Saturday, January 2, 2010

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: The Epiphany Reminds Us that Inclusivity is the Hallmark of Christianity

Three Wise Women (Paperback)~ Mary Hoffman
Lynn Russell (Illustrator)
Three women from different parts of the world follow the star and give what they can. They think their gifts are not much, but what they give has symbolic value to Christ's life and teachings.

Three Wise Women Would Have...

asked for directions,

arrived on time,

helped deliver the baby,

cleaned the stable,

made a casserole,

brought practical gifts...

(perhaps a supply of diapers)

and there would be


The word epiphany means manifestation or showing. The take home message is that God chose outsiders to reveal that inclusivity is the hallmark of Christianity. God's love is for all-no exceptions.

There were two major feasts in the early church, Easter and Epiphany. Baptisms were celebrated at both these liturgies. The time of preparation became known as Lent and Advent. The community celebrated four different comings of Jesus on the Epiphany: 1. Birth, 2. visit of Magi, 3, Baptism, 4 Miracle of Cana.

The story of the Magi challenges us to recognize that God chooses outsiders, like RCWP, who are on the prophetic edge of our church to communicate the core Gospel message that God's love is for all. Each of us is a manifestation of God's love, and that love embraces all, not just the insiders or the rule-keepers. Therefore, all are welcome to receive sacraments in our communities. This is good news. We are called to be Christ to others in our daily lives.

Our mission is to serve God's beloved people- no matter who they are or where they are. Alienated Catholics would be the second largest denomination in the U.S. if they were a denomination. These sisters and brothers feel the institutional church no longer meets their needs or cares about them. Roman Catholic Womenpriests communities bring good news to alienated Catholics . We offer a spiritual home where all are welcomed to receive sacraments. Noone is turned away from the Eucharistic Banquet. Inclusivity is our hallmark too!

Let us go forth with great joy following the starlight! Like the wise women in the book above, we bring the gift of our lives in loving service to God's people.

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Irish Catholics, lead the way, challenge Vatican Abuse of Power, Claim Justice and Equality to Save the Catholic Church

Bridget Mary Meehan at St. Brigit's Well Licannor,
County Clare, May 27,2009)

"Challenge Vatican Abuse of Power, Lead the Way toward Justice and Equality to save the Catholic church "
by Bridget Mary Meehan
Irish missionaries saved Europe in the Dark Ages, now Irish Catholics can save the church from its own demise.
I was born in County Laois and have written about women in the Celtic Christian Tradition. (Praying with Celtic Holy Women)
As a passionate reformer who has worked for church renewal for many years, and now as an ordained woman priest in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests Movement, I am following the story of the fallout of the clerical sex abuse scandal in Ireland with great hope that the Irish people,will demand justice, equality and accountability from the hierarchy, and send a powerful message to Pope Benedict that a new day has dawned for the church in Ireland. The Vatican abuse of power and world-wide cover up is the crux of the sex abuse debacle. It is my hope that you, the people of God, will demand more than apologies and go for important structural change including women priests and married priests as well as a role in the selection of bishops who will be called forth from the community to serve the community, not named in a secretive process that rewards candidates for "loyalty" to the hierarchy at all costs, over pastoral care for the people. Sadly, the corruption of our church goes to the top of the pyramid/the Vatican. It is a story of power and control run amuck! It is a worldwide crisis that has affected millions of Catholic worldwide. (see article below*** on corrupation/ abuse of power by Vatican)
My young -adult Irish cousins tell me that they are "disillusioned" by the Catholic Church in Ireland. No wonder, they have been betrayed and abused by bishops who were supposed to be truth-tellers and justice-doers. No wonder there are so few young adults in the pews in Ireland today.
Irish Catholics , it is my hope that the the home of saints and scholars, including nuns and priests who serve with integrity, will be the tipping point now and bring in a new day for church renewal.
When the iron is hot, it is time to act!
In grassroots communities, you can shape an open, renewed, vibrant church where all are welcome, all are safe, and all are invited to receive sacraments.
In the United States, the Roman Catholic Womenpriests Movement have more than tripled in growth in less than 3 years. (close to 70 in the U.S., 100 worldwide) . There are approximately 35 womenpriest led communities in the U.S. In Florida, I work with a leadership team that includes two priest partners, bothof whom are married.
Women of Ireland, stand up for equality and join the movement to renew a priestly ministry in a community of equals. It is time to ignite the fire of the Holy Spirit blowing across Ireland for reform and transformation of the Catholic Church.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Bishop of Southern Region

***Pope outraged and shamed by Irish clergy's abuse.
. . . a report by the Irish government of sex abuse from 1975-2004 . . .
Benedict was "deeply disturbed and distressed" by the report . . .
The report said church placed greater importance on protecting its reputation and maintaining secrecy than it on children's welfare and justice . . .
The report also criticized the Vatican for not cooperating with the inquiry. The commission had asked for details of abuse sent to the Vatican, But the Vatican did not reply
later explaining that the request had not gone through proper diplomatic channels.
excerpted from December 25 NCR

Why Only Laity can rid us of turbulent priests

Ireland confronts its sex abuse crisis

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Church must hold a national synod to solve its problems by John Cooney/Irish Independent/Dec.26, 2009

Church must hold a national synod to solve its problems,
by John Cooney
"With Galway’s Martin Brennan under persistent pressure to fall on his crozier after the resignations of four ‘Murphy’ bishops, the first healing step has been taken to assure victims of clerical sexual abuse that the Catholic Church in Ireland is no longer a safe haven for prelates who have let innocent children suffer at the hands of paedophile priests... 2009 was the year that bishops became accountable for their misdeeds and inactions. " Priests have no national conference having disbanded from fatigue of being largely iognored by know-all bishops who are still under the illusion that they are the officer corps...What may lie ahead is a slimmed-down church which may have joyous lay participation as far as liturgy is concerned but remains essentially under the rules directed by Romeward-looking bishops too afraid to champion the case with Pope Benedict for new forms of ministry allowing married male clergy, and women, married or single, to become priests. Neither Cardinal Brady nor Archbishop Martin support these aspirations which have been favoured for at least twenty years now by the vast majority of Irish Catholics..."
Thank you, John Cooney for this article.
I am heartened by the pressure that Catholics in Ireland have brought to bear on the hierarchy. It is long overdue. Yes, the people turned up the heat and the prelates fell on the croziers, as they should.
The fallout has been deeply felt especially by the older generation.
My cousin, Noreen, from County Laois told me that two elderly women, devout church-goers, told her that they were no longer attending Mass as a result of this horrific scandal. It takes a lot to shake the faith of our elders, but the Murphy report of the sex abuse of minors in the Dublin Archdiocese has been a tipping point for many.
But will the Vatican get the message, or will it be business as usual?
If Irish Catholics insist on a decision-making role in the selection of bishops, and in parish, diocesan and national councils, then this could be a first step. Perhaps, they will lead the way in moving away from an unaccountable, hierarchial church to a more open, participatory church, where they people are partners in decision-making.
I hope the Irish call on married priests and women priests to serve the community. In the early Celtic Christian community, Ireland had both married priests and woman priests. It is your ancient heritage. Why not reclaim it?
The institutional church cannot continue to discriminate against women and deprive the church of the gifts that women bring to heal and transform the Body of Christ. Ireland has taken the lead with two women presidents, why not now with women priests and bishops?
May St. Brigit of Kildare, leader and bishop pray for us.
Bridget Mary Meehan

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: "Let's think outside the rectory" by Bishop Fritz Lobinger/South Africa

Let’s think outside the rectory
The critical lack of priests is making the Eucharist an endangered species. It's time to consider a new kind of ministry among God's people, says this bishop.
By Bishop Fritz Lobinger, the retired bishop of Aliwal, South Africa
"Mmusong is a small but vibrant Catholic community of about 700 high in the mountains of South Africa. On Sundays the simple church building is full, but most of the time not for Mass, only for a service of the Word. Mass is something rare in Mmusong. The priest of the distant parish center serves nine communities, and he is able to celebrate Mass in Mmusong only once a month..."

"Ordaining proven local leaders could thus be the starting point for a solution. Because the majority of proven local leaders are women, it is unavoidable that the question of their inclusion among ordained elders will arise, though present church law does not permit it. .."

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: "Why laity must help choose bishops" in Irish Independent

Why laity must help choose bishops
Our Rome-appointed bishops have been playing the Vatican's game of Pass the Parcel, says Tim Pat Coogan

"GIVEN the scale of what is happening in the Irish Catholic Church, debating the departure of five auxiliary bishops has all the rich, ripe irrelevance to the gravity of the situation as had Taoiseach Brian Cowen's axing of five junior ministers.
The only meaningful departure would be that of the Pope himself. As Cardinal Ratzinger he was probably the best informed man in the Vatican, being both Prefect of the powerful Congregation of the Faith and Dean of the College of Cardinals. These offices mean that he was privy to the ever swelling tide of reports on clerical sex abuse which poured into the Vatican during his tenure in office, from every diocese in the world... "