Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sisterhood: Sister Louise Akers Challenges Church's Patriarchy

https://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/455/sisterhood

..."With her bright eyes, quick smile, and easygoing manner, Akers doesn’t seem like the sort of person who’d pose a threat to the Catholic Church. As angry as she can get over injustice, she reserves her judgments for institutions, not individuals. At one point I asked how she walks the line between the dictates of her conscience and Catholic teachings.
“It’s not easy,” she said. “As a young person I didn’t see religious life in my future. I thought I would get married and have kids. But at the time that I joined the Sisters of Charity, I just felt it was what I was supposed to do — and I still feel that way. My spirituality has taken me places where I never thought I would go, including some that aren’t in accord with traditional Catholic doctrine.”

As I was leaving Akers’s apartment the first time, I noticed a stack of bumper stickers on a table: SUBVERT THE DOMINANT PARADIGM, they said. She had the same sticker on her car. When she first put it on the bumper, she said with a smile, a priest told her most people wouldn’t know what it meant. Akers said she wasn’t worried. She knew what it meant."

What was Paul doing crashing a woman's worship service? Visiting early Christian sites can be enlightening, by Christine Schenk

https://www.ncronline.org/news/opinion/what-was-paul-doing-crashing-womans-worship-service

Philippi (2) c.jpMost Christians are completely unaware that women helped establish many of the earliest churches in Greece, Turkey and Rome. This is because church tradition always credits their founding to Pau"Early Christ-followers circulated and preserved Paul's undisputed letters (circa 51-62 A.D.) and later, Luke's Acts of the Apostles (circa 80-90 A.D.), both of which chronicle Paul's missionary journeys in considerable — if sometimes differing — detail.

..."For the past several days, I have been boning up on St. Paul's ministry in Greece as I prepare to lead a FutureChurch pilgrimage to early Christian sites where women had founding leadership roles.

Most Christians are completely unaware that women helped establish many of the earliest churches in Greece, Turkey and Rome. This is because church tradition always credits their founding to Paul. 

So it is understandable that later Christ followers thought Paul did it all. But he did not. In fact, Paul himself credits Prisca as his "coworker in Christ Jesus" (Romans 16: 3-5) and describes Euodia and Syntyche of Philippi as coworkers who "struggled beside me in the work of the gospel" (Philippians 4:3).
Paradoxically, no one would know about these early women leaders except for the patient piecing together of disparate facts by meticulous biblical scholars working with the very texts that chronicle (and sometimes lionize) Paul and other male leaders in the early church.
Acts identifies Lydia of Philippi as beginning the first house church in that city (Acts 16:6-40), and Paul's letter to the Philippians suggests that a disagreement between two women — Euodia and Syntyche — is threatening the unity of the church there (Philippians 4:2-3). According to well-known New Testament scholar, Sacred Heart Sr. Carolyn Osiek, Euodia and Syntyche were very likely among the episkopoi and diakonoi to whom Paul addresses his letter. (A reference, by the way, that Paul uses in no other greeting.)
In Thessaloniki and Berea, the Greek "leading women" supported Paul's mission even as the male synagogue members ran him out of town (see Acts 17:1-15).
Christianity seems to have held a special attraction for Gentile women. Women of status — whether from business (Lydia was a wealthy purple dye trader) or of societal prominence (Greek "leading women") — were especially drawn to the message of Jesus.
After all, what was Paul doing crashing a woman's worship service?
What we do know is that Lydia "opened her heart" to the Gospel, was baptized herself, had her whole household baptized, and then invited Paul and his companions to stay at her home. Several weeks later before leaving town, Paul "encouraged the brothers and sisters" who are now meeting at her house (Acts 16:40)...."
[St. Joseph Sr. Christine Schenk served urban families for 18 years as a nurse midwife before co-founding FutureChurch, where she served for 23 years. She holds master's degrees in nursing and theology.]

Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea ARCWP Shares at Conference in Germany and Visits Spain

https://evangelizadorasdelosapostoles.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/arcwp-en-madrid-barcelona-palma-espana-olga-lucia-alvarez-benjumea/


Visiting the chapel of Gaudi, in Barcelona, ​​with Adelaide Baracco, theologian, specialist in Feminine Mysticism and Spiritual, candidate for our Movement in the female presbyterate.
At the invitation of Pax Christi, in Germany in order to share experiences in the face of the concern of the Environment, Climate Change, and the situation of our country, I have taken advantage of to visit in Spain, and to meet with very appreciated and respected friends , who know our International Movement of Roman Catholic Presbyters, and who have always supported and stimulated us.

At the entrance to the Chapel that designed and built Gaudi, in Barcelona.
Visiting the Virgin Morena in the Abbey of Monserrat-Barcelona.
In front of the Abbey, wearing the shirts of our Movement, after sharing, restlessness and experiences. (October 10/17)
In the center of Madrid, sharing with Maria José Arana, religious (RSCJ), theologian, member of ATE, Association Theologians of Spain, collecting the values ​​of his wisdom and spiritual wealth, as a pioneer woman who has been in the fight for recognition of the female priesthood within the Church. (October 15/17)
In Palma, sharing with IMS colleagues, who wanted to know and know about our Movement: Margarita, Jerónima and Catalina.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

"The Body After Cancer" by Eve Ensler

https://onbeing.org/programs/eve-ensler-the-body-after-cancer/#commentform


"Eve Ensler has helped women all over the world tell the stories of their lives through the stories of their bodies. Her play, “The Vagina Monologues,” has become a global force in the face of violence against women and girls. But she herself also had a violent childhood. And it turns out that she, like so many Western women, was obsessed by her body and yet not inhabiting it without even knowing she wasn’t inhabiting her body — until she got cancer."

...."Because I always believed in that idea of turning poison into medicine. I always loved that phrase, you know, like how do we turn poison into medicine? How do we turn? You know, it’s very much a part of my Buddhist practice, you know, and had been for years. So the idea that I was having literal poison being pumped into me that could become medicine, it really became a ritual and I would literally go and I would sit as it came into me and I would visualize what I wanted to burn away and what I wanted to dissolve and what I wanted to — and it worked. It really did work."

Pope Francis on a Church of Dialogue, Conversation About Women Priests in our Future?

https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/new-book-francis-calls-honest-interviews-pastoral-risk-create-church-dialogue




"For me, the interview is part of this conversation of the church with the people of today," he says."
Bridget Mary's Response: I wonder what it would be like to engage in a conversation with Pope Francis about women priests! 


Monday, October 16, 2017

Theology at the Cutting Edge: Healing the Political and Social Divide in America John T. Pawlikowski, OSM .



"The deepening divisions in American society present a new pastoral challenge for the Catholic Church. If Catholicism is to make a positive contribution towards healing this current divide it will need to develop an ecclesiological vision and spirituality rooted in the conciliar reforms of Vatican II. In a perceptive short volume titled Catholicism and Citizenship: Political Cultures of the Church in the Twenty-First Century,[1] the Italian and American theologian Massimo Faggioli from Villanova University argues that Pope Francis in his approach to the regeneration of the church basically takes the ecclesiology found in Vatican II's Gaudium et Spes (The Church and the Modern World) as his foundation. This ecclesiology, according to Faggioli, profoundly anchors the church in the social and political structures of our time. This is not to say that the church is merely another social service institution in contemporary society. It has a sacral dimension that can never be obscured. The church's response to the ongoing rift in American society needs to be developed within the context of Pope Francis's efforts to renew the church worldwide, a context that has the spirituality and ecclesial understanding found in Gaudium et Spes at its very heart. This vision must become the engine for American Catholicism's pastoral response now and in the future. 

This response will necessarily entail a number of key components. The first is a recognition that any meaningful pastoral response will necessarily involve political activity. So very often I have heard pastoral leaders define Catholicism's response to social issues as fundamentally "apolitical." If the use of this term is intended to avoid an exclusively "partisan" political approach than I can agree. However, there is simply no effective pastoral response that is devoid of some political dimensions. Otherwise the response would merely be "charitable" and not a genuine effort to create more just structures. Without question, activities such as clothing drives and meals for the poor are important and need to be continued, but they can touch only a small handful of people and are essentially holding and transitory efforts. The call of the hour is for structural reform, something that Paul VI clearly articulated in his groundbreaking social encyclical Populorum Progressio (On Human Development) and by having the first two Roman Synods focus on structural change. As we are clearly seeing in the intense public debate about medical care in America, structural change can impact the lives of millions of people for the better or the worse. An organization such as Bread for the World has demonstrated how a faith-based perspective can contribute to positive structural change in a relatively nonpartisan way. In his above-mentioned new volume, Faggioli underscores the inevitable political nature of the struggle for justice by quoting a remark from Father Theodore Hesburgh, CSC, the late president of the University of Notre Dame, who in many ways served as a personal model for a faith perspective closely integral with politics. Hesburgh once termed voting a "civic sacrament." More recently, Cardinal Blaise Cupich of Chicago, addressing a Catholic-Jewish gathering during a budget crisis in the State of Illinois that was having an increasingly disastrous impact on the work of Catholic Charities and other social service organizations, argued that voting carried a moral responsibility. In any contemporary discussion of a political ecclesiology, it is helpful to recall the twentieth- century history of American Catholicism. In the document A Program of Social Reconstruction, issued by the U.S. Bishops in 1919, the Church in the United States committed itself to active involvement in the social situation of American Catholics, who were overwhelmingly blue collar in terms of social status and suffered from the injustices associated with that class.[2]  This ecclesial effort was primarily devised by Monsignor John A. Ryan, the first director of the National Catholic Welfare Conference. Ryan's vision was largely rooted in the principles advanced in Leo XIII's groundbreaking social encyclical Rerum Novarum. This plan for confronting the structural injustice experienced by bluecollar Americans, including the vast body of Catholics, was implemented through strong support of the growing unionization movement often led by Catholics with the participation of clergy, sometimes, as in Detroit, in direct action demonstrations as well as by lobbying on  an interreligious basis for passage of the Roosevelt administration's New Deal legislation. In gratitude for this mobilization of interreligious support, President Roosevelt invited Ryan to deliver the invocation at two of his inaugurals. The New Deal had a significant impact on the social and economic status of American Catholics. Ryan's vision clearly anticipated the political ecclesiology adopted by Vatican II in Gaudium et Spes and further advanced through ensuing social encyclicals such as Populorum Progressio. A second key component of an effective pastoral response to the current crisis is interreligious inclusivity. This goes beyond ecumenical collaboration (inter-Christian) towards an integration of diverse religious practices. Interreligious partnership is a growing reality in America. When we were planning the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the original Parliament of the World's Religions held in connection with the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, our motto was "The Religious World was not coming to Chicago; the Interreligious world already existed in Chicago" (and many other metropolitan centers).

 Interreligious perspectives still remain largely on the periphery of Catholic identity. This needs to change. Theological and spiritual perspectives from outside the classical Christian traditions must assume a greater presence for Catholics (and Christians in general) in the process of generating social healing and social cohesion. As Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, formerly head of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, insisted in a speech originally presented at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney, an interreligious perspective was integrated to Vatican II: "It can be concluded...that the relationship of the church to other religions has not only received, for the first time in an ecumenical council, special treatment in a specific document Nostra Aetate, but has permeated the whole teaching of the Council."[3]

A third essential ingredient of a political ecclesiology for American Catholicism is a deep rootedness in spirituality. Without such rootedness (which needs to have an interreligious dimension) the church becomes another of many mediating institutions in society. Surely there is more to the church than that. But a spirituality for an ecclesiological vision based on Gaudium et Spes must promote an understanding of spirituality that recognizes the reality of what Peter Henroit, SJ, called "simultaneity." Such a view understands an intimate linkage between involvement in the cause of justice and spiritual growth. Experiencing structural injustice in and through such social action becomes an occasion for advancing spiritual development. Spiritual consciousness and social structures remain deeply intertwined. So a commitment to the struggle for justice does not merely follow upon spiritual development, it also aids and abets such development. A political spirituality also needs to lay to rest the destructive notion often found in classical manuals of spirituality that portray "action" as an obstacle to authentic spiritual development. Such a view was reiterated some years ago by Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ, when he expressed concern that the renewed commitment to social justice generated by Gaudium et Spes and ensuing encyclicals and synod documents might undercut the sacral dimension of the contemporary church. While I would agree with Dulles on the need to preserve the sacral aspect of the church, contemporary Christianity cannot preserve the church's holiness without a significant involvement in political society. A truly "holy" church is also a "political" church.A meaningful political ecclesiology also requires the presence of two virtues strongly emphasized in post-Vatican II social teaching. The first of these, participation, is a hallmark of Paul VI's social vision. He often emphasized it as a core element in any ecclesiology grounded in Gaudium et Spes. In many ways, for Paul VI, participation replaced the more traditional stress on subsidiarity. Faggioli, in the book under discussion, has argued that a political vision of the church will result from the joint efforts of the laity, some new ecclesial movements, and religious orders of men and women. This "from below" approach is also evident in the current attempts at comprehensive restructuring underway within several dioceses such as Chicago. It is also a clear message emerging from the closing mandate given to the some 3,000 local Catholics who assembled in Orlando this past July. The other important virtue is solidarity, strongly promoted by John Paul II. A sense of solidarity with its focus on human dignity within community helps to create a political ecclesiology that is anti-tribal and anti-insular. It represents a direct counter to the political theology rampant in certain American political circles at the present time. The issues that Pope Francis has identified as central for the church, indeed for all religions, such as migration, economic inequality, sustainability, and peace, are global, not merely national, in scope. Finally, I would bring to the fore what Pope Francis has identified as the critical dimension of the Gaudium et Spes ecclesiology at the heart of his vision of Catholic renewal - ecology. The integral ecology he has advanced in Laudato Si' surpasses any other social justice goals. If we fail to achieve creational sustainability we will simply erode the possibility of continued life on our planet, rendering any other achievements in social justice moot and meaningless. In striving for the sustainability of creation the interreligious spirituality spoken of earlier will prove especially critical as integral ecology requires a multi-national approach. Hence, all religious traditions and spiritual communities must contribute insights. Christians certainly can and must reflect on a Christological basis for integral ecology. But we cannot make Christ alone the ultimate norm in the public sphere. The present challenge for Christians is to integrate our fundamental bonding with all of creation into our political ecclesiology. Such bonding will require eliminating from Christian spirituality the notion that heaven is our only true home and, while in the world we live in an exilic condition. Many traditional prayers such as the Salve Regina highlight such an exilic condition for humanity, but such a view creates a sense of alienation from the world which runs counter to the spirituality urged upon us today which ties profoundly to our earthly home, a spirituality that enfolds the vision of Laudato Si'. In closing, let me suggest some follow-up materials. Faggioli's volume is a must read both for its layout of Vatican II's political ecclesiology and the effort to make it integral for contemporary Catholic consciousness as well as for its further bibliographical suggestions. The two papal statements on economic justice[4]  and ecology[5] are also crucial resources. And many available websites will prove useful. I would especially single out those of the Center for Concern[6]  and the Catholic Climate Covenant.[7]"


1 Massimo Faggioli, Catholicism and Citizenship: Political Cultures of the Church in the Twenty-First Century (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2017).
2 See "Bishops' Program of Social Reconstruction,"American CatholicHistory Classroom, http://cuomeka.wrlc.org/ exhibits/show/bishops/ background/1919-bishops-reconstruction. 
3 Michael Louis Fitzgerald, "Vatican II and Interfaith Dialogue," in Interfaith Dialogue: Global Perspectives, ed. Edmund Kee-fook Chia (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 11

URL   (link to article)


John T. Pawlikowski, OSM, is a Servite Priest and Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. For many years he directed the Catholic-Jewish Studies Program at Catholic Theological Union. An original member of the Council of Foreign Relations' Religion and American Foreign Policy Group, he has participated in several United Nations and t conferences on social justice issues. Currently he serves on the Board of the Parliament of the World's Religions.


Bridget Mary's Response: Outstanding article connecting Pope Francis to Second Vatican Council's understanding of Church in Modern World . Justice work is constitutive to the Gospel and demands systemic change  to structures that promote human flourishing and earth's healing. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Catholic Women Preach; Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

http://catholicwomenpreach.org/preaching/10152017


Petra Dankova Preaches for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 

Recognizing that the readings of the day are challenging ones she reflects, "I wrestled with today´s readings and it reminded me of Jacob fighting with God at Jabbok.Sometimes we have to struggle - with God, with the Bible, with our Church...We have to struggle and we know that somewhere in there, God is there to be discovered."
Reflecting on the parable of the wedding feast, she considers her own struggles with the reading and her struggles as an LGBTQ Catholic woman in the Church, but says, "I, as someone who converted to Catholicism, have really been invited to this feast - to the table of the Eucharist and to the community of the Church - and I cannot just walk away from that." There are times she experiences "our Church at its best" and says that those offer a "glimpse of heaven on earth."
Concluding her reflection, Dankova invites all of us to enter into the struggles of our own lives of faith "I cannot tell you that I am fully reconciled with today's readings, or the Church as it is today. I can only invite you to wrestle with it. And to stick with it. And to use your faith to guide you to accept the invitation to the feast."


Petra Dankova Preaches for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 


Recognizing that the readings of the day are challenging ones she reflects, "I wrestled with today´s readings and it reminded me of Jacob fighting with God at Jabbok.Sometimes we have to struggle - with God, with the Bible, with our Church...We have to struggle and we know that somewhere in there, God is there to be discovered."
Reflecting on the parable of the wedding feast, she considers her own struggles with the reading and her struggles as an LGBTQ Catholic woman in the Church, but says, "I, as someone who converted to Catholicism, have really been invited to this feast - to the table of the Eucharist and to the community of the Church - and I cannot just walk away from that." There are times she experiences "our Church at its best" and says that those offer a "glimpse of heaven on earth."
Concluding her reflection, Dankova invites all of us to enter into the struggles of our own lives of faith "I cannot tell you that I am fully reconciled with today's readings, or the Church as it is today. I can only invite you to wrestle with it. And to stick with it. And to use your faith to guide you to accept the invitation to the feast."


Petra Dankova Preaches for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 


Recognizing that the readings of the day are challenging ones she reflects, "I wrestled with today´s readings and it reminded me of Jacob fighting with God at Jabbok.Sometimes we have to struggle - with God, with the Bible, with our Church...We have to struggle and we know that somewhere in there, God is there to be discovered."
Reflecting on the parable of the wedding feast, she considers her own struggles with the reading and her struggles as an LGBTQ Catholic woman in the Church, but says, "I, as someone who converted to Catholicism, have really been invited to this feast - to the table of the Eucharist and to the community of the Church - and I cannot just walk away from that." There are times she experiences "our Church at its best" and says that those offer a "glimpse of heaven on earth."
Concluding her reflection, Dankova invites all of us to enter into the struggles of our own lives of faith "I cannot tell you that I am fully reconciled with today's readings, or the Church as it is today. I can only invite you to wrestle with it. And to stick with it. And to use your faith to guide you to accept the invitation to the feast."
 VIEW
Recognizing that the readings of the day are challenging ones she reflects, "I wrestled with today´s readings and it reminded me of Jacob fighting with God at Jabbok.Sometimes we have to struggle - with God, with the Bible, with our Church...We have to struggle and we know that somewhere in there, God is there to be discovered."
Reflecting on the parable of the wedding feast, she considers her own struggles with the reading and her struggles as an LGBTQ Catholic woman in the Church, but says, "I, as someone who converted to Catholicism, have really been invited to this feast - to the table of the Eucharist and to the community of the Church - and I cannot just walk away from that." There are times she experiences "our Church at its best" and says that those offer a "glimpse of heaven on earth."
Concluding her reflection, Dankova invites all of us to enter into the struggles of our own lives of faith "I cannot tell you that I am fully reconciled with today's readings, or the Church as it is today. I can only invite you to wrestle with it. And to stick with it. And to use your faith to guide you to accept the invitation to the feast."
 VIEW

Upper Room Liturgy - October 15, 2017



Kathie Ryan (ARCWP) and Bernie Kinlan led the Upper Room Liturgy with the theme: Where do we find God? Bernie led the homily starter that is printed below along with the readings from the day. The community opened liturgy singing Table of Plenty by John Michael Talbot:



Bernie Kinlan's homily starter:

We began by singing the invitation is given – Come to the Table. As we heard in Mathew, “The kin-dom of heaven is like a ruler bringing in invited guests and uninvited ones…

Can we realize that the Holy One has sent out this invitation to us? Oh yes, I have it here somewhere, ok, it must’ve fallen off the magnet on my fridge? Where is it? Oh darn, I can’t find it!

Where do you find the Holy One? In the “trappings of spirituality”? asks Joan Chittister in her weekly reflection. Or, as the characters in the gospel thought, Do we find the Holy One in our material successes, good works, and possibly even in ­­positions of influence?

The gospel challenges us to merely accept the invitation; it is not earned and it is not reserved for the privileged or accomplished. We can easily miss that our Creator infused our core from a single cell with the invitation imprinted on our DNA to come and rejoice in the kindom.

We may forget the invitation and get caught up in the comforts or the sorrows of daily life. Paul in the Philippians reminds of his own experiences of plenty and poverty – and that in all times, the Holy One lavishes us with love and supports us with fortitude.

Mathew’s parable can wake us up to live spontaneously and accept the holy invitation, knowing that we are beloved. Can we leave aside the making of bargains with God, the pleading to a God who must be persuaded to be satisfied with us?

Perhaps, when we yearn to love the Holy One, we discover the Holy One… we find out how very much we are loved simply and clearly for who we are, right here and now.

What do you think? What is your challenge? Where in our shared kindom do you find the Holy One?
A Reading from the Letter to Philippians

Brothers and Sisters, I know what it is to be brought low, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret: whether on a full stomach or an empty one, in poverty or plenty, I can do all things through the One who give me strength.

In return, our God will fulfill all your needs in Christ Jesus, as lavishly as only God can. All glory to our God and Creator for unending ages! Amen.


These are the inspired words of Paul, a disciple of Jesus. The community affirms these words by saying AMEN.





A Reading from the Gospel of Matthew

Then Jesus spoke to them again in parables. He said, “The kin-dom of heaven is like this: there was a ruler who prepared a feast for the wedding of the family’s heir; but when the ruler sent out workers to summon the invited guests, they wouldn’t come. The ruler sent out workers, telling them to say to the guests, ‘I have prepared this feast for you. My oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding.’ But they took no notice; one went off to his farm, another to her business, and the rest seized the workers, attacked them brutally and killed them. The ruler was furious and dispatched troops who destroyed those murderers and burned their town.

Then the ruler said to the workers, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but the guests I invited don’t deserve the honor. Go out to the crossroads in the town and invite everyone you can find.’ The workers went out into the streets and collected everyone they met, good and bad alike, until the hall was filled with guests.

These are the inspired words of Matthew, a disciple of Jesus. The community affirms these words by saying AMEN.