Saturday, May 9, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Homily in honor of Mary, Mother of Jesus

"i want my mommy!"

Jesus cried, "Abba, Daddy!" can i not also cry "daddy" or "mommy?"
i look at the un-humanizing of mary and i want to scream! i look at mary
stuck up there on a pedestal and i don't understand how she can change a
dirty diaper or wash off a scraped knee or even take a thorn out of a
puppy's paw.

i don't want my mommy up on a pedestal where i can't touch her. how can
we put our arms around each other if she is up there and i am down
here? besides, it's not very nice to put her up there where she can't
move around, or go to the bathroom, or get some sleep, or even comb her
hair. i want her down here!

i want her to come and sit at my kitchen table and have a cup of coffee
with me. i want to talk to her and i want to listen to her. back in
grade school, the sisters who taught us were very specific -- dogmatic!
-- that mary never spoke a word her entire life except the words that
are recorded in the gospels, that she never needed to speak. i don't
want that!!!!!! i want my mommy to have a real voice.

my brother, Jesus, was really funny at that wedding over there in Cana.
my mommy was a hostess at the wedding [nb -- how else would she have
known the wine was gone before the stewards knew???]. anyway, Jesus was
sitting there with that bunch of vagabonds he runs around with, and my
mommy went over and told him about the wine situation. [you think that
would be embarrassing today? just think of how embarrassing it would
have been in 1st century Palestine!] so Jesus said, "honestly, mom!
can't you see i'm busy partying with my friends??" my mommy just threw
up her hands and started laughing and said, "honestly, Jesus! do you
want to embarrass the whole family -- which is exactly what will happen
if we run out of wine!" she was exasperated, but she was still laughing
and shaking her head when she told the waiters Jesus would take care of
everything. and he did.

that's the kind of mommy i want. i want to say those kinds of things to
her too -- just like Jesus did -- and i want her to laugh when i do!

i was in church the other day and i looked up at my mommy's statue and i
cried. i don't want a statue-mommy with a silly wreath of flowers on
her head! how can my mommy like that stuff? it hasn't changed much
over the years. the kids who get to participate putting flowers on statues
are the pretty ones and the teachers' pets, and the boy and girl
voted most popular -- the same as always. how can my mommy be
happy with may crownings when around the world year after year so
many of the kids are excluded because they don't fit the norm?
how can my mommy go along with such cruel practices?

i want my mommy to love me even if i am different. i don't want her to
like those devotions that put some of my siblings above others of my

i don't want my mommy deified either. she is not God -- never was,
never will be. it must be painful for her to be thought of as a
mini-god when she really is just human.

i hurt for my mommy when i read high-Christology things about her --
things that don't make sense -- things that make her un-human. pious
meditations are fine. but where is my mommy's humanity???????

but, i am not a child; she is not really my mommy! she is my brother
Jesus's mommy, not mine. but as my brother Jesus's mommy, i feel the
pain that He must feel that His mommy is denied her humanity. she
should be/is my friend, my companion -- as some have said, "fully human
companion." my brother's mommy....and my friend.....

how can she be my companion when popular mariology won't let her come
down off of her pedestal and visit with me? how can she walk into my
office and ask me how my computer is behaving if popular piety has taken
away her humanity? how can she drink coffee or eat ice cream with me or
laugh or cry with me when she is not allowed to be human?

"dear fully human companion -- they make you god, but you are not God.
they pay lip service to your humanity, but they extoll your
UN-humanity. they wail at your sorrows, but fail to recognize your
sorrow at not being allowed to be recognized as fully human."

i don't want my brother Jesus's mommy, my companion, sealed in a box,
high on an untouchable pedestal -- i don't want my fully human companion
to be locked up in the realm of the non-human, the UN-human! "mary,
i've got the hammer and the saw and the pliers. i want to let you out
of the box! i have the ladder too. please let me help you come down so
we can walk together and i can tell you, my fully human companion, the
mother of my brother Jesus, about how and where things are with me
today. then maybe you can put your arm around me and tell me you

Roberta M. Meehan, Roman Catholic Womanpriest

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Article in News-Journal

Mothers and ministers: Female reverends discuss spiritual, family ... - Longview,TX,USA
"We have a lot of mothers and grandmothers in our movement," said Bridget Mary Meehan,

Monday, May 4, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Dr. Dorothy Irvin Lectures on Evidence of Women Bishops in the Early Church

Bishop Theodora and St. Praxedia
Mosaic in St. Praxedis Church in Rome

This mosaic of Bishop Theodora ( onleft, standing next to St. Praxeis, also a womanbishop
and Mary, Mother of Jesus.
is found in St. Praxedis Church in Rome,
(image of mosaic is from Joan Morris courtesy Dorothy Irvin)

In these youtube video clips, you will see segments from Dr. Dorothy Irvin's lecture on the evidence of women bishops in the early church. Dr. Irvin is a Roman Catholic theologian and an archaeologist who has done extensive research into tomb inscriptions, mosaics, frescoes and other sources that point to women priests and bishops in the early church. One inscription reads in Latina: "here lies a venerable woman bishop"

Ending High Clericalism by John Chuchman

Ending High Clericalism

Today millions of Catholics have dismissed a Neanderthal, corrupt institutional church,
not only because of its past or present sins,
but because, after all, it is an institution, and no one trusts institutions these days,
and what really counts, for me anyway,
is spirituality.

In not trusting authority,
I strive not to subvert the prophetic or critical intellectual function,
keeping institution, intellect, and the mystical balanced and in harmony.

The institutional dimension of spirituality
should be where our Quest is formalized, structured, made concrete, rendered visible.
We call it religion, the organized part of the quest.
That is the arena of sacred texts, founding narratives, tradition, ongoing stories, rituals, rites, and the patterns of authority that preserve them
and mediate and facilitate our communion with the sacred.

The intellectual dimension of spirituality
is the formulation of systems of thought, development, and reflection.
This includes how to communicate the sacred to others, dialogue,
and how to critique myself when I am untrue to it.

The mystical dimension of spirituality,
is the actual experience of the sacred.

True spirituality for me results in the balance of three essential elements:
religion (organized to preserve the tradition),
the intellectual (to proclaim, communicate, dialogue, and critique),
and the mystical (the actual experience of the sacred).

I think all three are necessary and all three must be kept in balance.

There will always be tension among the three.
Indeed, lack of tension is an indication of sickness.
That would mean that one had suppressed the others.

That is exactly what has happened and is happening.

Institutional Church has not been attentive to the intellectual and mystical elements.

When it isn't, it becomes authoritarian, self-serving, out of touch,
insensitive to the mystical and intellectual elements,
in a word bureaucratic.

And this is what we have today.
A bureaucracy.

The scandal of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests
highlights the clerical culture as the root cause of what went terribly wrong.
Bishop after bishop throughout the world
moved abusing priests from one assignment to another.
Each story manifested its own particular combination
of ignorance, naivety, and less than admirable motivations
such as fear and self-interest.

But when the same kind of behaviors
show up in so many individuals in so many different settings
within the same organization,
we naturally look for common causative factors.
According to the prevailing assessment,
the reality that links this tragic story together is a shared bundle of elements,
which add up to a clerical culture.

This culture has developed in the Institutional church over centuries.
As a member of the Church,
I share responsibility for creating and maintaining a clerical culture
and thus also for what is required to transform, or reform, that culture.

I can readily understand the bishops’ role in the sexual abuse crisis;
Many of them went to junior seminaries at as young an age as 12
and were immersed in this age old culture of clericalism.
It was and is actually impossible for them to think or react in any other way.

Moreover, we laity have supported this clericalism
by putting our priests on pedestals.

By virtue of our baptism we are all members of the priesthood
and called to a life of radical holiness.
Any form of language which implies or suggests
a higher form of holiness to be imputed to the ordained
(with its implied corollary of a lower set of expectations for the laity)
must be strenuously resisted as counter to the teaching of the Church.

If clerical culture is to change each one of US has to change.
We are responsible for our cultures,
they give us roots and identity.

To bring about change requires letting go of the present security
arising from a clear plot, distinct roles, and acceptable lines,
for a set of future cultural forms whose disconcerting effect on our lives
cannot be fully anticipated.

For the individual who risks speaking and acting out a different paradigm,
the cost in terms of rejection
by the players who want to continue with the reassuring story
may be high.

There is a price to pay.

But letting go of high clericalism
will only have the desired effect
when the accumulation of small individual counter cultural actions
is sufficient to be a catalytic mass, a tipping point,
that can prevail over the comfort of the status quo.

Are you willing?

Join me and many others.

Love, John Chuchman

With Loving Dissent: John Chuchman's Blog Link
John Chuchman's Blog Link
With Loving Dissent
A Site for any who Love their Church enough to be willing to work to reform it.

(permission has been given by author to share his reflections on this blog.)