Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Mary, Mother of Jesus Christmas Eve Liturgy/ Celebration

A Joyous Celebration of Christmas in Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic House Church in Sarasota, Florida

On Dec. 24, 2008 our community celebrated the birth of Christ with enthusiastic worship and full participation in a lively gathering which included two presiders: Michael Rigdon, a married priest and Bridget Mary Meehan, a Roman Catholic Womanpriest and serveral visitors including a family from Michigan. The teens in this family shared their gifts in technology, operating the digital camera and music systmes. Special thanks to Aubrey who took this footage, Colette , her sister, is responsible for the digital stills. (soon to follow)
Sheila Carey shared her gift of liturgical dance (in the inspiring act of worship in honor of Mary, Mother of Jesus, that you will see in the clip
Sheila hopes that viewing Sacred Dance will lift thiose watching to prayer with their God.
Jack Meehan, our minister of music, played carols on the sax and trumpet. In our dialogue homily we shared our journey to birth Christ in our world. All of us are called to be, like Mary, "mothers of God."
Like the women and men in the early Christian house churches, our liturgy was held in the context of a meal. After our eucharist, we continued to celebrate with a festive supper of Irish chowder, brown bread, korn bread, and tea.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

O Emmanuel 23 Dec.

*(O) Emmanuel...our Guide and Source of All Law ,the One that ev'ry land is longing for,O Saving One once promised to the house of Israel,Come! and save us ! Be our Christ, our God!*/
My Dear Friends and Colleagues, Sisters and Brothers,Blessed peace...and rest...and with you this day...and this night!Now our time of watching in the fertile, but sometimes frightening, darkness of night is drawing gently to a close. We slowly begin to taste and savor the continuing fulfillment of the promise in the person of the Promised One, Emmanuel, The Christ, who has been guiding our hearts and minds through the fecund wilderness of Advent.We have longed for the radiance of Emmanuel, who comes bearing gifts to the gift bearers, to shine upon us and within us. We have longed for the Source of All Law to hand us anew the light of the pure Law of Love. This sacred Law of Love flows from the heart of God into our hearts and seeks to fill us to overflowing, desiring beyond all desire to be our rule and our that in, with and through The Christ, in the unity of the Spirit, we become great lovers of God, of one another and of all creation.Emmanuel waits for us...and waits within us...for us to give the gift of receiving the gift, in surrender to Love's enfolding embrace. We follow now the star to all the places and hearts where Love waits to love and to be loved. There we will find Emmanuel; and there, as we adore The Christ, we will become mirrors of Emmanuel among our brothers and sisters.May it be so.Thank you for being both sign and presence of Emmanuel to me.
With love as Advent draws softly to a close,
Olivia of the Western Region - RCWP-USA

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: More NCR articles on Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeois and Quote from Bishop Gumbleton's homily

Ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska Fr. Roy co-celebrates liturgy, Bishop Dana Reynolds in red vestments, Janice on right, Bridget Mary Meehan, next to Roy on left. and Ree Hudson on far right)
Bourgeois has long drawn inspiration from women
Published: December 23, 2008
Humbled by the torrent of support he’s received after refusing to disavow his belief that God calls women to the priesthood.
(Quote from Bishop Gumbleton's homily at Jane Donovan Peace Center, Philadelphia, Pa.)
"We are aware that our church is lacking in ministers, those who can speak prophetically in our public liturgy, those who can be pastoral leaders in our communities. But they are available and Father Roy has made the plea and a public statement through his action by being present at the ordination of a woman, and has urged our church and proclaimed to our church, “Go back to the beginning” when house churches -- places like we are assembled here today in a home with a small community gathered -- were led, we learned from the letters of Paul, the Acts of the Apostles, by women.
We must open ourselves to this reality, take us back to the beginning, so that we flourish in the church with new ministers, ministers who can be that prophetic voice as these women were in the beginning..."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sixth O Antiphon

Sovereign of all the Nations...and Desired One of all,the Cornerstone that binds the two in one,you fashion us from out of clay, we live among the poor:Come! and save the ones who wait for you!*
/My Beloved Sisters and Brothers,Greetings of Peace!
Now, with this sixth O Antiphon, we increasingly are aware that our Light, The Christ, already present...also continues to come to save us.And so we wait with hope, trust and expectation...and as we wait, we keep watch in the night, the night fertile with promise, seeking that first and early glimpse of the breaking light that is sure to come...not a moment too soon, not a moment too late.We have been waiting together in the spacious union of our hearts this Advent Season...and may that be the space in which the Light shines most brightly. It is the space between us and among us that holds us and makes us one, binding us together in the Love of Christ, fashioning us into the image of The Christ, creating us into The Christas and The Christos, to walk among the poor and learn of God.The lessons taught us by the poor, whether poor in spirit or poor in earthly goods...yes, the poor themselves...light our pathways as we journey toward harmony and peace among the nations, beginning with peace in our own hearts.Blessed be the One whom we desire, the One whose heart we seek...Blessed be the Desired One of all...the One sought by seekers and by those who do not know they seek. Blessed be the Light that is breaking forth.With prayerful love,
Olivia of the Western Region - RCWP-USA

Sunday, December 21, 2008

O Antiphon for Fourth Sunday of Advent

*O Rising Dawn...and radiance of the light that never ends,O Sun of Justice shining for the world,our days are filled with terror, we are frightened by the night:Come! and chase the shadows from the dark!*
/My Dear Brothers and Sisters on the Holy Road of Advent to Christmas,
Peace on this Winter Solstice Day, on this Fourth Sunday of Advent, on what was once known in ancient times as the First Day of Christmas!
Lighting my Advent wreath at 4:00 a.m. this day, I had a sense of the increasing presence of light, of the Rising Dawn and of the Sun of Justice, both of whom today's O Antiphon sings. I felt the warmth of Light shining in many own, the local corner of the world, RCWP, the Vatican, territories and nations, across the mountains and valleys and deserts of this earth...springing forth from and returning to the ever recreating cosmos found in the heart of a never ending cycle.Light is victorious, accomplishing what it is created to do...yet it requires of us the courage to see through its eyes, to walk by its light. In our seeing, we are invited to walk by meeting the challenge to become light, to be the light we are, and to shine in the darkness of the terrors and fears of our brothers and sisters in, with, and through whom we serve.As vessels of Light, immersed and bathed in The Light, in The Christ, we dare to dream the dreams of God, even to invite God to dream through us, and by grace to live into the vision shining on our pathways. May it be so! Yes! Amen! We are ready!
With prayerful love,Olivia of the Western Region - RCWP-USA__._,_.___

Google News Alerts for Roman Catholic Womenpriests

Gloria Carpeneto in the middle, Judy Lee on left and Gabriella Velardi Ward on the right at Boston ordinations 2008
Andrea Johnson (second from right) Patricia Fresen in middle, Eleonora Marinaro, Bridget Mary Meehan at New York ordinations 2007

From Google News Alerts
in Baltimore newspapers:
Roman Catholic Womenpriests
Stained-glass ceiling
Baltimore Sun - Baltimore,MD,USA
"In the United States, 33 women have been ordained as priests, six as deacons and one as a bishop, according to Roman Catholic Womenpriests"...

Baltimore Examiner - Baltimore,MD,USA
"There are Roman Catholic bishops in good standing with the Vatican in ... said she was ordained earlier this year in Boston by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, ...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

O Antiphon for 20th day of December 2008

/*O Key of David...scepter of the house of Israel,you open and you close without contest.To us who sit in darkness and the shadow of the grave,Come! unlock our prisons and our chains.*/My Dear Sisters and Brothers,Peace be with you this 20th day of December 2008
!It has been written that when God opens a door, no one can close it; and when God closes a door, no one can open it.Thus the Key of David, The Christ, without contest closes and opens doors to shepherd us and free us along our spiritual pathways.Closing the door of complacency and ignorance...Christ leads us instead through the gates of fruitful wisdom.Closing the door of worry and anxiety...Christ leads us instead through the gates of inner peace and trust.Closing the door of self-will...Christ leads us instead though the gates of true obedience, the surrender to Love.Opening the door of the prison of non forgiveness...Christ sends us forth to be reconciled in peace with ourselves and with one another.Opening the door of the prison of isolation...Christ sends us forth to taste communion with self, one another and the Spirit.Opening the door of the prison of fear...Christ sends us forth to love and to be loved without measure.May we with gratitude and thanks accept the closing of doors so that we might discern and discover new directions.May we accept the grace given us to recognize and enter the doors that stand open within the heart of God so that we might know freedom from darkness and walk as Children of the Light.Blessed be God forever!
With love and kind thoughts of you,Olivia of the Western Region - RCWP USA

Catholic Church Moves to Excommuniae Priest-Sexism in the Catholic Church: Letter to Editor by Tom Hill, Olympia

December 18, 2008Catholic Church moves to excommunicate priest (Original title was Sexism in the Catholic Church)
Sexism, like racism, often is right before our eyes and we fail to recognize it or chose to ignore it.Many will not recognize sexism in the case of Father Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest of more than 36 years who is about to be excommunicated by the Vatican because he gave a homily at the ordination of a woman to the Roman Catholic priesthood last August.Rome is against the ordination of women even though the pope's own Pontifical Biblical Commission could find no scriptural reason for denying women the right to all seven church sacraments. Then in the tradition of men unable to formulate a reasonable theological argument against women's ordination, Catholics have been told the matter is not open for discussion.Most incredible is how quickly Rome reacted to Father Bourgeois' public support of women's ordination. Rome took less than three months to threaten this brave priest with the church's most severe punishment for confronting the sexist position that women are not good enough to serve God's people in an ordained capacity.Only three months! It has taken Rome years to react to predator priests in our church and not one of these criminal priests (or bishops) has been threatened with excommunication.Sexism will continue in the Catholic Church as long as we Catholics ignore what is happening and continue to support this bad behavior.
(Edited out of the original letter: Try sending your weekly tithe to a Catholic reform group and see how long it takes Rome to react to that one!)Tom Hill, Olympia

Friday, December 19, 2008

Roman Catholic Womanpriest, Olivia Doko, shares Third O Antiphon

/*O Root of Jesse...standing as a sign to all the world,

before you ev'ry ruler silent bows,

and to you ev'ry nation will one day return for help.

Come! and save us, we can wait no more!

My Dearly Loved Sisters and Brothers,

Peace this Third O Antiphon Day!

Ringing in the ears of my heart as well as in the ears of my mind is the
word "root". The Christ was and remains deeply rooted in God, inviting
us into a silent awareness of our rootedness in, with and through him,
our beloved brother.

How many false roots of ego, sown in the darkness of our ignorance of
the Light, are we invited to uproot, first of all in ourselves, in order
to stand as the signs to all the world we have been created to be? How
willing are we to return to the taproot, The Christ, for help and

So often we are busy saving the world, saving the Church, saving
others. Yet the greatest gift we can give to all, to and with whom we
are called by God, is first to allow ourselves to be saved from our
false selves so that we might come home to our true selves, and thereby
help show others the way.

Indeed, in openness may we pray, "come and save us...we can wait no more!"

With love at Advent and always,
Olivia of the Western Region - RCWP-USA

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Roman Catholic Womanpriest Olvia Doko shares O Antiphon for Dec. 17th, 2008

(Olivia Doko with husband Slavo)
(Olivia Doko on the left and Juanita Cordero on the right)

*O Adonai...and tender of the house of Israel,appearing as a fire in the bush,who from the mountain top has handed down the Holy Law,Come! and hold us in redemption's arms! */My Much Loved Sisters and Brothers...Moses saw a flaming bush and recognized Whose Spirit was in that bush...and so he removed his sandals...and, grounded on the earth and its energy, opened his heart and his intellect to receive that which the Spirit would give...give not only for Moses, but for all humankind.We, too have seen a burning bush, sent to instill in each of us the vision for a renewing Church where all can know the healing of their lives' journeys, be welcomed at table, and be empowered to serve one another and the world...even the cosmos. How can we do other than to sing a hymn of gratitude and praise!As we sing, may the fire of Adonai burn with strength in our hearts so that we become living, flaming burning epistles through whom the Good News, which fulfilled the law, is preached with our every breath.

Olivia Doko
RCWP - Western Region - USA

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Women Religious Raise their voices to "Break the Silence" on women's ordination

Fr. Roy holding chalice, Bishop Dana Reynolds, Janice Sevre-Duszynska holding bread, left Kathy Reddig, Bridget Mary Meehan and on far right Ree Hudson

Interview Transcript with Fr. Roy on CNN on Dec. 14th, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2008

MEDIA CONTACT: Erin Saiz Hanna, office: +1 (202) 675-1006

Women religious raise their voices to "Break the Silence" on women's ordination

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, over 100 women religious go public in their support of women's ordination and Roy Bourgeois, the Maryknoll priest who was informed by the Vatican that he would be excommunicated if he did not recant his support of women's ordination within 30 days. He did not recant, and no further communication has been received. In collaboration with the campaign spearheaded by the Women's Ordination Conference (WOC), titled "Break the Silence. Shatter the Stained-Glass Ceiling." the National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN) wrote the letter addressed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The 113 signatures add to the over 200 women religious that signed two petitions in conjunction with the "Break the Silence" campaign since November 11, when WOC opened the first petition. "Catholic women religious are among the most prophetic people within our Church," stated Aisha Taylor, executive director of WOC. "The Vatican has intentionally created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, and the women who signed the letter and our petitions add their voices to the thousands of WOC members who, for over 30 years, have called for women's full inclusion in the Roman Catholic Church. Many of the signers have been members of WOC since the first conference in 1975." Among the signers are Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, who defied the Vatican in 2001 and spoke at the first Women's Ordination Worldwide conference in Dublin; Sr. Theresa Kane, RSM, who made national headlines when she publicly requested, with Pope John Paul II sitting near-by, that he ordain women; Sr. Ivone Gebara, CND, one of Latin Americas leading theologians. Bourgeois' threat of excommunication is the second attempt this year in silencing the voice of women and men religious who prophetically stand in support of women's justice and equality in the church. On June 26, Sr. Louise Lears, a Sister of Charity who dedicated her entire life to serving the Church, was penalized by Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis for attending the ordination of two Roman Catholic women. The Pontifical Biblical Commission found in 1976 that there is no scriptural reason to prohibit the ordination of women. The Bible describes how women were prominent leaders in Jesus' ministry and early Christianity. In all four gospels, Mary Magdalene was the primary witness to the central event of Christianity-Christ's resurrection.

"It is long overdue for the Vatican to respond to the church's need for an inclusive clergy, which embraces women--all of whom are created equal and can be called by God to serve as priests in an accountable and inclusive Catholic Church," Taylor concluded.


IN CHURCH AND SOCIETY12434 Klinger St., Detroit, MI 48212, 313-891-2192
Via FAX:

December 12, 2008Cardinal William Joseph LevadaCongregation for the Doctrine of FaithPiazza del S. Uffizio 1100193 Roma, ItalyDear Cardinal Levada:
The Vatican's threatened excommunication of Fr. Roy Bourgeois because of his belief in the priestly ordination of women has diminished our Church.
As women religious who love our Church and who have served the People of God for decades, we support our brother Roy. As a Maryknoll priest for 36 years, he has followed the Gospel of Jesus in his ministry for peace and justice by speaking out against the war in Iraq and against the torture of countless human beings, aided and abetted by the U.S. government's School of the Americas. He has been a prophetic voice for thousands in our society.
Roy is now a prophetic voice in our church because of his support for women's equality in all Church ministries. Excommunications depend not on edicts or laws, but on compliance. We do not believe Roy is outside the community and we embrace him wholeheartedly. Like Roy, we know women who testify that they are called to priesthood. We know that Jesus did not discriminate in calling both women and men to ministry. And we know that our church needs the gifts of everyone called.
So we join Fr. Roy Bourgeois and the majority of U.S. Catholics, who believe that women are called to priestly ordination in the Catholic Church. We look forward to the day when Catholic women, following in the footsteps of Mary Magdalene who announced the Resurrection to the male Apostles, will minister as full equals in our church.

Jean Ackerman, OP
Louise Akers, SC
Alice Baker, IHM
Barbara Battista, SP
Barbara Beesley, IHM
Marlene Bertke, OSB
Ruth Bockenstette, SC
Mary A. Bodde, SC
Mary E. Boesen, SL
Mary Ellen Brody, RSM
Julie Brown, RSM
Mary Peter Bruce, SL
Jeri Cashman, OP
Joan Chicoine, IHM
Joan Chittister, OSB
Benita Coffey, OSB
Carol Coston, OP
Mary Ann Coyle, SLMary Ann Cunningham, SL
Beth Davies, CND
Marie Cyril Delisi, IHM
Kathleen Desautels, SP
Jo Ann Dold, OP
Maria S. Dowhaniuk, SFCC
Suzanne Dunn, SFCC
Gwen Farry, BVM
Maureen Fenlon, OP
Sheila Ferraz, SC
Maureen Fiedler, SL
Mary Kay Finneran, SC
Arlene Flaherty, OP
Victoria Marie Forde, SC
Susan Fortier, OSB
Ivone Gebara, CND
Rita Clare Gerardot, SP
Marian Gibbons, OP
Joan Glisky, IHM
Paula Gonzalez, SC
Jeannine Gramick, SL
Joan Groff, SC
Katrinka Gunn, SC
Patricia A. Haire, CSJ
Ann Halloran, OP
Doris Hamerl, CSC
Mary Harvey, RSM
Eileen Haugh, OSF
Joan Henehan, CSJ
Grace A. Hogan, OP
Margaret Hughes, IHM
Ruth Hunt, SC
Marion Irvine, OP
Florence Izzo, SC
Therese Jilk, OSF
Deidre G. Jordy, SP
Elizabeth Joyce, SP
Theresa Kane, RSM
Connie Kelly, SC
Esther Kennedy, OP
Betty Kenny, OSF
Pamela S. Kobasic, IHM
Kathy Komarek, OP
Anna Koop, SL
Linda Kors, CSC
Janet Kramer, SOSF
Marie LaBollita, SC
Cita Lamb, SND
Jean Ann Ledwell, OSU
Janet Lemon, IHM
Rose Annette Liddell, SL
Denise Lonergan, SFCC
Lystra Long, OP
Marian McAvoy, SL
Anne McCarthy, OSB
Kathleen McClelland, RSM
Bridget Mary Meehan, SFCC
Virginia Miller, SP
Mary M. Miner, RSM
Kate Moriarty, RSM
Maureen Murray, RSHM
Patricia Nagle, IHM
Betty Olley, OPMichele Olley, OP
Madonna Oswald, IHM
Patricia Otillio, RSM
Elizabeth Pardo, IHMClaudine Picard, RSM
Katharine Pinto, SC
Helen Marie Plourde, SSND
Marie-Anne Quenneville, OSU
Meg Quinlan, RSM
Donna Quinn, OP
Susan Rakoczy IHM
Diane Rapozo, BVM
Marie Regine Redig, SSND
Roberta Richmond, IHM
Carol L. Ries, SNJM
Marie Romejko, SND
Dolores Russo, SCH
Christine Seghetti, RSM
Gerry Sellman, SCMM
Ann Shaw, CSC
Maureen Sinnott, OSF
Julie Slowik, IHM
Rita Specht, RSM
Florence Speth, SC
Mary Sugrue, SC
Lenore Sullivan, IBVM
Maureen Tobin, OSB
Susan Vickers, RSM
Jacquie Wetherholt, CSJRebecca White, OSU
Alice Zachmann, SSND
Joanne Marie Zavadsky, SSND

For more information,
please visit
Founded in 1975, the Women's Ordination Conference is the oldest and largest national organization that works to ordain women as priests, deacons and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Catholic church. WOC represents the 63-70 percent of US Catholics that support women's ordination. WOC also promotes new perspectives on ordination that call for more accountability and less separation between the clergy and laity.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Roman Catholic Womenpriests return to Liturgical Celebration of the Early Church

Judy Lee, rcwp, presiding at Good Shepherd Community Liturgy/Ft. Myers, FL.
Bridget Meehan, rcwp, and Lee Breyer,married priest sitting next to Carol, his wife(couch from left to right) preside at liturgy/Mary, Mother of Jesus House Church in Sarasota, Fl.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests , in grassroots communities, are embracing the liturgical celebration of the early church that John Chuchman describes in the following reflection:

A Return to Liturgical Celebration of the early Church

During the years following the ascension of Jesus,
the model of community worship by the early Christians
was that of the house Church.
The followers of Christ would gather in small groups
in the home of one of the Christian believers
and celebrate a memorial service of Our Lord's last supper.
The community of believers would call forth one of its members
to preside at this memorial service.
This person could be either man or woman, married or single.
This person was a baptized member of the early Christian community
with no special designation except being chosen or called forth
to leadership by the community.
Priesthood in the house churches of the early Christian community
did not come into existence until after the year 200 A.D.
For most of Christianity's first two hundred years
there was no perceived need for a formal clerical hierarchy,
or a centralized organization to define and enforce orthodoxy.
Each gathering of Christians was nearly autonomous,
and the various communities elected one (or several) of their members
to act as spiritual leader(s) in ministering the locally interpreted teachings of Jesus.
The Eucharistic celebration that the early Christian community celebrated
was a memorial service of the last supper.
The celebration of the presence of Christ in the Eucharist
was the result of the presence of Christ in the Community.
The community members were the concelebrants
and the leader was the presider.
It was the conscious expression of the faith by the whole community
that brought about the presence of Christ in the elements of the Eucharist.
Speaking the words of consecration was not the exclusive right of anyone
but rather belonged to the whole congregation.
The presence of Christ in the community
precedes the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Karl Rahner has said that the presence of Christ in the community gathered
precedes the possibility of the presence of Christ in the Eucharistic elements.
Only after we probe the presence of Christ in the community
will we find the deepest meaning of the real presence in the sacred elements.
Edward Schillebeeckx stresses the importance of seeing Christ's presence
as ultimately directed not toward the bread and wine,
but toward the community.
If participants want to understand the Eucharist as sacrament,
they should understand themselves first as the Body of Christ.
The bottom line and conclusion of all this
is that in the house church of the first two hundred years
it was first in the Christian Community
where the presence of Christ was to be found
and it was the Christian Community
that brought the presence of Christ into the Eucharistic Celebration.
In view of the many closing of parish communities because of the lack of celibate priests,
the lesson for the Christian community or house churches of the 21st century
is that as Our Lord has told us:
Where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am present among you.
Like the house church of the first two hundred years,
it is the community of believers who can concelebrate
and bring about the presence of Christ in the Eucharistic Celebration.
Let us embark on the journey as a community of believers
in the modern day house Church.
Let us be true Traditionalists.
John Chuchman

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pink Smoke Over the Vatican/New documentary film on Roman Catholic Womenpriests

Jules Harts, a documentary producer from California, has spent 3 years working on this new documentary film.
The trailer is now up on youtube.
Go up and check it out and write your comments on youtube.
Bridget Mary

Friday, December 12, 2008

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Interview on "Your Turn" on FOX TV in Tampa

From left to right) Judy Lee, Roman Catholic Womanpriest, pastor of Church in the Park and Good Shepherd House Church, Ft. Myers, Florida
Bridget Mary Meehan,(Roman Catholic Womenpriest, pastor of Mary, Mother of Jesus Catholic House Church in Sarasota, Florida) Kathy Fountain, (host of "Your Turn) Kevin Murray, theologian and married priest
Mozella Mitchell, chair and Sr. Professor at the University of South Florida, an African American Theologian
Debate on FOX on Roman Catholic Womenpriests on Dec. 11th, 2008
Roman Catholic Womenpriests Judy Lee and Bridget Mary discussed the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement, highlighting the example of Jesus who chose women and men as disciples and apostles, the twelve hundred year church tradition of women as deacons, priests and bishops, and the call for a more inclusive, Christ-centered RC church in the 21st century. Kevin took the institutional RC church's view that women were not ordained in the magisterial tradition and that the RC bishops, by their silence, were supportive of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests' movement. Bridget Mary responded that RC male bishops would indeed welcomed by the movement who now has the couragous witness of Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest facing excommunication for his participation in a womanpriest ordination. Mozella Mitchell gave an overview of the movement from a historical, feminist view, placing it in the context of liberation theology, and citing it as an example of people empowerment.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Roman Catholic Womanpriest: The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community Launches, Ft. Myers, Florida

Roman Catholic Womanpriest Judy Lee of Ft. Myers, Florida gathers with community to bless Good Shepherd House.
The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community
2621 Central Ave. Fort Myers, Florida,33901
Mass: 3:00 on Saturdays and other special times of celebration.
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Here are some pictures from our first House Church Mass of the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community-12/6/08-Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Presiding in a communitarian Mass. The people were joyful, prayerful and thoughtful. And we were all thankful for our church-for one another

In the pictures you can see us preparing for the Church Blessing withwater; A joyous Advent celebration; and some shots of the community at worship and serving the Eucharist. It was a wonderful beginning attended by seventeen people for the full celebration and two others additionally. Ten were members of our Church in the Park and four of those are now housed next door in our Joshua House. Nine CTA members were also present. It was a joyous time for all of us.
"What a moving and delightful day this was! Hank, one of our CTA members, surprised us with a Communion solo. We didn't know he had such talent! The liturgy was beautiful and seeing the men's new house was especially thrilling. How happy they are with their simple home. It sure beats the woods!" Ellen McNally

Heaven's Gate by Stephanie Salter

By Stephanie SalterThe Tribune-Star
The place: Heaven's gate.
The time: Around 2028, give or take a few mortal years.
The scene: A large crowd of newly dead, not yet liberated from their earthly forms, is trying to maintain order despite a cluster of men who shout, wag their fingers and, occasionally, shove.
"Gentlemen, gentlemen! For pity's sake, please!" one of the non-combative people in the crowd cries out. "What in God's name has you behaving in such an unholy way?"
A man whose body is of average size, but whose essence emanates a royal purple aura, whirls around with a contemptuous look. Pointing to another man, also of ordinary physical dimension, but whose aura seems made of sunlight, the angry man barks:
"What is he doing here? He has no right whatsoever to stand among us at the gates of heaven. Don't you know? He was excommunicated!"
The non-combative person, who is long-limbed and thin, appears to be male, but he has an androgynous quality that sets him apart from the others.
"You mean he's Roman Catholic, and he so offended the church leadership that he was officially denied the sacrament of Communion?" the gentle man asks.
"Correct!" booms the purple-aura man.
"What did he do?" the quiet man asks. "Was he among the thousands of mentally sick Catholic clergy who sexually abused children? Was he among the hierarchy who knew of these men's illness but, in the name of protecting the church, continued to assign them to parishes and contact with more children?"
The purple-aura man grows more purple. In a low voice, heavy with fury, he responds: "He was indeed a priest. His name is Roy Bourgeois. But his excommunication had nothing to do with that unfortunate subject."
The non-combative man smiles broadly and embraces Bourgeois. "Father Roy!" he exclaims. "I know of you. Your tireless efforts to bring peace and justice to the oppressed of Latin America are legendary among good people of many faiths. Your courage in non-violent protest of the military training facility known as the School of the Americas is much admired."
Bourgeois bows his head. "Thank you," he says, humbly. "I became a Maryknoll priest in 1972 after I was in combat in Vietnam. I served for 36 years until …"
The quiet man asks, "What did you do to warrant the ultimate deprivation of Christ's body and blood in Communion?"Father Roy sighs and answers, "I concelebrated a religious ceremony with a woman priest. I publicly advocated the ordination of women priests. I refused to recant my belief that God calls women and men to priesthood and that Catholic teaching to the contrary was wrong and unsupported by Scripture."
At this, the purple-aura man explodes: "I am a cardinal, the head of the Vatican office that warned Roy Bourgeois in 2008 to recant or face excommunication!"
"You were," the thin, non-combative man says.
"Were what?" the purple-aura man snaps.
"You were a cardinal and the head of an important Vatican office," the quiet man says. "Your earthly life is over. You're just another soul here, waiting to pass through the gates of heaven. All wait regardless of their mortal status: Catholic popes, Anglican archbishops and Episcopal bishops, directors of the mighty Southern Baptist Convention, television evangelists, pastors of megachurches. And the admission criteria are deeds, not job titles."
A man who hasn't spoken but who had been among the arguing, shoving cluster steps toward the thin, androgynous man. He, too, emits a purplish aura, but it is more violet than royal.
"What do you know about Anglicans?" he says, with noticeable irritation.
"I know some of them in the Episcopal province of the church pulled away from the Anglican Communion about the same time Father Roy got into trouble," the quiet man says. "Four bishops in the United States and thousands of U.S. and Canadian laypersons, formed their own province, the Anglican Church of North America. Their objections centered around ordination of homosexuals and church blessings of same-sex unions."
The quiet man continues: "As I recall, two of the bishops also shared the Catholic hierarchy's prohibitive view of women priests, even though the Episcopalian Church had been ordaining women since 1976. Funny, if only Father Roy had been Episcopalian. He would have been celebrated by most of his church instead of excommunicated. Aren't religious rules fascinating?"The violet-aura man looks as if he's been slapped.
"Rules?!" he fumes. "We are talking about morality. God's will. How dare you trivialize that by calling it 'rules'?"The thin, quiet man raises his hand in reconciliation.
"I'm sorry," he says. "I meant no offense. By chance, were you one of the dissenting bishops?"The violet-aura man nods.
"Did you also agree with some of your fellow dissenters that women never should have been ordained in the Episcopal Church?" the quiet man asks.
"No, I did not," says the violet former bishop. "The bishop who presided over the entire U.S. Episcopal Church in 2008 was a woman. She did a perfectly fine job."
The thin, gentle man mumbles, "rules," turns back to Bourgeois and asks, "Father Roy, what did you tell the Vatican when you were given 30 days to recant?"
Bourgeois pulls three sheets of paper from the breast pocket of his coat and says, "This is my letter."
The quiet man takes them and begins to read to himself. Tears well in his eyes. He says to the crowd, "Listen," and reads aloud.He quotes Bourgeois' citation of a 1976 report, commissioned by the Vatican and conducted by Scripture scholars who found "there is no justification in the Bible for excluding women from the priesthood." He reads Bourgeois' question, "Who are we, as men, to say to women, 'Our call is valid, but yours is not?' Who are we to tamper with God's call?" His voice rising, the thin, gentle mans reads on: "Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard or how long we may try to justify discrimination, in the end, it is always immoral." The recitation continues, of Bourgeois' process of "prayer, reflection and discernment," the compulsion of his conscience "to do the right thing," and of the realization through his social justice struggles that there "will never be justice in the Catholic Church until women can be ordained."
The thin, quiet man finishes reading, presses Bourgeois' letter to his own heart and, finally, hands it back to the former priest."Look," he says, pointing to the gates. "They open for you, Father Roy."
Bourgeois seems overwhelmed. He moves toward heaven, then stops abruptly.
"Wait a minute," he says. "I just realized. There are only men in this crowd. Please, don't tell me heaven is as sexist as mortal life?"
The thin, quiet man actually chuckles. "No, no, Father Roy," he says. "Most of the women are already inside."

Stephanie Salter: A Catholic priest is about to be excommunicated; guess why
Stephanie Salter can be reached at (812) 231-4229 or
Used with Permission

Female Priests Altar the Rules

Monday, December 8, 2008

Homily of Janice Sevre-Duszynska: Walking with Mary in Prophetic Obedience

Janice Sevre-Duszynska conversing with Fr. Roy Bourgeois who co-celebrated ordination of Janice as a Roman Catholic Womanpriest in Lexington, Kentucky on Aug. 9, 2008
This photo was taken at SOA Watch in Ft. Benning, GA. (above)

Liturgy SOA Watch: Janice Servre-Duszynska gave homily and presided. (photos below)

Homily for the Friday Night Mass at Ft. Benning (Progressive Catholic Coaltion): November 21, 2008

...And Fr. Roy accepted my invitation to participate in my ordination ceremony as a Roman Catholic woman priest.

Join with me: How sweet to my taste is your promise! How sweet to my taste is your promise!

We the people of God welcomed Fr, Roy to the Unitarian Universalist Church in Lexington, KY, where he co-celebrated my Ordination Mass with women priests and the non-ordained. He laid his hands on me in blessing after woman Bishop Dana Reynolds ordained me the 33rd Roman Catholic Womenpriest in the United States. (tambourine)

Then in a homily that shook the Earth all the way to the Vatican -- which will never be the same -- he proclaimed: "We need the wisdom, sensitivity, experiences, compassion and courage of women in the priesthood if our church is to be healthy and complete."

It is written: "As many of you as were baptized into Christ, you have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." Paul in his letter to the Galatians 3: 27-28. (tambourine)

And every day Fr. Roy was teaching about women priests. And whenever and wherever he spoke about the School of the Americas, the people of God grew excited and were full of joy (tambourine) as they clapped for his courage to walk alongside women . And with tears of joy in their eyes they asked him questions about his participation in my ordination -- his solidarity with women priests and, truly, women everywhere... (tambourine)

And everyday he has also been teaching his fellow priests who live in fear of the Vatican, (while Christ calls us to liberation, not fear) asking that "we break our silence and address this issue of the ordination of women in our homilies, in our clergy meetings and with our bishops." "Silence is the voice of complicity," says Fr. Roy.

Many of the chief priests, bishops, cardinals and the pope, meanwhile, were seeking to muzzle him through excommunication, but they could find no way to keep him quiet because all the people were hanging on his words and rising up (tambourine) ...rising up (tambourine)...rising up (tambourine).

Fr. Roy -- who has ears which hear the Living God -- will not recant what his conscience tells him Jesus would do.

For after witnessing the atrocities of the war in Vietnam, Fr. Roy had taken the scroll from the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and land. Yes, he took it and swallowed it and ....hmmmm (tambourine) tasted as sweet as honey...the vision of a just and peaceful world where human beings live into the fullness and richess of God's glory....

But, when he had eaten it, what? His stomach did turn sour and churned with the chaos of the injustices, the inequalities, the sufferings of the poor, the exploited, the killings, the lack of peace...the crucified Living Christ , the Living Christ crucified...especially in Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Columbia, Iraq...within the United States Government, within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and, yes, within the Vatican.

Now as then, the voice from heaven continues saying to him: "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings"...even those who sit on the throne in Vatican City. (sound of The Wind).

So Fr. Roy goes up to the angel. You know our Fr. Roy. He tells the angel, Okay, give me that small scroll." (The Wind) . He swallows it...(tambourine)


Today is a day of much meaning for justice and peacemakers. Today the Church celebrates the feast day of The Presentation of Mary in the Temple of Jerusalem. Some Jewish parents, not content with the general conscecration of their children to God, brought them to the temple at three years old. Joachim and Anna took Mary to live in the Temple for the next nine years of her life. (Introduce archaeolgist/theologian Dorothy Irvin's calendar on Women's Leadership in Early Christianity and show pictures). Here these girls and boys were dedicated to divine service and learned how to prophesy...through song and dance as well as with the harp, tambourine and lyre...

Let's make a noise unto our God now as we prophesy as justice and peacemakers this weekend. (Feel free to stamp your feet, shout out, sing out...)

In the first centuries, in both the eastern and western churches, Mary was considered a priest in addition to a prophet.

We remember her also today for a poignant prayer for the oppressed throughout the ages that came to her through the prophetesses Hannah and Anna. I think I'm going to rename The Magnificat -- "Dominican Sister Marge Tuite's Prayer." Like she taught me in the early 80s, it makes the connections between sexism and racism, sexism and militarism, sexism and imperialism...

This prayer has taken on even more meaning since Fr. Roy's prophetic action for me as a woman priest and all women called to ordination, for our Roman Catholic Church and the discipleship of equals to which Jesus calls us.

Today I ask you -- prophets of justice and peace -- to pray with me, this modern version. I prayed it daily in federal prison for crossing the line at Ft. Benning...

The text is from Margaret Cessna of the Sisters of the Hearts of Mary.
It is based on the prayer of Mary, woman of all women. Let us join our hearts and spirits with hers as we sing a new song to celebrate the women of all times and places. (tambourine)

Let us begin:

My soul magnifies the Word...And my spirit rejoices in God who loves me....For this God, Who is, has done great things for me...My heart and my body give breath to the world...My spirit, courageous, gives meaning to hope...The God Who Is tender lives deep in my heart, holds close the children, my gift to creation...Fills friends who hunger with goodness and peace...The God Who Is mercy forgives when I fall...Welcomes my efforts...Heals deepest pain...The God Who Is promise gives life to my word...Gives glory to my life, the life of the world...My name is called blessed on the lips of all ages...Holy is God's gift...Holy is God's name.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mary, Mother of Jesus House Church Retreat and Liturgy on Dec. 6, 2008

Welcome to Mary, Mother of Jesus, Catholic Community/House Church.

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 ourselved 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 clairvoynat perception of God's relationship with us, through the strong langugage 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 archaelogical 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.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Women's Ordination on the Docket Again
Published on Friday, November 28, 2008 by
Women's Ordination on the Docket Againby Olga Bonfiglio
The Vatican recently threatened to excommunicate Father Roy Bourgeois for his position that women be ordained priests.

This article is published below with permission of Olga Bonfiglio and is taken from Common Dreams

Published on Friday, November 28, 2008 by
Women's Ordination on the Docket Again
by Olga Bonfiglio
The Vatican recently threatened to excommunicate Father Roy Bourgeois for his position that women be ordained priests. This out-of-the-blue, extreme measure against a prominent social justice advocate seems strange and ill-conceived. On the other hand, it serves as an opportunity to re-visit the issue since Pope John Paul II suspended all talk on it in 1994.
Father Bourgeois, 70, who began his 36-year ministry as a Maryknoll priest in Bolivia, has been an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America since 1980 after a Salvadoran death squad raped and killed four American churchwomen. In 1990 he founded the School of the Americas Watch (, which has been holding weekend vigils annually at Fort Benning, Ga., to demand closure of the U.S. Army's combat training school for Latin American soldiers. The School of the Americas (renamed "Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation" in 2001) "has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics," according to the SOAW (
What led to the altercation between the Vatican and Father Bourgeois was the fact that he showed his support for women's ordination by delivering a homily at the ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska, 58, on August 9 in Lexington, Ky. She was the sixth woman ordained this year in the United States, according to the National Catholic Reporter (
Actually, Sevre-Duszynska is among 60 other women who have been ordained since June 29, 2002, when the first seven women stepped forward, according to the Women's Ordination Conference ( Four of these women priests have become bishops and nearly 100 more are in preparation programs sponsored by the Roman Catholic Women Priests (
It is no small matter that these women seek ordination. As priests they are demanding that women be seen as equals to men in the eyes of the Church. Women's ordination reflects secular society's movement toward gender equality that sprouted in the late 1960s and which we largely take for granted today. During this time women all over the world have made bold strides in taking on various roles to show that they ARE equal to men. One who was well-schooled in that idea almost made it to the White House!
However, the process for change in the Church is long and difficult because theology and tradition hold a lot of sway. For example, the Church's case that the priesthood remain male is summed up this way: Jesus was a man, his 12 apostles were all men and the Church has never had women priests. Many theologians and Church historians have differed on this judgment and on Thanksgiving weekend 1975, hundreds of people met for the first Women's Ordination Conference (WOC) in Detroit to hear them respectfully and logically make the case that women be ordained.
The work of the WOC has continued since then and the idea of women priests is no longer an aberration. According to a September 2005 Gallup Organization survey, 63 percent of U.S. Catholics said they supported ordaining women and only 29 percent indicated that an exclusive male, celibate clergy was "very important." The Associated Press-Ipsos poll taken in April 2005 found the same result.
The Episcopalian Church can probably be thanked for much of this attitude change. On July 29, 1974, eleven women forced the issue by finding three bishops willing to ordain them. Although the Church immediately and vociferously declared the ordinations invalid, two years later, the 72nd General Convention in Philadelphia passed a resolution declaring that "no one shall be denied access" to ordination on the basis of their sex. In 2006 the American Episcopalians elected their first woman presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori.
The Vatican is undoubtedly fearful that women's ordination will further divide the Church. The dissension suffered since the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) has been enormous and no one is in the mood for much more. Back then Catholics left the Church in droves. Priests and nuns quit. Vocations plummeted. Recently, the priest shortage has precipitated numerous and heart-wrenching parish closings and mergers in most dioceses and, of course, the pedophilia scandals have caused much mistrust and anger among regular parishioners.
The most revealing statistics from all of this fallout is the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, which reported last February that 28 percent of adults have left the faith of their youth with Catholics coming out as the largest group-about 10 percent out of a population of 305 million Americans.
Admittedly, it's difficult for an institution to change, especially one as huge, as old and as steeped in tradition as the Catholic Church. But traditions are man-made, not God-made. And one might conclude that this confluence of events in both secular and religious society signals God's call for the Church to change.
The Church has endured difficulties in the past and it has adjusted. Quite frankly, today's problems are so great, we need every leader we can get. To eliminate half of the population from priestly ministry is to see the world with only one eye or to fix it with only one arm.
Gender shouldn't determine whether or not a person is fit to be a priest. Neither should class, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation for that matter. The priesthood should be open to men and women who are called to it. We need to concentrate our energies on the things that matter!
Olga Bonfiglio, a professor at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the author of Heroes of a Different Stripe: How One Town Responded to the War in Iraq, writes on the subjects of social justice and religion. While she was a nun, she attended the 1975 Women's Ordination Conference in Detroit and the 1978 Conference in Baltimore. Her website is Contact her at

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janice Sevre-Duszynska-Mass and SOA Vigil Watch

(photos courtesy of Bob Pohowsky)

Roman Catholic Womenpriest Janice Sevre Duszynska celebrated Mass in Columbus, GA. on Nov. 21, 2008. On this date, Fr. Roy Bourgeois was excommunicated by the Vatican because he co-celebrated Mass at her ordination in Lexington, KY. on Aug. 9th, 2008.
Also in photos are activists from Women's Ordination Conference Aisha Taylor, Erin Hanna and SOA vigil participants.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Response to Excommunication by Vatican

(Photo courtesy of Bob Watkins)

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Response to Vatican Excommunication and Invitation to Church Leaders to Renew the Roman Catholic Church

Support, criticism swirl around Roy Bourgeois
By Tom Roberts
Published: November 20, 2008
Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch, outside a congressional office building in Washington in 2007 (CNS photo/Paul Haring)Letters, petitions go to Rome about priest threatened with excommunication
The news that peace activist Fr. Roy Bourgeois was threatened with excommunication for his support of women’s ordination unleashed a storm of commentary and reaction from various Catholic interest groups and around the blogosphere.

Focus is on Bourgeois as SOA weekend opens

Rome looks bad in bout with Bourgeois
National Catholic Reporter Editoria

Interview with Fr Roy on Excommunication/Democracy Now


Rabbi Michael Lerner's Commentary on Maryknoll priest, Roy Bourgeois' Excommunication by the Vatican
The Network of Spiritual Progressives wishes to be a place in which progressives from various religious communities (as well as "spiritual but not religious" people) can feel safe in coming together to work for a New Bottom Line to replace the materialism and selfishness in the world with an ethos of love, kindness, generosity,caring for others, ethical and ecological sensitivity,and awe and wonder at the grandeur of the universe. But what do we do if one of our religious communities is directly involved in racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic or attacking "the Stranger" (whoever the demeaned Other of any given society happens to be at a particular historical moment, when the Bible actually commands us not only to love our neighbor, but specifically and unequivocally to "love the Other" (the stranger, in Hebrew: ger). This has come into particular highlight this very week, because the Inquisition office (now renamed the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith) has sent a letter to Father Roy Bourgeois threatening him with ex-communication (which effectively means an end to his income and to his teachings inside the church) for daring to publicly support the ordination of women and to offer remarks in a ceremony ordaining a woman as priest. Roy Bourgeois isn't just any priest. He is, along with John Dear and Sister Joan Chittister, one of the most courageous Catholic voices for peace and non-violence and the founder and leader of the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW). The ultimatum and ex-communication would be effective the day before the annual demonstration of the SOAW at Fort Bennings where the School of the Americas is housed and where it trains South and Central American police forces in the techniques of torture, repression, and counter-insurgency. We at the Network of Spiritual Progressives have been calling for support for this demonstration which begins on Friday and goes till Sunday (if you happen to be coming to the demonstration and would help us distribute information or sit at our table to help us get the word out about our Global Marshall Plan campaign, please let us know by email). So the Inquisition will now in one fell swoop be able to rid itself of the progressive Catholic who has created the most important spiritual progressive demonstration taking place anywhere in the country for peace and against torture, and simultaneously terrify other priests into not daring to question the Church's doctrines of women. It should be noted that the very progressive teachings of the Church against war and poverty have not served as a basis for the excommunication of any priest or other church officials who have publicly supported the US war in Iraq or Afghanistan or supported the notion of a violent war against terror. The Inquisition answers to no one,and so its arbitrary power is used against those who support progressive causes, but not against those who support authoritarian and reactionary and violent causes. We urge all those who feel strongly opposed to this attempt to silence dissent within the Church and to oust its most celebrated peace-priest to take the following steps:

1. Write to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, Rome, Italy and protest.
2. Write to your local newspapers and protest.
3. Write to your local Catholic church and priests and protest.
4. Write to the National Catholic Reporter, Commonweal, and to national news sources like the NY Times and Washington Post and CNN and NPR and let them know that the NSP is protesting this move against Father Bourgeois and re-affirming our commitment to equal rights for women plus our commitment to strengthen the demonstrations in Fort Benning until the training of this sort is stopped and made illegal in the U.S.

Now here's the key: we want to communicate this message in a respectful way to the Catholic world. We are not anti-Catholic. Our organization contains many faithful Catholics and is co-chaired by Sister Joan Chittister (Benedictine Sister). We seek to recruit faithful Catholics into the NSP, and we do not wish to give them the impression that we are challenging their entire faith. Moreover, at the SOAW demonstration this weekend you'll be able to meet many Catholics who have anti-war, anti-violence and pro-peace and generosity perspectives--and they represent a major part of American Catholicism.So please help us communicate our outrage at the attempt to silence or excommunicate Father Roy Bourgeois without doing so in a way that indicates respect and genuine caring connection to the many Catholics who remain committed to peace and social justice but who may be afraid to speak out on this issue for fear of losing their connection with the Church (including many many Jesuits, for example, who share our progressive peace-oriented and social-justice oriented perspectives and would be part of the NSP, but are fearful that they too would be thrown out of their livelihood should they speak out clearly on these topics).
Please read the materials below so that you can see more documentation of the issues discussed here.
Love and blessings,
Rabbi Michael Lerner
The (following) letter was written by Bourgeois and addressed to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. It was distributed via e-mail by Bill Quigley, a New Orleans lawyer who represents Bourgeois.According to Bourgeois' letter, which is dated Nov. 7, the congregation has given him 30 days to recant his "belief and public statements that support the ordination of women in our Church, or (he) will be excommunicated."The letter indicates that Bourgeois received notification from the congregation Oct. 21.Bourgeois, a priest for 36 years, attended the ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska in Lexingon, Ky., Aug. 9 and preached a homily.If Bourgeois is excommunicated at the end of 30 days, it would come just before the mass rally and protest against the U.S. Army's School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Ga., that Bourgeois has organized for 19 years. In recent years, more than 15,000 people, many of them Catholic university students, have joined the three daylong rally and demonstration.Bourgeois was not immediately available for comment.

The text of Bourgeois' letter follows:
Rev. Roy Bourgeois, M.M.PO Box 3330, Columbus, GA 31903November 7, 2008


"I was very saddened by your letter dated October 21, 2008, giving me 30 days to recant my belief and public statements that support the ordination of women in our Church, or I will be excommunicated.I have been a Catholic priest for 36 years and have a deep love for my Church and ministry.When I was a young man in the military, I felt God was calling me to the priesthood. I entered Maryknoll and was ordained in 1972.Over the years I have met a number of women in our Church who, like me, feel called by God to the priesthood. You, our Church leaders at the Vatican, tell us that women cannot be ordained.With all due respect, I believe our Catholic Church's teaching on this issue is wrong and does not stand up to scrutiny. A 1976 report by the Pontifical Biblical Commission supports the research of Scripture scholars, canon lawyers and many faithful Catholics who have studied and pondered the Scriptures and have concluded that there is no justification in the Bible for excluding women from the priesthood.As people of faith, we profess that the invitation to the ministry of priesthood comes from God. We profess that God is the Source of life and created men and women of equal stature and dignity. The current Catholic Church doctrine on the ordination of women implies our loving and all-powerful God, Creator of heaven and earth, somehow cannot empower a woman to be a priest.Women in our Church are telling us that God is calling them to the priesthood. Who are we, as men, to say to women, "Our call is valid, but yours is not." Who are we to tamper with God's call?Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard or how long we may try to justify discrimination, in the end, it is always immoral.Hundreds of Catholic churches in the U.S. are closing because of a shortage of priests. Yet there are hundreds of committed and prophetic women telling us that God is calling them to serve our Church as priests.If we are to have a vibrant, healthy Church rooted in the teachings of our Savior, we need the faith, wisdom, experience, compassion and courage of women in the priesthood.Conscience is very sacred. Conscience gives us a sense of right and wrong and urges us to do the right thing. Conscience is what compelled Franz Jagerstatter, a humble Austrian farmer, husband and father of four young children, to refuse to join Hitler's army, which led to his execution. Conscience is what compelled Rosa Parks to say she could no longer sit in the back of the bus. Conscience is what compels women in our Church to say they cannot be silent and deny their call from God to the priesthood. Conscience is what compelled my dear mother and father, now 95, to always strive to do the right things as faithful Catholics raising four children. And after much prayer, reflection and discernment, it is my conscience that compels me to do the right thing. I cannot recant my belief and public statements that support the ordination of women in our Church.Working and struggling for peace and justice are an integral part of our faith. For this reason, I speak out against the war in Iraq. And for the last eighteen years, I have been speaking out against the atrocities and suffering caused by the School of the Americas (SOA). Eight years ago, while in Rome for a conference on peace and justice, I was invited to speak about the SOA on Vatican Radio. During the interview, I stated that I could not address the injustice of the SOA and remain silent about injustice in my Church. I ended the interview by saying, "There will never be justice in the Catholic Church until women can be ordained." I remain committed to this belief today.Having an all male clergy implies that men are worthy to be Catholic priests, but women are not.According to USA TODAY (Feb. 28, 2008) in the United States alone, nearly 5,000 Catholic priests have sexually abused more than 12,000 children. Many bishops, aware of the abuse, remained silent. These priests and bishops were not excommunicated. Yet the women in our Church who are called by God and are ordained to serve God's people, and the priests and bishops who support them, are excommunicated.Silence is the voice of complicity. Therefore, I call on all Catholics, fellow priests, bishops, Pope Benedict XVI and all Church leaders at the Vatican, to speak loudly on this grave injustice of excluding women from the priesthood.Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador was assassinated because of his defense of the oppressed. He said, "Let those who have a voice, speak out for the voiceless."Our loving God has given us a voice. Let us speak clearly and boldly and walk in solidarity as Jesus would, with the women in our Church who are being called by God to the priesthood"
.In Peace and Justice,
Rev. Roy Bourgeois, M.M.PO Box 3330, Columbus, GA 31903

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Petition Signed by 3700 Catholics in solidarity with Fr. Roy Bourgeois

( Photo: courtesy of Bob Watkins)
Press Contacts:
Call To Action/USA, Nicole Sotelo, 773.404.0004 x285 (office), 857.928.4112 (cell)
Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, 859.684.4247 (cell)
Women’s Ordination Conference, Aisha Taylor, 202.422.2235 (cell)
We are able to refer you to chapter leaders in every state for local quotes.

November 20, 2008
For Immediate Release

Grace period ends for priest threatened with excommunication
for supporting women’s ordination; 3,700 Catholics stand in solidarity

A Roman Catholic priest faces excommunication for his public support of women’s ordination through the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement. But he is not just any priest. Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of the School of the Americas (SOA) Watch, is internationally known for his work to end U.S. government-funded combat training of Latin American militaries. This month he has decided to risk his 36 years of priesthood to end sexism in the Church.

In late October, the Vatican sent a letter to Fr. Roy Bourgeois’ superiors, saying he had 30 days to recant his position on women’s ordination or be excommunicated. The 30 days, counted from the day posted on the letter, ends today. Tomorrow, the biggest annual weekend event for the SOA Watch organization begins as they launch their vigil in Fort Benning, Georgia, to close the institution formerly called the School of the Americas (in 2001, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation). Up to 20,000 Catholics and other supporters are expected to converge for the vigil.

An online petition, initiated by the Women’s Ordination Conference, and supported by Fr. Bourgeois and coalition partners Call To Action/USA and Roman Catholic Womenpriests garnered over 3,700 signatures of Catholics across the country. Thousands more are expected to sign it this weekend at the SOA Watch vigil. The petition, “Break the Silence on Women’s Ordination. Shatter the Stained Glass Ceiling,” can be found at

Fr. Bourgeois wrote in his response to the Vatican that he would not recant his support for women’s ordination. He said, “Conscience is very sacred….it is my conscience that compels me to do the right thing. I cannot recant my belief and public statements that support the ordination of women in our Church.”
The Vatican issued its threat of excommunication due to Fr. Bourgeois’ participation in the ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska in Lexington, KY on August 9, 2008. Fr. Bourgeois gave the homily during which he said “Sexism is a sin” and went on to say, “The hierarchy will say, ‘It is the tradition of the church not to ordain women.’ I grew up in a small town in Louisiana and often heard, ‘It is the tradition of the South to have segregated schools.’ It was also ‘the tradition’ in our Catholic church to have the Black members seated in the last five pews of the church. No matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination, in the end, it is always wrong and immoral.”
Thirty-five Catholic women have been ordained as priests in the United States in the last three years through the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement.
To read Fr. Bourgeois’ letter to the Vatican and his letter to fellow priests, visit

Related Events at the SOA Watch Vigil:

November 21: Inclusive Catholic Liturgy, 6PM, Howard Johnson Inn and Suits, 1011 Veteran’s Parkway, Columbus, GA 31901, Carter Room

November 21: Women’s Ordination Matters: Gender, the Gospel and Global Justice workshop, 8PM, same location as liturgy

November 22: Aisha Taylor, Executive Director of WOC to speak on main stage, 11:45AM

November 23: Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Roman Catholic Womanpriest, to speak on main stage, 12:30PM

Founded in 1975, the Women’s Ordination Conference is the oldest and largest national organization that works to ordain women as priests, deacons and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Roman Catholic church. WOC represents the 63-70 percent of U.S. Catholics that support women’s ordination. WOC also promotes perspectives on ordination that call for more accountability and less separation between the clergy and laity. For more information, visit

Call To Action (CTA) is a Catholic movement working for equality and justice in the Church and society. An independent national organization of over 25,000 people and 53 local chapters, CTA believes that the Spirit of God is at work in the whole church, not just in its appointed leaders. For more information, visit

The mission of Roman Catholic Womenpriests North America is to spiritually prepare, ordain, and support women and men from all states of life, who are theologically qualified, who are committed to an inclusive model of Church, and who are called by the Holy Spirit and their communities to minister. For more information, visit