Friday, June 6, 2014

ARCWP Response to Frequently Asked Questions

The Roman Catholic Women Priests  Movement is a renewal, justice movement within the Catholic Church.
We are serving inclusive Catholic communities where all are welcome to receive sacraments.
We are a non-clerical movement that offers the church an egalitarian, partnership with the community of the baptized.
Our mission is to serve especially those whom the Vatican marginalizes. (33 million Catholics have left the church that is quite a "target group" that has been abandoned by institution. )
We reject excommunication. No punishment can separate us from Christ or cancel our baptism. No church authority can separate us from God.
This is our church and we are not leaving it. (no matter what the Vatican says or does.)
(The Vatican's official line is that our excommunicate is the automatic type, by your choice, you have excommunicated yourself)
The Church that treat women as second-class citizens violate God's will.
 Genesis 1:27: God created humanity in God's image, in the divine image, God created them, male and female God created them.  Galations 3:27 St. Paul reminds us that by our baptism there is neither male nor female, all are one in Christ.
Roman Catholic Women Priests have valid orders. Our first bishops were ordained by a male bishop in apostolic succession.
Pope Benedict canonized two excommunicated two nuns (Theodore Guerin and Mary McKillop) Therefore, one could argue he made excommunication the new fast track to sainthood!
We hope that Pope Francis will chart a new path toward human equality in our church by opening all ministries to women. If women were priests, we would see an end to the church's policy on contraception.  Primacy of conscience is an important church teaching that all must follow in moral decisions.
The hierarchy must make the connection between discrimination against women in the church and violence , abuse and inequality toward  women in the world.
Like these courageous women we are faithful Catholics leading the church to become more just and live Jesus example of Gospel equality.
Jesus called women and men to be disciples. (Luke 8:1-3) Jesus did not ordain anyone.
The Risen Christ called Mary Magdala to be the apostle to the apostles. She was the first to proclaim the central message of Christianity, the Resurrection.
Vatican/ (hierarchy) should follow Jesus’ example of Gospel equality and the early church’s tradition of women in liturgical leadership as deacons, priests and bishops.
Background For 1200 years women were ordained. (Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination, Dorothy Irvin’s archaeological evidence etc.) “In the early centuries of Christianity, ordination was the process and the ceremony by which one moved to any new ministry (ordo) in the community. By this definition, women were in fact ordained into several ministries. A radical change in the definition of ordination during the eleventh and twelfth centuries not only removed women from the ordained ministry, but also attempted to eradicate any memory of women's ordination in the past. …However, the triumph of a new definition of ordination as the bestowal of power, particularly the power to confect the Eucharist, so thoroughly dominated western thought and practice by the thirteenth century that the earlier concept of ordination was almost completely erased.. References to the ordination of women exist in papal, episcopal and theological documents of the time, and the rites for these ordinations have survived.” Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination)
The Vatican and Google have created a virtual tour of catacombs including two frescoes in St. Priscilla’s catacomb that provide evidence of ancient women deacons and priests in first centuries of church’s history.  (One fresco depicts a woman deacon in the center vested in a dalmatic, her arms raised in the orans position for public worship.  In the same scene there is a bishop being ordained a  priest by a bishop seated I a chair. She is vested in an alb, chasuble, and amice, and holding a gospel scroll.  The third woman in the painting is wearing the same robe as the bishop on the left and is sitting in the same type of chair. ) In another fresco in the Catacombs of Priscilla, women are conducting a Eucharistic banquet. This evidence portrays women in liturgical roles and vestments.
The real issue is that Roman Catholic Women Priests are visible reminders that women are equal images of God. We are healing centuries of misogyny.
The Vatican (hierarchy) cannot continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it.
Roman Catholic Women Priests are a “holy shakeup” which millions of Catholics support.
Roman Catholic Women Priests lead inclusive, enthusiastic, egalitarian communities where all are welcome to receive sacraments.

Why do Roman Catholic Women Priests Ordain in Apostolic Succession?

Women priests sometimes get asked why we bother with apostolic succession?
Here is my response:
We care about apostolic succession because in this time of paradigm shift in the Roman Catholic Church, the Women Priests Movement is a bridge- joining hands with the institutional church in order to transition from a hierarchical model to a more community centered ecclesial model of a discipleship of equals. In order to accomplish this change we must connect with the institution where it is and they value apostolic succession as a tradition. We are aware that Peter was probably never in Rome and that this apostolic succession comes from the 15th century and has a number of broken links such as 3 popes at one time etc. However, in order to be taken seriously by the institutional church, and to serve all of its people, we needed to find a bishop with apostolic succession who ordained our first women bishops. That we did and that is part of the reason we are such a threat to the institutional church!
We have valid orders!
We use them to renew the structures from within and share our orders with the priesthood of all the people. If you don't have it, you can't share it!  We use equal rites to achieve equal rights in our church.  The Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is a justice movement for women in the church, leading the church into its future now- a more open, just, inclusive, egalitarian community, rooted in Jesus' example and early Christianity's house church tradition.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,
Our website is

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