Friday, March 11, 2011

"Monster Quake Devastates Japan'/ NPR/ Our Prayers Are With People of Japan and the People of Libya and the Middle East

"The sun rose Saturday on Japan to reveal a country wracked by a 30-foot tsunami and the most powerful earthquake the country had ever recorded.
"I was terrified, and I'm still frightened," restaurant manager Hidekatsu Hata told Reuters from Tokyo moments after the quake struck. "I've never experienced such a big quake before."

Google launched a "person-finder" to help victims and families.
In the U.S., the resulting tsunami
struck the west coast and Hawaii.

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Our prayers are with the people of Japan and all those affected by the horrific earthquake and tsunami that hit the Far East today.

Our prayers are with the people of Libya, Egypt and all who support human rights, justice and liberty in the Middle East, and in all countries throughout the world. As Martin Luther King taught us," injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Let us pray that justice, freedom and human rights will overcome! May it be so, Loving God!

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Vatican Survey to Select Bishops 'Could be Illegal'

Barney Zwartz
March 12, 2011 from the Sidney Morning Herald

"A SECRET Vatican document used to research possible bishops almost certainly breaches Australian anti-discrimination laws and seems designed to ensure only the most conformist candidates can be promoted.

The questionnaire, sent to trusted clergy and a few laypeople by the Pope's ambassador, asks about the candidate's personal qualities, orthodoxy, loyalty to the Pope, commitment to celibacy and opposition to women priests, and his public image. It asks about predisposition to hereditary illness and the family's "condition"...
"...Its spokesman Paul Collins said the document's deficiencies were more important than usual because several bishops will retire in Australia in the next two years, including the archbishops of Brisbane, Perth and Hobart.

He said the questionnaires were used to assess candidates before the Papal Nuncio (Pope's ambassador) presented a shortlist to the Pope.

Dr Collins said among the objectionable requirements were fidelity to the "genuine tradition of the church'' and ''authentic renewal" promoted by the 1960s reforming Vatican Council, which meant support for the current papal line of reversing these reforms.

The most iniquitous requirement was adherence to the 1998 Statement of Conclusions imposed on Australian bishops.

"The Australian bishops were said to be far too egalitarian and laissez-faire. The views of a tiny unrepresentative group were adopted by the Curia and forced on the bishops without consultation," Dr Collins said.

The present system ensured appointed bishops were conformists whose primary gaze was upwards to the Pope rather than down towards the church. Pastoral aspects took a minor place in the questionnaire.

"The bishops are like Hitler's generals in that their oath of loyalty to the Pope utterly cripples them. They are unable to take any action contrary to Rome, and seem not to be interested in the local church," Dr Collins said."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"The Crisis of Episcopal Governance in Philadelphia" by Michael Sean Winters

by Michael Sean Winters
on Mar. 09, 2011
..."The announcement yesterday that 21 priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia were being placed on administrative leave demonstrates conclusively that the Dallas norms have failed. (Another five were either already retired or had left the archdiocese.) "

"And this is no ordinary diocese. It is led by a cardinal, indeed, by one of the most powerful cardinals in America given his active responsibilities as a member of the Congregation for Bishops. Over the past few years, the fastest way to become a bishop was to be a successful monsignor in Philadelphia.
But we now know the man at the helm was not only derelict in his duties, he completely misunderstood the nature and import of the promises made to the faithful at Dallas...
..." The Vatican must remove Cardinal Rigali and remove him now.
..."The New Evangelization? Forget about it. Pro-life activities? Not a chance. Advocacy for the poor? It rings hollow. If the leaders of the Church cannot be trusted to keep their most solemn pledge to protect children, they cannot be trusted at all. If they fail to see this, their moral sensibility is not merely skewed, it is dead. It is not only that they cannot be trusted, it is that they should not be trusted...
Cardinal Rigali has proved himself eminent in his arrogance, in his willingness to flout the standards of conduct to which he had pledged himself. For the good of the Church, no, for the survival of the Church, he must go and he must go in disgrace. No continued membership of the Congregation for Bishops. No sinecure. Let him go someplace quiet and repent of his sins.
..."the Holy See can remove a bishop from his diocese. The ball is now in the Vatican’s court. If they fail to move swiftly in Philadelphia, the people of God in Ireland and Germany and around the world will take note and the church will be seen to be unserious in its promises. .."
..."The situation in Philadelphia is not, as one person put it, “Boston Reborn.” This is worse than Boston. After Dallas, there is no excuse."

"Can the Church Still be Saved?" by Hans Kung/ Urges Catholics "to Seize Control of Church from Clerical Masters"

Tuebingen, Germany -

"..Speaking at the book launch in Tuebingen, Germany, Wednesday, the 82-year-old said Jesus Christ would not like today's Catholic Church."

'If Jesus of Nazareth returned, he would not prohibit contraceptives, he would not shut out divorced people, and so on, Kueng said.'

"He charged that the curia, or Vatican bureaucracy, had come up with a long series of rulings over the centuries that opposed the teachings laid down in the Christian New Testament..."

..."In the book, he argues that resistance to church doctrines that are 'obviously against the Gospels' is a duty."

"Kueng said this included Catholic parishes insisting on keeping their priests after they marry, even if church law declares the man is no longer a priest. He said the church could only saved by the faithful taking over responsibility for their church. "

Bridget Mary's Reflection
Kudos to Hans Kung for speaking truth to power, confronting the abouse of power by church authorities and for calling Catholics to stand up to the Vatican.
I agree that Jesus would not recognize the institutional Roman Catholic Church today. Jesus would not prohibit contraceptions, or prohibit divorced people from receiving sacraments. Jesus would not condemn gay, lesbian or transgendered people. Since Jesus's disciples were male and female, if Jesus returned today he would welcome married priests and women priests into the circle of discipleship!
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Philadelphia Priests Suspended Over Sex Abuse Report

"Twenty-one priests in the US city of Philadelphia have been suspended after being named in an inquiry into claims of widespread child molestation.
The move follows the release last month of a
grand jury report in which 37 priests were identified as suspects.
Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, said the 21 Roman Catholic priests had been placed on leave while their cases were reviewed
Three of the 37 priests named as suspects in the grand jury report were suspended in February, a week after its release.
Five more were already on leave, serving elsewhere or no longer in active ministry, the Philadelphia archdiocese said."

"Forget about Sainthood, Let's Worry about Ministry" NCR Online

by Bill Tammeus on Mar. 09, 2011 National Catholic Reporter Online

"I won’t hide my own opinion here behind these nameless “many Protestants” to whom I’ve been referring (though they exist). My opinion is that all of the money, staff and other resources the church uses in the saint-naming process could be better used to do needed ministry to a wounded world.
I don’t know what all of that effort and staff cost, but whatever it is, wouldn’t it be better to devote the resources to feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, comforting the bereaved and healing the abused?"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Not Bad for a Day of Ordinary Miracles" by Judy Lee, RCWP

The Shadow At the Door

She was a dark shadow on the door

of the downtown St Francis Catholic Church
huddled in the corner

between the white wall and the red door

thin and gaunt,

black on black

except for the blue checked men's winter jacket pulled over her head.

This was where she lived for all the world to see.

Urine ran down her legs gathering in her one sandal,

the smell was a cornered animal baking in the Florida sun.

I moved closer very slowly, not sure it was her.

"Jennifer", I whispered her name.

The coat, concealing her wet dress and a plastic bag

with rancid foodthat she was eating,

slipped down over her pencil thin shoulders covered with infected bug bites.

"Pastor", she said,"I was praying-God sent you to me".

"Yes, Jennifer" I said, moving closer,"God sent me,

will you come with me so we can get your income back

and find a place for you to live inside?"

"I"ve been waiting for you", she stammered,

moving toward the car, and getting in.

"Can I have a fish sandwich?""

As many as you like."

And before the end of the day,

she had her income restored,

a downpayment on her new trailer home,

and a fish sandwich with all the works.

"Thank God, thank God, she said.

Her name is *Jennifer Blue and

she is no longer a shadow on the door of the Catholic church

but an equal at the Table and a home owner besides.

Not bad for a day of ordinary miracles.

Judy Lee, RCWP

( *Jennifer Blue is a pseudonym to protect privacy.)

Ft. Myers, Florida

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP, works with the homeless in Ft. Myers, Florida.

The Women of Innsbrook Diocese Demand Women Priests/ Austria Leads the Way to a Spirit-Filled, People -Empowered Revolution in Catholic Church

Historic Ordinations in Pittsburgh, PA./USA

"We're all about, that the spiritual traditions of women in all cultures and religions are respected and further developed", said Ritter Grepl her eyes wide with about the "Catholic box" addition. The Catholic Church is particularly challenged," says Gertraud Ladner, president of the Catholic Women's Commission in Innsbruck. ..."Among the five points include the requirement of equality of the sexes in the various religions and religious communities and "the same entry criteria for offices and services for women and men - particularly in the Roman Catholic Church...De facto, making it the requirement of priestly ordination for women meant. "

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Kudos to the people of Austria standing up for women priests in the Roman Catholic Church. Your witness for justice is prophetic. May it ignite a worldwide demand for women priests as partners and equals in a non-clerical renewed priestly ministry in an egalitarian, just, people-empowered, Spirit-filled Catholc Church!
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Vatican II Beyond Pietism"/ Pax Christi South by J. Patrick Mahon/ Imagine Catholics in St. Peter's Square Demanding Justice for All/Women Priests
"We cannot allow power-driven patriarchs to dismantle Vatican II. We live and pray and work in a world that values contemplation, collegiality, dialogue, justice, ecumenism, primacy of conscience, and participation. Espousing these values, Merton was critical and outspoken about abuses of church authority. He chastised the institutional church for giving primacy to institutional values over the value of individuals living and loving in communio. He called the institutional church a collective—the very same term that was applied to Communist dictatorships. Strong prophetic words in deed! He believed that the patriarchs in control of the church were intent upon building monumental tombstones over the church’s own grave."
"We must interrupt the funeral procession of the church. In my wildest dreams, I imagine a scene like Tahrir Squre in the piazza of St. Peter’s—millions of Vatican II Catholics camping out and nonviolently protesting until the pope and his minions recognize the priesthood of the people of God..."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Thank you, Patrick Mahon, for this wonderful image. I, too, imagine millons of Vatican II Catholics camping out and nonviolently protesting the lack of women in top leadership positions in the Vatican and demanding women priests in their parishes! (canon law reserves top jobs to the ordained and canon 1024 reserves the priesthood to baptized males.)
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

"Priests Lose Faith in their Church" /Needed Women Priests in a Renewed Priestly Ministry in a Community of Equals

"Priests lose faith in their church"
Leesha McKenny

Sydney Morning Herald
February 26, 2011

"Such were the varied, often frank and sometimes bleak views of Australia's Catholic clergy revealed in an anonymous survey.

"The Charles Sturt University academics Chris McGillion and John O'Carroll approached 1550 active and 160 retired priests for their views on their lives and their church, and 542 took part in the written survey.
The results, plus 50 face-to-face interviews, were the basis of their book Our Fathers, which revealed that many thought the Vatican was out of touch, bishops were bad managers and the future of the church was a cause of great concern.
''You've got a very representative group of mainstream priests responding,'' said Mr McGillion, a former Herald journalist.What emerged was a priesthood in a professional crisis, rather than a vocational one, he said. While 90.2 per cent said their lives as priests had been fulfilling, 47.4 per cent found the workload ''excessive'' and 54.3 per cent thought they had too little say in the life of the church.Only 35.4 per cent thought bishops were doing a good job, with one saying their performance was ''between poor and mediocre''. But 43 per cent did not feel nurtured by their bishop while 41.5 per cent did. Almost 65 per cent did not think Rome understood the challenges facing priests and 70.1 per cent thought it often failed to understand the nature of the Australian church.This schism was reflected in the respondents' views on church teachings. Only 19.2 per cent thought it sinful for married couples to use birth control.Almost 70 per cent thought abortion was always a sin but only 40.2 per cent said the same of sex before marriage. More than 70 per cent thought celibacy for priests should be optional and several priests made ''no secret of the fact they were in long-term committed relationships with women..."

Bridget Mary's Reflection

This is yet another example of the worldwide institutional meltdown of the Roman Catholic clerical, male-dominated church. The Australian male priests, like the Irish priests, have had it with the Vatican's disconnect from the people of God on a number of issues including the coverup of the global sexual abuse crisis, lay empowerment, the role of women in the church, the movement backward to a Pre-Vatican Church. What can be done? Plenty. Communities of faith do not need to pay, pray and obey the Vatican as they go backward to Medieval Catholcism.

We, Vatican II Catholics, must obey the Spirit who is calling us to prophetic obedience to disobey unjust laws like the ban on women's ordination. The Vatican can no longer continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it. It is time for grassroots faith communities to rise up, and take back our church. We are called to a renewed priestly ministry of married priests, women priests and celibate male priests, who work together for a more just, egalitarian people-empowered church. Let's be the change we wish to see happen in the world now!

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP