Monday, March 7, 2022

Letter to Pope Francis from Christina Moreira ARCWP in English and Spanish

Christina Moriera ARCWP in Paris in front of Nunciature

 Christina Moreira is a priest in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests who lives in Spain.

In October 2020, when she was participating in Toutes Apotres Action in Paris, Christina gave this letter to  Celestino Migliore, the Apostolic Nuncio for safe delivery to Pope Francis. He promised to give the letter to the Pope. Christina has not received any response from the Pope or even a confirmation of receipt of the letter. 

Christina is a founding member of  Toutes Apotres, the French Association for equality and inclusivity in the Roman Catholic Church.

A Coruña, October 2, 2020

Pope Francis, Vatican

Dear Francis, Pope and brother:

Let me dare address you with familiarity; we are family and, in our countries, family members address each other with familiarity. I asked Apostolic nuncio Celestino Migliore to forward this letter to you as he was kind enough to grant me an audience and it seems to me that it is a very appropriate channel to go through a human being to convey what I wish to request of your generosity.

As you may already know, I am delivering this letter to the Apostolic Nunciature in Paris because I am part of a group of 8 women who have decided to join together to offer their services to the Church, to make use of their talents and vocations in Church tasks that, as you also know, are forbidden to us, particularly by Canon 1024.

As for me, I declare myself available to serve the Lord's Table and his Word by presiding over the Eucharist in the first parish that is in need of care and news about the Kingdom of God to which a Bishop of my Roman Catholic Church, our Church, which I love deeply, please wish to send me. It could be more than one.

I am part of the RCWP-ARCWP association (Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement - Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests) in which ordinations are conferred on women within apostolic succession (duly documented) for the purpose of having us too, as the Blessed Virgin Mary did at an earlier time, may say to the world "do whatever He tells you". We are women, as well as some men, of proven vocation, trained in theology and whose aim is the most radical obedience to the call of the Lord. That is my case and I would gladly give you an account of the story of my vocation, if you would like to hear it. After 30 years of doubts, I decided to heed the call of the Lord and put on the apron of service, even risking human disobedience. My ordination took place in March 2015 and not a day goes that I fail to give deep thanks for the joy of remembering the Lord, being a sign of His presence in the midst of my community.

Like all the communities that our 239 deaconesses, women priests and female bishops govern, they are cozy and warm communities where all people are welcomed and loved unconditionally. We practice inclusivity out of love for the gospel and in obedience to the commandment of love that Jesus left us. They are usually small and familial communities where prayer and the sacraments are not lacking, providing all of this frequently in areas where regular priests do not usually go as I saw with my own eyes in the Colombian Amazon where God gave me an unforgettable mission during a Holy Week in some remote pathways of the Colombian Amazon, which strengthened, if possible, my vocation and confirmed it. I was reinforced in the conviction that the Church, its most impoverished and forgotten people need me, because they need the closeness of Christ, to know that they are not forgotten in the service of the word and the Eucharist. I would tell you about those meetings in their tiny houses and their community celebrations. 

We respect the diversity of Christian families without discrimination or differences, since God the Father loves them all equally. We are interested in accompaniment in all life circumstances and we try to console, provide relief as coming from the Lord, as well as we know and as we can. We are firmly committed against racism and hatred of any kind, as well as committed to ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. We are interested in displaced people, refugees and migrants, those that our societies are so often leaving behind. We make of peace with justice a preferred goal as well as the protection of the life of the Planet and we affirm with life, word and deed, as much as we can that every human being is a son or daughter of God.

In my community "Comunidade Cristiá do Home Novo", in A Coruña (Spain), we put into practice the same core principles that were done in the days of its founder, the beloved and well-missed priest Manuel Espiña. Sharing everything is a priority, we celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday and we care about being in solidarity and being informed about what our fellow citizens are experiencing, nothing is perceived as foreign or alien to us. We recite the Creed together and pray for Your Holiness in all of our celebrations. They asked me to tell you that we have a portrait of you, along with that of Saint John XXIII and Saint Oscar Romero, presiding over our assembly, to the right of the image that represents the Risen One. The place on the left is for Mary of Nazareth.

Like those of my sisters, my community is devoted to its Roman Catholic membership and does not want to renounce it. That precious gift received at baptism gives us a family that does not always give us joy in difficult times but hope is the way. Loli Cambón, our president, sends you, attached, a postcard with the symbol of our city and a message from our people.

As you surely know, my husband Victorino Pérez Prieto (a theologian with numerous publications) and I lived the experience of being a “priestly couple”, since he is also a priest. We are not the only ones within the association to which I belong. We add and multiply instead of dividing and subtracting. You will have understood that we also care about the debate on the free choice of celibacy in the priesthood, recovering all its value if it is a mature and vocational option. 

At RCWP-ARCWP we have taken a step that can be repaid with the cruelest punishment, excommunication. We, along with many other people, think that, from love, if we loved each other as He loved us, it is not possible to deprive a son or daughter of God of a loving meeting with Him. Communion is not something to be used for punishment; there is a contradiction that undermines our mercy and… breaks communion. So, on behalf of all those punished, I ask that these punishments be lifted, or that, at the very least, we can start a dialogue.

On this subject, on the ordination and inclusion in the ministries of all the offspring of God the Father and Mother, of all those baptized whom He wants to call to His service, regardless of gender or condition, we would like to be able to dialogue with you.

So, I humbly request that you receive us, someone from our association or even myself to exchange views on this and consider what can be done to move forward. I beg you, with the utmost affection and sincerity, because I am absolutely convinced that the Lord has called us to serve Him, with urgency and immediacy. Many people need our ministries and they are starving for God (that is what the inhabitants of those Colombian villages told me, that they did not even have someone to pray on their graves, to baptize their children, people who said they were living in sin because they had no money to pay for a marriage and that they barely remembered how to respond at Mass). I would not allow myself to insist if my heart and that of so many people were not receiving the certainty of that need. We can already affirm that the Holy Spirit is speaking loud and clear and that it is a sin to ignore Him.

As you preach, we make trouble; our work may be breaking a canon of Church law, but it is peaceful and seeks above all to make the people of God, and the world, fall in love again with the God of love and the womb of a compassionate Mother, with the Abba of Jesus and ours. In this, our vocations are summarized and it seems to us that they harmonize with the construction of the Kingdom.

I who sign this tried to be coherent with that Voice that is never silent, tried to be faithful as much as possible and for this she used freedom since "it is for freedom that Christ has set us frees" and paid a good price for it.

I hope from your goodness, well known and for which we give abundant thanks, that you answer us and tell us how we can begin to trace a path for a response from our Church to those cries of the Spirit and of her people. We still have time to love each other and to have others say about us "look how they love each other." 

For the glory of God, the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Your sister in Christ, peace and goodness on your saint’s day, and all your days at the service of God and his people.

Christina Moreira Vázquez

Querido Francisco, papa y hermano :

Permite que ose tutearte, somos familia y en mis paises se tutea a los familiares. Le pedí a Celestino Migliore que te trasladara esta misiva ya que tuvo a bien concederme una audiencia y me parece que es un cauce muy apropiado pasar por un ser humano para trasladar lo que deseo solicitar de tu bondad.

Como tal vez ya sepas, estoy entregando esta carta en la nunciatura apostólica de París porque formo parte de un grupo de 8 mujeres que han decidido unirse para ofrecer sus servicios a la Iglesia, para hacer valer sus talentos y vocaciones en tareas de la Iglesia que, como también sabrás, nos están prohibidos, en especial por el canon 1024.

Por mi parte, me declaro disponible para servir la Mesa del Señor y su Palabra en la primera parroquia necesitada de cuidados y de noticias del Reino de Dios a la que un obispo de mi Iglesia católica romana, la nuestra, a la que amo profundamente, tenga a bien enviarme. Podrían ser más de una.

En efecto, soy parte de la asociación RCWP-ARCWP (Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Asociación de presbíteras católicas) en la que se confieren ordenaciones a mujeres dentro de la sucesión apostólica (debidamente documentada) con el propósito de que también nosotras, como lo hizo otrora la Bienaventurada Virgen María, podamos decir al mundo « haced lo que Él os diga ». Somos mujeres, y algunos hombres, de probada vocación, formadas en teología y cuya finalidad es la obediencia más radical a la llamada del Señor. Ese es mi caso y le daría cuenta gustosa del relato de mi vocación, si le pareciera bien oirlo. Tras 30 años de dudas decidí acatar el llamado, arriesgar la desobediencia humana, y ponerme el delantal del servicio. Mi ordenación tuvo lugar en marzo de 2015 y no pasa un día sin que dé gracias profundas por el gozo de hacer memoria del Señor, ser una señal de su presencia en medio de mi comunidad.

Como todas las comunidades que rigen nuestras 239 diaconisas, presbíteras y obispas, son comunidades acogedoras donde todas las personas son bienvenidas y amadas incondicionalmente. Practicamos la inclusividad por amor al evangelio y en obediencia al mandamiento del amor que nos dejó Jesús. Suelen ser comunidades pequeñas y familiares donde no falta la oración y los sacramentos, aportando todo ello, muchas veces en zonas donde los presbíteros regulares no suelen acudir como he visto con mis propios ojos en la Amazonia colombiana donde Dios me regaló una misión inolvidable que hizo más fuerte si cabe mi vocación y la confirmó. Me reforcé en la convicción que la Iglesia, sus gentes más empobrecidas y olvidadas me necesitan, porque necesitan la cercanía de Cristo, saber que no se les olvida. Le contaría cómo fueron aquellos encuentros en sus casitas y sus celebraciones. 

Respetamos la diversidad de las familias cristianas sin hacer discriminaciones ni diferencias ya que a todas las ama Dios Padre por igual. Nos interesamos por el acompañamiento de todas las circunstancias de las vidas y procuramos consolar, aliviar de parte del Señor, tanto como sabemos y podemos. Estamos firmemente comprometidas en contra del racismo y todo odio de cualquier tipo. Nos interesamos por las personas desplazadas, refugiadas y migrantes, por esas que nuestras sociedades están dejando atrás tantas veces. Hacemos de la paz con justicia un objetivo preferente así como la protección de la vida del Planeta y afirmamos con la vida, la palabra y los hechos, tanto como podemos que todo ser humano es hijo o hija de Dios.

En mi comunidad “Comunidade cristiá do Home Novo”, en A Coruña, España, ponemos en práctica las mismas bases como ya se hacía en tiempos de su fundador, el añorado presbítero Manuel Espiña. Compartirlo todo es prioridad, celebramos la eucaristía cada domingo y nos preocupamos por ser solidarios y estar informados sobre lo que viven nuestros conciudadanos, nada nos es ajeno. Recitamos el Credo juntos y oramos por su Santidad en todas nuestras celebraciones. Me pidieron que le dijera que tenemos un retrato suyo presidiendo nuestra asamblea, a la derecha de la imagen que representa al Resucitado. El lugar de la izquierda es para María de Nazaret.

Como las de mis hermanas, mi comunidad está apegada a su pertenencia católica romana y no renunciaría a ello bajo ningún concepto. Ese regalo preciado recibido en el bautismo nos otorga una familia que no siempre nos da alegrías en tiempos difíciles pero la esperanza es el camino. Loli Cambón, nuestra presidenta, le remite, adjunta, una postal con el símbolo de nuestra ciudad y un mensaje de parte de nuestra gente.

Como sabrá seguramente, mi esposo y yo vivimos la experiencia de ser “matrimonio sacerdotal”. No somos los únicos en el seno de la asociación a la que pertenezco. Sumamos y multiplicamos en lugar de dividir y restar. Habrá comprendido que también nos importa que el debate sobre la libre elección del celibato, recobrando este todo su valor si es una opción madura y vocacional. 

En RCWP-ARCWP hemos dado un paso que se nos paga con el castigo más cruel, la excomunión. Nosotras pensamos que, desde el amor, si nos amamos como Él nos amó, no cabe privar a un hijo o hija de Dios del encuentro amoroso con Él. La comunión no es materia para castigar, se da una contradicción que desdice de nuestra misericordia y … rompe la comunión. De modo que, en representación de todas las castigadas, les solicito que se puedan levantar dichos castigos, o que, como poco se pueda empezar a dialogar.

Sobre este tema, sobre la ordenación e inclusión en los ministerios de toda la prole del Padre, de todos y todas los bautizados a quien Él quiera llamar a su servicio, sean del género o de la condición que sean, nos gustaría poder dialogar con usted.

De modo que le solicito humildemente que nos reciba, a alguien de nuestra asociación o a mí misma para intercambiar visiones al respecto y considerar lo que se puede hacer para avanzar. Se lo ruego, con máximo cariño y franqueza, porque estoy absolutamente convencida de que el Señor nos llama a servirlo, con urgencia y apremio. Mucha gente necesita nuestros ministerios y están pasando hambre de Dios (eso me decían los pobladores de aquellas veredas colombianas que no tenían ni quien orara sobre sus tumbas, que bautizara a sus hijos, personas que decían vivir en pecado porque no tenían plata para pagar un matrimonio y que recordaban a duras penas como se contesta en la misa). No me permitiría insistir si mi corazón y el de tanta gente no estuviera recibiendo la certeza de esa necesidad. Ya podemos afirmar que el Espíritu Santo está hablando alto y que es pecado desoírlo.

La que firma procuró ser coherente con esa Voz que nunca calla, intentó ser fiel en lo posible y para ello usó la libertad puesto que “para ser libres nos libertó Cristo” y pagó su buen precio por ello.

Espero de su bondad, de sobras conocida y por la que damos gracias abundantes, que nos conteste y nos diga cómo podemos empezar a trazar un camino para una respuesta de nuestra Iglesia a esos gritos del Espíritu y de su pueblo. Todavía estamos a tiempo de amarnos y de que los que lo vean digan “mirad cómo se aman”.

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