Friday, October 1, 2010

Boston archdiocese disputes fewer parishes planned/What if women priests could staff these parishes?

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/10/01/boston_archdiocese_disputes_fewer_parishes_planned/

BOSTON

..."The parishioners say chancellor James McDonough told them in a meeting that the archdiocese is aiming to downsize to 150 parishes. But McDonough on Friday denied saying that and added, "We are not looking to close churches."

"The archdiocese has already endured a brutal round of church closings after a reconfiguration that began in 2004 and reduced the number of parishes from 357 to 291. Five churches have since been occupied by parishioners who protested the closures by refusing to leave the buildings."


"On Friday, McDonough said in a statement that he was asked about future closings at the meeting. He said he responded that one-third of the parishes are losing money and a third are at a break-even point and feeling financial pressure. He said he also explained that only 17 percent of Catholics in the archdiocese attend Mass and "that in 10 years there would only be approximately 150 priests available."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
What if women from these communities were called to serve as priests? What if married priests who have left are willing to serve these communities? What if the people in these parishes take their rightful role as a community of believers and continue to function as Catholic Communities and call forth their own priests, married or celibate, male or female?
Then instead of decline and closings, we could witness new life and mutual ministry in vibrant Catholic Communities . A new day for our church is dawning...call on the women in your communities to serve as priests. It is time. Contact:www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org

"Oak Park priest joins parish in pushing for female priests"/ Chicago Sun Times

http://www.suntimes.com/lifestyles/religion/2752048,CST-NWS-priest28.article

September 28, 2010

"More than 600 members of a Roman Catholic parish in Oak Park signed a petition that expresses "solidarity" with "those who support women and married men who are called to ordination."

Among those to sign: the pastor, the Rev. Larry McNally, who delivered the signatures to his boss, Cardinal Francis George, earlier this month.

The Catholic Church only ordains men -- almost always unmarried men -- as priests. Women who go through "unofficial" ordination ceremonies are ex-communicated.

Earlier this year, the Vatican included the "attempted sacred ordination of a woman" in its updated list of "more grave crimes" against church law. The document also included changes the Vatican said were designed to crack down on pedophile priests.

Many Catholics were outraged by both issues being included in the same document, believing the church saw both as equal offenses. However, a Vatican official told reporters the document did not ''assign them the same gravity.''

The petition signed by members of Ascension Parish takes aim at that notion, saying "we take great offense that good faith struggles for gender equality could be misunderstood as a sacrilege and placed on a par with the sexual abuse of children."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

The revolution has begun, Men in the Vatican watch out! Women in the church in Ireland in the U.S. and around the world will no longer accept second class status in the church, 300 priests in Ireland have put women's equality in the church on their agenda, now more U.S. priests like Fr. Larry and their parishoners are standing up in solidarity with women priests, making an official statement and signing a petition. Grassroots Catholics are rising up to claim our baptismal equality in Christ. The voice of God in our time is the full equality of women. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are leading the church into a fuller awareness that sexism is a sin and that it is time for women priests. Bridget Mary Meehan, sofiabmm@aol.com, 703-505-0004

"Belgium Bishops Question Celibacy"

http://www.expatica.com/be/news/local_news/belgian-bishops-question-celibacy-after-abuse-scandal_97684.html

"The bishop of Bruges -- whose predecessor stepped down in April after admitting to sexually abusing his nephew, sparking a crisis in the Belgian Catholic Church -- waded into the debate at the weekend.

"I think the Church must ask itself the question of whether it is appropriate to keep the mandatory character of celibacy," said bishop Jozef de Kesel.

"We could say that there are celibate priests, but that people for whom celibacy is humanly impossible should also have the chance of becoming priests," he told VRT radio.

The bishop of Hasselt, Patrick Hoogmartens, also strayed from the official line, declaring in remarks reported by Het Belang Van Limburg, a Flemish newspaper, that requiring celibacy was "useless."

"I don't think it would be stupid for married men to also become priests," he said, citing the positive role played by deacons, assistants during mass who can marry.

Public opinion in the Catholic country leans heavily in favour of doing away with celibacy. A January poll showed that 69 percent of Belgian back marriage for priests -- a figure that even rises to 73 percent among Catholics.

The Belgian Catholic Church, which last week vowed to listen to victim"


Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Peter was married, early church bishops and priests were married up until the 12th century. 39 popes were married. In the Celtic church, married and celibate, women and men served Christ in double monasteries. St. Brigit of Kildare, who was ordained a bishop, according to her Irish Life, co-administered the monastery at Kildare with Conleth, a male bishop. Roman Catholic Womenpriests have married women who are priests. Finally, the hierarchy is breaking with the official, rigid, Vatican line. Hopefully, we are reaching a tipping point. Mandatory celibacy should not be a requirement for priestly ministry. Priests come in both genders and whether one is married or not, gay, lesbian or transgendered, should not matter in living a call to serve God's people in priestly ministry. Bridget Mary Meehan, sofiabmm@aol.com, 703-505-0004

EQUALLY BLESSED UNITES CATHOLIC VOICES FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY, JUSTICE

For Immediate Release
September 30, 2010

Media Contact
Jim FitzGerald, CTA Executive Director, 773.404.0004 x262
Nicole Sotelo, CTA Communications Director, 773.404.0004 x285

EQUALLY BLESSED UNITES
CATHOLIC VOICES FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY, JUSTICE

WASHINGTON, DC., Four longstanding Catholic organizations announced today that they have formed Equally Blessed, a coalition of faithful Catholics who support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people both in the church and in civil society.

"As Catholics, we believe that all human beings are beloved children of God," said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an Equally Blessed member. "We are called to do our part in bringing about justice in the church and the world, and Equally Blessed will allow us to do that together."

The coalition also includes Call To Action, DignityUSA and Fortunate Families. Together the four groups have spent a combined 112 years working on behalf of LGBT people and their families.

"Equally Blessed proclaims what most U.S. Catholics already believe," said Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA. "The laws of our land and the policies of our church should mandate fairness, justice and equality for all."

Leaders of Equally Blessed said they decided to work together in the wake of several recent civil and church situations that demonstrate the need for a faithful pro-equality Catholic voice:

· The Knights of Columbus have mounted an expensive campaign to oppose gay marriage in Minnesota, where it has become a gubernatorial campaign issue.
· Catholic dioceses spent extensively to overturn legalized same-sex marriage in Maine last year.
· In the Archdiocese of Denver last spring, Archbishop Charles Chaput sanctioned the expulsion of a lesbian couple's daughter from a Catholic school.
· In Washington DC, Archbishop Donald Wuerl has recently withheld health benefits from the spouses of newly-hired heterosexual employees so that he could legally withhold such benefits from the spouses of gay or lesbian employees.

"A growing community of faithful Catholics believes that everyone, including LGBT people, are affirmed and welcomed in our church, and these unjust actions do not speak for us," said Nicole Sotelo, coordinator of Call To Action's JustChurch program. "We are called to follow the teachings of Jesus who welcomed everyone and challenged religious leaders when they fell short of that ideal."

"In the wake of these injustices, we particularly urge straight Catholic allies to raise their voices against discrimination that targets our children, our friends, and our communities," said Mary Ellen Lopata, co-founder of Fortunate Families, a ministry for Catholic parents with LGBT children. "The Gospel compels us to spread its message of love for all the children of God."


Equally Blessed is a coalition of faithful Catholics who support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people both in the church and in civil society. Equally Blessed includes four organizations that have spent a combined 112 years working on behalf of LGBT people and their families: Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry.






Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Women and their Role: Letters to Editor: Irish Times: My Response


Excerpts from 3 Letters to Irish Times and My Responses

Madam. "...Now, it is time for catholic men to support their sisters struggling for justice especially those who have offered themselves as part of the all male deaconate in the Irish church by renouncing this role until women are accepted as deaconesses. We, as men, should realise that this office of deaconate is being introduced at this time to further reinforce the all-male clerical structures of the church and to keep women in the pews at all costs; that is the reason that I did not offer myself for this role..." Yours, etc, BRENDAN BUTLER,

Bridget Mary's Response:

Dear Brendan:
  • Right on! Thanks for your wonderful statement of support for women's equality in the church! Indeed, I am delighted to report that in our community, Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Community, the men are as outspoken in their support for Roman Catholic Womenpriests as the women are! We are blessed to be living Gospel equality now in our vibrant community where all are welcome to share the Eucharist.
  • Bridget Mary Meehan, sofiabmm@aol.com, 703-505-0004

  • Madam, ..."the Apostolic Letter from the Holy See of May 22nd 1994 needs to be highlighted again, for in this document the definitive answer to the whole matter is set out clearly. Apostolic Letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis( Priestly Oration).“Wherefore in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Luke 22.32) I declare that the church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and this judgment is to be definitively held by all the church’s faithful.” Fr TOM INGOLDSBY SDB,
Dear Fr. Tom,
  • I hope that you don't mean to suggest that God who is all powerful, all-loving, all-just is impotent when it comes to ordaining women. The institutional church's teaching, which you cite above, is an insult to anyone who believes that women and men are created in God's image according to God's Word in Genesis, therefore, both women and men are called to be partners and equals in relationships, in work, in every aspect of life, including ministry in the church. Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP, sofiabmm@aol.com, 703-505-0004

  • Madam, –
    "To remove the template of male priest presiding at the Eucharist in the place of Jesus whose own maleness was not accidental and who defined his relationship with his church in spousal terms would be as inappropriate as replacing bread and wine by other types of food and drink..."
    Blarney,
    Co Cork.

    Dear Margaret,
  • The image of Jesus as bridegroom and the church as bride is a metaphor, not to be taken literally. When it is applied to the priest presiding at Eucharist, the metaphor is twisted out of context, literalized and "sexualized". Jesus gave the Eucharist to the whole church, as a sacred memorial meal. In the early church, the community leader presided at Eucharist. Paul mentions in Romans 16, the names of women leaders of house churches, who more then likely presided at Eucharist in their homes.
  • Jesus used many images in the parables including the feminine images of God; the woman who lost a coin, and a "mother hen", to show the nurturing presence of God .
  • The church teaches that God is neither male, nor female, but both women and men are created in God's image. So women priests remind us that women are equal images of God. Therefore, women can take our rightful place at the altar.
  • Jesus was a Jewish male, and the Twelve were Jewish males, most of whom were, more then likely, married. We know for sure that Peter and 39 popes was married. So does that mean, only Jewish, married men should be priests. For the first twelve hundred years of the church's history, women were ordained deacons, priests and bishops. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are reclaiming our ancient tradition and offering the gift of a renewed priestly ministry to our church. According to the Irish Life of St. Brigit, Brigit was ordained by Mel as a bishop.
  • Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP, sofiabmm@aol.com, 703-505-0004

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Irish Catholic Priests Association Supported Mass Boycott/ Kudos to Irish Priests for taking on Hierarchy

THE ASSOCIATION of Catholic Priests has insisted that a campaign to
boycott weekend Masses received substantial support.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0928/1224279828137.html

The representative, Tony Flannery , was on RTE Television news last night about it.

"Yesterday, the Association of Catholic Priests said it acknowledged that the position of women in the Catholic Church was a difficult and often divisive issue.

But it said the issue needed to be faced and discussed as openly and calmly as possible.

“Jennifer Sleeman’s initiative this past weekend did not meet with universal approval, even among women. But it did receive substantial support,” the association said.

“We believe that neither of the hierarchy’s statements over the weekend was helpful.”

It said Saturday’s statement regarding women’s involvement in the church missed the point that women are at present excluded from many ministries and from all forms of decision-making.

“Unless we acknowledge the reality progress will not be made. Yesterday’s statement, saying that Mass attendance had not been affected, bordered on triumphalism,” the association said...."


Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Hooray for the Women who are standing up for justice in the church and for Associaiton of Irish priests who are speaking truth to their own hierarchy! You give us all hope that Ireland may be leading the way in confronting the issue of the second class status of women in the church.

Decision-making in the Catholic Church is tied to Holy Orders according to Church law.

Either the law will have to be changed or women will have to be ordained if significant reform is to take place.

You go, Ireland.

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



Pope Benedict to Canonize Sr. Mary MacKillop, an Excommunicated Australian Nun on Oct. 17th, 2010/Good news for Roman Catholic Womenpriests


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2010/0928/1224279829336.html

PÁDRAIG COLLINS in Sydney

"THE FOUNDER of the Sisters of St Joseph, who will be canonised as Australia’s first saint next month, was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1871 after exposing a paedophile Irish priest, it has been revealed.

Australian television has reported that Sr Mary MacKillop discovered that children were being abused by Fr Patrick Keating in the Kapunda parish near Adelaide in south Australia.

She told Josephites director Fr Julian Tenison-Woods about the abuse. It was then reported to the vicar general and Fr Keating was sent back to Ireland, where he continued to serve as a priest.

Fr Charles Horan, a Galway man who was a colleague of Fr Keating, swore revenge on Sr MacKillop and her order. After only four years as a nun, she was excommunicated by Adelaide’s bishop Laurence Shiel, who was originally from Wexford.

She was turned out on the street with no money and nowhere to go...

..."In 2009, 100 years after Sr MacKillop’s death, Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide publicly apologised to the Sisters of St Joseph for her wrongful excommunication.

“On behalf of myself and the archdiocese, I apologise to the sisters . . . for what happened to them in the context of the excommunication, when their lives and their community life was interrupted and they were virtually thrown out on the streets . . . This was a terrible thing,” he said.

After being reinstated by the Catholic Church, Sr MacKillop became known for her work with disadvantaged children, female ex-prisoners and prostitutes.

She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995 following a Vatican decree that in 1961, a Sydney woman was cured of leukaemia through Sr MacKillop’s intercession. The second miracle required for sainthood occurred in the mid-1990s when a woman sent home from hospital to die due to inoperable lung and brain cancer was cured.

The family of Cork man David Keohane, who was beaten almost to death in Sydney in 2008, said his waking from a coma in Cork University Hospital in March last year was due to their praying to Sr MacKillop."

..."Sr MacKillop, who was born in Melbourne to Scottish immigrant parents in 1842 and died in Sydney in 1909, will be canonised by Pope Benedict in Rome on October 17th."

Bridget Mary 's Reflection:

Sister Mary Mackillop of Australia and Sister Theodore Guerin of the United States both were nuns who were excommunicated for standing up and speaking truth to the church authorities and were rewarded for their courageous behavior by excommunication! Mother Theodore was canonized by Pope Benedict in 2005 and now Sister Mary Mackillop will be canonized on Oct. 17,2010. Now there is a lesson for Catholics today. Follow the example of these role models of holiness, peak truth to power, stand up for justice for all God's people, do not fear excommunication. It could put you on the fast track to canonization! So take heart, Roman Catholic Womenpriests and nuns under Vatican inquisition, you could be next on the saints-to-be list! Who says that God does not have a sense of humor!!Bridget Mary Meehan, sofiabmm@aol.com, 703-505-004


"Vatican Probes Group Tied to Scandal"/ Associated Press Article/My Story of Nunhood 101

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2012992166_apeuvaticancatholiccult.html?syndication=rss

Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY —

"It's a life regimented in excruciating detail, down to the way they eat an orange. Silence is the norm, information is limited, e-mail is screened, close friendships are discouraged and family members are kept at bay - all in the name of God's will.

Known as consecrated women, they are lay Catholics affiliated with a conservative religious order who dedicate their lives to the church, making promises of chastity, poverty and obedience similar to the vows taken by nuns.

But the cult-like conditions they endure so alarmed Pope Benedict XVI that in May he ordered an extremely rare full Vatican investigation of the obscure group, which operates in the U.S., Mexico, Spain, the Philippines and a dozen other countries. The inquiry is expected to begin in the coming weeks. "

While there have been no sex abuse allegations within Regnum Christi, the problems uncovered in the Legion - abuse of authority, suppression of dissent and a power structure built on unswerving obedience - are also rampant in consecrated life.

Former consecrated members told of having their lives manipulated by strict rules that occupied nearly every waking minute of their day and by an endless search for new recruits... "

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

I entered the IHM community with 90 other young women on Sept. 15, 1966. the feast day of the Blessed Mother's sorrows. We joked sometimes that we were the 90 sorrows of Mary!!

We were a band of idealistic young woman, many right out of highschool. The "ins and outs" still get together for periodic reunions. Utilizing a listserve, we stay connected, sharing prayer requests and offering mutual support.

When we entered as postulants and then later as novices, was regimented. Our mail was censored, we spent most of the day in silence, and our visits with family were limited, TV and Movies were limited to special occasions.

We were not allowed to speak with "externs," outsiders without permission and we had to have permission for almost everything, even the religious habit we wore.

But, to be honest, religious life, in its pre-Vatican form, engaged in a form of "brain-washing." Independent thinking was not encouraged and strict obedience was part and parcel of "Nunhood 101."

On the other hand, while we were educated in traditional theology and spirituality, we also discovered a sense of community, (had lots of fun together and have many cherished memories ) , we learned self-discipline, and were given many opportunities to serve others. I look at the time spent as basic training!

After a period of prayerful discernment, I knew that God was calling me out of this form of religious life and into a new form of consecrated life.So I left the IHM Sisters after ten years and joined the Sisters for Christian Community Here with other daring visionaries, we were birthing a new understanding of religous life . We are women rooted in the gospel -nurturing mutuality, equality and justice in Chrisitan community. Our motto is the prayer of Jesus, "that all may be one." The Gospel is our rule of life. SFCC is an independent religious community, (approximately 500 members in U.S. , Canada, Europe, Pacific Rim, Africa) non-canonical and not under Vatican control. Four of my Sisters attended my ordination. Sister Regina Madonna Oliver, also a former IHM and at the time a Sister for Christian Community, presented me before the community. Regina and I wrote several books on prayer and spirituality together including Praying with a Passionate Heart, Affirmations from the Heart of God, Praying with Celtic Holy Women, A Promise of Presence, Heart Talks with Mother God. Regina died the year after I was ordained. feel sure that she now supports our movement from her heavenly home!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mural on Wall of St. John's Episcopal Church in Edinburgh in honor of the Pope's Visit to Scotland





Photo of a mural painted by Artists for Justice and Peace on the wall of St Johns Episcopal Church in Princes Street, Edinburgh. There is always a mural there about a current ethical/justice/peace issue. This was the one they painted for the Pope's visit and he probably saw it, because he passed this church in the Popemobile!

Jennifer Sleeman: A Prophetic Voice for Women's Equality in the Church

Jennifer Sleeman called for boycott of Mass on Sept. 26th.

"Empty pews might make the power that be think again"

Opinion Piece: Jennifer Sleeman Speaks Out:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0921/1224279367336.html

"...I had often questioned the fact that only men could be ordained. There was also the rule of celibacy. I discovered that many women and men were also concerned and working towards having their voices heard.

It seemed there were organizations and people protesting all over the place, and the idea came to me of a boycott of Mass for one Sunday (September 26th) to draw all these voices together. Let empty pews give the powers-that-be in the church the message that women are no longer happy to be second-class citizens.

The support for the equality of women in the church has been massive: lovely letters and cards, and phone calls have come from Ireland, Australia, the US and Canada, from men and women.

...One compelling reason for the ordination of women is the shortage of priests. The average age of priests in Ireland is 65, and as far as I know very few young men are entering the seminaries.

Already there must be tired, lonely and aging men celebrating Masses, attending to weddings, funerals and Baptisms, with no time or energy for visiting their parishioners – or indeed for themselves. There are wonderful priests out there ministering with courage and compassion, some of whom have given me their support. They are heroic, but how long can they last?

There are nuns doing demanding and sometimes difficult work, brilliantly. Why is the church so afraid of women, and especially their ordination? They constitute half the population of the world and at least 60 per cent of Mass-goers. They minister very well in other churches, for example in the Church of Ireland.

I see celibacy as another way of keeping women out. Is the fear that the church might become gentler, more in touch with the reality of family life in the 21st century, a safer haven for the scared? I think the church has changed since children grew up in fear – and I hope it has the courage to change again.

My hope is that empty pews on September 26th will move the hearts and minds of those in charge, that change will happen, and that the church will emerge invigorated by the equality of all."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Thank you Jennifer Sleeman for igniting a fire in the hearts of Catholics around the world for justice and equality for women in the Catholic Church. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are a growing movement, offering the church a renewed priestly ministry in a community of equals. I join you in prayer for our leaders that they may embrace equality for all. Let's break the stained glass ceiling! Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP, sofiabmm@aol.com


"Women to the fore as priest urges inclusion"/Irish Times/Women were priests for 1200 years

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0927/1224279760702.html

by ELAINE KEOGH and ANNE LUCEY

"They took part at the instigation of Fr Iggy O’Donovan who told the congregation he could not ignore “the elephant in the room” – that it was “women’s boycott Sunday” – and he was welcoming all genders “as we try to be as inclusive as possible”.

"He believed there is “nothing in our tradition that excludes women from the fullness of priestly ministry forever”. It was “appropriate that Senator White who is not only a strong advocate of the rights of our senior citizens but is moreover an avid supporter of the rights of women”, should speak, he said."

"Fr O’Donovan said he wanted “to give women as prominent a part in our liturgy as is possible” and the Communion reflection was written by Muireann McGinty (24) who works in independent media. She said the boycott of Mass yesterday was suggested to highlight inequality and injustice in the church but “I fail to see how an antiquated action such as a boycott can achieve a desired impact. It is regressive in terms of dialogue and adversely advocates a bitter debate as opposed to actively engaging in it . . .”

"Fr O’Donovan said the fact that the Catholic Church did not ordain women 2,000 years ago is still “a milestone round our necks”, and he acknowledged that “full recognition of the equality of women in our church will not come about anytime soon”.

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Bravo to Fr. Iggy O'Donovan for his courageous invitation to women in the church. In August I met Fr. Iggy in Castlebar where both of us were on Humbert Summer School Panel on Church Reform. I commend your courage for publically naming the elephant in the living room of the Catholic Church's house and taking a step toward inclusion in your local church! I hope that many U.S. priests follow your example. and stand together for justice for women in the church, like the 300 priests who met in Portlaoise in Sept. I disagree on one point and that is your comment about exclusion of women in priestly ministry goes back 2000 years. It does not. According to recent scholarship, women were ordained deacons, priests and bishops during the first twelve hundred years of church history. See Gary Macy's book, The Hidden History of Women's Ordination and Ute Eisen's Women Officerholders in Early Christianity as two scholarly works and archaeological evidence of mosaics, frescos, and tomb inscriptions in Rome, Sicily, N.Africa, and Egypt. Dr. Dorothy Irvin has accumulated many depictions of women deacons, priests and bishops ministering in the early Christian community. One example if you visit St. Priscilla's catacomb in Rome.You will see a fresco dated about 350 A.D that depicts a woman deacon in the center vested in a dalmatic, her arms raised in the orans position for public worship. On the left side of the scene is a woman being ordained a priest by a bishop seated in a chair. She is vested in chasuble, amice and holding a gospel scroll.The woman on the right end of this fresco is wearing the same robe as the bishop on the left and is stting in the same type of chair. She is turned toward the figures in the center and left, watching the woman deacon and priest. "These attributes," comments Dr. Dorothy Irvin "indicate that she is thought of as bishop while the baby she is holding identifies her as Mary. In the early church, women's ordination was based on succession from the apostles including Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mary of Magdala, Phoebe, Petronella and others about whose status among the founders of the church could be no doubt. "
This is one of the reasons that I believe that Mary, Mother of Jesus is a strong supporter of women leaders, including women deacons, priests and bishops. In Sarasota, our people-empowered, egalitarian community, is named, Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community. Our Roman Catholic Womenpriest Movement is non-clerical and non-hierarchical. We promote a renewed priestly ministry in a community of equals. Our bishops are not on our leadership circle/and do not make administrative decisions. Our bishop's role is spiritual and pastoral. We have a leadership circle that make administrative decisions. For more information, visit
www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org
Contact: irvincalendar@hotmail.com
Contact: Bridget Mary at sofiabmm@aol.com

"Attendance at Mass strong despite call, says Church"/Irish Times/ Sexism is a sin

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0927/1224279760727.html

"Soline Humbert, founder of the organisation Brothers and Sisters In Christ, which argues for the ordination of women priests, said she attended a celebration of the Eucharist in south Co Dublin yesterday, where the celebrant was a woman. There were others who were boycotting their Mass there, she said, including two religious sisters and several women members of a church choir."

"She hoped the call to boycott might serve as a wake-up call to encourage people to see the “sexism” in the church, which she said was anathema to the teachings of Christ and the spirit of the Eucharist."

“We are so used to the sexism in the church we don’t see it. We are excluding one section of the community. If the church said they would not ordain black people would we still go to Mass? It is separating justice from the Eucharist. The Eucharist is about oneness and love. Sexism is about exclusion. It is not the message of Christ.”

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Soline Humbert hit the nail on the head:

“We are so used to the sexism in the church we don’t see it. We are excluding one section of the community. If the church said they would not ordain black people would we still go to Mass? It is separating justice from the Eucharist. The Eucharist is about oneness and love. Sexism is about exclusion. It is not the message of Christ.”

Sexism is a sin. Jesus called male and female disciples in a time when it was a scandal for a rabbi to have women in his circle. Jesus set the pace for women's equality, the Roman Catholic Church should follow his example of inclusion and partnership. Women priests remind us that women are equal images of God, and therefore should preside at the altar. It is time to break the stained glass ceiling! Catholics, rise up and support equality for women in our church. Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP, sofiabmm@aol.com

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Issues outlined at priests' gathering of Irish Priests in Portlaoise, Ireland /Irish Times

The Irish Times - Thursday, September 16, 2010


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0916/1224278993367.html


GENEVIEVE CARBERY

"CHALLENGING THE role of women in the church and the treatment of priests falsely accused of abuse are among the objectives which were outlined at the inaugural meeting of the Association of Irish Priests yesterday."

"Some 300 priests turned out for the meeting of the association which aims to provide a “voice” for clergy. Organisers had expected between 50 to 70 priests to attend the meeting at the parish centre in Portlaoise, Co Laois and had to change venue to accommodate the interest."

"The high turnout showed that the association had “touched a nerve” and that there was a “voice needed” by the Irish clergy, one of the founders, Fr Brendan Hoban, said. The association will be very proactive and will have spokesmen on issues that arise in the church and society, Fr Hoban said."

"He outlined the aims and objectives which he said are based on the teachings of the second Vatican council. The role of women in the church is “in need of a change”, Fr Hoban said."

Bridget Mary's Reflection.

This gathering of Irish priests is a breath of fresh air for the church. When 300 priests speak out and stand in solidarity, the Vatican will notice! Surely, they can't fire 300 priests. Who would be left in the priest-short parishes? Now if this band of progressive brothers could only light a fire for other such gatherings of priests worldwide, perhaps, then, all of us who are working for reform and renewal in our church could come together for Vatican 3, the Council of the People of God. Let us pray and dream together that God's power working within the community of faith can move mountains---no matter what the resistance!

On a personal note, tt gives me great joy to think that such a movement is born in Portlaoise where some of my cousins live and not far from where we lived when I was a child. We spent several days there this summer and celebrated our most recent family wedding there last year. Amazing and wonderful, indeed!

Bridget Mary Meehan,RCWP

sofiabmm@aol.com

703-505-0004

"Robes for Women: Against Vatican Resistance, the Movement to Ordain Women Gathers Steam" in TIME


Judy Lee, RCWP ministers to
homeless and poor in Ft. Myers, Fl.


Jane Via, RCWP
Mary Magdalene Apostle Community
,
San Diego,CA.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2019635,00.html

by Tim Padgett/Ft. Myers/TIME magazine

"Like any good priest, Judy Lee knows how to use a Bible story. One of the readings for Roman Catholic Masses on a recent Sunday, from the Book of Wisdom, recounts how the Hebrews defied the pharaoh by worshipping God "in secret." That passage resonates at the house in Fort Myers, Fla., where Lee is conducting Mass for 25 Catholics gathered in front of a coffee-table altar in defiance of the Pope. "Rome says you'll be thrown out of the church for being here," says Lee, "because I'm a woman."
"We're the Rosa Parks of the Catholic Church," says Bridget Mary Meehan,...We no longer accept second-class status in our own religion..." Like Meehan, most of he almost 80 Catholic women ordained in the U.S. hold advanced religious degrees and have logged years of lay work in the church, from premarriage counseling to serving Communion. Mary are married-another doctrinal no-no. since Catholic priests, with rare exceptions, must be celibate- and they often have outside jobs to make ends meet... Mary Magdalene Apostle's pastor Jane Via, is a San Diego County prosecutor. .."

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2019635,00.html#ixzz10gJdrbI4

"The Push to Ordain Women Gains Ground" TIME


Alta Jacko on left diaconate ordination
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2021519,00.html

Sept. 25, 2010 by Dawn Reiss/Chicago

..."In spring 2009 ,(Alta) Jacko approached Father Bob Bossie who preaches at St. Harold's Catholic Community in Uptown for help. "She asked me if I would mentor her," recalls Bossie, a member of the Chicago's Priests of the Sacred Heart who was ordained in 1975. ..."

"And yet Bossie helped Jacko anyway. He wanted to help a friend. While Jacko was training to become a deacon, a mandatory step prior to priesthood, it was Bossie who taught her how to say the liturgy. "I did it because she asked me, because she's very thoughtful," Bossie says. "When someone you like and respect asks you, you try to do it."

"Bossie is speaking out publicly for the first time, even though he knows he could lose his job as a priest, his pension and his home. And even though he disagrees, intellectually, with women being in the priesthood, he says his feelings tend to be more complicated than that. "I'm not going out of my way to support it," Bossie says. "I don't think that's sexist. I am a priest, and this is breaking down the hieratical priesthood.... But if people ask me for help, I feel compelled to help, out of respect and love. If God called me, why wouldn't God call a woman?..."



Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2021519,00.html#ixzz10gGwgSpX

"Rise and Revolt: Catholic Women Take on the Vatican" / YoLadies.com


Ordination of Dena O'Callaghan (left)
and Katy Zatsick (right) as priests
in Sarasota, Florida

Feb.5,2010
http://www.yoladies.com/featured/2010/09/rise-and-revolt---catholic-women-take-on-the-vatican.html

September 25, 2010 | Kim Milata-Daniels

"Today, there is a growing number of women all over the world who intend to reclaim their once revered place in the church. Since 2002, they have been ordained deacons, priests, and bishops...

"I spoke to Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan about this affront not only to women but to society and the church. She and her sisters and supporters are only strengthened by the Vatican's archaic and offensive behavior. This is nothing less than a revolution, and in the spirit of women like Hildegard, Joan of Arc, and Saint Theodora - all excommunicated by the church only to later be named saints - the Roman Catholic WomenPriests are calling for a complete upheaval of the Catholic doctrine. They look not only to welcome women as leaders, but also to change the system from a closed and secretive hierarchy to an open, community based church. These women, although devoted to Catholicism itself, are modern and want their callings of service to be relevant to today's world - not only by supporting female leadership and married priests, but by supporting reproductive rights and gay rights, as well."

"What these women are finding, in their disobedience to unjust laws, is that they are gaining support from Catholics every day. After the Sarasota Diocese warned their members that anyone in attendance of this ordination ceremony would be excommunicated, many showed up stating that they didn't care. It was almost a dare from the backwards, medieval and increasingly irrelevant entity, and one that many were thrilled to take."

"Jesus was a major rule breaker," Bridget Mary points out to her critics. To those who state that women cannot be leaders because the twelve apostles were all men, she cries foul. It isn't true that there were only twelve apostles - the number was symbolic of the twelve tribes of Isreal and nothing more. In fact, the most revered apostle was Mary Magdalene, and she was not the only woman in the circle of Christ. When some try to point to Bible passages to back their misogynistic beliefs, Bridget Mary points to Romans 16, where Junia was named as an apostle."

"When I asked her what she thought of the church's unwavering stance on ordained women, she could only point to pure misogyny. "The Vatican's own scholars, in 1976 looked at scripture and concluded that nothing in scripture prohibits women ordination." The centuries of hatred for women and the feminine have saturated the inbred Vatican leadership, preventing them from even acknowledging their own findings, if it means that tradition is threatened in the process."...

Catholic Women Stand in Solidarity for Justice and Equality for Women in the Church Roman Catholic Womenpriests Participate in Prayerful Witness


Catholic Women Call for Justice for Women in Church
Portland, Oregon


Roman Catholic Womanpriest
Suzanne Thiel, from Portland, Oregon
shares brochures
about Roman Catholic
Womenpriests
' Movement



RCWP Toni Tortorilla, from Portland, participates in pray
rally for justice for Catholic women in the
Church. Shares good news that Roman Catholic
Womenpriests Communities are in Oregon.


Several hundred Catholics braved the rain to gather Sunday morning in
downtown Portland, Oregon, in solidarity with Jennifer Sleeman and the women of Ireland.

The event was sponsored by women at St. Andrews Church who
formed an organization called One Spirit - One Call to raise awareness of the church's treatment of women.

More info can be found at their website:
http://www.onespiritonecall.org/

Bridget Mary's Reflection
Roman Catholic Womenpriests stand in solidarity with One Spirit-One Call as Catholic Women activists call for justice and equality for women in the church.
A special thank you to our sister, Jennifer Sleeman of Ireland whose call for a boycott of Mass on Sept. 26th because of the Vatican's action of placing women's ordination in the same category of serious crime as pedophiles inspired this new movement of Catholic women for justice in the church.
It is time for Catholic women worldwide to unite to break through the stained glass ceiling in the Catholic Church.
Bridget Mary Meehan
sofiabmm@aol.com
703-505-0004
www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org