Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Unsanctioned Ordination: Washington's First Catholic Woman Priest"

Unsanctioned Ordination: Washington's First Catholic Woman Priest


"Washington is about to have its first Roman Catholic woman priest. Oregon has at least four. And many more serve around the country. The unsanctioned ordination will take place Saturday in Olympia.
Diane Smith Whalen says she's been called to the priesthood since she was a girl. She's a lifelong Catholic, married with two grown daughters. Has a Doctor of Ministry and works as a spiritual counselor. .."

If the church ordained women, there would be no sex abuse crisis by Eugene Kennedy, National Catholic Reporter

RCWP Judy Lee serves homeless community at Good Shepherd Inclusive Community/Ft.Myers, Florida

If the Church Ordained Women, There Would Be No Sex Abuse Crisis

NCR Online

Some years ago I asked in a column, "If the church ordained women would there be fewer abortions?" I suggested that recognizing women as fully equal with men would have obviated centuries of the repression, injustice, and pain inflicted on women and cleared the air of the edgy suspicion and anxiety with which many men, including church leaders, have regarded women throughout the centuries...

Such action would have killed Clerical Culture: Like a noxious species wiped out by a meteor before it could evolve into a monstrosity, Clerical Culture would never have come into being. Women would not have stood for it. To grow, it needed an all-male environment, an agar plate as smooth as a fairway on which women were forbidden to play..."

..."Clerical Culture was the essential breeding ground of the sex abuse crisis..."

[Eugene Cullen Kennedy is emeritus professor of psychology at Loyola University, Chicago.]

The good news is that Roman Catholic Womenpriests, validly ordained in apostolic succession, are now serving vibrant, inclusive faith communities. We are ordaining qualified candidates to serve the people of God!
Check us out at
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Friday, May 21, 2010

Editorial /America/"Pilgrim People Part 11"/ Role Played by Vatican Curia in Sex Abuse Scandal

"The less obvious part is the reform of structures of church governance that turned a deaf ear for so long to the victims and repeatedly disparaged bishops who were seeking remedies to the problems haunting their dioceses. At all levels, right down to the parish, much of the church has proven deficient in its ability to listen and interact with adult believers. But at the center of the present crisis are found members of the Roman Curia..."

"The Latin word curia means both administration, as in a government apparatus, and court, as in a company of hangers-on whose life revolves around flattery and the favor of a ruler. . "For weeks we witnessed the hard issues of sexual abuse being dodged while elderly and retired Curial officials, prodded by the press, made the red herring of Pope Benedict’s possible past mistakes the focus of their attention. Intelligent leadership was obscured by a black cloud of flattery. As it turned out, some of these same prelates stood at the very heart of the crisis, accepting payments from friends, like the disgraced Marcial Maciel, and offering high-level support to bishops for stonewalling civil authorities. What appeared to be vigorous emotional support for the pope turned out to be smokescreens for their own unconscionable actions. In those trying weeks, we witnessed the Vatican at its worst—as the last Renaissance court..."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Woman Ordained As Priest Denied Catholic Burial" RCWPJanine Denomme/ CBS/2 Chicago TV

Woman Ordained As Priest Denied Catholic Burial

"There are tough questions for the Archdiocese of Chicago after it denied a lifelong Roman Catholic a church funeral. CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports with the story of a battle a cancer victim fought until her dying breath. "

"The priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church is the world's oldest all-boys club. Women need not apply. No debate. No appeal. Protest at your own risk. Which is exactly what Janine Denomme did. "

"Janine's funeral mass will be held Saturday at a Methodist church in Evanston; though many of St. Gertrude's parishioners, perhaps even its priests, are expected to attend."

Diocese of Phenix Maligns Catholic Nun, Errs on Canon Law

For Immediate Release
20 May 2010
Media Contact:
David J. Nolan
+1 202 986 6093

Diocese of Phoenix Maligns Catholic Nun, Errs on Canon Law

The recent news about a woman in Phoenix who received an abortion in a Catholic hospital has raised again the issue of Catholics, abortion and excommunication.

The bishop of Phoenix has declared that a nun who is a hospital administrator and a member of the ethics committee is excommunicated because of her alleged action, or inaction, in regard to the pregnant woman's care.

To defend the bishop's announcement that Sister McBride was "automatically excommunicated" for her actions, the diocese has published a document called "
Questions & Answers Re: The Situation at St. Joseph's." While the questions are timely, the answers unfortunately misrepresent the church's law.

For example, one of questions reads: "Does that mean that all women who have had an abortion are excommunicated?" The incorrect answer the diocese provides reads: "Yes, anyone who has had an abortion is automatically excommunicated. But so are those who encouraged the abortion, helped to pay for the abortion, or performed the abortion, including those who directly assisted in its performance." This claim is simply not supported by Catholic canon law.

The real answer to that question is: No. Not every woman who has an abortion is excommunicated. The Catholic church's law on crimes and punishments is very strict, and, as in secular criminal law, provides a range of characteristics that would make a person incapable of committing a crime (for example, being under the age of seventeen, or acting in self-defense). There are also mitigating factors that would make a person who committed a crime ineligible for punishment or eligible only for a lesser penalty. These include people who act in fear or in case of necessity.

Another wrong answer is provided in response to this question: "From the news reports we were told that Sr. McBride also consulted with others who agreed that the abortion should be performed. Are they also excommunicated?" The diocese says: "Yes. Those Catholics who gave their consent and encouraged this abortion were also excommunicated by that very action. So too is anyone else at St. Joseph's who participated in the action; including doctors and nurses."

The real answer is, again: No. The Catholic church's law does, in limited circumstances, provide penalties for accomplices, but the scope of people who might be eligible is even smaller than in the first case. In the situation at St. Joseph's, even if all the requirements were met, the penalty of excommunication would only be available for someone whose participation was so necessary that the abortion would not have been provided without his or her action. It's not clear that this is the case for Sr. McBride. Canon lawyers have long agreed that the actions of hospital administrators rarely if ever rise to the level that would make them "accomplices" according to canon law.

Jon O'Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, said in a statement, "It is unfortunate that once again, given an opportunity to show compassion and understanding, the Catholic hierarchy has instead taken the low road and persecuted a Catholic who, in good conscience and based on her experience, provided her opinion in a difficult medical and ethical situation. The bishop's response was to publicly damage the good reputation of a woman who has, by all accounts, dedicated much of her life to caring for those in need. In the Catholic church, Sister McBride has a right to her good reputation and a right, as well as a duty, to follow her conscience. It's notable that the diocese isn't talking much about those provisions of canon law."

Click here to read this press release online.


Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to women's well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of women and men to make moral decisions about their lives.

How Catholic Sisters Have Changed Our World

How Catholic Sisters Have Changed Our World

A fascinating exhibit is touring the United States. It is about the Catholic Sisters and the role they have played in our country. It is a beautiful and moving exhbit. To learn more follow the link:

Cracks in the Wall of the Curia/ Jason Berry/National Catholic Reporter

Cracks in the wall of the curia
by Jason Berry
on May. 20, 2010
NCR Online
* Examining the Crisis
"The Roman Curia is the Vatican bureaucracy. Most people know little about the men who run the curia. But press coverage of the clergy abuse crisis is closing in on cardinals whose blunders in the clergy abuse crisis have begun to draw criticism from other Princes of the Church... The central issue of this long aching crisis is the Vatican's flawed justice system, rooted in archaic tribunals that use secret proceedings, a holdover from the Inquisition...

"Even after 2001, when Ratzinger secured permission from John Paul II to consolidate authority for all such cases at the doctrine congregation, the tribunal he oversaw did not pass judgment on bishops."

"On the airplane, Benedict uttered words that will make or break his papacy: "The church thus has a deep need to re-learn penance, to accept purification, to learn on one hand forgiveness but also the necessity of justice."

"How does he dramatize "the necessity of justice" as long as Cardinal Bernard Law -- the catalyst of the Boston abuse scandal -- lives in Rome as pastor of a great basilica and a consultor at Congregation for Bishops and other powerful Vatican agencies?..."

Jesuit magazine editor: "Pope's comment on same-sex marriage is bizarre"

Jesuit magazine editor: Pope's comment on same-sex marriage is bizarre

May 18, 2010 / 11:13 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- "The culture editor of the Jesuit weekly magazine America, Fr. James Martin, S.J., argued yesterday in a post on the publication's blog that Pope Benedict's equation of abortion and same-sex marriage "is bizarre" and "seemed oddly discordant."

"Pope Benedict XVI's comments last week in Fatima, Portugal, in which he stated that abortion and same-sex marriage, were 'some of today's most insidious and dangerous threats' to the common good seemed oddly discordant. The equation of abortion, something that clearly is about a threat to life, with same-sex marriage, which no matter how you look at it, does not mean that anyone is going to die, is bizarre," Martin opined. "

In Memory of Janine M. Denomme, Roman Catholic Womanpriest

Truth in Advertising: Bishops Are Not Leaders in Fight for Civil and Human Rights

For Immediate Release
20 May 2010
Media Contact:David J. Nolan+1 202 986 6093

Truth in Advertising: Bishops Are Not Leaders in Fight for Civil and Human Rights

Late yesterday afternoon, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops meekly followed the marching orders it had received from conservative Catholic advocates and withdrew from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the USCCB, made the announcement, claiming that the decision was made because the Leadership Conference "took one more position in opposition to USCCB policy, this time taking a stand on a Supreme Court nominee." The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights had previously announced its support for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan-a nominee who some argue supports a prochoice position on abortion. Bishop William Murphy, the chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Peace claimed that the LCCR had adopted an "expanded and broadened agenda." He continued, "The interests of the Leadership Conference and those of the USCCB have diverged as the LCCR has moved beyond advocacy of traditional civil rights to advocacy of positions which do not reflect the principles and policies of the bishops' Conference." Bishop Murphy cited specifically the Leadership Conference's decision to advocate for or oppose nominees for the Supreme Court, a practice that Murphy claimed "clearly contradicts USCCB policy and compromises the principled positions of the bishops." But the Leadership Conference has been doing this since at least the nomination of Samuel Alito, whom the group opposed. So why the sudden decision to withdraw from the coalition? In a statement, Jon O'Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, said, "It is clear that the USCCB is now completely beholden to the extreme conservative wing of Catholicism. Earlier this year, the bishops sought to defeat the healthcare reform proposals that came before Congress because they felt that their demands on the rejection of funding for abortion had not been met fully. Now they have decided that their work on human and civil rights may also be jettisoned because of a nominee's supposed position on abortion. I say supposed, because we know little about Kagan's views on abortion. In fact, all that is public so far is that in 1997, when she was an adviser to President Clinton, she encouraged the administration to impose restrictions on late abortions. This position, which Clinton accepted, was opposed by prochoice advocates. This is hardly the work of a prochoice zealot."O'Brien continued, "The bishops are abrogating their responsibilities to US Catholics. Theirs is a powerful position, one from which we expect them to lead in favor of civil and human rights and in favor of healthcare reform. In recent months, they have shown that it is more important to them that they placate the demands of a few loud conservatives than to promote civility, human rights and social justice."Click
here to read this press release online.
Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to women's well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of women and men to make moral decisions about their lives.
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© Copyright 2005-2010, Catholics For Choice. All rights reserved..1436 U Street NW, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20009. ph +1 202 986 6093

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Vienna (Austria) Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schonborn Expresses Concern / Mandatory Celibacy

"Vienna Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn said today (Mon) he shared the concern of Eisenstadt Bishop Paul Iby’s concern about mandatory celibacy for Roman Catholic priests.

"The concern that Bishop Iby expressed is shared by all of us (Austrian bishops), and I am happy to be in a Church in which there is freedom of speech and opinion," he said.

Austrian bishops had been expected to discuss celibacy at last week’s parish council conference in Mariazell, Styria, that they all attended but there has been no public confirmation that they did."

Looks like the Austrian bishops may be breaking ranks with Vatican Curia. What would happen if bishops just said "no" ,and went ahead with married priests and womenpriests? Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger RCWP has presided at two funerals with Roman Catholic Clergy and a wedding in Catholic Churches in Austria. Change always happens on the ground in grassroots communities, perhaps, the soil in Austria is more open to reform and renewal. Many people in Catholic Communities are open and some are calling for married priests and womenpriests. Bridget Mary Meehan

An Irish Blessing/ featuring scenes from Ireland and beautiful music

Narrated by Roman Downey and Phil Coulter's Music
Bridget Mary Meehan

Monday, May 17, 2010

Roman Catholic Womanpriest Mary Styne died on May 12, 2010: Mass of Christian Burial in Wisconsin on Sunday May 16, 2010

I attended the funeral and it was a joyous occasion, with the Gospel choirs raising the roof and the funeral director saying at the end to the entire congregation, just before extending the invitation to dinner, that he was "a cradle Catholic, then a lapsed Catholic but now I think I could find a home in this Catholic church!" He got a round of applause!

Regina Nicolosi, bishop of the Midwest Region, and Barbara Zeman, a priest from the Great Waters Region, presided together.

It was noted by the funeral director that unlike the position for "lay people" with their feet to the altar, Mary's casket would be turned so her head was toward the altar, as is the case with all Catholic Priests. (I had never heard about this practice before, but it obviously was important to this undertaker to honor Mary in this way.)

Alice Iaquinta, RCWP

Mary Styne Obituary
Styne, Rev. Mary, RCWP Roman Catholic Woman Priest. Rev. Styne was ordained to the priesthood in Aug. 2009. She went home to be with her Creator in the early hours of Wed., May 12, 2010, at the age of 70. She is lovingly survived by her children, Greg (Donna) DiSalvo, Rob DiSalvo and Chris (Bob) Leibham; grandchildren, Jennifer, Robert, Loren, Michael, Natalie, Annie and Malayeah; siblings, Bonnie (Gerald) Puestow, Sandy (Tom) Turowski, Jim (Carol) Styne, Vickie (Ron) Kurtz, Tom (Judy) Styne and Gary (Shelby) Styne, Steve and John Styne. Preceded in death by her son Scott DiSalvo. She is survived by other family and friends, too many to mention. Visitation will be held Sun., May 16, at WISCONSIN MEMORIAL PARK CHAPEL OF THE CHIMES, 13235 W. Capitol Dr., from 11AM-2PM. Mass of Christian Burial Celebrated at 2PM. Private burial. Mom journeyed in this life dedicated to the Catholic faith in various ways. Such as being Director of Education, selling candles to church, becoming a real estate agent, always being a voice for social justice, and ultimately answering the call of her God to serve her faith in complete fullness as priest.

Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from May 14 to May 16, 2010

Excommunication of Nun in Arizona Very Troubling

For Immediate Release
17 May 2010
Media Contact:
David J. Nolan
+1 202 986 6093

"Excommunication" of Nun in Arizona Very Troubling
This is a statement from Jon O'Brien, president of Catholics for Choice:

The news that a nun who works at a Catholic hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, was excommunicated following her participation in a decision to permit an abortion to take place is very troubling.

According to the local bishop, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, Sister Margaret McBride was "automatically excommunicated" and reassigned to other duties.

Apparently, the abortion took place late last year when a woman, who was 11 weeks pregnant, was diagnosed with a condition that meant she would not survive if she continued the pregnancy.

While not all the facts are available, it is clear that the Vatican's hard line on abortion led to this terrible situation. Sadly, we see situations like this time after time, both here in the US and abroad. The Vatican's outright ban on all abortions is insensitive and reflects an unwillingness to acknowledge the reality of women's lives, including the difficult decisions that often have to be made during a pregnancy.

It is also unclear whether Sister McBride in fact met the criteria for an "automatic" excommunication. A Catholics for Choice publication, Notes on Canon Law No.1, outlines the conditions that need to be met, according to the Catholic church's law.

It is not immediately clear why Sister McBride's counsel was sought in this matter, but it is heartening to know that despite the Vatican's opposition to all abortion, local staff at a Catholic hospital made a conscientious and compassionate decision to save this woman's life.

Reasonable Catholics the world over acknowledge that access to abortion is sometimes necessary, and our polling and that of other organizations shows that a large majority of Catholics reject the Vatican's outright ban on all abortions.

Apparently the life of the mother is not a priority in cases where her life is at a risk in a high-risk pregnancy like the one described in this example! How tragic that Sister McBride was excommunicated for making a "conscientious and compassionate decision to save this woman's life"!

Catholics must follow their consciences always. Vatican 11 and even Pope Benedict made this clear in his writings.
I don't understand that pedophiles who abuse hundreds of children are protected and certainly not harshly punished by the hierarchy with excommunication, but nuns and woman priests who follow their consciences and spend their lives serving the people of God receive the gravest of ecclesiatical penalties. Do you think this could be another example of sexism in the Catholic Church? Do you think this is also another example of hierarchical abuse of power? Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janine Marie Denomme died on Monday, May 17, 2010/ Obituary

Janine Marie Denomme, cherished partner of Hon. Nancy Katz; beloved daughter of Robert and Mary Joan Denomme of Detroit, MI; granddaughter of Earl VanWassenhove; dear sister of Joseph (Patricia), David (Linda), and Mark; treasured as a daughter and sister by Dorothy Katz, Judy and John Pasternack; devoted aunt of Stephanie (Nicholas), Joe, Christine, and Lauren Denomme, and Brian Pasternack. Ordained April 10, 2010 through Roman Catholic Womenpriests; friend, teacher, spiritual companion and guide to many.

Visitation 3pm-9pm Friday, May 21, 2010,

Wake Service 7:30pm at Drake & Sons F.H. 5303 N Western Ave, Chicago.

Funeral Mass at 10am Sat. May 22, 2010, First United Methodist Church, 516 Church St., Evanston.

Interment private.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Girls In The Game, 1501 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL 60607 or Roman Catholic Womenpriests, USA, Inc., PO Box 833, Anaka, MN 55303.

May the angels lead you, Janine into paradise.
May the love and affection of the angels be to you.
May the love and affection of the saints be to you.
May the love and affection of heaven be to you to guard you and cherish you forever. Amen
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Janine Denomme
Obituary – For release May 17, 2010

Janine Denomme, a committed Catholic who put her faith on the line at the end of her life by challenging the Church’s ban on ordaining women, died May 17 at her home in Edgewater. The cause was cancer, according to her partner, Hon. Judge Nancy Katz.

Denomme, 45, was Director of Youth Programs for the Center on Halsted and an active Catholic who served as a lay preacher, church musician, parish council member, spiritual director and religion teacher. In 2007, she learned about Roman Catholic Women Priests (RCWP) which, despite the official ban, has ordained over 100 women worldwide. She was ordained in April of this year.

While she was preparing for ordination, Denomme was diagnosed with cancer. Her blog about her experience at has attracted hundreds of readers moved by its profound spirituality, honesty and humor in the face of struggle and pain. “My ministry now is writing my cancer journey blog,” she said near the end of her life, “asking questions and maybe leading readers to ask them too: how are we supposed to live faith-filled lives in the midst of sorrow? It’s the invitation of Good Friday: face the suffering and death at the heart of salvation.”

Because the Church excommunicates women who pursue ordination, the Archdiocese has refused to allow her to be buried at her Catholic parish.

Born in Detroit, Denomme grew up in a large family that was very involved with the church. “She always wanted to be a priest,” said her mother, Mary Joan, recalling times that she and her brothers played at saying Mass. Denomme majored in religious studies at college and did her PhD in American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, writing about the role of church women in the civil rights movement. She came to Chicago through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, and stayed here to work as a teacher at St. Scholastica High School and later at DePaul University.

Denomme was active in the church throughout her life. Over the years her family and friends watched her struggle between her belief that she was called to ministry and the Catholic Church’s refusal to open ordination to women. Deciding to accept ordination through RCWP brought her peace, says her brother Mark: “For the first time, she felt she could fulfill her vocation in ministry and not abandon the faith, the rituals, the liturgy she loved.”

Although her decision took courage, her friends and family recall Denomme as a gentle spirit who preached love, compassion and reconciliation. “She was a wonderful partner,” adds Katz.

Other survivors include her grandfather, Earl VanWassenhove, father, Robert, and brothers Joseph and David.

A visitation will be held 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. Friday, May 21, with a wake service at 7:30 p.m. at Drake & Sons Funeral Home, 5303 N. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL. Funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Sat. May 22, First United Methodist Church, 516 Church St., Evanston. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Girls in the Game, 1501 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL 60607 or Roman Catholic Womenpriests, USA, PO Box 833, Anaka, MN 55303.

For more information (media): Mary O'Connell, 773 761 5364,

Mary O'Connell
773.425.0341 cell

Statement of Boston’s Council of Parishes/Decisions of Vatican's Supreme Court/Boston Parishes Closed Because of Sex Abuse Crisis

Statement of Boston’s Council of Parishes
Re: Decisions of Vatican’s Supreme Court
Monday, May 17, 2010
Boston, MA

Today in Rome the canon law advocate for nine parishioner appeal groups in the Archdiocese of Boston (RCAB) was notified by an official of the Holy See’s Apostolic Signatura (the Vatican’s supreme-court equivalent) that all nine appeals, plus a tenth appeal from another Boston parishioner group, were denied by the Signatura’s Collegium at its session of May 7.

The Collegium is the highest level of the Vatican’s canon law system for parishioner appeals. A list of the ten RCAB parishioner groups is attached.

The Boston appeals are the result of the “Reconfiguration” program of parish closings announced in early 2004 in the RCAB, in the immediate aftermath of the clergy sex abuse scandal which was settled in late 2003 - with $85 million paid by the archdiocese for 541 claims. To fund this, in May of 2004 the RCAB identified 83 Boston-area parishes to be closed, almost one-fourth of all RCAB parishes then open. When announced, this was the most massive parish closing program in the history of Catholic America.

Although the archdiocese has claimed vociferously over the years that the parish closings of 2004-2005 had nothing to do with its clergy sex abuse settlement, in 2008 the RCAB’s own canon advocate in Rome filed a sworn brief with the Signatura, which includes the following remarkable passage (translated from the Latin):

“…maximum discretion was given to His Excellency the Archbishop of Boston so that he might save the entire archdiocese from monetary ruin, provoked by the ‘sexual abuse crisis’ [emphasis in original]. It is in this context that all actions of this process of reconfiguration and ‘closing of parishes’ are to be understood, not excluding the suppression of wealthy parishes, not excluding the suppression of parishes of maximum vitality…”

This is the revealed truth about the massive parish destruction program: parishes were closed, to liquidated as real estate to fund the sex abuse settlement.
The contorted statements inflicted by the RCAB upon its parishioners over the past several years about the reasons for closing parishes (shortage of clergy, changing demographics, insolvent parishes) has turned out to be at variance with the truth – intentionally misleading.

The parishioner groups whose appeals have been denied, the RCAB Catholics who have been in vigil in five RCAB churches occupied round the clock for over five years, and 70 parishioner groups in 16 other dioceses who have followed closely the course of the Boston appeals, will now have to consider what steps to take next.

One thing is clear: American Catholics will not let up in their efforts to bring the American bishops to account, and to compel bishops to stop using parishes as ATMs to pay the piper for clergy sex abuse.

Since the scandal exploded in Boston more than eight years ago, at least $2.5 billion has been paid out by American bishops. And the process is not over: just last week, Vermont’s diocese of Montpelier settled 26 claims for almost $18 million.

St Augustine wrote, “Roma locuta est, causa finita est,” Rome has spoken, case closed. The good saint got this wrong: while one chapter has closed, another chapter is opening.

As allegations of clergy sex abuse work their way through many other countries with large Catholic populations, we will see a pattern very familiar to Boston’s Catholics:

First, blame the media, the victims, and perhaps a predecessor pope;
Next, toss a few bishops over the side;
Then, acknowledge the inevitable, grudgingly;
Avoid courts, depositions and document discovery;
After dragging out litigation, pay out enormous settlements;
After an interval, close local parishes but deny any link to settlements; and
Above all, deceive the parishioners about truth regarding the parish closings.

We are seven years away from the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 theses in 1517; what will the Roman Catholic Church look like in 2017?

Peter Borré
Chair, Council of Parishes

Archdiocese of Boston
Canon Appeals from Parishioners

Ten Pending Cases at Collegium of
Apostolic Signatura

Parish City or Town Comments

Infant Jesus/St Lawrence Brookline reopened as chapel, 2005
Our Lady of Lourdes Revere closed
Sacred Heart Natick closed
St Anselm Sudbury reopened as rectorate, 2005
St Frances Cabrini Scituate in vigil since Oct. 2004
St James the Great Wellesley in vigil since Oct. 2004
St. Jeremiah Framingham in vigil since May 2005
St. Michael the Archangel Lynn closed
Ste. Jeanne d’Arc Lowell closed
Star of the Sea Squantum reopened as chapel, 2005

Complex Stuggle; Prelate's Record in Abuse Crisis/Archbishop Dolan/New York Times Article
May 16, 2010
Complex Struggle: Prelate’s Record in Abuse Crisis

(Archbishop Dolan)
"But like bishops before him, the archbishop was also a tough defender of the church’s interests, clergy and bank balances. In Milwaukee, he worked in an unusually public and personal way to limit lawsuits and settlements. He declined to post the names of abusive priests who belonged to religious orders, though some other bishops have done so.
And in one St. Louis case,
records show, he swiftly took the side of a priest who then sued his accuser with the archdiocese’s help, though church officials had not made a detailed investigation of the complaint. "

The Breath of God is the Holy Spirit by Sr. Joan Chittister/ In Preparation for Pentecost

"The Breath of God I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the breath of God on earth,
who keeps the Christ vision
present to souls yet in darkness,
gives life even to hearts now blind.
Infuses energy into spirits
yet weary, isolated, searching and confused.
The spirit has spoken to the human heart
through the prophetsand gives new meaning
to the Word throughout time."

"Hildegard of Bingen, caught up in the Holy Spirit, wrote, “I am a feather on the breath of God.” Conscious of the breath of God within us and around us, we can with confidence set out on the road to God knowing that it may be rocky but that it is at the same time well lit, brightly marked, wholly traversable because the Holy Spirit makes the path with us. We have not been left alone. Under the impulse of the Spirit, we are guided and safe. The Descent of the Holy Spirit is the call to be abandoned to the will of God. It is a call to risk the consequences of God’s love, here and now."
–from In Search of Belief (Liguori) and In Pursuit of Peace (Benetvision)

Austrian Bishops Call for Reform

May 17, 2010
The Austrian bishops in the course of a three day meeting in Mariazell:
(1) have asked that the Vatican open discussion about priestly celibacy
(2) have called for the ordination of married men
(3) have called for “great reforms in the Church”
More observation here

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Vatican Seeks to Dismiss Suit Before Pope Benedict Can Be Questioned or Documents Subpoenaed

May 16, 2010
AP Exclusive: Vatican details US sex abuse defense
By NICOLE WINFIELDAssociated Press Writer
The Vatican is seeking to dismiss the suit before Pope Benedict XVI can be questioned or documents subpoenaed.
The Vatican is expected to assert that bishops aren't its employees because they aren't paid by Rome, don't act on Rome's behalf and aren't controlled day-to-day by the pope — factors courts use to determine whether employers are liable for the actions of their employees, Lena told the AP.
He said he would suggest to the court that it should avoid using the religious nature of the relationship between bishops and the pope as a basis for civil liability because it entangles the court in an analysis of religious doctrine that dates back to the apostles.
"McMurry has alleged that the Vatican had clear and direct control over bishops, mandated a policy of secrecy, and is therefore liable for the bishops' failure to report abuse. He is seeking unspecified damages.
McMurry has said that based on district and appellate court rulings, he doesn't need to prove bishops were employees of the Vatican but merely "officials." He noted that they take an oath of office. The pope appoints, disciplines and removes bishops.
If a bishop wants to spend more than $5 million he must ask permission from Rome...

Exploring the Feminine Face of God: In Search of Christ-Sophia: An Inclusive Christology for Liberating Christians by Jann Aldredge-Clanton

"The title Christ-Sophia provides a theologically accurate picture for the Second Person present from the beginning with the First Person of the Trinity, "Dr. Jann Aldredge-Clanton points out in her ground-breaking book In Search of the Christ-Sophia.

This book is a must-read for anyone desiring an inclusive Christology that liberates and empowers partnership and equality.

Several weeks ago, Jann visited me in Sarasota and we had an opportunity to discuss our passion for restoring the feminine images of the Divine in liturgy and theology. Jann has written serveral books on this topic as I have.

Jann is an ordained Baptist Minister whose story has interesting parallels to my story. After our visit and reading Breaking Free: The Story of a Feminist Baptist Minister, I have a new appreciation of the struggles that women in other denominations face as we break through the stained glass ceiling.

Jann and I certainly share a journey toward justice and equality that is still a work in progress! I rejoice in our solidarity and identify with her story and experiences of family support and breaking through obstacles as the first ordained Baptist woman to serve in a variety of challenging situations!

Dr. Aldredge-Clanton presents a logical biblical argument for the connection between Christ and Wisdom (Sophia) in the Hebrew Scriptures. "Christ "is the image of the invisible God" Col. 1;15. Christ is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being Heb: 1:2-3. Since Christ is an exact reproduction of God, then Christ, like God, includes female as well as male.

The Bible has many feminine images of God.
God, a comforting mother- Isa. 66:13
God, a nursing mother- Isa. 49:15
God, a mother eagle- Dt. 32:11-12
God, a woman in labor- Isa: 42:14
God, a midwife- Psalm 22: 9-10
God, a woman searching for a lost coin- LK. 15:8-10
God, a woman making bread-Lk. 13:20-21

God, Wisdom/Sophia- Proverbs 1,4,8 Christ and Wisdom both serve as being present from the beginning of creation. Wisdom was "set up at the first, before the beginning of the earth" (Proverbs 8:23); Like Wisdom, Christ was the one "through whom" God created the worlds" (Heb. 1:2; in Christ "all things in heaven and on earth were created" (Col. 1:16).

The early Christians attributed the characteristics of Sophia to Jesus. Lk 13:34, Mt 23:37 Jesus's image of a hen gathering her chicks under wings to relate his love for the children of Israel can be compared to Prv. 8:32-34 Wisdom who calls her children to remain close to her.

(See also my books for these and many other references to Sophia Wisdom in scripture and in the Christian Mystics as well: Exploring the Feminine Face of God, Delighting in the Feminine Divine and Heart Talks with Mother God and Jann Aldredge-Clanton's book, In Whose Image? God and Gender.)

Jann concludes that no human images or words can encompass the mystery of the Divine, "Wisdom is leading Christians to expand their vision of divine beginnings in order to restore human relationships and the whole cosmic order. Christ-Sophia from the beginning created the good and the beautiful cosmos. In the beginning, human beings lived in mutual, loving relationship. Human and nonhuman creation lived in harmony and blessedness. The new image of Christ-Sophia can help Christian see this harmonious creation as the dvine intention from the beginning. "

Amen, sister on the journey?

We need to reintegrate the divine feminine and affirm Christ-Sophia, the image of the Cosmic Christ, who will lead us to liberate the oppressed and to heal our earth.

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Janice Sevre-Duszynska Co-Presides With Activist Priest at Catholic Worker Retreat in Chicago

It was with much joy that I participated in the Midwest Catholic Worker Resistance Retreat in Chicago, April 23-26: "The Cost of War: At Home and Abroad." Since my ministry is focused more on the streets and direct action, nonviolence and resisting war, it was great to meet up again with folks with whom I’ve traveled the journey and from whom I’m learning.
I stayed with other Workers at the Su Casa CWH. When I arrived, I remembered Franciscan Jerry Zawada and his connection to the Su Casa community years ago during the sanctuary movement when Su Casa began as a refuge for Central American refugees.
During our School of the Americas Watch court hearing in July, 2002, he told of how he heard Sr. Diana Ortiz screaming at night in terror there, recalling the nightmare of her torture in Guatemala at the hands of the military whose officers were trained at the U.S. Army SOA at Ft. Benning, GA.

At our CW gathering of about 200 folks, we held a variety of roundtable discussions, including one on sexism and another on immigration. Frida Berrigan spoke on "Bread Not Bombs: The Costs of Militarism." Until recently, she was the Senior Program Association of the Arms and Security Initiative at the New America Foundation. She is now at the Maryhouse CW in New York City. Frida is the author of reports on arms trade and human rights, U.S. nuclear weapons policy, and the domestic politics of U.S. missile defense and space weapons policies. She is also active in the War Resisters League.

We learned that since 2001, the U.S. military budget has increased by 10% each year, while the bottom has fallen out of other budgets, especially those that promote social programs. Now our annual U.S. military budget is around $800 billion. Are you aware that the U.S. has about 800 military installations across the planet?
Many corporations profit from the Pentagon’s budget – at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer and programs that would benefit the common person and the Common Good. The collusion between the military budget, corporations and their lobbying in Congress makes one question the meaning of "democracy."

At present the U.S. and Russia have decreased long range nuclear weapons, in a treaty which must be approved by two-thirds of the Senate. However, according to a report in the "Nuclear Posture Review," the U.S. "reserves the right of first strike." Even as we cut the number of nuclear weapons, an article in "The Quadrennial Defense Review" says that we will need more conventional weapons for a "prompt global strike" equal to nuclear weapons in speed and context. "This information has not been given much attention by U.S. citizens!" Frida said.

At the end of the year her book will be published. It is called: Dreams of a Nation: Cutting the Military Budget in Half – Doubling National Security.

Other speakers included Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, one of my favorite theologians, who has written on foreign policies, war and the nonviolent Jesus. Jack teaches at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota. New York Times Pulitzer Prize winning writer Chris Hedges (War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and American Facists ) spoke about his latest book, The Empire of Illusion. I recommend it. We also learned more about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from CW Claire Schaeffer-Duffy and Joshua Broiler from Voices for Creative NonViolence. He and Kathy Kelly of Voices will spend three weeks with the grassroots in Pakistan in May.

I had been invited to co-preside at Sunday morning’s Eucharistic liturgy with activist priest Carl Kabat, 76, who has spent a total of 20 years in prison for his numerous faith witnesses on nuclear missile sites. I felt humbled being next to such a holy man. He cried during the liturgy – with me seated next to him as a woman priest. He is a man so easy to love. We talked and when he heard I was from Milwaukee and pronounced my last name, he told me both his parents were Polish. We talked about his actions for peace and he told me he dresses like a clown when he challenges U.S. nuclear weapons policy. "I’m a fool for Christ," he said. "It’s okay to tell others that we presided together," Carl said. "I’m looking forward to seeing you at Oakridge in July."

Later that Sunday afternoon we were led in Nonviolence Training and Scenario Development of our Direct Action for Monday by Brian Terrell and Beth Praheim. It took a while before we fleshed out our plan.

On Monday morning, April 26, we were up early to take the bus and subway into the city. Our action contrasted the Works of Mercy and the Works of War. Sstood on the corner and handed out leaflets and fruit and sang peace songs. As part of the Works of War, 11 people with "blood" on their hands went inside the Federal Building and placed their bloodied hands close to the windows as six of us did a "Die-in" outside. The dead were covered in black and I wailed over them. We were arrested and fined $175. See

Inside the Federal Building, both of the policemen who processed us were foreign-born. Our "Die-in" group talked with them. I saw "Wisniewski" on the shirt of one of the policemen – who I already had suspected had a Slavic accent. I pronounced his name in good Polish. I told him in Polish that "I cannot not speak or understand Polish well – only a little." He asked me how I learned to say what I did. I told him. "From my Busia, my Babcia (grandmother) who came from Waclowek. His face lit up. "That’s where I’m from," he said. I told him that I had been there when I was 28 in1978, and saw the house where my Busia grew up. "The same town where Lech Walesa of the Solidarity Movement was born, he said. The Movement that began in Poland brought down Communism," he beamed. I nodded. "I remember during those tense days that the Polish soldiers would not shoot their own people, despite orders that might come from President Jaruzelski," I told him. He nodded and a tragic look came upon his face. "My father was with Solidarity," he told me. "The military took him away and he never returned." I took his hand... Later, when we were released, I spoke again to him in Polish as he listened intently and smiled: "Do Widzenia. Zostanchez y Bogiem." (Until we meet again, walk with God). He nodded.
Janice Sevre-Duszynska, RCWP

Justice For Child Abuse Victims: The Catholic Church Is Working Against the Interests of Child Abuse Victims in State Legislatures around the Country

May 14, 2010
Justice for Child Abuse Victims
The Catholic Church is working against the interests of child abuse victims in state legislatures around the country. This is another step backward for the Roman Catholic Church. The bishops should be supporting all efforts to do justice for victims of clergy predators, not blocking such legislation. What would Jesus do? I hope that Catholics in the pews, as well as the population in general, support legislation that does justice for the victims.

Bridget Mary

Editorial in New York Times
"In recent weeks, lobbying by the church has blocked measures in Wisconsin, Arizona and Connecticut intended to widen the legal window for victims to file lawsuits against hidden predators.
We urge the New York State Legislature to rise above intense lobbying by the New York State Catholic Conference and Orthodox Jewish officials and pass the overdue Child Victims Act. Like a similar measure enacted in 2003 by California, it would create a one-time, one-year suspension of the statute of limitations for bringing civil lawsuits over the sexual abuse of children. "

Institutions, faith and religion should be questioned so that justice will be done in Sexual Abuse Crisis in Roman Catholic Church

May 16, 2010
Thousands flock to Vatican to back pope over abuse

Associated Press Writer
"...institutions, faith and religion cannot be questioned,..."
Faithful Catholics must question the rape and abuse of thousands of children and youth, and the coverup by bishops and the Vatican in the global sexual abuse scandal. The people of God are the church and we are responsible for making systemic change to transform our beloved church so that it reflects the mind and heart of Jesus. We the people are empowered by the Holy Spirit to make these changes now to reform our church. This reaction that institiutions, faith and religion cannot be questioned is dangerous and led to the appalling, criminal behavior of clergy, bishops and cardinals who behaved like they were above the law, and not accountable to anyone else. The institutional church leaders have betrayed the people of God. This is a travesty of justice, and does not bring about Jesus' vision of the Kindom of God right here and now.
Bridget Mary Meehan

Quoting the Bible to Support Prejudice Against Homosexuality Does NOT Work: Read and laugh at the Abominations in Leviticus !

The letter below by Dr. James Kauffman was published on the internet in response to Dr. Laura's condemnation of homosexuality based on text in bible.
It certainly demonstrates that quoting scripture literally will lead to contradictions and put us in a heap of trouble!!! I appreciated the humorous comparisons.
As Jesus taught the law of God is rooted in love of God and of neighbor. Jesus taught: "love one another as I have loved you!" "do not judge and you will not be judged", "be compassionate" Bridget Mary Meehan

"When items are selectively chosen from the Bible to support prejudice...

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging. "

Your adoring fan. James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia
(It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian :)