Saturday, February 12, 2011

What Other Church Would Get Away with Criminal Behavior? Time for Roman Catholics To Act Like Egyptian People in Response to Tsunami of Abuse

John Chuchman writes:
"Over the past decade, prosecutors have pressed high-ranking church officials in the U.S. to accept responsibility for covering up abuse but never actually brought criminal charges against them as individuals.
For instance, Phoenix Bishop Thomas O'Brien admitted in 2003 that he sheltered abusive priests, an acknowledgment made as part of a deal with prosecutors that gave him immunity from any potential obstruction-of-justice charge. He agreed to institute reforms and cede some authority to other church officials.
The Diocese of Manchester, N.H., admitted wrongdoing but avoided criminal charges in 2003.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati pleaded no contest in 2003 to charges of failing to tell authorities about sex abuse claims against priests, paid a find and created a fund for victims.
And in 2005, the Boston Archdiocese struck a deal to avoid an unprecedented federal indictment on allegations of making a false statement to federal authorities.
Among other things, the archdiocese agreed to closer scrutiny of its child-protection programs.The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office also convened a grand jury in 2002 to look into abuse by priests since the 1960s. Its report, issued in 2005, said that there was evidence of abuse by at least 63 priests and that church officials had transferred offenders to other parishes and dioceses. While Bevilacqua and other church officials were criticized, none were charged."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Like the Egyptian people who conducted a peaceful revolution that brought down a corrupt government, it is time for ordinary Catholics to take action in response to the world-wide tsunami of clergy sexual abuse. It is time to demand accountability from the hierarchy and to demand that prosecutors no longer give the RC Church hierarchy a "pass" when there is evidence of abuse by priests. If Cardinal Bevilacqua was Mr. Bevilacqua, would he be doing hard time in a prison for similar charges? Does the RC Church get special treatment in civil law and criminal courts? If so, why?
We need to change the structures that failed to protect thousands of Catholic youth? We need to call for the resignations of bishops who kept pedophiles in ministry. We need to affirm priests of integrity and open our doors to married priests and women priests. (This is already a reality in grassroots communities and this movement will grow.)
We need the people of God to take their rightful place in decision-making roles in our church. No longer should these roles be limited by canon law to the clergy. We are in a world of hurt. It is time for a peaceful revolution to transform our beloved church into a more open, compassionate and just community that resembles Jesus' vision in the Gospels.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

Friday, February 11, 2011

Grand Jury Indicts Philadelphia Chancery Official, Raps Retired Cardinal


February 11, 2011
"Msgr. William Lynn, a Philadelphia pastor who headed the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s office of clergy from 1992 to 2004, has been indicted on two counts on endangering the welfare of a child. "


"In a report released along with the indictments, a grand jury indicated that they had also considered charges against retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.
District Attorney Seth Williams said at a press conference that Msgr. Lynn “supervised two of the abusers . . . knew they were dangerous, and chose to expose them to new victims.” The indictment marks the first time that an American chancery official has faced criminal charges for covering up evidence of clerical abuse. "

"The indictments came as the result of a grand-jury investigation that produced a stinging indictment of the Philadelphia archdiocese and its response to sexual abuse. The grand jury's report charged that archdiocesan programs allegedly designed to assist victims of abuse have in fact been used to protect accused clerics and Church officials, and expresses suspicions that priests who have been credibly charged with abuse are still in active ministry, despite the US bishops' clear policy guidelines requiring their suspension. "

"The grand jury report was the 2nd such inquiry into possible criminal behavior in the Philadelphia archdiocese. And earlier report, issued in 2005, had contained a blistering denunciation of the archdiocese. But at that time, the grand jury stopped short of recommending criminal charges, explaining that there was not adequate evidence to support successful prosecution of acts that had taken place within the statue of limitations. The new grand jury found such evidence, thanks to the emergence of new witnesses. "

"Indicted and arrested along with Msgr. Lynn were four priests accused of abusing boys. Three priests are accused of raping one boy between 1998 and 2000; the fourth is accused of raping a 14-year-old boy in 1996. The grand jury report recounts the priests' offenses in lurid detail, and underlines evidence that Msgr. Lynn was fully informed about the priests' misconduct. "

"The grand jury report indicates that the panel seriously considered criminal charges against Cardinal Bevilacqua. In a section that clearly indicates the depth of suspicion focused on the archdiocese, the report explains:
The Cardinal’s top lawyer appeared before the grand jury and testified that the Cardinal, at 87, suffers from dementia and cancer. We are not entirely sure what to believe on that point. We do know, however, that over the years Cardinal Bevilacqua was kept closely advised of Monsignor Lynn’s activities, and personally authorized many of them. On the other hand, we do not have good evidence about the Cardinal’s actions specifically as to Father Avery and Father Brennan, the two priests whose treatment forms the basis for the endangering charge against Lynn. The documents clearly show what Lynn knew in these two cases and what he did or didn’t do about it. But that direct link is lacking as to Cardinal Bevilacqua. On balance, we cannot conclude that a successful prosecution can be brought against the Cardinal – at least for the moment. New reports of abuse continue to come in. ?"

"In announcing the indictments, district attorney Williams identified himself as a Catholic. He said":
"The criminal acts that occurred here are not representative of my religion. They are the bad acts of individual men. I recognize all the good that the Roman Catholic Church has done and continues to do in the world. But I am sworn to uphold the law, and I will do what is necessary to protect children. There must be more separation between the things the church does in the name of helping victims and the things the church does in an effort to protect itself from financial liability and ill repute…..I love my church but I detest the criminal behavior of priests who abuse or allow the abuse of children. "

Remembrance Service for Robert Fawcett at Oakwood Manor on Feb. 11, 2011


Candles lit in honor of Robert Fawcett
at Remembrance's Celebration



Tim Fawcett gave a eulogy for his Dad
Joan, wife of Bob, and daughter Kristin stand behind Tim.



Jack Meehan, played "Amazing Grace"
and "When Saints Go Marching in"
and background music

On the last day of his life, Robert Fawcett swam and attended a fun Super Bowl party at Lois and Ron Charron's home on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2011. On his return home, he collapsed and died instantly outside his door. His wife Joan said that she remembered hearing a noise outside and went out to see if Bob was on his way in. Indeed, it was a terrible shock when she found her dear Bob had died. The community offered support at this time of grief. They provided help with calls and armed with a "to do" list sprung into action. I offered a resource for the Memorial Service and volunteered to officiate at the service. The family made a beautiful program with a photo of a beautiful sunset, the Irish blessing , a photo of Bob, and order of service.

Over 100 people from Oakwood Manor gathered at the Club House on Friday Feb. 11th to celebrate Bob's life. His family -wife- Joan and sons and daughter, neighbors and friends lit candles and paid tribute to his life with heart-felt stories. We learned that Bob was a respected school teacher and that he organized teams and sports events for the youth of his town in Canada. All of us here at Oakwood Manor will miss Bob who was a kind man who had an encouraging word for all and a delightful sense of humor.
The community recited the closing prayer together."Loving God, we remember Robert Fawcett. We pray that he may rest in eternal light and everlasting peace. We will carry him in our hearts forever. "
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bishop Patricia Fresen in U.S./ Will Speak in Sarasota, Florida on April 9th, 2011 "Transformed by Compassion"


Bishop Patricia Fresen

A Special Event !

As part of a U.S. Tour
Dr. Patricia Fresen comes to Sarasota, Florida
A Talk You Don’t Want to Miss To
April 9th, 2011


TRANSFORMED BY COMPASSION

In this talk, Dr Fresen draws on medieval as well as contemporary sources to show that compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries.
Releasing the energy of compassion into our world is possibly the most important calling each of us has, whoever we are and whatever our life situation may be.
"The ultimate power of God, universe and humanity is compassion." (Matthew Fox)
"The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world.” (Karen Armstrong)
Location
St. Andrew United Church of Christ,
6908 Beneva Rd. Sarasota, Florida 34238,
April 9th 4 PM--5:30PM; followed by liturgy at 6PM (Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community
Suggested offering: $20/couples $30
941-955-2313

About your speaker:
Patricia Fresen, a Roman Catholic Woman Bishop, was born and raised in South Africa. She joined the RC Dominican Congregation upon completion of her secondary education. After obtaining degrees in Arts and Education, she taught in Convent High Schools while also being involved in School Administration. After many years of teaching, she spent seven years in Rome, studying theology at the University of St. Thomas and at the Gregoriana. It was there that she obtained a Licentiate in Theology. She returned to S. Africa in 1988 and was invited to join the faculty of the National Seminary in Pretoria, where she taught Sacramental Theology, Spirituality and Homiletics. In May of 1996, she completed her doctoral studies and thesis and obtained the Doctorate in Theology through the University of South Africa. From 1999 - 2003 Dr Fresen was on the Faculty of the Catholic University in Johannesburg.
In August 2003 she was ordained a Roman Catholic priest. As a result, she had to leave the Dominicans and give up her position at Catholic University. She subsequently moved to Germany, where she lives today. That same year, 2003, she became the Co-ordinator of the Training Program in Preparation for Priesthood for R.C. Womenpriests (RCWP).
In 2005 she was ordained a bishop to help ensure that the ordination of women will continue. Since then, Fresen has presided at many ordinations in Europe, Canada and the USA. The number of R.C. Women Priests grows year by year.
Since joining RCWP, Dr Fresen has been invited to speak at conferences or to lead retreats in the USA, Canada, Europe and South Africa.

Maureen Dowd- Right On- Again- New App. Leaves Out Women Priests

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/09/opinion/09dowd.html?hp

EXCERPT: The app also tailors the questions if you sign in as a priest or a “religious.” For instance, if you say you’re a female and try to select “priest” as your vocation, a dialogue box appears that says “sex and vocation are incompatible.” So much for modernity.

Bridget Mary's Response;
Right on Maureen Dowd! So much for this new app bringing you closer to God- if you are a female-forget it! Check out the examination of conscience for women vs. men, girls vs. boys! I wonder who worked on this examination of conscience? What's next email your sins to a cyber- space confessor. Just hit confessional box on app, send in your sins, and receive a return penance with serveral stars that flash the number for the indulgences received? I think this new app. needs more work- specifically input from women and a new category for women priests!! www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

Roman Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse Web Sites: Update

SNAP Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/

National Survivor Advocates Coalition:

http://www.nationalsurvivoradvocatescoalition.wordpress.com/.


Bishops Accountability.org

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/

If anyone is interested in getting on the list serve, just email Steve Sheehan at Sheehan1777@aol.com

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Will Women Priests Change the Church? by Mary Hunt/We Already Have/ by Bridget Mary Meehan


Judy Lee, RCWP presdes at
House Church Community Liturgy
in Ft. Myers, Florida

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/4137/will_women_priests_change_the_church/
"Catholic women priests are an oxymoron for the Vatican. It considers them automatically excommunicated before the holy oil is dry on their hands. Other Catholics accept them as sacramental ministers and are delighted with the innovation. Still, others, myself included, want far deeper structural changes in the Catholic Church such that priesthood loses its baked-on charm and ministry becomes the expected task of adult members. This is an important theological conversation that the Vatican wishes would go away. Memo to them: it is just starting."
"Pink Smoke Over the Vatican is a new documentary that is making the rounds at film festivals (it will debut in New York on February 12 at the Athena Film Festival, hosted by Barnard College). The title refers to protests held at churches around the country during the Conclave in 2005 that elected Pope Benedict XVI where women created pink smoke — instead of the traditional white smoke that heralds the choice of a pope — to draw attention to the fact that the election was a men’s club affair. (Only Cardinals under the age of eighty may vote and no women are cardinals yet.)Catholic women priests are an oxymoron for the Vatican. It considers them automatically excommunicated before the holy oil is dry on their hands. Other Catholics accept them as sacramental ministers and are delighted with the innovation. Still, others, myself included, want far deeper structural changes in the Catholic Church such that priesthood loses its baked-on charm and ministry becomes the expected task of adult members. This is an important theological conversation that the Vatican wishes would go away. Memo to them: it is just starting. "
"Pink Smoke Over the Vatican is a new documentary that is making the rounds at film festivals (it will debut in New York on February 12 at the Athena Film Festival, hosted by Barnard College). The title refers to protests held at churches around the country during the Conclave in 2005 that elected Pope Benedict XVI where women created pink smoke — instead of the traditional white smoke that heralds the choice of a pope — to draw attention to the fact that the election was a men’s club affair. (Only Cardinals under the age of eighty may vote and no women are cardinals yet.) "

Bridget Mary's Response:

I agree with Dr. Hunt's analysis that structural change in the Roman Catholic Church is essential to the transformation and renewal of the church. I do not fear Roman Catholic Women Priests will be co-opted by the hierarchy!

Roman Catholic Women Priests have already changed the church in grassroots inclusive communities.We celebrate inclusive liturgies at which the gathered assembly recite the Eucharisitic Prayer. We minister within a community of equals that reaches out to the world in diverse ministries according to their gifts. We are devoted to serving on the edge with the marginalized and poor in our midst. We stand in solidarity with the peace and justice prophetic mission of the church and are part of the paradigm shift toward women's equality and justice for all that is taking place in our world.

In the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, we envision our charism as a journey of justice for all, for women in the church, that includes the ordination of women priests as an issue of justice. We also connect the mission of Roman Catholic Women Priests to ministry with the marginalized and oppressed in a community of equals.

The unique focus of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
is on justice and equality:
1. We seek equality for women in the church including ordination,
and justice for all.
2. We serve the poor and marginalized.
3. We live the spiritual and social justice tradition of the church
in inclusive communities of equals.


Bridget Mary Meehan RCWP

http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/

sofiabmm@aol.com



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Open Letter to the U.S. Catholic Bishops on the Forthcoming Missal/RCWP offer Inclusive Language and Imagery of God in our Liturgies


http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=12688&o=38064

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies,

"With a heavy heart, I have recently made a difficult decision concerning the new English missal. I have decided to withdraw from all my upcoming speaking engagements on the Roman Missal in dioceses across the United States. After talking with my confessor and much prayer, I have concluded that I cannot promote the new missal translation with integrity. I知 sure bishops want a speaker who can put the new missal in a positive light, and"...

Bridget Mary's Reflecton:

Roman Catholic Women Priests use inclusive language in our liturgies that utilize feminine and masculine images in our speech about God, such as God, our Creator, and/or God, our Mother and Father.
Catholics define God as pure spirit, but if we address God utilizing only male metaphors we limit God who is beyond all images. Praying with feminine images of God introduce us into a variety of new possibilities for prayer that will enrich our spiritual growth and help us transform political, social, and economic systems that oppress us. In the Bible, for example, God is portrayed as a comforting mother, gentle midwife, woman in labor, a nursing mother, and mother of humanity. See my book: Delightng in the Feminine Divine which presents feminine imagery in scripture, the mystical Christian tradition and in contemporary writings. Come and experience a woman priest led liturgy. Experience inclusive liturgies for yourself. Check out our liturgies and compare with the new Vatican Missal.
See : Walking the Prophetic Journey, by Beben and Meehan ( contact: sofiabmm@aol.com)
Eucharistic Prayers for Inclusive Communities by Meehan and Dierks/Woven Word Press. ( available on amazon.com)
Bridget Mary Meehan RCWP
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org


HOT New Documentary Film on Roman Catholic Women Priests: Previews/Interviews: "Pink Smoke Over Vatican" Award Winner by Jules Hart

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGij4nobQ18&feature=related
Scenes from “Pink Smoke . . . “

http://vimeo.com/15568168
Interview of Jules Hart---documentary maker [about 52 min.]

Several other sites via google.com


http://womenandmythology.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/review-pink-smoke-over-the-vatican/
Review of “Pink Smoke . . .”

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Over 100 Catholics Attend Lecture by Prominent Theologian Robert McClory on the "Hijacking of Vatican II"


Over 100 people attended the excellent lecture by Robert McClory on Feb. 6, 2010 at St. Andrew UCC in Sarasota, Florida. This presentation was sponsored by Southwest Fl. CTA, Voice of the Faithful of Venice, and Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community. Dr. Michael Rigdon, co-pastor of Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community introduced Dr. McClory, a prestigous scholar of Vatican II and author of books such as Turning Point: The Inside Story of the Papal Birth Control Commission, As It Was in the Beginning: The Coming Democratization of the Catholic Church, Faithful Dissenters.
Dr. McClory presented some "behind the scenes stories "of Vatican II documents such as the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy. His theory on the present "hijacking of Vatican II" is that this is the vision of Pope Benedict who has stated that he wants a smaller, more faithful, obedient church. However, the papal view , according to McClory is not what Vatican II was about. Pope John XXIII opened the windows of change and dialogue with the world, and embraced the hopes and fears of all humanity. Now Pope Benedict is directing the church in a different direction-- back to Medieval times with popular devotions such as indulgences, relics and Latin liturgies.
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Dr. Robert McClory's presentation provided an excellent look at the accomplishments of Vatican II and our present Pope's movement backward.
For many Catholics, there is no turning back, only moving forward together. The Spirit of God is in the people of God and continues to speak today through the movement for a more just church and world. One example, the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement provides another vision of a more open, just and inclusive church. We are laying the groundwork for Vatican III, which will be an Ecumenical Council of the people of God!
I think we are creating a bridge for the "faithful" to cross from the present paradigm to a church where all are welcome to receive sacraments and celebrate inclusive liturgies and where all are called to share their spiritual gifts in a community of equals in service of God's people. We the people of God are the church, as Vatican II taught!
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP