Friday, August 26, 2011

An Open Clergy Rebellion in Austria's Catholic Church, 40 Priests in Kenya Defected Over Celibacy
"Hundreds of Austrian priests are challenging the standing leadership of Pope Benedict XVI and the local bishops, demanding modern-day answers to issues like communion for divorced people, women in the church hierarchy, and the taboo of priests who have a partner and children.
The 300-plus supporters of the “Priests’ Initiative” have had enough of what they call the Church’s “delaying” tactics, and they are advocating pushing ahead with policies that openly defy current practices. These include letting non-ordained people lead religious services and deliver sermons; making communion available to divorced people who have remarried; allowing women to become priests and to take on important positions in the hierarchy; and letting priests carry out pastoral functions even if, in defiance of Church rules, they have a wife and family."

Kenya: 40 Catholic Priests Quit Over Church Celibacy Rule
25 August 2011
"MORE than 40 priests have in the last two years defected from the Catholic Church in Kenya seeking freedom from celibacy. The priests have joined the Ecumenical Catholic Church headed by Bishop Geoffrey Shiundu who also quit the Catholic church after he married against rules of priesthood."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
The Vatican is facing a huge crisis-- a holy shakeup- not only from the clergy in Austria, Kenya and Ireland but also from Catholics in the pews who support women priests and an end to mandatory celibacy. The full equality of women in the church is the voice of God in our time.
Let us rejoice in this prophetic rebellion by the clergy in Austria, Kenya ,Ireland and elsewhere. Jesus was a rule breaker who challenged the religious leaders of his time to live God vision of justice and inclusive, compassionate love for all especially those who were poor and oppressed.
These prophetic priests, like Jesus, are calling for inclusivity, justice and equality in our church. Like Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeois, these priests are breaking the man-made rules of the Catholic Church in order to according to the Spirit and serve the spiritual needs of the people of God. They are inviting their sisters, women in the church, to take their rightful places as partners in the Gospel. Brava! While the Vatican is going to initiate a new Roman missal that uses exclusive language and some bishops are dismissing altar girls, the Austrian priests are a welcome holy shakeup - a revolution indeed! May many others follow!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

O'Malley Puts Down New Marker On Abuse Crisis/NCR

"...On Thursday, O'Malley announced that, after "serious and thoughtful consideration and prayer," he was releasing a list of Boston priests and deacons who have either been found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor, or publicly accused of such abuse. The names have been organized into a searchable format, available on the archdiocesan web site. Each entry includes the cleric's current status (suspended, laicized, etc.) and a link to his assignment history. In tandem with the launch, O'Malley issued a detailed seven-page letter explaining the reasoning underlying his decision."
See the full list here:
Publication With Respect to Archdiocesan Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Child.
O'Malley also published a separate list of priests who have been publicly accused but later exonerated, either because the archdiocesan review board found the charge to be unsubstantiated, or because the priest was acquitted in a canonical trial.
While most of the information has already been released by the archdiocese in one form or another, it's never been centrally collected or made user-friendly.

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

Finally, a major step forward for a U.S. bishop. Let's hope others in the hierarchy including the Vatican follow Cardinal O'Malley's example of transparency and accountability.

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Good Event- Bad Event" Joan Chittister's Address at American Catholic Council in Detroit

"....Vatican II gives us all the right to give God’s gifts to God’s work, and to God’s church. Among the great religious orders and congregations of the church, after all, the ideas for Benedictines, Benedict; Franciscans, Francis; Jesuits, Ignatius Loyola; Sisters of Mercy, Mother Catherine McAuley; Sisters of Charity, Mother Elizabeth Seton; Sisters of Loreto, Mary Ward; the ideas for teaching ministry, education of girls, nursing the sick, not to mention peace and nonviolence through Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin -- all came from laity.Point: The church has always needed more than financial capital from the laity. It needs intellectual capital, moral and spiritual capital, again, now and here. It is your name they’re waiting for now, the one right under the names of Moses and Judith, Esther and Joseph and Jesus. You are the voice of today’s church: Speak loudly. You are the fire of today’s church: Burn brightly. You are the hope of the church, now and for centuries to come."

"Let faith impel you. Let love direct you. Let hope be the glue that binds you and courage your eternally enduring Pentecostal flame. You are the good event of the church in what has too often become a bad event time.In the Native American tradition at the time of initiation the elders tell the younger, “As you go the way of life you will see a great chasm -- jump.”When the retreat to yesterday threatens the movement of the Holy Spirit within us all today, this is no time for despair. This is no time to stop. This is the time to jump, move on, begin again."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ireland Sexual Abuse Crisis: "Cloyne Vicar Says ' Conscience' Prevented Him From Reporting Abuse"/NCR

Cloyne vicar says 'conscience' prevented him from reporting abuse
Aug. 24, 2011
Dennis Coday
A day after retired Bishop John Magee broke his silence on the Cloyne Report, which found that as bishop of Cloyne he did not implement church guidelines on handling clergy sex abuse, his chief lieutenant has confessed that he should have resigned in 1996 because he could not in conscience uphold those church guidelines.
In an Aug. 24 letter to The Irish Catholic, Msgr Denis O'Callaghan, the Cloyne diocese's vicar general and delegate for child protection, wrote that he came to realize that his commitment to the pastoral care of priests conflicted with church guidelines to report clergy abuse to civil authorities.

Bridget Mary's Reflection
What a shock to the people of Ireland and to the world! Another example of the hierarchy protecting priests over vulnerable children who were raped and sodomized by Catholic priests in a global sex abuse scandal that goes all the way to the top in the Vatican.
No wonder Ireland went ballistic and sent the papal nuncio off with a reprimand to the Vatican.
Just what entitles the Vatican to violate civil law and NOT report crimes against children. Conscience?!Is this the behavior that represents Christ and a "pro-life" church that values children as precious and beloved. Of course, every accusation must be investigated and proven, and justice must be done for victims and priests but to cover it up is immoral and illegal.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Phoenix Diocese Cathedral Won't Allow Girl Altar Servers" by Michael Clancy/Arizona Republic/More Vocations for Women Priests

Girls no longer will be allowed as altar servers during Mass at the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, SS. Simon and Jude.
The Rev. John Lankeit, rector of the cathedral, said he made the decision in hopes of promoting the priesthood for males and other religious vocations, such as becoming a nun, for females.
Made up primarily of fifth- through eighth-graders the altar-server corps in American churches has included girls since 1983 in many places. Girls and boys regularly serve together at churches throughout the Phoenix Catholic Diocese.

Bridget Mary's Reflection

The bad news is that the institutional church is headed back to pre-Vatican, some would say medieval times. The good news is that girls are welcome to serve at Roman Catholic Women Priest liturgies!

1. In our world today, gender equality is a major issue. It is time for the Roman Catholic hierarchy to stop treating women as second class citizens. Like Rosa Parks who refused to sit in the back of the bus. Catholic women will no longer put up with discrimination. Sexism is a sin against God and our church, the people of God.

2. By our baptism girls and women are equals in Christ and, therefore, should be able to receive all the sacraments. Jesus did not ordain anyone. If the church does not treat girls and women as equals, it should stop baptizing them. What's next 'churching" women after childbirth?!

3. The Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1976, the Vatican's own scholars, confirmed that there was nothing in scripture to prevent women from being ordained.

4. A call to serve as a priest comes from God and the community, not from the hiearchy. (Check out Council of Chalcedon).This is another example of clery fear, some would say, paranoia--- that girls who serve at the altar may become priests. On the other hand, this could be another bonanza for women priests as girls realize that there is a path toward gender equality in the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement. As an issue of justice, women are being ordained in the same way as men to serve in a renewed priestly ministry within empowered communities of equals.

5. The good news is that the hierarchy/Bishop of Phoenix is the gift that keeps on giving. Rigid Catholicism is dying, and a renewed, inclusive church is being born where girls and women are equals and all are welcome at the Eucharistic Banquet.

Let us rejoice!

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Woman Priest: Judy Lee, ARCWP, Ft. Myers, Florida

I have begun a part-time job as Chaplain to Our Mother's Home, a home for teenage girls and their babies. There are five girls there now, 15-17 and four little ones(3 mos-four years) and 3 on the way. I think the capacity is 8 girls with children. I spent Tues hearing and reading their stories and my heart was moved with compassion and upheaval at the pain they have already endured.

OMH was started by a very dear member of the RC parish that I used to attend. (In fact, I ministered to her husband after her death as he was placed in a Nursing Home). It was intended to remain under RC auspices, but somehow(probably for survival issues) got given over to the State agency for children and families, so all of the girls there are in foster care too. Yet, our Loving God kept Her hand there and the President of the Board and the present Board members and the Director all have strong Christian identification and because of my dual qualifications (Pastor and Clinical SW license) they can hire me to " counsel and bring God to these girls". (Group meetings every 2 weeks and individual meetings as needed).

They started with me giving a Bible Study about a month ago: I chose the theme of How much God loves you, and calls you by name". The work per se began last night with what is a mixed purpose kind of group and mixed media as well. The important thing is their real sharing and learning in their hearts Mother-God responses. The most beautiful part of the meeting for me is their prayers when we pray together and this moment: I put out a lot of art materials in the eginning and they were eager to color. I gave them empty paper but only one used it-writing the name she has chosen for her baby in glitter.

The theme was fears vs. hope and the fears were many and the hopes few. The coloring picture I found for hope was a Christmas candle called the Candle of Hope with Mary holding the baby Jesus as they looked lovingly at one another superimposed. After a time of laughter and introductions,they worked on the picture quietly as we talked about their fears and hopes. I then softly and gently but with emphasis/emotion read them the 23rd Psalm as they sort of laid across the table with their coloring. As I read: "surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life..." I could literally see them take in that love and relax in God's arms. When I finished they looked up in such a rare moment of peace. I told them what I saw and they said I was right, they could feel God's love right there.

It was beautiful, and by the way, none had ever heard the 23rd Psalm before this. I then moved to the hope of Mary and the newborn baby Jesus, the Hope of the world-and of them and their babies as hope as well. This opened the sharing of their hopes for themselves and their babies. They moved from defining themselves as "bad" to "giving birth to hope". AMEN!

Please join me in praying for these girls and their babies.

Judy Lee, ARCWP

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests