Friday, December 30, 2011

Bishop to Bishop: Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan Responds to Bishop Frank Dewane About His Letter to Deacon Judy Beaumont Regarding Her Upcoming Ordination as Priest

Bishop Frank :
It has been brought to my attention that you purportedly reside in the Diocese of  Venice in Florida and may attempt to be " ordained " to the ministerial priesthood here within this Diocese on January 22 , 2012 . This is a most grave and serious matter of consequence for your soul.

Bishop Bridget Mary:
Under all circumstances, the church teaches that one must follow one’s conscience. So how can serving God as a woman priest cause a problem for one’s soul? I wish our male bishops would be as concerned about the thousands of victims of sexual abuse as they appear to be about the souls of women priests!


Bishop Frank :
The Catholic Church has always taught that the Church has no authority to confer priestly ordination on women.

Bishop Bridget Mary:
Jesus set the example by calling women and men to be his disciples. Witness his relationship with Mary and Martha and Mary of Magdala for example. He did not ordain anyone. Ordination was developed much later, in the early centuries of the church. According to historians, such as Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination, women were ordained for twelve hundred years before the patriarchy abandoned the practice.


Bishop Frank:
The Church shares this teaching with our Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters. The ministerial priesthood is a gift from God, not something that someone " earns, " " deserves " or has a "right " to, due to advanced education, devoted service in the Church, or simply because of one's own personal desire. The reasons for this include : the example recorded in sacred Scripture of Christ choosing His Apostles ; the constant practice of the Church, which imitated Christ in choosing only men ; and the Church's living teaching authority.


Bishop Bridget Mary:
This is a complete re-write of the Gospels! The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala and called her to be the apostle to the apostles (John 20:17). Paul affirmed Junia as an apostle, who was his mentor and teacher in Romans 16. Note (Luke 10:42) Jesus' words to Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus, as she sat at Jesus' feet listening to what he said(as disciples do)"Mary has chosen what is better,and it will not be taken away from her." Bishop Frank, neither you nor church tradition since the 12th century are powerful enough to take away what Jesus has clearly given to Mary and countless women disciples like Judith Beaumont-"it will not be taken away from her".


Bishop Frank:
In calling only men as His Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and  sovereign manner . Throughout His earthly ministry, Our Lord also emphasized the dignity a n d the vocation of women , and in so doing , did not conform to the prevailing customs, traditions , and legislation of the time. Still , among His twelve Apostles , Jesus Christ did not include any women. This fact withstands any so-called "scholarship" to the contrary. Sacred Scripture further reveals that Jesus did include the participation of women in His public ministry in ways that shows a differentiation of roles between men and women . Together both worked to build up the unity of the Church, avoiding divisiveness . Specific to the role of women, the Church gives thanks for the feminine "genius",
appearing in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations, and for the charisms of the Holy Spirit on women's manifestations of faith, hope and love .


Bishop Bridget Mary:
Luke 8 affirms that women were not only among Jesus disciples, but that there were many of them and they were leaders in supporting his ministry. Jesus was a radical feminist in his vision of a “discipleship of equals”. He had a theological conversation with the Samaritan woman, who became the first evangelist to bring her whole village to him. Martha’s profession of faith parallel’s Peter’s and her table ministry indicated that women presided at Eucharist in house churches in early Christianity. Jesus never spoke of feminine “genius", he treated women as equals to men, a reality lost on our present hierarchy, who try to wax eloquent about women’s second class citizenship in their own church by use of lofty phrases like you, Bishop Frank, used above. Roman Catholic Women Priests are the "Rosa Parks" of the Catholic Church. We will no longer settle for sitting in the back of the Catholic bus. Sexism, like racism is a sin and always wrong.

Bishop Frank:
Through the Sacrament of Baptism, all Christians , both men and women , share equally in the " common priesthood of believers . " Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders , priests also share in the " ministerial priesthood " of Christ , the High Priest . However, no individual has the "right" to be ordained to the ministerial priesthood. Ordination to the ministerial priesthood must be conferred by a validly ordained bishop on a baptized man. A candidate must receive the authorization of the Church, which has the authority and responsibility to determine if a true call to the priesthood exists for the said candidate.


Bishop Bridget Mary :
Jesus did not see himself as a “High Priest”. He came among us to transform our lives and world so that the kindom of God would be manifest through our witness to justice, inclusion and compassion. He showed us that those who are leaders/ ministers must serve our sisters and brothers in the washing of the feet ritual at the Last Supper. Jesus challenged the religious leaders of his time for their abuse of spiritual power and hypocrisy. Judith Beaumont's Ordination will be conferred by a validly ordained bishop as we (our bishops) clearly stand in the line of apostolic succession through the male bishop in standing with the pope who ordained the first women bishops.


Bishop Frank:
Below is a 1995 responsum, issued by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger [now Pope Benedict XVI] , then Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith , in response to the to the question of ,
"whether the teaching that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women , which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively, is to be understood as belonging to the  deposit of faith , '


Bishop Bridget Mary:
This is the ultimate cop-out. Of course, the church has authority to ordain women. It did so for twelve hundred years. There are thousands of ordained women in church history. The institutional church can no longer discriminate against women and blame God for it.


Bishop Frank:
Responsum : In the affirmative. This teaching requires definitive assent , since, founded on the written Word of God , and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of
the Church , it has been set forth infallibly by the ordinary and universal Magisterium (cf Second Vatican Council , Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium 25 , 2). Thus, in the present circumstances , the Roman Pontiff, exercising his proper office of confirming the brethren (cf Lk 22:32) , has handed on this same teaching by a formal declaration, explicitly stating what is to be held always , everywhere , and by all , as belonging to the deposit of the faith .


Bishop Bridget Mary :
The Catholic faithful, including the world’s theologians, many priests, some bishops, did not affirm this teaching. Therefore, it is not infallible teaching because it does not reflect the faith of the believing community, the entire, universal church. It does not reflect the "sensus fidelium".


Bishop Frank :
Further, as you may know, on May 30, 2008 The Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith issued the general decree , "On the Delict of Attempted Sacred Ordination of
a Woman . " The decree affirms that , "he who shall have attempted to confer holy orders
on a woman , as well as the woman who may have attempted to receive Holy Orders , incurs in a latae sententiae excommunication," that is, an automatic excommunication. Further, reconciliation for this excommunication must come through the Holy See in Rome .

Bishop Bridget Mary:
We do not fear excommunication. Actually, we are walking in the footsteps of giants such as St. Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake for following her conscience. Pope Benedict canonized two excommunicated nuns: Mother Theodore Guerin from the United States and Mother Mary MacKillop from Australia, thereby making excommunication a possible fast track to canonization! One day a future pope, perhaps, a woman, will probably say, according to the common and constant tradition of the church, taught by the apostles and lived through the history of the church for many centuries, we ordain women deacons, priests and bishops.


Bishop Frank:
As your Bishop , I urge you , to refrain from participating in what will be an invalid attempt at "ordination ." This opportunity is taken to inform you that, should you proceed with this action , you would in fact, separate yourself from the Catholic Church, by your own free choice .


Bishop Bridget Mary:
Nothing can separate us from God, nothing can cancel our baptism, nothing or no one can stop us from living the fullness of Christ’s love in a more open, just and inclusive Catholic Church. We are faithful women living Christ’s call to serve those in need and on the margins offering the church the gift of a renewed priestly ministry in a Christ-centered, inclusive Catholic Church.


Bishop Frank:
With this in mind, for the good of your immortal soul , I exhort you to choose not to participate i n this attempted " ordination . "


Bishop Bridget Mary:
Our souls are in God’s hands. We answer the call in prophetic obedience. We walk in faith and love, trusting in Christ and with Holy Wisdom, Sophia’s guidance, as we serve our beloved faith communities. Each week Catholics affirm women priests as they celebrate inclusive liturgies in Florida and in more and more places in the U.S. and abroad with our 124 ordained priests and deacons.

+ Frank Dewane
Bishop of the Diocese of
Venice in Florida


+Bridget Mary Meehan
Bishop, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (USA and South America)

7 comments:

Linda said...

Amen, amen, again I say Amen! How can they be so egotistical. it is amazing to me that it's taken this long for women to stand up an acknowledge their calling, and I'm sad that more people are not supporting you. I encourage you and believe in your calling. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

First, you are not a bishop. Your article is layperson to bishop.

"Under all circumstances, the church teaches that one must follow one’s conscience. "

Even if one believes their conscience is telling them to murder, or commit some other sin?

"Under all circumstances, the church teaches that one must follow one’s conscience. "

But only men to be his Apostles.

"He did not ordain anyone. "

Then your efforts are in vain and your ordination is null since Christ allegedly did not ordain anyone.

"Martha’s profession of faith parallel’s Peter’s and her table ministry indicated that women presided at Eucharist in house churches in early Christianity."

Pulling this out of your hat?

"he treated women as equals to men"

Yet none were among the twelve. Fascinating, no?

"Jesus challenged the religious leaders of his time for their abuse of spiritual power and hypocrisy. "

I wonder what He would have to say about you in both of those categories!

"Of course, the church has authority to ordain women. It did so for twelve hundred years. "

Taking someone's lie and passing it along as fact.

"Therefore, it is not infallible teaching because it does not reflect the faith of the believing community, the entire, universal church."

No doctrine will ever have complete universal acceptance, and 100% adherence should have no bearing on what is and isn't truth. There are some who do not believe that the Blessed Mother was a virgin, but she certainly was, and this doctrine is not in doubt because some choose to deny it.

"We do not fear excommunication."

Perhaps you should.

KayEm said...

Romans 8:38-39
For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nothing already in existence and nothing still to come, nor any power, nor the heights nor the depths, nor any created thing whatever, will be able to come between us and the love of God, known to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
[New Jerusalem Bible, 1985]

Excommunication? LOL

Archbishop Peter Brennan said...

Our good Bishop Frank Deewane has forgotten that Jesus called Married Persons to be his apostles.
The Church had no right to enforce celibacy as a job requirement for the priesthood. The Church had no right to sell the wives and children into slavery as it did. The married priesthood was in the Deposit of Faith and should not have been sold for the mess of porridge called celibacy. Celibacy has becocme more important than the priesthood. Celibacy is the new golden calf of idolatry. St. Peter was a married priest. Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan has spoken well in defense of the ordination of women. Let both the married priesthood and the female priesthood be returned to the church as it was in the beginning. It will be a far better church.

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Mike said...

"The Church had no right to enforce celibacy as a job requirement for the priesthood."

And you have no right to "ordain" contrary to the wishes of the Holy Father.

Lea Anne said...

"Pope Benedict canonized two excommunicated nuns: Mother Theodore Guerin from the United States and Mother Mary MacKillop from Australia, thereby making excommunication a possible fast track to canonization!"
Perhaps excommunication is a blessing in this age! Thank you, Bridget Mary for your courage and determination not to give in or give up where integrity is at stake! We must pray for our brother bishops and priests as they, no doubt, pray for us.
Sister Lea Anne