Friday, November 5, 2010

What can Benedict do to resolve the sexual crisis of Catholicism? -Resign- by Joe Rigert and Richard Sipe

"The world knows that Pope Benedict XVI, leader of the billion-member Roman Catholic church, has a horrible problem of child sex abuse in his church, especially in North America and Australia. Now a surge of alleged abuse cases in Europe, including almost 500 in tiny Belgium alone, shows that the problem is far more widespread than originally believed, reaching right into the papacy itself. Along with other bishops, Benedict was complicit earlier in tolerating and covering up the crimes of the priests. "

"That case involving Ratzinger was not a matter of sexual fondling or touching, as the abuses by priests are often described. This was a terrible assault on the child. The alleged victim, now an adult, said in an interview that the priest gave him alcohol, locked him in his bedroom, took off his clothes and forced him to perform oral sex. He was 11 years old. Any priest now credibly accused of such conduct should be defrocked, stripped of his priestly functions. Could any bishop who kept such a priest in the ministry be seriously considered as a credible candidate for pope?"

"...The pope could initiate this change by resigning from the papacy and calling for the resignation of all the other bishops, like him, who were complicit in the abuse scandal. (In Ireland, the archbishop of Dublin proposed such action, and five bishops offered to resign.) Other popes have quit. In centuries past nine of the 265 Roman Catholic popes have resigned or been forced out of office for the good of the church. The most recent was Gregory XII who abdicated in 1417 to help settle the claims of three competitors for the papacy."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Excellent argument for Pope Benedict's resignations and for holding Vatican and hierarchy accountable. It is time for Vatican 111, a worldwide Council of the People of God, for a people-empowered church, for married priests, women priests and for a top-down reform of all structures in the church. It is time that the Roman Catholic Church follows the example of Jesus who calls us to live as equals and partners in an inclusive community of faith.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Roman Catholic Womenpriests Serve the People of God

Katy Zatsick at Ordination
Liturgy on Feb. 6,2010

Judy Lee presides at Liturgy
in Joshua House in Ft. Myers, Florida

Frederick Buechner said--"our call is the place where our heart's deep desire meets the world's deep need?"

Surveys tell us that 10% of Americans are former Catholics. There are many baptized Catholics who no longer feel welcome in a Roman Catholic Parish. Roman Catholic Womehavpriests, like Judy Lee, are serving communities who love Jesus, their Catholic heritage, and
who seek a spiritual community where they are welcome and treated as the beloved of God. Pastor Judy works with the homeless in the Ft. Myers area. Contact Judy:

Each of us is called to love and serve to follow the Spirit's call in the depths of our hearts and to serve "the world's need." That is what it means for Christians to "become Christ" each day. Sometimes all it takes is a small act of kindness.

Sometimes, it is about listening to the "worry list" and offering comfort and prayer. While she was visiting her daughter in Florida, Katy Zatsick, one of our womenpriests fell and broke her leg in four places. She is in a rehabilitation facility near Tampa recovering from this serious injury. Her ministry now is one of presence and prayer for the staff who serve at the center. Aides who assist her in the daily tasks share their stories of faith and struggle in these difficult times. Katyhas set aside an hour in the afternoon as a special time of prayer for the staff and their intentions. This is the heart of ministry, loving in the heart of God. Contact Katy at

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP,

Survivors Voice Inc, Response to Vatican Spokesperson Fr. Lombardi's Statement

November 4, 2010
For Immediate Release
Gary Bergeron
Survivors Voice Inc

Survivors Voice Inc, Response

to Vatican Spokesperson Fr. Lombardi's Statement

Clergy Abuse Survivors Respond to Vatican's Fr. Lombardi's Public Statement

November 4, 2010

Boston Massachusetts: We at Survivors Voice ( appreciated the invitation and opportunity extended by Vatican spokesperson Fr. Lombardi, to meet and speak during the Reformation Day gathering in Rome on October 31.

We applaud and agree with his public statement that "The scourge of sexual abuse especially against minors, but also in a general way, is one of the great scourges of today's world." We also applaud and agree that "This fight must be fought by us together, uniting our forces against the spread of this scourge.."

We do not agree with your statement that "The major part of the crimes belongs to times bygone". These crimes continue in every country of the world and the damage inflicted continues.

In Fr. Lombardi's own words issued in his statement "Yesterday morning, 100,000 young people were present in these places for a great celebration ..."

What we do not applaud and find discouraging is the fact that unless society changes the status quo surrounding the way we address the sexual abuse of children, of those 100,000 young people that Fr. Lombardi spoke of at the celebration in Rome, statistics show that 30,000 will be sexually abused before the age of 18.

What is more discouraging is that Fr. Lombardi's public statement began by informing us that the statement he issued was his alone and in no way represented the official stance of the Holy See.

In 2003, while in Rome, we extended an invitation to Vatican officials to engage in an open, direct and honest dialogue about childhood sexual abuse affecting children from around the globe. They declined our invitation. Several days ago, while again in Rome, we extended that same invitation. That invitation remains open, and survivors around the world remain determined to change the status quo of society's view of this issue.

Fr. Lombardi, if you cannot speak in an official capacity on this issue, please forward this invitation along to someone who can. Vatican officials detained us and photo-copied our passports. I'm sure they know how to reach us.

Survivors Voice Co-Founders Gary Bergeron & Bernie McDaid

Contact: Gary Bergeron

Phone 978-606-3193


Contact: Bernie McDaid

Phone 617-529-2029


Bridget Mary's Reflection:
My prayers and support to all Survivors of Sexual Abuse. May your efflorts lead to genuine reform and renewal in our beloved church which belongs to all of us, the baptized, not the hierarchy alone. We stand in solidarity with you on your journey to healing and your mission of advocacy for a more open, transparent, and safe church for Catholic children.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Belgioum Archbishop's Press Officer Calls It Quits/NCRArticle

Belgium archbishop's press officer calls it quits

by John A. Dick

Nov. 03, 2010

BRUSSELS -- "Saying his "bucket is full" the press officer for controversial Belgium Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard quit his job yesterday.
In a Nov. 2 announcement, Jürgen Mettepenningen compared Léonard's leadership to a reckless driver headed in the wrong direction."
"In October, Léonard seemed to drop exploding bombs every time he met the press. AIDS, he said, is a matter of "immanent justice" for people who misuse their bodies. Homosexuality is a form of human sexuality that has developed in the wrong way and is a disease like anorexia. And most recently —- retired pedophile priests should not be prosecuted but allowed to live out their remaining years in tranquility."

"The Belgian secular press said Léonard's statements were outlandish and disgusting. European Union President Herman Van Rompuy, a Belgian, said in a press conference that he is "shocked, disgusted and angered" about what is happening in the contemporary Belgian church. "
John A. Dick is a retired historical theologian and long-term resident of Belgium. He currently serves as director of the Jean Jadot Chair for the Study of Religion and Values in Society being established at both Louvain universities.)

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Priests and or bishops are not above the law. Clericalism is one of the major issues at the heart of the sexual abuse crisis. We all need to say enough! We also need to find ways, including financial organizations, to support whistle blowers in our church especially those who risk the ire of the hierarchy. Are there any Catholics who want to start such a foundation? I sure hope so.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Homily for the 31st Sunday – Cycle C – 31 October 2010/ Roberta Meehan, RCWP

Wisdom 11:22 – 12:2
Psalm 145:1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 13-14
2 Thessalonians 1:11 – 2:2
Luke 19:1-10

[The Book of Wisdom is found in the Apocryphal section of some translations of the Bible.]

One of the themes brought out in today's readings is the call. We are told we are good and we are told to follow our call. Our calls are not denied and the theme of call runs throughout today's readings. But, what else is there?

Look at this phrase from the Book of Wisdom. "You [God] love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made." Were we not all made by God? Do we not all fall in this category of God loving all things that God has made? Of course we have heard since we were small children that God loves us. But, how often have we stopped and thought about how absolute and profound that statement is?

The reading goes on with, "for what you hated, you would not have fashioned." God is absolutely and positively in love with each one of us and if God were not in love with us, we simply would not be here. We would never have been here! Look at a few more phrases from Wisdom. "And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?" Have we not been willed by God? Have we not been called forth?

Sometimes words like that sound very distant. We know them in theory but do we really know them in our heart of hearts? Think of the person you find most despicable, the person you absolutely abhor. Does it hurt you to think that God loves that person with the same absolute passion that God loves you?

How does this statement of love relate to our call today? Look at the letter to the Thessalonians. "(W)e always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith." We see a very definite progression here. God is absolutely in love with each one of us and now we hear a prayer that we may be made worthy of God's call. Yes! God is calling each of us. Our calls may be temporary or our calls may be permanent. We may have a call to listen to someone for an hour or we may have a call to spend forty years as a missionary in a foreign land. We may be called to our family situation or to our profession. We may even be called to be unemployed. But, regardless, God calls each of us.

The point is that the letter to the Thessalonians is a prayer that we may be worthy of our call. Our calls are unique. They are a part of who and what we are. They are a part of our innermost beings. Are we worthy? We are working on it! We are not perfect. Think back to that question of how we react to God loving the most despicable person we can think of even as God loves us. It does not matter that we are not perfect. Only God is perfect; all we can do is strive toward perfection and ask that we may be worthy of our call. No one in Scripture was worthy of his or her call – at least not by our standards. But, every one had a call. Every one of us also has a call (or a series of calls). We can only ask to be worthy of our call. We will falter and sometimes we will fail but if we remember that our God is absolutely in love with us, our ultimate moment is not failure but the fulfillment of God's ultimate purpose for each of us.

It is interesting that the gospel today – Luke's story of that short and bossy little chief tax collector named Zacchaeus – should be a part of this series of readings on our call. Tax collectors were held in less regard in Scriptural times than they are today. The followers of Jesus certainly had no great love for Zacchaeus! He was a tax collector and he was rich. But, he knew how to answer the call! It is entirely possible that professionally he was called to be a tax collector! He was also called by Jesus. Look at what Zacchaeus had to do just to see Jesus! Somehow he got up in that sycamore tree. This may have been quite a feat for a short fellow! He felt the call – a call that extended beyond his profession as a tax collector. And he felt it so strongly that he went to extreme lengths to answer it!

But, even though Zacchaeus was seeking to see Jesus, Jesus was actually searching for Zacchaeus and Jesus told him gently to come out of the tree because he (Jesus) was going to stay at Zacchaeus' house that night. Again we see the absolute love of God – the Hound of Heaven. And what does Zacchaeus do? He prays the essence of the message from Thessalonians! He prays to be worthy. He makes a commitment to his call from God. He will give half to the poor; he will repay anyone he has cheated four-fold; he will turn his life over to God.

And, God says that salvation has come to Zacchaeus' house. Notice that we have no indication that Zacchaeus will stop being a tax collector. That may well have been and would continue to be his professional calling. We also have no indication that he will stop being rich. Even if he gives away half of his possessions, he may still have had enough to be classified as rich.

But, notice something else. His answering the call was a change of heart. He knew that God loved him absolutely. He knew he was going to make amends for any wrongdoing and he was going to turn his will and his life over to God. He was answering his call from God. We do not know if he changed his profession; we do know he changed his life. He answered the call to be who he was – the beloved child of God, doing what he could do to be what the love that God had for him called him to be.

-- Roberta M. Meehan

"Make Room for Women Priests", Activist Urges

Fr. Roy co-celebrated Ordination Liturgy
of Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janice
Sevre-Duszynska in Lexington, Kentucky,
Aug. 9, 2008

Nobel nominee campaigns for Catholics to speak up, support ordination of women
By Leslie Scrivener,

TORONTO — "Roy Bourgeois knows it’s not easy to change deeply held beliefs or to cast off church teaching — but he’s living proof it can be done. He grew up in a small town in Louisiana in a family of traditional Catholics."

...."Some of this momentum may be of the church’s own making. Last July, Catholics were appalled when the Vatican, in announcing revisions to its laws on abuser priests, stated that attempts to ordain women were sins as grave as pedophilia and heresy. This was interpreted as an attempt to curb any thoughts that a married clergy or women priests might be a way of reducing abuse in the clergy."

"Surveys in the U.S. and Britain show that support for women priests is about 60 per cent or higher. "These are not voices crying in the wilderness," Bourgeois says, "This is a movement whose time has come."

"He is currently on a speaking tour across the United States, and during a stop in Toronto was joined by Marie Bouclin, a 69-year-old Sudbury, Ont., mother of three who was ordained in 2007. She’s one of about 100 women around the world ordained by a group known as Roman Catholic Womenpriests."

"A former nun, she left the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa in her 20s. "I didn’t feel called to celibacy," she says. "I wanted to marry and have a family." "...Think of all the theologians who are silent. . . . Roy Bourgeois was excommunicated for supporting us. He’s a hero among Catholics and among social activists."

..." What I see is not very complicated. As a priest for 38 years, at the very core of the issue is sexism, discrimination against women. The church’s teaching excluding women doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny."

"It’s the result of centuries of patriarchy, he adds. "It’s kind of crept into our DNA."

"When the moment came for him to speak publicly, the venue was Vatican Radio, with offices across from the Pope’s residence in St. Peter’s. It was 2008 and he’d been invited to talk about what he saw as injustices in U.S. foreign policy. He had about two minutes left in a 15-minute interview. "I put it out there: There is no justice in the Catholic Church until women can be ordained. Then the station manager came in, very upset. He told the interviewer, ‘no more.’ Then a little Gregorian chant kicked in."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Bravo, Fr. Roy Bourgeois! You are probably the first one in Vatican history that caused a crisis for Vatican Radio. I bet some sparks flew when you stood up for justice for women in our church! When you announced that "there is no justice in the Catholic Church until women can be ordained." No wonder, they pulled the plug on you. You had crossed the line for Gospel equality! The Risen Christ who appeared first to Mary of Magdala, apostle to the apostles , would be proud!

You stood then and you stand now in solidarity with Roman Catholic Womenpriests. One day, the Vatican will recant and repent. Then, you will be one of the heroes in the story of the institutional church's affirmation of women priests! Amen! As Pope Benedict has demonstrated in his canonization of an excommunicated nun, Mother Mary McKillop, excommunication is not a barrier to canonization any more! (Contact Bridget Mary at

Prosecutors Doubt Vatican Money-Laundering Pledges : By Nicole Winfield Associated Press

"In recent weeks the bank has made written and in-person pledges to pass anti-money laundering legislation, report and investigate suspicious transactions, identify customers to law enforcement and create a special compliance authority."

"Prosecutors, though, aren't buying any of it. They claim that even as the bank was making such overtures, it broke the law by trying to transfer money without identifying the sender or recipient, or what the money was being used for."

"Italian prosecutors have placed bank chairman Ettore Gotti Tedeschi and his deputy Paolo Cipriani under investigation and financial police seized euro23 million (US$30 million) from a Vatican bank account on Sept. 21."

"The Vatican has reacted furiously, insisting that the omission of data was just a "misunderstanding" that could be easily clarified. It tried to get the seizure lifted, but the court refused."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

This is unbelievable! When will the Vatican bank officials and the curia get it- that they are accountable to the standards of Jesus Christ in the Gospels? They are not supposed to act like a crime family! It it time for worldwide Catholics to hold the Vatican accountable! Ask yourself, what would Jesus do? Probably get that whip out and overturn some tables stacked with money in the Vatican bank!