Saturday, December 4, 2021

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy, 2nd Week of Advent, December 4, 2021, Presiders Lee Breyer and Kathryn Shea ARCWP, Readers: Cheryl and Jim Brandi , Music Ministers: Linda and Rick Miller


Zoom:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85108095506?pwd=Y3IyS0xkaWZ1WGRUOXlZMm5qcE1Fdz09

Meeting ID: 851 0809 5506
Passcode: 1066





       Theme: God’s Love Fills and Sustains Us

Welcome and Centering Prayer

KATHRYN:  Welcome to Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community where everyone is invited to participate in our services.  Still “once again,” we gather in this “zoom room,” our current sanctuary, to share the compassionate presence of God with - and within - each of us in this liturgy. Now, in these difficult times, it is more important than ever for us to gather with each other to support one another as companions on our earthly journeys.  Each of us has a separate earthly path to our common heavenly home, led there by Jesus, the guide of each of us in our individual ways.  


LEE:  We invite you to pray the liturgy, although our style of doing that is somewhat different than what many of us might be accustomed to from their personal experiences in possibly a variety of houses of prayer.  Here, at Mary Mother of Jesus, everyone will be muted (audio off) during the liturgy and are encouraged to pray in all the places where there is a word:  ALL.  The presiders and the readers will be unmuted (able to be heard) when they are speaking to each of us.  During the shared homily, we ask you to unmute yourself (put your audio on) when you contribute your comment and then, when finished, please mute yourself (put the audio off) so that the next person, your brother or sister, can be heard by everyone just as you were.  Also, please have your bread and wine or juice near you so that you can easily consecrate them for your Communion later in the liturgy. 

KATHRYN & ALL:  Now let us take a few minutes to collect ourselves as we prepare to focus our minds and hearts on our oneness.  We are brought together through our love: our love for Heavenly Ones, our love for one another, our love for ourselves and our love for our planet.  And let us begin this liturgy by expressing this love through song.

Opening Song: Gather Us In by Marty Haugen


https://youtu.be/xnom5mFwJaI

Opening Prayer

KATHRYN & ALL:  In our journeys into the heart of compassion… and that is God…we celebrate the love that is continually unfolded for us by the Divine One being in us, in each one of us.  Help us to recognize and honor the “you” that is in “the me” of everyone; of myself and of all my brothers and sisters, without exception.

Community Reconciliation, Healing and Transformation

CHERYL & ALL:  Compassionate and understanding God, we pray that we may reach deep within ourselves to hear Wisdom’s many messages, to faithfully understand them and to respond to them in our actions with our brothers and sisters.  May we emulate the virtues of love, pardon and peace that Jesus taught us so that we may – in turn – be more forgiving in our care for ourselves, for one another and for our planet earth. May we gather strength through your Divine Presence within us so that we may continually share that increasing and unending love that you have for us with everyone we meet. 

Profession of Faith

KATHRYN & ALL:  We believe in God, the divine mystery that is beyond all possible understanding.  God is the creator and heart of all that has ever existed, that exists now, or that will ever exist in this continually evolving cosmos and beyond.

We believe in Jesus, the messenger of the Divine Word, the bringer of healing and the heart of compassion. Jesus is the Risen One who defied death and, through his victory over it, showed us that death is only a horizon, a limit to our sight on earth, but an entrance to everlasting peace and joy with his family, the whole of creation.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of our innermost life.  The Spirit is the indescribable cloud that moves us in our deepest being. She is the vision that supports and strengthens us in our very soul.

And we certainly believe that the Divine kin-dom -- the coming of which we plead for in the Prayer of Jesus -- is here with us now.  It is stretched out all around us for those with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, and hands to “take it in” for our deepest understanding. 

Glory to God

JIM B:  So now let us give glory to our loving Holy One in song.

Joyful Gloria: Linda Lee Miller and graphics by Rick Miller


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lA5I0nODZI


Liturgy of the Word 

Today’s readings are both from the New Testament, both focused about Jesus’ teaching about love.  The first one is a selected part of John’s writing about that topic, and will be proclaimed to us by Cheryl Brandi.  It is recorded as chapter 15 and verses 9 to 17.

Cheryl:  And one day, Jesus said to his disciples:  As my Abba has loved me, so I have loved you.  Live on in my love.

And you will live on in my love if you keep my commandments, just as I live on in Abba God’s love because I have kept God’s commandments.

I tell you all this so that my joy may be yours, and that your joy may be complete.  This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. You all are my friends if you do what I command you. I call you “friends” because I have shared with you everything that I have learned from Abba God. Whatever you ask of Abba God in my name, God will give that to you.

This is the commandment that I give you: love one another.

This is the good news of Jesus to his friends, and that includes us.

To that we say: Alleluia.

The second reading is proclaimed to us by Jim Brandi.  It is a selection from John’s first of his three letters in his attempt to clarify the relationship of two intricately related topics, namely God and love. This piece is chapter 4, verses 7-10.

Jim:  My friends, let us love one another…because love is of God.  Everyone who loves God is begotten of God and knows God well.  And those of you do not love God has known nothing of God…for GOD IS LOVE.

God’s love was revealed to us in this way: God sent the Only Begotten One into the world so that we, friends might have faith through the Anointed One.

Love, then, consists in this:  It is not that We have God… but that God has loved us.

And this is the Good News that John has brought to us. And to that we say:  Thanks be to God.      

The Shared Homily and Community Reflection:Lee Breyer

Prayers of the Community

KATHRYN:  We are a people of faith; we believe in the power of prayer.  We are mindful of God’s unconditional love and care for each one of us. And now we bring the needs of the people to our merciful and gracious Creator.  After each intercession, let us respond: 

R:  Compassionate God, we know bless our petitions.

We pray that we all may live with understanding and compassion with all those whom God has created, letting go of any and all patterns of domination, we pray…R.

We pray that the sick may be healed, especially those friends and family members of the persons in our communities, we pray…R.

We pray that those whose situations or conditions will soon bring them to their heavenly homes so that they will be with you and leave behind on earth a loving sense of peace with those whom they cared, we pray…R.

And for whom else shall we pray? …R (after each response)

O Holy One we walk in faith that nothing is impossible to you and that we can care for others in need through the power of your Spirit working in us. Amen.

Preparation of our Gifts

JIM B:  Blessed are we, O God, and it is through your goodness that we have bread and wine and that we have brought it for our worship today.  It will become for us the Body and Blood of Jesus. And we know that, through our Sacred Meals, Jesus will be with us always, loving us and others through us.  We are your Blessed People, and now, in our recognition and thanksgiving of that, we will sing it in a love tune with each other.

All:  Holy, Holy, Holy Linda Lee Miller

(adapted from Holy, Holy, Holy by Karen Drucker)



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orKBBIj5LZA

Eucharistic Prayer

KATHRYN & ALL:  Creator God, we thank you for the gift of Jesus, your Son and our brother, in history and faith.  On earth, He was driven by the vision of his mission. He revealed you to us - and to all the people of the planet - by a compassionate life that he so well lived.  He instructed us, by his teaching, not only how we should live – but he also showed us, by his example, for what we might even die. When his time on earth was fulfilled, He opened wide his arms in a symbol of love in his embrace of all creation... and He died on a cross. 

He showed everyone that love is stronger than death…his life on earth demonstrated that for all times to come.  To illustrate that, the Holy Spirit raised Him from the dead and showed us that life is truly eternal and that love is immortal.  His action at that time and for all ages – was the foretaste and promise of the paschal feast that awaits for all of us too.

O God, let your Spirit of life, healing and wholeness come upon the simple gifts that were once gathered from the fields but are now being used by us in this holy liturgy today. May this bread and wine, fruit of the field, become for us today to be the Body and Blood of Jesus.

LEE:  We remember the blessing and grace that Jesus gave us as he gathered with his friends on the night before he died – and when he shared his last Passover with them.  It was at that meal that he took bread, gave thanks to you, and then shared it with his friends 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. 

(Short pause)

In the same way, Jesus took a 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.  

[Lee, Kathryn, Jim and Cheryl and ALL.]  Jesus has died.  Christ has risen.  The Cosmic Christ lives in us and through us in the world today.

We believe that the Spirit of God is at work in and among us and can do more than we could ever ask or even imagine.

(Receive the Body and Blood of Christ that you have consecrated)

Communion Song:  Life is Eternal by Carly Simon


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eR1ni6sZK4

The Prayer of Jesus (modified adaptation of Center of Concern)

CHERYL & ALL:   Let us pray the Prayer of Jesus…

Our God who is in Heaven and in all of us here on earth, the hungry, the oppressed, and the excluded…. holy is your name.

May your kindom come among us with your love, compassion and peace.

May your reign come and your will be done….done in our choice to struggle with the complexities of this world and to confront greed and the desire for power in ourselves. 

JIM B & ALL:  Give us this day our daily bread …. bread that we are called to share, bread that you have given us abundantly and that we should distribute fairly, ensuring security for all. 

Forgive us our trespasses…. times we may have turned away from the struggles of other peoples and countries, and those times we have thought only of our own security.  

Lead us not into temptation…. the temptation to close our minds, ears, and eyes to the unfair global systems that create larger and larger gaps between the rich and the poor. Lead us away from the temptation to think it is too difficult to bring about more just alternatives.  

Deliver us from evil…. the evil of a world where violence happens in Your name, where wealth for a few is more important than economic rights for all, and where gates and barriers between people are so very hard to bring down. 

May your kindom come among us with your love, compassion and peace.

And truly, may your kindom come…. for Yours is the kindom, the power and the glory forever and ever.  AMEN.

The Sign of Love and Peace

KATHRYN:  This is the Cheyenne Prayer for Peace (with a one word addition), brought to us two weeks ago.  It prays for an extended and inclusive action for love and peace that cannot be exhausted. Let us extend a hand in our blessing of one another as we pray with – and for – each person.

Let us know love and peace….

For as long as the moon shall rise.

For as long as the rivers shall flow.

For as long as the sun shall shine,

For as long as the grass shall grow.


Let us know love and peace…and let us live it. 


Introductions   Announcements  Thanksgivings

Closing Statement and Blessing

LEE: May we experience the blessings of love and peace on our journeys as we dream new dreams, see new horizons, and maybe even visit new places.  We know that Jesus challenges us to look into our hearts, to examine the ways we are neighbors to one another, to overcome our prejudices, to stretch our generosity to - and with - one another…in short, to see God present in our everyday loving and living and be responsive to our creator.  We believe that we are the Face of God in society, may we get the grace to be the Heart of God in  ourselves. 

LEE, KATHRYN, ALL:  And we know God hears our prayers; may we make intelligent readings of God’s responses. For this, we pray. 

Let it be so! 

Closing Song:

They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love - Lydia Walker



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=

  



Annual Meeting: 5:30PM-6:30PM 

Early History of Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, Sarasota, Florida 2008-2010

http://bridgetmarys.blogspot.com/2019/04/bridget-mary-meehan-videos-of-mary.html


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EuJ5KHzs28

ABC Video of House Church Beginnings in Sarasota, Florida, April 11, 2008 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G00LMtBVlwU

This was the first liturgy we celebrated at St. Andrew UCC in March 2009.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3gZRAUuUjI

Easter Vigil at St. Andrew UCC, April 2010 Michael and Imogene Rigdon on the right, Lee and Carol Ann Breyer on the left

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For more videos of MMOJ early history:


https://bridgetmarys.blogspot.com/2021/12/early-history-of-mary-mother-of-jesus.html


MMOJ Liturgical Dance by Sheila Carey on Christmas Eve at Mary's House
Dec. 24, 2008

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3KQz1LbxLQ

Liturgical Dance by Sheila Carey in MMOJ House Church above Dec. 24, 2008

Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic Community's Easter Vigil- March 22, 2008 in House Church

These photos provide a glimpse of the joyful celebration of our Easter Vigil on March 22, 2008. 

Over 30 people gathered in our House Church including members of Duffy and Gumbleton family.  My Dad,  Jack Meehan led the music with his saxophone with a lively version of Jesus Christ is risen today.
Our homily was a dialogue with many of the community offering insights. I I asked the community to share what they wanted to "go and tell "this Easter. 
Several shared that they felt that they felt hopeful that they are members of our House Church community where they experience the Spirit moving us forward together to live Christ's Easter message. They had lots to share that they would "go and tell". One family shared they would be going to Rome in the coming weeks and they would "go and tell "of their experience of a woman priest there too!

Mary, Mother of Jesus House Church Retreat and Liturgy on Dec. 6, 2008 (Carol Ann and Lee Breyer on couch, Margaret Smith in purple, Dad in blue with sax)

 


On Sat. Dec. 6th, 2008, members of Mary, Mother of Jesus community,(some of our snowbirds are not in Fl. yet) met for prayer, reflection and discernment. Our prayer and sharing led us to conclude that our ministry in the local church in Sarasota/Venice is to reflect God's love embracing all by living this vision of inclusivity and compassionate care and outreach to our sisters and brothers. We are called to "shepherd"-- to give comfort to God's people now.


We consecrated ourselves to be the hands and feet of Christ in our local communities. One of our prayers is that our brothers, priests, religious and bishops, will embrace Jesus vision of justice for women in the church and work for a renewed priestly ministry in the Roman Catholic Church as an inclusive, renewed discipleship of equals.


Tomorrow, Dec. 8th is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Mary, Mother of Jesus is the role model of our local Sarasota House Church Catholic Community. Our work for justice, equality and a renewed priestly ministry in the Roman Catholic Church is rooted in the prophetic vision of Jesus which is echoed in Mary's prayer for justice, equality and empowerment. Mary’s prayer, the Magnificat, reflects the prophetic vision of Jesus who rejects domination and injustice and calls us to mutual service and empowerment. Mary prays to the Holy One who has done great things for her and portrays God as the liberator of the marginalized and oppressed. “God raises up the lowly and puts down the mighty from their thrones.” As we know, women continue to be the oppressed of the oppressed in our world to this day.

In praying the Magnificat, we stand with Mary, the simple teenaged, pregnant, but unmarried woman of faith, in her clairvoyant perception of God's relationship with us, through the strong language of her prayer. In this prayer, Mary is a symbol of strength, comfort, and power for the disinherited and powerless of the world. She is companion, champion, and change-agent for the righteous poor, who will triumph over oppression and experience the justice promised to them by God. (Praying with Women of the Bible, p.105)

Jesus, Mary's child, called women and men to be disciples. "With Jesus went the Twelve, as well as some women he had healed of evil spirits and sicknesses; Mary of Magdala, from whom he had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, Suzanna; and many others who were contributing to the support of Jesus and the Twelve with their own funds. " (Luke 8:2-3)

It is obvious from the archaeological evidence that the early Christian community upheld Mary, Mother of Jesus, as mentor of women leaders and office holders in the early church. In St. Priscilla’s catacomb, there is a beautiful frescoe of Mary, dressed in bishops’ robes and seated on a bishop’s chair, present at the ordination of a woman priest. Mary is also depicted in a group portrait with Episcopa Theodora in a mural in St. Praxedis Church in Rome.


Mary, Mother of Jesus, may we live your prophetic call as witnesses to justice, equality, mutual service and empowerment.


Jack Duffy's Letter to Editor Published in Sarasota Herald Tribune January 2009


Jack Duffy (navy blue) seated next to Helen, his wife at Mary, Mother of Jesus liturgy

Bishop to Bishop: Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan Responds to Bishop Frank Dewane About His Letter to Deacon Judy Beaumont Regarding Her Upcoming Ordination as Priest

Bishop Frank :
It has been brought to my attention that you purportedly reside in the Diocese of  Venice in Florida and may attempt to be " ordained " to the ministerial priesthood here within this Diocese on January 22 , 2012 . This is a most grave and serious matter of consequence for your soul.

Bishop Bridget Mary:
Under all circumstances, the church teaches that one must follow one’s conscience. So how can serving God as a woman priest cause a problem for one’s soul? I wish our male bishops would be as concerned about the thousands of victims of sexual abuse as they appear to be about the souls of women priests!


Bishop Frank :
The Catholic Church has always taught that the Church has no authority to confer priestly ordination on women.

Bishop Bridget Mary:
Jesus set the example by calling women and men to be his disciples. Witness his relationship with Mary and Martha and Mary of Magdala for example. He did not ordain anyone. Ordination was developed much later, in the early centuries of the church. According to historians, such as Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination, women were ordained for twelve hundred years before the patriarchy abandoned the practice.


Bishop Frank:
The Church shares this teaching with our Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters. The ministerial priesthood is a gift from God, not something that someone " earns, " " deserves " or has a "right " to, due to advanced education, devoted service in the Church, or simply because of one's own personal desire. The reasons for this include : the example recorded in sacred Scripture of Christ choosing His Apostles ; the constant practice of the Church, which imitated Christ in choosing only men ; and the Church's living teaching authority.


Bishop Bridget Mary:
This is a complete re-write of the Gospels! The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala and called her to be the apostle to the apostles (John 20:17). Paul affirmed Junia as an apostle, who was his mentor and teacher in Romans 16. Note (Luke 10:42) Jesus' words to Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, as she sat at Jesus' feet listening to what he said(as disciples do)"Mary has chosen what is better,and it will not be taken away from her." Bishop Frank, neither you nor church tradition since the 12th century are powerful enough to take away what Jesus has clearly given to Mary and countless women disciples like Judith Beaumont-"it will not be taken away from her".


Bishop Frank:
In calling only men as His Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and  sovereign manner . Throughout His earthly ministry, Our Lord also emphasized the dignity a n d the vocation of women , and in so doing , did not conform to the prevailing customs, traditions , and legislation of the time. Still , among His twelve Apostles , Jesus Christ did not include any women. This fact withstands any so-called "scholarship" to the contrary. Sacred Scripture further reveals that Jesus did include the participation of women in His public ministry in ways that shows a differentiation of roles between men and women . Together both worked to build up the unity of the Church, avoiding divisiveness . Specific to the role of women, the Church gives thanks for the feminine "genius",
appearing in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations, and for the charisms of the Holy Spirit on women's manifestations of faith, hope and love .


Bishop Bridget Mary:
Luke 8 affirms that women were not only among Jesus disciples, but that there were many of them and they were leaders in supporting his ministry. Jesus was a radical feminist in his vision of a “discipleship of equals”. He had a theological conversation with the Samaritan woman, who became the first evangelist to bring her whole village to him. Martha’s profession of faith parallel’s Peter’s and her table ministry indicated that women presided at Eucharist in house churches in early Christianity. Jesus never spoke of feminine “genius", he treated women as equals to men, a reality lost on our present hierarchy, who try to wax eloquent about women’s second class citizenship in their own church by use of lofty phrases like you, Bishop Frank, used above. Roman Catholic Women Priests are the "Rosa Parks" of the Catholic Church. We will no longer settle for sitting in the back of the Catholic bus. Sexism, like racism is a sin and always wrong.

Bishop Frank:
Through the Sacrament of Baptism, all Christians , both men and women , share equally in the " common priesthood of believers . " Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders , priests also share in the " ministerial priesthood " of Christ , the High Priest . However, no individual has the "right" to be ordained to the ministerial priesthood. Ordination to the ministerial priesthood must be conferred by a validly ordained bishop on a baptized man. A candidate must receive the authorization of the Church, which has the authority and responsibility to determine if a true call to the priesthood exists for the said candidate.


Bishop Bridget Mary :
Jesus did not see himself as a “High Priest”. He came among us to transform our lives and world so that the kindom of God would be manifest through our witness to justice, inclusion and compassion. He showed us that those who are leaders/ ministers must serve our sisters and brothers in the washing of the feet ritual at the Last Supper. Jesus challenged the religious leaders of his time for their abuse of spiritual power and hypocrisy. Judith Beaumont's Ordination will be conferred by a validly ordained bishop as we (our bishops) clearly stand in the line of apostolic succession through the male bishop in standing with the pope who ordained the first women bishops.


Bishop Frank:
Below is a 1995 responsum, issued by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger [now Pope Benedict XVI] , then Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith , in response to the to the question of ,
"whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women , which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the  deposit of faith , '


Bishop Bridget Mary:
This is the ultimate cop-out. Of course, the church has authority to ordain women. It did so for twelve hundred years. There are thousands of ordained women in church history. The institutional church can no longer discriminate against women and blame God for it.


Bishop Frank:
Responsum : In the affirmative. This teaching requires definitive assent , since, founded on the written Word of God , and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of
the Church , it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf Second Vatican Council , Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25 , 2). Thus, in the present circumstances , the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf Lk 22:32) , has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always , everywhere , and by all , as belonging to the deposit of the faith .


Bishop Bridget Mary :
The Catholic faithful, including the world’s theologians, many priests, some bishops, did not affirm this teaching. Therefore, it is not infallible teaching because it does not reflect the faith of the believing community, the entire, universal church. It does not reflect the "sensus fidelium".


Bishop Frank :
Further, as you may know, on May 30, 2008 The Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith issued the general decree , "On the Delict of Attempted Sacred Ordination of
a Woman . " The decree affirms that , "he who shall have attempted to confer holy orders
on a woman , as well as the woman who may have attempted to receive Holy Orders , incurs in a latae sententiae excommunication," that is, an automatic excommunication. Further, reconciliation for this excommunication must come through the Holy See in Rome .

Bishop Bridget Mary:
We do not fear excommunication. Actually, we are walking in the footsteps of giants such as St. Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake for following her conscience. Pope Benedict canonized two excommunicated nuns: Mother Theodore Guerin from the United States and Mother Mary MacKillop from Australia, thereby making excommunication a possible fast track to canonization! One day a future pope, perhaps, a woman, will probably say, according to the common and constant tradition of the church, taught by the apostles and lived through the history of the church for many centuries, we ordain women deacons, priests and bishops.


Bishop Frank:
As your Bishop , I urge you , to refrain from participating in what will be an invalid attempt at "ordination ." This opportunity is taken to inform you that, should you proceed with this action , you would in fact, separate yourself from the Catholic Church, by your own free choice .


Bishop Bridget Mary:
Nothing can separate us from God, nothing can cancel our baptism, nothing or no one can stop us from living the fullness of Christ’s love in a more open, just and inclusive Catholic Church. We are faithful women living Christ’s call to serve those in need and on the margins offering the church the gift of a renewed priestly ministry in a Christ-centered, inclusive Catholic Church.


Bishop Frank:
With this in mind, for the good of your immortal soul , I exhort you to choose not to participate i n this attempted " ordination . "


Bishop Bridget Mary:
Our souls are in God’s hands. We answer the call in prophetic obedience. We walk in faith and love, trusting in Christ and with Holy Wisdom, Sophia’s guidance, as we serve our beloved faith communities. Each week Catholics affirm women priests as they celebrate inclusive liturgies in Florida and in more and more places in the U.S. and abroad with our 124 ordained priests and deacons.

+ Frank Dewane
Bishop of the Diocese of
Venice in Florida


+Bridget Mary Meehan
Bishop, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (USA and South America)

Deacon Judy Beaumont Responds to Bishop Frank Dewane's Letter About Her Upcoming Ordination as Priest- Prophetic Obedience to Spirit Trumps Threat of Excommunication

Deacon Judy Beaumont's Response to  Bishop Frank Dewane's Letter
December 26, 2011
Dear Bishop Dewane:
I have received your letter regarding my ordination on January 21, 2011. I understand that you are fulfilling your obligation as Bishop and I take your words seriously. However, I must reply that as I have tried throughout my life to answer the call of the Gospel to serve God’s people, I must again answer this new call to sacramental ministry with the poor and otherwise marginalized persons in our midst. Members of the Catholic community here including the people of the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community and the Bishop of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests have affirmed my call, in fact, they also have called me forth to serve.


While a Benedictine sister, I served as theology teacher, sacristan, trainer of altar boys and member of liturgy committees. I never thought of myself as being called to the existing all-male clergy. However in recent years, it has become clear to me that I am called by God to take on the sacramental ministry with our people. Four of the formerly homeless persons from our ministry presented me to Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan for my ordination to the diaconate.


I am convinced that in spite of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis women are being called by God to ministerial priesthood. In prophetic obedience we must answer and my answer is “Yes”. Surveys of Catholic faithful have reported that the majority are in favor of the ordination of women. Recognition of a woman’s call to ordination by the Vatican probably won’t happen in my lifetime nor in yours, but I do believe it will happen.


As a member of the Pontifical Peace and Justice Commission and attendee at the Bejing Conference on Women, you must be aware of the many injustices suffered by women worldwide. What a difference it will make for all women in our world when the Roman Catholic Church recognizes that God calls women as well as men to ministerial priesthood. What a blessing for the Church and our world it will be.
Thank you for your concern. Oremus pro invicem.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Deacon Judith Beaumont

BISHOP DEWANE'S Letter:
December 1, 2011
Dear Ms. Beaumont:
Greetings in Christ!
It has been brought to my attention that you purportedly reside in the Diocese of
Venice in Florida and may attempt to be "ordained" to the ministerial priesthood here
within this Diocese on January 22, 2012. This is a most grave and serious matter of
consequence for your soul.


The Catholic Church has always taught that the Church has no authority to
confer priestly ordination on women. The Church shares this teaching with our Orthodox
Christian brothers and sisters. The ministerial priesthood is a gift from God, not
something that someone "earns," "deserves" or has a "right" to, due to advanced
education, devoted service in the Church, or simply because of one's own personal
desire. The reasons for this include: the example recorded in sacred Scripture of Christ
choosing His Apostles; the constant practice of the Church, which imitated Christ in
choosing only men; and the Church's living teaching authority.
In calling only men as His Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and
sovereign manner. Throughout His earthly ministry, Our Lord also emphasized the
dignity and the vocation of women, and in so doing, did not conform to the prevailing
customs, traditions, and legislation of the time. Still, among His twelve Apostles, Jesus


Christ did not include any women. This fact withstands any so-called "scholarship" to the
contrary. Sacred Scripture further reveals that Jesus did include the participation of women
in His public ministry in ways that shows a differentiation of roles between men and
women. Together both worked to build up the unity of the Church, avoiding divisiveness.
Specific to the role of women, the Church gives thanks for the feminine "genius",
appearing in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations, and for the
charisms of the Holy Spirit on women's manifestations of faith, hope and love.
Through the Sacrament of Baptism, all Christians, both men and women, share
equally in the "common priesthood of believers." Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders,
priests also share in the "ministerial priesthood" of Christ, the High Priest. However, no
individual has the "right" to be ordained to the ministerial priesthood. Ordination to the
ministerial priesthood must be conferred by a validly ordained bishop on a baptized man.
A candidate must receive the authorization of the Church, which has the authority and
responsibility to determine if a true call to the priesthood exists for the said candidate.


Below is a 1995 responsum, issued by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger [now Pope
Benedict XVI], then Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, in response
to the to the question of, "whether the teaching that the Church has no authority
whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women, which is presented in the Apostolic
Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to
the deposit of faith,'
The answer follows:
Responsum: In the affirmative.
This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of
God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of
the Church, it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal
Magisterium (cf Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church
Lumen Gentium 25, 2). Thus, in the present circumstances, the Roman Pontiff,
exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf Lk 22:32), has handed
on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held
always, everywhere, and by all, as belonging to the deposit of the faith.
Further, as you may know, on May 30, 2008 The Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith issued the general decree, "On the Delict of Attempted Sacred Ordination of
a Woman." The decree affirms that, "he who shall have attempted to confer holy orders
on a woman, as well as the woman who may have attempted to receive Holy Orders,
incurs in a latae sententiae excommunication," that is, an automatic excommunication.
Futher, reconciliation for this excommunication must come through the Holy See in
Rome.
As your Bishop, I urge you, to refrain from participating in what will be an invalid
attempt at "ordination." This opportunity is taken to inform you that, should you proceed
with this action, you would in fact, separate yourself from the Catholic Church, by your
own free choice.
With this in mind, for the good of your immortal soul, I exhort you to choose not to
participate in this attempted "ordination."
+ Frank Dewane
Bishop 0f the e Diocese of
Venice in Florida


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