Wednesday, December 24, 2014

ARCWP Deacon Georgia Walker Shares Her Call to Priesthood in a Letter to Fr. Rowe, Vicar General of Kansas City Diocese

           Georgia Walker ARCWP shares the reasons she will be ordained a  Jan. 3rd,  2015  in Kansas City, Missouri with Fr. Rowe, Vicar General of Diocese of KC. (email)

  Deacon Georgia Walker at a  Peace and Justice Witness Event 
        December 23, 2014

 Re:  Your phone call to me on December 11, 2014
 Dear Fr. Rowe,
 I have tried to reach you at your office to see if I could come in to speak with you about your  phone call to me regarding ordination to the priesthood.  Perhaps because of the holidays, I  have been unable to reach you.  So I am sending this message to you by email prior to a story  appearing in the Kansas City Star about the ordination of women.

 First, I want to thank you for contacting me by telephone to give me a warning about the gravity of my plans to be ordained to the priesthood.  It was very considerate of you to inform me of the potential consequences of my course of action.  I appreciate it and I have carefully considered what you had to say.  I have taken this to prayer over the last ten days and have consulted with many other priests in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests and discerned with several close spiritual advisors.  As a result of that discernment, I have decided to continue with my plans to be ordained on January 3rd.

 Since I have been unable to reach you to obtain a possible appointment and the short time frame, I have decided to send you a brief overview of my position on this subject of ordination (see attached note).  Of course, many of the ideas which I have set to paper are thoughts and opinions which are shared by others in my Association and/or other writers. 

 If you have any questions of me after you have read my paper, please contact me at 816.572-3453 or by email at gkwalker@juno.com
Sincerely,
Georgia K. Walker
1      1. What is the reason that women are seeking ordination despite the threat of excommunication?

The Spirit’s call is strong and we are responding, “Yes.”

Ours is a prophetic witness for justice. God is a God of justice.

We are choosing not to continue in our own oppression by denying our call.

Joan of Arc was declared a heretic, burned at the stake, and later declared a saint by the church. Pope Benedict canonized two formerly excommunicated nuns, Mother Theodore Guerin from the United States and Mother Mary MacKillop from Australia. Therefore, you could say excommunication has become a new fast track to canonization!

The treatment of women in the Roman Catholic Church directly influences the treatment of women everywhere. By answering God’s call to ordination even when the Church has a law against women being ordained, we are empowering women everywhere to follow their conscience by speaking truth to power and acting upon it.

We love the church, we are dedicated to serving the people of God, and we preside at sacraments within inclusive communities.

Jesus never ordained anyone but did travel with men and women who listened carefully to his life-giving message. These men and women went to cities, towns and villages to bring the Gospel message to all who would hear it, and the story continues to the present day.  We are from the line of Gospel bearers, and as ordained women we are part of a long history of men and women who were ordained to ministry in the early Church.  We encourage our church leaders to read the theologians of the 21st Century and open the door to dialogue for a new model of church.

As we looked back on our lives, this step into ordained priesthood was our response to the Lover God who has been beckoning us into ever and deeper relationship.

When we realized that some close friends were recognizing our priestly vocation, we also realized that this woman priest movement at this particular point in history was carved out especially for us. The calling for us was twofold: the priestly part and the justice part.

We do not accept the legitimacy of excommunication of women priests.  God does not practice the art of patriarchy. 

Why would the hierarchy excommunicate priests who are following their call from God to priesthood, while the hierarchy does not excommunicate bishops who protect pedophile priests or priests who are pedophiles?


       2. What would the benefits to the Church (people of God) be if the hierarchy accepted women’s ordination?

We would bring forth and take forward our model of priesthood: non-clerical, inclusive communities where all will be welcome and all will be co-equal in their participation in liturgy, service and governance.

Inclusive liturgies with feminine as well as masculine images of God (who is beyond gender) would support girls’ and women’s images of themselves as being created in God’s image, thus strengthening their psyches and souls. The benefits to men’s souls and psyches would be that they would be more in touch with their own feminine and be inclined to be more cooperative and less inclined to hubris, competition and violence.

Women at the table imaging the imago dei in our sacred bodies would strengthen women’s images of themselves as coming from the Divine and perhaps lessen femicide and the murder and violence toward girls and women. Perhaps seeing women at the table would help men to reinforce their respect for women and our sacred bodies.

The people of God need to hear the Gospels interpreted from our (women’s) living and dying.  The Gospels are grounded in social justice. Men and other women need to hear our stories of how justice-making heals and how injustice causes suffering.  Women’s voices need to be heard in our families, local communities and our world community.

We as women priests want to bring new life into a dying Church by making it a place where diversity is welcome and all people have an equal voice.

There is a connection between the oppression of women in religion and violence done to women (and their children of all ages) in the world. We must see the connections among sexism, racism, militarism, nationalism and capitalism.

God does not practice patriarchy. Jesus teaches us liberation from the domination/subordination pattern in any relationship. We are to empower each other in healthy relationships.

The Church could relieve male priests from their service overload to parishioners so they would not have to serve multiple parishes simultaneously.

Fewer local parishes would have to close when female priests and deacons could share the service.

Sacraments could be made available to more people on a more regular basis in prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and other group living situations.

Maybe many of the 33 million ex-Catholics in the United States would return to a more inclusive and co-equal Church that empowers and liberates the people of God.

It is time to open all the windows!

3. What is it about the hierarchy (Church) that upsets women?

Women have been caring for people in their families, in society and in their parish without due equality in power (say-so) and wages.

We are saddened and scandalized by doctrines and teachings that oppress, exclude and diminish the lives of anyone. We are ashamed of a Church that is unwelcoming to women, LGBTQ, divorced or anyone else who is living life in dignity and love. We do not find Jesus in such exclusions.

When the priesthood of women is rejected, the Church suggests that our God does not want what we are longing to give, thereby warping the image of God for all who accept that teaching, in a particularly pernicious way.
  
We cannot believe that it is women priests who must be reconciled to the Church, rather it is hierarchs who need to be reconciled to the people of God (the Church).

We are embarrassed by collectivities of men who meet behind closed doors and develop positions and edicts that have devastating effects on the lives of women, children and families without having women present to represent their experience.
We as women priests want to bring new life into a dying Church by making it a place where diversity is welcome and all people have an equal voice.

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