Saturday, December 1, 2018

Roy Bourgeois, Former Maryknoll Priest, to Speak in Buffalo on Scandal in Roman Catholic Church, Buffalo News

Two upcoming separate events — a former priest's talk Sunday and a parish-sponsored forum Monday — will address the clergy sex abuse crisis in the Catholic church and the Buffalo Diocese.
Roy Bourgeois, removed from the Catholic priesthood over his outspoken support for women's ordination, will discuss "Crisis in the Catholic Church: Clericalism or the Gospel," at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Center for Tomorrow on the North Campus of the University at Buffalo in Amherst.
Bourgeois, a Maryknoll order priest for more than 40 years, was dismissed from the priesthood in 2012 after he refused a Vatican order to recant his participation in a 2008 ordination Mass for a Lexington, Ky. woman. The Vatican determined his support for women’s ordination was a cause of “grave scandal."
Bourgeois responded by saying, "when Catholics hear the word 'scandal,' they think about the thousands of children who have been raped and abused by Catholic priests — not the ordination of women."

Thursday, November 29, 2018

"In Vatican Reversal, Gay-Positive Priest Granted Permission to Lead German University" by Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry. CDF , My Response: A Positive Step Away from Inquisition-like Treatment of Theologians, but not a Strong Endorsement of Academic Freedom

In Vatican Reversal, Gay-Positive Priest Granted Permission to Lead German University

Fr. Ansgar Wucherpfennig, SJ
A German Jesuit priest has been granted Vatican permission to assume a university leadership position to which he was elected earlier this year, reversing an earlier decision to withhold permission because of  the priest’s progressive views on homosexuality and women.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Catholic Education granted Father Ansgar Wucherpfennig, SJ, the previously withheld confirmatio, or Vatican license to lead the facutly. He immediately resumed his duties as rector of the Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology, a Jesuit-run institution in Germany where he now is serving a third-term in that position. La Croix reported:
“But the [education] congregation apparently reconsidered in the past few weeks after Father Wucherpfennig promised to uphold Church teaching.
“In a declaration to [Jesuit Superior-General] Father [Arturo] Sosa, the 52-year-old rector committed himself, as a religious and a priest, to upholding the Church’s authentic Magisterium, presenting it ‘completely and comprehensively’ and making it clear in the future when his critiques of the teaching are only his own personal opinion. . .
“Father Sosa said he forwarded Wucherpfennig’s declaration to the Congregation for Education and added that the rector would now publish the results of his research on both issues ‘in loyal and creative continuity with fundamental church doctrine.'”
Wucherpfennig rejected claims that he recanted his positions on homosexuality and on women deacons to gain the confirmatio. He explained in an interview:
“‘No, I did not recant. . .My declaration was addressed to the Jesuit superior general, Father Arturo Sosa, who then passed it on to the Vatican”. . .
“‘I declared that (in my lectures) on the question of the diaconate for women and the moral judgement of homosexuality I take the relevant church teaching into consideration and convey it correctly and fairly, but I also pose my own questions on both topics and discuss them with my students. . .
“‘Moreover, as a Christian and an academic scholar, I also expressed my hope that church teaching on both these points would change and develop. That, in my opinion, is not recanting but belongs to the business of science – namely, to present other opinions correctly first before questioning or criticizing them.'”
The priest also shared that, at the request of Fr. Sosa, he will be further researching both topics. Wucherpfennig is set to teach a course of “identity and sexuality” next term, during which he will discuss homosexuality and the development of church teaching. He may also publish a book on women deacons at some point.
In an article published before news broke of the Vatican confirmatio being approved, Wucherpfennig commented on the larger ecclesiological questions involved in his case, noting the widespread support he earned from fellow theologians and German church leaders. La Croix reported that the priest said he was never able to respond to the Vatican’s criticism of him, which stemmed from a 2016 interview:
“‘Communication proceeds over so many different instances and levels. That is why I am so frustrated. Surely it cannot be that objections are raised against me and yet I can only ever take a mediated stand?’ he complained.
“He accused Church officials in Rome of undermining academic freedom and scientific research or scholarship.
“‘That means bringing one’s own positions and research questions into conversation with the Church’s teaching and, accordingly, acknowledging the Magisterium. But, at the same time, it is showing up those points which are worthy of criticism,’ said the Jesuit, arguing that this is the only way theology as a science is conceivable.
“‘Otherwise all we would have to do is literally spell out the pope’s sermons,’ he said.”
On the specific issues of homosexuality and women’s equality, Wucherpfennig noted the growing divide between societal views and church teaching. He commented, “Not everything we find (in the Gospels) goes back to the historical Jesus, but was written down in a roughly 50-year-long process of tradition. . .I think it is important to take the foundations of our faith seriously in the light of its historical development.”
News of the Vatican permission relieved church leaders, many of whom in German had come to Wucherpfennig’s defense like Limburg’s Bishop Georg B├Ątzing and Jesuit provincial Father Johannes Siebner. Alumni and donors of Sankt Georgen also expressed their approval, calling Wucherpfennig an “irreproachable priest.”
Though the situation involving Fr. Wucherpfennig has resolved peacefully, at least in public, that it happened at all highlights a disappointing reality. The possibility still exists that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would pursue unjust and secretive investigations against theologians and pastoral ministers. Despite Pope Francis’ efforts at curial reform, and though Vatican officials may not act as frequently or as severely as it has in times past, they have retained the power to punish free thought.
Reversing the initial prohibition against Fr. Wucherpfennig is a positive step. Better would be the release of transparent, public guidelines about why, when, and how theologians can be investigated. But best of all would be a new attitude at the Vatican which embraces rather than condemns the many beneficial contributions which theologians offer in service to the People of God. It is time to end the Inquisition once and for all.
Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, November 29, 2018

Janice Sevre Dusynska ARCWP with Codepink Women for Peace Outside Argentinian Embassy


Medea of Codepink Women for Peace had sent a letter to the Argentinian Ambassador asking that Mohammed Bin Salman be arrested as a war criminal at the G20 Summit being held in Buenos Aires. A woman escorted her inside the Argentinian Embassy to meet with an official as we witnessed outside.
Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP

CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.                         

"I am for You," by Rory Cooney, Advent Song

I Am For You 
by Rory Cooney
There is a mountain, there is a sea.
There is a wind within all breathing.
There is an arm to break every chain.
There is a fire in all things living.
There is a voice that speaks from the flame:
I Am for You, I Am for You,
I Am for You is my name.
There was a woman, small as a star,
Full of the patient dreams of her nation,
Welcoming in an angel of God,
Welcoming in God’s bold invitation.
Let it be done, she sang, unto me:
I am for you, I am for you!
I am for you: let it be!
There was a man who walked in the storm,
Caught in between the waves and the lightning,
Sharing his bread with those cast aside,
Healing by touch the lost and the dying.
Sending us forth he says to his friends:
I am for you, I am for you,
I am for you to the end.
We are anointed servants of God.
We have been born again of spirit.
We are the word God speaks to the world,
Freedom and light to all who will hear it.
So let us be the word of our God:
I am for you, I am for you,
I am for you ever more.
There is a world that waits in the womb.
There is a hope unborn God is bearing.
Though the powers of death prowl the night,
There is a day our God is preparing.
Sing ‘round the fire to waken the dawn:
I am for you, I am for you!
I am for you: we are one!




"Say Yes", Advent Song by Bob Franke/YouTube

Say Yes
By Bob Franke


When the angel arrives there will be terror, but say yes
The sound of wings like the breaking of a mirror, but say yes
It will arrive where you’re little and you’re scared
It will lay claim to the things you’ve never shared
And though your heart and your soul are unprepared, say yes

And it may tear you from home and family, but say yes
It may demand you become a refugee, but say yes
And when you’re cold, and you’re hungry, and you’re poor
When you’re in pain in a room without a door
And when the angel returns and asks for more, say yes

Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you
Worlds without end depend on you
Blessed is the one whom your bring forth
Who no one else can bring

When the legions of angels call you blessed, say yes
And were you faithful in each and every test? Say yes
And when they ask you in story and in song,
Were you upheld and protected all along?
Did the power of the spirit keep you strong? Say yes

I Am For You 
by Rory Cooney

There is a mountain, there is a sea.
There is a wind within all breathing.
There is an arm to break every chain.
There is a fire in all things living.
There is a voice that speaks from the flame:
I Am for You, I Am for You,
I Am for You is my name.

There was a woman, small as a star,
Full of the patient dreams of her nation,
Welcoming in an angel of God,
Welcoming in God’s bold invitation.
Let it be done, she sang, unto me:
I am for you, I am for you!
I am for you: let it be!

There was a man who walked in the storm,
Caught in between the waves and the lightning,
Sharing his bread with those cast aside,
Healing by touch the lost and the dying.
Sending us forth he says to his friends:
I am for you, I am for you,
I am for you to the end.

We are anointed servants of God.
We have been born again of spirit.
We are the word God speaks to the world,
Freedom and light to all who will hear it.
So let us be the word of our God:
I am for you, I am for you,
I am for you ever more.

There is a world that waits in the womb.
There is a hope unborn God is bearing.
Though the powers of death prowl the night,
There is a day our God is preparing.
Sing ‘round the fire to waken the dawn:
I am for you, I am for you!
I am for you: we are one!


Monday, November 26, 2018

Renewal of Commitment on First Anniversary of Marriage between Sheila Carey and Edward Bohon, November 26, 2018 with Lutheran Pastor Pastor Firby and Woman Priest Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP



Ed Bohon and Sheila Carey on first anniversary of Marriage

Rev. Firby: One year ago on November 26, 2017, Sheila Marie Carey and Edward Earle Bohon were united in holy Matrimony on Manasota Beach at  4;15PM.
 It was a beautiful day with a very special liturgy. The final blessings included an Irish one  recited by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan and one by request- The Apache Blessing which Pastor Robert Firby would like to repeat:
"Now you will feel no rain for each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now you will walk together as one."





Today is in remembrance of that wonderful day. I found an Anniversary Prayer online that had a beach scene and is ver appropriate for today.
Ed and Sheila, please read this prayer together:
"God, help us to remember when we first met and  the love that grew between us.
Help us to see the good within each other, and to solve our problems.
Help us to say  kind and loving things and to ask forgiveness of the other.
We put our marriage in your hands. "



Bridget Mary: Sheila and Ed, please join hands and recite your Renewal of Commitment:

I renew my commitment to you because I love you.

I promise to share with you
all that life brings us,
the joys and the sorrows.

I want to continue being surprised by you,
laughing with you, dreaming with you and dancing with you.

I pray that we might always remain in the Holy One
who blesses us and all those whose lives we touch.

Amen

Closing Blessing: Bridget Mary Please extend hands everyone in blessing Sheila and Ed:

May the Holy One bless you, Sheila and Ed ,with deep joy in the renewal of your commitment this day.

May you continue to grow in love and delight in one another and in the support of family, friends and this community.

May you experience health, happiness and joy in abundance.

May you each morning rejoice in the God of surprises who loves through you in the gift of your deep love for one another.

May you find your rest at night with gratitude for each other’s companionship as a wonderful blessing.

May it be so, all the days of your holy  ives.

Blessed be God, Lover of all,  for all Lovers, especially for Sheila and Ed!

Amen


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usADINi17cI Ave Maria (Celtic Woman Recording)











Open letter to the US Catholic bishops: It's over National Catholic Reporter Editorial Staff

                                        
 

Dear brothers in Christ, shepherds, fellow pilgrims,
We address you as you approach this year's national meeting in Baltimore because we know there is nowhere left to hide.
It's over.
All the manipulations and contortions of the past 33 years, all the attempts to deflect and equivocate - all of it has brought the church, but especially you, to this moment.
It's over.
Even the feds are now on the trail. They've ordered that you not destroy any documents. The Department of Justice is conducting a national criminal investigation of how you've handled the clergy sex abuse scandal. It is a point in our history without precedent. We want you to know that you aren't alone in this moment, you've not been abandoned. But this time it must be different. This time it won't be easy.
From fable to sacred text, we know how this goes. The point is reached where all realize the king wears no clothes, the righteous accusers read the writing in the sand and fade away, the religious authorities receive the Master's most stinging rebukes. As a class of religious rulers, the loudest among you have become quite good at applying the law and claiming divine authority in marginalizing those who transgress the statutes. The prolonged abuse scandal would suggest, however, that you've not done very well taking stock of yourselves.
We have no special insight into why this moment - the Pennsylvania grand jury report, the downfall of Theodore McCarrick - has so captured the public imagination and pushed the church to this outer limit of exposure and vulnerability. There are theories, not least of which is that the opportunists among us are attempting to use this moment to bring down the only pope who has actually dethroned bishops and a cardinal for their crimes and indiscretions.
But that's an issue for another time.
The reality, we all know, is that it has been going on for a long time. The first national story appeared across four pages of this publication in the summer of 1985. The worst of it occurred during the pontificate of the hastily sainted John Paul II, a giant on the world stage, but a pastor who let wolves roam his own flock. His idealized concept of heroic priesthood apparently left him incapable of hearing the truth from credible witnesses, including the few bishops who dared disturb that idealized world with troubling reports. He promoted to the end Marciel Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legion of Christ, and a persona who came to represent the worst of the abuse scandal. Maciel, an accomplished sycophant, kept scrutiny at bay with his ability to spread a lot of young priests and a lot of money around the Vatican.
The point beyond dispute is that we are at a moment in U.S. church history - and perhaps in the history of the global church - without precedent. This is not about debatable matters - celibacy or the filioque clause, or the primacy of Scripture or whether the Earth is the center of the universe or whether women should be allowed ordination or any of the hot button issues that have kept us roiling and at each others' throats these past decades. This, instead, is about a rot at the heart of the culture entrusted with leadership of the Catholic community. A rot so pervasive that it has touched every aspect of the community's life, disrupting all of the certainties and presumptions about who we are and who you are that helped hold this community together.
Those who worked so ardently in the past to enable you - the faithful, so betrayed, who just couldn't believe you would engage in such a deliberate cover up; the likes of George Weigel and his blind, uncritical hagiography of Pope John Paul II; Dr. Mary Ann Glendon and the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus and their naive celebration and defense of Maciel; the rest of the chorus at First Things and like publications; the telling silence of so many other Catholic outlets; the absurdity of charlatan William Donohue and his silly "Catholic" League - they helped sustain your weak narrative as many of them denigrated those who raised the tough questions and pursued the truth.
It's over.
None of them any longer has a persuasive case to make. Some of them now try to blame the crisis on gay priests. You might be tempted to latch onto that diversion, but it will only prolong the already intolerably long agony.
Gay priests and bishops are certainly among us - probably a greater percentage of gays in the Catholic clergy, if anecdotal evidence and the private chatter of seminary rectors and heads of orders is to be believed, than one would find in the general population.
The clergy culture is in deep need of serious conversation and education about that issue and much more regarding sexuality. That discussion is unlikely on any significant scale because too many bishops and too many priests, if they were honest, would have to admit to an orientation that the church still calls "disordered." Unless the preponderance of credible experts has suddenly flipped its understanding of things, however, sexual orientation is not one of the topics that match with sexual abuse.
Orientation is not a determining factor in abuse of children. If it were, we'd have to be investigating heterosexual orientation as a cause because a lot of abuse is perpetrated by heterosexual men upon boys and girls. So, take that path if you'd like, but be prepared to lose whatever bit of credibility might be left in the tank.
It's over.
You've been ensconced in a culture that has for too long protected you from the consequences of your worst instincts. The boundaries that once kept your culture safe from scrutiny have become as irrelevant today as the moats and walls of previous centuries. There is no hiding any longer. You've been imbibing the excesses of power, authority and privilege that have accrued over centuries and, like the addict who hits bottom, a fundamental decision for recovery is essential to your survival.
It's over.
You've hit bottom not because the latest gush of bad news resulted from a resolve to come clean and tell the truth. It resulted from yet another investigation. In short, you were moved to words of contrition because you were, once again, caught. Yes, most of it is old news. Yes, the coverup was engineered mostly by bishops who are no longer in office or have died. News organizations once reluctant to take you on for fear of being labeled anti-Catholic are no longer reticent.
You've become certain clickbait. And you will continue to be as, in diocese after diocese, more documents are released and revealed and more grand juries look into the inner workings of this institution over the past 50 years or so. It is self-inflicted pain.
And please stop asserting that you did not know what was going on before 2002. If the scandal exploded in 2002, it was because a long fuse had already set off explosions in city after city and state after state and been chronicled widely for 17 years before the spark hit Boston. In the aftermath of those explosions, you were certain enough about what was going on and its potential consequences that you employed individually and corporately legions of lawyers. You knew enough to keep secret files under lock and key. You knew it was evil enough that you had to hide it.
It's over.
There is no denying you've done a lot of adjusting to the bad news. You put together a charter to protect youth. (Fair to note that it's taken you 16 years to get around to considering including yourselvesamong those to be held accountable.) You've instituted a national office, paid for elaborate studies, instituted national and local review boards, held reconciliation services and required child protection training and background checks, and paid billions in settlements. The church is indisputably a safer place for kids for all of that effort. But it was all done in reaction to outside forces.
The only thing you can't be forced to do is what you would say our sacramental tradition requires: a deep personal examination, telling the truth, begging forgiveness and a resolve to amend.
The examination begins with the question that only you can answer, individually and as a group: How did we and our brothers in the past, as leaders of this clerical culture, reach the point where we could rationalize turning our backs on children who had been sexually tortured by our priests to protect those priests and our culture? One of your brothers, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich, has already laid out some appropriate steps. Bishops must "cede authority," he said, to allow for greater accountability to outside authority. He also said that "privilege, power and protection of a clerical culture" have to be "eradicated from the life of the church" or "everything else is a sideshow."
Those are worthy points to consider. The retreat you've scheduled for January would be the perfect place to do just that as a body. A suggestion: attend in mufti and leave all the trappings, the collars and black suits, all the silk and lace and pectoral crosses at home. God will recognize you. Take that little step in humility and actually meet as brothers. Seek out those among you who have suffered, who have known what it means to come through pain or addiction or illness. Ask them to help lead you out of this dark moment. They would know the way.
When it is over, and here we make a suggestion that runs contrary to journalistic interest: Be quiet. No grand pronouncements.
In the months to follow, as the federal investigation likely forces out more documents and that burning fuse continues to set off explosions, some of you may pay dearly for what you have or have not done in the past. We'll know how your retreat went by how you act in those moments.
We'll know whether you've really hit bottom and are on the mend with the best interests of the community at heart or whether you're still in search of cheap grace and the easy way out.
It's over.
In the name of the child victims, the families torn apart, the parents who know no end to their agony, the body of Christ subjected to relentless humiliation for decades, it has to be over. This time has to be different.
We pray for you,
Your sisters and brothers, your fellow pilgrims, the church.
URL

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Non-traditional priests in high demand as institutional Catholic Church drives parishioners away, by Stephen J. Stahley, Baltimore Sun

https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-op-1114-catholic-bishops-20181113-story.html

"Along with my fellow married priests in Maryland and in company with a growing community of Roman Catholic Women Priests, I find myself — in my mid-60s and a retired public servant — ever busier these days as the institutional Catholic Church works ever harder to drive people away. The deeply rooted yearning among many Catholics for worship and sacrament and community has never diminished; if anything, those powerful spiritual needs have intensified through this rolling crisis of clerical sex abuse that seems to have no end..."
In the celebrated words of Kris Kristofferson, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." By that eloquent standard, few people are as free as the Catholic bishops of the United States, who come together this week in Baltimore for their annual meeting.
In the aftermath of the recent revelations of clergy sex abuse by the attorney general of Pennsylvania and in anticipation of similar disclosures by attorneys general across the country, the bishops find themselves liberated to speak the truth about the moral catastrophe that has overtaken them. A catastrophe, it must be noted, that is largely of their own making.
What they won’t do, however, is anything substantive about it. On Monday, as the meeting began, the Vatican directed the bishops to delay voting on key accountability measures. And, at the same time, the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States made the point that reformation was up to the church, not outside investigators.



This is hardly shocking to anyone who’s followed the scandal. Indeed, it’s questionable whether the bishops really would have seized the opportunity to acknowledge the obvious even if their meeting hadn’t been reined in.


Long before the clergy sex abuse scandal erupted in Boston in 2002 — a sordid stew of rampant pedophilia and hierarchical cover up — the American bishops were well practiced at circling the wagons and marshaling their resources to protect the reputation of the church. As far back as 1985, when the first stories broke about priestly sex abuse in Lafayette, La., the priority of the bishops was the protection of the institution instead of responding to the victims, having the predators prosecuted or addressing the systemic problems in the church that fostered the culture of secrecy, clerical privilege and sexual deviance.
The admirable press coverage of the Lafayette scandal by the independent Catholic newsweekly, The National Catholic Reporter, was a clarion call that went unheeded by the Catholic hierarchy. Thirty-three years have passed since the initial eruption in Louisiana. A feature film about the Boston scandals of 2002, “Spotlight,” won Best Picture at the 2016 Academy Awards. The former Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C., Theodore McCarrick, has been exposed as a pedophile who also preyed on Catholic seminarians and young priests. And from the Vatican downward through the chain of command, the best we can hope for is the establishment of another committee to look into the matter.
If the American bishops have anything left to lose in terms of credibility, moral authority or integrity, I would love to know what it is.


When I resigned from the active priesthood to marry in 1988, celibacy was only one of the reasons that factored into my decision. The steadfast refusal of church leadership to come to grips with the mounting crisis of clerical sexual abuse was by that point becoming ever more apparent. Additionally, the steadfast refusal of the Vatican to admit women to the priesthood or to consider the ordination of married men continued to put enormous pressure on ordinary parish priests who were doing everything possible to keep up with the pastoral demands being placed upon them. I knew that firsthand from my days as a priest pastor in inner city Cleveland.
Fifteen years after my departure from the active priesthood I was summoned back to priestly service by my large, extended Irish Catholic family in Philadelphia. By that time, I was a married man, the father of two young children and an employee of the Montgomery County Government working in Rockville. At first, my cousins wanted me to officiate at their weddings. Then came the request to conduct funerals for my uncles and aunts. Requests for other pastoral services continued to multiply. My situation is hardly unique.


Along with my fellow married priests in Maryland and in company with a growing community of Roman Catholic Women Priests, I find myself — in my mid-60s and a retired public servant — ever busier these days as the institutional Catholic Church works ever harder to drive people away. The deeply rooted yearning among many Catholics for worship and sacrament and community has never diminished; if anything, those powerful spiritual needs have intensified through this rolling crisis of clerical sex abuse that seems to have no end.
Whether or not we have reached an inflection point in the history of the Catholic Church remains to be seen. What is unmistakable, however, is the deepening sense of disillusionment and betrayal that has overtaken vast numbers of ordinary Catholics.
Stephen J. Stahley is a married Catholic priest who lives with his family in Maryland; his email is sjs51philly@gmail.com.