Saturday, September 4, 2010

CNN will air a special on Pope Benedict XVI titled, ‘What the Pope knew’, September 25th at 8 P.M.

Proposed New English Translation of Mass Uses Non-Inclusive/ Sexist Language//Roman Catholic Womenpriests Use Inclusive Languge

"The decisions of translation are normally judgement calls between conflicting goods. Non-inclusive "man" appears in the new text, whereas the 1998 text had sought to improve the 1973 one by avoiding it. This is not because our translators are unreconstructed sexists, but because in some contexts the alternatives are judged by some to be unsatisfactory, both linguistically and theologically. The final judgement call, whichever way, should not be read as rejection of the differing concerns, but rather an option that one is more important. "

Philip Endean SJ teaches theology at the University of Oxford.


Bridget Mary's Reflection
I think this new proposed translation of the Mass is flawed on a number of fronts, including use of non-inclusive language which provides more evidence of the Vatican's sexist attitude and failure to treat women as equals in the church. Where is women's equal dignity if all we hear in worship is "man" and masculine nouns and pronouns to address or refer to God?
Women are equal images of God and our language in liturgy should be inclusive, including addressing the Holy One in feminine imagery.
It appears the Vatican is heading full speed backwards to medieval times. What's next: Latin as the preferred language, the priests with their backs to the people, the return of altar rails?
But the good news is that Roman Catholic Womenpriests use inclusive language and imagery for God in our liturgies. So, Catholics who do not like this new Vatican-imposed English translations can experience our liturgies where all are welcome and all are included.
Let me make a prediction-- one day- the Vatican will adapt or perhaps even copy our inclusive liturgie . On this day Catholics worldwide will rejoice as people-empowered communities call forth qualified women and men to preside at the altar and conduct diverse liturgies that embrace the entire church---even using Latin from time to time!
Bridget Mary Meehan

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Women Challenge Gender Apartheid in the Catholic Church"
by Angela Bonavoglia

Roman Catholic Womenpriests'
Movement:Historic Ordination of
U.S. Bishops on April 19, 2009

Ordination Ban Central to World’s Oldest Patriarchy
"In a world radically changed by the women’s movement, the Catholic Church stands –- proudly—as one of the last bastions of patriarchy. Led by an unapologetic boys’ club, it has embraced a system of gender apartheid, deeply hostile to women’s agency, power and voice. Central to that system is the absolute ban on women’s ordination. An all-male priesthood deprives women of power by locking them out of the highest levels of leadership and decision-making, including and especially on matters affecting women’s most intimate lives, on maternity and sexuality. It also sends a vivid and visible message that women cannot, must not, are utterly unequipped to represent the Divine."
"Because religion remains an extremely powerful force in the world, religiously countenanced discrimination against women has wide influence. It undergirds laws, policies and cultural practices that keep women in many places on earth silent and subservient, powerless over their reproductive health and lives, in abusive relationships, and in poverty. The Church refuses to endorse the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS, endangering the many women who are powerless to dictate the terms of their sexual relations and at highest risk for the disease; refuses to support birth control, even though spacing births helps reduce the hundreds of thousands of maternal deaths each year, while also increasing the survival of babies; and condemns pregnancy termination even in the most dire circumstances, in Brazil excommunicating the mother and the doctor who ended the pregnancy of a nine-year-old raped by her stepfather."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"Don't Equate Women Priests With Pedophiles" /

Left to right
Fr. Roy Bourgeois,
Bishop Dana Reynolds,
Janice Sevre-Duszynska/Ordination/
Aug. 9, 2008

"... the new edict places the ordaining of women called by God to priesthood on the list of grave sins next to pedophilia, heresy, apostasy and schism.
Catholics and interfaith communities across the world have reacted with shock and anger to the Vatican's latest demonstration of moral bankruptcy..."
"The Vatican's Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1976 concluded that there is nothing in the Bible to prohibit women's ordination.
The emperor has no clothes. Catholics in the pews should stop giving until the Vatican starts listening. The church is the people of God, not the hierarchy alone.
It is time for reform and renewal. "
Janice Sevre-Duszynska of Lexington is a peace activist ordained a priest in 2008.

"Catholic Church Ordains Woman as a Priest" /Arizona Republic

"A woman was ordained as a Catholic priest in the Valley on Saturday in the kind of ceremony the Vatican recently condemned as one of the church's most serious crimes. Elaine Groppenbacher received holy orders from Bishop Peter Hickman of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion, one of several liberal Catholic offshoots in the Valley. The ceremony took place at Guardian Angels Catholic Community, which meets in Tempe. "
Groppenbacher is the fourth woman to be ordained as a Catholic priest in the Valley.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Preparing for the visit of Pope Benedict XXVI: Questions Catholics would like to ask Pope Benedict

Invitation to Press conference

Tuesday 7 September 2010, 11.00-12.00 noon
Saint Andrew’s Church Hall, Short Street, Waterloo, London SE1 8LJ.

Catholic Voices for Reform invite you to a press conference to consider questions that many Catholics would like to ask Pope Benedict during his visit to the UK. Catholic Voices for Reform is a new grouping of concerned Catholics who believe that it is essential that the Church undergoes a process of reform. CV4R brings together representatives of many of the Catholic Reform Groups in Britain and, through these groups, has ecumenical, European and worldwide connections.

Although it is generally believed that Catholics seldom discuss and debate questions about their church, nothing could be further from the truth. Catholics throughout the country, at this time of preparation for the visit of Pope Benedict XXVI, are debating and questioning the future of their church.

Catholic Voices for Reform want to bring into the open a selection of questions typical Catholics would like to ask Pope Benedict. Examples of issues being debated include:
· Corruption
· Influence
· Intimidation
· Prejudice
· Mindless obedience

Questions relating to each of these issues will be addressed.

Following the press conference we will deliver a letter, addressed to Pope Benedict, to Archbishop Nichols at Archbishops House Westminster, confident that he will ensure that the Holy Father is made aware of some of the issues concerning the future of their church being discussed by Catholics in England and Wales.

All members of the press and broadcasting media are invited to attend.

We will present many of the questions that Catholics are asking about the current situation and future of their Church. Full details will be presented and questioners will be available for comment and interview.
A press pack will be available.

Please contact in the UK:

Valerie Stroud Tel. +44(0)7904 332201 email:
Bernard Wynne Tel. +44(0)20 8850 6458 email:
Myra Poole Tel. +44(0)208 874 7364 email:
Simon Bryden-Brook Tel. +44(0)20 7235 2841 email

Excellent questions, from Catholic Voices for Reform! I hope Pope Benedict addresses these questions. It is time for Pope Benedict to affirm the full equality of women in the church including womenpriests, and justice for victims of clergy sex abuse. We need a more transparent, accountable institutional church. No more cover-ups of crimes by priests by the hierarchy. Bridget Mary Meehan,, 703-505-0004

A Fear-Based Church?: Why So Many Catholics Are Afraid to Speak Out

Rev. James Martin, S.J.

Catholic priest and author of 'The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything'

A Fear-Based Church?: Why So Many Catholics Are Afraid to Speak Out

"Bishop Dowling's blunt address was not only about what he called the "dismantling" of the Second Vatican Council, which reformed the church in the 1960s, but something else: the overwhelming "pressure to conform." Here's an irony: the one speaking out about speaking out apparently did not feel that he could speak out, at least not broadly, or at least not to everyone, or at least not publicly. His desire not to speak more publicly on the topic may have proved his point. "

"None of this is meant to be a slight against Bishop Dowling, whom I've greatly admired for some time. He is a terrific leader, a wonderful teacher and, in many ways, a real prophet. What a bishop should and could be."

"But neither is this surprising. Today in the Catholic Church almost any disagreement to almost any degree with almost any church leader on almost any topic is seen as dissent. And I'm not speaking about the essentials of the faith -- those elements contained in the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed -- but about less essential topics. Even on those topics -- for example, the proper strategy for bishops to deal with Catholic politicians at odds with church teaching, the new translations of the Mass, the best way for priests to address complicated moral issues, and so on -- the slightest whiff of disagreement is confused with disloyalty."

How are we going to grow as a faith community without dissent? Roman Catholic Womenpriests are a gift to an instiutional church that is deeply sexist and fearful of women priests. Needed are courageous prophets, ordinary Catholics to speak truth to power, including to Pope Benedict. Jesus said, "fear not" and this is exactly what we must do. Speaking the truth boldly and in love to our institutional Roman Catholic leaders is not disloyal, it is is faithfulness to the Gospel.

Women, by our baptism, are images of Christ. No natural resemblance to a male Jesus is necessary to serve God's people as servant priests. Let's shout it from the mountain tops. Sexism is wrong. The full equality of women in our church is the call of the Spirit in our times! Let us follow Jesus example of Gospel equality and reclaim the church's twelve hundred year tradition of women in ordained leadership. Bridget Mary Meehan,, 703-505-0004

Monday, August 30, 2010

Belgian cardinal urged victim to delay sex abuse statement

BRUSSELS, Aug. 28, 2010 (Reuters) —

"The former head of Belgium's Catholic Church suggested to a sexual abuse victim it would be better to delay a public statement on the case until the bishop involved resigned in 2011, a Church spokesman said on Saturday."

"Jurgen Mettepenningen confirmed transcripts in Belgium's De Standaard newspaper of a meeting Roman Catholic Cardinal Godfried Danneels held with Bishop Roger Vangheluwe and a sexual abuse victim of the bishop in April 2010."

"It is true this meeting and conversation took place, and that the transcript is correct," Mettepenningen told Reuters.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

"Parish community refuses to be suppressed"-- NCR Online

Aug. 27, 2010

"Saying the diocese can take away a parish’s building but not its community, about 350 members of a suppressed Cleveland parish defied their bishop’s orders and celebrated Mass Aug. 15 in a rented space as the legally incorporated Community of St. Peter"...

"The St. Peter situation is somewhat unique among closed-down parishes in the country. In many cases, parishioners have struggled to keep their churches open in defiance of the local bishop, some even occupying the church buildings 24 hours a day. That is not the case here"...

“As the bishop went around the diocese closing parishes,” said Bob Zack, a community leader, “he kept saying a parish is not a piece of real estate. It’s a community of people. We understood that, we got it. If he wants the building, fine, take it. But we refuse to be suppressed as a community.”

This could be a model for parishes facing closing in the future. The community could choose to continue as a community because the people of God are the church. The sacred space is a secondary concern for the Body of Christ. These communities could call forth women and men as servant leaders and as priests. This is an early church model. I bet this is just around the corner for other Catholic communities in this priest-short, parish closing times. Congratulations, St. Peter's Community for this courageous step . Other Catholic parishes may follow your example sooner than later. May the Spirit guide one and all as we work to share our faith in caring, worshiping communities. Bridget Mary Meehan

Homily for 22nd Sunday/Cycle C by Roberta Meehan, RCWP

Homily for the 22nd Sunday –

Cycle C –

29 August 2010

Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29

Psalms 68:4-7, 10-11

Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24

Luke 14:1, 7-14

(NB: In some versions of the Bible, the Book of Sirach – also known as Ecclesiasticus [not to be confused with Ecclesiastes] – is found in the Apocryphal section between the Old Testament and the New Testament.)

Humility – what is it about that word? Does it make you cringe sometimes? It does me! Do you hate it when someone says, “In my humble opinion….” I do. I suspect that is because we all know that person’s opinion is anything but humble. Or at least so we judge! Do you know people who use pseudo-humility as a means of fishing for compliments? I do. And, most of us have probably done it ourselves to a greater or lesser extent. It seems to be rather human. OK – We have all been there. We have all felt those feelings of “humble frustration” – which is certainly not humble! We all also know that to strive for humility is probably the best way in the world to achieve anything but humility. It comes down to strutting around saying, “I’m so proud of how humble I am today!” But, today’s Scripture readings almost give us a mixed message here! In Sirach the author (Ben Sira) states clearly, “…conduct your affairs with humility, and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God.” In other words, if we are really anxious to be loved (rather than to love) and if we are really interested in finding great favor with God, we should be humble. So, are we actually striving to be great by being non-great? And, in Luke we hear the instructions on how we should always approach the lowest place at the banquet table so we will not be embarrassed and so that we will be asked to move up – and then everyone will notice our importance! This sounds again like we are striving for greatness by our non-greatness. All of this brings us to two questions: What is humility? And, how do we achieve true humility without falling into the trap of pseudo-humility or false humility (that is, ulterior motives under the guise of apparent humility)? It is easier to state first what humility is not. Humility is not pretending to be the slime of the earth. Humility is not beating our breasts and impressing people with our “woe is me, a wretched sinner” attitude. Humility is not denying our achievements in the hopes that someone will contradict us and tell us how great we really are. Humility is not wearing a sign on the seat of our pants that says, “kick me” nor is it listing our occupation as “professional doormat.” Not one of those things above is true humility. Also, humility is not giving with the expectation of receiving – whether goods, or recognition, or praise, or anything else. Oh, wait a minute! In Sirach we hear that if we do things humbly we will be recognized. In Luke we hear the same thing. Ah, but there is a difference! Notice that in both Sirach and Luke, the statement is based on knowledge and not on expectation. It is not that we do something humbly expecting to receive recognition. It is doing that same something with the knowledge that we will be recognized. At the same time, we cannot have recognition as our motive. It may not come. This becomes very confusing. Perhaps we ought to use a definition of humility and see how this plays out. One definition of humility that I really like is “the total acceptance of things exactly the way they are.” Now, that is an interesting definition! Acceptance – this is God’s ordained world. Things are the way they are. If you are an inventor, you are an inventor. If you are a dishwasher, you are a dishwasher. If you are an artist and you do not create great art because you are humble, you are not humble at all! You have not accepted God’s gift. (Sounds like those various parables about the talents, doesn’t it?) If you are the greatest sailor on the lake but you do not enter the race because you are too humble to win, you are not humble at all. Of course you are not required to enter the race, but what are your motives for not doing so – because you are “too humble” or because you just don’t want to? The first reason (because you are “too humble”) is false pride and not humility at all (and a completely invalid reason for doing or not doing anything); the second reason (because you don’t want to) is an honest exercise of free will (and a totally valid reason for not entering the race). The Olympic athletes accept the fact that they are good. If they didn’t, they certainly would not be able to go forth. We are required to accept our gifts and to recognize our gifts. Humble acceptance does not mean that we cannot strive for more. Again, look at our athletes. Not one of them started out with a gold medal around his or her neck. But they did start out with an acceptance of their talent. Humility requires that we do the same. That is an acceptance of things exactly the way they are. Paul said, “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” And he accepted the fact that he could do great things. And he did them. He did not do great things for his own recognition – but rather for the honor and glory of God. Nevertheless, he accepted things as they were. Can we be like Paul? Can we totally accept things (God’s gifts) exactly the way they are? When complimented for an achievement, do we say, “It was nothing” (a lie!) or do we say, “Thank you!” (a humble recognition of acceptance). Will we receive recognition for our acceptance of things the way they are? Maybe in this world; maybe not until the next. But, at the same time, if our goal is recognition, we have defeated the purpose of our acceptance! It does not work that way. We accept things, we do what is right, and as Sirach says, we will find favor with God. That is our end point. The 12-Steppers are all familiar with the concept of doing the next right thing. This is humility. What is the next right thing? Composing a great musical piece? Cleaning the bathroom? Going to the store? Stopping at the scene of an accident and calling for help? Whatever it is, that next right thing is an acceptance of things exactly the way they are and is an example of true humility. The task is done – not for personal gain but because it is in front of us and because we have the talent to do something about it. Before she died writer Erma Bombeck said that when she got to the Pearly Gates and God asked her what she had brought with her, she wanted to be able to say, “Absolutely nothing! I used every talent you gave me!” We should strive to be able to say the same. How are we going to achieve this humility? Well, not one of us is going to achieve perfect humility – and even accepting that is in itself humility! But, we will move along this pathway toward humility by being aware of who and what we are, by accepting who and what we are, by accepting the challenges of life, by striving to remove our ulterior motives from our words and our deeds, by seeking always to do the next right thing in front of us, by acting and thinking without a primary motive of personal gain but with the motive that we are doing the next right thing, and finally by thinking and acting with the full knowledge that God knows us completely and God does indeed recognize exactly what we are doing and how and why we are doing it. --

Roberta M Meehan,RCWP