Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Pentecost: The Flaming Dove of Upper Room Roman Catholicism " by Michele Somerville/ Huffington Post

Pastor Judy Lee presides at
liturgy with Good Shepherd
Community. Judy is a Roman Catholic Woman
Priest who serves the poor and homeless
in the Ft. Myers area.

Katy Zatsick, and Bridget Mary Meehan
women priests and Lee Breyer and Michael Rigdon,
married priests gather around the altar
with Mary Mother of Jesus Catholic Community to pray Eucharistic Prayer in St. Andrew UCC
Sarasota, Florida.
For three years we met in a house church.

"Those who are enjoy the privilege of worshipping in today's Roman Catholic Upper Rooms owe a debt to those who see the Roman Catholic Church as some kind of country club from which poorly behaved members should be expelled. Their misogyny, bigotry, selective quasi-fundamentalism and sexual dysfunction have given way to a perfect storm the likes of which Upper Room Catholics are well-fortified to weather..."
"Because churches are expensive to rent, Roman Catholic female priests often celebrate masses in homes. These masses more than make up -- in purity and reverence -- for any pomp that may or may not be wanting. Roman Catholic Women priests are rigorously trained and bring the kind of Christ-like dimension to ministry that their church leadership needs. They epitomize Roman Catholic Upper Room essence and sanctity..."

Bridget Mary's Reflection
As more and more women are ordained, there are more inclusive, welcoming communities, more "upper rooms" to experience God's boundless love for all. All are welcome at the Banquet of our Bountiful God including those whose hearts have been broken by the institutional church's rejection, misogyny and homophobia. We are birthing a renewed church that promotes Christ's vision of justice, compassion and inclusion for all. We are living Gospel love now in the Heart of Compassion.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Friday, June 17, 2011

Watch "Spirit of Life" - A Musical Meditation

Lift up your heart and sink into the divine embrace of infinite love all around you!

U.S. Bishops Empower Themselves Not to Report Abuse Allegations, Catholics Speak Out

After this year's revelations that the Philadelphia Archbishop and Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop failed to report sexual abuse allegations to their review boards and to civil authorities, Catholics of good will expected the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to revise their sexual abuse policies at this week's Spring General Assembly. Today, the bishops conclude their gathering without making any substantive changes to their sex abuse policies.

The bishops did manage to authorize work on a new preaching document, issue a policy statement and approve new musical translations of the new liturgy to begin in September.

However, when it came to changing and further strengthening the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and its related Essential Norms, they added little and made minor tweaks to dates and numbers. One bishop even suggested that some of those who have abused should be able to return to ministry. Equally egregious, the bishops did not add a section to the charter that would mandate Bishops share sexual abuse allegations with their own diocesan review boards and, thus, potentially keep known abusers in ministry.

As a result, the power to keep a pedophile religious leader away from children continues to rest in the hands of the bishop--the same place it has always rested. Based on the last fifty years of scandal, we know this only leads to additional abuse victims and greater harm to the Church as a whole.

(Statement from Call To Action Regarding

Bishops' 2011 Spring Assembly)

Call To Action encourages fellow Catholics to continue to speak up about any signs of abuse and direct their concerns, not only to church authorities, but to civil authorities. For assistance, contact SNAP, the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests,

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Once again the U.S. bishops have demonstrated that they have no accountability to Catholics in the pew to reform their policies that protect pedophiles-- one bishop even proposed bringing back pedophiles to active ministry! What a recipe for disaster and failure to protect children! The shortage of priests should never end up pushing the bishops panic button and restoring pedophiles to active ministry
Catholics in the pew should rise up and revolt. One approach Catholics can adopt is to boycott funds from their dioceses. It is time for Catholics to assume responsibility for our church and call forth women priests and married priests to serve their faith communities!

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Reflection on American Catholic Council: Dr. Michael Rigdon

Michael and Imogene Rigdon
assembly at Easter Liturgy
at Mary MOJO community
at Easter Vigil.

After reflecting on the current situation in the church, James Carroll wondered, "Is there anyone here who doesn't have a broken heart?" A poignant reminder of the loss and betrayal we have all experienced. He also emphasized several times how important it was for us to be in attendance at the ACC gathering. And he re-told the story of Galileo's public admission of his "error" in claiming that the earth moves around the sun. According to Carroll, Galileo concluded by muttering under his breath, "But it does move." He said that our role now is not to mutter, but to shout out, "It moves!" And he lead us in several rafter-shaking shouts.
Matthew Fox emphasized that Vatican Council II is the ultimate authority in the church. So he concluded that the hierarchy is in schism due to their wholesale rejection of the council's teachings. He has a way of turning a situation on its head by one simple turn of a phrase. I will remember to pray for those who are in schism from the people of God. I also enjoyed his video of his 2005 submission of his 95 theses at St Mary Major basilica.
I'll also remember a remark by Joan Chittister that the seed never sees the flower. A good reminder to be hopeful that my/our efforts will blossom, perhaps years from now. She also quoted someone who said, "When you approach a chasm, jump.....!" And she lead us to loudly encourage each other: "Jump!!" A reminder to me of the risk involved in promoting change.
I know there were some points I remembered from Anthony Padovano's talk and from his video interview with Hans Kung. But by the end of the weekend my head felt like it would explode from all the input. Some items just leaked from my brain I guess.
The concluding liturgy was wonderful, altho the music not so much. Wearing the red Pentecostal stoles was a wonderful symbol of the equality of all God's people.
Our MMOJ booth in the exhibit hall was wonderful! Lee & Carol Ann designed a great display. And the prayer cards were unique.
We have DVDs of the keynote presentations that we can show to MMOJ this coming season and to Call To Action. Now we can begin to look forward to an international lay council--Rome 2015!
Michael Rigdon

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Roberta Meehan Receives Award for Outstanding Service to Patients at Banner Estrella Hospital, Phoenix, AZ.

Left to right: Chaplain Gay Bruce, Chaplain Roberta Meehan,
CEO Bob Gould, and Head Chaplain,
Jerrye Champion

Roberta Meehan, ARCWP, a volunteer non-denominational chaplain received an award in recognition of her outstanding service to the patients at Banner Estrella Hospital in Phoenix AZ. Congratulations to Roberta for her ministry of compassionate care for all!

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Matthew Fox Speaks our for a People-Empowered Catholic Church in Washington Post

"Pope John XXIII’s Second Vatican Council of the early 1960’s has been called the “greatest religious event of the twentieth century.” Sadly, the papacy of John Paul II turned its back on its principles, including the courageous response of Latin American Liberation Theology that supported the poor and oppressed in direct expression of Gospel values. Further, contrary to the spirit and law of Vatican II, a modern day Inquisition was launched with Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) as chief inquisitor. One can argue that in squelching the Vatican Council, the Vatican has been in schism for 40 years since traditionally Councils trump popes, popes don’t trump Councils...
As I point out in my recent book, The Pope’s War, if an angry lay movement rises up and launches Lay councils instead of Vatican councils, and moves to deconstruct the church as we know it and reconstruct it on the authentic principles of Jesus’ spirit and teaching, surely something wonderful and needed could occur. The Detroit gathering, the archbishop not withstanding, seemed to be such a launch.,,"

Reflections After the American Catholic Council Meeting by Maureen Fiedler/NCR/ Inclusive Eucharistic Communities Growing

(3 leaders from Mary Mother of Jesus
Catholic Community, Sarasota, Florida
Lee and Carol Ann Breyer, Helen Duffy,
Photo by husband Jack Duffy.
9 members of our community attended ACC)

National Catholic Reporter
But now, there are new flowerings: intentional communities -- lots of them, the communities of the Roman Catholic Women Priests' movement...

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
The Catholic Church is already in the process of a major change in grassroots communities. The Roman Catholic Women Priests Communities are growing as more and more women are ordained.
Our community is one example of the flower blooming in the church's garden in Florida. We are Mary MOJO= Mary Mother of Jesus Catholic Community an inclusive intentional Eucharistic community that gathers for worship on Sat. at St. Andrew UCC in Sarasota, Florida (Nov.-May weekly on Sat. at 6PM, June-Oct -- first Sat. of month )
All are welcome to receive Eucharist, to participate in dialogue homily, to recite words of consecration as we pray the Eucharistic prayer. All are invited to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to serve the people of God in outreach programs to the interfaith Sarasota community and to act in solidarity with others in compassionate work and justice doing in the local area.
Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Archbishop Blasts Priest: Liturgical Abuses such as Inclusive Language and Woman Homilist!/ Women Priests Offer Inclusive Ministry|head

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Liturgical abuses, hardly--- more like liturgical practices that should be options in every Catholic parish.

At the closing liturgy of the American Catholic Council Gathering that met in Detroit's Cobo Hall, on Pentecost Sunday, the top three "so-called abuses" attracting the wrath of the Archbishop were:

1) red stoles were worn by the assembly as a symbol of the equality of all.

St Paul in Galations 3:27-28 preached that our baptism makes us all equals: "All of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. In Christ, there is no Jew or Greek, slave or citizen, male or female, All are one in Christ Jesus.." (Inclusive New Testament, Priests for Equality).

I think the wearing of red stoles to symbolize our oneness in Christ was brilliant!

2) A woman preached the homily!

I bet this would be a refreshing change in Sunday Masses around the country. Talking about another perspective that is badly needed since women make up half of the church's membership! The Risen Christ commissioned Mary of Magdala, the first woman preacher, the pope and bishops need to affirm women's full equality in all areas of church life including ordination.

3 Inclusive language was utilized in the liturgy. You can pray using words for God such as "Creator, Mother, Sacred Spirit, Sophia, Holy Wisdom. " God is not a man, nor can male images for God reflect the fullness of divine mystery! The institutional church is blinded by its sexism and clericalism, sadly.

Archbishop, an investigation is not needed into these "so called liturgical abuses" but into the church's sexism and clericalism!
Both are cancers ripping away at the heart of Catholicism. No wonder one in three Catholics in the U.S. have left the church!

As the people of God, we are the church and we are called to live and witness the Gospel.
In my view this is a teachable moment not only for the Archbishop of Detroit but for the whole church to move forward with a Catholic Bill of Rights that includes the full equality of women as one of its major tenets.

Roman Catholic Women Priests are one of the movements in the 21st century leading the way in the renewal of our church by living the changes we want to see now. By using inclusive language in our liturgies, by giving women and men an equal voice in preaching through dialogue homilies, and by returning the Eucharist to the community as all recite words of consecration, we are renewing our church and offering ways to celebrate our baptismal equality now.

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Monday, June 13, 2011

Roman Catholic Women Priests "Women Priests Defy Catholic Church At the Altar": NPR Radio Link

Women Priests Defy Catholic Church At The Altar

Roman Catholic Women Priests on their ordination day, ... The movement, named Roman Catholic Womenpriests, says more than a hundred women have ..

Mary Mother of Jesus Catholic Community (Mary MOJO) Shares Inclusive Ministry at the American Catholic Council / Padavano-"Baptism Unites Church"

(Lee and Carol Ann Breyer-
Pastoral Team
with banner from
Mary MMOJ/Fl.)

Lee and Carol Ann Breyer,
Helen Duffy, Pastoral Team
from Mary MMOJ Fl.

DETROIT -- "Baptism unites the church, not ordination," theologian and author Anthony T. Padovano told more than 1,800 reform-minded Catholics gathered June 10-12 at Detroit's Cobo Hall.

Addressing the inaugural national meeting of the American Catholic Council June 11, he said, "The pope does not unify or sanctify the church and make it catholic or apostolic. This is the work of the Spirit and the community. The pope is an institutional sign of a unity already achieved by the faithful. The pope does not create a community of believers or validate baptisms or make the Eucharist occur. Padovano was first president of CORPUS, an organization originally formed to seek return of married priests to ministry but now advocating "inclusive ministry," meaning also the ordination of women."

American Catholic Council: Catholics For Reform and Renewal Speak Out/News Articles

"The top Catholic leader in Michigan slammed a big liberal Mass today in Detroit, saying it had significant abuses and he ordered a review of a Ferndale priest who led the services before 1,500 Catholics, a church spokesman said.Defying Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron, a Catholic priest from Ferndale led a Mass today in Cobo Center that was organized by the American Catholic Council, a controversial umberalla group of liberal Catholics. And dozens of Catholic priests and deacons from metro Detroit attended the Mass, said organizers"

The Archdiocese of Detroit has warned the group of progressive Catholics of serious violations — including defrocking of priests or deacons — if it carried through plans to celebrate Mass this week at Cobo Center. Saginaw resident Rita Untener-Dwyer said she would like to see women priests recognized and for priests to be allowed to marry". (313) 222-2311

[Jerry Filteau, NCR Washington correspondent Articles in National Catholic Reporter)

American Catholic Council Promote Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities by Donna Le Master Rougeux, ARCWP

Dena O'Callaghan, Diane Dougherty,
Donna LeMaster Rougeux
(left to right)
Association of Roman
Catholic Women Priests

"When I was in seminary several years ago, one of my favorite professors, Dr. Carmel McEnroy, continually urged and hoped for something that just this weekend came into being. We were studying the Vatican II documents in her class and I came to a new level of appreciation for the breath of fresh air that came into the Roman Catholic Church during the second Vatican Council, that momentous event which forever changed the Church. My teacher's words still echoed in my mind as I attended the American Catholic Council on this Pentecost weekend in Detroit. Dr. McEnroy repeated to us, her students, "There needs to be a council of the laity." Well that is exactly what happened in Detroit this weekend, - a council of the laity. The work that was called for 50 years ago continues as ACC presented and passed the Catholic Bill of Rights And Responsibilities with just about a unanimous vote of the laity who were present at the council. When it was time to say yes or no to passing this bill of rights, we were ask to indicate a yes vote by standing and a no vote by staying seated. I stood up and could not see anyone staying seated. The number of people voting was close to 2000. This is only a a hint of what happened at this council that once again breathes new life into the Church at a time in history when it is most desperately needed.
On Friday night a DVD was shown of an interview with Hans Kung. I did not see that but I bought the DVD and look forward to watching it and sharing it with others. All of the breakout sessions and the keynote speakers were recorded and can be purchased. I brought several back and will share them. I have an order form and will probably purchase more of them. My two favorite keynote speakers were James Carroll and Joan Chittister.
I was moved to tears when James Carroll addressed us and reflected on meeting Pope John XXIII when he was a young boy because he eloquently described this moment in his history as one in which he sensed that he was in the presence of a person who was very Christ-like.
Joan Chittister mesmerized the crowd with her dynamic, inspirational words of motivation and encouragement asking us to courageously take steps toward reform by answering God's call to let our lights shine. Her talk significantly primed us to celebrate Pentecost with the closing liturgy.
A retired priest in the diocese of Detroit disregarded the Archbishop's warning to not attend the closing mass. This priest not only attended the mass, he presided at this very inclusive liturgy. There were two female planning committee members who had significant roles in the liturgy. One of them proclaimed the Gospel reading and the other gave the homily. The liturgy began with a very moving Stole presentation. As each person came in to the hall for the liturgy a red felt stole was handed out but we were told to wait until a certain part of mass before we put it on. So after the opening song was joyously sung, a representative from the community put the stole on the presided and said the following words: Receive this stole as a sign of your election by this community as our leader during this Pentecost Mass... Then the presided invited the community to put the stoles on and said the following words: Wear these stoles as a reminder of your baptism and confirmation when you committed yourself to God ... So Diane put the stole on me and I put the stole on her and everyone wore the stoles during the whole liturgy. Very cool! During the liturgy of the Eucharist the priest sang most of the words and the congregation joined in because the words were printed in the program. It was a beautiful well put together inclusive liturgy.
I am so happy that my professor's wish came true and that I was part of this first historical council of the laity!"

Donna Le Master Rougeux, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Homily for Pentecost by Roberta Meehan

Homily for Pentecost – Cycle A – 12 June 2011

Readings from the Revised Common Lectionary
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b Acts 2:1-21 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 John 20:19-23
(Roman Catholic and Episcopal Lectionaries are approximately the same.)

Alleluia! Today is Pentecost! Today is the birthday of the Church! But, WE are the Church! This is OUR birthday! If it is our birthday, today we must be celebrating something very special – some point of unity that we all – regardless of denomination – have. And the point of unity is that we can all hear the Good News – each of us in our own language, each of us in our own heart. And we can be enkindled by this Good News!

On that first Pentecost, we (the Church beyond the area of Jerusalem) were finally able to hear that Jesus had worked with us (the local church) for quite a while – teaching us, preparing us to be enflamed by the Spirit. We did not understand. He told us that he would send the Spirit who would tell us everything we needed to know and who would help us in every way possible. And on that first Pentecost, the Spirit did indeed come, in tongues of fire, as we are told in Acts. And those who spoke could be understood by us (the new Church) in every imaginable language! This was amazing. What is it we hear?

In order to understand that, we first need to go back to the story of the Tower of Babel, Genesis 11:1-4. Using select phrases from this section, we see that, <

It is easy enough to say that the story of Babel is an excellent allegorical means of explaining the diversity of language in the world. And perhaps it is. But, it seems that Babel goes far beyond physical language. The people were no longer hearing the word of God. They were no longer able to understand one another –and perhaps no longer able to understand God.

Even though the people no longer understood God, God did not desert them. Shortly after the dispersion of languages, God called Abraham and Jewish history began. For the next 2000 years the preparations were underway to bring the people back together, to celebrate the common understanding. Jesus came and the unifying factor was put in place. We could again be one and we had the Good News of our salvation. And Jesus sent the Spirit, as he had promised.

At that first Pentecost, the Tower of Babel was reversed. The dispersion of languages was reversed and all could hear and understand the Good News. The Spirit came to bring the people back together and the gift of tongues – the multitudinous languages of the people – became the gift of hearing because all could hear and understand the message. If we look at those early gospel stories, we ought to be amazed at how we (the many people of back then) heard what Jesus was saying and what Jesus had said! There was no divergence of language there! Some will claim that many of the gospel numbers are exaggerations or symbolic in meaning. That may be partly true but it is hardly totally true! When it was time to go out to all people, the Spirit came so that the message could be heard in all languages and by all people. Look at how the early church grew! We, that Church, the People of God of 2000 years ago, heard that message – each in our own language, just as we hear it today.

The question then becomes, which voices do we hear now? And, now that we can each hear the words Jesus gave us, each in our own tongue – the Good News of our salvation, what are we going to do with it? Are we going to live that Good News as messaged by Jesus the Christ and confirmed by the Holy Spirit? Are we going to live as if each person we meet is Christ? Are we going to love as Christ has commanded us to love? Are we going to follow the statement of Francis of Assisi to “preach the gospel at all times; use words if necessary.”? Are we going to live this birthday celebration? Are we going to live this unity we have with all people? Are we going to live this understanding because we do know what we are saying. We have been given the gift of hearing! If we listen, we can hear our brothers and sisters. It is in hearing our brothers and sisters that we hear the continuation of the Good News. It is in hearing our brothers and sisters that we are enkindled by the Spirit to be the Good News to all we meet. In hearing our brothers and sisters, we can speak the words the Spirit enkindles within us – and all will understand.

Amid our birthday celebration, amid our joy over our unity, amid our excitement because all of us are able to hear and understand the Good News, certain problems still remain. Are we reverting to our own private Babels and putting bricks between God and the People of God? Are we creating the rules as if we know more than God? Are we extinguishing the tongues of fire that enkindles our spiritual drive? Are we making it so difficult for others of the People of God to hear and understand the Good News that they give up? Have we perhaps begun rebuilding the Tower of Babel? Let us plead with the Spirit to help us tear down our private Babels and to open our ears and our words so that the Spirit can be heard by us and can speak through us – so that each day is once more the birthday of the church within us. After all, we really are the church! --

Roberta M Meehan

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests