Saturday, April 2, 2011

Roman Catholic Women Priests Association Ordains 4 More Deacons: Photos of History-Making Event

On April 2nd, 2011, Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan ordained Diane Doughterty of Georgia, Adele Jones of Texas, Miriam Picconi, and Wanda Russell, both from Florida deacons in the Roman Catholic Women Priests Association. The communities of Mary Mother of Jesus in Sarasota and Good Shepherd in Ft. Myers filled the church with enthusiastic responses to the ordination ritual. The entire community came up to lay hands on the four women as a sign of their blessing and solidarity. ABC News from Atlanta and Associated Press filmed the ordination and interviewed some of the ordinands and members of the community. Here is a link to the story about Adele Jones, the first woman ordained a Roman Catholic deacon from Texas

Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Palm Coast Women To be Ordained Deacons" by Shanna Fortier in Palm Coast Observer/ Florida News By Shanna Fortier "Wanda Russell and Miriam Picconi. Wanda Russell and Miriam Picconi, of Palm Coast, will travel Saturday, April 2, to Sarasota, to become ordained as Roman Catholic women deacons as part of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests movement, which began with the ordination of seven women, in 2002, and has grown to more than 124 worldwide...We love the church, but there has become so many injustices for women in general,” Russell said.Picconi added: “I’m not trying to be rebellious; I’m just trying to respond to God’s invitation. I want to stand with other women who say this is wrong and to stand for equality in a community and discipleship of equals.” “I’m looking forward to see what God has in store for us,” Russell said. “I’m taking the step on faith that God is not finished with us yet.”

Maryknoll Should Follow Example of Benedictines Who Stood Up to Vatican

Maryknoll should follow example of Benedictines Who Stood Up to Vatican In 2001. The Vatican put pressure on the Benedictines to block Sr. Joan Chittister from speaking at a Women's Ordination Conference in Dublin, Ireland. The Benedictine Superior Sr. Christine Vladimiroff stated that obedience encompassed listening to the Spirit and consensus. Now is the time for Fr. Dougherty to resist the Vatican 's oppressive tactics that would result in the dismissal of a prophetic Maryknoll priest, Fr. Roy Bourgeois from the Order, and deal a major blow to Maryknoll's credibility as a order that promotes justice. Let Maryknoll know that their actions contradict their mission of promoting liberation and justice for all especially the poor and the marginalized. Women are marginalized in the Catholic Church. Fr. Roy is a prophet who has called the church to major reform on gender equality and specifically for women's ordination. The good news is that women priests are now a reality and we are living Gospel equality in grassroots communities in the U.S. , Canada, Europe and now Latin America. The worldwide movement for justice and equality is the voice of God in our time. If you wish to stand up for justice for women in the church and express your support for Fr. Roy, call Maryknoll at 914-941-7590 to voice your concerns. Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Roy Bourgeois' Priesthood Can Never Truly End: by Jamie L. Manson/ NCR "He won a purple heart for his service in Vietnam. He lived and worked among the poor in Bolivia for five years... ..."Bourgeois was first called to speak prophetically about the ordination of women when his long time friend and fellow activist, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, decided to pursue her life-long call to ordination through the Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Bourgeois not only attended the 2008 ordination ceremony in Lexington, KY, he also offered the homily. From that moment, Bourgeois began asking publicly the questions that dwell in the minds of the majority of Catholics in this country. "We state that the call to be a priest is a gift and comes from God. How can we as men say our call from God is authentic, but your call as women is not? Who are we to reject God’s call of women to the priesthood?" he asked in an interview with NCR yesterday "The Vatican sent him a letter that following November, giving him 30 days to recant his position on women’s ordination or face automatic excommunication..." "The hierarchy acts as though it has the power to reject and invalidate the vocations of Bourgeois and all of the women denied the opportunity to function as priests. They forget, however, that the calling, and the holiness that flows from it, comes from God alone. Those who are truly called by God can never be prevented from touching the lives and transforming the hearts of God’s people. Regardless of the actions of the Vatican and the decision of the Maryknoll community, Roy Bourgeois’s courage, his integrity, his humility, and his many sacrifices will continue to be a sacramental sign for us all." [Jamie L. Manson received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics. Her columns for NCR earned her a first prize Catholic Press Association award for Best Column/Regular Commentary in 2010.]

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fr. Roy Offers to Dialogue With Vatican on Support of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Fr. Roy Bourgeois at Ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska
"He said he planned to seek a canon lawyer for assistance in preparing his response. He also said he hoped to meet with Cardinal Levada in Rome. "I would love nothing more and see it as important to sit down with Cardinal William Levada, the prefect, even if it's for 15 minutes, to look him in the eye and have a discussion on this," he said. "I think it's reasonable. As a priest for 38 years, I feel 15 minutes with someone who has the power to kick you out of Maryknoll, to laicize you, is important. I will ask that of the superior general to help that happen."

"An Imaginary Conversation between Maryknoll Priest Fr. Roy and Cardinal Willian Levada "

( At Roy's insistence, this conversation takes place in public at a fountain in Rome, rather than behind closed doors. This way it can be transparent. Imagine you are there too. What you like to say? Imagine that women priests are there too...)

Cardinal Levada: Now, Roy, you know that our church does not allow women priests, in fact, we thought we made that clear with the delecto graviora last summer, when we put these women in the most grievous crime category along with the pedophiles!

Fr. Roy: But Bill, we men have been ruling the church for over 2000 years and look at the mess we are in now. When I was last here, I was on Vatican radio, and after a conversation about SOA Watch, I began to express my thoughts about the need for women priests. Suddenly, there was static and the Vatican radio went silent for 15 minutes!

So now I am here, ten years later with the same message. Our church needs women priests and now by the grace of the Holy Spirit we have them!

Cardinal Levada: Do you know what we did to heretics like you in the Middle Ages who refused to recant their errors?

Fr. Roy; Yes, of course, you burned Joan of Arc at the stake for following her conscience and today, your condemn, and punish the prophets of our age who follow their consciences. Today, millions of Catholics are dissenting from the false teachings of the church that contradict Jesus' example. Have you forgotten that he liberated and empowered the people and chose women as disciples including Mary of the Magdala, the apostle to the apostles? During the early church, scholars remind us that women served as deacons, priests and bishops. So the women priests are doing nothing new. They are reclaiming our ancient tradition of women in ordained ministry. The full equality of women in church and society is the voice of God in our times. No punishment will stop this movement of the Spirit who blows where She will! Some of the women priests have accompanied me, there are right here in the circle. (Women priests extend arms in blessing)

Cardinal Levada: Today must be my lucky day! (as he throws a coin in the fountain!)

"The Sins of the Church" by Katie Meehan- A Young Catholic Speaks Out

According to a recent study conducted by The Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life, almost one in four Americans (nearly 30%) belong to the Catholic faith. But Catholics are leaving the Church at an alarming rate. Nearly 10% of Americans are ex-Catholics and over 80% of those ex-Catholics are under the age of 24. The Catholic Church has refused to budge on certain issues and has not welcomed modern thought into its doctrine. As a result, the Church has alienated young Catholics all over the world and forced them to choose between religion and society. If the Vatican allowed women to be ordained as priests, I guarantee that young Catholics would feel included and important within their faith community. Roman Catholic Church Canon Law 1024 bans the ordination of women priests (Roman Catholic Womenpriests). The Vatican maintains that women are not inferior to their male counterparts, instead, that women are separate but equal (Pope John Paul II). In response to the Episcopal Church allowing women to become ministers, Pope Paul VI released the Inter Insigniores in 1976 and claimed that the sacramental symbol of the priest taking the form of Christ in the Eucharist would not translate if women were to become priests. In 1995, Pope John Paul II stated, “Christ entrusted only to men the task of being an icon of his countenance as shepherd and bridegroom of Church through exercise of ministerial priesthood” (Pope John Paul II). An organization has surfaced within the last ten years that disagrees with the Church’s stance on women’s ordination. Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP) is a movement devoted to the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the propagation of information regarding a 21st Century model for the church (especially emphasizing inclusivity of women in Church hierarchy), and the ministry and community-building activities usually associated with the priesthood. Corresponding with the women’s movement in the US, the women of the Catholic Church decided to take back their heritage and support women’s rights in the Church. (Roman Catholic Womenpriests). The RCWP organization notes that scriptural and art evidence exists that there were women bishops until at least the ninth century while female deacons and women priests existed in the West during the fourth and fifth centuries. In 2002, the RCWP movement kicked off with the ordination of seven women on the Danube River in Germany. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger publicly denounced the women and cut them off from the Church by excommunicating them (Bonavoglia). The “Danube Seven” bravely faced these charges and continued to minister to their communities as Catholic priests. More and more women were ordained and in 2003, two women were ordained bishops (Roman Catholic Womenpriests). The movement came to the US when the first ordination in America was held in Pittsburgh in 2006. Now there are 5 bishops, 47 priests, and 10 deacons in the US who serve communities in all areas of the country (Roman Catholic Womenpriests). Worldwide, the RCWP has 10 bishops, 64 priests, and 82 deacons with more joining the movement every year (Roman Catholic Womenpriests). Currently, there are 120 worldwide. Members of the RCWP claim that Catholics who left the Church years ago are coming to them. Roman Catholic Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan has said of the supporters of the RCWP that “[they] are leading the Church, not leaving the Church.” Jesus chose a woman, Mary Magdalene, to be the first witness to the Resurrection. Catholicism is based on the Resurrection story and the RCWP’s mantra is “Jesus welcomed all, therefore, we welcome all.” The RCWP website claims that, “women and men are created equal by God and therefore equally represent Christ.” The women priests receive authority from the Roman Catholic bishops who stand in full Apostolic Succession and thus, consider themselves legitimate members of the Church. These women priests set about to reform the system and transform hierarchical structures. My aunt, Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, sums up the RCWP movement by stating, “We are reclaiming the example of Christ and the early Church tradition of women serving in ministerial/priestly positions” (Meehan). Bridget Mary Meehan was ordained a Roman Catholic priest at the first US ordinations in Pittsburgh in 2006. In 2008, she was both ordained a bishop and excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. My aunt has remained steadfast in her faith and devoted to her Church. She simply refuses to accept an unjust punishment. Post-ordination and post-excommunication, my aunt has kept busy with her new vocation. She is in charge of press for the Roman Catholic Womenpriest movement. She has written eighteen books about feminism and the Catholic Church and edited at least three others. She has already written a great deal on the subject of Catholic women priests and recently published a book about her journey to the calling, Living Gospel Equality Now. Her response to the excommunication is, “I realize I am breaking the law to change the law.” My aunt is a woman of extreme courage and conviction. She has faced criticism, rejection, and prejudice but still stands up for what she believes in. The woman has gone against Church teaching and has been excommunicated by the Church she loves. She nonchalantly says, “By my choice, I am leading the Church, not leaving the Church.” It seems to me that a Church so in need of devoted followers should accept my aunt with open arms. In comparison to my aunt’s spotless record of selfless acts of service and love, this month welcomed yet another scandal in the long saga of pedophilic Catholic priests. Just last month, a grand jury statement was released that implicated 37 so-called “holy” men in sexual abuse of minors. As a result, over twenty priests were suspended from the archdiocese of Philadelphia on March 8th (O’Reilly). These alleged child molesters remain on paid leave and the Catholic Church is continuing its infuriating trend of not releasing their names to the public. These recent controversies have brought to light the corruption, hypocrisy, and malfeasance within the Church. The pedophilia and sex abuse cases against Catholic priests keep piling up and the American people have no problem criticizing the Church for its lack of action in such cases. Every single female priest, bishop, and deacon has been excommunicated from the Church by the Vatican. None of the clerics who have been found guilty of sex crimes have been excommunicated. There is a major problem with the Vatican if it does not see the injustice in that! I am a cradle Catholic and proud of it. But, I am not necessarily proud of what my Church preaches now. The declining numbers in the priesthood and the faithful devoted suggest that the hierarchy of the Church should promote a program that makes the priesthood more enticing. The Catholic Church is stuck in its past. Its policies and canon law are outdated and based on antiquated societal standards with women carrying little sway. There were women priests and deaconesses in early Church history but all of that has been passed over by male historians and Church hierarchy. I expect tolerance and equality in every aspect of my life and if my religion does not promote that, then I seriously need to rethink my faith. The Catholic Church needs to realize that it cannot survive in these times unless it becomes more flexible. In general, young Catholics are not receptive to the archaic traditions of the Church. Young Catholics want change and progress and will continue to leave the Church if they do not see improvements. The Vatican needs to show ex-Catholics that the Church cares about what they think. Allowing women to become priests would be a major step in the right direction for the Catholic Church.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Support Maryknoll Priest Roy Bourgeois: Call to Action

Act Now to Support Maryknoll Priest Roy Bourgeois: Hold Maryknoll and Vatican Accountable”

We congratulate Fr. Roy Bourgeois for his courageous stance in public support of women priests. The Vatican’s oppressive tactics that have led Maryknoll to demand that he recant his support for women priests or be dismissed after 40 years in religious life are shameful. This patriarchal response manifests a domineering consciousness and not the Christ consciousness that affirms women and men as equals. More than any order, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers are aware of the connection between "might makes right" and the suffering of women, children, and all marginalized peoples. Instead of standing up to the Vatican and shining their light by supporting Fr. Roy, and women priests, the Maryknoll Order is participating in the Vatican's abuse of power.

Our “Spirited” movement is growing in Canada, U.S. Europe and in Latin America. Now more and more people, including priests, nuns, and theologians are expressing their solidarity with women priests as a movement for justice and the full equality of women in the church. For the Catholic hierarchy, women priests are a revolution, for Fr. Roy and millions of people, the time has come for this holy shakeup!

Now it is your turn to take action and support Roy Bourgeois. Let us follow St. Catherine of Siena’s advice and cry out as if we had a million voices.

1. Contact Maryknoll by email, letter of phone. Express your support for Fr. Roy’s prophetic stance for justice and equality for women in the church.

Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers • Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, Inc. PO Box 305 • Maryknoll, New York 10545-0305 Phone: (914) 941-7590

Write a note of thanks to Rev. Roy L. Bourgeois, M.M. P.O. Box 3330 Columbus, GA 31903

2. Sign petition of support of Ft. Roy on WOC website:

Bridget Mary Meehan, rcwp


Janice Sevre-Duszynska, rcwp

Maryknoll Order Threatens Fr. Roy Bourgeois with Dismissal from Order For Support of Roman Catholic Women Priests A Revolution or Holy Shakeup

Fr. Roy Bourgeois

Bishop Dana Reynolds,

Janice Sevre-Duszynska
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Congratulations Fr. Roy Bourgeois! You are a prophet.

You crossed the VATICAN LINE. Your support of women priests have angered the bullies in the Vatican. Now they are demanding that you recant or you will be thrown out of the Maryknoll Order. Your are in big trouble for your courageous witness to Gospel equality in the Catholic Church! Just like the prophets of old! Thank you!

Shame! Shame on the Maryknoll Priests General; Edward Dougherty for giving in to such oppressive tactics. Is this how Jesus would behave? This kind of response manifests a domineering consciousness and not the Christ consciousness to which Jesus calls us. More than any order, the Maryknolls are aware of the connection between "might makes right" and the suffering of women, children, and all marginalized peoples.

Instead of standing up to the Vatican and shining their light by supporting Fr. Roy, and women priests, the Maryknolls are retrenching into medieval darkness by supporting the Vatican's abuse of power. Now is the time for Catholics to put their money where their hearts are and support the grassroots communities that foster justice and equality.

The Vatican and Maryknoll are on the wrong side of history again. Women worldwide are rising up for religious equality. Roman Catholic Women Priests have reclaimed our ancient heritage of leadership in the early Christian community. Women Priests are visible reminders that women are equal images of God, and are therefore worthy to celebrate the sacraments and interpret the Gospel from their lived experiences.

Our Spirited movement is growing in Canada, U.S. Europe and in Latin America. Now more priests , bishops nuns, and theologians are expressing their support and solidarity with the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement. We owe a debt thanks to Fr. Roy Bourgeois for being a courageous witness to the words of Jesus who called women and men to be disciples and equals. For the Catholic hierarchy, women priests are a revolution, for Fr. Roy and millions of people, the time has come for this holy shakeup!

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Bridget Mary Meehan,

RCWP 941-955-2313

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, RCWP


Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers • Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, Inc. PO Box 305 • Maryknoll, New York 10545-0305 Phone: (914) 941-7590 Rev. Roy L. Bourgeois, M.M. P.O. Box 3330 Columbus, GA 31903

First Canonical Warning

Dear Father Bourgeois,

Since the September 27, 2006 letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was received we have been in communication with you via letter, and at least two meetings where you were ordered to recant your public views on the ordination of women priests and clearly told not to participate in their meetings and public events. You were Excommunicated Latae Senteniae reserved to the Apostolic See because after a canonical warning by the Society in 2008 you failed to recant within the stated 30 days from contumacy and disregard for the Magisterium of the Church on the matter of women's ordination (ct. 1347 CIC). . According to our documentation, you continued to speak publicly in favor of women's ordination in disobedience to the explicit instructions of your Superiors and recently participated (Feb. 12, 2011) in a panel of speakers following the showing of the film "Pink Smoke over the Vatican" at Barnard College in New York City. Sufficient time has now passed for you to consider the gravity of the matter. You are hereby asked one final time by the Superior General and his Council to publicly recant and accept the teaching of the Church on this serious matter concerning priestly ordination and the explicit teaching of the Church. : Having heard the advice of my Council, the Maryknoll Bishops' Advisory Board, and consultations with the Holy See, I now hereby declare that you will be dismissed from the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers) unless you publicly recant your views on the ordination of women and agree to obey your legitimate Superiors. If you fail to comply within fifteen (15) days of receipt of this first canonical warning, I will issue a second canonical warning. If you fail to respond to the second canonical warning, I will proceed with dismissal by submitting evidence of your contumacy as a priest who publically rejects the teaching of the Holy Father (C. 1371), also a priest who acted illegitimately in “communicatio in sacris” –such as participation in an invalid ordination ceremony of a woman (C. 1384). “Concelebrating” Mass with women analogous to simulation of the Eucharist (C. 1379), giving scandal to the Christian faithful in a serious matter over a two-year period (C. 1399) and Disobedience to the instructions and warnings of your legitimate Superiors and the Apostolic See (C. 601; MK Const. 40). The dismissal will be submitted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for confirmation with a request for laicization. \. The Reasons for the Dismissal: In Accordance with Canon 696.1

1. For obstinate disobedience of your legitimate Superiors in violation of Canon Law and your Oath to the Society and the Magisterium of the Church in a grave matter.

2. Grave scandal given to the people of God, the Church, especially in the United States, and many of the Maryknoll Priests and Brothers.

3. Diffusion of teachings opposed to the definitive teaching of John Paul II and the Magisterium of the Church. (Cf. C. 1024; Ordinatio Sacerdotalis N.4 1994, AAS87 -1995-,1114) You have a right under law to self-defense, including a canonical counsel in this matter at all stages. You have a right to present to me, in person at in writing, your defense against this first canonical warning and proposed dismissal within fifteen (15) days of receipt of this warning. Please be advised of the seriousness of this matter.

Give at Maryknoll NYMarch 18, 2011 (signed)

Rev. Edward M. Dougherty, M.M. Superior General (signed)

Rev. Edwin J. McGovern, M.M. Secretary General