Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Why I am Becoming a Woman Priest" by Adele Jones, ARCWP in San Antonio Express News

By Adele Jones/Special to the Express-News
"Today, in a beautiful ceremony in Falls Church, Va., I will be ordained a Roman Catholic woman priest.
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan will be the ordaining bishop.
I realize the hierarchy of the
Roman Catholic Church does not recognize my ordination into the all-male priesthood
Since the Catholic Church will not let the ceremony take place in a Catholic setting, it will be held at the
First Christian Church.
We'll use the same ordination rites that the Catholic Church uses for men.
My two sons and several friends will be there. I will be the first woman in San Antonio and in Texas to be ordained as a Roman Catholic woman priest. And I will be the oldest at age 84.
More than a year ago, the pope approved a new church law that called the ordination of women as priests a “grave crime.”
This announcement put female priests in the same category as male pedophile priests. Both were committing grave crimes, according to the Vatican.
But here's the difference.
Pedophile priests — who sexually abuse young, innocent children — are frequently allowed to stay in the church. Women who choose to become ordained priests are excommunicated. Clearly, this is a man-made rule by all-male leaders in the Catholic hierarchy to keep their grip on power.
It was this announcement more than a year ago that motivated my decision to take the step that I am presently taking. My conscience tells me that this is the right thing to do. I know the consequences ahead of me for being ordained. But I believe them to be unjust.
Along with more than 120 women from all over the world, I am confronting the injustice of the present-day Roman Catholic Church. Together, we have formed a new type of priestly ministry, one that is nonauthoritarian. It is a ministry of justice and equality. And none are excluded.
The Catholic Church continues to ignore its faithful who are leaving the church in large numbers. A poll last year by the
New York Times/CBS found that 59 percent of Catholics are in favor of ordaining women priests.
Bishop Meehan calls us “the Rosa Parks” of the Catholic Church. In an all-male system, we refuse to accept second-class status. As women priests, we are required to be theologically educated, and we are. Many of us have served in highly qualified Church positions.
I was baptized into and educated in the Catholic Church. I have two master's degrees in theology, including the same master's of divinity required for male ordination. My doctorate is in ministry in the specialized area of pastoral counseling.
Along with my sister priests, I refuse to accept excommunication from a church that ousts women but continues to protect male priests who do dreadful and irreparable harm to innocent children.
When I was 7 years old, my cousin Walter was my dearest friend and playmate. He was several years older than me. And one day I said to his mother, “Aunt Elsie, when I grow up, I am going to marry your son Walter.”
Aunt Elsie said, “Oh, honey, you can't marry Walter. He is your first cousin. It is a rule you can't marry your first cousin.”
“Who made the rule?” I questioned.
“The pope made the rule,” Aunt Elsie replied.
Undaunted, I continued, “Well, what is the pope's address?”
Now, 77 years later, I remain undaunted."

"Catholic Hierarchy Wrong, Women Should by Ordained" by Donna Rougeux in Lexington Herald Tribune

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Jules Hart
and Donna Rougeux (right)
I am a Roman Catholic woman, married with three teenage children. My roots in the United Church of Christ gave me a strong foundation of Christian beliefs and practices. With this background, one would not expect that I am on a path to being ordained a Roman Catholic priest. I was the last to know that this was possible, and that God would call me to this vocation.
As a young Protestant girl, I remember asking a Catholic neighbor what a nun was. "She is someone who gives her life to God," she answered.
Moved by her response, I wanted to know if I could become a nun. Her answer disappointed me, yet the idea of giving my life to God never left me.
Years later, I became Catholic when I discovered how much I loved the liturgy and the opportunity to receive communion every day. I called myself a Vatican II Catholic, and I struggled with those who thought the pre-Vatican II church superior.
Sometimes my Protestant roots would surface when I encountered the hierarchy's abuse of authority. Resonating with Martin Luther, I found myself speaking out and trying to right the wrongs I saw happening in this church that I loved.
I graduated from Lexington Theological Seminary in 2009.In July 2010, the Vatican issued a document about pedophile priests. In the very last paragraph, ordaining women was compared to the criminal act of pedophilia and both were called "grave offenses against the faith."
I could not believe what I read. How could ordaining women called by God to priesthood be compared to pedophilia, which caused immeasurable suffering to innocent children?
As I reflected on the male hierarchy's attack against women, I was in a crisis. My experience had led me to hear God's call to ministry as a hospice chaplain. Should I become an Episcopalian?
Running away was not the answer. I knew I needed to stay and work for reform.
I talked with a friend who is an Anglican priest about my struggle. I told her that deacons in the Roman Catholic Church should be allowed to administer the sacrament of Anointing the Sick. In the midst of this conversation she said, "It sounds like God is calling you to be a deacon."
Hearing those words, I realized that I could no longer deny the truth of God's call. I was in a religious culture whose idolatry of maleness oppressed women and denied their call from God.
Today, I will be ordained a deacon by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. Next spring, I will become what God has always intended for me: a priest.
It's humbling and empowering to be part of a prophetic movement that is transforming the Roman Catholic Church. My joy is full of the freedom that perhaps Rosa Parks felt in standing up against racism. Our brothers at the Vatican will say that this action excommunicates me, but I share this status with a long list of saints.
Donna Rougeux lives in Lexington.

Read more:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Cheshire Woman To Realize Dream of Becoming a Roman Catholic Priest"/ New Haven Register

CHESHIRE — "Dorothy Shugrue will fulfill a lifelong dream Saturday when she is ordained a Roman Catholic priest, even if the official church hierarchy won’t acknowledge her achievement.Shugrue’s call to the priesthood, however, is not from the church — it’s from God and the people of God, she says, and so she will consider herself just as much a priest as any man.She is a former nun and works at the Morris Foundation Waterbury as a counselor to pregnant women and new mothers with substance abuse and mental health issues. But Shugrue has always wanted to be a priest who can perform the sacraments.
“I was a justice of the peace when I was a nun, so I could marry people, because the college kids were always asking for me to marry them,” she says. “And then I got one of those ministry things online. ... I’ve done many weddings — all civil ceremonies of course — and actually I’ve done blessings of children, baptisms, naming ceremonies, funerals, all of that.”Shugrue, 68, doesn’t have the blessing of Archbishop Henry Mansell, but she was once in the Archdiocese of Hartford’s good graces. She was appointed a chaplain at St. Joseph’s College in Hartford by then-Archbishop John Whealon, after serving in a similar role at the University of Bridgeport.“And also (Whealon) gave me permission to conduct a Communion service (using consecrated bread and wine) on Sundays if I couldn’t get a priest, because even then it was hard to have priests come in to celebrate,” Shugrue says.Shugrue actually is already a priest, in a small but growing denomination called the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church. But her Irish heritage and love for the Roman church, especially after the reforms of Vatican II, led her to seek ordination in her spiritual home.As she told her mother: “I’m Irish, Mother, I can’t leave the church.” And despite threats of excommunication from the hierarchy for anyone who supports women’s ordination, Shugrue doesn’t believe she has left or will leave the Catholic Church behind.“We consider ourselves fully members of the Roman Catholic Church and we consider ourselves legitimate priests because we follow the line of succession,” says Shugrue of her sisters in the
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. “Male bishops ordained our first women … male bishops that were in good standing in the Roman Catholic Church.” Continued...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Courageous Austrian Priests Attract Worldwide Support as More Male Priests Promote Women's Ordination/A Catholic Rebellion?

The Austrian Priests Initiative..." now numbers 400 priests – roughly one in 10 – and 12,000 active supporters. In his many media interviews within the last three weeks, Mgr Schüller has confirmed that he has received support from all over the world, in particular from Brazil, the US, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy and Mexico. The international reactions showed that the Vatican was “obviously” faced with problems worldwide and that “our concerns are certainly not Mickey Mouse issues”, Mgr Schüller said on 25 August. He admitted that the Initiative had also come in for some very sharp criticism. “Some want to throw us out of the Catholic Church altogether and even go so far as to curse us. They call us schismatics and rebels who are destroying the Church,” he told the weekly News magazine."
"Cardinal Schönborn returned to Vienna on 29 August and sources close to him say he is extremely worried. It is rumoured that he has little alternative but to suspend the leading rebels, but there are fears that this may lead to a schism as the latest poll (by the Oekonsult Institute commissioned by the Austrian Press Agency) shows that 76.5 per cent of Austrians back the Initiative. Bishop Egon Kapellari of Graz, the number two in the Austrian bishops’ conference, told Profil in Cardinal Schönborn’s absence that questions like mandatory priestly celibacy or women’s ordination which the Priests’ Initiative wanted to see discussed were “tasks which lie before us and which we have to master in the long term but which cannot be adequately answered in the short term”.

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Bishop Christine Mayr- Lumetzberger of Austria is one of the first women ordained as a bishop by a male bishop in apostolic succession. Bishop Christine, RCWP, has presided at liturgies with male priests in Austria. So perhaps, we are witnessing the emergence of a grassroots solidarity and partnership in Austria that will be an inspiration for supportive priests elsewhere.
Let's hope we are reaching tipping point? It is a joy to see our brother priests around the world standing up for justice and equality for women in our church, and in support of women's ordination!

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Monday, September 5, 2011

Homily for 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: 9/2/11 by Pastor Judy Lee, ARCWP

Pastor Judy Lee and Good Shepherd Community,
Ft. Myers, Florida

"Blessed be the Tie that Binds"

Today we are told how to live in loving community, especially how to proceed when there is trouble for or with any one of us. There is a hymn I learned a long while ago and I will teach it to you today-these are some of the words:

"Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love:the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above...
We share each other's woes,
Our mutual burdens bear,

Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts and our cares...
When we asunder part,

It gives us inward pain:but we shall still be joined in heart ,and hope to meet again."

As I rehearsed this song to teach you tears ran down my face and my voice cracked as I recalled the church and the Pastors and members that I grew up in and whose love continues to nurture: to correct and nurture.

(Here I will place on the altar some pictures of my Pastors and peers, two of whom I just visited in NY where our beloved Pastor struggles with advancing Parkinson's desease).

What I learned then, and I know now is that we not only speak a word of guidance or"correction" in love- spoken otherwise it can hurt more than help. But there are times that it must be spoken. Ezekiel was told that if he did not preach the prophetic word (to God's people collectively (and I think individually) the guilt was "on him". The Psalm tells us that God is our shepherd reaching out to us when we get lost. And I'm so glad because I have no sense of direction! But as we follow Jesus we learn that we must be the good shepherds for one another.

Paul tells the church in Rome that love fulfills the Law, and never hurts anyone. And Jesus tells us how to win a sister or brother back in love one- on- one when a trust has been broken, and if that doesn't work, go with a few and try again and if that doesn't work it is the business of the whole church. And if not heeded, we are to regard that person as an outsider/gentile or tax collector/ fraud or sinner then it will be left up to God. God intervenes and heals and includes as Jesus did with those persons. Wow!!

Here we have it: first, be a loving community and then in that love if there is a probelm to be resolved act directly and in love and with a process. And if together we can't fix it, God can. And then in the Gospel there are the verses used by the Church usually regarding the priest's binding or loosing of sins-but in the total context here, I think it is not "sins to be bound or loosed/forgiven" only (and clearly that is the community's job in this Gospel), but it is PEOPLE who must be bound in love to a community, a church, and the tie that binds us together is Jesus' love and therefore, it lasts forever. The Scriptures go on, if you can AGREE together, in prayer, including the prayer of your communal life, Jesus is in the midst. Wow!

There is another hymn sung in the EpiscopalLutheran church that supports us with their love that now rings in my ears: "bind us together, God, with ties that cannot be broken-bind us together in love!" Yes! in love and guidance and 'correction' like the prophets of old and our Brother Jesus teaches: Bind us together! And Blessed be the tie that binds! AMEN

Love and peace,
Pastor Judy Lee. ARCWP
Church of the Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community
Ft. Myers, Florida

Association of Romann Catholic Women Priests