By Madonna King
In a newsletter, Bishop Morris reflected on an aging clergy and worried about the shortage of priests in Australia. .
"Several responses have been discussed internationally, nationally and locally,'' he says, including ordaining married, single or widowed men, welcoming former priests back, ordaining women, married or single, and recognising Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting Church orders.
"While we continue to reflect carefully on these options, we remain committed to actively promoting vocations to the current celibate male priesthood and open to inviting priests from overseas.''
...But Bishop Morris's supporters privately point to the role of a small group of conservative Catholics determined the rules should be religiously enforced. That means no oxygen from the pulpit for controversial topics like female ordination."
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
What a sad state of affairs that a small minority of Catholics take it upon themselves to "police" their parish priests' and diocesan bishops homilies and writings for so-called adherence to Vatican policies on hot button issues like women priests!
If it true that Pope Benedict wants a "smaller, more orthodox, church" as some have reported, than perhaps,sadly, this is what is happening.
One in ten people in the United States is a former Catholic. So that is I believe approximately 33 million Catholics.
But is our church following the example of Jesus who welcomes all, and sends no one away?
Will our church resemble the community of faith that Jesus called for in the Gospel, or will it look more like a cult, that adheres to man-made rules that the church, the majority of Catholics no longer follow or even recognize?In the wake of a global sex abuse scandal, the shortage of male celibate priests and the growing alienation of women, including the young , is the Roman Catholic Church on the precipice? We know that God is with those who are on the margins, those who are outsiders, the exluded.
God is love and calls us to be reflections of love and liberation in our world. Our energy should be on living Jesus' love for all, working for justice, and following his example of inclusivity and compassion.
During his earthly life, Jesus certainly encountered more than his fair share of complainers who condemned him as a major rule breaker for things like healing on the Sabbath and hanging out with the wrong people at parties -like sinners which (gasp!!) included women. Jesus' dialogue with the Samaritan woman, the longest conversation recorded in the Gospels, violated cultural, religious and gender taboos. Yep, Jesus was a real rule breaker all right and we know where that led! Right, It was the women who stood by Jesus at the cross in his sufferings and were the first ones to encounter the Risen Christ. Jesus reversal of centuries of misogny! We just celebrated Easter and heard once again the story of Mary of Magdala, The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala, not Peter or John or any of the males hiding out in the upper room. Mary was the apostle to the apostles. Jesus turned sexist practices upside down and taught the radical equality of women and men as disciples and equals.
Now fast forward to the 21st century and the Vatican's reprehensible treatment of women as second class citizens. Women priests are disobeying an unjust law in order to change it because the full equality of women in the church is the voice of God in our time.
And the Vatican knows it! Silencing, firing, and exommunicating supporters including priests and bishops like Bishop William Morris and Fr. Roy Bourgeois will not work. God is never on the side of the oppressor.
The God of justice and liberation is rising up in the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement as courageous women follow God's call to a renewed priestly ministry in a community of equals. We pray that many more people join us in this human rights movement for women in the Catholic Church!
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP