Thursday, July 4, 2019

How much prophetic energy can be imagined by the People of God in order to reform the church? by Mary Eileen Collingwood, ARCWP

Last month, NCR published letters to the editor responding to an article by James Carroll for The Atlantic calling for the priesthood to be abolished. NCR published a response from Fr. Donald Cozzens that asked just how much corruption we can tolerate in the church before we leave. Below is a letter in the on-line issue of NCR by Bishop Mary Eileen Collingwood, a member of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priest. 
Mary Eileen writes: This question can be countered with a more positive one: How much prophetic energy can be imagined by the People of God in order to reform the church?
Prophets of old were called out from their very ordinary lives to proclaim by their words and actions the fundamental change of heart that must occur in order to realize our creator's vision that all may be one. And that prophetic calling set them apart from the current structures of their times. 
The Roman Catholic Women Priest Movement has envisioned such a kinship. We love the church and are energized to witness to the prophetic changes that are needed to reform the church. This is a proactive approach, one rooted in a distinct calling requiring courageous action, clear vision, and holy contemplation. 
We embrace circular leadership where no one has power over another. All decide on issues and policies that affect the membership. Bishops are elected to perform a function, not to establish lordship. Member-led inclusive faith communities are formed where the ordained serve the People of God. All are welcome to the Eucharistic table, extending the practice from the early church to the present day. 
Our calling is to live what we profess and envision — to live what the spirit has empowered us to become. It is prophetic. As of old, future generations will reap the rewards.
Mary Eileen Collingwood has served for over 40 years in church ministry. With an MA in Theology from St. Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in Wickliffe, OH, she served as DRE, Coordinator for Marriage Preparation, Pastoral Associate, Director of the Diocesan Pro Life Office and on various boards and councils. Mary and her husband, Rich, continue to be blessed with seven children and are grandparents. Weekly celebration of Eucharist, administering the sacraments, pastoral counseling, and supporting women in ordained ministry is her calling and passion. Mary was ordained a priest in Brecksville, OH on May 24, 2014 and a bishop in Philadelphia, PA on September 24, 2015.

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