Saturday, October 9, 2010

"High time for Vatican to Signal End of Patriarchy" by Sean O'Conaill/Irish Times

The following article was written by VOTF’s Sean O’Conaill and appeared in the Irish Times.

With the Vatican-appointed Church inspectors due in Ireland this autumn, Sean O'Conaill wonders if the patriarchs will announce the failure of patriarchy.

How many in Ireland believe that the pending visit to Ireland of nine Vatican-appointed inspectors, or visitators, can reverse the rapid decline in the authority of the Irish Catholic hierarchy?

So far, scant enthusiasm for the visit has been shown by Ireland's bishops themselves. It was left to the Irish Catholic to strike a tentative note of optimism in its headline of June 3rd: “Could this be the renewal we have been waiting for?”

For that to happen the visitors will need to do something quite sensational and unprecedented. They must announce that the patriarchal governing system of the Catholic church has been finally exposed as anachronistic, stifling and dangerous—and call upon the Pope to reform it...."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Well said, Sean! The Vatican needs to come to grips that the end of patriarchy is already a reality. The institutional church has lost its moral credibility. It must reform and renew to survive. Jesus showed us how to live as the beloved of God. Both men and women were his disciples and called to be the Good News as well as to share the Good News. The Roman Catholic Church is one of the last bastions of male clerical privilege and gender apartheid. Structural change is the only solution. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said 16 years before the the demise of apartheid in South Africa: "... our God... is a God of justice and liberation and goodness. Our cause...must triumph because it is moral and just and right. .." Reflecting recently on the collapse of apartheid, Tutu told TIME, "The texture of our universe is one where there is no question at all that good and laughter and justice will prevail." (TIME Oct. 11, 2010) So too the time for the full equality of women in our church has come. No more excuses, please, from the prelates in the Vatican.

"Quebec Gets First Female Priest"/ Montreal Headlines Examiner

"Quebec will soon have its first female Roman Catholic priest.

Linda Spear, a former Montreal teacher originally hailing from Winnipeg, will become the sixth Canadian woman ordained as a catholic priest.

The ceremony is presided by the group Roman Catholic Women Priests. It's been around since 2001 and includes about a hundred women priests in Europe and 75 in the U.S. Spear said she'd prefer to wait until after she's ordained before doing an interview..."

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Female priest says Vatican 'out of touch' "By Nancy Haught/Religious News Service

Ordination in Portland, Oregon
Toni Tortorilla/ center

PORTLAND, Ore. — It's been three years since Toni Tortorilla was ordained in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement, and the Vatican's decision to label both pedophilia and women's ordination as grave offenses, she says, is an insult to clerical abuse victims and women seeking ordination.

"The sexual abuse of children is morally reprehensible by any possible standard," Tortorilla, 63 said. "The ordination of women has been happening for decades in many denominations."

Pairing the issues in one statement "shows how out of touch with reality the Vatican really is," said Tortorilla, who serves the Sophia Christi Catholic Community in Portland and Eugene, Ore., where between 30 and 40 people attend monthly services.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Church Crisis Reflects Lack of Pastoral Leadership"/ Richard McBrien/ National Catholic Reporter

"...Our church today, Curran insisted, is in serious trouble, and not just in Europe and the United States, although the problems there are great and need to be recognized as such and addressed."

"Indeed, the second largest religious denomination in the United States today consists of Catholics who are no longer active in the church. The sense of alienation from the church is especially acute among women. "

“Our love for the church and our role as Catholic moral theologians call for all of us to address these issues no matter what our positions are....We are called to put flesh and blood on the ancient axiom, “In necessariis, unitas; in dubiis, libertas; in omnibus, caritas.” (“In necessary matters, unity; in doubtful matters, freedom; in all things, charity.”

"What Curran did not provide is a basic reason for this crisis. It is a crisis, after all, of pastoral leadership..."

Bridget Mary's Reflection

The basic reason for the alienation of women from the church is that women are treated as second class citizens in their own church. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are leading the way toward a new era of justice and equality for women in the church. Why wait? The time is now. Join us! For more information, visit

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"There is no one to watch Vatican watchmen" by John Cooney/ Irish Independent/ People of Ireland leading the way

(left, Marie Collins, Andrew Madden (dark suit),
Irish Survivors of Sexual Abuse, right Bridget Mary Meehan
Castlebar, Ireland at Humbert Summer School)
By John Cooney
Monday October 04 2010
"Behind the closed Vatican portals Roman officials and "apostolic visitors" will "offer assistance" to the Irish "as they seek to respond adequately to the situation caused by the tragic cases of abuse perpetrated by priests and religious upon minors".
The sparse wording clearly implies that Rome is not yet satisfied that the Irish bishops have adequately repaired the basket. Overseeing them in its remaking to Roman specifications will be two cardinals, three archbishops, two male religious and two nuns.
So the Irish visitation bears all the hallmarks of being a Roman affair with the imprint of pontifical secrecy...
The ultra-loyal collaboration of the four Irish church leaders with the apostolic visitation is a sad sign that they are more intent on being Roman courtiers than leaders of their Church in Ireland.
Veteran commentator TP O'Mahony hits the nail on the head in his new book, 'Why the Catholic Church needs Vatican III', when he writes that the Irish visitation "is just Rome-speak for a group of enforcers who, with the Pope's full approval, will camp out here and seek to reinforce the Vatican's system of centralised control".
"Will we get an explanation, for example, as to why two Irish bishops, Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field, who resigned after being named in the Murphy report into clerical sexual abuse, had their resignations rejected by the Vatican? Or hear any apology for the Vatican's past failure to communicate with the Murphy investigation?
Irish priests and Catholics deserve explanations for decisions which further wounded and alienated victims such as Andrew Madden, Marie Collins, Michael O'Brien and Christine Buckley.
Will the four Irish churchmen have the moral courage to say to Rome: "Physician, heal thyself."
- John Cooney

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
John Cooney raises important questions that the Vatican needs to answer. Until Pope Benedict demands the resignation of bishops who kept pedophiles in ministry, he will have little credibility. Indeed, our pope needs to explain his decisions to delay the dismissal of well-known pedophiles when he was head of the CDF. Why did protection of a corrupt clerical system so often trump the protection of children? Again, the visitation of Ireland by outside prelates appears like another exercise of Vatican power and control when what is needed is a top-down shakeup and reform of the Roman Catholic Church. What do you think Jesus would say to Pope Benedict , the Vatican, the Irish bishops, and survivors of sexual abuse? Are the people of Ireland leading the way, including the new Association of Irish Priests and courageous women, who are calling for equality? Perhaps, they are the prophetic voice of God to the Vatican.

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Patience Running Thin for Church in Ireland" by Daniel O'Carroll /It is time for Womenpriests in Ireland

"The writing is well and truly on the wall that the female ordination issue will be a major bone of contention between the Church and its faithful in Ireland, and opposition to the stalemate now seems to be springing from within the ranks of the Church and the faithful itself. The Irish Examiner reports yesterday that a campaigning nun from Fermoy (Co.Cork) is challenging the Church's no-go stance on ordaining female priests. "People are looking for change now," wrote Sr Louvenagh Heffernan in the Cork-based daily, "and that means the priesthood has to change." But Sister Heffernan is just the latest figure within 'the fold' to criticize the way the modern Roman Catholic Church is run, and to take issue with the notion that the issue of female ordination isn't up for discussion. "

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Right on Daniel O'Carroll. Thank you Sister Louvenagh for speaking up for women's ordination. May our Church practice the equality that Jesus modeled to embrace all women and men whom the Holy Spirit has called for sacramental service. Now is the time for courageous Irish women who are unafraid to embrace their vocation for priestly ministry. Do it in the name of Jesus who called Mary Magdalene and Junia as apostles, and Phoebe as deacon, Theodora and Brigit of Kildare as bishops. Join the growing movement of ordained women serving the People of God in egalitarian, inclusive Catholic communities. The full equality of women in the church is the voice of God in our time. For more information, visit
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Homily for the 27th Sunday – Cycle C – 03 October 2010/Roberta Meehan, RCWP

Homily for the 27th Sunday – Cycle C – 03 October 2010

Habakkuk 1:2-3; 2:2-4
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9
2 Timothy 1:6-8; 13-14
Luke 17:5-10

“How long, O God! I cry for help but you do not listen!” (Habakkuk 1:2)

I wrote a homily on this passage in 2001. When I began writing that homily, my internet server was down. I laughed. After all, “How long, O God, can I go without my connection to the outside world? Do you not understand, God? I want my server back and you are not reconnecting me!”

This week (2010), the IRS is after me. And I am screaming once again. “How long, O God, can I go on until the IRS stops hounding me?”

Absolutely shocking – screaming at God that way – particularly about something as mundane as an internet provider or the IRS….

But, the Israelites were always screaming at God. Habakkuk’s rendition is nothing new. The Israelites screamed as individuals and as a nation – and not just on one occasion. And what are Lamentations if not a series of protracted screams at God – screams lasting sometimes 40 years. (If my internet server back in 2001 – or even today – shows any signs of being out that long, I’ll get a new server. Can I scream at God about that? What about the IRS? Can I scream about God about that?)

Forty years, God? This is 2010 and 40 years sounds like such a long time in our instant gratification society.

Laugh, I suppose. Our reliance on the material world is funny – from computers to the IRS. But, the real question has to do with FAITH. FAITH is the entire theme of today’s liturgy.

Can I be a person of FAITH and still scream at God? Or does FAITH somehow involve blind and silent submission?

Interestingly, Jesus does not provide a direct answer in today’s gospel. The apostles make a demand on Jesus. “Increase our faith,” they say. Jesus tells them something silly – or seemingly silly – about having faith the size of a mustard seed. That is a very small seed – not the tiniest known today but still very small and definitely one of the most minute known in the time of Jesus. What does this have to do with acquiring FAITH? That seems to be a statement about the quantity of FAITH rather than instructions on how to increase FAITH.

To repeat: Can I be a person of FAITH and still scream at God?

YES. And I am screaming now. In 2001 did I have FAITH that my petulant purveyor of pixels would return? Yes! If I had not had FAITH that I would soon be reconnected with the world, I would not have been screaming at God, would I? And today, if I did not have FAITH that the IRS could be beaten, I would not be screaming at God, would I? Maybe that is part of the answer. Maybe the louder I scream at God, the more assured I am that God is listening! But, of course God listens -- regardless. I have known that since I was a child, at least in theory. The question is, do I believe it? Even as one who is no longer a child, do I believe it? Maybe screaming at God is an indication that I do believe.

Belief? FAITH? How are these two related? Are they the same thing? No, not exactly, but in one way, they are. We won’t worry today about how FAITH and belief are un-related. Let us look at the way they are identical – the way they are really the same thing. Do I truly believe that if I scream loudly enough at God that God will help me? Do I have the FAITH to scream?

Can I let go of my own struggle long enough to scream loud enough for my FAITH to grow to the size of a mustard seed? Do I believe that God will hear me?

How absurd! Why would God care about my internet provider? Or about my struggles with the IRS? What kind of FAITH or belief system is that? Maybe God doesn’t really care about my internet provider or the IRS; maybe what God really cares about is ME. Maybe God won’t turn the server back on or the IRS off. But, the louder I scream, the more God will hold me and give me what I really need. And when I can surrender that, my FAITH can grow. When I can believe that my God will take absolute care of me, then the FAITH of a mustard seed can move mountains. Maybe not the mountains of planet earth, but definitely the mountains of my mind.

To repeat: Does FAITH somehow involve blind and silent submission?

I think not. God does not tell me to check my humanity at the door when I come into the Almighty’s presence! Not at all! I am human. I scream, I am not blind, I cannot be silent and submit until I have told God what I believe and until I have been told – and until I believe – that I have everything I need.

“How long, O God! I cry for help but you do not listen!” (Habakkuk 1:2)

No, that prayer should be: Here I am, God! I just want my problems solved! My voice shrinks to silence – no, what I really want is my God holding me. I can scream from the depths of my soul until there is no room for anything but that mustard seed of FAITH. And then I can believe that my God truly loves me and that my God will take absolute care of me – regardless of the problems that need to be solved.

-- Roberta M Meehan

"Defying the Vatican, Catholic Women Claim Their Priesthood" by Tim Padgett/TIME

Judy Lee Presiding at Liturgy at
Joshua House for Homeless in Ft. Myers, Fl.
By Tim Padgett/TIME/Sept. 27, 2010,9171,2019635,00.html
"Like any good priest, Judy Lee knows how to use a Bible story. One of the readings for Roman Catholic Masses on a recent Sunday, from the Book of Wisdom, recounts how the Hebrews defied the pharaoh by worshipping God "in secret." That passage resonates at the house in Fort Myers, Fla., where Lee is conducting Mass for 25 Catholics gathered in front of a coffee-table altar in defiance of the Pope. "Rome says you'll be thrown out of the church for being here," says Lee, "because I'm a woman."
"Lee, 67, considers herself a validly ordained Catholic priest. ..She and the more than 100 other women who claim to be Catholic priests in the U.S. and abroad can thank the church for one thing: its hysterical response to their movement — in July the Vatican branded female ordination a delictum gravius, or grave crime, the same label it has given pedophilia — has elicited enough attention to lift their profile out of the catacombs. .."

"....We're the Rosa Parks of the Catholic Church," says Bridget Mary Meehan, a Womenpriests bishop and former nun. "We no longer accept second-class status in our own religion." Meehan, 62, once did ministry work that included "everything a priest does," she says — except saying Mass. ...Like Meehan, most of the almost 80 Catholic women ordained in the U.S. hold advanced religious degrees and have logged years of lay work in the church, from premarriage counseling to serving Communion. Many are married — another doctrinal no-no, since Catholic priests, with rare exceptions, must be celibate — and they often have outside jobs to make ends meet. Mary Magdalene Apostle's pastor, Jane Via, is a San Diego County prosecutor... "