Friday, April 15, 2011

Catholics Rally for Priest, (Fr. Roy Bourgeois) Who Could Be Excommunicated/Fox 4 News -- Ft. Myers, Florida

"Some Catholics in the area are rallying behind a priest who could get excommunicated from the church. Father Roy Bourgeois faces expulsion by the Vatican for his support of women joining the priesthood. Bourgeois has been a Catholic priest for 38 years but he could get excommunicated from the church for his support of women's ordination. Ellen McNally is the president of the call to action in Southwest Florida. It's a Catholic movement which works for equality and justice in church and society. She echoes Bourgeois' feelings that the time has come for women to be ordained as priests in the catholic church. McNally says, "But a woman is as qualified, she's as holy and dedicated and can accomplish as much as anyone else."

Belgian Bishop Admits Abusing Second Nephew: Contrast with Vatican's Excommunication/Dismissal of Maryknoll Priest Roy Bourgeois and Women Priests

BRUSSELS (AP) — "A former Belgian bishop at the center of one of the Roman Catholic church's biggest pedophile scandals said Thursday that he had abused two nephews and insisted he had no plans to abandon the priesthood. In his first television interview since the scandal broke a year ago, Roger Vangheluwe claimed he paid one nephew he abused for years tens of thousands of euros in support, but denied it was meant to keep him silent. He called 13 years of sexual abuse of one nephew which started at age 5 as no more than "a little piece of intimacy." He said the abuse of a second nephew was very short...Sex abuse victims accuse the church of letting off the hook bishops who molested minors and see Vangheluwe's fate as a prime example.Pope Benedict XVI will eventually decide his fate. He could be stripped of his priesthood."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Contrast the treatment by the Vatican of Roger Vangheluwe, a bishop pedophile, with the Vatican's threat to force Maryknoll to dismiss Fr. Roy Bourgeois for his support of women priests! Observe the Vatican is not threatening the bishop pedophile with excommunication or dismissal from the priesthood, but is pushing Maryknoll to dismiss Fr. Roy from the Order. (The Vatican has already excommunicated Fr. Roy.

The real scandal here is the Vatican who places women priests in the same serious crime category as pedophiles! The real scandal here is the institutional church's abuse of power - demanding that Fr. Roy recant his support for women's equality in our church. Since when is God's call to women to serve the church as priests and justice for women in the church a crime? The global sexual abuse crisis and its coverup has gutted the moral credibility of the institutional church. This is the real crime here. The silver lining in this crisis is that God is doing something new to renew the church. Catholic communities worldwide are calling forth women priests, married priests, and in some cases celibate male priests. (In Clevland, a pastor is continuing to serve the community after the parish was closed.)

This new model is rooted in the example of Jesus who called women and men to be disciples and equals. See Luke 8 : Among Jesus disciples were Mary of Magdala, Joanna, Suzanna and "many others." In all four Gospels, Mary of Magdala is the only one who is present at both the cross and tomb. The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala and called her to "go and tell" which is the job description of an apostle. So Mary, the apostle to the apostles proclaimed the the good news to the other disciples - including the male apostles. It is time for the Vatican to follow Jesus' example of Gospel equality and partnership as this renewal is already taking place in grassroots communities.

In Romans 16:1-16, Paul greets the women leaders of the house churches. Scholars conclude that women presided at Eucharist in these house churches, and that women were ordained to serve their communities for 1200 years.

As we move into Holy Week, let us reflect on how we can follow Jesus' example of total self-giving in service to others as a more open, loving, compassionate and just community of faith.

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Roman Catholic Women Priests Association

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Catholic Church Has Age-Old Devotion to Mary as Priest by John Wijngaards

Mary, Mother of Jesus, who turned the Spirit of God into the Body and Blood of Christ, pray for us. The Catholic Church has an age-old devotion to Mary as priest.

"With our short ecclesiastical memories we have almost forgotten that in the run up to its dogmatic definition in 1854, Mary’s Immaculate Conception was often justified on the grounds of her being a priest. Tradition frequently applied Hebrews 7,26 to her: "It is fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens." The Benedictine prior Jacques Biroat wrote in 1666 that “Paul’s reasoning” in Hebrews 7,26 “is relevant to Christ’s mother. She shares in the priesthood of her son and is the origin of our reconciliation to God. Therefore, she had to be entirely innocent and separated from sinners. She had to be preserved from original sin.” Mary was immaculately conceived because she had to be a priest without stain." "The Fathers of the Church pointed out that Mary belonged to a priestly family, as her relationship to Elizabeth shows. She was "Aaron’s staff which has budded forth as a guarantee of the eternal priesthood" (St. Methodius)... The Fathers loved calling Mary ‘the sanctuary’, ‘the ark of the covenant’, ‘the golden thurible’ and ‘the altar of incense’, implying her priestly dignity. .." At the presentation in the Temple, for instance, Mary functioned as ‘an ordained virgin who offered Jesus for our reconciliation as a victim agreeable to God’, in the words of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). Ubertino of Casale (1259-1330) added that there was no other priest. Only she could offer Jesus, and she was, after Jesus himself, the greatest of all priests..."

Bridget Mary's Reflection: As we contemplate Mary as Priest, we observe her on mosaics and frescos in Rome. Mary, Mother of Jesus, is depicted in bishop's vestments in St. Priscilla's catacomb. There she is present at the ordination of a woman priest. In St. Praxedis Church in Rome, Mary appears in a group portrait standing next to St. Praxedis who is standing next to Bishop Theodora. So, Roman Catholic Women Priests are doing nothing new. We are reclaiming our sacred tradition of women in ordained ministry in our church. Mary, Mother of Jesus, the first woman priest, is our mentor and model of service to God's people. Let us pray that Mary, Mother of Jesus, will guide our church into affirming its own sacred tradition of women deacons, priests and bishops! Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP, Roman Catholic Women Priests Association

Vatican Served with Court Docs in Wis. Abuse Case

April 12th, 2011

Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (AP) - "The Vatican has been served with court papers stemming from decades-old allegations of sexual abuse against a now-deceased priest at a Wisconsin school for the deaf, attorneys for the accuser and the Vatican said Tuesday. "Jeff Anderson, an attorney for the man making the allegations, said he had been notified the papers were successfully filed through official diplomatic channels. " "Every time we make a step forward, as long as that takes, we are going in the right direction," Anderson said. "And the direction we're headed is a measure of accountability. We really believe that we need to put some heat on the Vatican to bring some light." ..."The lawsuit was filed nearly a year ago in federal court on behalf of Terry Kohut, now of Chicago. It claims Pope Benedict XVI and two other top Vatican officials knew about allegations of sexual abuse at St. John's School for the Deaf outside Milwaukee and called off internal punishment of the accused priest, the Rev. Lawrence Murphy."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bishops Attack Book by Elizabeth Johnson / God is Neither Male nor Female, but Female Images are in Bible and Christian Tradition/Bishops Awake!

By Paul Vitello

"Is God male? The Old Testament uses the masculine pronoun to describe him. Jesus refers to the divinity as Father. So does that make the creator a masculine force — and mean that men are more godlike than women? These are questions that theologians like Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, a Fordham University professor, have been mulling for years. At 69, Sister Johnson is among the pioneers of a generation of feminist scholars who examine how cultural biases among biblical scribes may have led to women’s diminished roles in Western religious traditions, especially the Roman Catholic Church. The passages drawing the harshest admonishment, however, concerned Sister Johnson’s proposal that feminine as well as masculine imagery be used in prayers referring to God, a recommendation that has been debated and rejected by the bishops before. Still, the book persisted, “all-male images of God are hierarchical images rooted in the unequal relation between women and men, and they function to maintain this arrangement.” Wrong, the bishops said: If the Gospels use masculine imagery, it is because divine revelation would have it that way. “The names of God found in the Scriptures are not mere human creations that can be replaced by others that we may find more suitable,” the bishops wrote. “ Dr. Tilley, the Fordham theology chairman, described that argument as “approaching the incoherent.” “All revelation is received through language, and all language is culturally conditioned,” he said. “All they are saying here is that they have the truth and Sister Johnson doesn’t...”

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Are the bishops really saying that God is male and the definitive argument is because the bible says so! Whatever happened to the basic teaching in the Baltimore Catechism that God is pure spirit! As Mary Daley observed years ago, that if God is male, then the male is God! But, bishops awake to the Divine Feminine. "Her "finger prints are all over our sacred tradition! Elizabeth Johnson is an outstanding theologian who has enriched theology with new and deeper understanding of the divine. In her award-winning book, She Who Is (New York, Crossroad, 1992) Johnson introduces us to a rich array of overlooked female metaphors in the Christian tradition. Here are a few biblical images in Johnson's landmark work: "Whether hovering like a nesting mother bird over the egg of primordial chaos in the Beginning (GN. 1a;2), or shelthering those in difficulty under the protective shadow of her wings (PS. 17:8, 36:7, 57:1,61:4m 91:1, 4, Is. 31;50 or bearing the enslaved up on her wings toward freedom (Ex. 19:4, Dt.32:11-12) divine Spirit activity is evoked with allusion to femaleness." (She Who Is, p. 83.) I wrote several books that present feminine imagery of God for prayer and contemplation: Exploring the Feminine Face of God, Delighting in the Feminine Divine, Heart Talks with Mother God (co-authored with Regina Madonna Oliver). In each of these books, I introduce readers to feminine images of God in the bible, Christian Tradition, and contemporary authors. Holy women and men throughout the ages have delighted in the feminine divine. Hildegard of Bingen uses feminine imagery to refer to the Spirit, Trinity and Wisdom. In Hildegard's first vision of the feminine divine, Hildegard describes a radiant woman surrounded by angels. Use of maternal imagery to describe God and Christ appears to be popular in the works of male saints like St Bernard Clairvaux. In several places, St. Augustine uses St. Matthew's image of mother hen:"Let us put our egg under the wings of that Hen of the Gospel." In her Revelations of Divine Love, Julian of Norwich provides us with the most comprehensive development of the Motherhood of God in the Christian tradition. According to Julian Divine Motherhood, is related to compassion and leads to compassionate living.
Let us join the saints in delighting in the feminine divine, She Who Dwells Among Us!

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Roman Catholic Women Priests Association

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Take Action for Justice and Peace: Close the School of the Americas

Call-In Day to Close the SOA - Call 202-224-3121

Today, SOA Watch activists are swarming Capitol Hill, urging Members of Congress to join the chorus for the closing of the School of the Americas
and to ad their signature to the Congressional sign-on letter that is urging President Obama to shut down the SOA/ WHINSEC by executive order.
Please take 3 minutes right now to amplify the voices of those who are making the lobby visits today:
Call the Capitol Hill Switchboard (202-224-3121) and ask to be transferred to your Representative's office (you only need to know your ZIP code).
Ask to speak with the foreign affairs legislative assistant.

Take careful notes during the call, and let us know about how it went! A possible call script could look like the following: "As a constituent living in _________, I am calling Congressman/woman ________ to urge him/her to contact Rep. McGovern and ask to sign the Congressional sign-on letter directed at President Obama, urging him to shut down the School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. Just like the School of the Americas, WHINSEC has allowed known human rights abusers to instruct and receive training at the school. Argentina and Uruguay are two of five countries that have made public announcements they will no longer send students to the school, citing the negative image and history of this institution. Despite demands by Congress to have oversight over the curriculum and promote human rights, the Pentagon is now denying all requests to provide information to human rights organizations and the public about students and graduates of the school. I urge you to contact Cindy Buhl in Representative McGovern's office and ask that you r boss be a signer to the Congressional sign-on letter to President Obama. I hope you will represent my views and support this letter." Remember to contact SOA Watch Legislative Coordinator Alison Snow at with any response you receive! Thank you! We appreciate your interest! You are subscribed to the SOA Watch list as Contact us. Our mailing address is: SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, D.C. 20017, USA
Our telephone: (202) 234 3440

"For New Mass, Closer to Latin, Critics Voice a Plain Objection/Women Priests Offer Inclusive Catholic Mass

April 11, 2011

"Throughout much of the English-speaking world, the Roman Catholic Church is preparing its priests and parishes for the most significant changes to the Mass in the more than 40 years since the church permitted English in place of the Latin. But after getting a glimpse of the texts in recent months, thousands of priests in the United States, Ireland and Australia have publicly objected that the translation is awkward, archaic and inaccessible...“What we are asking of the bishops is to scrap this text,” said the Rev. Sean McDonagh, a leader of an Irish group, the Association of Catholic Priests, which represents 450 priests — about 1 out of 10 — in that country. “I know people are not going to use it..."

Roman Catholic Women Priests use inclusive language in our liturgies. We are leading the church into its future, and the people love it! Those who do not like the current translation should take a look at our liturgical resources. Perhaps, they will find a better fit for their communities. Some day, in the not so distant future, I predict that Catholcs will adopt our prayerful, poetic, inclusive liturgies!

Even some in the Vatican may sneak a peek!
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Roman Catholic Women Priests Association

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bishop Patricia Fresen Presents "Transformed By Compassion" at Mary Mother of Jesus Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida

(left to right) Lee Breyer, Patricia Fresen Bridget Mary Meehan Katy Zatsick Michael Rigdon) On April 9, 2011, Dr. Patricia Fresen, a Roman Catholic Woman Bishop, presented "Transformed by Compassion" to Mary Mother of Jesus Catholic Community at St. Andrew UCC in Sarasota, Florida. Utilizing a powerful vision of St. Hildegard of Bingen and an icon of Mary, Mother of Compassion, she demonstrated the power of compassion to break down political, dogmatic, ideologial and religious boundaries. She connected the principle of compassion to all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, and recommended that all support and sign the Charter for Compassion. All of us can release the energy of compassion into our world in prayer, reflection and activity.

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP