..."We ask ourselves: What is the cause of this severe disconnection? The answer, we come to conclude, is fear. Fear of allowing women to sit at the table. Fear, perhaps, of what an inclusive church might look like. Does this stem from a fear of change? Is this fear generated by not spending time in collaboration with women? Our experience tells us that listening to their ideas, their perspectives, their insights would result in building a stronger, healthier church. Keeping them out diminishes us all. Francis, nothing you have shown us since the first day of your pontificate indicates you are a fear-driven bishop. On the contrary, you appear whole and at peace with yourself. Your humble confidence says you trust in the Spirit. These are all healthy signs the Spirit is alive within you. Trust that Spirit. That trust will serve you well. It will lead you to open the doors of which you speak -- to all the faithful, including, no, starting with the LCWR leadership..."
Bridget Mary's Response: It is encouraging that PopeFrancis said "Who are we to close doors?" It is my hope that Francis opens the door to Gospel equality and partnership including decision-making and liturgical leadership. The challenge for Francis and the bishops is to let go of their fear of women and to embrace the spiritual transformation that occurs as women take their rightful place as spiritual equals in the community of the baptized. The LCWR and the international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement are playing a leadership role in living justice and equality in grassroots communities and ministries that are renewing the church from within. Yes, Pope Francis, open the doors to all, indeed, who are the hierarchy to close doors that the Spirit has opened, is opening and will open? Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org