Friday, August 31, 2018

Women Priests Support Independent Tribunal and Call for Lay and Priestly Council to Return Church to its Origins


Press Release: From the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Date: August 31, 2018
Contact:  Janice Sevre-Duszynska, media, 859-684-4247,

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, 703-505-0004,

In response to the worldwide sexual abuse crisis specifically the recent accusations by former U.S. Nuncio Carlo Maria Vigano on August 25, 2018, alleging that a number of prelates including Pope Francis were informed of Cardinal McCarrick’s sexual misconduct and failed to intervene to stop it, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests calls for an independent transparent investigation led by lay women and men with authorization to review Vatican archives and all pertinent data and to make their findings public. 

While different factions in the Vatican are engaged in a blame game, Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan supports the plan discussed by Irish survivor Marie Collins in the National Catholic Reporter, “Pope Francis should establish an independent tribunal led by lay women and men with full authority to investigate all records in the Vatican archives and confidentiality agreements, and report their findings to the public in order to hold bishops accountable.” (Exclusive: Marie Collins responds to Francis, seeking transparence in bishop accountability process)

We call on Pope Francis to apologize for placing the ordination of women priests in the same category of crime as the sexual abuse of pedophiles. In 2010, the Vatican called the ordination of women as priests a crime comparable to that of the sexual abuse of children. Roy Bourgeois, after serving as a Catholic priest with the Maryknoll Missionary Order for 40 years who was expelled from the priesthood for refusing to recant his public support for the ordination of women, wrote about this grievous injustice: “Judging from its actions, however, it would appear that the Vatican views women’s ordination as a crime substantially more serious than child abuse. Among the thousands of priests who raped and sexually abused children, the vast majority were not expelled from the priesthood or excommunicated. Every woman, however, who has been ordained to the Catholic priesthood has been excommunicated by the Vatican.”

Alongside the independent tribunal suggested by Marie Collins, another council needs to rise up: that of lay persons including members of the LGBTQI community, priests both women and men with full authority to return the church into a pre-Constantine non-hierarchal community where all are welcome, LGBTQI people are affirmed, and the focus is living out the nonviolence that Jesus taught us, including meeting the needs of the people of God.

Our international women priest movement has been leading this vision of the Church toward the full equality of women by ordaining women priests in a renewed priestly ministry that serves Catholics in grassroots inclusive communities where all are equal and all are welcome.

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