Saturday, September 3, 2011

"Austria's Moment of Truth"/The Tablet Editorial/Time for Women Priests and End to Mandatory Celibacy

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/article/161660
Editorial
Austria’s moment of truth 3 September 2011

..." It is fortunate that the man with the responsibility to defuse it, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, is one of the Church’s most able leaders who is inevitably being looked at as a possible successor to Pope Benedict. The reason the protest movement – called the “Austrian Priests’ Initiative” – is so potent is precisely because of the truth of so much of what it is saying. The priests are drawing attention to the wide and growing disconnection between the norms of official church teaching, and everyday Catholic life as lived by many of the clergy and laity. ..What is lacking at the moment is evidence that the Church is able to move on, amid too many signs that it would prefer to go backwards.Bishop Egon Kapellari of Graz urged the priests to be patient, as the issues being raised were “tasks which lie before us and which we have to master in the long term”. As it happens, no one is better placed than Cardinal Schönborn to find ways of overcoming the present impasse, which has become a threat to the Church’s unity. The pastoral pragmatism and Nelsonian blindness that held things together may have worked for a while, but the next generation want something better, something more honest. It is not fair to leave them with no other choices than to leave the Church in indifference or despair, or to opt for a quirky and fastidious traditionalism. That is not what the young people in Madrid were looking for."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Kudos to the Austrian church for taking on the issues that must be addressed by the Catholic believers everywhere! It is time for genuine reform and open dialogue. It is time for an end to mandatory celibacy and it is time for women priests- no matter what the pope says! It is a joy to know that now priests and bishops are coming on board our movement for justice and equality for women in the church!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church Support Austrian Priests' Call for Reform

"The Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC) stands in solidaritywith the right of the priests of Austria to strongly voice what they believe are theneeds of the people of the church regarding married clergy, women priests,
Eucharistic hospitality, and other reforms."


"These priests are prepared to face the consequences of the decisions they have
made in conscience. The needs they express are echoed around the world. Rather
than strict penalties being imposed, a response of open discussion and loving actionis called for.
We encourage all faithful Catholics to think deeply on these matters, and to call theirpastors and bishops to a responsive action which goes to the heart of true need."

For more information, contact
Patrick Edgar, DPA, President
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC)
3150 Newgate Drive
Florissant, MO 63033
Phone: 1-877-700-ARCC (2722)
Fax: 1-877-700-2722
Email: arcc@arccsites.org

Friday, September 2, 2011

"A German Pope Heads for the Land of Luther"/"Unity With But Not Under the Pope"

by John L Allen Jr on Sep. 02, 2011
http://ncronline.org/blogs/all-things-catholic/german-pope-heads-land-luther
..."Benedict XVI may be as Catholic as they come, but he’s also deeply German, and he obviously feels a streak of affection for his country’s most celebrated theological son. Part of the drama of the trip, therefore, is how Benedict may use it to recalibrate relations with Protestantism heading into the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017.
Ecumenically, the highlight should come with a Sept. 23 visit to an Augustinian monastery in Erfurt, about two hours by car southwest of Berlin, where Luther lived from 1501 to 1511 while studying at the local university. (For the record, First, Ratzinger agreed that the goal of the ecumenical process is unity in diversity, not structural reintegration. “This was important to many Lutherans in Germany, who worried that the final aim of all this was coming back to Rome,” On that basis, the working group retooled the Joint Declaration to satisfy concerns on both sides. ..The final version came in the form of three documents: the Joint Declaration itself, an “official common statement” indicating how the two parties understand the Joint Declaration, and an “annex” in which the points raised in the response were addressed as well as additional concerns from the Lutheran side. The statement asserted that “consensus in basic truths of the doctrine of justification exists between Lutherans and Catholics.”
...All signs suggest that sensitivities remain a bit raw. Recently, German Lutheran theologian Reinhard Frieling suggested that Benedict XVI might be declared an “honorary head of Christianity.” That, of course, falls far short of the “full, immediate and universal ordinary power in the church” asserted for the Roman Pontiff in canon law, but even so, Frieling’s suggestion produced such a backlash in Lutheran circles that he was forced to clarify that he supports “unity with, but not under, the pope.”
Yet the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification remains the ecumenical agreement in which Pope Benedict XVI was most intimately involved, first as a critic and then as its savior. As such, it illustrates both the doubts and the hopes that the first German pope in 500 years will carry with him on his homecoming later this month."

A Bulletin From a Church Led By a Womanpriest -Chava Redonnet

Oscar Romero Inclusive Catholic Church
Bulletin for Sunday, September 4, 2011
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Friends,
Each week when we go out west of the city to celebrate Mass with a group of migrant farmworkers, we start the Mass at about 8 pm. I had thought that as the days grew shorter we would start earlier, but I learned that their workday stays the same even though its dark earlier. Folks get home at 6:30 and everyone needs to eat and shower before Mass – fifteen people livingin a house with only one shower. I keep starting Mass at 8. These days, we open the door of the house to have light to see by. Its okay,we still have a lovely Mass! There are several men who are there every week, and several other men and women who are there now and then. One of the men who is always there is Santiago, a man of about 60. One week I was surprised when he wasn't there, and asked why. The others explained that he was working late, plantingonions. About 9 pm he came in, just as the Mass was ending, covered with dirt and sweat and not having had his supper. When we sing that hymn with the line, “all who labor without rest. I think of Santiago. This coming Monday we will celebrate Labor Day.
Some of us will march with the farmworkers contingent in the parade, wearing red bandanas to show solidarity with the farm workers. Meet at the corner of Sibley Place and East Ave by 10:15 on Monday morning, September 5, if you would like to join us. Last week I went with a group from the Presbytery to visit some farms. One of the questions people asked was, “Why do you hire people from other countries to do this work? The farmers explained that they can't find people from here that are willing to do the work and when they do, they usually last about three hours. (A man named Tom Rivers wrote a great little book called Farm Hands about his experience trying to do the work the migrants do. He stuck with it, lost 40 lbs, and by the end of the summer was almost as fast as the slowest of the migrant farm workers. It is hard work!) One of the farmers offered her opinion that besides being difficult, farm work does not have much status. Without farm workers, there would be no food on our tables. Someone needs to plant it, weed it, harvest it, package it.
Let us recognize the dignity and worth of that work. Let us work to change the laws, so that peopledon't get punished for coming here to do it! T
hank you, farm workers, for all that you do. And thank you to all workers. Where would we be without the work you do?
The work that everyone one of us does, paid and unpaid.
Work is love made manifest as that positive energy that creates and maintains the things weneed for life. Thank you for the work you do.
Blessings and love to all, Chava
Two of our workers from St Joeâ's,
Rachael Morlock and Joe Lavoie, are in Washington DC to protest the oil pipeline that is proposed to take oil fromthe tar sands in Canada all the way to Texas. Blessings on your journey,
Rachael and Joe. May it bring a bit more light to the world. Peace activist Kathy Kelly is coming to town, again.
She and David Smith-Ferri will give a talk entitled "The Cost of War, the Price ofPeace" at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, 121 N Fitzhugh St, on Tuesday, Sept.13, 2011 at 7:00 pm. St Romeros is almost one year old!
Our first Mass was held on September19 of last year.
Shall we celebrate? Come and join us for Mass on Sunday, September 18 at 11, and bring a dish to pass if you like for lunchafterwards. Maybe we could have a cake in the shape of a 1!
Many thanks to Mike Reimringer who is sending out the bulletin this week, while Rachael is in Washington protesting the pipeline. Come and join us, any Sunday you like! Oscar Romero Church An Inclusive Church in the Catholic Tradition Mass: Sundays, 11 am St Joseph's House of Hospitality, 402 South Ave, RochesterNY 14620
For more information:
chava@localnet.com

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cardinal Levada to Retire?



http://calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=95831cc4-f7a0-4fba-b329-305856a37fe3

Published: August 31, 2011

Cardinal Levada to retire?


"Italian newspaper says former San Francisco archbishop wants this year to be his last as guardian of Catholic orthodoxy.
Pope Benedict XVI will need to find a new prefect for the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith – “the most delicate department head of the Roman Curia” – early next year, the Italian dailyLa Stampa reports. The newspaper is known for its “Vatican Insider” project, staffed by experienced journalists well connected to sources inside the Holy See. In its Aug. 25 edition, La Stampa’s “Vatican Insider” reported that Cardinal Joseph Levada, who turned 75 on June 15, has made it known “he does not wish to remain in the position beyond the end of 2011.”

New Book by John Wijngaards: "Amrutha"; Eye-Popping Read Challenges Catholic Church on Natural Law!


You find more information about the book and its background on
http://www.thepopesman.com/.
Since the book is quite large (a long tale of 544 pages!), it is worth ordering a copy directly from the publisher with a 35% reduction.
For the USA
: click here!
For the UK (Europe): click here!

Our academic advisor, John Wijngaards, has published a book called AMRUTHA.

What the Pope’s man found out about the Law of Nature, Author House 2011. The unusual feature about this book is that it presents a ‘theological story’.
The areas of Christian sexual ethics and the role of women in the Church both touch on natural law.

In recent decades Pope after Pope has appealed to natural law to impose painful prohibitions. Contraceptives may never ever be used in planning the family. Why? They ‘go against the law of nature’. . . Homosexual intimacy is always ‘intrinsically evil’ as a sin against natural law. . . Women’s nature defines and restricts their role . . .

What is at stake?

Theologians in the Middle Ages revamped the notion of ‘natural law’ already discussed by the Greeks and the Romans a thousand years earlier. The idea was: when God created humankind, he/she laid down a law in their nature. For instance: you may not kill needlessly. And no one may ever transgress the law of the Creator. In our time the principle resurfaced as the dignity of the person, as human rights; becoming a useful starting point for international agreements. However, the problem is: what does fall under natural law?

The traditional norms for deciding what is natural and what is not, are purely arbitrary. Thomas Aquinas, for example, worked out that poligamy, a husband marrying more wives, though not ideal, does not go against natural law, while natural law totally forbids a woman to have more husbands. Surely mutilating the male sexual organs is against natural law, you would think? No, not so obvious. Enter the castrati, male singers castrated before puberty so that they retained their high soprano voices. Pope Clement VIII declared it was not against natural law. The ethics of natural law have in past centuries mistakenly been used by the Church to justify slavery, the colonial conquest of nations, the inferior status of women, torture and wars of aggression.

Back to 'Amrutha'


Wijngaards wrote the book thinking: what would happen if a naïve monsignor from Rome would try to implement utter fidelity to natural law in everyday life? Also: what do the celibate lawgivers in Rome really know of the lives of ordinary people, especially the lives of women? The main character in his story - Mgr. Shamus McKenna - demonstrates what might take place. His quest for the truth brings him to explore options that he never considered before. He meets extraordinary women who invariably push out his boundaries. At every point his determination to follow natural law leads him into more murky and untested waters of sex, morality, heroism, and women’s lives. His salvation lies in Amrutha whose name means: nectar & immortal. She is a fighter: resourceful, intelligent, able to overcome incredible challenges. With her he eventually finds out that for human! beings 'natural law' is the use of reason, that is: of our conscience.

We hope the book will amuse and enlighten many readers. Please, pass this information on to other lists and channels. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Austrian priests Defy Catholic Church, Face Showdown"/ Movement of Holy Spirit Rocking Catholic Church: A Holy Shakeup, Indeed!


By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
PARIS Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:52pm IST
PARIS (Reuters) - "Dissident Austrian priests defying their Catholic Church with calls for married clergy, women priests and other reforms enjoy wide public support, according to a new poll on a dispute that could lead to their dismissal.
Three-quarters of people polled in the traditionally Catholic country backed the priests' "Call to Disobedience," a manifesto that Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn compares to a football ..."Dissident leader Rev Helmut Schueller, who as Vienna vicar general was Schoenborn's deputy from 1995 to 1999 and once led the Austrian chapter of the international Catholic charity Caritas, has said he has no intention of giving up.
He says many priests are already quietly breaking the rules anyway, often with the knowledge of their bishops, and his campaign aims to force the hierarchy to agree to change. About 8 percent of Austrian priests have supported his movement."
SOLID SUPPORT FOR SCHUELLER
"The survey published this week by the Oekonsult polling group showed 76 percent of Austrians queried supported Schueller and his colleagues. Some 85 percent said the Church should not do anything to drive away its reform-minded members.While the poll was not limited to Catholics, 70 percent of the respondents said the Church and its leaders were "a very important moral authority" for them. Some 66 percent said they liked Schoenborn personally.
Schueller is now a parish priest and university chaplain in Vienna. If he is dismissed, 97 percent of those polled said, a "very large wave" of people leaving the Church would follow.
A record 87,000 Austrians left the Church in 2010, many in reaction to sexual abuse scandals there.In the past year, over 800 people have registered complaints of molestation by priests after the sexual abuse scandals rocking the Church in Ireland, Belgium and other European countries also broke out in Austria."


Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Catholics in Austria are supporting their priests who are calling for genuine reform of a church in deep crisis over the fallout from the cover-up of the sexual abuse of thousands of youth.
Brava, Fr. Schueller, and the 300+ priests in Austria who are leading this spiritual rebellion to reform the Catholic Church. Thank you for your courageous call for women priests and married priests. The full equality of women in the church is the voice of God in our time. 'Injustice anywhere", as Martin Luther King reminded us, is a "threat to justice everywhere."So too in the Catholic Church!
It is time to end clericalism and empower the people of God. Your call to disobedience is a prophetic act of faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus. It is the movement of the Holy Spirit rocking the Catholic Church. It is about time for this holy shakeup!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org

Historic Ordination of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Washington DC Area/Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests


Release date: August 29, 2011
Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska at 859-684-4247,
rhythmsofthedance@msn.com
Bridget Mary Meehan, 703-671-6712, 703-505-0004, sofiabmm@aol.com
See http://www.associationofromancatholicwomenpriests.org/
http://bridgetmarys.blogspot.com/

On Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. Adele Decker Jones of San Antonio, Texas and Dorothy Shugrue of Cheshire, Connecticut will be ordained priests. Donna LeMaster Rougeux of Lexington, Kentucky will be ordained a deacon in a historic "first" in Virginia. The presiding bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan. The ceremony will take place at First Christian Church, 6165 Leesburg Pike~Falls Church, VA 22044 www.fccfc.org (Check their website for directions). Prior to Ordination, at 1:30 p.m. in the Social Hall, theologian and archaeologist Dorothy Irvin, whose ground-breaking research reveals evidence of women deacons, priests and even bishops has provided a historic foundation for our movement, will give a lecture with slides on Women's Ordination in the Early Church.
The ordinands are theologically prepared and have many years of experience in ministry. Adele worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor. Dorothy, a former member of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, served as a Roman Catholic College Chaplain and presently serves as a Mental Health and Substance Abuse Chaplain. Donna ministers to the sick and dying and their families as a hospice chaplain.
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests rejoice in a "holy shakeup"that millions of Catholics worldwide welcome. The good news now is that male priests, bishops, a cardinal as well as theologians have expressed their support of female priests. They are following in the footsteps of Maryknoll Roy Bourgeois whose prophetic call for a dialogue on women priests is being heard in more and more places today in our church.
A new documentary, "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican," shares the stories of some of these women who have found a way to serve God's people as women priests including Janice Sevre-Duszynska who was ordained in Lexington, Kentucky in 2008. Fr. Roy Bourgeois attended, delivered the homily and participated in the ordination rite. This resulted in his excommunication and Vatican attempts to pressure Maryknoll to dismiss him from the Order.
"Nothing can stop the movement of the spirit toward human rights, justice and equality in our world and in our church," said Bridget Mary Meehan. "The full equality of women is the voice of God in our time."
The Women Priests movement in the Roman Catholic Church advocates a new model of priestly ministry united with the people with whom we minister. We stand in prophetic obedience to Jesus who calls women and men to be disciples and equals. The movement began with the ordination of seven women on the Danube in 2002. Today there are over 124 in the movement worldwide. ARCWP is in the United States and Latin America. Our specific charism within the broader global Roman Catholic Women Priests initiative is to live Gospel equality and justice for women in the church and in society now. We work in solidarity with the poor and marginalized for transformative justice in partnership with all believers. Our vision is to live as a community of equals in decision making both as an organization and within all our faith communities. We advocate the renewal of the vision of Jesus in the Gospel in our church and world.

Media are invited to a pre-ordination press conference with the candidates, Bridget Mary Meehan and Dorothy Irvin on Sept. 10th at 1 p.m. at First Christian Church.

For questions regarding the press conference call Janice at 859-684-4247 or Bridget Mary at 703-671-6712, 703-505-0004.

Contact Dorothy Irvin at 612-387-3784.
For information from the candidates contact
Adele Decker Jones at 210-694-2304, adelejonesdmin@aol.com
Dorothy Shugrue at 203-535-5444, dshug7@gmail.com,
and Donna LeMaster Rougeux at 859- 221-3082.



"Gay Marriage And Religion Go Hand-In-Hand Among Many Young Americans" / Huffington Post

SurveyJaweed Kaleem
"Huffington Post," August 29, 2011
http://wwrn.org/articles/36070/
Washington DC, USA
"Conventional wisdom may suggest that religious groups generally oppose same-sex marriage and legal rights for gay Americans, but a new survey released Monday afternoon suggests there are major religious groups on both sides of the debate. According to the survey, young people are driving public opinion to the tipping point on both gay marriage and theological acceptance of gay people.
The poll, conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based Public Religion Research Institute, surveyed 3,000 adults in the United States and analyzed results according to age, religion, and ethnicity or race. It's findings show that far more members of the "millennial" generation, which includes adults ages 18 to 29, strongly supports same-sex marriage and believes homosexuality is moral and compatible with religion than do members of older generations. Among the survey's findings: More than six in 10 millennials favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, 69 percent support gay adoption, 71 percent support civil unions and 79 percent support employment discrimination protections..."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Drive by Austrian Priests Urging Ordination of Women/ End to Celibacy Has Widespread Support of People

Agence France-Presse August 29, 2011
AVIENNA - "A drive for reform by Austrian priests, urging the ordination of women and an end to celibacy, is meeting with widespread support, according to a new survey published Monday.
A total 71.7 per cent of Austrians found the initiative "fair and adequate," with 64.7 per cent saying they would even sign a "call for insurbodination" launched in June, according to the Oekonsult polling institute.
The so-called "Priests' Initiative," signed by at least 200 clergymen, wants women and married individuals to be allowed to be ordained as priests, an end to the celibacy rule and the right for laymen to preach."
http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Austrians+support+priests+call+reform+Survey/5322302/story.html#ixzz1WTuB4mkn

Monday, August 29, 2011

World Youth Day Indulgences; 'Rome Fiddles While We Burn" /Eugene Kennedy/ NCR

http://ncronline.org/blogs/bulletins-human-side/wyd-indulgences-rome-fiddles-while-we-burn
Vatican announces indulgences for World Youth Day
By Carol Glatz Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- "To help encourage prayers for a spiritually fruitful World Youth Day in Madrid, the Vatican announced Aug. 11 that Pope Benedict XVI had authorized a special indulgence for anyone who, "with a contrite spirit," raises a "prayer to God, the Holy Spirit, so that young people are drawn to charity and given the strength to proclaim the Gospel with their life," a Vatican decree said.
The decree included the offer of a plenary, or full, indulgence to all the young people who will gather with the pope in Madrid. World Youth Day runs Aug. 16-21 in the Spanish capital; the pope arrives Aug. 18.
An indulgence is a remission of the temporal punishment a person is due for sins that have been forgiven. The conditions necessary for receiving a plenary indulgence include having recently gone to confession, receiving the Eucharist and offering prayers for the intentions of the pope.
Pope Benedict decreed that World Youth Day participants can receive a plenary indulgence if they participate with prayerful devotion in any sacred event or "pious exercise" as well as attend the closing Mass, receive the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist and offer prayers for the pope's intentions."



Eugene Cullen Kennedy


"World Youth Day Indulgences: Rome Fiddles While We Burn"

..."The sex abuse crisis among priests and other church personnel has now exploded like napalm across the entire Catholic world. New revelations tell an old story almost every day: that of the suffering of its victims, often in secret and compounded by ecclesiastical ineptitude, inattention, or moral insolvency.
How Irish that the scandal has turned into a brawl between the Irish prime minister and the Roman authorities he has criticized for their handling of the crisis. That reveals that Ireland's green is really base metal beneath the phony gilt of its claims to be the land of saints and scholars.Things are even worse in Germany where the non-stop revelations of sex abuse have stunned the world and embarrassed Pope Benedict XVI who, while all this is going on, is busily promoting a return of the church to the pre-Vatican II period that served as the incubator for a tragedy that has brought immeasurable grief to innumerable people, including the priest sex abusers themselves whose lack of inner growth led them into lives of pseudo-celibacy that made them seem virtuous to their bishops when they were actually menaces to their people.
Now, while Catholics burn with the shame inflicted on them by this crisis, Rome seems so pre-occupied with re-entering the shadowed yesterday of clerical domination that it has no interest or enough spiritual energy to lead the church to a fresh dawn of self-examination and self-cleansing.
The latest example is found in promising plenary indulgences to those who fulfill certain conditions when they attend World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain, Aug. 18-21. BUT WAIT -- as they say on infomercials -- partial indulgences are also available to those who pray appropriately during this gathering even if they cannot attend in person.
As part of the Reform of the Reform, this unfortunately rings like a church bell with associations of selling such indulgences during medieval times when bartering for grace and time off from Purgatory with cash scandalized Catholics and helped bring on the Reformation.
It is worse now because it confounds the mystery of Time and Eternity in which Roman officials should have an interest even if they lack any understanding of them. These are also critical variables in the human experience of the sexual abuse crisis and confusing them can only increase the suffering of the victims of sex abuse.Indulgences are airily explained as lessening the temporal, or in time, punishment for sin that actually takes place beyond the reach of time, or the application of its parameters, in eternity. Where there is time, as Joseph Campbell has expressed it, there is sorrow. That is a function of time not of eternity and indulgences make no sense, sold 500 years ago or promised now, as any kind of spiritual currency to bail us out of the timeless sphere of eternity..."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Homily for the 22nd Sunday- Cycle A- 28 Aug. 2011 by Roberta Meehan, ARCWP



Homily for the 22nd Sunday

Cycle A – 28

August 2011

Jeremiah 20:7-9

Psalms 63:2-6, 8-9

Romans 12:1-2

Matthew 16:21-27


(The gospel is the same in all lectionaries. There are slight variations in the other readings. For this homily, I am using the Roman Catholic lectionary. )


Think about these readings. Did you hear them? WOW! But, let us concentrate today just on Jeremiah. All three readings – and the psalm – are powerful but there is so much every one of us can relate to in this first reading from Jeremiah that I think we ought to put our concentration there. Jeremiah says, “You duped me, O God, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the day I am an object of laughter; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage is my message; the word of the LORD has brought me derision and reproach all the day. I say to myself, I will not mention God. I will speak in God's name no more. But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.” Look at that opening line. “You duped me, O God….”

Have you ever felt duped by God? Most of us have. When we are duped by God, we have that overpowering knowledge and desire for what we know we are supposed to do. And, we don’t want to do it. We fight. We scream. We holler. We tell God we are not the right one for the job. We use every excuse imaginable. But, just like Jeremiah, we let ourselves be duped because our God is too strong for us and God wins. Look at what Jeremiah says next. He says is the object of laughter and mockery. We have all experienced this, have we not? Of course! And sometimes what we experience is a figment of our imaginations – but that does not make the laughter and mockery any less real to us, does it?

Part of this, it seems, is that when we are fighting God, we are also fighting ourselves. That is a losing battle! We cannot fight God. And we cannot fight ourselves. Of course, regardless of the battle, we are going to feel pain – real or imagined. We then do exactly what Jeremiah does. We say we will not mention God. We will ignore God. But, it does not work. Our God is a persistent lover. Our God will not be thwarted. Our God is that impervious Hound of Heaven. And God wins whether we like it or not. It seems we have several things to learn from this passage. Of course, the most obvious is that we cannot escape the absolute yearning our God has for us and, flowing from that, that our God will go to any lengths to claim us. We sometimes forget that part, do we not? We think our God does not care – but our God will do anything for us! There is another message here too. Jeremiah’s statements to God are hardly prim and pious. He is talking to God in a very frustrated way and in a way much like he would talk with a close friend with whom we disagree. (Have we not all talked with a close friend this way – or at least thought about it?) Jeremiah is telling us that it is OK – completely acceptable – to be REAL with our God. We have permission to say, “God, what the heck are you doing to me???” Read the Book of Jeremiah. He was a bold and brazen and slightly off the wall sort of man. (His antics regarding clothing leave no doubt about this!) But, he was real. He was real in his work and he was real in his dealings with his God. He did not pretend he was something he was not. He did not have to put on a show for God. And he told God what he thought. And God loved him so much that Jeremiah was able to follow his calling exactly as he was – as a real human being. This is an excellent lesson for us.

How often do we try to hide our fears and our emotions from God? How often do we think we have been duped by God but are afraid to tell God exactly what we think? Why do we not want to spill it all out to our God? Why do we not want to be like Jeremiah? Our God loves us! Our God understands us! Our God knows our frustrations! We need to talk to God as our friend and as our lover. We need to face our frustrations and our anxieties with what we have been called to do. We do not need to feign a pious front if we do not feel pious. We need to feel and be real. Our God knows we are real!!! And, in being real, we will feel the smile of our beloved – our God – and the whole concept of our having been duped will fall away. If we do this, our pattern of life will fall in perfectly with today’s passage from Romans. “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” It is in being ourselves that we are able to face our God as whole and real human beings. We will not be conforming to the age and we will thus be able to discern with a clear mind and an open heart the will of our Supreme Lover.

Roberta M Meehan, ARCWP

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests