Friday, May 6, 2011

Bishop Morris: "You've Got to Stand In Your Truth"

Bp Morris: 'You’ve got to stand in your truth.'

"Meanwhile, in an on-camera video accounts to emerge from Toowoomba, Morris admitted he may have stepped on “too many toes” when he suggested in the 2006 pastoral that his rural diocese might benefit from the Vatican considering the ordination of women and married men."
"But, the bishop -- whose diocese contains 68,000 Catholics in 35 parishes, with 16 active priests -- continues: “You’ve got to stand in your truth.”

Bridget Mary's Reflection;
We owe gratitude to Bishop Morris for his concern for the pastoral care of the people of his diocese by raising the important issue of married priests and women priests as a response to the needs of God's people..
Bishop Morris' prophetic stance has propelled him into the international arena as a voice for justice and equality in the Roman Catholic church. When is he coming to the United States on a speaker's tour? He will be welcomed by millions of U.S. Catholics!
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Vatican: "Clueless or Complicit"/ Married Clergy and Women Priests Serve Church Now

Michael and Imogene Rigdon
bless assembly with water on
Easter Sunday at renewal
of baptismal promises

(left to right: Priest Partner Lee Breyer,
Patricia Fresen, visiting RCWP bishop
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP, Katy Zatsick, RCWP
Priest Partner Michael Rigdon)

(left to right)

Priest Partner and wife
Carol Ann and Lee Breyer,
Bridget Mary Meehan , RCWP

by William Grimm
May 3, 2011

"The archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, has inadvertently presented another reason that the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church probably needs a married clergy.Responding to complaints that the beatification of Pope John Paul II was over-hasty and unseemly in light of the sex abuse scandal that will always be a blot on his papacy, the archbishop did not deny the problem. He simply said that beatification is not a “medal for good management service.No, Archbishop. Letting the chancery office run out of toilet paper is poor management service. Refusing to see or seeing, refusing to act against the rape of children is something else..."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
The Roman Catholic Church already has a married clergy made up of male priests from other denominations who are opposed to women priests. I believe they number around 200 in the United States. Pope Benedict has set up an ordinariate for Anglicans who are opposed to women bishops and priests. So, as long as they are opposed to women clergy, the Roman Catholic Church has opened the door to married male priests. It makes no sense why the pope keeps the door closed on RC priests who left active ministry to marry.
Our RC married priests are priests forever by their ordination and their service to God's people. In our community, (Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida) we refer to our married priests as partner priests. Michael and Imogene Rigdon, Carol Ann and Lee Breyer, Katy Zatsick, RCWP and I work within a leadership circle and share presiding responsibilities with our MMOJ community each week.
A new paradigm of ministry is dawning with the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement in grassroots communities. Women priests who are married and married male priests and their wives are serving together in inclusive Catholic communities that are organized in a circular model so that the community is empowered and their charisms called forth as we evolve and grow. It may be true that the Vatican is clueless, but married priests and Roman Catholic Women Priests are already living the change we want to see happen now!

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Joan Chittister: Why Maryknoll Should NOT Dismiss Fr. Roy Bourgoeis/ Article NCR

Expulsions from religious orders, family, and minority wisdom

by Sister Joan Chittister

"Membership in a religious community is defined by the congregation, its internal structures and admission criteria. Are religious who have given their lives to the needs and works of an order, made public vows to seal the relationship of one to another, and acted within the charism of the congregation at the mercy of outside pressure, after all? How prophetic, how communal is that?
Clearly, if the Vatican feels obliged to punish those who ask questions of present church practice -- as Martin Luther did about the selling of relics and indulgences, for instance -- then the Vatican is perfectly within its right to suspend a priest’s liturgical faculties or limit his public priestly functions. But what does that have to do with his commitment to his religious life?
After all, the Vatican did not expel pedophile priests or abusing bishops from the secular priesthood for violating children. In some cases, in fact, they protected the perpetrators repeatedly and even refused to defrock them -- civil law or no civil law. And are, apparently, doing it even now. Only behavior related to women’s issues, it seems, qualifies for expulsion.
Nor did religious communities routinely expel religious order men who were also pedophiles. Instead, rather than put them on the streets where they could be an even greater danger to children and to themselves, these religious congregations maintained their life-long consecrated commitment to these men, monitored their behavior, and nurtured their recovery within the community itself. "

Bridget Mary's Reflection

Right on Sister Joan! A religious order is one's family, and in this case, Fr. Roy belongs to the family of Maryknoll. Maryknoll should have the courage to stand up to the Vatican's bullying tactics and say "no". They should follow the example of the Benedictines and Mercy Orders who refused to throw out the nuns who had run into trouble with the Vatican over issues of conscience. Fr. Roy Bourgeois has been a faithful member of Maryknoll, now Maryknoll should stand up for him and refus to dismiss him from Maryknoll.
The Vatican and religious orders were in no such rush to throw out the pedophiles. They recycled criminal priests and sent them from parish to parish. So, let's get this straight, the Vatican and religious orders obviously consider the support of women priests a greater crime than pedophila! That brings us to the Vatican decree that was issued in July putting women priests in the same category as pedophiles, which outraged millions of Catholics worldwide. See media coverage of this event. (check blog July 2010) The Vatican is pushing Maryknoll to throw out one of its prophets who consistently raises the issue of sexism in the church citing Jesus' example in the Gospels. Fr. Roy is a prophet and his threatened dismissal from Maryknoll is an outrageous injustice.
Jesus would weep!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ABC News/"Secrecy and Silence Continues in the Catholic Church"/Full Equality of Women is Voice of God In Our Time
By Madonna King
In a newsletter, Bishop Morris reflected on an aging clergy and worried about the shortage of priests in Australia. .
"Several responses have been discussed internationally, nationally and locally,'' he says, including ordaining married, single or widowed men, welcoming former priests back, ordaining women, married or single, and recognising Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting Church orders.
"While we continue to reflect carefully on these options, we remain committed to actively promoting vocations to the current celibate male priesthood and open to inviting priests from overseas.''
...But Bishop Morris's supporters privately point to the role of a small group of conservative Catholics determined the rules should be religiously enforced. That means no oxygen from the pulpit for controversial topics like female ordination."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
What a sad state of affairs that a small minority of Catholics take it upon themselves to "police" their parish priests' and diocesan bishops homilies and writings for so-called adherence to Vatican policies on hot button issues like women priests!

If it true that Pope Benedict wants a "smaller, more orthodox, church" as some have reported, than perhaps,sadly, this is what is happening.

One in ten people in the United States is a former Catholic. So that is I believe approximately 33 million Catholics.

But is our church following the example of Jesus who welcomes all, and sends no one away?

Will our church resemble the community of faith that Jesus called for in the Gospel, or will it look more like a cult, that adheres to man-made rules that the church, the majority of Catholics no longer follow or even recognize?In the wake of a global sex abuse scandal, the shortage of male celibate priests and the growing alienation of women, including the young , is the Roman Catholic Church on the precipice? We know that God is with those who are on the margins, those who are outsiders, the exluded.

God is love and calls us to be reflections of love and liberation in our world. Our energy should be on living Jesus' love for all, working for justice, and following his example of inclusivity and compassion.

During his earthly life, Jesus certainly encountered more than his fair share of complainers who condemned him as a major rule breaker for things like healing on the Sabbath and hanging out with the wrong people at parties -like sinners which (gasp!!) included women. Jesus' dialogue with the Samaritan woman, the longest conversation recorded in the Gospels, violated cultural, religious and gender taboos. Yep, Jesus was a real rule breaker all right and we know where that led! Right, It was the women who stood by Jesus at the cross in his sufferings and were the first ones to encounter the Risen Christ. Jesus reversal of centuries of misogny! We just celebrated Easter and heard once again the story of Mary of Magdala, The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala, not Peter or John or any of the males hiding out in the upper room. Mary was the apostle to the apostles. Jesus turned sexist practices upside down and taught the radical equality of women and men as disciples and equals.

Now fast forward to the 21st century and the Vatican's reprehensible treatment of women as second class citizens. Women priests are disobeying an unjust law in order to change it because the full equality of women in the church is the voice of God in our time.

And the Vatican knows it! Silencing, firing, and exommunicating supporters including priests and bishops like Bishop William Morris and Fr. Roy Bourgeois will not work. God is never on the side of the oppressor.

The God of justice and liberation is rising up in the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement as courageous women follow God's call to a renewed priestly ministry in a community of equals. We pray that many more people join us in this human rights movement for women in the Catholic Church!

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Women's Ordination Conference and Call to Action Support Bishop Morris/ Challenge Culture of Bullying by Vatican

"The Women's Ordination Conference, based in Washington, D.C., issued a statement May 2 reacting to the news that an Australian bishop had been removed from his diocese after expressing views on the ordination of women, among other issues. The women's group is the oldest and largest national organization working for the ordination of women into the Roman Catholic Church. The statement follows:

"Just three weeks after the Vatican pressured the Maryknoll religious order to remove Fr. Roy Bourgeois, it has been revealed that the Vatican has been involved in removing another member of the clergy over his views on women's ordination. Sunday, Bishop William Morris of the Toowoomba Diocese of Australia issued a letter saying the Vatican had forced him into early retirement due to a 2006 Pastoral Letter that he issued regarding the priest shortage. In the letter, Bishop Morris had suggested women's ordination as one of a few potential solutions to the priest crisis.

After Bishop William Morris issued the 2006 pastoral letter, a small group of local Catholics complained to the Vatican which began an apostolic investigation. The Vatican assigned U.S. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver to investigate and write a report of the situation. To this day, Bishop Morris has not been permitted to see the report that ultimately resulted in the Vatican's attempt to remove him. Rather than succumb to Vatican pressure to resign, Bishop Morris offered a compromise solution of early retirement."

Bishop Morris wrote in a letter to the people of the Toowoomba Diocese yesterday: "I have never wavered in my conviction that for me to resign is a matter of conscience and my resignation would mean that I accept the assessment of myself as breaking communio which I absolutely refute and reject and it is out of my love for the Church that I cannot do so."

"It is a sad day when the faithful, out of love for the church, offer possible solutions to address serious challenges and are punished by the Vatican," said Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director of Call To Action. "I applaud the courageous Catholics such as Fr. Roy Bourgeois and Bishop William Morris who will not allow the Vatican to bully them into silence."

"The culture of silence and bullying within the Catholic Church cannot be tolerated," said Laura Singer, Board President of Women's Ordination Conference. "Bishop Morris is an example of a priest of courage who joins the momentum of the women's ordination movement, grounded in justice and equality."

Bridget Mary's Reflection
Ultimately, the Vatican's bullying will be seen for what it truly is a last gasp effort to stop the rising tide of support for justice and equality for women in the Catholic Church. Silencing and bullying are the shameful tools of oppressive power. The Vatican has already lost control, and is now using the tactics that dictators use. In the end, prophetic voices of men like Bishop William Morris and Fr. Roy Bourgeois and the supporters of the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement worldwide will prevail. Our liberating God is on the side of the marginalized, which includes justice and equality for women, half the church's membership. Let us follow Catherine of Siena's advice every time the Vatican attempts to bully or punish those who stand Gospel equality: "cry out as if you had a million voices, it is silence that kills the soul!"
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Roman Catholic Women Priests Association

National Council of Priests in Australia Support Bishop Morris/ Critique Abuse of Power by Vatican

3 May 2011
Media Release
The NCP executive would like to express its sadness at the forced early retirement of Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba.
We are appalled at the lack of transparency and due process that led to this decision by Church authorities.We are embarrassed about the shabby treatment meted out to an outstanding Pastor of this diocese who has faithfully ministered in the Church in Queensland and throughout Australia since his priestly ordination in 1969.We are concerned about an element within the Church whose restorationist ideology wants to repress freedom of expression within the Roman Catholic Church and who deny the legitimate magisterial authority of the local Bishop within the Church.
Jesus rightly condemned the righteous scribes and Pharisees of his time for adhering to their interpretation of the Mosaic law at the expense of God's ultimate commandment of love.Many of the people influencing these decisions have limited pastoral experience and appear to show little concern for the sensus fidelium.We appeal to the Bishop of Rome in his acknowledged role as first among equals and the source of communio within the Church to listen and build bridges of trust, faith and love with those who have been hurt by this decision.We stand in prayerful solidarity with the priests and people of Toowoomba who are justifiably aggrieved by this pronouncement.We pray for Bishop Morris who has undergone an extraordinary period of trial over the last few years of his Episcopal ministry and trust that history will accurately record the benefit of his ministry as a faithful, human servant of the Gospel of Jesus. We wish him well in his retirement and have appreciated his support for his priests and the work of the NCP.To the Catholics of the Toowoomba we pray for a worthy successor to Bishop Morris.
Ian McGinnityNCP Chairman===================================

Australian Bishop Fired by the Pope/What's Next? Women Priests!

"The dispute stems from Morris' comments five years ago that the Church could consider ordaining married men and women because of a looming shortage of priests.
Morris, who was ordained in 1969, said his views had been misinterpreted and he had been denied natural justice. "

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

What's next? Bishop Morris simply raised the issue of married priests and women priests! I think Pope Benedict knows that the Spirit is leading the church into a new era of justice and equality for women and that the hierarchy is powerless to stop it! We are witnessing the last gasp of patriarchy trying to maintain rigid control of the church!

Yet, they see what is happening in grassroots communities around the world and they are terrified! Why? Women priests are faithful members of our church who are answering God's call to serve the people of God. God is answering our prayers for vocations! The women are coming forward. In the not too distant future, perhaps, some will be from Australia.

Bishop Morris deserves our thanks and praise for his courage and openess to face the pastoral issues that the shortage of male celibate priests brings.

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Roman Catholic Women Priests Association

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pope Vicky: Barbie's New Career- Pope/Check Out The Outfits!!

"Her Time Has Come "
"Barbie’s had over a hundred different careers. Now she's got one more: Pope.It’s the 23rd century, and the Sacred College of Cardinals has elected the first woman – and first American – pontiff. Barbie will bring fun, fashion, and many new fans into the Roman Catholic Church.Barbie chose the name Victoria I —“Pope Vicky”— in celebration of one of the first Roman Catholic woman priests ordained at the beginning of the 21st century. "

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

What a creative piece of work! What a fun site! I honestly enjoyed meeting Pope Vicky! I hope she inspires many young girls to be attentive to God's call to a renewed priestly ministry! You rock, Pope Vicky!! Pope Vicky's People--is on facebook as well!!

On a serious note----When a woman is elected pope, I hope her outfits will be less clerical, pompous, ritzy---- and unlike what the Vatican's good old boys have worn for centuries!

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

"Australian Bishop Quits Over Row with Pope"/Could Promote Interest In Roman Catholic Women Priests?

SYDNEY - "An Australian Roman Catholic bishop has quit his post over a row with the Vatican about women priests and other liberal reforms, saying that Pope Benedict XVI thought it best he be replaced.
William Morris, who has been the Catholic Bishop of the vast Queensland diocese of Toowoomba since 1993, told parishioners on Sunday that he was taking early retirement."

Bridget Mary' Reflection:
The Vatican will not tolerate any support of women priests even from its own bishops. Let us hope that this will stir up interest in the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement and that some day there will be women priests in Australia. The Vatican is the gift that keeps on giving! The more the Pope punishes, the more our movement grows!
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP
Roman Catholic Women Priests Association