Thursday, April 28, 2011

"The Shame of John Paul II: How the Sex Abuse Scandal Stained His Papacy" by Jason Berry

April 27, 2011
This article appeared in the May 16, 2011 edition of The Nation.
"The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute assisted in a section of this article, drawn from Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church, to be published June 7 by Crown. On May 1, Pope Benedict XVI will beatify his predecessor, John Paul II, at a huge ceremony in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. Beatification, the final step before canonization, or sainthood, ennobles the deceased as “blessed,” or worthy of veneration. Authorities have prepared for a million visitors to the weekend events."
... "Should a pope who turned his back on the worst crisis in modern Catholic history be exalted as a saint? Lawsuits by victims, numerous prosecutions and news coverage of bishops who enabled abuse are the shadow story of John Paul’s twenty-six-year pontificate, during which time he responded to continuing allegations of clergy abuse with denial and inertia. American dioceses and religious orders alone have spent nearly $2 billion on legal actions and treatment of sex offenders, an aching scandal at incalculable cost to the church’s stature."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Is the beatification of John Paul II, the Vatican's attempt, to change the subject from the global sexual abuse scandal that is gutting the hierarchy's credibility?

The Vatican's intimidation of supporters of Roman Catholic Women Priests is backfiring. The most recent example is Maryknoll priest, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, whom the Vatican wants to dismiss from the priesthood. It makes no sense that criminal abusers get to stay in the priesthood and prophetic priests who support gender equality in the Catholic Church get excommunicated.

"Follow the money", Jimmy Breslin, once advised a group of Catholic activists!

Sounds like this upcomng book, "Render unto Rome" documents the donors who keep the Vatican funded! It will be an interesting read!

What if Catholics decided to stop giving to the institutional church until they accept women priests, married priests, and structural change? What would happen if the people are truly empowered and assume responsibility in leadership roles as decision-makers in the church? Would change come more quickly? I wonder.....
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Retired bishop in Oz Says Some Priests Do Not View Child Sex as Breach of Virtue"

Adelaide, Apr 25 (ANI): "A retired Catholic bishop in Australia has claimed that some priests do not view the molestation of boys as a breach of their celibacy vows.
Geoffrey Robinson, the former auxiliary bishop of Sydney, blames the absence of women from church life as a catalyst for the sexual abuse crisis enveloping the faith...
He believes the issue will not be properly dealt with until the church holds a council, or a conference of all the bishops in the church, to revise the centuries-old doctrine on celibacy, women and sexuality. "

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
This is simply shocking! How out of touch these priests are with reality. Sexual abuse of children is both a crime and a sin. It is hard to understand the twisted logic that attempts to hold that sexual abuse is not a breech of virtue.
While a conference or Council finally deals with structural change including women priests, married priests and the primacy of conscience in moral decision making in all areas of sexuality is a good idea, this change is already happening in grassroots inclusive communities of Catholics who are leading the church into its future now.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Roman Catholic Women Associations

Monday, April 25, 2011

Roman Catholic Woman Priest Judy Lee, Pastor of Good Shepherd Community, Ft. Myers Florida- "A Moving Testimony of Holy Week and Easter"

We had about 30 people faith-fully and enthusiastically partake in the Holy Week events. The pictures at the table are our Holy Thursday supper after the Mass in which we( three of the elders and myself) washed feet and the Last Supper was served. The Good Friday pictures were from our out doors Stations of the Cross. This was remarkable as several of our people have trouble walking but traveled this road willingly with Jesus and also because our young people participated.The Easter Mass for us included the blessing with water and the renewal of baptismal promises. And later the church gathered outside and the children had an Easter egg hunt and all had a wonderful Easter dinner prepared by Mary Ann Bohn and Cindy before Sunday School. In class the young people took turns telling the Easter story with a felt board and then did some Easter puzzles and crafts with their wonderful teacher Efe.These pictures hardly capture how moving this week was, but the devotion of the people was amazing!

Judy Lee, RCWP and the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

Roman Catholic Women Priests Association

"Hold the Halo" by Maureen Dowd/New York Times/ John Paul Excommunicated Women Priests but Not Pedophiles
"Santo non subito! How can you be a saint if you fail to protect innocent children?
For years after the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legion of Christ, was formally accused of pedophilia in a Vatican proceeding, he remained John Paul’s pet. The ultra-orthodox Legion of Christ and Opus Dei were the shock troops in John Paul’s war on Jesuits and other progressive theologians...
“For John Paul,” Berry told me just after returning from Good Friday services, “the priesthood had a romantic, chivalrous cast, and he could not bring himself to do a fearless investigation of the clerical culture itself. "

Bridget Mary's Reflection
It is ironic that neither John Paul II nor Benedict did anything to transform the clerical culture and change the climate that was at the heart of the devastating global pedophilia crisis. They did not excommunicate or banish these offending priests and bishops from the priesthood. However, both John Paul II and Benedict moved with lightening speed against women priests,with decrees of excommunication and delecto graviora (putting women in the same serious crime category as pedophiles). Like Mary of Magdala and the women who stood by Jesus during his suffering and death, and were the first to encounter the Risen Christ, women priests are faithful women, who are leading the church into an era of justice and equality that includes major reform and renewal in a people-empowered community of faith. Now, Fr. Roy Bourgeois is being threatened with dismissal from his order for his support of our movement. Fr. Roy has already been excommunicated. Scratch your head, if you can't figure it out. How come Pope John Paul and Benedict have not excommunicated or thrown the pedophiles out of their orders yet have no trouble doing so with women priests and our supporters? Is this the behavoir of a saint? I agree with Maureen, hold the halo, please!
Bridget Mary Meehan RCWP

Movies of Easter Liturgy -Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community- Easter 2011 at St. Andrew UCC, Sarasota, Florida

left to right
Priest Partners:
Lee Breyer,
Bridget Mary Meehan
Katy Zatsick
Michael Rigdon

Priest Michael Rigdon Sings Exultet

Blessing of Water: RCWP Katy Zatsick

leads Assembly in Blessing

Blessing of Community with Water

by Kevin and Judy Connolly

and Priest Partner Couple:

Imogene and Michael Rigdon


Preface:Community around altar

Community Prays Eucharistic Prayer/Consecration

Liturgical Dance as Communion Meditation:

(Sheila Carey -dancer

Katherine Alexander on Piano, Jack Meehan on Sax)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Photos- from Easter Vigil- April 23, 2011- Living Gospel Equality Now

Sheila Carey performs liturgical

dance to "I will raise you up"

left to right Priests:

Lee Breyer, Bridget Mary Meehan

Katy Zatsick, Michael Rigdon

Blessing of Water :Left to right,

Kevin and Judy Connolly,

Imogene and Michael Rigdon

Community with lit candles in church

Priests Lee Breyer and Michael Rigdon
(left to right) lighting of Easter Fire

Homily for Easter Sunday by Roberta Meehan, RCWP

Homily for Easter Sunday

-- Cycle A -- 24 April 2011

Acts 10:34a, 37-43

Ps 118:1-2, 16-17, 22-23

Col 3:1-4

Jn 20:1-9 or 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10 or Luke 24:13

He is risen! ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA!! And the angel said, “He has been raised from the dead, and he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This message was given to Mary of Magdala, a woman who is sometimes called the Apostle of the Apostles, a woman who non-scriptural sources say financed many of the ministries begun by Jesus. Some say that Mary was a successful business woman in Magdala and that she became a follower of Jesus after he expunged seven demons from her. Regardless of what is truth or fiction here, we do know that in all four gospels, it is to Mary that the message is given. She is instructed to take the message to the others – the message that HE IS RISEN!!! Jesus of Nazareth, a popular and exceptionally intelligent itinerant teacher, had been executed. His followers were devastated. They were lost and confused. They felt betrayed. What had happened to that marvelous dream he had told them about? He was dead and buried. The women went to tend to the body as soon as it was no longer the Sabbath. The body was not in the tomb. Instead an angel told them he had been raised. The followers of Jesus had little understanding of this, even though from the Lazarus story we are made keenly aware that Jesus had instructed them about resurrection. But Jesus himself rising from the dead? They had no concept. He had told them, but they had not understood. Now the angel was telling them that Jesus was going before them into Galilee and that they would see him there – in Galilee. They did not understand. The question is, do we understand? Have any of us ever thought about the impact of that statement? About the immediacy of Jesus going before them into Galilee? In the message at the resurrection, Jesus did not tell them he would see them in the next life nor did he tell them they would have to wait to see him at the end of time. The angel very specifically told Mary of Magdala and the followers of Jesus that Jesus had gone to Galilee and that they would see Jesus in Galilee. Why Galilee? To us, Galilee is just a place. But, if we go back to ancient times, we can get a clearer picture of “why Galilee?”. Galilee is in northern Palestine. It is a highly contested region now but at the same time, it is an area that from earliest times has been replete with an almost unbelievable mixture of people. (For additional scholarly insights into Galilee, see ) If you read up on Galilee, you will see the tremendous diversity in land, in culture, and in political scope. That was true at the time of Jesus. It was a very cosmopolitan region. How appropriate that Jesus would go to Galilee! The mission of Jesus was not just for the Jews in the area of Jerusalem. The mission of Jesus was for all people! What better symbol of all people than a region such as Galilee, a region rich in all types of diversity? Jesus could have just as easily as gone to Jerusalem – but he did not. He went to Galilee. Going to Galilee should have meant something for his immediate followers; it definitely means something for us. We can see the historical significance of this journey to Galilee; we can see the universal symbolism of this place called Galilee. But, the angel said more! The angel said the disciples would see Jesus in Galilee. We know that over the course of the next forty days many did see him physically. Then he ascended into heaven. But, is there more to the disciples seeing Jesus in Galilee than just his personal appearances? Was he no longer to be seen in Galilee? Are we not his disciples too? Did Jesus not commission us to this discipleship? How are we going to see Jesus in Galilee? If we are the disciples of Jesus and if probably not one of us is from Galilee and probably most of us will never be in Galilee, how can this statement of the angel apply to us? How will we see Jesus in Galilee? The universality of Galilee could answer the geographic question. It was extremely diverse, But, how will we see Jesus? How will Galilee apply to our seeing Jesus? Jesus’ rising from the dead is not only our hope for resurrection and a continued life for all eternity. The message from the angel at Jesus’ resurrection is also our mandate. The promise of seeing Jesus in Galilee means that we must see Jesus in our own Galilees (even to the ends of the earth). In Matthew 25:40 we hear Jesus telling his followers that whatever they do to the least of his brethren, they do to him. That injunction did not cease with apostolic times. Those followers of Jesus include every one of us too! Whatever we do to one another, we do to Jesus. Yes, we do see Jesus before us in Galilee every day. And our mandate is that we must see Jesus the Christ in Galilee in every person we meet. The diversity of Galilee is everybody! Alleluia! He is risen! He has gone before us into Galilee. Symbolically, we are in Galilee – that amazingly diverse place – and we can see Jesus in every person we meet. And every person we meet can see Jesus in us. All of this because he is risen and he has gone before us into Galilee and he is with us, with us until the end of time! Alleluia, Alleluia!!

Roberta M. Meehan, RCWP

Roman Catholic Women Priests Association

Roman Catholic Woman Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger: 'Defying the Pope? It's like not paying a parking fine' article in the London Independent

"She served in church as a child, has been excommunicated, is married to a divorced man, and has been consecrated a bishop. How much further can a Catholic woman challenge the Vatican? Peter Stanford meets Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger
Sunday, 24 April 2011
Bishop Mayr-Lumetzberger still hopes the papacy will relent over women
"And this is the funeral in one of our big
Benedictine monasteries in Austria," explains Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, "of a young woman whose mother wanted me to officiate." Her finger moves along a row of photographs on the screen of her laptop as we talk.
"Here I am with the parish priest, making the procession to the altar together. I always try to be conciliatory. We agreed he would lead the service when we were in the abbey, and I would lead Here is Mayr-Lumetzberger, in file after file of pictures, with her bishop's cross and vestments, officiating at weddings and baptisms and Sunday services, in Catholic
parish churches and abbeys, usually alongside a bevy of male Catholic priests.
"They are very respectful," she explains. "So if we are walking as a group up the aisle, they automatically
get in the right formation with the bishop at the back as the church's rules teach."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Isn't it interesting that Bishop Christine is ministering alongside Catholic priests in Catholic Churches in Austria?! I believe that this is a sign of the official church's acceptance of women priests in spite of the Vatican's paranoid reactions to ordained women serving the people of God. The people of God are inviting women to serve as priests. More people in the United States are attending our liturgies and supporting our movement. The Spirit is indeed a'moving and we rejoice that like the women who were the first witnesses to encounter the Risen Christ, women priests today are spreading the Gospel to a renewed community of faith on this blessed Easter Sunday!

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Roman Catholic Women Priests Association