Friday, February 26, 2010

Caucus on "Religions and Violence Against Women"

On the occasion of the 54th Commission on the Status of Women (March 1 - 12, 2010), members of St. Joan's International Alliance will gather in New York at the United Nations to represent the Alliance, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). Over 2,000 NGO reps from around the world are expected for this Commission, which will focus on "Beijing + 15."

Our caucus, "RELIGIONS (starting with our own) AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN" continues the many years' work of the Alliance in the League of Nations and the United Nations to end gender discrimination against women. When religions and society collude in discrimination, women (and their children) are deprived and endangered.

The caucus will be held on Wednesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. and Thursday, March 11 at 3 p.m. at the Presbyterian Conference Room in the Church Building. Outside the UN: Saturday, March 6, 10 a.m.

Speakers Rev. Gabriella Ward, Dr. Catherine Kroeger and Dr. Pat Burke ("Repression of Women in Scripture and in Society: Is There a Connection?")

Location: Pilgrim Church, 75 Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights, where the voices of Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln still linger to encourage us.

Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska, (859-684-4247)
Dr. Dorothy Irvin (612-387-3784)

Excommunication, Coverups and Corruption in the Roman Catholic Church

A Reflection by Ken Chaison

"I don’t think that I am afraid of being excommunicated by a church where abuse of children was kept secret for decades, and where enablers, like Cardinal Law, have been promoted. Law was whisked off to Rome and given a prestigious post, probably to keep him out of the limelight, not to mention the grasp of any criminal proceedings which might have ensued. Of course there are no courts in the U.S. where bishops would be tried for conspiracy because prosecutors are elected in this country and politicians want the endorsement of the bishops to engender the ‘catholic’ vote. (At minimum, they don’t want the bishops to oppose them.)
Actually, I like to think that these men have excommunicated themselves in the eyes of God for their actions. And the pope, as pope, and in his prior position as “Defender of the Faith,” had a lot of power in selecting the enablers, probably knew about the abusers and ‘turned a blind eye’ for decades, so he is responsible too.
The Pope recently convened a summit of Irish bishops over 325 claims of abuse in Ireland. Some bishops there have resigned or offered to do so. There are thousands of claims in the U.S., but no summit here; no resignations here. A bishop in Canada also recently resigned over pornography – he did not even touch any kids.
But there is no outrage over the thousands of lives affected in the U.S. It is all very arbitrary and corrupt.If I were excommunicated, I think that I would have some T-shirts made up. “I have been excommunicate by the Pope….. Ask me about it.” It might start some lively conversations."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Reflection on the Sex Abuse Scandal in Ireland: Vatican Accountability and Spiritual Power

After reflecting on the articles, a few things are apparent to me.
1. The Murphy report of sex abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin connected the dots and held the Vatican accountable. It was not just criminal priests, bishops who hid the abuse, a criminal justice system that failed, but the Vatican itself who refused to answer questions of its role in the debacle that is like a cancer destroying the moral fiber of our church. These two articles below reach the conclusion that motivated the Irish bishops to travel to Rome. The bishops operated under orders from headquarters.

2. The U.S. media has largely ignored and/or under-reported the story of Vatican accountability. Why?

3. Radical Reform is needed in a church that punishes faithful Catholics like Roman Catholic Womenpriests with excommunication, but ignores or covers-up , from the top-down, the criminal behavior of pedophiles and and the bishops who shuffled them from parish to parish, country to country.

4. Ask yourself, what would Jesus, who had male and female disciples do? In the Gospel, he welcomes the children, gathers them in his arms and speaks out against harming them. What do you think Jesus would say to the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church today about the sex abuse scandal that has destroyed so many lives?

5. The greatest abuse is the abuse of spiritual power. The hierarchial model must be transformed to a discipleship of equals model where all are one and all united in God's love in mutual service. All of us are empowered by our baptism to live vibrant lives of faith united with God and one another. No one, not the bishop or pope, has the power to throw us out of the family! Excommunication does not cancel our baptism! We the people have the spiritual power we need to live holy, faithful lives in love with God and with others.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Justine Mc Carthy,"We can't have faith in a church with these leaders"
"On May 29, 2008 he issued a decree that any woman attempting to be ordained a priest, or any bishop who assists her, would be excommunicated. The gravity with which the powers-that-be in Rome regard the outrage of a woman’s priestly vocation is reflected in the severity of the punishment. For priests who rape children, the worst possible punishment is defrocking, but a woman attempting to join the clerical club is denied the sacraments — including the last rites — and her eternal soul is damned. A Louisiana-born priest, Roy Bourgeois, was excommunicated in 2008 for participating in a “mock ordination” of a woman. "

and Marci A. Hamilton's article, "The Pieces of the Puzzle are Falling into Place: Catholic Officials, a Global Web of Childhood Sexual Abuse, and the Judgment of History"

"Meanwhile, at the same time that the Irish bishops were demanding accountability from the Holy See, discovery in a Wisconsin case -- as I discussed in my last column -- showed that the Holy See and in particular, then-Cardinal Ratzinger (who, of course, is now the Pope) were the official handlers for abusing priests in the United States. The exchanges that litigation unearthed show that there is little question that bishops operated under orders from the highest levels of the Roman Catholic hierarchy on the issue of clergy who had been caught sexually abusing children. "

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Article on Irish Sex Abuse Scandal : Oath of Secrecy Required of Victims by Vatican

The Sunday Times
February 21, 2010
Justine McCarthy: We can’t have faith in a church with these leaders

For the people who run the Vatican these days to present themselves as unaligned and uncontaminated watchdogs patrolling the safety of the faithful in Ireland against the criminal negligence of the bishops is redolent of the days when the IRA and Sinn Fein protested that they were two separate and distinct organisations. The catalyst for 24 Irish bishops travelling to Rome last week was, supposedly, Judge Yvonne Murphy’s exposure of a cover-up of child sexual abuse by priests. Inherently salient to that cover-up was a Vatican document entitled Crimen Sollicitationis, which deals with the sin of soliciting in the confessional and extends its jurisdiction to the “worst crime” of child sexual abuse in a small paragraph at the back of the document. It rules that anyone making an accusation against a priest must take an oath of secrecy, as Marie Collins, who was abused by a priest in Crumlin children’s hospital, has attested happened to her.
When the Murphy Commission wrote to the CDF in September 2006, the year after Levada’s appointment as prefect by Benedict, it requested information about the promulgation of Crimen Sollicitationis. The CDF did not reply. It wrote instead to the Department of Foreign Affairs, bleating that the commission was flouting diplomatic protocols, despite the commission being independent of the government. "

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fr. Roy Bourgeois: Breaking Silence on Women's Ordination: Addresses Abuse of Power by Hierarchy, Makes Case for Women Priests /Florida

Fr. Roy Bourgeois addresses issue of Sexism/Justice
for women called to priesthood
in Roman Catholic Church. (See clips below)

Maryknoll priest, Fr. Roy Bourgeois Makes Case for Women Priests, Addresses Abuse of Power by Hierarchy to large gathering in Sarasota, Florida on Feb. 20, 2010, See clips of Fr. Roy's presentation:
Fr. Roy Bourgeois Breaks Silence on Women's Ordination, Challenges Hierarchy, Affirms Women Priests' Movement/Sarasota, Florida.
Maryknoll priest, Fr. Roy Bourgeois spoke to over 150 people in Sarasota, Florida on Feb. 20, 2010 at St. Andrew United Church of Christ. A soft-spoken gentle presence, Fr. Roy humbly shared the story of his journey from serving in Vietnam to serving as a Maryknoll priest in Bolivia. He was shocked by the poverty that he saw there and became aware that the U.S. government was supporting the institutions that propped up dictatorships and impoverished the majority of the people in South America. The United States military trained Latin American soldiers who engaged in torture techniques and death squads in their home countried. Fr. Roy started the School of the Americas Watch to close this facility located in Ft. Benning, Georgia. In 2010, Fr. Roy has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work that has brought thousands of supporters to work for the closure of this facility.
On Aug. 9, 2008, Fr. Roy attended the ordination of a woman priest, Janice Sevre Duszynska in lexington, Kentucky. The Vatican responded immediately by demanding that he recant or be automatically excommunicated. The Maryknoll Community continues to support Fr. Roy and he receives numerous requests to speak to supporters of women priests.
In his presentation, Fr. Roy Bourgeois made a powerful case for women priests, citing Jesus example and the early tradition of women in ordained ministry in our church. Citing patriarchy as the problem, Fr. Roy pointed out that there have been 12,000 reported cases of sex abuse by RC clergy in the U.S. Not one priest or bishop who covered up this abuse was excommunicated. Yet, women who are ordained and those who attend their ordinations are excommunicated. "This is the real scandal," Fr. Roy said sadly, and he raised the keynote issue of his presentation: "Who are we to say that God is not calling women to serve as priests?" One could hear a pin drop in the church!
Fr. Roy challenged the bullying methods of intimidation that the bishops are using to instill fear in the hearts of the faithful. Some Catholics, he noted, are afraid of even being seen at his talks in case they might lose their jobs if they are reported to the diocese! This abuse of power that is rooted in patriarchy. Like racism, sexism in the church must be resisted and changed.
Concluding on a positive note, Fr. Roy said that no threat, not even excommunication, will stop the movement for justice for women in the church. Yes, indeed, the Spirit is a'moving in our midst and women priests are here to stay, even if the hierarchy doesn't like it!

Dr.Dorothy Irvin presents Levi Award offered by The Minnesota St. Joan's Community together with Lydia's Gathering to Courageous Catholics, Witnesses for Justice and Equality for Women in the Church.
Dr. Dorothy Irvin, Roman Catholic, theologian and archaeologist, explained that Levi was one of the apostles. She stated that in the Gospel of Mary, Levi stood up for Mary Magdalene when she was attacked by Peter.
The Levi award is presented to individuals who have been punished for their courage in standing up for justice for women in the church. The first recepient was Fr. Roy Bourgeois whose attendance at a woman priest ordination resulted in an automatic excommunication from the Vatican.
On Feb. 20, 2010, Dr. Irvin presented the Levi Award to Sister Louise Akers who was prohibited from teaching in any organization, including parishes, directly related to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The second recepient of the Levi Award was Ruth Kolpack who was fired by Bishop Morlino from the pastoral position that she held for 26 years at St. Thomas Parish in Wisconsin.
This prestigous award was presented to both these women for their courageous witness to Gospel equality.
Since, neither of these women could be present, Jack and Helen Duffy, leaders in the Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, accepted the award on their behalf.
Brief Clip introducing award: