WHY A CATHOLIC WOMAN WOULD LIKE TO REMAIN SO...
By Luz Galilea, an apostle of Jesus Christ to his call and Catholic priest, to serve him and to serve you.
I greet first all women, my sisters, who will read me today, and all men of good will, unified beings who know that souls have no gender and who live in harmony with their bodies the truth of their being, and all other people who are still on their way.
I have chosen to share a piece of my small life as a gift for this Women's Day.
I celebrate in the coming days the first anniversary of my priestly ordination. Since March 14, 2015, the question that I have been asked most frequently concerns my "disobedience" of the Church, of the law, of the Code of Canon Law, of Tradition, and probably of manners which means that one does not disturb. The eleventh commandment being "do not disturb".
I apologize in advance to them whom I bother, who will get angry or will feel challenged; I sincerely regret these circles in the water which disturb the mirror that could, for an instant, send you an image of things and of yourselves and of the Church that do not correspond to what you expect, especially since I cannot promise that it will one day regain its contours. I have no regrets but I would like such suffering not to happen, and if it happens, for it to carry life, to give birth to a new horizon. Thank you to those of you who still continue to read despite it all.
Baptized shortly after my birth, I do not remember having heard the priest say "you're a priestess, a prophetess and a queen. You now belong to the great family of the Church, the Body of Christ." The fact is that my family, not a practicing family, took little care to speak to me about this.
So as someone who did not attend church, I went back on my own initiative, in search of the family promised me in the cradle, when at the age of 15 I discovered the living presence of Christ and his love overflowing in a journey that was completely lonely. The sharing, the celebration, the praise with other companions and fellow travelers were to me a pressing need. I chose the Catholic Church; in fact it was she who chose me, but it's too long a story ... This time I became Roman Catholic intentionally, in peace and with the living hope to remain there.
When I repeat to anyone who will listen, and that happens frequently, that I love my church, that I have chosen it as one chooses a fiancé, a love for life that is a part of me, these are not empty words. I could have gone elsewhere, but I loved that this bell calling me on Sunday morning with all its bells ringing wildly, which during the week reminded me of the presence at my side of this new family, seen in the early morning fog on the way to high school, like a lighthouse filled with light that gave me strength for the day, accompanied me. I loved the singing, the smell of the banks muddied by the birds who were singing louder than us and whom no one wanted to chase away.
I loved it all up to the last liturgical gesture learned on the path, and most of all I loved the faces of my brothers and sisters in prayer, those moments when I felt connected beyond what can be expressed to the human family . I could go on and on to infinity, such loving expansion of this passion that still burns just as strongly here and now. Once the presence of the Divine Breath, the beloved Spirit, was recognized, how to give it up, and above all, how to depart from it, how to cut the bonds that human beings have established if I am but a human being.
There was no indication that I would receive, within the same church, as part of the preparation of a catechesis for children preparing for their first communion, a call that went unanswered for 30 years. Ah! this habit that the Lord has of speaking as he wants, to whomever he wishes and to come and find us in the middle of our daily work, at the risk of changing everything. It was easy for me to say a thousand times, "Look at me, what could I do with my woman's body? See with your Father who created me... where is the mistake? I perceived his compassionate and bitter smile; I heard again and again his call to "do this in memory of him."
You can imagine all the questions I asked myself, including whether I had to stay in the Roman Catholic Church. But I know, I always knew that this was my place. So I continued to love him with all my heart, to serve where my skills would allow me ... and I continue. You do not leave those you love just like that. Even in suffering, in revolt, living my story as an anomaly or an injustice – in my opinion and in the opinion of the people who would be deprived of my gift of words I could transmit, of all the prayers that rose from my heart and that would have to remain silent in the assembly, all the blessings pronounced in me by Infinite Love which remain secret, all consecrations invisible to the naked eye ... even in suffering I loved this church; and I love it, I cannot not remain there.
This is so simple. Had theology, which I know, canon law, common sense, philosophy, psychology and all the human sciences together said the opposite, and God is my witness that I consulted all of these, nothing could still sweep away this love, all these cherished family ties.
This is why, when I learned, after a long and painful solitary march for several decades, that I was not the only one, far from it, that others were walking with me and had found the means to take a step towards answering the call - a step in obedience to God, and disobedience to men ... and not disobedience to the Church because the Church is not the property of men or of male clergy. When the evidence of the materialization appeared, in my lifetime, of my YES strangled in my throat, that I could give birth and give to the world ... without ceasing to belong to my beloved family, then I said yes.
I was ordained a presbyter; this is what we have people call us because the only Priest is Jesus Christ, from whom we obtain the call and response, the service to our brothers and sisters, preferably for the smallest, the ones excluded on all sides , those who are the favorites of the Divine Heart. Since then I have not stopped responding in all the ways within my reach, and they are becoming more numerous.
Yes, my ministry is useful and fruitful, way beyond all expectations. My brothers and sisters have confirmed me in my vocation and thank me. Often, during the universal prayer, at Mass, someone says "thank you Lord for the ministry of the woman who today helped me to connect to Jesus" (letter from someone in my community that prays and meditates on my homilies [for which I created my blog] every Sunday while I'm away). Each time, I also thank Him and say "this one prayer, even if it shouldn’t have been this one, justifies my entire path of misery, and my commitment beyond human standards, it justifies anything that is yet to come."
I hear you argue that I have broken the unity of the Church. Really! What do you mean? Do you know that these Roman Catholics are the ones that call out to me? Do you know the number of those left behind that live subject to the weather, on a square beaten by the rain and the wind; do you know how many of the baptized cannot or do not want to step over the threshold of a church? Look for them, you'll cry, but it's such a worthwhile thing to start looking, to have the eyes wander "outwards..."
A young boy passing a church with his group of teenage friends, to a female friend who said "I am going to do my confirmation, would you like me to show you my church?" to which he gently replied "I won’t enter, I'm gay and I am not liked in there" and the others decided "if they do not like you there, we will not enter either." A very small example that you can easily extrapolate.
The Code of Canon Law was recently amended to include more serious, very serious “Delicta graviorum" provisions (under Benedict XVI) to punish and halt the sins committed against children. Well played! And right on the heels of that, they took the opportunity to add in the same order of severity that it was necessary to include the ordination of a woman (as if Article 1024 of the Code was not enough) ... and other crimes against the Eucharist, etc. I'll let you read it here: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM
I smile now because many think that I do not know the law. But it is precisely when I learned about these senseless norms against women (no, ordaining a woman who wants to serve God and his people cannot do as much harm as that caused by the rape of a minor or anyone else!) that I decided to apply to be admitted as a candidate for priestly ordination.
In my approach, an area of defiance, of provocation, neither of bitterness nor hatred but an indescribable compulsion to tell the world "those who welcome me welcome Him who sent me, and those who do not welcome me do not welcome Him who sent me. " You know the author.
My decision was made after stringent discernment and education, which continues; it is required of me. I'm not a beginner in the field of doctrine, tradition, teaching or theology. More now and for a long time.
No, I am not outside the Church; no one has the authority to eliminate the connection provided at baptism.
Yes, I am in communion because communion originates from a reality as to which the law can do nothing, which the law is powerless to govern. It is my only Master, Jesus of Nazareth, who taught it to me.
As long as I'm within the love and in obedience to the Love, I can sin the same as everyone and I blunder everyday – guaranteed- but I remain in communion with God, with my brothers and sisters from the church and from humanity, with all of creation. And above all, as long as I love the church, I will stay. Needless to emphasize, I deeply respect and have an affection for sister churches, but I return to them as if it involved “rebel" trucks that do not serve ecumenism. They deserve respect because they often are ahead of us in obedience, dear Catholic friends, we should not deprive ourselves of their lessons.
Disunion? Whose fault is that?
I would ask you to pray with me so that my brothers and sisters who are ordained in our RCWP and ARCWP associations, according to the Roman rite and in the strictest apostolic succession, are never in a spirit of rupture, because they are not and they have never claimed to be anything but a community.
Let us pray so that the great institution that is fully male and slow in understanding agrees to receive our gifts, our word, our ministry, agrees to receive us at the table as we receive their beloved parents, with biscuits and a small hot coffee.
Pray especially for the poorest, those left out, the unloved who find our help and our warmth when they seek us, we the lovers of the poor and naked Christ on the cross, that they may find us at the table and at the yard.
Pray that stupidity is pushed aside a bit to let the light come through and that we stop inventing doors to close them better, dear Pope Francis, this is for you.
Pray that the divine breath flows freely in our hearts and in our assemblies, including in the mouths of women.
Pray for the Church, the one within, snug in its convictions, and especially the one without, which works with abandon.
I dedicate this article to all souls of good will, and to Mary our Mother, the first and the only one who never had the right to say "this is my blood, this is my body" and to all those who nowadays struggle discreetly but effectively so that the feminine infinitely tender face of God, is restored in this world.
I publish more in Spanish because at the present time, this is the language of life and work in the country where I live. French is my native language, the one in which I still conceive most of my ideas, thoughts and prayers.
A more detailed article in Spanish is being prepared for my ministry to Catholic women priests; I will share it at the time of publication. So today, the very first fruits in French.
Luz Galilea, Presbyter
Translated into English by Silvia Brandon Perez, ARCWP