Tuesday, September 8, 2015

"If I had 5 minutes with Pope Francis..." Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Share

If I had 5 minutes with Pope Francis, I'd tell him that the God of endless possibilities and impossible dreams is rising up for justice for women in the church in our international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement. I would invite him to visit our inclusive, empowered communities and see for himself the Spirit moving in the people of God. And I'd tell him, I like his smile! Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, Sarasota, Fl. 
If I had 5 minutes with Pope Frances I’d tell him that I’m a “Jesuit product” and that I liked Jesuits so much
I married one! Carol Canton, Canada
Wherever Francis and I would find ourselves -- whether in Rome, Buenos Aires, Lexington, KY or Philadelphia -- using Spanish whenever I could be understood, I would invite him to share mate in the calabash gourd I bought in Buenos Aires last summer. In Argentina and Uruguay, sharing mate is sharing Eucharist with the people of God.

I'd start by expressing deep gratitude to Francis for calling to task weapons manufacturers and investors. 

I'd also bless him for his criticism of capitalism and for his desire to protect Mother Earth. I'd ask him about Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, who wrote much of the encyclical, and ask to be introduced to him.

Perhaps Francis would ask me what I learned about Argentina. My conversation would include bits and pieces of stories  told by ordinary citizens -- former prisoners tortured during Operation Condor and the Dirty Wars, including Patricia, our guide who became my friend. 

As human rights have everything to do with liberations theology and the "church of the poor," we'd have much to talk about... I'd mention my friend Roy Bourgeois and relate his transformation from a "hawkish" Naval officer during the Vietnam War who wanted to make millions in the oil fields of South America, to "wanting to do some good in the world" as a Maryknoll priest.  Working in Bolivia for five years where he experienced firsthand how our U.S. taxpayer money props up military dictatorships in Latin America (becoming the bullying  muscle for multi-national global corporations), Roy founded the School of the Americas Watch in 1990 after his friends, Maryknoll sisters Ita Ford and Maura Clarke, became martyrs, witnesses of the Gospel in El Salvador. Their killers, as well as those of Bishop Oscar Romero and thousands of others, were traced to the SOA at Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA. 

I'd thank him for speaking out about the harshness of capitalism and the Spirit would prompt me to speak of Roy's support of women priests and the LGBT community. I'd ask Francis if he had viewed "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican." I'd bring along a couple of copies for him and friends.

Before parting, I'd share two banner stories ("Women Priests Are Here" Mujeres Sacerdotes están aquí!), one from St. Peter's Square just before he was elected Pope (five hours after I celebrated Eucharist in Rome) and the other from Buenos Aires. He'd enjoy a good laugh from the first story...and that's a good way to part...
Janice Sevre Duszynska, Kentucky

Your Holiness,I have here an invitation for your vacation 
sometime during this next year of mercy, as you have proclaimed it. You are to come and enjoy the Catacomb existence of many members of our shared Church.Here you will hear and learn of much you have not heard or yet learned, or have heard and learned but could not heed because too exposed....But this is your church too.So come aside and rest awhile with us.Let the graces here arrive for you.Then I will hand him our letter and  bow graciously as it is already time to leave. Here are the instructions  he will find inside: and 

Yes,your Holiness, instead of hiding away at Castle Gandolofo, pretend you are there and come here to North America instead. Travel in disguise...say a straw hat or else a baseball cap fitted together with state of the art adaptive sun glasses and  a false mustache, A favorite shirt of your choice matched with eco hemp shirt and jeans

Fellow travelers might say... ":Look at this guy. Doesn't he remind you of Pope Francis? But no, you will have your altered passport ready and all will accept the differences in your persua sive disguise. You will come through For the first time you will see how easy it is to walk on water after all.

Thenyou will meet various persons who  will take you to different points of rest where you can experience us and see and hear us with our communities in our renewing model of priesthood. It will be easy to experience the consciousness change you so desire and have no opportunity to access in your current imprisonment in the sanctuary of the Vatican and all those guardians at the gate, preventing you from passing through where you would like to go.Dr hrtr'd your chance. Here are  your getaway tickets., Just come and see what fun you will have....barbecues, pizza parties after ordination rehearsals, banquets after the many ordinations across and up and down the continent,
all ecumentically hosted in United and
Episcopal churches. In Masonic and K of C halls, in house churches, evcen on cursihips on our Grreat Lake s and Rivers.

Come and see. Come and rest awhile,.Let Holy Wisdom receive you at her table . Everything will be done for you.
All you will have to do is walk on water for 9 incredible vacation months...just the length of a pregnancy  You will see...all easy peasy. then go back and open a new conversation about the woman issue....!!!! Who knows what will come of it....

See you...

Submitted August 16, 23015.
Michele Birch-Conery 

I would say to Francis: what if someone had said "the door is closed to a non-Italian pope"? What would you do? You would say, " but I am pope and I am not Italian. So you are wrong."  The very idea that a door is closed to any discussion mandates that we open it, like John XXIIIs windows, the door must be opened. So I say "but we are women and we are priests, so you must be wrong."  Then I would challenge him to read some of the liturgies of our priests and I would say "pray these and see what spirituality your church is missing for no good reason but stubbornness." I'd also give him this poem:  Women's Body by Frances Frank
Did the woman say,
When she held him for the first time in the dark of a stable, "this is my body, this is my blood?" Did the woman say when she held him for the last time in the dark rain on a hilltop, after the pain and the bleeding and the dying, 'this is my body this is my blood?'
Well that she said it to him then, for dry old men, brocaded robes belying barrenness, ordain that she not say it to him now.
Lorraine Sharpe,Florida
Para mis compañeras hispanohablantes
 Desde esta mañana me quedé pensando y dándole vueltas a la preguntita, desde la oración me sale que solo le pediría al papa que rezara conmigo el Padrenuestro, deteniéndose en silencio después del "hágase tu voluntad" en silencio orante como 3 minutos. a continuación le preguntaría "¿cómo se puede desobedecer cuando se te ha regalado la gracia de vislumbrar algo, aunque solo sea un poquito de esa Voluntad? Yo no pude desobedecer. Por favor ayuda al Pueblo de Dios a cumplir Su Voluntad en paz"
Esto es lo que encontré en mi corazón
besos para todas y abrazo gigante
Luz Galilea, Colombia, South America

English Translation
Ever since this morning I kept thinking and mulling over the little question, from the depth of prayer I get that I would only ask the pope to pray the Our Father, pausing silently after "Thy will be done," in prayerful silence for about three minutes. Then I would ask him: "how can one disobey when one has been granted the grace to discern something, even if only a little bit of that Will? I could not disobey. Please help the People of God to fulfill His Will in peace." Luz Galilea, Colombia, South America

 If I had 5 minutes with Pope Francis, I would first express my deep love and gratitude for him and the healing he is bringing to the Church and the world. I would also express my support if he decided it was time to announce the 5th Marion Dogma.
  Then I would express how I believe the argument to not ordain women is based on a false premise and needs to be carefully re-examined. The Church's argument is that Jesus chose the apostles only from among the men. I would ask him to consider the possibility that Jesus did not call the 12 males to promote and all male clergy and deny women ordination - but rather to initiate a new way of being male among the men - to usher in a new paradigm of consciousness with them that would dismantle patriarchal domination and promote a non-violent and non-po wer oriented way of relating. If this were so, the women would  not have needed to be part of this group and its intended initiation. To support this perspective I would then bring to his attention the calling of two women apostles Junia and Mary Magdalene following the Resurrection.  
  I would ask Pope Francis to prayerfully consider this possibility as to why women were not among the 12 male apostles and re-assess the question of women's ordination.
Clare Julian Carbone, Utah

Thank you, Holy Father, for what he said on behalf of us women.
When you start seeing concrete facts?
"whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 18:18
Also I believe that Heaven is waiting to take action ...

Olga Lucia ARCWP, Colombia, South America

I would like the pope to tell me  why the Church ignores a direct instruction from its Founder when He says, "Take this, all of you, and eat of It . . ."I would also like to know why God gave me a gift for preaching -- which S/He most assuredly did -- if women are never allowed to preach.  Why waste the gift? Nori, Kieran -Meredith, California
Mother Theresa once said leprosy is not the worst disease in the world-rejection is. 

As a faithful Catholic, one who dedicated myself to the gospel and work of the church among God's poor, and as a sister of 23 years, a lay ecclesial leader and now a woman priest, I have experienced first hand the sting of clerical rejection and marginalization.  My brothers have silenced and evicted our sisters from parishes when we asked for just salaries, fair treatment of Hispanics, overworked us to the point of exhaustion without pay, fired us without just cause or because we addressed criminal behaviors on the part of other clerics.  We received this treatment, in spite of our dedication to serve,  being professionally capable, ethically moral and living our calling to the fullest.

The above experience  have sent many running, but I continue now on the path of hope and renewal of the priesthood.  I continue to dream.

I have a dream of a renewed Catholic Church....where women young and old stand with  men as equals...promoting gospel equality.

I dream of a a Catholic Church that reforms itself and in doing so, reforms the world.

I dream of a church that recognizes multitude of diverse voices rising through all corners of the globe ending violence against women and men and beginning the work of building for a world that works for all.
I dream of new Catholic structures arising from the ashes of our collapsed societies, structures built to honor the gifts of people regardless of gender or sexual orientation, their race color or creed.....
I dream of a new kind of Catholic leadership that sits among people listening to and finding their their wisdom-a wisdom that longs for sustainable solutions that work for the many-rather than for a few.
I dream that I live to see the day that the hierarchy descends from their thrones and finds their way into our homes and hearts as equals, joining us on our journey toward equal rights and restorative justice.   Until this happens, I walk with all brothers and sisters
Diane Doughtery, Georgia
I working to make this dream a reality today knowing we are making a place for you tomorrow. 
Diane Dougherty, Georgia

After the niceties that one uses when meeting any one new...I would tell him that I was here to represent women everywhere, and not just women but all those who are disenfranchised and on the margins of the community.  I would tell him I am not his enemy. I would remind him that any exclusion creates division and oppression. I would ask him to work with all of us to create a community that is no longer about the tribal-patriarchal mentality but rather a community formed in connectedness and oneness with the Holy One.  I would show him our inclusive liturgies and invite him into our loving communities. Kathie Ryan, New York

I would ask him to lift the excommunication of women who follow the call of God to be ordained as priests. I would also ask him to not threaten people with excommunication and the loss of diocesan jobs just because they come to our liturgies and ordinations. 
Thanks for asking,
Donna Rougeux, Kentucky

I would explain that our God asked me to become a priest on thousands of occasions and that many, many times I said no, that I was a good Catholic, and that I couldn't do what God asked.  But God never stopped asking.  What was I to do?  I knew that the only way I could stop the asking was to acquiesce, which I did.  And now I'm in major trouble with the Church.  The Chancery is debating whether I can even be allowed to play the piano for worship.  As if I would poison the keyboard.  Why can't there be a place for me in the Church I love so well?
I would sing this while I danced:

Come and go with me to that promised land,
To that promised land, to that promised land,
Come and go with me to that promised land,
Where there's joy, joy, joy!
                    Nori Kiernan-Meredith, California

"I love you, and I trust that, as a man who has dedicated his entire self to loving and serving God, you are following your heart as it authentically leads you to serve the Church in the best way that you alone can. With that being said, I will add two things. Because you are incapable of seeing women as being worthy of full inclusion in the Church and its ministry, I cannot deny the pain you impose on all of us women who seek to give our fullest selves in service to God and all of creation through our Catholic vision. At the same time, I also believe that your hardened heart must remain as it is so that the Holy Spirit, in its continual presence within the Church we both love and serve, may lead us to new ways of living our Eucharistic presence in this world, ways in which certain Church dogma and practices now limit and even prevent. 

And so, as we stand together in this brief moment, viewing our Church through opposing paradigms, let u s acknowledge that within that space, that tension between us lies mystery - the presence of God who, beyond our ability to see and know, is weaving together our lives, both dedicated to God and all of creation, in ways that will best serve all for generations to come. 

I may never be welcomed by you in the "official" Church. This I know. I know this as well - the One whom I love so much, and who loves me so completely, would never reject a gift of self, a self I vow to give as my heart - aflame with the love for all - leads me even beyond borders you would rather me not cross, to offer the love I have been given to all I come to know. Together, each in our own way, we serve our Beloved; I offer you my hand and my peace.....trusting that all indeed shall be well." 

Denise Menard Davis Denise has her own blog. Visit at:  https://wrestlingwithnothingness.wordpress.com

Holy women priests will take us to that land,
Take us to that land, take us to that land,
Holy women priests will take us to that land
Where there's joy, joy, joy!
Ann Harrington, North Carolina

Five minutes would not be enough for me to say what I think  of the pope, the doctrines ,dogmas and teachings of the RCC when it comes their position and treatment of LGBTIQ people &women .Until the RCC gets out of the Dark Ages and  enters into the 21st century incorporating modern science and medicine into their teachings and start following their own Vatican II documents when it comes to equality and the concept that we are all equal children in the eyes of God  it is  my opinion these people requesting an audience with Francis are just wasting their time .They will just be lamenting and merely adding to their own anxiety and frustration .Just like the Rolling Stone songs ,"You Can't Always Get What You Want"  and I Can't Get No Satisfaction!"

Much Love & Respect To All Of You,

Jeni Marcus, Michigan

You would not be here if we as women had not birthed you, nor would Jesus.  What do you mean we are not worthy to be priest? Rita Lucey,  Florida

I would tell him that women are the lifeblood of the Church.  Without us, the Church will die.  Your Holiness, you must give women equal standing in the Church with men.  You must accept the reality that the Church needs us to thrive.  Drop the barriers and ordain women now.
I think the question needs to be reversed! It is really not about what I would say to the pope if given five minutes. It is what the pope would say to me if given five minutes with a woman priest.  I do not seek an audience with the pope. My life and ministry speaks for me. I am waiting for the pope to seek an audience with me. I think he may find the Spirit he is ultimately looking for if he affords himself that opportunity!
Mary C.
Spanish and English
Mis cinco minutos con el Papa:
Mi querido Padre Francisco, estoy tan agradecida por su ministerio por los pobres, los marginados, por la paz y la justicia en el mundo, pero creo firmemente, como mujer y madre de cinco hijos, como abogada de esos pobres y marginados en todo el mundo durante más de cinco décadas, que la iglesia en el mundo entero peca de misoginia.  
En Génesis se nos dice que el hombre y la mujer han sido creados a imagen y semejanza de Dios.  Dios no tiene género, de hecho la palabra Ruah, femenina en el lenguaje hebreo, y utilizada cientos de veces en el Antiguo Testamento, se usa asimismo para hablar de la respiración, que es lo diferencia al muerto del vivo, y es también lo que nos inspira (inspirare – llenar de espíritu, de la Ruah, del aliento, finalmente, con dios, en la misma forma en que hablamos de nuestros entusiasmos, en-teos, con el dios interno, con la Ruah interna.  El origen de todo, entonces, es la Ruah, porque sin aliento no hay vida. Sin la Ruah, no somos nada, sino carne moribunda.
Entonces, mi padre hermoso y hermano, ayude a usted a remediar este gran pecado de nuestra iglesia, de idolatría y discriminación contra un elemento esencial de esa humanidad por la que usted lucha, y con eso nos ayudará a las pobres y marginadas del planeta, nos dará el poder de la buena nueva, seremos finalmente una comunidad de iguales, hombre y mujer los creó Dios.  Y que la Ruah lo siga bendiciendo e inspirando con su luz.
 Silvia Brandon Perez, California
My five minutes with the Pope: (English translation)
My dear Father Francis, I'm so grateful for your ministry for the poor, the marginalized, for peace and justice in the world, but I firmly believe, as a woman and the mother of five children, as an advocate of those poor and marginalized worldwide for more than five decades, that the church in the whole world is guilty of misogyny.
In Genesis we are told that man and woman are created in the image and likeness of God. God has no gender, in fact the word Ruah, a female noun in the Hebrew language, used hundreds of times in the Old Testament, is also used to talk about the breath, which is what differentiates the dead from the living, and is also what inspires us (inspirare – to blow in spirit, the Ruah, to breathe, finally, with God, in the same way that we talk about our enthusiasms, entheos, with the inner god, with the Ruah.  The origin of all that is, then, is the Ruah, because without breath there is no life. Without the Ruah, we are nothing but dying flesh.
So, my beautiful father and brother, help us to overcome this great sin of our church, of idolatry and discrimination against an essential element of that humanity for whom you struggle, as it will help the poor and marginalized of the world, it will give us the power of the good news, finally we will become a community of equals, male and female created (S)he them. And may the Ruah continue to bless and inspire you with HER light.
Silvia Brandon Perez,  California

If I had 5 minutes with Pope Francis, I would first thank him for his time then I'd give him this reflection and ask him to read it in my presence. While Pope Francis did this, I would pray for his openness.

Then I would present him with a black box. Inside would be magazine pictures of young women pasted to the sides and bottom. There would be a red silk, small bag lying at the centre. What would Pope Francis discover when he opened it? A picture of me at my ordination holding a sign with the word FREE in large, red letters.
I would wish hi m blessings and all good things and ask him to pray for the souls of each woman who has been confined to a box by our church. I would ask him, "Will you set them free?" I would not expect an answer, but would listen if he had one. 
By the way, this link came today from a woman who is discerning whether to be ordained with us. She is coming from Michigan to join me for my first liturgy as a priest with our Heart of Compassion Faith Community in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Grace upon graces keep coming. Barbara Billey, Canada

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