and until her victory is like a burning torch. This is the glorious crown in the hand of the Lord, the royal diadem held by our God. But, we state, as did Paul, "Israelites and you others who are God-fearing, listen. As it is written, 'I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will carry out my every wish.' And it is from David's descendants that God has brought to Israel a savior – this man Jesus." Who is this Jesus and what right does he have to claim this throne? His genealogy, his legal heritage, is clear from Abraham on through Jacob, the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary and of Mary was born this Jesus, this long awaited Christ.


CHAPTER II - This child is born unto us and upon his shoulders dominion rests. His name is Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful. This is the appearance of the glory of our great God; this is the savior, Jesus the Christ. Even the shepherds have been told that in David's city a child is born – the Christ - and they are not to be afraid.


CHAPTER III - These holy people, to whom this child is born, they are redeemed by God. We are these people. This God has saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewed us by the Holy Spirit. When the shepherds saw the child, they made known the message and all who heard the message were amazed. CHAPTER IV - The excitement is unbounded. We must break out in song. God has comforted the people and redeemed Jerusalem and it is known that all the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God. He accomplished purification from sins and he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high. And he can trace his inheritance to that moment before the timeless eons began. Because… In the beginning was Wisdom* and Wisdom was with God and Wisdom was God. Wisdom was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through Wisdom, and without Wisdom nothing came to be. What came to be through Wisdom was life and this life was the light of the human race, and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And Wisdom became flesh and dwelt among us. And we saw Wisdom's glory, the glory of God's Wisdom, full of grace and truth. From Wisdom's fullness we have all received grace, and grace and truth come through Jesus the Christ! And Jesus the Christ is the enfleshment of the Wisdom of God. Merry Christmas!!

*Wisdom -- Sophia as transliterated in Greek, a word of the feminine grammatical gender in the ancient languages -- is the feminine aspect of the one God and is personified as a woman in the Bible.
Jn 13:35 – Roberta M. Meehan, ARCWP


Huffington Post Rates Roman Catholic Women Priests #5 on Ten Greatest Finds of 2010, TIME Rates RCWP #6 Top Religious Story


Bishop Bridget Mary ordains First Latin American Woman Priest
on Dec. 11, 2010
#5 Roman Catholic Women Priests
For centuries, Roman Catholic women have been robbed of the opportunity to ... The amount of ordained womenpriests has grown considerably since that time,
TIME selected Roman Catholic Women Priests as #6 top Religious Story of 2010.
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
We give thanks for the the growth of Roman Catholic Women Priests our movement for justice and equality for women in our church. Thanks to all of you who support us by your presence, prayers and gifts of time, treasure and talent.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
sofiabmm@aol.com

Thursday, December 23, 2010

No direct abortion at Phoenix hospital, theologian says/Will Bishop Olmstead Rescind Decision to Strip St. Joseph of "Catholic" Identity?

National Catholic Reporter:
'Mother and fetus were both in the process of dying
'Dec. 23, 2010
By
Jerry Filteau
The controversial operation on an 11-week pregnant mother at a Phoenix hospital last year that caused the local bishop to excommunicate a Catholic woman religious and led him this week to declare the hospital no longer Catholic was not a direct abortion, according to a moral theologian called in to review the case. "
"The mother and fetus were both in the process of dying … It was not a matter of choosing one life or the other. The child's life, because of natural causes, was in the process of ending," wrote theologian M. Therese Lysaught in a 24-page analysis of the medical procedure performed by St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in November 2009."
"The only morally good thing that can be chosen here is to save the life of the mother,'" wrote Lysaught, who reviewed the case at the request of Catholic Healthcare West, a three-state system of mainly Catholic hospitals to which St. Joseph's belongs."
Bridget Mary's Reflection
Will Bishop Olmstead rescind his decision to strip St. Joseph of its "Catholic" identity and the automatic excommunication of Sr. Margaret McBride? Let's hope so! Otherwise, at risk is the moral credibility of the hierarchy. But, no matter what the bishop decides to do, the public can continue to trust St. Joseph's Hospital as a health care facility that is dedicated to the highest moral and ethical principles that the Catholic Church espouses.
However, this case raises a host of questions on a number of life and death issues.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Catholic Health Association Back Phoenix Hospital" Will Pregnant Women Feel Safe in Catholic Hospitals Run By Bishops?


http://ncronline.org/news/catholic-health-association-backs-phoenix-hospital

Catholic Health Association backs Phoenix hospital
Dec. 22, 2010
By Jerry Filteau - NCR Online
"St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix acted in accord with Catholic directives on medical ethics when it performed an abortion last year to save the mother’s life, the head of the Catholic Health Association of the United States said Dec. 21."
..."In November 2009 the woman was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center with worsening symptoms. Tests revealed that she now had life-threatening pulmonary hypertension. The chart notes that she had been informed that her risk of mortality was close to 100 percent if she continued the pregnancy. The medical team contacted the Ethics Consult team for review. The consultation team talked to several physicians and nurses as well as reviewed the patient’s record. The patient and her family, her doctors and the Ethics Consult team agreed that the pregnancy could be terminated, and that it was appropriate since the goal was not to end the pregnancy but save the mother’s life.”
..." The Arizona Republic, learned that Olmstead had been told about the abortion and had privately informed the head of the ethics committee, Mercy Sr. Margaret McBride, that in approving the abortion McBride had incurred automatic excommunication from the church. "
At the time it was revealed that the woman in question was in the 11th week of pregnancy, had four other young children, and had resisted abortion as an option until it became clear that both she and the unborn child were in imminent danger of death if she tried to continue her pregnancy."
"Olmsted contended that the hospital violated Directive 45 of the bishops’ “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” which says, “Abortion – that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus – is never permitted
..." The hospital contended that it was not in violation of that directive but rather was following the modifying principle in Directive 47, which says, “Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child.”
Although by episcopal decree St. Joseph’s can no longer call itself Catholic, the hospital said, “St. Joseph’s will retain its name and our Catholic heritage will always be at the core of who we are. Our mission and values will not change.”
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
The bottom line is St. Joseph's Hospital is still in spirit a "Catholic" hospital, but no longer under the control of the bishop) because it is following the Gospel mandate of Jesus to show compassion and its decision in this case reflects the long-standing moral teaching of the Catholic Church. The general public, including Catholic women, can breathe a sigh of relief that St. Joseph's will continue to offer health care that does not put their lives at risk. Like St. Joseph, who stood up for Mary when her life was at risk, so too, St. Joseph's Hospital will continue to work to save the lives of pregnant women and their unborn children.
On the other hand, if Catholic hospitals follow Bishop Olmsted's directive- that abortion is never permitted under any circumstances including when a woman's life is at risk- then, pregnant women may no longer feel safe in Catholic hospitals.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bishop Olmsted Withdrew "Catholic" Church Affliation from St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix: Will this lead to Independent Catholic Hospitals?

Associated Press
PHOENIIX - "The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix stripped a major hospital of its affiliation with the church Tuesday because of a surgery that ended a woman's pregnancy to save her life. Bishop Thomas Olmsted called the 2009 procedure an abortion and said St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center -- recognized internationally for its neurology and neurosurgery practices -- violated ethical and religious directives of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops."
21 December 2010

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

The decision by the Bishop Olmsted raises the question once again, who owns the church? Are the people of God, including the hierarchy, all the "baptized" the church or is the hierarchy alone the church? In this instance, the bishop removed the "Catholc " identity "because of a surgery that ended a woman's pregnancy to save her life." This decision sends a chilling message to women that our lives are expendible. It also raises the question can a pro-life church be a pro-woman church? Catholic moral theology upholds the primacy of conscience. The Ethics Committee , includng Sr. McBride, made a difficult decision that reflected the moral principles that Catholics have used for decades. Ultimately, this decision appears to be about power and control.

Will St. Joseph's Hospital "own" its identity as an independent "Catholic" hospital not under the bishop's jurisdiction? Could St. Joseph be a trend-setter that other Catholic hospitals, universities and institutions will follow? This could lead to more independence from the hierarchy. Religious Orders of nuns could do likewise. This would enable these entities to live their "Catholic" identity without being controlled by the bishops. Hmm, it might not be a bad idea, given the amount of friction, turmoil, and disagreement that we witness today in our body politic. It is certainly worth a serious conversation at this point!

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

Media Contact:David J. Nolan 1 202 986 6093



http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/



A Sad State of Affairs in Phoenix, Arizona

Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, issued the following statement today after Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, declared that a local hospital could no longer describe itself as Catholic.

“The decision by Bishop Thomas Olmsted to declare that St. Joseph’s Hospital may no longer be considered Catholic is a sad one.

“It’s sad that Bishop Olmsted is so intransigent that he cannot accept that the people seeking medical care at the hospital may need access to services that he finds unacceptable, even though he, and we, know that Catholics use contraception and access abortion services at rates similar to the population as a whole.

“It’s sad that people seeking care and working at the hospital will no longer be able to hear mass in the chapel at St. Joseph’s.

“It’s sad for the people of Phoenix that the local bishop has created such a spectacle over this issue, from the moment he sought to excommunicate Sister Margaret McBride for sanctioning a life-saving operation to the threats issued to St. Joseph’s down to today’s punishment – announced via press release.

“All of the people who work at the hospital know that their actions are driven by their consciences, from the doctors, nurses and other medical personnel right through to the administration and support staff. They all acted in good conscience. Can Bishop Olmsted say the same thing?

“The only possible silver lining also relates to people seeking medical services at the hospital. Now that Bishop Olmsted will no longer be influencing decisions about their medical care, perhaps people seeking services at St. Joseph’s will be able to access the services they need in a timely manner – after consulting with their doctor and without concerns about whether the local bishop is influencing medical decisions. Ultimately, when a bishop stops pretending to be a doctor, the whole community benefits.”

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pope Benedict Addresses Pedophile Crisis, Needed a Renewed Priestly Ministry in a People-Empowered Church

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_VATICAN_CHURCH_ABUSE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2010-12-20-06-56-10

Dec 20, 6:56 AM EST
Pope: Church must reflect on what allowed abuse
By NICOLE WINFIELD Associated Press
EXCERPT:

"He said the underlying ideology of such rampant excesses stemmed from the 1970s, when "pedophilia was theorized as something that was in keeping with man and even the child,"...

Bridget Mary's Reflecton:
What! I never heard this theory before and I doubt many Catholics have either! A secretive clerical, all-male hierarchy, is the underlying ideology that perpetuated the sex abuse scandal. Until Pope Benedict deals with clericalism and the abuse of power that led to the rape, sodomy and sexual abuse of thousands of youth, the church will fail to deal with the systemic roots of this crisis. Needed now, a renewed priestly ministry in a community of equals. We need a people empowered church in partnership with the people. Roman Catholic Women Priests are already at work renewing the church in grassroots communities.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org
sofiabmm@aol.com
703-505-0004

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Honor Women as Moral Decision-Makers- Vatican Must Promote Condoms to Save Women's Lives- Needed Women Priests

Bill Schuch writes:
"Some observations on several of the Bishop of Toledo's statements in the article published December 19, 2010 in the Toledo Blade: If it is true that "consistent condom use has not reached a sufficiently high level … to produce a measurable slowing of new infections in the generalized epidemics of Sub-Saharan Africa", then the Vatican's hard line against the use of condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV within discordant couples is at least partially responsible. "

"The bishop places " condom orthodoxy" (his term) at odds with the suffering people of Africa and their values, their love for children and family. The fact is that when monogamous women are infected by their HIV-positive spouses/ partners, many, who progress to AIDS for lack of lifelong access to anti-retroviral drugs, leave behind orphans who are often abandoned by their fathers and those women who refuse the demands for sex from their infected spouses/partners are subject to violence, ostracism and destitution for themselves and their children. "

"Bishop Blair joins the numerous hierarchs who, ever since the Pope's recent interview in which he mused that condoms might play a role in HIV prevention, have been assuring us that there has been no change and will never be any change in the intrinsic evil of condom use which is synonymous with intended contraception rather than intended disease prevention in their non-pastoral orthodox minds. Not one of these men has the courage to give public consideration to the plight of these women at the mercy of their HIV-positive husbands, most of whom are not very keen on using condoms. The Vatican's hardline against the use of condoms simply reinforces their strong disinclination to use condoms. "

"The bishop points out that one in four of the 33 million AIDS patients worldwide is being cared for by the Catholic Church. That includes almost half of the total treatment efforts in Africa, where two-thirds of those afflicted with AIDS live. U.S. Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Internationalis care for Catholic and non-Catholics alike - their failure to provide condoms and instructions as to their proper and consistent use as a moral imperative if abstinence is not a realistic option for discordant couples clearly is counter-productive to the efforts of other NGOs working to address the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. Would it not make good Christian common sense to provide condoms where necessary to protect these innocent women? These women, Catholic and non-Catholic, are not only the victims of their male-dominated ( often polygamous) cultures but of our male-dominated Catholic church as well."
wjschuch@comcast.net



Bridget Mary's Reflection

This issue illustrates a major reason women priests are needed in the Roman Catholic Church. Women are capable moral agents and decision-makers in moral issues that impact their lives. Sometimes, I wonder what planet these male bishops live on? The Pope opens the door a crack to a more compassionate view for condom use to save lives, and here come these bishops who continue to uphold the ban on condoms. Why? Millions of women have died because their partners infected them! Protecting the lives of women should be a priority in a church that professes to be pro-life.
It is time for the bishops to affirm women's lives as much as they affirm fetal life. But, sadly, the male-dominated patriarchal mindset continues to exert a negative effect on the lives of millions of women who suffered from HIV AIDS as a result of their partners refusal to use condoms. This is insanity and has nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ who treated women and men as equals and partners. The Roman Catholic community needs to challenge Bishop Blair and members of the hierarchy who support the ban on condoms. We need to stand together in solidarity with our sisters in Africa and elsewhere. They deserve our support.
Bridget Mary Meehan RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Roman Catholic Church Should Promote Use of Condoms to Save Women's Lives

"I want to point out that the following statement by the bishop of diocese of Youngstown, OH is yet another of an ongoing plethora of statements from members of various hierarchies around the world assuring us that,the recent musings of Pope Benedict XVI regarding condoms to the contrary nothwithstanding, the Church's hard line on condoms remains cast in concrete - contraception remains immoral, under any circumstances, even though it may may not be the intent in using a condom.

Not one of these prelates has had the courage and integrity to admit that millions of monogamous women in Africa have been needlessly infected by their HIV-positive husbands/partners over the past 2+ decades because John Paul II, on whose watch the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa began, and Benedict XVI (upon until now) and their sycophants have failed to tell these HIV-positive men that, if they cannot or are unwilling to refrain from sexual relations with their women, they have a moral obligation to use condoms on a consistent basis - this relying on well-established principles of pastoral moral theology, viz. lesser evil, double effect and the right to self-defense.

Their failure to act as real pastors in this life and death issue for these innocent women, Catholics and many non-Catholics under the care of Catholic Relief Services and Caritas Internationalis, simply reinforces the refusal of many, if not most, African males to use condoms -they demand sex and if a woman refuses a husband’s or partner’s sexual overtures, she risks ostracism, violence, and destitution for herself and her children. Condoms in those real life situations are a "pro-life" strategy. These so-called shepherds continue to fail to protect the women in their flocks and are therefore morally complicit in that horrendous holocaust of suffering and deaths in Africa. Their support of dogmatic orthodoxy over Christ-like orthopraxy is lamentable and pathetic. They have lost their moral capacity to lead and do not deserve our respect. "
by Bill Schuch


Bishop of Diocese of Youngstown, Ohio: The Pope's Comments on Condoms

"International media reports have created a great deal of confusion around Pope Benedict’s recently published remarks with regard to condoms. Some reports have claimed that the Pope is justifying condom use in certain circumstances. Others have accused the Pope of changing Church teaching. A careful reading of his remarks reveals, however, that Pope Benedict neither proposed any change to the teaching of the Church on the immorality of the use of contraceptives, nor does he justify condom use, or characterize their use as a lesser evil. He is, in fact, very clear in the interview that condoms are not either a real or moral solution to the AIDS crisis. Why, then, all of the confusion? Some news reports have taken one sentence from Chapter 11 of the Pope’s book-length interview and given it a broader interpretation than the Pope intended. In this sentence, Pope Benedict states, “There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants.”

"Pope Benedict was not justifying condom use for male prostitutes or for anyone else. Rather he was reflecting on the dawning light of human conscience in a person who lives a sinful lifestyle. In the Pope’s example, even someone whose life is so darkened by sin still has a hope for conversion by reflecting on his actions according to the true inner voice of conscience. Specifically, a prostitute’s use of a condom is not in any way a lesser evil, but rather it is his (or her) desire to reduce the risk of spreading AIDS that may signal a first step in recognizing the human dignity of a sexual partner. In a prostitute’s realization that a deadly disease would not be good for a sexual partner, there is hope that one day he or she will come to see the immorality of that lifestyle and begin to seek the true freedom that is found only in Jesus Christ.I hope this helps to clarify the Holy Father’s remarks."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Once again, the hierarchy has no clue that it's teaching does NOT reflect the compassion in the heart of Jesus for all God's people, including women. We must all follow our consciences in moral decisions. Bill Schuch is right on in his message that millions of women have died because of their partners' failures to use condoms to protect them for infection by HIV AIDS. This does not reflect a pro-life stance toward women that our church professes as central to its teaching on the dignity and protection of life from womb to tomb. We should ask ourselves why does the male hierarchy espouse such a double standard and why are women's lives expendable?
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org
sofiabmm@aol.com

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bridget Mary's Blog: TIME Magazine declares Roman Catholic Women Priests Top Story: Rated # 6 -- In Spite of the Vatican

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2035319_2034971_2034954,00.html

Did the Pope really say "all of Jesus disciples were women?" /A Vision Received?

TIME magazine rated Roman Catholic Women Priests the #6 Top Story.

"The Pope, in an interview published in late November, remained adamant that the Church has no biblical authority to ordain women as priests because all of Jesus' disciples were women. "
Was this a misprint by TIME or does it reflect new thinking or a vision received by the Pope?!!
Perhaps, Pope Benedict is recognizing the vital role women played in the Gospel.
Now let's hope that he makes the connection with the need for the full equality of women in the Catholic Church... as gender justice is a key to non-violence and to empowerment of women throughout our world community.
Here are a few of the prominent women in Jesus' circle of disciples that certainly lay the foundation for gender justice and women priests today.
Mary of Magdala, apostle to the apostles, first witness to encounter the Risen Christ, and called to "go and tell" the followers of Jesus including the Tweleve the Good News of Jesus' resurrection, the core belief of the Christian faith.
Mary Mother of Jesus, faithful disciple who turned the Spirit of God into the Body and Blood of Christ.The Catholic Church has an age-old devotion to Mary as priest. www.womenpriests.org/pafffirm.asp
The Samaritan Woman, who was the first evangelist who brought her whole village to Jesus, demonstrates the esteem that the Johannine community held its women leaders.
The story of the Samaritan woman is the longest conversation between Jesus and anyone in Scripture (John 4:6-42)
Joanna, Susanna and the many women who provided for Jesus out of their resources, and whom scholars believe bank-rolled his ministry.
Martha is remembered for one of the most important proclamations of faith. "I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, God's Only Begotten, the One who is coming into the world." (Jn.11:27) Scholars claim that the table ministry of Martha is associated with eucharistic ministry.
The story of the woman with the hemorrhage reveals a woman's dignity as a person in the face of religious and social discrimination. Jesus repudiates the purification rituals of the law-bound religious structures of all time that discriminate against women.
( If you'd like to read more about biblical women as equals and partners in the Gospel, read my book, Praying with Women of the Bible. available on online retailers such as amazon.com)
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/



Monday, December 13, 2010

TIME Magazine declares Roman Catholic Women Priests Top Story: Rated # 6 -- In Spite of the Vatican


"6. Women Priests, In Spite of the Vatican"


By Howard Chua-Eoan


http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2035319_2034971_2034954,00.html

"In July, the Vatican branded the ordination of women as priests a delictum gravius, or grave crime, the same label it has given pedophilia. That may have been in response to the small but increasing number of women who have been ordained priests by rebel Catholic congregations in the U.S. and other parts of the world. For example, Roman Catholic Womenpriests, a group founded eight years ago in Europe, has ordained women in more than 20 American states and Canada. The Pope, in an interview published in late November, remained adamant that the Church has no biblical authority to ordain women as priests because all of Jesus' disciples were women."View the full list for "The Top 10 Everything of 2010"

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
The Vatican is the gift that keeps on giving to Roman Catholic Women Priests! Their opposition has propelled major media coverage and galvinized public support.
It is obvious that Catholics and others believe that the time for the full equality of women in the church is now!
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests ordain women who are called by God to serve in a renewed priesthood in a community of equals.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/

Historic Ordination of First Latin American Roman Catholic Woman Priest















A diverse community of supporters, including the poor and marginalized from Good Shepherd Community in Ft. Myers, Florida, celebrated the historic ordination of the first Roman Catholic Woman Priest from Latin America. A prominent feminist leader in the ecumenical religious community and a missionary activist, she was ordained by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Sarasota, Florida on Dec. 11th, 2010.

The newly ordained woman priest was inspired by the religious women who taught her in grade school and high school. She was not only a product of Vatican II and the changes that took place in Latin America, she was an active participant of the Gospel mandate for and church teaching on social justice.As a passionate advocate of gender equality and liberation theology, her life mission has been working with the poor especially women in base communities in cities in Latin America. In addition, she is a member of ecumenical organizations and skilled at working with clergy from various denominations. Her goal has been to empower, educate, and to raise consciousness. "Liberate yourself from the past, even though the church, society and your family may have condemned you. God does not condemn you," the first Latin American woman priest said, "We need to have an ethics of love, not punishment or fear, the sacraments are not pieces of paper but relationships to Spirit." In her ministry to the poor and indigenous she proclaims "we have the blood of Christ." She advocates raising the poor and indigenous people to full equality in the church and in society. In other words, one's ethnic background, social standing, race or religion does not matter. All are one in Christ. This theology is rooted in the first principal statement of Vatican II: "Every form of discrimination against persons, either because of religion, nationality, race or gender, must be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God's intent."

This courageous and prophetic first Roman Catholic Woman Priest believes that women's ordination is a question of justice. Her vision is building up partnership between women and men in Latin America. She follows directly in the footsteps of holy women and men who have embraced Gospel justice in solidarity with the poor and marginalized in Latin America.

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dutch Catholic Church Faces 2000 Abuse Complaints

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/10/world/europe/10dutch.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper

Stephen Castle


BRUSSELS — "The Roman Catholic Church, battered by sexual abuse scandals from the United States to Belgium, is facing a new set of damaging allegations in the Netherlands. Figures released Thursday by an investigative commission showed that almost 2,000 people had made complaints of sexual or physical abuse against the church, in a country with only four million Catholics. "

Cables Show Ireland Irked Vatican on Sovereignty/ Christ is weeping

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/12/11/cables-indicate-ireland-ceded-vatican-pressure/
Cables show Ireland irked Vatican on sovereignty

VATICAN CITY – Newly released U.S. diplomatic cables indicate that the Vatican felt "offended" that Ireland failed to respect Holy See "sovereignty" by asking high-ranking churchmen to answer questions from an Irish commission probing decades of sex abuse of minors by clergy.
That the Holy See used its diplomatic-immunity status ...


Bridget Mary's Reflection:
This attitude demonstrates that the Vatican behaves as if it is above the law! How can a church hide under sovereignty? Would any other church get away with this?
This attempt to cover-up sexual abuse resembles the behavior of a crme family, not the church of Jesus Christ. Ask yourself, what would Christ do?
Weep for the children, weep for the lack of truth-telling, weep for betraying our faith.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

Historic Ordination of First Latin American Roman Catholic Woman Priest

Historic Ordination of First Latin American Roman Catholic Woman Priest
A diverse community of supporters, including the poor and marginalized from Good Shepherd Community in Ft. Myers, Florida, celebrated the historic ordination of the first Roman Catholic Woman Priest from Latin America. A prominent leader in the ecumenical religious community and a missionary activist, she was ordained by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Sarasota, Florida on Dec. 11th, 2010.
The newly ordained woman priest was inspired by the religious women who taught her in grade school and high school. She was not only a product of Vatican II and the changes that took place in Latin America, she was an active participant of the Gospel mandate for and church teaching on social justice.As a passionate advocate of gender equality and liberation theology, her life mission has been working with the poor especially women in base communities in cities in Latin America. In addition, she is a member of ecumenical organizations and skilled at working with clergy from various denominations. Her goal has been to empower, educate, and to raise consciousness. "Liberate yourself from the past, even though the church, society and your family may have condemned you. God does not condemn you," the first Latin American woman priest said, "We need to have an ethics of love, not punishment or fear, the sacraments are not pieces of paper but relationships to Spirit." In her ministry to the poor and indigenous she proclaims "we have the blood of Christ." She advocates raising the poor and indigenous people to full equality in the church and in society. In other words, one's ethnic background, social standing, race or religion does not matter. All are one in Christ. This theology is rooted in the first principal statement of Vatican II: "Every form of discrimination against persons, either because of religion, nationality, race or gender, must be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God's intent."
This courageous and prophetic first Roman Catholc Woman Priest believes that women's ordination is a question of justice. Her vision is building up partnership between women and men in Latin America. She follows directly in the footsteps of holy women and men who have embraced Gospel justice in solidarity with the poor and marginalized in Latin America.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"It's not just about male prostitutes" by Phyllis Zagano/ No, millions of women have died , Pope Benedict

http://ncronline.org/blogs/just-catholic/its-not-just-about-male-prostitutes

"Could someone also let the pope know how African women religious are affected by the AIDS pandemic? Does he know about the priests and seminarians who go after those women religious specifically because they are virginal and not infected with anything?" Phyllis Zagano/NCR

Bridget Mary's Reflection: "Pope Benedict, Millions of Women Have Died from AIDS"
Phyllis Zagano is right on. The Vatican needs to address this issue of criminal behavior by priests against women religious in Africa. Where is the outrage at the abuse of women religious in Africa? In addition, Pope Benedict failed to mention the millions of women in Africa who have died of AIDS because they were infected by philandering partners. How about recommending condoms to save women's lives, Pope Benedict? The world awaits your pastoral letter on use of condoms as an act of moral responsibility that will save our sisters' lives!
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Vatican must hear 'anger and hurt' of American nuns, official says

Dec. 07, 2010

By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/vatican-must-hear-anger-and-hurt-american-nuns-official-says
ROME -- "Rome must acknowledge the “depth of anger and hurt” provoked by a visitation of American nuns, the Vatican’s number two official for religious life has said, saying it illustrates the need for a “strategy of reconciliation” with women religious.
Archbishop Joseph Tobin, Secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said that he does not expect any “punitive” fallout from the visitation, and that before any decisions are made, women’s communities should have a chance to know the results and to respond. "

Bridget Mary's Reflection;

The Vatican end game and damage control has begun. Obviously Archbishop Tobin is beginning a process of reconciliation and healing with the American nuns in this interview. The Vatican has made a wise choice in selecting Redemptorist Joseph Tobin who is trusted by the American Sisters and who is willing to listen and truly dialogue! Now, let's hope his brother bishops and cardinals in the Vatican Curia follow his example!

"Shutting down discussion is anathema to the university way..." Women Priests Bring New Life to Church


Katy Zatsick, RCWP

http://www.newcatholictimes.com/index.php?module=articles&func=display&ptid=1&aid=2198

"It seems to me that, in the church, we have subordinated truth to power-games. We have politicized it. We have put the institution above the message it exists to serve. We have put the structures above the gospel. We have allowed power-structures to become self-serving rather than gospel- or people-serving. We believe in churchianity more than in Christianity. "
John Quinn, New Catholic Times

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Just like the Berlin Wall fell, so too Vatican oppression of prophetic voices, and condemnation of women priests, will not prevail. The good news of Jesus -of justice and equality -will overcome and triumph. Women Priests are bringing new life, creativity and inclusivity to our church now. Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/

Friday, December 3, 2010

"An Imagined Dialogue Between Pope Benedict and Bridget Mary"

Press Release: from the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/


Dec. 4, 2011

Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska, 859-684-4247,
rhythmsofthedance@msn.com

Bridget Mary Meehan, 703-505-0004,
sofiabmm@aol.com

In his just-released book, Light of the World: "The Pope, the Church and the Sign of the Times," Pope Benedict XVI says ordaining women is not the church's choice to make. See: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1004890.htm

In her just-released book: "Living Gospel Equality Now, Loving in the Heart of God - A Roman Catholic Women Priest Story," Bridget Mary Meehan shares her journey to priesthood as a Roman Catholic woman.
See: http://www.virtualbookworm.com/bookstore/product/woman_priest.html

The following "press release" is an imagined dialogue between the Pope and Bridget Mary.

Pope Benedict: It's Jesus' fault. He didn't ordain women priests. Why blame me for everything?

Bridget Mary: Don't blame Jesus! He didn't ordain anyone -- male or female.

Pope Benedict: He had only male Apostles.

Bridget Mary: Come on, my brother. Jesus set the pace. He called women to be disciples and apostles. Mary of Magdala is called the "Apostle to the Apostles." She was the person closest to Jesus. Talk about a job description for an apostle! As the Risen Christ, he chose her to "go and tell" the male apostles the good news of the Resurrection. So God is not impotent before women! Neither is our church! Jesus provided an example for you to follow.

Pope Benedict: The church has no authority to ordain women.

Bridget Mary: There you go again...contradicting papal scholarship on Scripture. In 1976, the Vatican's own Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded that there is nothing in Scripture to prohibit women's ordination. For twelve hundred years, women were ordained in Christianity as deacons, priests and bishops! Did you page through Dorothy Irvin's calendars that were sent to you, the Cardinals and U.S. bishops? Archaeologist/theologian Dorothy Irvin studied atTubingen U. when you were there. She's found plenty of evidence in frescoes, tombstones, catacombs and mosaics that women were leaders of our church. It's all over Rome and the Mediterranean world. For Goodness sake, take a walk with your camera to St. Priscilla's Catacomb.

Pope Benedict: There were no priestesses in the community of Jesus Christ!

Bridget Mary: Benedict, Benedict. Open up your eyes to what's happening. Women priests are a sign of the times! People welcome us with open arms! You've lost the young who believe in gender equality. We are your spiritual equals. Made in the image of God. Empowered by a Spirit who doesn't quit...

Pope Benedict: Why can't you be quiet! I excommunicated the first group of your women priests in 2002, those Danube Seven. Yes, we even sent them the official Vatican excommunication parchment. I've given instructions to bishops to excommunicate you wherever you women get ordained! And anyone who comes to your ordinations! Priests who support you! Wasn't it enough for me to issue delicta graviora? You and your women priests are in the same category of serious sin as pedophile priests!

Bridget Mary: And you didn't excommunicate them! Pope Benedict, male church leaders before you excommunicated women whistleblowers: St. Joan of Arc, Mother Theodore Guerin, Mother Mary MacKillop. Today they're saints.
I'm sending you two books: Living Gospel Equality Now and
Come By Here (http://www.amazon.com/Come-Here-Judith-B-Lee/dp/1451274866/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291426558&sr=1-1-fkmr0)
by woman priest Judy Lee who ministers and lives with the poor.
We continue to pray. You had a change of heart on condoms. We're praying for your change of heart on women priests.

Your sister priest (and bishop) in Christ,
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

P.S. One day we hope to dialogue in person. Meanwhile, yours is the gift that keeps giving...Thanks.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Book by Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP: Living Gospel Equality Now: Loving in the Heart of God: A Roman Catholic Woman Priest Story


My new book, Living Gospel Equality Now,
Loving in the Heart of God-
A Roman Catholic Woman Priest Story

The direct link to the book is
http://www.virtualbookworm.com/bookstore/product/woman_priest.html

Thanks for your support. It is with great joy that I share treasured memories, stories of family, friends, community and the growth of the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement in this book --in spite of Vatican opposition-- which in many ways, has actually been a contributing factor to greater support.
In addition to stories, my book has a variety of prayer experiences, photos, and inclusive liturgies. May all who read it be blessed and may our dream of a renewed priesthood in a community of equals flourish!
Today I read an article that stated that Pope Benedict said that the church had no power to ordain women. Nonsense, Jesus did not ordain anyone --male or female. Benedict's interview contrdicts the Vatican's own scripture scholarship. In 1976, the Pontifical Biblical Association concluded that there was nothing in scripture to prohibit women's ordination. According to scripture women were among Jesus' closest disciples and Mary of Magdala was chosen by the Risen Christ to "go and tell" (the job description of an apostle) the male apostles the good news of the Resurrection. So God is not impotent before women! Neither is our church!
Therefore, Jesus provided an example for the pope to follow. In addition, for twelve hundred years, women were ordained in Christianity as deacons, priests and bishops! So, indeed, Pope Benedict is ignoring both scripture and tradition by this statement below. The full equality of a woman is indeed a sign of our times that will not go away. Therefore, it is time for the institutional church, including Pope Benedict, to follow Jesus example of Gospel equality and partnership and treat women as equals in all areas of the church's life, including ordination. This is what Roman Catholic Women Priests are doing. This is one of my motiviations in writing my new book: Living Gospel Equality Now- Loving in the Heart of God- A Roman Catholic Woman Priest Story.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
703-505-0004
sofiabmm@aol.com
Pope says ordaining women is not the church's choice to make
By Rita Fitch
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- "In his latest book, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed that the church has "no authority" to ordain women as priests and rejected the idea that the rule was formed only because the church originated in a patriarchal society.The pope said that man did not produce the form of the church, and does not have the power to change it. Christ gave the form of the priesthood when he chose his male Apostles, he said in the book-interview, "Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times "