Saturday, June 22, 2019

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy for Corpus Christi, June 20, 2019




Joan Meehan and Lee Breyer - Co-Presiders at Liturgy


Kevin Connelly, Lector

Anna Davis -Lector
Joan Meehan proclaimed Gospel 
Lee Breyer gave homily starter

Theme: We are the Body of Christ



Welcome

Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus, an inclusive Catholic Community where everyone is welcome to participate in our Eucharistic Celebrations. We use inclusive language in the scripture readings and prayers. We also invite your respectful and reading-related comments when we share the homily. And then, a little later in the liturgy, you will have an opportunity to share your own personal intentions in the Prayers of the Community. Everyone, with no exceptions, will be invited to gather around the altar table and take part in praying the Consecration and sharing the Communion. We are delighted to see everyone here today - both the “old timers” and the newcomers - and we are pleased that we can pray together in this Corpus Christi liturgy. Lastly, all will be invited to join together for supper at a local restaurant after the liturgy.

Opening Expression

Presider: As we gather here this afternoon for our liturgy, let us look at today’s theme…”We are the Body of Christ.” How frequently have we said this during the day and at night? How often has the thought crossed our minds on various occasions…sometimes in a church such as this, sometimes - maybe - in a parking lot of a food store? For some of us, it may have become a habit…how “thoughtful” of us! Today we can give more focused attention and understanding to these words. But right now, let us acknowledge our shared sacredness in this community gathering. And what could be a better way to express this than with “our camp song”, Karen Drucker’s “We are holy.” So, let’s sing it…. We are Holy.



Presider: And let us now focus our minds on today’s liturgy, the solemnity of Corpus Christi.



Opening Hymn: We Gather Here to Celebrate (Mindy Simmons)

Opening Prayer



ALL: Holy One, you have created all that exists, all that lives and the many other objects that may not have life in our ever-evolving universe.  You have done this out of your very being…love, unending love. May we cherish every day with which you have blessed us. Help us to be evermore conscious of your presence in us and around us. May we recognize your goodness and beauty everywhere and live in harmony with all creation … so that in doing so, we may reflect your compassion in healing the wounds of hatredness and violence, discrimination and oppression, everywhere we are on this our planet home. We are Corpus Christi, your body on this earth! Loving God, bless all of us gathered here now and all those of our community who are not with us at this time. We ask this of you, our brother Jesus, and our Wisdom Sophia. Amen.

Community Reconciiation and Healing



Presider: Let us pause briefly and reflect on the need to continually grow more in love with one another. (Brief pause…..)



Presider: Compassionate God, to you all hearts are open, no desires unknown, and no secrets hidden.

All: We thank you for sending your Spirit to us so that we may live more fully according to your will. It is through your grace that all peoples, wherever they may be, are one family…we are all brothers and sisters.



ALL: Christ Jesus, we ask for your blessing so that we may realize our unceasing need to grow in understanding, compassion and caring for ourselves, for others, and for our planetary home. We ask you to help us learn and practice the virtues of pardon and peace so that we may – in turn – extend your gift, through us, of forgiveness to our brothers and sisters, wherever they may be. We ask this in the name of the Holy Spirit, our healer and comforter. Amen.

Glory to God



Presider: let us give glory to our loving Creator.

(Sung) Glory to God, Glory, O praise God, alleluia. Glory to God, glory, O praise the name of our God. (3x) Liturgy of the Word



First Reading: Exodus 24: 3-8 ALL: Thanks be to God


Solemnity of Corpus Christi
June 23, 2019
1st reading
This first reading is a selection from Exodus 24: 3-8.  The book, composed around 1450 BC, is about the Israelites’ delivery from slavery from Egypt and the role of Moses in their developing belief structures. Today’s piece centers on Moses’ teaching them about the faithfulness of God to them, even in the hard times that they just experienced… God would always be there for them.

When Moses gathered the people and told them the commands of YHWH that he was passing on to them, they listened to him and answered with one voice: “Everything that YHWH has said, we will do.”   Moses then wrote it all down on a scroll, everything that YHWH had said and their acceptance of it.
Early the next morning when Moses arose, he built an altar at the foot of the mountain.  He used 12 large stones, those that were made by the people in their time of slavery.  Moses used one for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Moses directed several of the young men to sacrifice several young bulls as communion offerings to YHWH. Then Moses took half of the blood of the of the offerings, put it into bowls and set it aside.  And the other half Moses threw against the altar, splattering it everywhere.
Having done that, Moses took the scroll on which he recorded all of YHWH’s commands and read it aloud to the people.  And to this, the people answered: “We will do everything that YHWH has told us to do.”  Moses then took the rest of the blood, the other half of what had been thrown against the altar, and threw it all over the people saying: “This is the blood of the Covenant that YHWH has made with you and with me.”

This is the Word of God as recorded many centuries ago. It is as meaningful to us today especially as we will hear, and proclaim ourselves, the story of the new covenant.
To which we all say, thanks be to God.
2nd reading
This reading, Hebrews 9: 11-15, written in the mid first century AD, is from a letter attributed to Paul. The setting is that of a Christian community that, after several decades of experience as converts, was questioning what they had been taught.  After all, Jesus had not returned as they believed he would and opposition to the movement was growing among the Romans…Nero had persecuted many Christians and the Romans had just destroyed the temple in Jerusalem.  The purpose of this letter was to strengthen the faith of the believers despite the hostility of some and the wavering of others in their community.

Christ, who came among us as the high priest, entered once and for all into the greater and more perfect tabernacle – the true sacred place - one not made by human hands.
It was not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood that Christ entered the holy place and, for once and for all, he established an eternal partnership with God.  If the sprinkling of the blood of goats and bulls and a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled and whose flesh is cleansed, how much more will the blood of Christ, a perfect unblemished sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit, clean our consciences from dead-end efforts to worship the living God!
Christ is the mediator of a new covenant.  The people who were called by God will receive the eternal inheritance that was promised to them in it.  This is what happened under the first Covenant.

This is the Word of God that has as much meaning to Christians today as it had when preached to those believers centuries ago who were in their stages of doubt and concern.
To which we all say:  Thanks be to God. 




Gospel
Today’s gospel is a reading from the Book of Mark14:22-26

During the Passover meal, Jesus took bread, blessed it, and gave it to his disciples saying: “Take this and eat it. This is my body.”  He likewise took a cup, gave thanks and passed it to them…and they all drank from it.  Jesus said to them: “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant that will be poured out on behalf of many.  The truth is, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until the day I drink it anew in the Kindom of God”

Today, we have heard the story of the First Covenant, established by Moses and YHWH and sealed with the blood of animals.  This is the story of the new Covenant, created for us by Jesus and sealed with his own Body and Blood.
And to this we say: Thanks be to God!


Shared Homily/Community Reflections

Lee Breyer: Homily Starter:

As was asked earlier in the Opening Expression, with a presumption of a positive response, that we often say “We are the Body of Christ” and that, in our liturgies, we often say and sing: “We are the Face of Christ in the world.” Now we can, as was also mentioned, focus some more attention to these phrases today.

Look at the picture on page 1 of the liturgy text: what is that?   A mirror…                                        and what do we see?  ourselves…..the Body of Christ…and His face in the world.
We weren’t always as knowledgeable or thoughtful of that as we are now…or recognize that Christ LIVES in us and, through us, to others. 
But now that we are more cognizant and mindful of these, how does this awareness shape - or reshape - our lives, our thoughts and actions?  Or to put it another way, has it made a difference, and if so, how?
Feel free to share your experience with us if you like.

We are the Body of Christ…and what does that mean to us, in our thoughts and in our actions?



Statements of Faith

ALL: We believe in God, the Divine Mystery that is beyond all description and understanding. We believe that God, the Creator, is the very heart of this unfinished world in an ever expanding and evolving universe.



We believe in Jesus, the Christ, the touch of God in earthly humankind, the sacred messenger of God’s word, a carrier of God’s healing, and the soul of God’s boundless compassion.



We believe in the Spirit, the breath of God in the cosmos who strengthens us to be worthy reflections of the love of God as instruments of peace and justice in this world.



We believe that the whole message of the sacred scriptures is summed up in love. God - who is love - is our model for our living with one another at all times and in all places.



We believe that God’s kindom is here with us now - and will always be - for those with eyes to recognize it, hearts to receive it, and hands to make it known to everyone.

Prayers of the Community



Presider: We are a people of faith; we believe in the power of prayer. Being mindful of God’s unconditional love for each one of us, we bring the needs of the people to our merciful and gracious God. After each intercession, please respond: Compassionate God, we ask you to bless our petitions.



Presider: we pray for those broken families everywhere, torn apart…suffering in their separations…unsure of their futures. Compassionate God, we ask you to bless our petitions.



Presider: And for whom or what else do we pray at this time? (Other intentions ….)



Presider: Healing God, we ask you for healing grace and relief to those hurting people in difficult situations that we mention now as well as those on our minds and in our hearts. Bless all our concerns - those for one another here and for those others throughout the world, especially those who are in pain, struggling with life and who and need to experience hope and love. We also ask you to bless our efforts for justice and equality so that, with our sisters and brothers, we may promote cultures of peace and nonviolence in our world. And as we always do, we make these prayers to you, O God, in the names of Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our Wisdom. Amen.



Offertory Procession Song of the Body of Christ #333 vs. 1, 2, 3.



Presider: Blessed are you, God of Creation, through your goodness we have this bread to offer…this grain of the earth that human hands have prepared for our use. It will become for us the bread of life. ALL: Blessed be God forever.



Presider: Blessed are you, God of Love, through your goodness we have this wine to offer…this fruit of the vine that human hands have prepared for our use. It will become for us our spiritual drink. ALL: Blessed be God forever.



Gathering of the Gifted - The Call of the Community



Presider: Jesus, who has often sat at our tables, now invites all of us to join him at his. Everyone is welcome to share in this meal. (The invitation is to everyone to join around God’s family table.)



ALL: Gracious God, you have set the Banquet Table and have invited all of us to your feast of unending delight. Here we experience your divine love beyond what any words can describe. Your divine compassion connects us to the young and the old, the first and the last, to everyone, everywhere, on our journeys into the heart of your mercy. With your blessing, we ask for your grace that we may love tenderly, act justly, and walk humbly with you in solidarity with our sisters and brothers. We pray that we may we live always as prophetic witnesses to the gospel of Jesus. Amen.



Presider: Friends, let us recognize the presence of our God who is with us here and now.

ALL: May we act with reverence for our Creator, for one another, and for all creation.



Presider: Let us lift up our hearts.

ALL: We lift them up to the One who has gifted us with love so that we may be an expression of that love to all our brothers and sisters.



Presider: God dwells in each one of us.

ALL: Namaste! Namaste! Namaste! (3x)



Eucharistic Prayer



Voice 1: Ever living and loving God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks. In you we live and move and have our very being. That Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, is the foretaste and promise of the paschal feast of heaven. Her dwelling in us gives us the hope of unending peace and joy with you. And so, in gratitude, we sing with thankful praise….



ALL: Holy, Holy, Holy God, God of power, God of light. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed are those who come in the name of our God. Hosanna in the highest.



Voice 2: We thank you for the gift of Jesus in history - and the gift of Jesus in faith. While on earth, Jesus burned with the constant vision of his mission. He befriended everyone with whom he came in contact, spreading the love, peace and justice that he preached. He showed us, through his example, not only how we should live, but also for what we may suffer and might even die.



Voice 3: And when his time on earth had come to an end, Jesus - aware of and accepting his destiny – gave up his life for the values that he deeply believed, lived and taught…his conviction that love is stronger than death. In providing an example of this wisdom for all those people in ages to come, he “paid the price,” he was put to death for following his blessed mission. Then the Spirit, who raised him from the dead, showed us that life is eternal and that love is immortal. And that same Spirit that lived in Jesus will be resurrected in each one of us. The Jesus of history and faith is with us today as he will be through the end of time.



ALL: (With an outstretched arm, let us pray the consecration together): We remember the gift that Jesus gave us on the night before he died. He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal. And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, said the blessing and shared it with them saying: take this, all of you, and eat it. This bread is you; this bread is me. We are one body, the presence of God in the world. When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you. This is the new and everlasting covenant. (Pause a moment))



In the same way, Jesus took the cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying: take this all of you and drink it. This wine is you; this wine is me. We are one blood, the presence of God in the world. When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you. This is the new and everlasting covenant.



Presider: Jesus, who was with God “in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth,” is with us now in this bread. The Spirit, of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup. Let us proclaim this mystery of faith.



ALL: Jesus has died. Christ is risen. The cosmic Christ lives through us in the world today.



Voice 4: May all of us who share this sacred meal be strengthened in our unity by the grace of the Holy Spirit. And may that Spirit, that Wisdom, that moved in Jesus move just as freely in our lives as She did in that of Jesus.



Voice 5: God of blessing and peace, help us to continually grow in love. May we always remember that we are your Body and Blood on earth…and reflect your care and concern for

your whole family everywhere. Remember your church throughout the world, together with Francis, our Pope, Bridget Mary, our Bishop, and all your sacred family everywhere - especially those who live on the margins of church and society. We remember, as well, the communion of saints, both those living and dead, especially those who touched our lives and left warm footprints on our hearts. We remember …(pause as names are mentioned).



ALL: We believe that the Spirit of God is at work in and among us and will give us more than we could ever ask for or even imagine. And now we hold hands as we sing (and everyone sings)…Amen.



The Prayer of Jesus

ALL (holding hands): Our Father and Mother, who are in heaven, blessed is your name…



Presider: God, we have just prayed that “your kindom may come” among us. Strengthen in us your grace and love so that we may open our hearts to make it real - and our hands to serve one another.

The Passing of Peace

Presider: Jesus, you said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you; my peace I give you.” Look on the faith of those gathered here today and ….



ALL: …. grant us that peace. O Loving God, following the example of Jesus, and with the strength of the Spirit, help us spread that peace to everyone, everywhere, no exceptions. Amen.



Presider: May the peace of God be always with us, and let us extend that peace to one another as we join hands in a circle of love and sing …  Let there be peace on earth #526

(using “… with God as Creator, family all are we …” and “With every breath I take,...” )



Litany for the Breaking of the Bread



Presider: Loving God… All: you call us to Spirit-filled service and to live the Gospel of non-violence for peace and justice, we will live justly.



Presider: Loving God… All: you call us to be your presence in the world and to be bearers of forgiveness and understanding, healing and compassion, everywhere in your name. We will love tenderly.



Presider: Loving God… All: you call us to speak truth to power. We will do so, walking humbly with you.



Presider: This is Jesus, who calls us to share our bread on the altar of the world. All are invited to do that today in the blessed space… and at this sacred banquet of love.



ALL: We are the Body of Christ.

Pre-Communion Prayer

Presider: Gracious God, as we come to share the richness of your table, we cannot forget the poverty of so many of our brothers and sisters, our families and neighbors.



ALL: We cannot eat this bread, your Body, and forget those who are hungry. O God, your world is one world and we are stewards of its nourishment for all your people.



ALL: We cannot drink this wine, your Blood, and forget those who are thirsty. O God, this very earth and its people cry out for environmental justice.



ALL: We cannot listen to your words of peace and not grieve for the world at war’s doors.

As we share this sacred meal, we say to one another…

….with the passing of the bread, “you are the Body of Christ in the world.”

….with the passing of the wine,”you are the Blood of Christ in the world.”



Communion: Mindy’s selection

After Communion Song/Reflection: Blessed Are They #629 vs 1, 3, 4



Prayer of Thanksgiving after Communion



Presider: Loving God, may this Eucharist in which we share Christ’s healing love deepen our

oneness with you and with one another. May we reflect, like Mary, your liberating, mothering

love for all your people everywhere. And may wonder and thanksgiving fill us with our knowledge, understanding and experience of your love and compassion in us, your sacred people. We ask this in the name of her Son, Jesus the Christ. ALL: Amen.



Introductions, Gratitudes, and Announcements



Closing Community Prayer and Blessing (Let us all extend an arm in a mutual blessing)



ALL: May our gracious God bless all of us gathered here today, in the name of our Loving Creator, in the name of Jesus our messenger and in the name of the Spirit our inspiration. May we reflect them as we care and minister in love to one another and to all those whom we meet on our journeys. May we always remember, with heart-felt gratitude, that we are the face of God in the world. Amen.



Closing Community Commissioning:

Presiders: May we go forth and spread the message of peace, love and compassion everywhere we go and to whomever we meet. Let us be the sacred people that God created us to be. And so, by being and doing that, may everyone we encounter be able to recognize in us that we are Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ in the world. Let our service continue.

ALL: Thanks be to God. Let it be so!



Closing Song: Summons #384 vs 1, 4, 5.


"The Dogs of War...or Here We Go Again" from the Federation of Christian Ministries

Tensions escalate in the Persian Gulf. War planes are dispatched, and are recalled, thankfully. The USA is on the brink of war. Whether entered for true reasons or false, our recent wars were very real with real deaths of tens of thousands. 

FCM follows the Christ, the Prince of Peace. We speak out: avoid war, negotiate in good faith, reduce tension, move to Peace. 

We urge each member of FCM and its faith communities to call the White House (202-456-1111) to urge the President to follow his inclination of avoiding war. Then write to the President (The White House; 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW; Washington, DC 20500) to urge peace. 

Call and write to your members of Congress to urge Peace. Actively choose Peace over another horrific war. 

The FCM Executive Committee
Tom Stricker, Chairperson
Tom Cusack, President
Heidi Tierney, Treasurer
Kathy Bean, Secretary


Friday, June 21, 2019

German Initiative, Maria 2.0 Lead Parish Strike, By Petra Dankova, Advocacy Director, Voices of Faith Franciscan Nun Raises Issue of Equality with Pope Francis,


My Response: Sister Katharina and women in the German-wide initiative Maria 2.0 are standing up and speaking out for equality in the Church. The women are making a statement by staying away from churches for a week and instead, wearing white for “mourning of injustice and for a new hope,” they gather and pray outside of churches. You are prophets of the future advocating gender equality now as the vision of Jesus for the 21st century. May your voices be joined by millions of women speaking out of love and passion for living their faith fully by ministering as equals images of the Holy One in our world today Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, #womenpriestsnow , https://arcwp.org


Sr. Katharina Ganz asks Pope Francis a question at the UISG meeting May 10th
"Sr. Katharina Ganz is the superior of the German congregation of Oberzell Franciscans. She approached the Pope with gentle humor, calling him “brother Francis” and introducing herself as “a Franciscan, just like you.”She expressed her desire, joint with the desire of many other women, to “serve the People of God as one who is equal among the People of God” and asked the Pope whether the question of women roles in the Church should perhaps be considered not just from the historical and dogmatic perspective but from the perspective of how Jesus related to women and how we can find answers from the 21st century in this “power of Jesus” and that we focus on what women and men and the whole humanity needs today.


I followed closely the global meeting of the superiors of women religious in Rome in the week of May 6-10. These are truly women who work on the margins and keep their ears on the pulse of the “signs of the times.” Their discussions touched on all the crucial topics of our world – climate, human trafficking, interreligious dialogue. I asked myself, if they will also turn their justice-trained eyes at the situation of women in the Church, if they will also speak about how the proclamation of the good news of Christianity is hindered by the inequalities and power abuses in the structure of our own Church. I had to wait the whole week but on Friday, in the meeting of all the sisters with Pope Francis, I heard a Sister speak up.


We have to admit that the answer to Sr. Katharina Ganz’ question was an old answer, an answer that bewilders many in its stubborn insistence on a reading of the Bible and the early Church history that many point out is selective and applied with severity not common with other topics that have evolved over time in the Church. Yet, something was new in this encounter. It was the voice of Sr. Katharina Ganz asking the question anyway, even if she perhaps did not have much hope for a radically new answer. She voiced what many Catholic women and men feel. With a gentle insistence, she spoke truthfully and honestly in an audience with the Pope, a setting where in the past perhaps only carefully self-censored and filtered voices appeared. Her voice deserves our attention. This is a voice of a new Church emerging out of the catastrophe of abuse that we have witnessed in the last years.

MARIO 2.0

Sr. Katharina Ganz’ voice in the Vatican is joined in the week of May 11 – 18 with many voices of women all over Germany who are finding a new courage and a new passion for their Church. The German-wide initiative Maria 2.0 invites women to stand up and speak out for equality in the Church. The women are making a statement by staying away from churches for a week and instead, wearing white for “mourning of injustice and for a new hope,” they gather and pray outside of churches. They make of themselves a visible sign for a new church of equality, breaking the spell of going along with a power structure in the Church which excludes them from bringing their talents and their charisms fully in the service of their faith.

Parishes in Germany participating in Maria 2.0 strike

There are thousands of women in hundreds of parishes who participate in the action week of Maria 2.0. The initiative started just a few months ago with a handful women in parish in the German city of Muenster who, burdened by the evidence of sexual and power abuse in the church they love, said: it has to stop here.


What is important in both of the examples I just described is that these women, faced with inequality, did not give up their desire to live their faith fully in the church that is their own. In the love of their church, they are not simply hoping that things will “somehow, at some point” get better. Such a passive hope can be dangerous and can perpetuate unjust systems. But these women live a prophetic hope – they turn their hope in practical action of speaking out and being seen. In their actions for change, they already live into being the new Church in which we all are equal members, not just an audience for a small number of ordained men. 

OVERCOMING SILENCE


I am overjoyed that Sr. Katharina Ganz, as well as the organisers of Maria 2.0, participate also in the #overcomingsilence campaign. Their voices and their examples are exactly what Voices of Faith hopes to ignite and amplify.


Join us at www.overcomingsilence.com

https://youtu.be/BY2NgfvxKS0

Thursday, June 20, 2019

"ON THE ROCKS: Cocktails at Bishops’ Conference Belies Church Suffering" by Kathy Kane

https://catholics4change.com/2019/06/19/on-the-rocks-bishops-conference-cocktails-belies-church-suffering/?fbclid=IwAR0RvXp9ziOyufNOliKek7-hRAwCCt0Jk4QNooYonx-duiiOLlLxuSQNU8I



My Response: Kudos to Kathy Kane and all the members of the Mom Squad for calling out the bishops on their tepid approach to hold themselves accountable. Unless and until a lay board monitoring system is mandatory,  the hierarchy will continue along this tragic path of protecting clergy who abuse children. I was interviewed by CNN in Dallas in 2002 when the bishops met and dealt with the abuse scandal. At that time I called for the resignation of any bishops who had failed to protect children. The reaction of the host was shock, ( you would think I called for the destruction of the Roman Catholic Church) but, later polls of Catholics agreed.  I believed then and I believe now, this is what should happen. 

 Here we are 17 years later and too little has changed. Finally, Catholics, like the Mom Squad, are leading the way forward to real reforms. 

Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP, a woman priest , prayed with a group of women outside the Bishops' Meeting in Baltimore. We stand in solidarity with you to address the abuse crisis. 

I pray for survivors, their families and their abusers. I applaud the courage of you, Kathy Kane and all the Moms who will go anywhere to make their voices heard for the sake of their children and all survivors. 
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, https://arcwp.org, sofiabmm@aol.com



By Kathy Kane
Dear Bishop Senior and Bishop McIntyre,
We have crossed paths over the years but have never formally met. I considered introducing myself in the hotel lounge at the Marriott in Baltimore. I chose not to because I couldn’t trust myself not to recreate the scene of Jesus in the temple with the money changers. I might have overturned a table, sending glasses of Cointreau and Johnny Walker Black Label into the air.
I’m one of the mothers from the Philadelphia Archdiocese who traveled to Baltimore to stand with the survivors outside of the hotel during the Bishops’ Conference. We also attended the Conference in November. We call ourselves the “Mom Squad” and we support the victims and survivors who have literally saved our children by exposing the issue of clergy abuse to the world.

Voices Carry

Your group of bishops did not notice us when you arrived at the hotel lounge late Tuesday after your dinner out on the town. You picked a table right near us and proceeded to talk about your terrific dinner. Drinks were ordered; lots of laughter; a toast to a birthday (Happy Birthday, Nelson).
Voices carry, even in hotel bars. If you’re going to make fun of a former Archdiocese victim advocate, you might want to whisper. Or, here’s a better idea…don’t mock victim advocates. Bishop Senior, you did get a good laugh from your fellow bishops. Also, not a good idea to discuss Church-related matters in a hotel bar with mothers from the Archdiocese sitting a few feet away.
The Mom Squad nicknamed your group “the Philly Special” being that the fellow bishops with you were former clergy from Philadelphia. If your group had looked around, you would have seen one of our Moms saying the rosary while sipping her drink. She said she felt the need to rebalance the bad with good. In a hotel with 225 bishops she had yet to find a feeling of holiness, and certainly did not feel it in the lounge on Tuesday night.
It is a surreal experience to stay at the same hotel as the bishops during the Conference. While the outside world might imagine bishops with furrowed brows and solemn demeanors, we encountered recent newsmakers such as Cardinal Wuerl looking downright giddy in the lobby, and a very chipper Archbishop Lori heading to the elevators. We were in the lobby earlier as dozens of bishops met up after the day of meetings and headed out to dinner on the waterfront, or to the expensive steak house across the street. There was laughter and handshakes. I imagine no different than any other group of men who are the focus of national attention due to their members’ history of child rape, sexual assault of adults, sexual misconduct, financial impropriety, and cover up of crimes.
Bishop McIntyre, you were a panelist in a USCCB Facebook live event the following day at the Conference. I watched the event and also read the Catholic Philly article where you are quoted as saying the laity has the right to be angry and hurt, but it’s also important that we don’t get stuck there, and to remember that Christ is with us.

Stuck On ‘Mishandling’

Actually, the entire problem has been that the Church has continued to just move forward in the face of crimes against children while covering it up. We have all brushed it off and continued ahead with little regard for those who were harmed and very few criminal prosecutions of the perpetrators and those who covered for them.
Bishop Mcintyre you also mentioned in the same video that you have been angry about the “mishandling” of sex abuse cases. Mishandling is an interesting choice of words.
In 1994, in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, a memo with a list of priest predator names was purposefully shredded. Those men remained in ministry and a young man is now dead because no one did the right thing. He was abused by a priest that the Archdiocese had been warned about and whose name was on the shredded memo. If someone had done the right thing their paths would never have crossed. Is that “mishandling?” Is placing a piece of paper in a shredder “mishandling?” Is that the word that helps you move on and not “get stuck?” Is that why you can talk about anger in a flat, monotone voice and in the next breath talk of moving forward?
The young man was someone’s child and he is dead. The only part of your statement that I agree with is that Christ is always with us. What do you think Christ thinks of the death of a young man at the hands of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia?

Horrified Awakening

My children were in Catholic school when some of the predators on the shredded memo were circulating through the parishes. I’m still stuck on that. It’s just this crazy Mom thing of bringing children into this world and not expecting the Church to expose them to child predators.
What has happened this past year is an awakening . People have finally looked past the boundaries of their own parish and have spoken up for those abused in the Church. When the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury report was released it made national news because people did not care if the victims were from their own diocese, or from their own state. Many Catholics finally cared that it happened, to any child,in area of the Church. Are we stuck? Or are we finally aware?
My 19-year-old daughter, who has a hearing disability, called me after she read the news of the deaf students in Italy who were sexually abused by clergy and whose disability was used against them by their perpetrators. The children could not even communicate what was happening to them to the outside world. She described what she read as ‘the torture of children.” Should I tell her not to be stuck in her anger? I don’t think the word “anger” even captures the emotion behind what most decent people feel about crimes against children. My daughter was horrified. I think horrified is the word we should use going forward.
Should we go to Mass each week and pray for the victims but do nothing to help them? Actually most times the issue of clergy abuse is even publicly prayed for at Mass, we also have to pray for the perpetrators. As if that is not a sick message delivered to youth who are present. Children should not be told to pray for those who harm children. Do we pray for the sexually abusive soccer coaches and teachers? Of course not, only sexually abusive clergy are extended that mercy.

Your Plan?

When do we acknowledge those abused within our Church often have PTSD and cannot even enter a Church for burials of family members or joyous occasions such as weddings. That the faith that many take solace in has been ripped from their lives? Should we just move forward without them? What’s the plan? If you want me not to be stuck, then tell me the plan going forward. Do you have a plan?
In just the past few months a priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was arrested for the rape of a teen parishioner and two lay teachers were arrested for sexual assault of students. What is the statute of limitations on the anger we should feel about abuse continuing in the Archdiocese? A few weeks? A few months? Do we need to seek professional help if we are still stuck after that?
We watched in Baltimore last week as clergy walked right past the survivors outside the hotel. We have seen this happen countless times at vigils in Philadelphia. Would Jesus simply refer the abused in his midst to the Archdiocese Victim Assistance Office? Is that how we get “unstuck?” By pretending they are invisible?
As for the bishops pretending that they never had a clue about McCarrick or Bransfield’s misconduct, it will be fun to watch the Oscars this year as you all receive Best Supporting Actor awards in the real life horror category.

Gospel P.R.

You talk of Christ but the behavior of many bishops is anything but Christ like. Would Christ be out to dinner, or in the lounge having drinks, as his followers suffered? Would he shred a memo that could have protected children? That wasn’t Christ; that was Bevilacqua. Would he ignore the very people who were harmed?
Maybe use Christ as your public relations crisis manager. The Gospel is free and any change in behavior by the bishops would be genuine. The mystery to the laity and survivors is not what Christ would do, the mystery is why the Bishops don’t do it. Firing the attorneys would be a good first step.
We will be back in Baltimore for the Conference in November. We were lucky the June meeting was rescheduled to Baltimore rather than at the Ritz Carlton in Santa Barbara, where it was originally scheduled. Mom Squad does not have a bishop’s budget.
Maybe we will bring some more moms with us to outnumber the bishops in the hotel lounge. Since the laity is so often not welcome to a seat at the table, we will just pull up to the bar.
Kathy
(unofficial captain of the Mom Squad)