Saturday, June 26, 2010

Recent Stories about Vatican/Sex Abuse Scandal/Belgian Raid/Kentucky Lawsuit

Jun 26, 9:40 AM EDT

Vatican No. 2 increases criticism of Belgian raids

Jun 25, 12:22 PM EDT

Vatican: Ky. abuse lawsuit lacks link to Rome

Jun 24, 4:11 PM EDT

Police raid offices, home of retired archbishop

Belgian Catholic offices raided in sex abuse probe

Original Link

Belgian authorities have raided the headquarters of the Belgian Catholic Church during an investigation into child sex abuse claims.

"A spokesman for the Brussels prosecutors' office confirmed that the palace of the Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels had been sealed off.

Police have also raided the home of retired Archbishop Godfried Danneels.

Belgium is one of several countries in which a stream of abuse claims have shaken the Roman Catholic Church.

Brussels prosecutors were looking for material relating to allegations of sex abuse, a spokesman for the prosecutors' office said..."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Apostolic Visitation: Why Bother? Why Be Bothered?" by Joan Chittister/National Catholic Reporter/ Issue a "Nuns Emancipation Proclamation "

By Joan Chittister

Theologian: Prophetic Obedience Inclusive of Voices of Marginalized/Those Who Raise Critical Issues for Church Including Women's Ordination

"In a separate address, Bradford Hinze, another lay theologian and a professor of theology at Fordham University... offered another way of looking at prophetic character, a transverse view in which the prophet hears and heeds "the laments of suffering people of God and the groans of a chaotic and damaged world."

"To be quite concrete, consider the laments of the faithful surrounding Humane Vitae, or the teaching authority of the U.S. bishops on health care, or the pope and the curia on homosexuality, women's ordination, and religious pluralism, to name but a few. ..."

"The prophetic obedience of individuals and communities issues forth in prophetic witness that heeds, receives and responds to the word by receiving the living word of God and the cry of the Spirit, especially in the voices of the marginalized, the outsiders, the poor, and the people who raise critical issues in the church and the world. In the final analysis prophetic obedience must stand the test of discernment..."

"He added that "at every level of the church, bishops, theologians and the faithful are to have an active role in teaching and, by extension, governing..."

Letter from Fr. Roy Bourgeois to his Maryknoll Community in Support of Women Priests

Fr. Roy Bourgeois lays hands on Janice Sevre-Duszynska at her ordination

On August 9, 2008, Maryknoll priest of 38 years, Roy Bourgeois, participated in my ordination as a Roman Catholic Womanpriest. Soon after, he was told by the Vatican to recant his support of women priests, which he refused to do. Instead, Roy, as founder of the School of the Americas Watch, continues to speak out for justice for the poor and marginalized in Latin America -- as well as for women priests. In November 2009, Roy and the School of the Americas Watch were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He asks that we share the following message far and wide. Janice Sevre-Duszynska

Fr. Roy's Letter to Maryknoll Community

On May 24th, 2010 Roy Bourgeois sent this letter to members of his Maryknoll community.

To My Maryknoll Brothers,
You have been my community, my family, for 44 years. Because of my love and respect for you and for Maryknoll, I want to explain, as best I can, why I believe women should be ordained in our Church. As a young man in the military, I felt God was calling me to be a priest. After much discernment, I entered Maryknoll and was ordained in 1972. I am grateful to have found the hope, meaning, and joy I was seeking in life.

In my ministry over the years, I have met many devout women in our Church who feel called by God to the priesthood, just as we do as men. And why shouldn't they be called? As Catholics, we profess that our all-loving God created men and women of equal worth and dignity. As priests, we all say that the call to the priesthood is a gift and comes from God.
My brothers, who are we to reject God's call of women to the priesthood? Who are we, as men, to say that our call from God is valid, but their call, as women, is not? I believe that our all-powerful God, Creator of the universe, is certainly capable of calling women to be priests.

Our Church leaders tells us that women cannot be priests because Jesus chose only male apostles. With all due respect, this is not accurate. As Christians, we know the importance of the resurrection. It is at the core of our faith. Jesus chose a woman, Mary Magdalene, to be the first witness to His resurrection. She was also chosen to bring "the good news" to the male apostles and became known as "the apostle to the apostles." Galatians 3:28 is very clear: "There is neither male nor female. In Christ Jesus you are one." Furthermore, a 1976 report by the Pontifical Biblical Commission, the Vatican's top scripture scholars, concluded that there is no justification in the New Testament for excluding women from the priesthood.

eflecting on the scriptures, the love of God, and the many stories I have heard from women over the years about their being called by God, I believe that excluding women from ordination is rooted in sexism. Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination, in the end, it is always wrong.

For the past 20 years I have been speaking out against the injustice of the School of the Americas and U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. In conscience, I cannot be silent about an injustice I see much closer to home - an injustice in my Church. The exclusion of women from the priesthood is a grave injustice against women, against our Church, and against our God who is calling women to serve our Church as priests.

Fundamentally, the ordination of women is a matter of justice. At the same time, there are practical benefits to having women priests. As we know, our Church is in a serious crisis. Hundreds of churches are closing because of a shortage of priests. When I entered Maryknoll, we had over 300 seminarians preparing for the priesthood. Today we have eight.

If we are to have a vibrant and healthy Church rooted in the teachings of Jesus, we need the wisdom, compassion, courage, and gifts of women in the priesthood.
Like the abolition of slavery, the civil rights movement, and the right of women to vote, the ordination of women is inevitable because it is just.

Let us be on the right side of history.
Our Maryknoll community is well known and respected for its work for justice and the oppressed. My brothers, I respectfully ask that you break your silence and stand in solidarity with the many women in our Church who, like you and me, are called by God to the priesthood.

Your brother in Christ,

Roy Bourgeois, M.M.

P.O. Box 3330/Columbus, GA 31903


RCWP Janice Sevre-Duszynska Presides at Liturgy on June 9 in Cincinnati Ohio

RCWP Janice Sevre-Duszynska during June 9 liturgy in Cincinnati, Ohio. The empty gallon jugs are symbolic of the eight gallons of water required for a migrant to barely survive the Sonoran Desert and cross over into the U.S. in Tucson, Arizona. The eighth gallon jug was next to the lectern.

Before I was ordained a deacon on the boat in Pittsburgh in 2006, I went into the wilderness to honor my former students who were migrants from Mexico and Central America. I used the following updated essay as part of the homily for our monthly community liturgy in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 9th.

by Janice Sevre-Duszynska

Sonoran Desert folk say that before one dies in the desert – from extreme heat and dehydration – he becomes delusional. He strips off his clothes and covers himself in the sand, heating himself up even further. As his body gives way, scorpions, spiders, insects, snakes and animals invade as the huge turkey vultures swoop down and begin their meal.

Since 1994, with the implementation of the North American Free-Trade Agreement and U.S. border policies which channel migrants to the deadliest part of the Sonoran Desert, it is estimated that more than 5,000 migrants from Mexico and Central America have died here on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona/Sonora. Many succumb to unbearable temperatures above 110 degrees. Others are never found as they dissolve into that which is part of the desert.

"Today, as we celebrate the 520th weekly community vigil, ten years of bearing witness to the human casualties of the deadly border policies of militarization and enforcement imposed on border communities, we cannot help but continue to ask when this madness will stop," says Kat Rodriguez, Coordinator of the Tucson-based Coalicion de Derechos Humanos (The Coalition of Human Rights), a non-governmental organization.

The continued increase in the recovery of skeletal remains indicates that more individuals are being funneled into more isolated and desolate terrain of the Arizona-Sonora border, the organization reports. Said Rodriguez: "This ‘Funnel Effect,’ which has been documented by the Binational Migration Institute, has shown that the practice of sealing traditional crossing points ultimately pushes migration into the deadliest areas. The extent of this crisis is not known as the numbers of human remains recovered in neighboring states are not available."

On Sunday, May 30, in an act of solidarity with migrants and to raise awareness of their plight, people from across the country and world participated in the sixth annual Migrant Trail Walk, a 75-mile, seven-day trek from Sasabe-Sonora to Tucson. In 2006, I participated in the week-long walk as a member of the Christian Peacemaker Team and BorderLinks, an interfaith educational community in Tucson.

Our walk was nothing like the gauntlet of death migrants face. The 130 of us who participated were accompanied by support vehicles, unlimited amounts of food and water provided by interfaith communities and medical attention. Still, it was challenging to walk many miles each day in the unrelenting sun.

"Where are you from?" asked the U.S. Border agent. After showing him our drivers’ license, we symbolically gave up our identifications – as migrants do – by placing them in a metal box.

In Sasabe, we crossed the border into Mexico and gathered in a church to pray and be blessed on our pilgrimage by the local priest. Like the Southside Presbyterian Church in Tucson, the body on the cross in the Catholic church here was of Christ as an indigenous migrant refugee...

Twelve people picked up three coffins, remembering the women, men and children who have died in the desert. Tohono O’odham Indians Maria and Jim, a married couple, blew a sage incense blessing through an eagle feather to each one of us. In their consecration, they evoked The Grandmother and Grandfather and displayed a string with 282 ribbons – one for everyone who died in the borderland in 2005. Then we each took a wooden white-painted cross with the name and date-of-death of a migrant. I chose one of a desconocida, an unknown woman who died in the desert heat that year. On the other side was the word "Presente." What we held up in our hands represented the life and death of another human being.

As we wandered further into the desert, we felt haunted. All around us were signs of our migrant sisters and brothers, Christ the refugee: bandanas, discarded clothing, shoes and boots, baseball-style caps, cowboy hats, ski caps to keep warm on cold nights, blankets, paper refuse from fast food places, and more, including an uncountable amount of empty gallon jugs, many with ropes tied to them. To keep hydrated, we were to drink two to three gallons of water each day. A migrant would need around eight gallons of water to barely survive the desert and cross over...

It’s typical for migrants to cross the border at dusk when the night vision surveillance doesn’t catch them and the buster lights haven’t been turned on. They often travel at night under The Milky Way while the whirligig sound of searching helicopters pierces the quiet desert sky. They journey until the early morning when they’ll lie low in the unforgiving heat of the desert bush where rattlesnakes are common. The Border Patrol watches them on radar in their office through cameras called "cherry pickers," which resemble the "Imperial Wookies" from the movie Return of the Jedi. Their heat sensors can detect movement thousands of times smaller than what we see. Migrants must face the desert’s many trails where it’s easy to lose one’s way. There are quick floods called "washes" 2-10 feet deep in the canyons and fierce "dust devil" storms that swirl for 20 minutes at a time. If they are caught by the Border Patrol, migrants face the possibility of mistreatment. Beatings have been reported, and withholding of water and food at detention centers is not uncommon.

During the week of our walk, six bodies of migrants were found in the desert. Desert folk say that for each body found in the desert, others never will. On the Sunday morning after we trekked our last 6.7 miles into Tucson, some of us participated in a "die-in" in front of the Border Patrol office there. We mourned the "dead" as if they were our migrant mothers, fathers, children.

Millions of Mexican farmers lost their small farms and ability to sustain themselves when NAFTA was passed in 1994. They could not compete with the cheap subsidized corn that was coming in from the U.S. and Canada. In order to survive they went north to the U.S. for service jobs.

In March, former President Bill Clinton apologized for forcing Haiti to drop tariffs on imported subsidized rice, which came about during his presidency with the passage of NAFTA and CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement). The latter destroyed Haitian rice farming and severely damaged its self-sufficiency. It appears he was regretting both CAFTA and NAFTA.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lasers uncover first icons of Sts. Peter and Paul in St. Thecla's catacomb/Thecla was missionary partner with Paul

June 22, 2010
Associated Press Writer

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
I am delighted that the icons of Peter and Paul were found in St. Thecla's catacomb. It is truly fitting! I doubt that many Christians know the story of Thecla and her assertive witness, let alone her rocky partnership with Paul who dumped her when the going got tough! I feel certain she has forgiven him by now! Perhaps, she is even smiling, from heaven when the icons were discovered in her catacomb!

In my book,
Praying with Women of the Bible, I wrote a chapter about this gutsy, courageous woman missionary and her ministry with St. Paul.

According to the Acts of Paul and Thecla, a rare second century text, Thecla convinces Paul to accept her as a missionary disciple and co-worker. After Paul takes her with him to Antioch, a man named Alexander falls in love with her. When this happens, Paul denies knowing Thecla and abandons her there. When Alexander throws Thecla to the wild beasts, the women of the city condemn the city for its lawlessnes. The women throw perfume and flowers to overwhelm the beasts sent by the men. At this time the governor summons Thecla and asks her to explain why the beasts have not killed her. She takes this opportunity to give him a mini-lesson in the Christian faith. The governor releases Thecla and "all the women" praise God, "who has delivered Thecla."pp.137-138.

The Acts of Paul emphasized the importance of men especially Paul. Women are subordinate to Paul when they are important in the text, they either oppose Paul or are the channel for male resistance to him. According to the Acts of Paul women are a threat to the Christian mission. On the other hand, the Acts of Thecla portray women and men as both involved in Christianity but women are the more faithful advocates and St. Paul is depicted in a negative way. In this text, Paul betrays Thecla and leavers her to be devoured by wild beasts. The Acts of Thecla reveals the courage of a woman " apostle" who commits herself totally to proclaiming the gospel. Her fidelity to Christ is Thecla's strength in her great sufferings, including the threat of martyrdom. The story of Thecla manifests the overwhelming power of women's solidarity- women supporting other women- to liberate, heal and transform our world and church. In the end, no threat, harassment, attack can limit the possibilities or places that our dreams and diven love can take us together." I think St. Paul and St. Thecla are walking with men and women today we reclaim our ancient heritage as partners and equals in our contemporary church! (p. 140,
Praying with Women of the Bible)
In a church in Rome, there is a stunning mosaic of St. Paul welcoming St. Thecla into heaven.

I believe it is located in Praxedis Church in Rome. Dr. Dorothy Irvin has a copy of this image in one of her calendars.
Dr. Irivn, a prominent archaeolgist and a Catholic theologian, has made a major contribution to women's ministries by her scholarly discoveries of women leaders in the early church, including ordained women. For more information, Contact Dr. Irivn at :,

Roman Catholic Womanpriest Mary Ann Schoettly/New Jersey Herald Tribune Articles

AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito
Representatives of the Women's Ordination Conference stage a protest in front of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. From left are Therese Koturbash, of Manitoba, Canada, Mary Ann Schoettly, of Fredon, and Erin Saiz Hanna, of Washington, D.C.

Click here to view the Photo Gallery

"ROME (AP) -- 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 -- among them a Fredon woman ordained as a priest last year in a ceremony condemned by the church -- 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.

In Rome, church reformers demanded changes in the male-dominated church structure they say is responsible for covering up priestly sex abuse for decades, pressing their case on the eve of a three-day rally of the world's priests summoned by Benedict.

Mary Ann Schoettly, of Fredon, joined members of the the U.S.-based Women's Ordination Conference in a demonstration in front of St. Peter's Basilica and also appeared with members
of the group at a press

Monday, June 21, 2010

Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Three Ordained in Santa Barbara on June 20, 2010

Bishop Olivia Doko ordains Patricia Sandall a priest

Bishop Olivia Doko, (western region/rcwp) ordained Patricia Sandall a priest, and Bertha Popeney and Michael Tompkins, deacons on June 20, 2010 in Santa Barbara, California.

"Local women seek equality in church"

By ERIC LINDBERG — June 17, 2010

She could feel it in her bones, a call to the priesthood.

The fact that she faced an uphill battle to be ordained in the Roman Catholic Church, which rejects women as priests, only strengthened her resolve.

“They can excommunicate us and they do say we’re excommunicated, but we don’t really buy into that,” said Patricia Sandall, a local resident who will be ordained as a priest this Saturday in Santa Barbara. “We can’t be excommunicated from the church of our baptism. We understand we’re breaking a manmade law, but we’re doing that because it’s an unjust law and needs to be changed.”

Mind Jazz: The wind is blowing in a new direction
By Michael Timothy
RCWP stands for ROMAN CATHOLIC WOMEN PRIESTS....and on Saturday June 19, Partrica Sullivan Sandel was ordained a Catholic Priest in Santa Barbara. Also attending the ceremony was a married Catholic priest and quite a few rebels from ...
Mind Jazz -

Article in California Catholic

"Those involved are fully aware of – and openly defiant of – the Church’s position that women cannot be ordained as priests. “They can excommunicate us and they do say we’re excommunicated, but we don’t really buy into that,” Sandall told the Daily Sound. “We can’t be excommunicated from the church of our baptism. We understand we’re breaking a manmade law, but we’re doing that because it’s an unjust law and needs to be changed.”

“While working in a local parish several years ago, Sandall came into the folds of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests, a somewhat rogue movement seeking to return women to a leadership role in the church,” the Daily Sound reported. “Coupling her longtime involvement in the church with her interest in feminist studies, she made the decision to pursue the priesthood.”

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Too true to school: Seminaries and sex abuse"/US Catholic

Friday, May 14, 2010

..."Now that system is part of a problem so serious that it is undermining not only the moral authority of the Catholic hierarchy all the way to the pope but the Catholic proclamation of the gospel itself.

That proclamation is finally the only mission of the church; the priesthood, as well as the institutions that form its members, must empower that mission, not cripple it. The residential seminary system is hardly part of the deposit of faith, and there are other ways to prepare clergy. Priestly training should create pastors to shepherd God’s people, not a clerical system that fails the weakest of those in its care."

This article by Bryan Cones provides a much needed critique of the seminary system as a part of the problem in the current sexual abuse crisis. It fosters loyalty in the all-male clerical club and is out of touch with real life in the real world, and of course, women are completely left out of this picture. Not only does the Roman Catholic Church need to gut the present clerical system that protects its own at the expense of its flock, but treat women as Jesus did, equal members and partners in ministry. Bridget Mary Meehan