Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"Priests in high demand as Catholic population rises" /A Priest Shortage Leading to a Renewed Church in which Women Priests Serve in a Community of Equals

http://www.news-press.com/story/news/local/2014/05/25/priests-high-demand-catholic-population-rises/9559471/
Dave Breitenstein, dbreitenstein@news-press.com


"Nationally, one in five Catholic parishes does not have a resident priest.
America's Catholic population is rising by 1 percent annually, but seminary enrollment is flat. An inadequate supply of priests already has forced hundreds of parishes to close or consolidate.
Priests aren't getting any younger, either. Their average age is 63.
Something's got to give..."
Bridget Mary's Response:
Bishop Frank Dewane does not need to worry about a future shortage of priests in Florida. Women priests are here! And we are growing. Last weekend, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests ordained six women in Cleveland. A drop in the bucket, you say? Do you believe that faith moves mountains? I do.
We know that women who make up at least half of church membership, are ready, willing and open to serve the church. Women already do at least 80 percent of the work in parish ministry.  If church law did not discriminate against women, I believe that there would be a large number of priests to serve Catholics. The problem  is the man-made, sinful, sexist law that prohibits women's ordination.  
Even though, Jesus chose both male and female disciples and women served as deacons, priests and bishops during the first twelve hundred years of the church's history, Pope John Paul 11  issued an official letter in 1994 banning women's ordination, entitled "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis." It said that since women did not bear a physical resemblance to Jesus, they could not serve as priests.  Huh!? Contemporary theologians like John Shea call the church's explanation of why women cannot be priests "heretical".  Obviously, this teaching contradicts the bible and the example of Jesus.  Women and men are created in God's image according to Genesis.  Galations 3:28 reminds us there is neither Jew, nor Greek... male or female, all are one in Christ.  Baptism makes us spiritual equals in Christ.  
 The good news is that there are Roman Catholic Women Priests now serving inclusive Catholic communities in the United States, Canada, Europe, South Africa and Latin America. Locally, Judy Lee and Judy Beaumont are Roman Catholic Women Priests who preside at a weekly liturgy at Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community. They serve people who are homeless and struggling to make a living in the Ft. Myers area. 
Perhaps, the shortage of priests is a wake up call that the Spirit is moving in grassroots, inclusive, empowered communities where the community of the baptized celebrates Eucharist as the Body of Christ around the table, on the table, and present everywhere in the cosmos. God is calling men and women to shape a renewed priestly ministry, one with all in the Banquet of love.   Women are saying, "yes,  here we are, we are ready to serve  as priests."Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

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