"The Vatican had finally had enough. “One who dissents from the Magisterium as you do,” the letter said, “is not suitable nor eligible to teach Catholic theology.”
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Roman Catholic Womenpriests:
left to right, Dagmar Celeste, Mary Ann Schoettly and Katy Zatsick
in red stole next to priest presiders in stole and alb at St. Paul Outside the Walls/Episcopal Church. Old Catholic Priest, Maria Vittoria from Sicily, residing in Milan in center was ordained by the Old Catholic Church on May 22, 2010 on the Feast of St. Rita, patron of impossible causes, and next to her is Theodora who has previously been a Waldensian pastor. Both women are in albs and stoles.
(This picture is courtesy of Erin Hanna from Women's Ordination Conference, used with permission of WOC. For more information, visit www.womensordination.org)
Friday, June 11, 2010
Women's ordination worldwide with Maria Vittoria, Italy's first ordained woman priest, and the first LGTBQ choir in Italy. Roman Catholic Womenpriests:Katy Zasick and Mary Ann Schoettly also present for historic liturgy. Photos courtesy Erin Hanna from Women's Ordination Conference. Used with permission.
St. Praxedis Church, Rome,
Mosaic on Wall features Bishop Theodora,
St. Praxedis, Mary, Mother of Jesus, and St. Pudens
for larger photo)
Photos courtesy of Women"s Ordination Conference
Used with permission of Erin Hanna, Director
For more information, visit website above for Women Ordination Conference
Pope Begs Forgiveness, Promises Action on Abuse Associated Press / Missing: Policy and Structural Change of Clerical Culture
Roman Catholic Womenpriests Mary Ann Schoettly and Katy Zatsick attend Vatican Celebration for Priests
(See stories in blog about their reception by Vatican authorities! You go, Womenpriests!)
Pope begs forgiveness, promises action on abuse
By NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press Writer
...While symbolic, Benedict's pledge failed to satisfy victims groups who said promises were useless without a clear-cut action plan to root out pedophile priests, expose the bishops who protected them and change the Vatican policies and culture that allowed abuse to continue...
His comments came during a Mass at St. Peter's Square marking the Vatican's Year of the Priest - a year marred by revelations of hundreds of new cases of clerical abuse in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, as well as cover-ups by bishops and evidence of long-standing Vatican inaction...
..."Benedict implied the devil was behind the timing of the scandal, saying the Year of the Priest was supposed to have been a year in celebration of the priesthood and encouragement for new vocations..."
Bridget Mary's Response:
Unless Pope Benedict and the Vatican "get it", that it is the clerical culture and abuse of spiritual power that is at the heart of this crisis, true reform will not occur. The Vatican has changed its strategy from blaming the press to blaming the devil! Instead, the Pope should ask himself, what would Jesus do? I believe that answer would certainly mean: admit his own failures and the Vatican's failures, remove the bishops who covered up the abuse, and change the culture of the all-male boys club atmosphere that pervaded this debacle. Now is the time for Catholics worldwide to demand new structures of accountability that involve the people of God including victims on "truth commissions" to hold the church hierarchy accountable.
Women, including women priests, are part of the solution in the transformation of the Catholic Church to a more open, participatory, community of equals. This week Vatican authorities banished our womenpriests and women's advocates of ordination from St. Peter's Square. What did these women do to deserve such hostile treatment? They stood there holding a banner. Too bad, the Vatican could not allow dissent and freedom of conscience, which are core Vatican 11 teachings at the heart of our identity as Catholics. Sadly, women, who are half of the membership of the church are not deemed worthy to serve at the altar while pedophiles and the bishops who protected them remain in ministry with full support.
The good news is that Roman Catholic Womenpriests are living prophetic obedience to the Spirit and disobeying an unjust law that discriminates against women. Roman Catholic Womenpriests, who are validly ordained in apostolic succession, are reclaiming our sacred tradition. According to historical research, women deacons, priests and bishops, served the church for twelve hundred years. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are here to stay and already serving in vibrant communities in the U.S. Canada and Europe. Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Erin Hanna, director of Women's Ordination Conference/USA
on right. (photo courtesy of Erin Hanna/used with permission of WOC)
"Vatican City (CNN) -- Activists campaigning for the Catholic Church to ordain women as priests were asked to leave the Vatican on Tuesday. They argue that women in the priesthood could have helped lessen the impact of the child abuse scandal sweeping the church...
"If women and children were respected -- and that includes if they respected us enough to ordain us -- then that would set a different tone," said Mary Ann M. Schoettly."
"Any abuse of children or women or the pedophile crisis itself probably would have been mitigated," she said..."
"Schoettly rejects her excommunication and acts as a priest for a congregation of 40 to 70 people, she said. She has performed baptisms, and will officiate at her first wedding next month, "she said."
"The Catholic people have accepted us. Many priests accept us," she said of women priests, adding that there were now more than 100. "We are not going away," she said."
CNN's Hada Messia contributed to this report.
"Banned by the Pope"/ Newsweek/"Women, whom the church treats as second-class citizens, are hurting most today..."
"Despite that rebuke, I remain a committed Catholic, a priest in good standing, and a professor of Catholic theology (albeit at a Methodist institution). I also continue to care deeply about the church, which I believe is facing a crisis that predates the sex-abuse scandal of recent years. Today, about a third of people who were raised Catholic have left the church; no other major religion in the United States has experienced a larger net loss in followers in the last 30 years..."
"Now, I’m not wholly at peace with would-be reformers placing all the emphasis on the celibacy issue. Women, whom the church treats as second-class citizens, are hurting most today; changing the laws that forbid male clergy from marrying will do nothing to speed women’s path to the priesthood. We should treat rewriting the celibacy laws as an initial edit—a change on the way to redressing the multitude of other needed reforms. Even at the risk, I’d argue, of getting an unfriendly letter one day from Rome."
by The Associated Press
"The clerical sex abuse crisis is energizing Roman Catholic dissidents who want to open up the priesthood to women and ditch celibacy requirements."
"They marched on Rome Tuesday even as Pope Benedict XVI called on priests to converge on the Vatican to cap a yearlong celebration of the priesthood. And in a sign of the deepening crisis, the faithful in traditionally Catholic Austria are at the forefront of demands for change."
Bishop Dewane /Diocese of Venice,Florida/ Honored as Captain of all American Clerical Cultural Team/ National Catholic Reporter
"Once bestowed on the clergyman who best exemplified the worst of clerical behavior, the Monsignor Moron Award has been retired out of sensitivity to morons..."
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Catholic women in ordination protest at the Vatican/Associated Press/RCWP Rep. Mary Ann Schoettly holds banner in St. Peter's Square
(AFP) – 6 hours ago
VATICAN CITY — Eight Roman Catholic women staged a one-minute demonstration for women's ordination Tuesday in St Peter's Square before police intervened.
The protesters wearing lavender stoles, the symbol of the movement for women's ordination, unfurled banners reading "Born to be priests" and "Vocation is important, not gender" in the illegal protest.
Three police officers, two in a golf cart and one on foot, stopped the protest, the fourth such action according to Erin Hanna, head of the US-based Women's Ordination Conference, admitting that they had no permit...
...Mary Ann Schoettly of the eastern US state of New Jersey is among more than 100 women who have been ordained by woman bishops who were in turn consecrated by one or more male bishops whose identities will remain secret until their deaths.
"Reclaiming our ancient spiritual heritage, women priests are shaping a more inclusive, Christ-centred Church of equals in the 21st century," said Schoettly, wearing a traditional Catholic priest's collar.
"We are here to stay. We are not going away," she warned.
Yes, Roman Catholic Womenpriests have grown from 7 to over 100. We are issuing in a new era of justice and equality for Catholic women. We are no longer waiting for permission from the Vatican, but living Jesus' dream of Gospel equality in grassroots inclusive Catholic communities in the United States, Canada and Europe. Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, June 7, 2010
Representatives of Roman Catholic Womenpriests Go to Rome to Celebrate with Pope Benedict Women's Call to Priestly Ministry
FOR RELEASE: June 8, 2010
Contact: Mary Ann M. Schoettly, Roman Catholic Women Priests, email@example.com, 973-579-1042 (
The Roman Catholic Women Priests movement is an initiative within the Church that began with the ordination of seven women on the
Roman Catholic Women Priests are at the forefront of a model of service that offers Catholics a renewed priestly ministry in vibrant grassroots communities where all are equal and all are welcome. The voice of the Catholic people---the sensus fidelium---has spoken. Women are no longer asking for permission to be priests. Instead, they are claiming their rightful God-given place ministering to Catholics as inclusive and welcoming priests.
The ordained women of the Roman Catholic Women Priest movement have challenged and broken the Church's Canon Law 1024, an unjust law that discriminates against women. "An unjust law is no law at all", said
After years of considerable study and reflection, the women of RCWP are following their well formed consciences and accepting the gift of ordination.
Despite what some bishops may lead the faithful to believe, the women’s ordinations are valid because they are ordained in the line of unbroken apostolic succession within the Roman Catholic Church. Because the ordinations are not officially approved by the
According to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, in a statement on May 29, 2008 published in L'Observatorio Romano – the
Roman Catholic Women Priests reject the penalty of excommunication, stating that the Roman Catholic Women Priests are loyal members of the church who stand in the prophetic tradition of holy obedience to the Spirit’s call to change an unjust law that discriminates against them. The movement is receiving enthusiastic responses on the local, national and international level. The women say that they will continue to serve their beloved church in a renewed model of priestly ministry that welcomes all to celebrate the sacraments in inclusive, Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered communities.
“Catholic people have accepted us as their priests and they continue to support us as we grow from the seven bold women first ordained on the
For more information, visit www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org
Check out our movement and stories in our book: Women Find a Way.
See Bridget Mary's Blog for news, articles, pictures and more about rcwp.
Bridget Mary Meehan
Women's Ordination Advocates Hold Press Conference During Vatican Year for Priests Celebration/ June 8th in Rome
Women's Ordination Advocates Hold Press Conference During Vatican Year for Priests celebration,
Vigil Calling on Pope to Ordain Women
ROME, ITALY – Today, at 11:00 o’clock in the office of redazione di ADISTA, Via Acciaioli 7, 00186 Roma, representatives of Catholic organizations from around the world called for the full and equal participation of women in the Roman Catholic Church, including ordination as deacons, priests and bishops. The remarks came during a press conference held by Women’s Ordination Worldwide and other pro-ordination groups held in Rome to protest the Vatican’s “Year for Priests” celebration, which begins tomorrow. After the press conference, the groups staged a vigil in St. Peter’s Square.
“The absolute hypocrisy of the ‘Year for Priests’ celebration cuts to the core of what is wrong with the hierarchy today,” said Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the U.S. based Women’s Ordination Conference. “The Vatican is all too happy to turn a blind eye when men in its ranks destroy the lives of children and families, but jumps at the chance to excommunicate women who, in good conscience, are prophetically answering their call to ordination and responding to needs of their communities.”
On June 19, 2009, Pope Benedict XVI declared a ‘Year for Priests’ to celebrate and honor the male, clerical, priesthood. From June 9-11, 2010, the year-long celebration culminates with an international gathering of priests hosted by Pope Benedict in Rome to pay tribute to their work.
“At the end of a disappointing ‘Year for Priests’ and a disastrous year for the Roman Catholic Church we call for a Decade of the People of God,” stated Angelika Fromm, representative from International Movement We are Church and the Purple Stole Movement in Germany. “The current global crisis within the church demonstrates that the clerical hierarchy alone can’t serve any longer as the foundation of the Catholic church's institutional structure and authority.” Fromm continued, “Our church urgently needs large numbers of male and female pastors to serve our parishes. Charisma should be important, not gender.”
Therese Koturbash, a Canadian lawyer and International Coordinator of the womenpriests.org campaign, stated, “Thanks to historical research, we now know conclusively that women did receive the sacrament of Holy Orders, at least in the diaconate. And we know that the Council of Trent stated clearly that the diaconate is part of Holy Orders. However, somewhere along the way, the door to women slammed shut.” Koturbash continued, “During this ‘Year for Priests,’ we have asked that women’s historical service in Holy Orders be remembered and that reforms be put in motion to welcome women into priesthood! Women can and should be priests.”
Mary Ann M. Schoettly, ordained through Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP), an international initiative within the Roman Catholic Church that advocates for a new model of priestly ministry, stated, “After years of considerable study and reflection, the women of RCWP are following their well formed consciences and accepting the gift of ordination.”
According to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, in a statement published on May 29, 2008 published in L'Observatorio Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper, all Roman Catholic Womenpriests and the bishops who ordain them are automatically excommunicated, known as latae sententiae.
Schoettly continued, “Roman Catholic Womenpriests reject the penalty of excommunication. We are loyal members of the church who stand in the prophetic tradition of holy obedience to the Spirit’s call to change an unjust law that discriminates against us.”
“The discrimination against women in faith communities and in particular by the Catholic Church underpins the violence against women in everyday life,” stated Mary Leslie of Catholic Women's Ordination, UK.
Colette Joyce from New Wine, another UK based group, continued, “It is very difficult for a Catholic woman active in her own parish and community to come forward and say this is her calling because there is nowhere for her to take it. I want to talk to the leaders of my church about women’s ordination – not journalists – but every time I try the door is continually being closed.”
In 1976, the Biblical Commission of Pope Paul VI determined there was no scriptural reason to prohibit women’s ordination. Despite the Commission’s finding, the pope issued a statement later that year declaring the Vatican is not authorized to ordain women. In 1994, Pope John Paul II officially closed discussion of the subject. Today, an overwhelming Catholics support the issue, yet people who work for the church can be fired if they even talk about women priests.
“For far too long, only ordained, male, celibate clergy have dictated -or tried to dictate- how Catholics worship, pray and make decisions,” concluded Hanna. “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.”
Women's Ordination Worldwide, founded in 1996, is an ecumenical network, whose primary mission at this time is the admission of Roman Catholic women to all ordained ministries.
Catholic Women's Ordination (CWO) is a national group of women and men in the UK (including Scotland and Wales) who seek a renewed model of priesthood in the Catholic Church so that there is proper scope for the distinctive ministry of ordained women within it. Renewal of the Church is our first aim but the importance of women's ministry is integral to that, as is women's leadership within the church. Contact: Mary Leslie, firstname.lastname@example.org
Housetop’s www.womenpriests.org is the largest internet site providing information and documentation on the ordination of women. Though its focus is on the Catholic Church, its work benefits all Christian Churches. Offering thousands of documents in English and 24 other languages, the website covers decrees of councils and synods, the teaching of the Fathers of the Church, medieval theologians, recent papal decrees, contemporary articles and ongoing discussions on scripture, tradition and the teaching authority of the Church. Contact Therese Korturbash, email@example.com
International Movement We are Church (IMWAC), Founded in Rome in 1996, is committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church on the basis of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the theological spirit developed from it. We are Church evolved from the Church Referendum in Austria in 1995 that was started after the paedophilia scandal around Vienna's former Cardinal Groer. We are Church is represented in more than twenty countries on all continents and is networking world-wide with similar-minded reform groups. Contact: Christian Weisner, firstname.lastname@example.org or Angelika Fromm, email@example.com or mobile in Rome: +49-177-9224542
Lila Stola (Purple Stole Movement) founded in 1996 in Mainz/Germany, is a section of We are Church that is active in promoting full equality of women in the Roman Catholic Church. At ordination ceremonies of male deacons and priests women as well as men regularly demonstrate for the renewal of ministry wearing purple stoles as their symbol. Purple is the colour of the women's movement as well as the ecclesiastic colour of repentance and new beginning. Contact: Angelika Fromm firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile in Rome: +49-177-9224542
New Wine is a group for women who live in Great Britain and provides an informal context for the mutual support, nourishment, and development of women in the Roman Catholic tradition, who believe they are called by God and by the community to ordained ministry in that tradition. Contact: Colette Joyce, email@example.com
Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP) is an international initiative within the Roman Catholic Church that advocates for a new model of priestly ministry united with the people with whom they serve. The movement is an initiative within the Church that began with the ordination of seven women on the Danube River in 2002. Women bishops ordained in full apostolic succession continue to carry on the work of ordaining others in the Roman Catholic Church. Contact Mary Ann Schoettly, firstname.lastname@example.org
Women's Ordination Conference, founded in 1975 and based in Washington, D.C., the is the oldest and largest national organization working for the ordination of women as priests, deacons, and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Roman Catholic Church. WOC also promotes new perspectives on ordination that call for less separation between the clergy and laity. Contact: Erin Saiz Hanna, email@example.com or U.S. mobile in Rome 011-39-401-588-0457
Let us celebrate women as equal images of God and affirm this message from Women's Ordination Worldwide, calling for a renewed priestly ministry in the Catholic Church. It is time to reform the hierarchical church with a egalitarian, dynamic, inclusive community of Catholics that affirm the gifts of God in the people of God. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are receiving enthusiastic responses in grassroots communities where all are welcome and all are equal.
Bridget Mary Meehan
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Eulogy for a Pelican
For days I have been avoiding watching the news, knowing full well that the images of oil soaked birds would soon appear. Still fresh in my mind are the images of the oil covered birds form the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Images of innocent birds that once having been imprinted in my mind, slowly began to eat away at the layers of denial that are part of the heritage and guilt that I carry as a privileged consumer living in the oil dependent world.
Last night a dear friend called to remind me that President Obama was being interviewed by Larry King. President Obama’s words, that he was “Furious” about the oil spill, were enough to allow me to understand that he deeply cared and out of this place of growing discontent had been and would continue to act appropriately.
There is a connection of community that I feel toward this president that is unlike that which I have had for any of those preceding him. Perhaps it is my age that now allows me to ponder questions of importance such as what am I leaving to my children, to the children I work with each day who touch my heart with their goodness, and to the millions of children of this world that others, often of power, treat as if they were throw away objects. I have in some small way extended and connected my heart to this president. I have allowed myself to once again believe that the goodness that lies in the hearts of all human beings can be ignited and that we can, in all our diverse ways of seeing and celebrating life on this beautiful planet that we all call home, begin to see ourselves as community. I have placed my trust in him just at those who voted him into office also have done. Into his care an awesome responsibility has been given. We must remember that he is made of human flesh and heart just as all of us are. He is a voice guiding a process through times of transition. This process is an organic one growing out of humanity’s need for change. A change that will sustain planetary survival for all sentient beings. My prayer is that President Obama inspires us well.
Following the Larry King Live presentation I continued to watch CNN and this was when I first viewed the images of the oil soaked birds, of the oil soaked pelican struggling to fly; wings horizontally stretched, a head reaching toward the sky. I had already seen the images of the grasses covered with oil and mourned the loss of the beauty and the home of many creatures that live in these marsh grasses. My body understood the significant disaster that we were in the process of experiencing.
When I saw the images of the pelican and the other oil soaked birds, the seagulls in the fishing net, I wept. This evening as I write I hold back tears as I have all day. It is a tragedy of unprecedented consequences that will have lasting effects on so many.
I write from the heart, from a soul level of understanding that a grievous act of violence has been committed. I begin to wonder, who the true perpetrators of this crime are. I cannot excuse myself. In my need for oil to support the lifestyle that I live I am a contributor to this crime and yet I am victim as well. I must admit that like the CEO of BP, I too would like this problem fixed so that I also may return to my life. So that I can re-weave that thin veil of denial that allows me to enjoy a privileged life that most of the world will never know. My heart screams with madness, not the madness of understanding my complicity but with a madness that only comes with deep mourning when one begins to witness the insanity of the moment as once cherished values fall into dust and nothing is left to replace them.
In this time of transition I have only one thing to fall back upon; the experience and deep belief that within the human heart there is a spark of goodness, a spark of light. This light is our connecting path through the transition moments that we are now experiencing. It is in moments when we acknowledge this heart connection that humanity moves toward the creation of a new myth; a myth that will carry all, into an expanding view of the world as community.
Eulogy to a Pelican is more than a tribute to an oil soaked bird; it is an awakening plea from the heart for all sentient beings who are victims of our global needs for oil. In essence all of us are victims of a myth of power, which with the peak of oil, has begun to disintegrate. The heart cries for renewal; a renewal acknowledging that we are an Earth Community, with innate understanding that allows all to see the interconnections between all forms of life. It is a renewal, which enables a transition into ages where the full flowering of the human species in communion with the earth and all her creatures can occur.
Eulogy for a Pelican
You soar through the air
A majestic creature of the Mother
One of the many
That lift my heart, and draw me into communion with the Spirit.
Slowly gliding over the waters of the Gulf
You are an image of beauty that has always awakened my soul
And now reminds me,
That you have been with me all of my life
Like the earth and all her creatures
Like the stars
Woven into the very fabric of my being
A part of my heart.
Slow flight of the Pelican
Soaring close to earth
Riding unseen currents of energy
That support this world,
You are no more, no less, than I.
Now trapped in oil’s greed you struggle to take flight
To escape the heaviness that surrounds and threatens so much of life.
My heart in communion with yours is also weighed down with oil
With the overwhelming abuse and violence
That we have unleashed in our world.
I weep today as you struggle,
As my heart seeks to understand
This unnamable foe.
Slow flight of the Pelican soaring over the Gulf waters
You are not the only endangered species
For when you die a piece of my soul dies with you,
And the soul is not expendable
If I am to live with the celebration of life in my heart
And seek to share this love with all.
Pelican, in days long gone you were once a cherished symbol of Christ,
Your blood fed your young.
Perhaps in some small way, though seemingly insignificant
In the face of Oil’s destructive power
Your crucifixion upon the Empire’s cross
Will awaken sleeping hearts,
And the soaring Pelican’s spirit blood
Will once more feed our souls.
Sherry Robertson June 4, 2010 “Incarnation”