Saturday, June 7, 2008

Roman Catholic Womenpriests Follow Joan of Arc in Response to Vatican Excommunication

Roman Catholic Womenpriests Follow Example of Joan of Arc In Response to Vatican Excommunication)

St. Joan of Arc followed her conscience and refused to obey the hierarchical authorities of her time. On May 30, 1431 at the age of nineteen, Joan was burned at the stake."On being asked whether she did not believe that she was subject to the church which is on earth, namely, our Holy Father, the Pope, cardinals, archbishops, bishops and prelates of the church, she replied: "Yes, but Our Lord must be served first." She was canonized a saint 450 years later in 1920. St. Joan's courage to stand up to church authorities and follow her conscience makes her a role model for all those who follow their consciences and live their vocations in spite of rejection and hostile treatment by the hierarchy.

On May 29th, 2008, The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith declared under the heading: "Regarding the crime of attempting sacred ordination of a woman" that "Remaining firm on what has been established by canon 1378 of the Canon Law, both he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, and the woman who has attempted to receive the said sacrament, incurs in latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See."
According to Vatican officials, this penalty does not permit hearings , appeals or any form of due process.
On May 30th, 2008, Roman Catholic Womenpriests issued a statement rejecting the Vatican excommunication. It stated: "in obedience to Jesus, we are disobeying an unjust law."
Like St. Joan, Roman Catholic Womenpriests are practicing prophetic disobedience to an unjust law that discriminates against women. Like St. Joan, Roman Catholic Womenpriests have received the harshest punishment ( luckily, burning at the stake is no longer an option for church officials!) from the Vatican, a "latae sententiae", a punishment that makes the ordination of women a crime and means that ordained women are forbidden from receiving sacraments in the institutional church, leading liturgical worship, or holding eccelsiastical office.

The Vatican has not excommunicated any pedophile priest or bishop who covered up these crimes. In fact, some prelates, like Cardinal Law and Cardinal Levada are rewarded with prestigious jobs in Rome. Cardinal Levada, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who signed the edict of excommunication, was bishop of the Portland diocese, the first U.S. diocese to declare bankruptcy. He received a subpoena to testify in the sex abuse scandal before he left San Francisco for his present appointment in Rome. In an article dated July 10, 2004 in the San Francisco Chronicle, Don Lattin writes: "Levada, who served as the archbishop of Portland from 1986 to 1995, oversaw church disciplinary proceedings against two Oregon priests accused of child molestation, including one who was put back in regular parish ministry in 1994, following a brief period of "rehabilitation," the attorneys say. On Tuesday, the Portland Archdiocese -- which has spent more than $53 million to settle more than 130 claims of priest abuse -- became the first Catholic diocese in the nation to file for bankruptcy. "

The real scandal here is that the Vatican issued an automatic excommunication against women priests, treating us as criminals while failing to discipline the bishops who have been at the center of the worst scandal in U.S. church history.
Catholics in survey after survey indicate their support for women priests. The church's prohibition has not been received by the faithful, the "sensus fidelium" , and therefore is not authoritative. It has no binding power. It is an unjust law that must be resisted. As St. Augustine taught an unjust law is no law at all. The Vatican's edict of excommunication against the ordination of women is a desperate action by fearful men who are resisting the movement of the Holy Spirit issuing in a new era of partnership and equality, rooted in Jesus' example in the Gospels.

The Vatican says that it is the eternal will of Christ that women cannot be ordained. Yet, this attitude of "blame it on Jesus"contradicts the Vatican's own scholarship. The Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded in 1976 that they found no evidence in Scripture to prohibit women from being ordained. "Seventeen members present at the plenary session of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, voted on various aspects of the report...They agreed unanimously that the New Testament by itself does not seem able to settle in a clear way and once and for all whether women can be ordained priests. "The members voted 12-5 that scriptural grounds alone are not enough to exclude the possibility of ordaining women. Biblical Commission Report "It does not seem that the New Testament by itself alone will permit us to settle in a clear way and once and for all the problem of the possible accession of women to the presbyterate," the Pontifical Biblical Commission says.

Jesus treated women and men as disciples and partners in the Gospel . Luke 8 lists Mary of Magdala, Suzanna, Joanna and many more women as disciples of Jesus. How many sermons have you heard on the many women who were Jesus's disciples? The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala, apostle to the apostles, and called her to "go and tell" the male and female disciples the Good News. The institutional church should follow the example of Christ who entrusted the central message of Christianity to a woman. Scholars, like Ute Eisen,Doorothy Irvin and Gary Macy report that there is overwhelming evidence that women served in ordained ministry in the early Christian community. In his book, The Hidden History of Women's Ordination, Macy concludes that women were ordained for the first twelve hundred years of church history.

Out of deep love for the Catholic community, Roman Catholic Womenpriests (rcwp) are stepping up and serving a church that is in spiritual need of sacramental ministry. Our communities are growing in North America. In 2008, we will have 8 ordinations in Minnesota, California, Oregon, British Columbia, Boston, Kentucky, and Illinois. We have 50 members in our rcwp community in the U.S., 9 in Canada and many applicants. As bishops close parishes because of the priest shortage and the pedophile scandal, Roman Catholic Womenpriests give hope to thousands of Catholics who are seeking a spiritual home especially those who no longer feel welome in their own church such as the divorced and remarried, gays and lesbians, and women who feel left out and ignored. In response to Christ's call to serve God's people in priestly minstry, womenpriests are going forward with courage and love in our hearts to wherever there is a need. Perhaps, like St.Joan, one day, the institutional church will recognize us as holy women and men who led the church into a new era of Gospel equality and compassionate service in an inclusive church. The gift we bring to our beloved church is the great gift of a renewed priestly ministry in a vibrant, renewed church. "This is the day, God has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it." Viva Joan of Arc! Viva Roman Catholic Womenpriests!

Bridget Mary Meehan
Roman Catholic Womanpriest
Ordained in U.S. in Pittsburgh 2006

Friday, June 6, 2008

DignityUSA Stands in Solidarity with Women Priests

DignityUSA Stands in Solidarity with Women Priests
by William Henderson June 04, 2008
eaders of Boston-based DignityUSA, the organization of GLBT Catholics, as well as their families and allies, expressed outrage this week at the Vatican’s order of immediate excommunication of women ordained to the priesthood, as well as the bishops who ordained them.“Roman Catholic women who have been ordained minister with a number of DignityUSA’s local Chapters,” said DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke. “By all accounts, their ministry is effective and affirmed by those they serve. The Vatican’s move to excommunicate them is nothing more than an attempt to exert control. DignityUSA rejects this order, and welcomes these women to continue their ministry with our community, in the same way we have affirmed and welcomed the ongoing ministry of gay men and married priests whose ministry is no longer recognized by Church officials.”Duddy-Burke expressed solidarity with ordained women, those preparing for ordination, their families, and all who have priestly vocations that the Vatican and other Church officials refuse to acknowledge. “All around the world, Catholics are hurting because there are not enough priests to say Mass and provide the Sacraments on a regular basis,” she said. “We believe this problem could be easily solved. God calls a wide variety of people to priesthood, and Church officials must acknowledge that.

CORPUS/Married Priests' Organization Call Vatican excommunication of Roman Catholic Womenpriests a "Tragedy"

CORPUS, National Association for an Inclusive Ministry
Contact: Anthony Padovano (973)539-8732
Russ Ditzel (908) 638-4640

Priesthood serves the People of God by bringing healing and hope through sacramental celebration and pastoral care. It is God’s People who must discern their leaders and it is the bishops of the Church who are called to validate this in the normal course of events. When that validation is withheld for reasons which have nothing substantial to do with ministry, then the baptized community must call bishops to respect biblical norms and Gospel imperatives. The life of a community and of the Eucharist cannot be held hostage to Church policies which undermine them. A baptized community has a human and evangelical right to community, pastoral care and Eucharistic celebration.
For these reasons, CORPUS stands in solidarity with those ordained women who followed their calling and were selected for priesthood when bishops rejected them. When rejection is based on weak theological reasons and on a refusal to dialogue with or hear these women, then the community must act against what is sees as an injustice, indeed discrimination, and behavior which Christ could not endorse.
To excommunicate all these women, “latae sententiae”, automatically, without a hearing and due process, is the mark of a frightened and absolutist leadership. No democracy or humane government in the world employs its harshest penalty automatically against its citizens, without due process, redress, appeal, open courtrooms, judicial restraint and equity. It astonishes us that a Church we love can act in so desperate and destructive a manner. We, therefore, in the conviction that the future church will find this action shameful and unworthy, stand in solidarity with our sisters who seek to serve God’s People and are treated as criminals. They are branded as sinners to be excluded from the very sacramental life of the Church which their ordination was intended to make more abundantly available. Irony is too weak a word to describe this; tragedy is a more accurate description.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

God goes to Rome: A story by a Roman Catholic Womanpriest-Eileen DiFranco

Pope Benedict XVI was sitting at his sixteenth century desk in his private office at his private residence, Castel Gandolfo. It was late and the eighty-one-year old Vicar of Christ was fatigued from a very long day of work. He had just slipped out of his red Pravda shoes and tiredly removed the weighty pectoral cross from around his neck when he sensed another presence in the room. Looking towards the heavy drapes that covered the windows, he saw a small, wizened woman with pince nez glasses wearing a long faded cotton dress. Benedict, completely surprised, looked up and inquired, “Are you new here, Sister.”

The woman stepped sprightly from the shadows and walked right up to his desk, placing her hands, palms down, on his desk. Benedict looked from the hands to the deeply lined face with the sparkling bright green eyes and said patiently, as if to a small child, “Can I help you, Sister?”

“Joseph,” she returned with equal patience in perfect German, “I am not your sister or anyone’s sister. “In fact,” she said settling herself comfortably into the chair on the other side of his desk, and crossing her thin legs, and looking at him over the top of her glasses in a most business like fashion, “I am the Lord, thy God.”

Joseph leaned back in his chair, his jaw dropping, pinching himself to see if he were dead. He had always wondered what God might look like. He recalled seeing the American movie, “The Emperor Jones” where God was a black man. He could get that. But God as a woman? He reached for the button on his desk that summoned the Swiss guards. The lady was a lunatic.

A strong hand, smaller and more elderly than his own, grabbed his hand. “Joseph, I am not a lunatic. I am God.” Seeing his surprise at HER divine image, God returned, “ You humans have such predictable images of God: kings, crowns, scepters, royal gold, law and order, high and mighty – all fru fru. God will be Who God will be. Remember Exodus? Your biblical scholars and even your artists think they have the Lord, thy God nailed down. But, you know, the Hebrew tenses so often get lost in translation. You must agree that the future tense puts a different spin on things, yes?” Her green eyes sparkled behind the glasses. “I am like the definition in the catechism. I am, I was, and I will be - but on my own terms, not yours or anyone else’s, which is why I look like this to you. And by the way, you, Joseph, should consider yourself fortunate. Moses only saw my hindquarters and Elijah heard only a whisper. But the modern world needs to work with new metaphors, so you get the full monty. For behold, I create all things new, in case you forgot.” The large, overstuffed chair in which she sat seemed to envelope her small frame. But as she said the word, “forgot,” the chair jolted forward a couple of inches. Benedict could only sit, transfixed.

“You and I need to have what modern people call, ‘conversations’, Joseph. I know you are a good listener. In fact, we need to have a couple of them.” God drummed her fingers on Benedict’s desk and looked pointedly at the accoutrements in the pope’s castle keep. “If I recall, my child, whom you purport to emulate, was born as a poor Jewish baby to an unwed mother in a smelly barn and lived as one of the most wretched of the earth with one coat and no place to put his head. I’ve asked many times and many ways, through my servants Clare and Francis of Assisi, and Dorothy Day, through the Quakers and the Shakers, through the Dalai Lama and the people of the Simple Way, how do you account for all this?” God’s mouth rather snapped shut as SHE waited patiently for his answer. Benedict could only put his hand over his mouth.

Suddenly, God looked under Benedict’s desk at the red Pravda shoes. “I know this is a non sequitor, but can I try on your shoes?” Benedict could only nod. God slid her tiny feet into the red shoes. “It’s a perfect fit,” she announced. “Can I have them?” Before Benedict could answer, she padded out of the pope’s office. “I’ll be back,” she said over her shoulder.

When Benedict awoke the next morning, he was still sitting at his desk with his head down. His back ached and his head hurt. People of a certain age should not sleep at their desks all night. When the good sister who cooked for him brought his morning coffee, she was surprised to find a rumpled pontiff, a little worse for wear.

“Are you feeling well, Holy Father?” she asked, her voice raised slightly in concern.

“Sister, is there a very elderly sister among you, a tiny woman who wears a cotton skirt, with gray hair pulled back in a bun, who wears no head covering and has sparkling green eyes?” Benedict felt silly even asking.

“No, Holy Father, it is only our order who serves you and we are all veiled and wear only black.” She looked at him inquisitively.

“No matter, Sister,” he said, waving his hand in dismissal. Sister bowed and walked out of the room.

Benedict reached under his desk with his toe and tried to slip into his favorite red shoes. “Now how far did I kick them under my desk,” he said aloud as he bent over and stuck his head under the desk. The sister returned to gather up his breakfast found him kneeling on the floor with the top half of his body under the desk.

“Holy Father,” she said rushing towards him, now completely alarmed, “Do you need help?”

“Only in finding my shoes,” came the muffled reply.

Benedict gingerly climbed back into his chair, his pontifical beanie hanging down around his ear and sipped his coffee, shoeless and clueless. What exactly happened to him last night?

Before he could answer himself, SHE was back, striding into his office wearing his red shoes, which seemed to have some sort of glow about them. His head hurt and he couldn’t think straight despite the strong black coffee. What was that movie he had seen when he was a boy? She saw his eyes looking at his shoes. “Dorothy,” she said. “The Wizard of Oz.”

“You do like them on me, Joseph? I have really taken a shine to them.” She raised her long skirt a bit and showed him each tiny foot.

“I see, Sister,” he replied pushing his beanie back up on his head, “But how…?”

God stopped him in mid-sentence and rather thundered. “Joseph, I am not a sister or your sister. I am the Lord God Almighty. Get over your fear of powerful women.” She walked over to his desk, each foot creating a pool of red as it touched the oriental carpet. SHE looked down at Benedict’s desk and read the correspondence on his desk, a letter signed by Cardinal Levada, the Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, excommunicating women priests and the bishops who ordain them.

“Joseph,” she asked plaintively, “Don’t you all have better things to do? My people are starving in Myanmar and dying in China, the entire church is falling down around your papal ears and all you are worried about is who can look like me! You say you have no power to change the practice of the church? Of course you do. You’re the pope! Two thousand years is but a day in MY eyes.”

SHE waved the letter in front of his face, “You are such a smart man. Why are you doing this dumb thing?” She threw the letter on the floor, and stamped on it with her red shoes, leaving a red imprint. “Do you really think that anyone can image the Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth?” God’s eyes seemed to flash and then deepen into unfathomable pools into which Joseph found himself sinking. He could not move. For the first time in his life, Joseph felt thrashed by a woman. When he saw God’s look, he quickly checked his thoughts.

“You also have an incredibly bad taste in your appointments. Do you have some sort of vetting process when you do this, like businesses do? Or do you just use your gut like my son George in America does? Do you know that I had a talk with Bishop Burke in St. Louis after he excommunicated Elsie, Rosemarie, and Marek along with his entire parish council? I directed him to stop persecuting ME. It was a divine experience, right from the Book of Acts. I knocked him out, he’s that hard headed. And still he chose not to listen to ME! And then you, Joseph, promoted him! How do you think your silliness makes ME look? People judge ME, the Lord thy God by your actions. If you don’t make any sense, then somehow people think I don’t make any sense. Have you ever thought about that?” Benedict sunk deeper and deeper into his chair.

“And this Levada fellow, “ she continued, “He was about to be subpoenaed by an American court. You rescued him so he didn’t have to face his terrible mistakes. You did the same thing with that Law fellow from Boston. You protect men instead of allowing them to learn from their bad mistakes. My people aren’t all that stupid that they can’t deal with your buddies’ errors. Didn’t I tell you that all of you have fallen short of MY glory? The people know and understand that. They would have forgiven you. It’s the hypocrisy that gets them, not dumb human mistakes. When will you ever learn? You are not ME! And then you have the temerity, the temerity, Joseph, to think that you can separate people from MY love! Just how, Joseph, do you practice pastoral care? In your head without your heart?”

God was so angry that SHE reached over the desk and grabbed the pope’s pectoral cross from his desk, put it around her neck, and strode out of his office in his red Pravda shoes. Benedict heard her exclaim as she went out of sight, “Do not tempt the Lord, thy God.”

Benedict must have fallen asleep again. When he awakened, his physician was standing over him. “Your Eminence, you Eminence, are you all right?”

Lifting up his head, Benedict looked at his doctor with bleary eyes. “Am I all right, Doctor? I can’t honestly say. Let’s just say that I have had the shock of my life. Actually, there were a couple of shocks. Please let me sleep off whatever happened to me.” As he climbed into bed with the doctor trying to take his pulse, all Benedict could think of were the deep green pools of God’s eyes. Benedict snored through the doctor’s exam.

The pontiff swam effortlessly in the deep green pools of God’s eyes. The water, suffused with light, was clear, straight through to the bottom. Although he was under the water, he had no need for oxygen. As he swam, Benedict felt God removing the burdens of his adult life. His age disappeared and since his clothes fell away, he could see that his body looked as it did when he entered the seminary at age 13. Books dropped from his hands and ideas felt out of his head. He saw them all float away and sink towards what he thought was the bottom. Part of him wanted to swim after them but a voice said to him, “You are a new creation. You have no further need of these things.”

He floated to the surface and a gentle wave carried him towards the shore. A large contingent of women stood on the beach dancing and singing. He wanted to laugh, sing and dance with them in his new found freedom. As he emerged from the shallows, he only caught the last verse sung by a large woman who wore a sash across her chest that read, “Queen Latifa.” “God’s gonna trouble the wah- a- wa-ter!”

The women stopped singing when they saw the young man standing in the shallows. The queen stepped forward. “We are the women who supported Jesus when HE walked through the streets of Jerusalem on his way to Golgotha. We are intimately acquainted with grief, inflicted upon us all by transgressors of the law of love. We are women who have had issues of blood, despised, rejected, used and misused by men. We have been raped and murdered. We have been forced to have children against our will, even when it killed us. We have been forced to marry against our will. We have been forced to enter convents against our will. We have been forced to think thoughts that are not our own, thoughts that have destroyed our minds and our souls. We have been held to have no account in the world of men who choose not to believe us. We have been burdened with the sins of men who could not bear their own sins. We have been told to ‘offer it up’ to men who laugh at us or ignore us or cast stones at us. We understand the theology of the cross for it has been our constant companion. Our blood cries out for justice, and the arm of our God will give you strength for you are the one who will make an offering of your life as you know it for this sin. You will learn the true meaning of the cross. You will learn what it means to give up everything, everything for God. You will become like us, despised and rejected.”

As the queen finished speaking, Benedict felt his old self coming together again and he began to cry. He never did get a chance to dance. A short woman with a South African accent walked up to him and gently wiped his face with a towel she removed from around her shoulders. A tall woman with short dark hair gave him a bear hug and kissed him on both cheeks. Then the tiny woman with the green eyes placed her hand on his chest. “I have put a seal upon your heart, Joseph. I love you and you are mine.”

Joseph felt a burning sensation in his chest as if he had just drunk a glass of schnapps and woke up.

To be continued.

Eileen DiFranco

Excommunication of Roman Catholic Womenpriests described as "medicinal punishment"

Vatican City, Jun 3, 2008 / 01:33 pm (CNA).- (Catholic News Agency)
"The secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Angelo Amato, said this week only men can be ordained to the priesthood because "the Catholic Church is not authorized to change the will of her founder, Jesus Christ."."In an interview with the Vatican daily, L'Osservatore Romano, regarding the recent decree by the CDF on the "ordination" of women, Archbishop Amato explained, that the Church's teaching on this matter is founded upon the "free and sovereign will of Jesus Christ, who only called men to be apostles.".""Excommunication is a medicinal punishment that invites the person to repentance, conversion and reparation of the scandal, as the act in question was a public one," Archbishop Amato explained."
In one week, this is the third official from the Vatican who has issued an explanation of the excommunication of Roman Catholic Womenpriests. This is really a new spin!
Medicinal punishment! As one person, commented, is this the Vatican's version of "Holy Cod Liver Oil?!!"

WE ARE CHURCH: International organizations response to Vatican decree of excommunication of Roman Catholic Womenpriests

Subject: We Are Church on the Decree of the CDF against Women's Ordination
International Movement We are Church
Movimiento internacional Somos-Iglesia
Movimento Internacional Nós somos Igreja
Movimento Internazionale Noi siamo Chiesa
Mouvement international Nous sommes Eglise
Internationale Bewegung Wir sind Kirche

Press release Juni 4, 2008

We are Church! Jesus Christ did not ordain men or women to the ministerial priesthood but to care for and nurture each other as brothers and sisters.

We Are Church statement on the Decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (CDF) against Women's Ordination

Please contact:
- Raquel Mallavibarrena/Chair (Spain) +34-649332654
- Christian Weisner/ Media contact (Germany) +49-172-518 40 82
- Hans Peter Hurka (Austria) +43-1-3154200 hans_peter.hurka@gmx.atDiese
- Kaare Rübner Jorgensen (Denmark)
- Vittorio Bellavite (Italy) +39-02-70602370 vi.bel@IOL.IT
- Maria Joao Sande Lemos (Portugal) +351.21 396 71 69
- Valerie J Stroud (UK) +44-1634-715278
- Anthony Padovano (United States) +1-973-539-8732

"As long as the attitude of our church leadership hardens in this way, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Christian church overall, lose credibility and the ability to evangelise effectively", says the International Movement We Are Church about the latest Decree of the Holy Office on women's ordination. In the month of May, dedicated to the foremost woman in Christianity, it is shameful that the Vatican can employ such weak and inadequate reasoning to deny women the opportunity to minister to the People of God.

The whole Catholic reform movement has called consistently for the removal of the Can. 1024 from the Roman Catholic Church law (Codex Iuris Canonici CIC) and the repeal of the excommunication of women who have received the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

Although decided in December 2007, the Decree has only just been published. It condemns both the women who "attempt" to receive Holy Orders and the Bishops who "attempt" to confer the Sacrament. Disgracefully, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith maintain they are promulgating the wishes and will of Jesus Christ.

However, nothing survives to demonstrate that Jesus expressed such wishes or particularly favoured men. Jesus sent both women and men out to announce his teachings and to remember His example and teaching in celebrating the Eucharist together. One of the tragedies in the Roman Catholic Church today is that more and more of its members are deprived of this central Sacrament of the Christian life because there are not enough Pastors to assist and lead them.

In the early church there were female Apostles (Mary of Magdala, Thekla, Nino), female Presbyters (eg Ammion, Epikto, Laeta) and even Bishops (Theodora and another unnamed woman) and other female office holders. There is evidence up to the 9th Century of inscriptions on tombs, churches and in literary texts. (See the dissertation by Ute E. Eisen" "Amtstraegerinnen im fruehen Christentum" "Female ministers /officeholders in early Christianity", Goettingen/Germany 1996)

Academic study and archaeological research over the last two centuries has shown the error in the arguments put forward by the Roman Catholic hierarchy to exclude women from Holy Orders. History shows that the Church does change its mind over its doctrine and thus Can. 1024, "Only a baptised man can validly receive sacred ordination" can be seen as sexist, discriminatory and thus worthy of amendment.

In 1994, Pope John Paul II in the Apostolic letter "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis" stressed that only men could be validly ordained. The ban he placed on further investigation and discussion has had no effect. On the contrary, the question of the ordination of women is increasingly raised. Statements by the hierarchy that women cannot receive Holy Orders which they say are "absolutely necessary and irreplaceable in the life and mission of the Church" no longer convince anyone but the most gullible of believers.

>>> Wording of the Decree in Latin:

Background information

The International Movement We Are Church - a grassroots church reform movement of lay persons, priests, and persons in religious orders - was started in Austria and Germany in 1995 and then spread out in Europe and all continents. We Are Church is represented in more than twenty countries and is in touch with other reform movements all over the world. Its goal is to keep continue the process of reform in the Roman Catholic Church, a process which has been opened with Vatican II Council (1962-1965) and came to a standstill in recent years. Website:

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Letters to Pope Benedict in support of Roman Catholic Womenpriests

Dear Holy Father,
Do you like and respect women? Do you think women are essential in the Roman Catholic church? If so, why are you ex-communicating women who seek to be ordained priests and bishops? I am sure you can quote canon law to support your edicts but our lives are not lived by canon law. Women have as many gifts and callings as men do, we are truly equal in everyone's eyes except the Roman Catholic church..
The pedophilia scandal rocked the church, it has still not recovered. Male priests who committed criminal as well as immoral horrific acts against children are priests, some in good standing with the Roman church.. Bishops who had full knowledge of these abuses, some fatal abuses were not sanctioned but given positions in the Vatican. The District Attorney in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for one, would like to spit on these men.
What am I to tell my daughters and granddaughters, my sons? My youngest son and his wife and three children became Lutherans because of the scandalous behavior of male priests. My son loved his church, loved the sacraments, a good catholic. You are losing people like him. He is also a fervent believer in woman priests. He feels safe in the Lutheran church, his wife accepted as a full member.
The Korean War generation is the last generation that will blindly follow pronouncements that are handed down from the Vatican officials. That's it! Once they are gone, the doors may close and be sealed. I know you don't believe that but I assure you, that is what will come of the Roman Catholic church unless they become Christlike and accept the gifts of women as full participants.
Many evenings when I enter slumber, I make an examination of conscience and ask for forgiveness for what I have done and what I have failed to do. I wonder if I have offended anyone, slighted anyone and ask for grace and forgiveness.
You are making a grave mistake by ex-communicating these brave women.
With hope and shalom,
Roseanne Harkin
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Holy Father,One of the most transformative and inevitable social movements of our lifetime is the full recognition and affirmation of women: first as human beings, second as true images reflecting God's very Being, and finally as persons graced by Christ to make His Kingdom a living and life-giving reality. There is a growing realization among the faithful that the Roman Catholic Womenpriest Movement is such a transformative and inevitable movement and indeed may very well be a special gift of the Holy Spirit to our Church in these times.When the social, moral and financial forces of the world broke apartheid in South Africa, Bishop Desmond Tutu was asked how he felt about voting for the first time in his life. "It is for me very personal....I am a full person." A person who cannot act fully is not a full person. He followed his conscience and with courage and grace liberated his people and changed much of the world; such is what the Church is asking of these women.Christ gave us the perfect example of dealing with women. Against the customs of His time, He welcomed them, even outcast sinners, into His Kingdom; how much more would He have honored courageous women who would not only risk but give their very lives by challenging those limiting societal custom of His day with the liberating spiritual ones of the Kingdom. The Roman Catholic Womenpriests are co convinced of their priestly calling and their responsibility to follow their conscience that they are willing to suffer the ecclesiastic version of abortion, excommunication. Holy Father, is there so much love and commitment in the world that we can afford, as a Church, to be contemptuous of some portion of it6?It is, of course, the responsibility of the whole Church, the magisterium included, to discern the direction of the Holy Spirit in the present and coming of the Kingdom. In some parts of the world the faithful have already given their approval of this issue, and there has always been the universal recognition that "the harvest is great, but the laborers are few." It is the sacred duty of the whole Church and especially the magisterium to see that Christ's threefold command to Peter, "Feed my Sheep" be acknowledged and carried out for the love of Christ and His people; to do otherwise would indeed be a grave betrayal. Let us pray, then, that in at least some areas of great need the Spirit will lead us to decide how these faithful women can realize their vocation as priests, be made full persons, and let His Kingdom come.
Your brother in Christ,
William J. Weiskopf

I am writing to express my dismay at your recent action to excommunicate the women who have been ordained as priests and the bishops who have ordained them. I have spent many years struggling with my faith as a Catholic because of its dmarginalization of women as "less than." For me, "less than' has become the best way I can identify the feeling the Church has given me by defining me by my anatomy, while saying man are created in the image of God. When convenient, "man" is defined as all humans; but when misogyny raises its head, "man" becomes males and women become something less than the "image of God." i believe we are all created in the "image of God' and as such shold be eligible, if called by God, to receive the sacraments of holy orders. We are a sacramental church; we should recognize that each of us should be eligilbe to receive any of those sacraments. Therefore, I wish to express to you my support for the Roman Catholic women priests. Jesus treated women as disciples and equals. For 1000 years of its history, the church ordained women. So RCWP is reclaiming our sacred tradition.In 1976, The Vatican's own scholars,The Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded that there is no reason to prohibit women's ordination. The needs of the church are great. We need gender balance in the priesthood to heal the church and transform it to live according to Jesus' example. He chose Mary of Magdala according to all four Gospels to the first witness of the resurrection, so women should be partners and equals in the church. Why are pedophiles and bishops who cover up this grave scandal and criminal behavior members in good standing and women priests are excommunicated? I actually do not understand how Cardinal Law can continue to be allowed to serve when good women and men are being excommunicated for trying to bring women into full communion withthe Body of Christ. They are following in footsteps of Joan of Arc who followed her conscience and was later canonized by the church!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Vatican's Text on Excommunication of Womenpriests Causes Confusion, Raises Canonical and Theological Issues

The Text of the Vatican's Excommunication of Womenpriests Causes Confusion and Raises Questions

According to the Vatican text issued byArchbishop Levada of the CDF, no one in our Roman Catholic Womenpriest Community is excommunicated :

1) Since it's not retroactive.

2) And since it's only those who are ordained by male bishops in the future who will be included. And that doesn't need to be anyone if only female bishops ordain from now on.

3) Since RCWP has now ordained a married man and since the church has been regularly incardinating Lutheran, Anglican and Episcopalian married men for the last few years, (usually because they are opposed to their orignial denomination's acceptance of women's ordination to the episcopacy and acceptance of homosexual priests and bishops,) the Vatican is now, it would seem, in a theological conundrum. If they excommunicate only women but not men, who are ordained in RCWP, then the blatant sexism is indisputable. If they excommunicate men who are ordained in RCWP, then how do they justify accepting the four to five hundred married men from other Christian denominations who are functioning all over the US as Roman Catholic priests in parishes?
Bridget Mary (This list of points come from members of RCWP)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Homily: Alice Iaquinta: Roman Catholic Womanpriest

(Alice Iaquinta is third from left in picture of priests around the altar)
Homily for 9th Sunday of ordinary time: 1 June, 2008
Rev. Alice Iaquinta (Alice is second from right)
Jesus Our Shepherd parish

On May 30, 1431, a nineteen year old French girl was accused of heresy and sorcery, condemned and put to death by burning at the stake.

489 years later, on May 30, 1920, the same young woman, Joan of Arc, was canonized by the very church that had taken her life……which had taken her life because she followed her inner call, because she led her people to fight for their freedom, a direction the Catholic church hierarchy did not want her to go at the time, because she refused to recant and, if you can believe this, because she wore “men’s” clothing.

On Friday, May 30, 2008, Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, (the position the current pope used to hold,) signed a decree “Regarding the crime of attempting sacred ordination of a woman, to protect the nature and validity of the sacrament of holy orders,” that “both he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, and the woman who has attempted to receive the said sacrament, incurs in Latae Sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See. …….The current decree will come into immediate force from the moment of publication in the ‘Osservatore Romano’ and is absolute and universal.”

Latae Sententiae excommunication……..I wish that meant that ordained Catholic women were going to be treated to fancy coffees, but it doesn’t.

How far have we come in the 577 years since 1431?

Joan was executed for answering her call;
today women are excommunicated for answering theirs.
I guess that is some progress.

The Rev. Joseph Fox, professor of canon law at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. said in an interview yesterday, Saturday, May 31, 2008, “This is a law that didn’t exist before, ….it won’t apply to cases that happened before it was published.” Maybe that means this decree won’t apply to me?

Anyone who incurs this automatic excommunication can only be received back into the Church by the Apostolic See, (the pope) according to the Decree.

Dominican Father Augustine Di Nola, undersecretary of the doctrinal congregation said Saturday in an interview that the “decree makes clear the fact that the people directly involved in an attempted ordination of a woman excommunicate themselves automatically; it is not a penalty imposed by the local bishop or the universal church. Since the excommunication is not imposed, there is no possibility of appeal, he said. “The only recourse is repentance.” That is the same as asking Joan to recant.

This is very hard to understand. The excommunication is not imposed by the local bishop or the universal church, so no woman can appeal it?


So, in addition to the forbidding of any discussion of the question of ordaining women for the last three decades, and the persistent claiming that the church has no power to ordain women, we are now additionally told that the church does not excommunicate women who are ordained. The women do it to themselves.

It’s a bit like the description of girls “who got themselves pregnant,” back when I was young. Some of you might remember that turn of phrase. (As an old English teacher, I am always suspicious of passive voice constructions that obfuscate the real actor.)

“One terse reaction to this decree was the following, written in a comment to The National Catholic Reporter article.

Amazing! To my knowledge NONE of the priests who sexually abused children were excommunicated. Neither were the bishops who transferred them from parish to parish KNOWING that they were child molesters. But we women are more dangerous than that apparently.”

The official response from the Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization said,
“RC Womenpriests are loyal members of the church who stand in the prophetic tradition of holy disobedience to an unjust law that discriminates against women. We hold up heroic women in the church’s tradition like Hildegard of Bingen, Joan of Arc and St. Theodore Guerin who obeyed God, followed their consciences and withstood hierarchical oppression including interdict, excommunication and death. In obedience to Jesus, we are disobeying an unjust law………All people have a moral obligation to disobey an unjust law. St. Augustine taught that an unjust law is no law at all…….Canon 849 states that baptism is the gateway to the sacraments…..[maleness is not mentioned]…….Recent scholarship affirms that women were ordained in the first thousand years of the church’s history……We are reclaiming this important tradition in order to bring equality and balance and reconciliation and renewal to the church we love, and to all the holy people of God who have been hurt, marginalized and ostracized in the name of Jesus Christ…..”

I think that would include Joan of Arc.

When I was ordained a deacon, I was instructed, as is everyone ordained a deacon, “Believe what your read,
Teach what you believe, and
practice what you teach.”

That is, Think, Speak, Act.

This is exactly what we hear in our scripture readings today.

The first reading tells us to be committed totally to God, to believe heart and soul.

The Psalm tells us to take refuge in God and we prayed to be saved from shame, that is public disgrace.

St. Paul told the Romans and us, that it is not the law that produces righteousness, (right relationships,) but faith. And that faith comes from God as pure gift. We don’t deserve it, we can’t earn it, we can only say yes or no to it. And if we say yes to it, that faith will take us to places that we wouldn’t necessarily choose. That faith will require us to live out our commitment, our yes, regardless of the hardships, the attacks, the besieging and the buffeting by the “storms.” Those “storms” might be illnesses, disasters, misfortunes, or even the threats of excommunication. We are not promised that the storms won’t occur. We are told that faith, that gracious gift from God, is what will get us through, what will preserve us, despite the storm.
The Gospel of Matthew tells us to conform to the will of God and the result will be a life of righteousness, a life of concretized external responses to God’s call that is more than just an inner response or commitment. It will be walking the talk. It will be the action of our lives that marks us, as if tattooed, as believers.

In the end, it is God who calls. It is God who graces us with faith. It is God who ordains. In the end, it is God who will judge if we answered the call, if we accepted the gift of grace, and if we lived out that faith concretely in our lives,…………… God, not a canon law.


Letter of support for Roman Catholic Womenpriests in response to Vatican excommunication

Dear Bridget,
Please know you have our support and prayers and consider the excommunication a badge of distinction .You stand on the shoulders of Joan of Arc and other prophetic courageous women.What a brilliant remark about the pedophiles etc.
Eleanor & Carl Buck and many others