Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pope Francis's Greeting For International Women's Day May Not Have Hit The Mark /An Open and Frank Response by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP


The conference also touched on the taboo subject of women's ordination, which recently resulted in excommunication for Georgia Walker, an American woman who got ordained in an unsanctioned ceremony under the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. 
Bridget Mary's Comment: The full equality of women in the church is the voice of God in our times and this means- women priests now serving empowered, inclusive communities of equals!
Georgia Walker in the center holding the chalice on her ordination day in Kansas City
The Roman Catholic Church has a gaping soul-wound from centuries of sexism in which women were called "misbegotten males" and treated as second class citizens! 
Our international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is leading the church toward the full equality of women now. Until the institutional church allows women to take their place around the altar as priests, this soul wound will deepen and the alienation of the next generation of women will grow.
It is time to shut down the old boys club. 
It is my hope that Pope Francis takes a step forward by lifting the excommunication of women priests, and  our supporters.  I believe that  Pope Francis is leading the church in the right direction in many areas, especially his stance  in soldarity with the marginalized, the least and the last in our world. 

However, our beloved pope  does not make the connection between abuse and violence toward women worldwide and discrimination against women in the church. Women cannot be separate but equal at the altar. We need to see women as sacred images of God, as spiritual equals to men, and that means everywhere, including leading sacramental liturgies. When women preside at the altar, speak out for justice for all and minister  in inclusive, egalitarian communities, the joy of the Gospel is a reality! It is my prayer that Pope Francis will soon make this connection. 

"We are told that the question of ordination is ruled out,"

Bridget Mary's Comment: Why? Our women priests movement is growing and most Catholics in the West and in some Latin American countries support women priests. Please don't trot out the old argument blaming Jesus for discrimination. Read Luke 8:1-3 There were many women in his discipleship of equals! 

 Tina Beattie, a noted theologian at the University of Roehampton in London, said on Sunday. "If we're asked to accept that and respect it, we have to see that in every single other situation, there is full and equal participation of women's leadership in the church -- that every single position that does not require ordination is equally filled by men and women." Women make up just 18 percent of staff at the Vatican, according to Vatican Radio, though as of 2012 there were 702,529 sisters and nuns compared to 55,314 religious brothers and roughly 420,000 priests and bishops...In  2014 the pontiff appointed Mary Ann Glendon to the supervisory board of the Vatican bank, and Sr. Mary Melone wasnamed rector of the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome.
Bridget Mary's Comment: Here Francis gets credit for appointing a few women to top positions at the Vatican, but women theologians are more than "strawberries on the cake"!  Obviously from the statistics below, there is long road to equality ahead! If  Francis is serious about moving the church toward full and equal participation of women in leadership positions, then, he needs to change canon law that links ordination and decision-making in church practice.  Now that would really shake up the church! Just what we need a big holy shakeup and soon!
Bridget Mary Meehan, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

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