Panel discussion by Women Leaders in the Roman Catholic Church in response to Vatican Apostolic Visitation of Religious Orders in the U.S.
Sister Louise Akers, a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati, said that "women's ordination is a justice issue."
Diann Neu, Co-Director of Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual addressed participants.
Women-Church Convergence Panel Discussion on Apostolic Visitation of U.S. Religious Orders By Janice Sevre-Duszynska, RCWP The apostolic visitation of U.S. religious orders was discussed on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 12th in Cincinnati by a panel of members of Women-Church Convergence who met for a weekend gathering which was open to the public. The panel was introduced by Carolyn Farrell of the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Dubuque, Iowa. Louise Akers, a sister of Charity of Cincinnati, spoke first. She was recently told by Archbishop Pilarczyk of Cincinnati that because of her support for women's ordination she could no longer teach in any Catholic institution in the Archdiocese. In her power point presentation she quoted writers and activists who are working to transform a world dominated by a paradigm of masculine power and control to one of dignity and equality for everyone. "We must especially work on God language," she said, "to make it inclusive."
Said Akers: "Women's ordination IS a justice issue. Its basis is the value, dignity and equality of woman person. I believe this in my very core. To publicly state otherwise would be a lie and against my conscience."
Donna Quinn, a Dominican Sinsinawa from Chicago is being investigated for escorting women to a women's reproductive clinic. "My role is to be a peacekeeper from car to clinic," she said, "and to provide a safe passage for women." She compared the Vatican's attempt to control women to a tent held down with four stakes: The ordination of women; inclusive language; reproductive choice; and women's right to vote -- within the church.
Beth Rindler, a Franciscan Sister of the Poor. talked about her journey working with the poor, overcoming fear, earning her M.Div., as well as her experiences doing pastoral ministry in parishes with and without male priests. "I had problems with priests in the parishes," she said, "because I told the media 'as it is.' We are the church. We are the archdiocese. Not too many priests wanted somebody with an M.Div. They started closing churches rather than let women be ordained."
Diane Neu, co-founder of Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) thanked the panelists for breaking silence, for being faithful and for being church as well as for standing with women and supporting gay and lesbian issues. "We of Women-Church Convergence send you greetings of solidarity and respect. You are the public witness of the Spirit of God with us, with courage and calm in the midst of this oppression." She identified the vast amount of good accomplished by religious orders in the United States. "You are Ecumenical women who created a Catholic school system, established hospitals, cared for and spoke out for poor immigrants, embodied and taught a rich spirituality and respect for ecology, you opposed nuclear weapons, war and torture...Who else is church if you aren't."
Neu said that after the clergy abuse of children and the episcopal cover up, the Vatican's Apostolic Visitation of women is an "indictment of all U.S. Catholics who strive to live out a discipleship of equals..."
The panel discussion was followed by questions from participants. Later, everyone participated in a dialogue naming characteristics of various generations, led by Kate Childs Graham. The afternoon session closed with liturgy led by Ruth Steinert Foote, a feminist spiritual leader, Janice Marie Mappin, a local woman Orthodox Catholic priest, and Janice Sevre-Duszynska of Lexington, Kentucky who is an ordained Roman Catholic Womanpriest.
September 21, 2009 For Immediate Release Contacts: Susan Farrell 908-753-4636 Donna Quinn 708-974-4220 Carolyn Kellogg 415-847-2076
Women's Coalition Connects The Apostolic Visitation of U.S. Women Religious to the Vatican's Oppression of All Women
Cincinnati: Women-Church Convergence, a Catholic-rooted Coalition of 27 groups of women begun in 1983 met with 80 interested women and men on September 12, 2009 to discuss the issue of the recent Apostolic Visitation and how this oppresses all women.. A Panel of four presented their insights on this topic: Louise Akers a member of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, Donna Quinn Co-Ordinator of the National Coalition of American Nuns, Beth Rindler a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor and Diann Neu Co-Ordinator of Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) The theme of the Day was presented by Louise in a quote of Catherine of Siena - a Saint and Doctor of the Church who lived in the fourteenth century: "Cry as if you have a million voices, it is silence that kills the world." Louise Akers continued her story with Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati who has banned her from any teaching activity in the Archdiocese due to her support of women's ordination in the Roman Catholic Church. She will not in conscience change her position on this issue.. Donna Quinn spoke of the four issues used against women by Vatican Church but which can also be used by women to create a Church for Our Daughters..These four are Ordination of Women, Inclusive Language in spoken and written word, Women's Reproductive Health Issues and Women's Right to Vote in the Church.. After Beth Rindler told her story of persecution by the Church in Detroit Diann Neu lifted up and thanked Women Religious for their courageous stands against the continued gender discrimination by Vatican Church. The overflowing room of participants left this discussion with new insights and a resolve never to give up, continuing to lift up our voices against the violence of gender discrimination and to create a Church which welcomes all people equally..
Teacher ousted for support of nun
By Dan Horn • firstname.lastname@example.org • September 14, 2009
By Dan Horn
"A volunteer religious education teacher was dismissed this weekend for publicly voicing support for Sister Louise Akers, who has beenhttp://news.cincinnati.com/article/20090902/NEWS01/309020027" target="_new">orderedby Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk to stop teaching because her backing of women priests contradicts Catholic doctrine."
"Dr. Carol Egner, a life-long Catholic and gynecologist, got into trouble when she wrote ahttp://cincinnati.com/blogs/letters/2009/09/04/where-in-the-bible-does-it-say-women-cant-be-priests/" target="_new">letter to the Enquirer supporting Akers.
When Egner’s pastor read her letter, he asked her to write another that either renounced her position or made clear that she “yields to the wisdom of the church.”
When she refused, she was told she could no longer teach her Old Testament class for sixth-graders at Our Lady of Lourdes parish in Westwood.
“'This is frightening,” Egner said Monday. “I think it’s a step backward.'”
This action is a disgraceful abuse of power. It reflects a spirit of intimidation by church leaders who are threatened by women priests. Ask yourself, what would Jesus say and do? Jesus chose women to be disciples and equals. The Samaritan woman was the first evangelist and Mary of Magdala was chosen by Jesus to be the apostle to the apostles -- to announce the good news of his resurrection. When will the hierarchy treat women like Jesus did?
An institution that resorts to threats and punishments to enforce obedience to , man-made teaching that is rejected by the Catholic faithful is tottering on its last legs! Like the Berlin Wall,, one day, hopefully, in the not too distant future this "wall" of patriarchal oppression will come tumbling down as the people of God vote with their feet by attending womenpriests liturgies, calling forth women leaders for ordination to serve their communities, and supporting the spread of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement in grassroots communities all over the world. The time for the full equality of women in the Roman Catholic Church has come. Women, like Sr. Louise and Dr. Egner, will not be silenced! May God's Spirit inspire many more people in the pews to stand up now for justice in our beloved church and bring into being the renewal of our church.
Bridget Mary Meehan, rcwp
Who do you say that I am?A very compelling question asked by Jesus in today’s gospel of his first disciples and a question by extension asked of each of us today.Our answer of course determines the whole rest of our lives!But let that sit for now.
Each one of us probably has acquired an image of Jesus over our years of faith—an image that fits our notion of who God might be like—or what a messiah might be like.Those people who lived before Jesus’ coming had an idea too.They lived in the time of kings—perhaps the messiah would be an anointed king—a political leader.The Jewish people had a priestly class to reference, so maybe the messiah would be an anointed priest.
We know that Jesus came neither as anointed king nor anointed priest, but given the types of leaders that people had in 1st Century Palestine, we can understand why they thought this “mysterious one,” promised for so long, whom they thought would deliver them from all their troubles, might appear as priest or king.Jesus did appear as one anointed, “blessed by God” and came to be known by some as the Messiah, as Peter proclaims in our gospel reading today—in the Greek, “anointed” or “messiah,” translates as “Christ.”
As I said above, Jesus came as one “anointed” and this happened more symbolically than actually, through Jesus’ words and actions—geared toward service. Scripture does record him being anointed at Bethany by Mary, of Mary and Martha fame, but never in a public way, was Jesus anointed.
Matthew 25 is Jesus’ testament and practice of living an anointed life.“Whatever you do for the least among us, you do for me and likewise, whatever you refuse to do for these least, you refuse to do for me.”
Jesus tells the apostles in today’s gospel that if they want to follow him, it’s not just about the preaching and the healing, but that they will have to pick up their cross and carry it too, just as he will eventually have to do.There will be death, but resurrection too!All hard sayings.These first followers couldn’t understand why after they had waited so long for the Messiah to come, that he would have to die and be taken from them.And more than likely, they didn’t understand what resurrection was.And that is understandable—who of us understands it?—it is one of those things we have to experience to really grasp I’m thinking.
These first followers clearly had different expectations, and so no doubt were disappointed and disillusioned.The answer to the earlier question of why the messiah, Jesus, the Christ was crucified is simple—he didn’t meet the expectations of those who awaited him and for some probably was more than they bargained for.The punishment for being counter-culture in Jesus’ time was to silence them—or try, so he suffered crucifixion.Today the Church tries to silence too—they aren’t quite as gruesome—excommunication and banishment, refusal to offer the sacraments, they feel will do.
So, my friends, back to our original question—Jesus’ question to each of us: “Who do you say that I am?”
If we answer, “You are the Christ, the First Born of the Living God,” the One that I believe shows us the way, the truth and the life—then does that not pave the way that our life must take?Does it not suggest that if we call ourselves “Christians,” we must walk in Jesus’ footsteps of justice, mercy, acceptance and love for all, no matter who they are?Does it not also mean that we will have to carry our own personal crosses of misunderstanding, pain and abandonment?
I believe the answer is “yes” to all of the above.James tells us today in simple terms—“faith without good works is dead.” Quite clear it seems.We can’t say we are followers of Jesus—profess belief in him and stop there—no one will believe us if we merely talk—we must, as they say, “walk the walk.”
Sometimes this all might feel very daunting and we wonder where we will find the strength, the words, the deeds, to walk this walk.We receive much encouragement in our first reading today from Isaiah.We do not walk alone—our God walks with us and that gives us a strength that we wouldn’t have on our own.We have each other and we must be the strength that each other needs.Isaiah says, we must confront each other—help each other to be the best we can be.And with the knowledge that Jesus our brother has first walked this walk and with his promise that the Spirit will always be with us—we have nothing to fear.
Kathy Redig, M.A. in Pastoral Ministries is a certified chaplain. She has served in Winona, MN in this capacity since 1995. Through this ministry she became aware that many people feel disenfranchised from the Catholic church and other churches. She was called to ministry at a young age, entering the convent after high school. Eventually realizing that she needed a partner in life, she left, married, and with her husband, raised two children. She suddenly became aware that God was calling her to ordination to become part of the change that she hoped to see within the Catholic church. Kathy is working along with her husband, Robert to establish a parish where all will be welcome at the table. email@example.com