Saturday, April 3, 2010

Vatican Waited Years to Defrock Arizona Priest
April 3, 2010
AP: Vatican waited years to defrock Arizona priest
Associated Press Writer
"The tragedy is that the bishops have only two choices: Follow the Vatican's code of secrecy and delay, or leave the church," Cadigan, the victims' lawyer, said Friday. "...There's no doubt that Ratzinger delayed the defrocking process of dangerous priests who were deemed 'satanic' by their own bishop," Lynne Cadigan, an attorney who represented two of Teta's victims, said Friday."

Exiled Pedophie Priest May Have Continued Abuse by Susan Saulny and Laurie Goodstein in New York Times
April 2, 2010
Exiled Pedophile Priest May Have Continued Abuse

"Those interviews and documents suggested that Father Murphy, who is accused of molesting as many as 200 boys at the school near Milwaukee, also used his family’s lakefront cottage as a lure in his sexual advances, bringing youths from the school into his home beginning at least in the early 1960s.

What has recently come to light in fresh documents and interviews is that he was in the company of boys not only from the Milwaukee area but in the Northwoods region. Two in the area have accused Father Murphy of abuse, one at the isolated family cottage and the other, as late as 1978, at a youth detention center near Boulder Junction."

Good News: Bishop Dewane washed women's feet on Holy Thursday in the Diocese of Venice, Florida

Rejoice Catholics of the Diocese of Venice, Bishop Frank Dewane washed the feet of some women on Holy Thursday!
According to a Sarasota Herald Tribune article, Bishop Dewane sent a letter to his priests reminding them of the rule that women's feet were not to be washed on Holy Thursday. Some pastors followed the directive, some did not. Bishop Dewane did not follow his own directive. What happenened?
Does this represent a change of heart by Bishop Dewane?
Let's hope so.
Bridget Mary Meehan,RCWP

Ratzinger's Responsibility: Scandalous Wrongs cannot be glossed over, we need a change of attitude/Hans Kung
Ratzinger's Responsibility
'Scandalous wrongs cannot be glossed over, we need a change of attitude'
Mar. 18, 2010
By Hans K√ľng
"Is it not time for Pope Benedict XVI himself to acknowledge his share of responsibility, instead of whining about a campaign against his person? No other person in the Church has had to deal with so many cases of abuse crossing his desk. Here some reminders":

"...In his five years as Archbishop of Munich, repeated cases of sexual abuse at least by one priest transferred to his Archdiocese have come to light. His loyal Vicar General, my classmate Gerhard Gruber, has taken full responsibility for the handling of this case, but that is hardly an excuse for the Archbishop, who is ultimately responsible for the administration of his diocese.
In his 24 years as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, from around the world, all cases of grave sexual offences by clerics had to be reported, under strictest secrecy ("secretum pontificum"), to his curial office, which was exclusively responsible for dealing with them. Ratzinger himself, in a letter on "grave sexual crimes" addressed to all the bishops under the date of 18 May, 2001, warned the bishops, under threat of ecclesiastical punishment, to observe "papal secrecy" in such cases.
In his five years as Pope, Benedict XVI has done nothing to change this practice with all its fateful consequences.

Anglican Leader: Irish Church Lost All Credibility

Anglican leader: Irish church lost all credibility
Associated Press Writer

The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has lost all credibility because of its mishandling of abuse by priests, the leader of the Anglican church said in remarks released Saturday. A leading Catholic archbishop said he was "stunned" by the comments...

"The Catholic Church has been rocked by sex abuse scandals in countries such as the United States, Germany and Ireland, where Cardinal Sean Brady faces calls for his resignation following allegations that he played a role in helping to cover up activities of pedophile priests."

"The pope himself has come under fire, with critics accusing Benedict - who as a Vatican cardinal directed the Holy See's policy on handling abuse cases - was part of a culture of secrecy intended to protect church hierarchy."

Link to CBS Story on 1963 Letter Suggests Pope Knew of Abuse and Katha Pollitt's article: "The Catholc Church's Blnd Spot" Link to Phil Inquirer Story

1963 Letter Suggests Pope Knew of Abuse

April 2, 2010
The Catholic Church's Blind Spot?
Katha Pollitt: Again, We're Learning that the Cover-up Is Worse Than the Crime

(The Nation) Katha Pollitt's writing has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, The London Review of Books, the Washington Post and the New York Times. Her new book of poems, The Mind-Body Problem, has just been published by Random House.

"In the succinct words of Jodi Jacobson, editor of, "Why is a pedophilia-ridden, pedophilia-hiding, child-abusing Church allowed to write laws controlling women's rights?" To which one might add: what gives a church in which celibacy is equated with holiness, in which males have almost all the power, the right to a place at the table where laws are made about women's bodies? The same institution that has dealt so indulgently with its ordained pedophiles had no problem excommunicating a Brazilian mother who sought an abortion for her 9-year-old daughter, raped and impregnated with twins by her stepfather, or pushing for laws in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Chile banning abortion even to save the woman's life. "
.... And as Jacobson details, it was the Conference of Catholic Bishops that worked alongside Republican Congressmen Chris Smith, Joe Pitts and Mike Pence to insert last-minute language denying HIV-positive women access to contraceptives and favoring abstinence-only-until-marriage policies in the 2008 President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief."

strong>Phila. protest of clergy sex abuse is small | Philadelphia ...
Philadelphia Inquirer
In 2006, DiFranco, a public school nurse in Philadelphia, was ordained by the organization Roman Catholic Womenpriests - an act the Catholic Church does not ...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Head of German Bishops Conference Admits Clerics Neglected Victims to Protect Church/Vatican Still Defensive

"While Cantalamessa delivered his ringing defense of the pontiff, the church in Benedict's native Germany made the unusually frank admission that it failed to help victims of clerical abuse because it wanted to protect its reputation."

"Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of the German bishops' conference, said clerics neglected helping victims because of a "wrongly intended desire to protect the church's reputation."

<strong>The Vatican needs to end its denials, tell the truth, open up its records, remove the bishops who kept pedophiles in ministry, (stop promoting them like Cardinal Law) and chart a new path toward a more open, accountable, church with standards of accountability for all including the Pope and bishops. An independent truth commission that would deal with the sex abuse crisis -its causes and remedies is now necessary. The German bishops have taken a step in the right direction in admitting that there is a problem. The Vatican should do likewise. It is the first step toward healing.
Bridget Mary Meehan

Holy Thursday: "Washing of Feet"- Women and Men at Home Mass

Some members of Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community gathered to celebrate a joyful house church liturgy on Holy Thursday to commemorate the one year anniversary of Mary, Sheila Carey's Mother, who died last year on April 8th. Priest Lee Breyer and Bridget Mary Meehan washed the feet of women and men who chose to celebrate this biblical ritual as a sign of Jesus'call to serve one another.

Article in Austrian Newspaper about Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger

Article in Austrian Newspaper: Positive Impact of Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger,
one of our first bishops in RCWP, who along with Gisela Forster and Patricia Fresen at a later date was ordained by a male bishop with full apostolic succession

Sister Thea Bowman's Reflection on Living Holy Week

Late nun's plea to live Holy Week still resonates
Sister Thea Bowman's Reflection

"Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy within our families, sharing family prayer on a regular basis, making every meal a holy meal where loving conversations bond family members in unity, sharing family work without grumbling, making love not war, asking forgiveness for past hurts and forgiving one another from the heart, seeking to go all the way for love as Jesus went all the way for love.
Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy with the needy, the alienated, the lonely, the sick and afflicted, the untouchable...
May our fasting be the kind that saves and shares with the poor, that actually contacts the needy, that gives heart to heart, that touches and nourishes and heals.
During this Holy Week when Jesus gave his life for love, let us truly love one another."

Triduum and Easter Poems by Roberta Meehan


Triduum poems originally written in 2003, Resurrection written in 1999
Original copyright 2003. Updated © 2010 – Roberta M. Meehan

Holy Thursday

The meal complete, he looks around.
Are they ready? His humanity wonders.
Challenge and pain curl his brow.
And emptiness closes his eyes.
Tightness grips his chest as he surrenders to the moment.

Then back – a slight smile spreads across his lips.
A laugh teeters in his throat.
Now! he thinks. Now! Now is the time.

They look at him – not knowing what to expect.
Wondering what he is thinking, planning….

He reaches for the breadbasket
And pulls it toward himself.
He chooses a small loaflet.
Elbows on the table, piercing dark eyes in a gentle teaching mode….
“Do you know what this is?”

Disbelief shrouds their sighs.
“A remnant of bread?” ventures one.
“From our Passover meal?”
“Not so,” he instructs. “Not so.”
“Think!” He pauses. “Think and watch.”

His attention shifts to his cup.
He toys the edge and again questions them.
“Do you know what this is?”
“Your wine?” One asks.
“You haven’t finished your wine. Do you need more? We have plenty.”

He becomes somber.
“No. Not so. You do not understand. Think. Think and watch.”

He studies the bread – contemplating, visioning.
A serious focus embraces the wine.
Back and forth he gazes, blessing and knowing –
Past and future merge!
Bread and wine converge on NOW!

He holds the bread, intently, carefully.
“This, “ he instructs, “This is my body!”

“Here, take it!” A commanding offer. “Take it and eat it.”
His eyes meet the first and move from one to another.
“All of you! Eat it!” And they do.

He holds his wine cup – studying it, swirling it.
“And this,” he says, “This is the cup of my blood! This is the cup of salvation
Which will be shed for you and for many.
Here. Take this cup and drink from it.”
Again their eyes meet.
“All of you! Drink from it!” And they do.

Solemnity falls on those assembled.
They look each to the other.
They know only vaguely the enormity of what has happened.

He looks lovingly, sadly, at each of them.
“You,” he says. “Now you are my body; now you are my blood!
Furthermore, I tell you to do this. Do this in remembrance of me!
Do this until the end of time! And I am with you!”

He looks down. They become – all of them – one in him and he in them.
And he whispers, “It is finished!”

Good Friday

Beyond reality
Beyond the pain
Nothing matters; fulfilling the mission
“This is why I am here.”
Focus – the journey nears its end.

Why do they scourge me?
Romans – Jews – doesn’t make sense
Who are they? Doing a job
Why do they crown me? Doing a job
Forgive them; forgive them; forgive them.

Where are they? My family, my friends
Last night – I gave them me
Now, where are they? I need them!
Did they leave me?
So alone! Why?

Carrying the cross – heavy – help
Hold the end – thank you
Wipe my face – yes. Thank you.
Grateful – can’t think.
Falling, falling, falling.

Nails, nails, nails –
Support my arms!
Trouble breathing
Ease my pain
Fog my thoughts!

Stripped naked
All of me – hanging from a tree
Nothing hidden – nothing ever hidden
No shame
I am me; stripped as me.

Thirst – terrible thirst
Sweat – blood – no, not gall!
Oh – worse – why – doing a job
They don’t know what they are doing.
Forgive them; forgive them; forgive them.

Crowds mocking me. Friends too.
Scorning me.
Saying terrible things
They don’t know what they are doing.
Forgive them; forgive them; forgive them.

Two men here
One understands – he’ll be with me
The other doesn’t know.
Forgive him; forgive him; forgive him.

Family and friends
I see some now.
My mother – my beloved
Others too
Hold each other! Love each other! Love each other!

Am I forsaken?
Am I delirious?
Take my spirit!
Forgive them!
It is finished!

Holy Saturday

The barren cross bespeaks the truth.
He is gone; he is not here.
Unfilled promises and empty dreams
Engulf and strangle the ones who are near.

Behind the rock his body lies
Entombed in silence in a borrowed grave,
Stilled from life, alone in a shroud,
Transcending time but ensouling the now.

What did he teach them, and what did they learn?
How could he leave them forlorn and afraid?
He taught them to love; he gave them himself.
He instilled in them hope and a reason to be.

They look around and try to make sense
Of the emptiness and their fear-filled lives.
They try to make sense of his cross and his death.
They try to make sense of the time they have lost.

They look around and try to make sense
Of the Passover meal, the bread and the wine.
It’s all a blur, they feel so lost.
Nothingness fills the sorrowing, empty day.

They wait in agony to go to the tomb
To mourn, to sit, to hope, and to pray.
Their loss on this Sabbath is much more profound.
His echoing words – for whom was this Sabbath made?

They’ll go in the morning to prepare his remains.
There is nothing left of this Sabbath of God.
He gave himself in the bread and the wine.
He gave himself in his death on the cross.

And now they wait for the promise of life,
For the promise of hope in the bread and the wine,
For the promise he gave to always be near.
Could they find meaning in his death on the cross?


"Where is he?" Desperate scream --
Anguished widow-church at the empty tomb

Her Self detached
-- as stark reality impaled her
-- as emptied bowels contorted her.

The oneness they were
The embodiment of unity -- the bounds of creation
Diversity branching from unity -- divinity ensouling humanity

She was his beloved - his moment of creation.
This is my body!
And she consumed him and he was hers.

The hope, the kingdom,
The church they would build
The promises -- dashed and broken

Hanging from the cross
Crushed and buried
This is my body!

And now -- wrenched from her very soul
Even his body -- no more --
Taken -- this last violation.

Alone -- too drained for fear, she moved
Each step bearing the weight of the unsaved world.

"Mary!" She turned.

Involution of unclaimed brilliance
Exploded in one majestic NOW.

Their eyes met
Joy erupted from the very fonts of their beings.
Reaching fingers touched.

And once more -- divinity engulfed humanity.
This is my body!

Resurrection Revision -- ©2009 Roberta M. Meehan

copyright updated in 2010

"Dear Pope, Call Me'' by Marie Fortune

"Words are important but actions are the real test. Anyone who knew and did nothing or knew and covered it up should no longer be in a position of authority in the church. Holding individual bishops and administrators accountable would speak volumes.
Stop expecting any sympathy from the flock; you don’t deserve it.
Stop being defensive and complaining that the media coverage is a “pretext for attacking the Church.” You created this problem by not responding to disclosures of abuse and by trying to hide them instead of dealing with them."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Hire Female Clergy" Letter in USA Today by Fr. Roy Bourgeois
Hire female clergy
The Rev. Roy Bourgeois - Columbus, Ga.

As a Catholic priest for 38 years, I am both sad and angry because the sexual abuse scandal in my church continues to claim more victims, now in Germany.

My instincts tell me that this coverup, silence and indifference toward the victims would not have happened if the Catholic Church had women priests and women bishops.

(Negative view: The favorable view of Pope Benedict XVI fell from 63% of adults — his personal best in the USA in 2008, when he visited New York and Washington D.C. — to 40%, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll./Andrew Medichini, AP.)

Posted at 12:10 AM/ET, April 01, 2010 in Letter to the editor, Religion - Letters | Permalink

An Unholy Holy Week: Is the All-Male Rule of the Roman Catholic Church Self-Destructing?
by Anne Eggebroten
"In the United States, he has approved an ongoing investigation of nuns whose social activism ranges from anti-war activity to challenging the Roman Catholic ban on contraception, married priests, women priests, and acceptance of same-sex relationships. But there’s no investigation of the reasons why widespread sexual activity by priests persists; whether it be child sexual abuse, affairs with parishioners, or “marriages” surrounded by a conspiracy of silence."

It is time for Catholics to take back our church from the control of the hierarchy!
Call for a renewed, reform church with women priests, married priests, an end to mandatory celibacy and structures of accountability for all including the Pope and the bishops. I agree that the all-male leadership of the church is adrift and it is time for change. Allwe need to ask is what Jesus would do now, and do it. Since Mary of Magdala was the first witness to encounter the Risen Christ, we know that women are equal members of the believing community. It is time for the hierarchy to call on women to be partners and equals in our church in all ministries including a renewed priestly ministry that is united with the people we serve.
Bridget Mary Meehan

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

National Catholic Reporter: Stories on Vatican Sex Abuse Scandal loyalties: an incredible situation
by Joan Chittister on Mar. 17, 2010

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- the record straight on Benedict and the crisis
by John L Allen Jr on Mar. 26, 2010

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Under the Bus
by Michael Sean Winters on Mar. 31, 2010


The Vatican's Betrayal: by Erin Saiz Hanna, Executive Director of WOC

MEDIA CONTACT: Erin Saiz Hanna, +1 (202) 675-1006

The Vatican's Betrayal
Statement from Executive Director Erin Saiz Hanna

WASHINGTON, DC - "Tomorrow, Roman Catholics globally will join together for feast of Holy Thursday, to commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus the Christ and welcome the Easter Triduum, the holiest days for Catholics. It was during the Last Supper that Jesus gave those gathered a new commandment ---to "love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another," only to be betrayed by Judas.

Like Jesus, Roman Catholics everywhere have been betrayed − again. The latest Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal which implicates Pope Benedict XVI, the former Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, in a sex abuse case is beyond belief for Catholics worldwide. How can these crimes still be coming to light when the Vatican has been made aware of the magnitude of the crisis? How is it possible that leaders of the Vatican still have not come clean about pedophile cases that were not properly addressed?

For far too long, the all-male boys club has covered up decades of abuse with lies and secrets that have put our most vulnerable in severe danger, a far cry from Jesus' commandment to live a life of love.

The Women's Ordination Conference calls for an official opening of the discussion on women's ordination. In a church reeling from abuse, scandal, and oppression, it's long overdue for the Vatican to use all of its resources to work toward a solution.

For far too long, only ordained, male, celibate clergy have dictated-or tried to dictate-how Catholics worship, pray and make decisions. Canon 1024, which states that only men can validly receive the sacrament of ordination, is unjust and does not value the gospel message of Jesus. It must be changed.

We are calling on our members to take action: express their outrage and call for accountability and equality to their local priests and parish leaders, reach out to victims and take steps to make sure children are protected now, write letters to the U.S. Bishops, and discontinue all financial contributions that benefit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

When women are full and equal partners in every aspect of the Catholic Church, only then, will the Roman Catholic Church be associated with accountability, transparency and justice rather than hierarchy, exclusion, and scandal. Until then, we will continue to raise our collective voices and organize actions that will bring our church closer to the gospel values of Jesus."

Should There Be an Inquisition for the Pope? by Maureen Dowd/New York Times

Should There Be an Inquisition for the Pope?
Published: March 30, 2010
New York Times
"It doesn’t seem right that the Catholic Church is spending Holy Week practicing the unholy art of spin.
Complete with crown-of-thorns imagery, the church has started an Easter public relations blitz defending a pope who went along with the perverse culture of protecting molesters and the church’s reputation rather than abused — and sometimes disabled and disadvantaged — children.
The church gave up its credibility for Lent. Holy Thursday and Good Friday are now becoming Cover-Up Thursday and Blame-Others Friday. "...

European Bishops Urge Victims to Go to the Police/A Step in the Right Direction

European bishops urge victims to go to the police

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- "European bishops are urging clerical sex abuse victims to go to police and are promising more transparency and cooperation with civil authorities in abuse cases.

<strong>Finally, a step in the right direction. The sins of the Fathers and the coverup by the bishops are now being recognized as crimes against children and youth that should be investigated by civil authoriities. Since 1950, an estimated 280,000 children have been sexually abused by Catholic Clergy according to statistics from the John Jay School of Criminal Justice.
Jesus would weep at the violation of precious children.
Let us offer our support and prayers for all those who have been violated by our clergy. Let us call Catholics to take action to reform our church so that all are accountable including the Pope and Bishops. Let us change the structure of our church from a authoritarian, hierarchy to a collaborative, inclusive, people-empowered community. Let us hold all members of the Catholic family in loving prayer during this global crisis as we open our hearts to the Spirit and pray for the renewal of our beloved church.

Bridget Mary Meehan

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Catholics Should Stop Giving in Response to Bishop Dewane's Directive on Foot Washing
Dear Editor,
In response to your article on "A gender debate on foot washing", Catholics in Southwest Florida, who believe in gender equality, should stop giving and see if Bishop Dewane changes his directive on washing women's feet on Holy Thursday. The meaning of the foot washing is that Jesus gave us an example of mutual service. So why should priests not wash the feet of women who do so much work in local parishes?
The bible tells us that Jesus washed his disciples feet. Women were among Jesus' closest disciples. The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala and told her to "go and tell" the apostles the Good News of the Resurrection. The church fathers called Mary, the "apostle to the apostles". So,on what grounds does the Catholic Church hierarchy refuse to wash women's feet? Is this another example of sexism? If so, Catholics need to take action.
Bridget Mary Meehan
Roman Catholic Womanbishop
serving the Southern Region
Sarasota, Florida

Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of Venice in Florida
A gender debate on foot washing
By Todd Ruger
Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 1:00 a.m.
"In a move that brings a national debate home to Southwest Florida Catholic churches, Bishop Frank Dewane has reminded priests that only men should have their feet washed during a pre-Easter ceremony.
Many Catholic priests in Southwest Florida have customarily washed the feet of male and female parishioners on the Thursday before Easter in a symbol of humbly serving others...

Bridget Mary Meehan: Catholic Church Needs to Denounce Global Sex Abuse Scandal/Guest Opinion/ Fort Myers-News Press

Bridget Mary Meehan:
Catholic Church needs to
denounce global sex abuse
Bridget Mary Meehan - Guest Opinion • news- • March 30, 2010

“Cry out as if you had a million voices, it is silence
that kills the world,” said St. Catherine of Siena, a
courageous reformer who lived from 1347-1380, at
a time of grave scandal when three men, each
claiming to be the pope, shook the church to its

Today, Catholics live in a time when the institutional
church has lost credibility because of the cover-up
of a global sex abuse scandal that, like a rapidly
spreading cancer, is destroying the moral fiber of
our church. "

Monday, March 29, 2010

Irish Website: Count Me Out

Take a stand for church-state separation

Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida Decrees: No Women May Have Feet Washed at Liturgy of Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday

According to a reliable source Bishop Frank Dewane sent letters to all of the pastors in the diocese,
saying that NO WOMEN may have their feet washed at the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday.
If so, this is an example of gender discrimination.
Women are created in God's image and are members of the Body of Christ.
Women of the Church in Florida, it is time to call for a boycott.
Stop giving money and talent to the Catholic Church in Florida, until the bishop acknowleges you as equal members, worthy to have your feet washed.

If Catholics stop giving, the bishop(s) will start listening!

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Catholics Need to Address Global Sex Abuse Scandal/Link to Clerical Whispers

"Catholics Need to Address Global Sex Abuse Scandal"
By Bridget Mary Meehan

“Cry out as if you had a million voices, it is silence that kills the world,” said St. Catherine of Siena, a courageous reformer who lived from 1347-1380, at a time of grave scandal when three men, each claiming to be the pope, shook the church to its foundation. Today Catholics live in a time when the institutional church has lost credibility because of the cover-up of a global sex abuse scandal that, like a rapidly spreading cancer, is destroying the moral fiber of our church. Like St. Catherine, we, the people, need to speak truth to our church leaders including our bishops and our pope. Silence is compliance. It was silence on the part of many good people that allowed world-wide atrocities such as the Holocaust and the rape and murder of hundreds of thousands of women and children in tribal warfare in Africa to continue without world intervention.

Roman Catholics can no longer be silent about the thousands of victims throughout Europe
and around the world who were sexually assaulted by Catholic clergy. The growing number of allegations of sexual abuse in Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands indicate that the cover-up of crimes against children and youth in the Catholic Church goes all the way to the Pope and the Vatican. In the U.S. the sex abuse scandal has destroyed the lives of victims and their families, bankrupted some dioceses and cost the Church over two billion dollars. Approximately two-thirds of sitting U.S. bishops were alleged in 2002 to have kept accused priests in ministry or moved them to new assignments. Nineteen bishops in the United States have been accused of sexual abuse.

The Vatican's record on child abuse was criticized at the United Nations Human Rights Council in
Geneva, Switzerland on March 16, 2010.

Pope Benedict, the former Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, has been linked to the case of a German priest convicted of molesting children but allowed to continue to minister in Ratzinger’s archdiocese for more than 30 years until his recent suspension. Later, as head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger was in charge of reviewing sexual abuse cases for the Vatican. The cases were handled under a strict code of pontifical secrecy. The Vatican has handled more than 3,000 cases, according to its own report. Since Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, is implicated in the handling of the cases, civil authorities should investigate the alleged cover-up to assure that transparency and justice is achieved.

Catholics should call on the all-male leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, especially those in the Vatican, to admit their failures, including the abuse of power at the center of this crisis. Catholics should call for the resignation of bishops who covered-up sex abuse. Standards of accountability must be the norm for all, including the pope and hierarchy.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests have called for an independent truth commission made up of a broad representation of people of integrity, including victims of abuse and the non-ordained, to examine this global sexual abuse crisis and to chart a path forward to structural change - a change which would include women priests and married priests with an end to mandatory celibacy. Now more than ever our Church needs the wisdom and experience of women to re-birth a renewed community of equals empowered by the Spirit. Roman Catholic Womenpriests offer a collaborative model of an inclusive Church rooted in partnership with the people we serve, with no one excluded. (Bridget Mary Meehan is a Roman Catholic Womanbishop serving the southern region of the U.S. She is author of 18 books and has produced television programs on prayer, spirituality, and women's issues.)

Calling for a Top-Down Reform in Catholic Church in Response to Vatican Sex Abuse Scandal: Link to Democracy Now Interview with Bridget Mary Meehan

"The Vatican has denied a series of media reports alleging that Pope Benedict, before being elected pontiff, may have looked the other way in cases of abuse in his native Germany and in the United States. Last week, the Vatican strongly defended its decision not to defrock the Wisconsin-based priest Father Lawrence Murphy, who abused some 200 deaf boys in the 1950s and ’60s. The National Catholic Reporter says the Pope must be ready to answer questions and called the scandal “the largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in church history. We speak to Bridget Mary Meehan”

A Must Read Letter on Victim's Perspective

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Secret Vatican Trials/Top-Down Shakeup Needed/ New Pentecost of Reform

In analyzing Pope Benedict's role in the catastrophic sexual abuse scandal, we need to ask: what did he know and when did he know it?

In his former job as head of the Sacred Congregation of the Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger issued a letter to the bishops that put sexual abuse cases under pontifical secrecy which meant the bishops were obliged to refer clergy sexual abuse cases to the Vatican.

We need answers to some questions about these secret Vatican trials:
1.Were the victims of sexual abuse present at these trials?
2.Were the accused clergy present?
3. If not, how could the Vatican claim that justice was done, if neither victim nor accused, were present? How could any procedure, canonical or not, be fair?
4.How many priests were "defrocked" as a result of this canonical procedure?
5.How many priests were excommunicated?

In discussing the handling of pedophile priests, Father Lombardi said that “the Code of Canon Law does not envision automatic penalties.” (NY Times article, 25 March)

The Vatican apparently has no problem applying “automatic penalties” of ex-communication on Roman Catholic Womenpriests whose mission is to serve the people of God in a renewed priestly ministry. Why has the Vatican failed to punish, in a similar way, pedophile priests and bishops who shuffled abusers from parish to parish. In some cases, bishops, like Cardnal Law, even got top jobs in the Vatican.
The people in Ireland are calling for Cardinal Sean Brady's resignation because of his involvement in a sex abuse scandal. Likewise, Catholics who love the church should demand a top-down shakeup of prelates who were involved in the coverup.

I agree with those who say it is time a major Church Council "Vatican 111". It is time to eliminate mandatory celibacy, and embrace a renewed vision of ministry that would include the non-ordained in decision-making positions as well as married priests and woman priests. We need a more open, participatory, people-empowered, Christ-centered, Spirit led church and we need it now. Only a new Pentecost of genuine renewal and major reforms will save the Catholic Church.
Bridget Mary

A Nope for Pope
Yup, we need a Nope.
A nun who is pope.
"The Catholic Church can never recover as long as its Holy Shepherd is seen as a black sheep in the ever-darkening sex abuse scandal...
The nuns have historically cleaned up the messes of priests. And this is a historic mess. Benedict should go home to Bavaria. And the cardinals should send the white smoke up the chimney, proclaiming “Habemus Mama.” "

Maureen Dowd hit another homerun with this column! Several of the nuns I know would make wonderful popes. Some in the Catholic reform movement think that Sister Joan Chittister qualifies for the job. Now, that there are womenprests, one day in the far distant future, there could be a woman pope!! Then, for sure, there will be pink smoke over the Vatican!