Friday, January 15, 2010

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Excommunication and Sainthood--Our Future?

In December 2009, Pope Benedict signed a decree that cleared the way for Mother Mary MacKillop's canonization in 2010. Mother MacKillop will be Australia's first saint.

Sister of St. Joseph, Pauline Morgan said: "She was a woman of courage... and a woman of action... When she saw a need like the poor children not being educated, or the elderly in distress..."whenever there was a need she tried to do something about it."

Her daring spirit led to clashes with the local church officials that resulted in excommunication and the disbanding of her religious order. The hierarchy objected to the Sisters living in remote areas where they served farm workers and laborers. Later the bishop, who had initiated the excommunciation, lifted the unjust censure and a church commission vindicated Mother Mary MacKillop and the Sisters.

In 2005, Pope Benedict canonized Mother Theodore Guerin, another pioneering woman, who during her lifetime was also excommunicated by her local bishop.

Is Pope Benedict sending a message that faith-filled women who follow their consciences and who endure the wrath of the hierarachy, including excommunication can become role models for the whole church? The good news is that excommunication is not a barrier to canonization. It is certainly true that the hierarchy has a track record of excommunicating holy women in one century, then canonizing them in another century. Some things never change! For many, the most painful persecution comes from within one's own faith family. For others, it may be a badge of honor and a possible fast track to holiness!

Pope Benedict excommunicated Roman Catholic Womenpriests in 2008. I wonder how long it will take the Vatican to recognize our movement as a prophetic gift leading the Catholic Church into its future as an inclusive community, where women take their rightful places as equals, and where justice is a reality for all God's people.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: "Women and Religion" by Nicholas Kristof in New York Times

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: "Women and Religion" New York Times
by Nicholas Kristof
"Religions derive their power and popularity in part from the ethical compass they offer. So why do so many faiths help perpetuate something that most of us regard as profoundly unethical: the oppression of women?" ...
"Jimmy Carter says that religion is one of the " basic causes of the violation of women's rights."
Carter is a member of the Elders, a small group of eminent religous leaders headed by Nelson Mandela.
"The Elders are focusing on the role of religion in oppressing women and they have issued a joint statement calling on religious leaders to "'change all discriminatory practices within their own religions and traditions.'"

Bridget Mary Meehan's Reflection
The Elders provide a beacon of hope that justice for women in all religions is now on the front burner of our international leaders' agenda. Religions and religious leaders can no longer oppress women and blame God for it. No longer can religion be manipulated to justify the violation of women's God-give rights as equal human beings in the family of God.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Priests' Council in Los Angeles Support U.S. Women Religious/Vatican Investigation in NCR

by Thomas C. Fox on Jan. 12, 2010

The statement follows another one of support by the California bishops last November.
Here's what the LA priests wrote:
"During this Year for Priests we, the Council of Priests in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, have become more aware of our dept of gratitude to those who support and work with us in ministry. We wish to join our voices with our people and fellow priests throughout the country in expressing gratitude to Women Religious in America for their lives of service to the Church."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Bishop Bridget Mary dedicates Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community in Ft. Myers

On January 10,2010, Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP, dedicated and blessed Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Church in Ft. Myers, Florida. This diverse congregation, made up of people of many cultures, languages, races and all states of life gave the bishop a warm welcome.
Bishop Bridget Mary blessed the sacred space and the people with water and anointed the table , the walls, and crosses with oil. The gathered assembly sang heartily "This little light of Mine, Amazing Grace, I'v Got that Joy, Joy, down in my heart, Holy Ground and When the Saints Go Marching In" The homily given by Pastor Judy Lee with the people's participation emphasized that at Jesus' baptism, God affirmed Jesus saying "You are my beloved, on you, my favors."; and also that God affirms each member of the Boday of Christ as God's beloved, charging us , in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, to do right and act for justice. This congregation knows well the pain of living on the outside, but God who shows no partiality chooses each of us to serve regardless of whether, black or white, American or foreign-born, male or female. The church was packed, the media came, and all particpated in this joyful Mass. All were welcome at the Banquet table of Christ's love, which was followed by a hot meal and festivities. The food was prepared by members of CTA, Lamb of God Lutheran-Episcopal and the members of Good Shepherd.