Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Seeking Equality for Jewish Women"/Sarasota Herald Tribune

By STEVE HEISLER Correspondent
"As Anat Hoffman prepares for her series of presentations, her intent is clear. The director of the Israel Religious Action Center remains determined and focused on bringing about an Israel in which women can pray alongside men in public without fear. Jerusalem's Western Wall includes separate lines for men and women and a strict Orthodox prohibition of women carrying the Torah, wearing a prayer shawl or praying openly and equally alongside their male counterparts.
According to Hoffman and some rabbis in the region, it is a part of Judaism's continuing struggle against an Orthodox branch imposing its rules and beliefs on all Jews. Forced segregation in public transportation and discrimination in open religious practice is part of the atmosphere liberal Jews are working to change. "
"Hoffman's efforts include working for several years with Women of the Wall. The group works to make Judaism's most sacred site a spot where all women can wear tallits or shawls and pray and collectively read aloud from the Torah"...

"...In the eyes of Jewish reformers seeking a more open society, that behavior reached its zenith July 12 when Hoffman, carrying a Torah, was arrested at the Wall. A video of the arrest on YouTube and her subsequent interrogation made Harold Caminker cry."
"Caminker, the rabbi at Bradenton's Temple Beth-El for the past two years, cited the Orthodox Jewish concept of "kol isha," a prohibition against women publicly speaking, praying or singing. Rooted in the Talmud, it has no place in a modern world, he said."
"Enlightened people in the world reject this kind of dogma," he said. "The intention is to keep women down and keep them as second-class citizens. This is something that has been accepted for many centuries unchallenged and we see it today in places where religious fundamentalists are in power."
Caminker's emotional response to the video of her arrest did not surprise Hoffman, but she said her incarceration should serve above all else as a call to action."
"Victory for her, however, could be seen as another scene unfolds at the Western Wall while a system is created to provide services to all Jews, including a girl being permitted to celebrate her bat mitzvah at the Wall in a safe manner."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Viva Anat Hoffman, Woman of Faith, courageous witness to gender equality for Jewish women.

Patriarchal religions should embrace women as equal images of the Divine. Genesis states that women and men are both created in God's image. Like Roman Catholic Women Priests who are excommunicated when they are ordained, Anat Hoffman's arrest at the Holy Wall in Jerusalem brings to mind the pain of rejection that women must endure to achieve gender justice in worship. As people of diverse faiths, let us support one another on the journey to equality for all so that future generations will experience the equality that is our birthright as daughters and sons of God.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Friday, January 14, 2011

Vatican announces May 1 beatification for John Paul II/Survivors of Sexual Abuse Challenge Vatican's Move to Canonize John Paul II

By John Allen/NCR

..."some victims of clerical sexual abuse and their advocates believe that John Paul’s record on the crisis is not worthy of sainthood, or at least that beatifying him now risks giving offense to victims who associate the late pope with a mixed response to the crisis. Some have argued that the study of John Paul’s life and legacy as part of the sainthood process did not give sufficient weight to his handling of the sexual abuse crisis, such as the case of the late founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Mexican Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, a longtime favorite during John Paul’s papacy who was later disgraced as the Legionaries acknowledged he was guilty of various forms of sexual misconduct."
"Yesterday, even before the formal Vatican announcement, the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests issued a statement asserting that the hierarchy is" “rubbing more salt into the wounds” of victims with a “hasty drive to confer sainthood on the pontiff under whose reign most of the widely-documented clergy sex crimes and cover ups took place...”

Pope John Paul II to Be Beatified May 1/ Saint-Making Past and Future

Pope John Paul II to Be Beatified May 1
Published: January 13, 2011

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
I don't understand the rush to beatify Pope John Paul II. If the miracle of the nun's recovery from Parkinson's is now under question", why is the Vatican moving ahead anyway? Why hasn't the Vatican named Dorothy Day, the women martyred in El Slavador, Oscar Romero as role models for their prophetic witness to justice as constitutive to the Gospel? They certainly had had plenty of time to investigate and reflect on their lives.
In addition, there are many "unnamed" saints, some we know in our families and faith communities, who live lives of heroic service and virtue. They are unrecognized by officaldom, but real saints nonetheless. Let's look around and be inspired by our sisters and brothers goodness, compassion and selfless service and heroic action, and find a way as the people of God to recognize them. In early centuries of the church's history saints were declared by the people. One example is St. Brigit of Kildare and the Celtic saints. Maybe it is time to go back to that process, and skip this whole expensive canonization process! Let's put saint-making back into the local communities and in the hands of the people where it belongs. Just think how much money that would save! Do you think God might be laughing at the whole process anyway?
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Pope's sainthood setback after 'miracle cure' nun reported to be ill again
Pope's sainthood setback after 'miracle cure' nun reported to be ill again, Friday 5 March 2010 13.49 GMT

EXCERPT: ....hopes that the former pope's canonisation would be fast-tracked by Sister Marie Simon-Pierre's recovery from Parkinson's disease have been set back by reports that the French nun has fallen ill again.

Monday, January 10, 2011

"Courageous Catholicism" --Roman Catholic Women Priests- A Letter by Judith Cox

Courageous Catholicism
Thank you to Bishop Kevin Rhoades who generously gave copies of Matthew Kelly’s book Rediscover Catholicism to all the parishioners in the diocese. In it he states that Catholics are in need of “bold leadership” and “courageous leaders.” He further states that “Jesus’ whole method of leadership focused on turning the hierarchy uspside down. The model of leadership that Christ himself left us was one of service and sacrifice.”
There is just that kind of leadership in the Catholic Church today in the form of Roman Catholic Womenpriests. These women and some married men as well found a way to become priests of the Catholic Church by ordination from a Bishop in apostolic succession in 2000. Their courage to continue in spite of Vatican condemnation as more sinful than the child sexual abusing priests that were protected by the hierarchy is amazing. They have determined to change the Catholic Church into the one Jesus wanted with servant leaders and all inclusive openness of Vatican II. In their model of Catholic Church, all are truly welcome.
The Catholic people have prayed long enough and hard enough for priests. Now all we have to do is accept ALL the priests God is so generously sending us in women and married men. These are the ones who have the courage to preach the Gospel, open their arms to all who seek Christ and truly be servant leaders.
Submitted by: Judith A. Cox
12108 Golden Harvest Dr.
Fort Wayne In 46845

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"On Sex Abuse, Benedict Needs to Bring Peace this Year" "Facing Financial Scandals, Pope Creates a New Vatican Watchdog" NCR

by Nicole Sotelo on Jan. 06, 2011

"Here is just a sampling of what survivors, and the Catholic community, continues to face nine years after the bishops’ conference passed their Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and promised change:
Within the last month, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland, Maine announced that new credible allegations against seven priests in that diocese had been brought forward
but refused to give the priests’ names, some of whom had been identified before.
Malone is not the only one putting children at risk. Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska continues to ignore portions of the USCCB Charter and refuses to conduct diocesan-wide background checks, potentially putting thousands of children at risk. (See NCR’s 2008 story:
Repeated attempts to petition U.S. bishops fail)
Last October, the San Diego diocese finally released documents chronicling years of sexual abuse -- three years late. (See NCR’s story:
San Diego diocese documents released)
In a 2007 settlement with survivors, the Diocese promised to release the papers but then delayed the release for years as it battled the process in court. The documents contain the names of 48 perpetrators, some of whom had never been publicly released; this nearly nine years after the bishops promised openness and accountability for the safety of our children.
In December, the bishop of Winona, Minn. and the archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis both
filed legal motions to force a survivor of sexual abuse to repay the legal costs the archdiocese incurred fighting against his claims in court -- totaling approximately $130,000...
Meanwhile, the perpetrator, Thomas Adamson, remains free despite the fact that more than two dozen survivors have accused him of sexual abuse and Adamson himself has admitted abusing youth starting in 1964, according to a database at the Web site.
What’s more, there is no push from the top urging these bishops to make any changes in the way they obfuscate the truth and impede the progress of systemic justice that is desperately needed for the church to heal..."

[Nicole Sotelo is the author of Women Healing from Abuse: Meditations for Finding Peace, published by Paulist Press, and coordinates A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, she currently works at Call To Action.]

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
What other church would get away with acting like a crime family? Catholics should demand accountability from their bishops in the treatment of sexual abuse victims and the Vatican should get its financial house in order. If Pope Benedict can create a watch dog agency "to promote compliance with international rules against money laundering, insider trading, market abuse, and financing terrorism, he can also take punitive action against bishops who do not comply with child protection policies and who fail to do justice for sex abuse victims. The Vatican Bank is supposed to be the financial arm of our church, instead it is mired in corruption and scandal. Catholics should boycott the Vatican Bank until the civil authorities report that this institution has achieved true financial transparency. "the Vatican's former prefect of Propaganda Fdie, Naples Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe is suspected of making sweetheart construction deals with Italian politicans in exchange for millions of euros in public funds. The other investigation is focused on the Vatican Bank, where some 30 million in assets was seized by cvil authoriites earlier this year for violations of European anti-money laundering laws... " ( "Facing Financial Scandals, Pope Creates New Vatican Watchdog", by John Allen, National Catholic Reporter, Jan. 7,2011)
The pope should move as quickly to fire the bishops who fail to protect victims of clergy sex abuse as he did to police the Vatican Bank after its 30 million in assets were seized.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP