Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Call to Action on behalf of Justice for Women in the Roman Catholic Church

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who has been threatened with excommunication, but who has not received any official word from the Vatican, is continuing to speak out about the issue of justice and equality for women in the Roman Catholic Church. He has received many invitations to speak all over the United States. In recent talks, he is encouraging Catholics to stand up for justice for women in our beloved Roman Catholic Church. Now is the time for grassroots action.
Here is the Postcard Campaign for Justice in our Church! Download the postcard (front and back) and make copies to share with your local communities.Or, if you want postcards to share with your community, write to RCWP Janice Sevre-Duszynska at and she will mail you copies of the postcard to share with friends. Make copies of the addresses below to hand out to your community with the postcards.

People to Write to
(You may add your local bishop)

Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio
3339 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: 202-333-7121Fax: 202-337-4036

Pope Benedict XVI
00120 Via de Pellegrino
Citta del Vaticano, Europe
The Pope's email address
(for English correspondence) is
Fax from USA: 011-39-06698-85378

Cardinal William Levada
Congregation for Doctrine of Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11,00193 Roma, Italy
Tel: 06-69-88-33-57; 06-69-88-34-13Fax: 06-69-88-34-09

Maryknoll Fathers Superior General, Edward Dougherty
and to the three-member Maryknoll Council at and/or fax to 914-944-3600
Write to: Maryknoll Council, P.O. Box 303, Maryknoll, NY 10545

Postcard front: Promoting Equality of Women in the Roman Catholic Church

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Postcard (back) for Promotion of Justice and Equality in RC Church

Please mail or place in collection basket.
People to Write to (You may add your local bishop)
Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio
3339 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel: 202-333-7121Fax: 202-337-4036
Pope Benedict XVI
00120 Via de Pellegrino
Citta del Vaticano,
The Pope's email address (for English correspondence) is
Fax from USA: 011-39-06698-85378
Cardinal William Levada
Congregation for Doctrine of Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11,00193 Roma, Italy
Tel: 06-69-88-33-57; 06-69-88-34-13Fax: 06-69-88-34-09
Maryknoll Fathers Superior General,
Edward Dougherty at
and to the three-member Maryknoll Council at
and/or fax to 914-944-3600
Write to: Maryknoll Council,
P.O. Box 303, Maryknoll, NY 10545

Roman Catholic Womenpriest Janice Sevre Duszynska will attend U N Session

Janice Sevre Duszynska at her ordination
on Aug. 9, 2008 in Lexington, Kentucky

My friend, archaeologist and theologian Dorothy Irvin of St. Paul, MN, has invited me to be a designated representative of St. Joan's International Alliance, the world's oldest Catholic feminist group and longstanding Non-governmental Organization (NGO). We will participate in the 53rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW53) to be held from 2 to 13 March 2009 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The session will be attended by 2,000 representatives of Member States, UN entities and of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world.

Originally founded in 1911 in London as a Catholic Woman's Suffragist group, St. Joan's International Alliance expanded its objectives to secure legal and de facto equality between women and men in society. It has worked with the United Nations (and earlier with the League of Nations) for: the abolition of child and forced marriages and slavery traffic and traffic in persons; the political rights of women; equal access to education and vocational training and economic opportunities; family law; elimination of discrimination against women.

In the Roman Catholic church, the Alliance has petitioned for lay men and women observers and women auditors at the Second Vatican Council, for the revision of the nuptial liturgy, revision of those canons of the code that adversely affect women, and admission of women to the diaconate and priesthood on the same terms and under the same conditions as men.

In 1937, the Alliance presented a paper to the League of Nations on the Condition of Women in colonized countries of Africa and Asia. Since then, the Alliance has campaigned against the ritual sexual mutilatation of young girls and adolescents, the first organization to do so, according to historian Anne Marie Pelzer. In 1952, a representative of the Alliance presented the first official intervention on this issue to the UN Economic and Social Council. The Alliance has been represented as a Non-governmental Organization at all sessions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council in New York and Geneva since 1951.

The active participation of NGOs is a critical element in the work of the CSW. NGOs have been influential in shaping the current global policy framework on women's empowerment and gender equality - the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. They continue to play an important role in holding international and national leaders accountable for the commitments they made in the Platform for Action.

The themes that will be considered at the CSW53 are the following:

Priority theme:"The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS."

Review theme:"Equal participation of women and men in decision-making processes at all levels" adopted at the 50th CSW.

Emerging Issue:"The gender perspectives of the financial crisis.

"The Commission on the Status of Women is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. It is the principal global policy-making body. Every year for 10 days, representatives of Member States gather at UN Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.

The Commission consists of one representative from each of the 45 Member States elected by the Council on the basis of equitable geographical distribution: thirteen members from Africa; eleven from Asia; nine from Latin American and Caribbean; eight from Western Europe and other States and four from Eastern Europe. Members are elected for a period of four years.

The Commission was established in June 1946 with the aim to prepare recommendations and reports to the Council on promoting women's rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields. It also makes recommendations to the Council on urgent problems requiring immediate attention in the field of women's rights.

The principal output of the CSW is the so-called agreed conclusions on priority themes set for each year. Agreed conclusions, contain an anlysis of the priority theme of concern and a set of concrete recommendations for Goverments, intergovernmental bodies and other institutions, civil society actors and other relevant stakeholders, to be implemented at the international, national, regional and local level.

In addition to the agreed conclusions, the Commission also adopts a number of resolutions on a range of issues, including the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women; and women, the girl child and HIV/AIDS. The final report of the Commission is submitted to the Economic and Social Council for adoption.

Janice Sevre-Duszynska
Roman Catholic Womanpriest

Monday, February 16, 2009

U.S. women religious uncertain about Vatican study

Dina Cormick: Feminist Artist from S. Africa: Art images-Heroic Women Series

And Miriam Danced


Ruth and Naomi

Susanna of Babylon

Apphia, priest to Colossae

Priscilla Priest of Corinth


Chloe, priest of Corinth

Amanda of Bethany

Sophie and the women of Jerusalem

Prophetess Ana blesses Mary's child

Tamar accuses father-in-law, Jacob

Queen Esther

Queen Vashti

The images above come to our blog from DINA CORMICK, feminist artist and visual theologian, who was born in Nkana, Zambia in 1942. Graduated with honours in Fine Art from Durban University of Technology in 1965, and in 1993 graduated cum laude as a "Mistress" of Feminist Theological Ethics from University of South Africa, after critically discussing the manner in which women have been imaged by the Christian Church. Over the years, Dina has been actively involved in several women's movements for change for example, The Black Sash; The Christian Womens' Movement (CWM); The Institute of Contextual Theology's Womens' Kairos;The Circle for Concerned African Women Theologians; Interfaith Women Against Abuse (IWAA); Sisters Of Faith In Action (SOFIA) and most recently The Feminist Party, birthed at AWID Forum in Cape Town November 2008. Significantly the most contentious movement was WOZA (Women's Ordination South Africa) which Dina co-founded with Velisizwe Mkhwanazi in 1996. Dina was personally demonized by the Catholic Priests Organisation with full consent of the local hierarchy. "I not only received more hate-mail and abusive telephone calls than during the apartheid era as a Black Sash, but I lost my 'bread and butter' art commissions from the Church."

However, apart from the above, since 1978 she has worked as free-lance artist from her studio in Durban. Her commissioned artworks which, include wood sculptures, mosaic and ceramic panels, book illustrations and posters can be found widely distributed through Southern Africa in ecumenical church institutions, as well as in numerous grassroot and socio-political organizations. Her particular concerns and interests lie in the didactic importance of art. "I feel very strongly that art has an important formative role to play in our lives, especially toward challenging the ethics of our society. I am committed to a reclaiming and enkindling of the spiritual resources of women through a visual theology." From 1986 Cormick's artworks have predominantly focused on women.

Using images from the "Heroic Womens Series" of paintings and her current artworks, "Icons In celebration of Women" to be exhibited at CTA 2009, well known South African artist Dina Cormick will speak about her impulse to create positive, affirming and challenging woman-imagery. "I call the women I image "heroines" – they could be called great ancestors or honoured foremothers. The main focus has always been to celebrate and honor the stories within each woman. The Heroic Women Series began in 1987 as a visual celebration of the women in the Scriptures, proclaiming and naming the hitherto nameless and neglected. Subsequent series have reclaimed and celebrated the wise and courageous women of history, especially the women who struggled an often painful spiritual journey for justice and equality.

For example a motivating force for the South African Heroine series was a real concern that in the surge towards economic gender equality, many of our young women are unaware of the depth of contribution made by women against the oppressive patriarchal regime of apartheid. We have not honoured them enough - women like Lilian Ngoyi, Francis Baard, Jabu Ndlovu, Victoria Mxenge, and Lydia Kompe… I believe that women need images to empower, to affirm and simply to celebrate womenhood - the feminine divine, WiseWomen & EveryWoman.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Association for the Rights of Catholics Publication: Annulment:External Forum and Internal Forum

ARCC spot LIGHT (analysis of Church issues offered by the ARCC Publications Committee, L. Arceneaux, R. Schutzius, eds.)

ANNULMENT: External Forum and Internal Forum

Baptized couples bestow the sacrament of Marriage on each other by a commitment of life-time fidelity. If two capable people freely commit, a sacramental marriage is achieved. They become instruments of God's grace for each other. As many as half of Catholic marriages now end. What explains this? Two possibilities are: 1) An essential element was missing from the beginning of the marriage, or 2) it was lost along the way. Either way, the sacramental element (conferring grace on each other) does not exist. While divorce/remarriage, like contraception, has become more a matter of individual conscience, it is a much more serious matter with profound consequences.
Every human effort should be made to avoid the tragedy of a failed marriage. Human failures occur. Mistakes are made. But life goes on and so does one's spiritual life. God continues to love us in spite of our failures. The Church offers two options to those in failed unions.

The External Forum Annulment (EFA) is a process whereby the Catholic Church judges that a failed marriage never reached a sacramental level even though one or both of the parties thought they were doing all necessary. The judgment is based on external evidence. Once an annulment is granted, the parties may attempt another marriage in the Church. Annulments do not nullify civil marriages nor render illegitimate children born of failed unions. The Internal Forum Annulment (IFA) process is a self-help alternative whereby one judges in conscience that a failed marriage is no longer sacramental. The judgment is an internal, conscience-based conclusion made with or without objective evidence.

Both processes attempt to resolve the status of a failed marriage. Respect for the authority of the Church and for the integrity of a well-formed conscience to judge the validity of a marriage are involved. Both are human judgments with these same conditions of circumstances and conscience.
1) The firm conviction in conscience that a previous marriage does not have sacramental status due to a lack of an essential condition in one or both parties.* 2) The sacramentality of the current marriage is judged valid in the eyes of God and Christian community
Where possible, annulment should be sought through the External Forum process. When this is not possible (too costly or for lack of objective evidence) the Internal Forum Annulment process is an alternative way to affirm the judgment made in conscience that a marriage never was or is not now a valid sacramental marriage.

The Church does not provide much information about the IFA since no official external verification is involved. The IFA remains an internal process between the individual and an objective advisor/guide/spiritual director/parish priest. Beginning about 1000 years ago the Church began to assert judgment over the sacramental marriage of Christians. It established and maintains tribunals to do this based on external evidence. It cannot and does not judge the internal decision made by an individual since this is a conscience matter.

Catholics are free to use ALL the legitimate processes of the Church. Following a well informed conscience is one of these processes. Faced with this judgment, always give due respect to the authority and process of the Church, while mindful that the right to enter into the difficult IFA process, following the conclusion of your own conscience, is a legitimate alternative recognized by the Church.

Guidance through the IFA process serves as an unbiased assessment of this very personal decision based on prayer (conversation with God) and trust in God's mercy. See "Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church" by Bishop Geoffrey Robinson (Chapter 8), for a more complete treatment and guidance on the formation of conscience and IFA.

# All Catholics have the right to follow their informed conscience in all matters. (ARCC Charter of Rights, No 1)
# All married Catholics have the right to withdraw from a marriage which has irretrievably broken down. All such Catholics retain the radical right to remarry. (ARCC Charter of Rts.No.30)
# All Catholics who are divorced and remarried and who are in conscience reconciled to the Church have the right to the same ministries, including all sacraments, as do other Catholics. (ARCC Charter of Rts., No. 31)

More readings:
* Common defects of decision
1. Inability to fulfill the obligation because of sexual identity confusion
2. Inability to communicate-emotional paralysis, one way communication
3. Pro forma action i.e. marriage to gain immigration/citizenship, pretending
4. Against one's will - forced to marry, fear of displeasing someone
5. Excessive self centeredness, narcissism
6. Hidden details about the 'other' - something that would have been a 'deal breaker' but kept hidden
7. Psychological dysfunction to abuse the 'other'

Remembering the Women Sunday Readings (Review the Book)
Sunday Feb 22, 7th Sunday, Genesis 19:15-26
Ash Wednesday Feb. 25, Exodus 21:7-11, Deuter. 15:12-17, 21:10-14, Oroverbs 4:3-13, Luke 1:45-55, Ester 14:3-14
Sunday March 1, 1st Lent, Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7.
Sunday March 15, 2nd Lent, Genesis 11:27-32, 12:10-20

Support for The Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC) is greatly appreciated.
Circulate freely with source acknowledged. Comments welcomed or 1-877-700-ARCC (2722).