Friday, April 18, 2008

An Open Letter to Pope Benedict: Women's rights are human rights in church and society: Visit to the United States

Dear Pope Benedict:
In your speech to the United Nations, you spoke eloquently about human rights as a path to equality, however, sadly, the Roman Catholic church discriminates against women . Church law bars women from ordination and patriarchal structures have colluded with the sexual abuse and violence against women that occurs in all religions, nations, and cultures throughout the centuries . Violence against women threatens the lives of more young women thancancer, malaria or war," said Annie Lennox, the British singer who presents the series of investigative reports. "It affects one in three women worldwide. It leaves women mentally scarred for life, and it is usually inflicted by a family member."
The National Catholic Reporter wroe about the failures of the Vatican to respond to the clergy sex abuse and explitation of nuns and woman in Africa, Europe and North America. In one instance, a priest impregnated a nun, drove her for an abortion, and after she died, presided at her funeral. The Roman Catholic Church needs to address the issue of violence against women and acknowledge the role that its patriarchal structures have played in the exploitation of women throughout history.

As I watched the magnificent papal Mass at Nationals Park in Washington DC, the clear message was that women are second-class citiznes in the Roman Catholic Church. Not even a glorious liturgy on this historic occasion on a warm April day can remove the sting of the exclusion of women at the altar. No female acolytes or eucharistic ministers were at the altar. In many parishes, girls and women serve in these ministries weekly. In fact, women do most of the work Catholic parishes in the United States. According to surveys, 80% of lay ministers are women. Yet women were missing in action at the altar during the papal Mass. Women are good enough to do most of the ministries including, serve at the altar and distribute communion in their local churches , but when you come, it is the old boys' clerical club only, no women allowed! Do you think this is what Jesus would do?

Jesus offered an example of Gosepl equality. He called both women and men to be his disciples. According to all four Gospels, Mary of Magdala is the first witness to the Resurrection and is the apostle to the apostles. Luke 6 tells us that Jesus' disciples included
many women. According to scholars, women were ordained for the first twelve hundred years of Christianity.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests are offering the church, Pope Benedict, a gift of a renewed priestly ministry as we reclaim this ancient tradition. We are shaping a more inclusive, Christ-entered church of equals in grassroots communities where all are welcome including the divorced and married, gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgendered and women who are treated like second-class citizens.

Womenpriests are addressing issues of domestic violence and the abuse of women in church and society.

However, the institutional church must change its structures so that women's equality is a reality in the Catholic Church and women are decision-makers in all areas of church governance including the top jobs at the Vatican Curia.

Yes, Pope Benedict, human rights is the path to equality not only in our world, but also in our church and women's rights are human rights. Next time you come, I hope Roman Catholic womenpriests will be at the altar with you, and partnership and equality will be a reality in our church and world. May Christ, our hope, inspire us to work together for peace, justice and equality for all.

Bridget Mary Meehan
Sister for Christian Community and Roman Catholic Womanpriest

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Women's Ordination Vigil at Shrine:Pope Benedict's Visit to U.S.

Women's Ordination Conference (Aisha Taylor, executive director, far left, Bridget Mary Meehan RCWP and Erin Hanna from WOC conduct vigil at Shrine of Immaculate Conception.

See pope in the popemobile! (April 16,2008)

Thousands of people clapped, sang and cheered as pope entered shrine.

Many people made comments about the banner and some asked questions about women apostles. So I had an opportunity to share about women disciples and Jesus example of inclusivity in the Gospels and the history of ordained women for the first twelve hundred years of church history.

I was interviewed by Chuck Hadad from CNN and Jennifer Crandall from Washington Post Interactive.

Mass presided by Catholic Women in honor of Pope Benedict's visit to the United States

Clips on that feature highlights of Mass presided by Catholic Women

at Foundry Methodist Church in Washington DC on April 14th.

Opening Hymn of Mass

Clip of Andrea Johnson's homily
Mass Consecratory Prayers

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Women's Ordination Mobile Billboard to Follow Pope Benedict in Washington DC

Ordain Catholic Women" Mobile Billboard to Follow Pope

WASHINGTON, DC - April 16 - Today, as Pope Benedict XVI visits our nation's capital on his 81st birthday, the Women's Ordination Conference continues their "Giving the Gift of Women" campaign, urging him to open the doors to women's ordination. A large mobile billboard stating, "Pope Benedict, How long must women wait for equality? Ordain Catholic Women," posted on a truck will follow his engagements in Washington, DC.

"We are disappointed that the pope has missed an opportunity to include women during his stadium Masses as altar servers, which has been approved by the Vatican since 1994," said Aisha Taylor, executive director of the Women's Ordination Conference. "In a tragically familiar pattern, only men - including priests, bishops and cardinals - will be near the altar. That's why we have extended our mobile billboard campaign to circle Nationals Park on the day of the Mass."

On Monday, April 14, the mobile billboard drove from 10:30AM to 6:30PM in Washington, DC, beginning at the National Press Club where WOC hosted a press conference to lauch the campaign, and circling the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Headquarters and Catholic University. Later that night, in conjunction with thirteen similar events around the country, over 100 people attended an inclusive Mass presided by Catholic women, including two recently excommunicated ordained women from St. Louis. During the Mass, attendees gave generous financial support to enable WOC to circulate the mobile billboard outside Nationals Park.

Inclusive Catholic Mass in honor of Pope Benedict's visit to USA

On April 14th, the Women's Ordination Conference and Roman Catholic Womenpriests celebrated an inclusive Mass led by Catholic women, including presider, Andrea Johnson, Rose Marie Hudson, Elsie McGrath, Erin Hanna, Gerry Rauch. Over 100 people from the DC Metro area attended this joyous celebration of the gifts of women.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Catholic Women give the gift of women in honor of Pope Benedict's Visit to U.S./DC

On April 14, 2008. the Women's Ordination Conference hosted a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington DC in honor of Pope Benedict's visit to the USA and 81st birthday. Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Bridget Mary Meehan, Elsie Mc Grath and Rose Marie Hudson, participated in the press conference sharing the vision and mission of Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Aisha Taylor, executive director of WOC, and Gerry Rauch, a board member of WOC for many years called for the full equality of women in the church. Aisha Taylor, explained that there would be a Mass presided by Catholic women, including two recently excommunicated ordained women from St. Louis. Taylor said: "In the face of one closed door after another, Catholic women have been innovative, courageous and faithful to the church. They continue to make a way where there is none. Our Mass demonstrates how Catholic women answer God's call and minster to the needs of their communities..." Gerry Rauch, gave a powerful theological presentation of the inherent sexism that has blocked the transformation of the RC church into a more open, participatory, and egalitarian community that ordains women as a response to the call for justice in the church today.
For more information:
email: Bridget Mary Meehan at
email: Aisha Taylor at

Roman Catholic Womanpriests announce first U.S. Womanbishop
(youtube videos of press conference at National Press Club at which Bridget Mary Meehan announced Bishop Dana Reynold's episcopal ordination)

At a press conference in Washington in honor of Pope Benedict, Roman Catholic Womanpriest,Bridget Mary Meehan announced that Dana Reynolds was ordained on April 9th in a chapel in Stuttgart, Germany. Dana was called forth and elected from the USA western region of Roman Catholic Womenpriests and is the first U.S. Roman Catholic Womanbishop.Dana was called forth and elected from the USA western region of RCWP (Roman Catholic Womenpriests) and is the first U.S. Roman Catholic Womanbishop. She states: "Our RCWP community is blessed with diverse, creative and spiritual gifts, and varied ministries in loving service with the people of God. Together we are living out our callings in a discipleship of equals. We envision, and we are working towards a Spirit-guided development of a balanced ordained ministry (women and men created equal by God) in a renewed Roman Catholic Church. The challenging times we are living in are calling for the re-imagining of how to best acknowledge and respond to the spiritual needs of God’s human family. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, we learn and grow together, returning to and following Jesus' teachings of inclusivity, compassion, and acceptance." Dana resides in California.

For twenty years she has been a facilitator for the creative/spiritual process. She is a spiritual director, volunteer hospice chaplain, and author. Dana is the mother of two adult children and grandmother. She shares life with Don, her husband, of forty yearsFor twenty years she has been a facilitator for the creative/spiritual process. She is a spiritual director, volunteer hospice chaplain, and author. Dana is the mother of two adult children and grandmother. She shares life with Don, her husband, of forty years