Friday, July 24, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: NPR -Baptists Leaders face challenges on women's roles

Link to Radio Broadcast:

National Public Radio
Morning Edition, July 24, 2009
A few highlights:
Sheri Klouda, who taught Hebrew at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth shared her story:

"I was told I would not be considered for tenure because I was a woman and because he believed that women should not be teaching theology to men," says Klouda.

Southwestern Baptists Theological Seminary has "developed a new "track" for women seminarians, which includes home-making and home-schooling."

Wade Burleson, pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch in Enid, Okla. disagrees with the policies of his denomination.

"I'm not a betting Baptist, but if I were, I would put money on the table that 50 years from now, Southern Baptists will look at women and the role of women the way we now look at slavery," Burleson says.

In a recent article, published by the Guardian in England, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter said he left the Southern Baptist Church because women and girls have been discriminated against in a misinterpretation of the Word of God. "The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unaceeptable."
"This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief... At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime."
This debate is one that cuts across denominational lines. More and more women and men are crossing the line of discrimination, rooted in religious beliefs. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are leading the way toward a renewed priestly ministry in grassroots communities in the Roman Catholic Church. Like Rosa Parks, Roman Catholic Womenpriests refuse to sit in the back of the bus in a church that continues to discriminate against women. Roman Catholic Womenpriests offer women an option, not available before, when women left the church to be ordained in other denominations. Now Catholic women for the first time in centuries can serve God's people as deacons, priests and bishops in Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered, inclusive communities. Let's hear a big Amen from the people of God around the world!
Bridget Mary Meehan

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests : Bishop Tom Gumbleton's Homily on NCR.Online

In his homily on NCR Online, (fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time) Bishop Tom Gumbleton cites the alarming data that a large number of RC churches in the United States are being closed because of shortage of priests.

Bishop Gumbleton then goes on to raise the question of women's vocation to priestly ministry: "And there are those who are calling for it, but then they're pushed away like Amos was pushed away, silenced. You can't speak about that as a possibility, not to speak about ordaining married men or about women." Yet, I am confident that God is taken an initiative and we who are the church have to begin to listen to that and to respond to it and try to make sure our leaders respond to it. "

I give thanks for the courage of Bishop Tom Gumbleton who speaks out about women's call to priestly ministry. In an ecclesiastical desert, Bishop Gumbleton is a lone courageous, prophetic voice in the U.S. hierarchy, unafraid of speaking truth to power.

Sexism is based on the view that women are inferior to men and is always sinful. And as former president Jimmy Carter reminds us in a recent article, "Losing my religion for equality" "This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries."

In other words, the Roman Catholic Church cannot continue to discriminate against women, and blame God for it. Those days are over and the time for the full equality of women is now here.
Bridget Mary Meehan

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests : House Church Celebration of Feast of St. Mary Magdala in Falls Church, VA.

On July 22nd, 2009, we hosted a liturgy in honor of the feast day of St. Mary Magdala in our home in Falls Church, VA. We sang, prayed, and reflected on the role of St. Mary Magdala as the first witness to the Resurrection. The Risen Christ sent Mary to "go and tell", announce the Good News to the other disciples. The church Fathers referred to her as "The Apostle to the Apostles." We also discussed the non-canonical Christian writings such as Pistis Sophia, and the Gospel of Mary, which present Mary as a leader and teacher of the male disciples, whom Peter resented. Scholars believe this tension reflected the debate in the early church about the role of women as leaders in the church. Amid chuckles, we noted that some things never change!!
Our community also discussed at length the call to a renewed priestly ministry and asked me to share my journey. Peg and Bob, with whom I co-ministered in a parish community for fifteen years shared some wonderful memories. Both have been companions on the journey with me, like Junia and Andronicus whom Paul cites as exemplars in the faith in Romans 16. We noted in Romans 16 that Paul commends by name, many women leaders for their hard work. Today over 80% of church ministry is done by women. So women are still doing the heavy lifting in the church today in parishes throughout the U.S.
There is tension between the hierarchy and women in the church who advocate full equality of women in the church, including a renewed priestly ministry. The image that comes to mind is that of a dance! Despite our disagreements and rejection by the institutional male leaders, RCWP are faithful members of the Body of Christ, the people of God. Like St. Mary of Magdala and Peter, we are "dancing" a new church into being!

Bridget Mary Meehan

Roman Catholic Womenpriests; Reflection on the House Church: Fodder for "Traditionalists"

Fodder for “Traditionalists”
The House Church
was the beginning of

It provided space
for Preaching the Word,
for Worship,
for social and Eucharistic
table sharing.

The House Church
provided Equal Opportunity
for Women;
The house traditionally was considered women’s sphere
and women were not excluded from activities
in the house and
in the House Church.

Women played an important part
in the founding,
in the sustaining,
in the promoting of
House Churches.

The earliest Christian manuscripts
give us strong historical evidence
for coequal roles of women and men
in infant Church.

There are no more distinctions between . . .
male and female,
all are in Christ, Jesus.

So, indeed,
be a traditionalist and
forsake the hierarchical discrimination
against women.

Love, John Chuchman

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests : Liturgy in honor of St. Magdala in Pittsburgh, PA

Bishop Joan Houk of the Great Waters Region presides at liturgy in honor of St. Mary Magdala at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh, Pa on July 19, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests : Jimmy Carter Speaks out against sexism in religion

Image on mosiac of Bishop Theodora and St. Praxedis
in St. Praxedis Church in Rome

The Words of God Do Not Justify Cruelty to Women

Discrimination and abuse wrongly backed by doctrine are damaging society, argues the former US president

by Jimmy Carter

"Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status ..." (Article 2, Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

"During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn't until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted holy scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy."

"Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views. "

This brilliant article, by former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, reflects the worldwide movement for justice for women in every aspect of human life including religion. Women are equal images of God and thus, should function as equals and partners within their local religious institutions.
The time for the full equality of women in all religions is now. It is an issue of justice. God does not discriminate, so neither should the church.

Bridget Mary Meehan