Saturday, October 1, 2011
St. Therese of Lisieux, Called to Priestly Ministry, Pray for a Renewed Priestly Ministry in a Renewed Church
Oct. 1st is the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, also known as St. Therese of the Child Jesus. She also was referred to as "the Little Flower" and is a Doctor of the Church. Most people don't know that St. Therese of Lisieux felt called to
be a priest. She prayed for death at 24, the age of ordination, so she could celebrate in heaven at the age men could celebrate the Eucharist on earth.
St. Therese's Words:
"I feel in me the vocation of the priest. With that love, O Jesus I would carry you in my hands... And...give you to souls. Ah, in spite of my littleness, I would like to enlighten souls as did the prophets and the doctors. I have the vocation of the apostle... I would want to preach the gospel on all the five continents simultaneously and even the most remote isles. I would be a missionary, not for a few years only but from the beginning of creation until the consummation of the ages. But above all, O my beloved Savior, I would shed my blood for you even to the ver last drop. Charity gave me the key to my vocation... I understood that the Church has a heart and that this heart was burning with love...I understood that love comprised all vocations and that love was everything, that it embrace all times and places... in a word, that it was eternal! Then, in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: O Jesus, my love, my vocation, at last I have found it...My vocation is love!" (The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux, 2 volumes translated by John Clarke, O.C.D, ICS Publications, Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Washington DC, 20002, 1982,1988.)
I believe that if St. Therese lived in our time she would be ordained a priest! She would be a prophetic voice affirming Vatican II's vision ..."every type of discrimination based on sex... is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God's intent" (Gaudium et Spes #29)
St. Therese, patroness of all who seek equality for women in ministry, pray for us!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Friday, September 30, 2011
Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP Roy Bourgeois, MM
Donna Rougeux, ARCWP (photo taken in Pittsburgh where Fr. Roy
addressed the issue of conscience and his support of the women priests
Attention: Supporters of Women’s Ordination and Father Roy Bourgeois,
Maryknoll is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday, October 30, 2:00 PM. The mass is opened to the public. Please join us for a peaceful vigil in front of the famous Cathedral in support of women’s ordination and Father Roy Bourgeois beginning at 12:30 PM.
Our goal is to call attention to the Maryknoll leadership’s decision, under pressure from the Vatican, to dismiss Father Roy Bourgeois for the “grave scandal” of publicly supporting Roman Catholic Women Priests. It is outrageous for Maryknoll to use the term "scandal" in reference to Father Roy; we are all aware of the real scandal in the Church. Let’s take a stand against this grave injustice now!
How can an organization that promotes peace and justice worldwide turn its back on this Viet Nam vet turned Maryknoll priest, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, is the founder of the School of the America's Watch, and is the epitome of everything we thought Maryknoll stood for?
We encourage the Maryknoll leadership to examine their consciences as Father Roy has done: "As priests we say we are called by God. Who are we to say that God would not call a woman?"
Our movement is growing and gaining attention. Many members of the Maryknoll community-- priests, nuns and lay missionaries-- have written letters or spoken directly to their superiors in support of Roy, empowered by the public outcry, media coverage and two vigils on the grounds of Maryknoll. Maryknoll has been deluged with mail and many long time supporters are withholding donations.
While we stand in solidarity in front of St. Patrick’s, Father Roy will be in Rome meeting with the Pope to determine his fate. Join with us to stand up for women, for Roy and to encourage the Maryknoll leadership, as they enter their next hundred year cycle, to support the ordination of women, and embrace the future of our Church!
Here's a link to an article in the national Catholic Reporter. The end of this article lists related articles.
NCR Article:Roy Bourgeois
For more information about the Vigil: Anne Dowling 917 860-1794 email@example.com
For more information about Father Roy Bourgeois http://www.womensordination.org/content/view/108
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Some of the themes of Olga Lucia Alvarado's Liturgical Celebrations were: Violence against women. Domestic violence. Economic violence. Extreme violence. Analysis of the Human Rights vunerable in our country.
Blessings on you, Olga Lucia, as you minister to faith communities in Colombia. Indeed, you are demonstrating the difference a woman priest makes as you connect violence against women with human rights and the need for justice for all especially those who live on the margins in poverty that is rooted so sadly in structural sin and injustice. Living justice in all areas of life and in all structures is constitutive to the Gospel of Jesus! We in the North will learn from the people in the global South. May you and other courageous women lead the way to prophetic justice in our church and world now!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
"The last time I wrote about Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, he had just evicted the body of Christ from the chapel of St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Now, it seems, Olmsted is targeting his blood.
Late last week, the bishop announced that he would be placing serious restrictions on the distribution of the Eucharist under the form of wine. His decision isn’t so much about germs, but rather the new GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal), which is to be implemented at the start of the new liturgical year on the first Sunday of Advent.
Olmsted clarified his reasons in a handy FAQ posted on the diocesan Web site (http://diocesephoenix.org/
"So many in church leadership easily forget that Jesus offered his final meal in the same way that he took most of his meals: under the most profane of circumstances. Every aspect of his ministry demonstrated that holiness was revealed in touching diseased bodies, or passing out bread and fish to hungry masses, or dining with society’s most unsavory characters.
Given the nature of Jesus’ ministry, what could harm the blood of Christ more than withholding it from God’s people?
Jesus seems to have little to do with any of Olmsted’s new norms. Olmsted’s real agenda is to make a clear distinction between the sanctity of the clergy’s hands and the laity’s unconsecrated, and therefore potentially defiling, hands. The multitude of lay hands, it seems, is starting to make him feel uncomfortably outnumbered..."
"The “excessive use” of extraordinary ministers is “obscuring the role of the priest and the deacon.” The new norms also offer a good excuse to get women farther away from altar, the tabernacle, the chalices and the ciboria. Remember, this is the same bishop who, last month, remained silent as his rector banned altar girls from serving in the Phoenix cathedral." Are these diocesan leaders afraid that by watching women function around the sacrament, the laity might let their imaginations run wildly into the world of women ordination? With more than 65 percent of U.S. Catholics supporting women priests, it’s a little late to turn off that channel."[Jamie L. Manson received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics. Her columns for NCR earned her a first prize Catholic Press Association award for Best Column/Regular Commentary in 2010.]
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Thank you, Jamie Manson, for naming the real issue as clericalism and fear of women's ordination! Yes, indeed, as more and more Catholics experience inclusive liturgies with women priests, there will be no turning back!
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is offering Inclusive Worship Aids to Catholic communities who are passionate about a renewed, inclusive church that welcomes all to the Sacred Banquet of God's boundless love. Our liturgies utilize a "community of equals" approach in which the gathered assembly recite the "consecration" and the baptized pray the Eucharistic prayer. I think Jesus would feel right at home at these liturgies where all are welcome. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Sign Petition to Support Fr. Roy Bourgeois- "Catholic Priest Faces Dismissal for Support of Women's Ordination" by Alex Di Branco
Maryknoll Priest, Fr. Roy Bourgeois
attended Janice Sevre-Duszynska's ordination
in Aug. 2008.
"Father Roy Bourgeois, a Catholic priest of 39 years, felt obligated to speak his conscience -- and it told him that women should be allowed to be priests too. His outspoken opposition to sexist discrimination could cost him dearly, however, as he now faces dismissal from his position and excommunication."
"The Women's Ordination Conference (WOC) has launched a petition on Change.org in support of Fr. Bourgeois and other Catholics who believe that women deserve the same clergy rights as men in the Church. "I cannot possibly speak out about injustice in society and at the same time be silent about this injustice in my church," Bourgeois affirmed. WOC -- along with cosponsors the Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Call To Action, and Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA -- wants the Vatican to know that a respected priest shouldn't be kicked out for supporting women's ordination when there's no scriptural prohibition for this practice.
"After much reflection, study, and prayer, I believe that our Church's teaching that excludes women from the priesthood defies both faith and reason and cannot stand up to scrutiny," Fr. Bourgeois wrote in response to his threatened removal from office in the Maryknoll Catholic order. 'This teaching has nothing to do with God, but with men, and is rooted in sexism. Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination against women, in the end, it is not the way of God, but of men who want to hold on to their power..."
Over the past decade, 120 women priests and 10 female bishops have been ordained by the Roman Catholic Womenpriests, thanks to the courageous defiance of their brothers in clergy who believe that the call to serve God extends to both sexes, in spite of the penalty of automatic communication for ordaining a woman priest. (A documentary, Pink Smoke Over the Vatican, explores this movement.)
"...The Vatican does not excommunicate the pedophile-priests who have raped and sodomized Catholic youth, or punish the bishops who covered up these crimes," stated Bridget Mary Meehan of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, one of the petition sponsors. "Yet, now in this outrageous action they stand ready to defrock Fr. Roy, priest of the people and prophet for justice who has served God for over 40 years as a well-known peace and justice activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee."
"Fr. Bourgeois is standing strong in his beliefs, refusing to recant his support for women priests, but he needs you to stand with him. The Women's Ordination Conference and their allies will hand-deliver petition signatures on October 17. Click here to tell the Vatican to keep Fr. Roy Bourgeois where he belongs: in the pulpit. And start putting women up there too, while they're at it."
Author: Alex DiBranco is a Change.org Editor who has worked for the Nation, Political Research Associates, and the Center for American Progress. She is now based in New York City.
More Videos of Historic Ordination of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Virginia/ Enjoy/ Provided by Ken Chaiason
The NOVA musicians really ‘let their light shine’ at many parts of the liturgy, especially during
while singing Veni Sancte Spiritus… http://www.youtube.com/user/filmsification#p/u/8/9vUFuwQHypA
at the Sign of Peace… http://www.youtube.com/user/filmsification#p/u/18/hoPkm63d4V0
at the litany during the prostration… http://www.youtube.com/user/filmsification#p/u/10/v5qIs91YaDQ
and singing the Irish Blessing… http://www.youtube.com/user/filmsification#p/u/22/p58StFHLJgA
The Recessional was also “Joyful Noise”…http://www.youtube.com/user/filmsification#p/u/23/O5Q8g5rWY8s
Provided by Ken Chaiason
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
"The 8th Day Center for Justice, long a staple of Catholic social justice activism in the Chicago area, is facing pressure from Cardinal Francis George because of a Sept. 18 event that featured a screening of the film “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican” and a talk by Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois.
“Pink Smoke” is a documentary expressing support for women's ordination in the Roman Catholic church. Bourgeois is currently under threat of removal from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers if he does not recant his own support of women's ordination.
NCR has learned that heads of religious orders associated with the center, which is supported by 39 orders of religious men and women, received letters from George several days before the event.
Two people who read the letter, dated Sept. 12, described its contents to NCR. Both said the letter mentioned that George stated the event could lead to scandal and confusion among the faithful over the church’s teaching on ordination and that he asked the leaders to remove their congregations’ support of the event..."
"Desautels, who has been on staff with the organization for over 25 years, also said that while the center did wish to promote discussion with its showing of “Pink Smoke,” it hadn’t organized the event specifically to promote women's ordination.
In fact, she said, before the viewing of the movie, a center staff member read aloud the official church teaching regarding women's ordination from the catechism in order to “allay whatever possible confusion.”
Bourgeois has asked Dominican Fr. Tom Doyle, a noted canon lawyer, to fight his removal by arguing for his right to express his conscience.
While Desautels expressed hope that “something good will come” from 8th Day Center’s future discussions with George, she also said the situation raises larger questions on the freedom of people to follow their conscience regarding church teachings.
“This situation is not about Roy or even about women's ordination,” said Desautels. “It's about freedom of conscience and the scandal of demanding silence on topics such as the equality of women in the church and the possibility of ordination for those women who so desire it.”
[Joshua J. McElwee is an NCR staff writer. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Response to Archbishop Timothy Dolan's Letter to President Obama by Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
As president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Timothy Dolan wrote in a September 20 letter to President Barack Obama that the Obama Administration’s fight against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, will undermine marriage and create a serious breach of Church-State relations.
Is Archbishop Dolan saying that marriage will become less of the sacrament it now is if it’s a marriage between gays or lesbians?
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Procreation cannot be the main point of marriage considering that many people marry after the age of childbearing and have sacramentally blessed marriages.
Ask those who have taken the vow to married life and faithfulness in the sacrament of marriage rather than male priests who have never been married or who have never been involved in intimate relationships. While bringing children into the world is a blessing and responsibility, the heart of marriage between two people is their respect and treatment of one another...which can enhance the community or take away from it.
What is the heart of marriage – except the spiritual journey of two people growing closer to Christ, each other and their community. That, in my mind, is the essence of the sacrament. And, that grace and blessing can be lived and given to two people of the same sex.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan lies when he says the Church recognizes “the immeasurable personal dignity and equal worth of all individuals including those with same sex attraction.” He compounds his dishonesty when he says “we reject all hatred and unjust treatment against any person.”
The Church puts same sex couples in harm’s way when it limits the sacrament of marriage to a man and a woman. It attempts to make the sanctity of their human connection less than that between a man and a woman. When their love is not valued and honored by society and the church, then it follows that they are looked at as scapegoats or lepers. The sacrament of marriage takes place between two people who are committed to each other and publicly vow their love and lives to one another. It has nothing to do with gender. Rather, it is about the universal love to which the liberating Christ calls us to in the Gospels – to journey together in bringing about the Kin-dom.
Dolan further states “While all persons merit our full respect, no other relationships provide for the common good what marriage between husband and wife provides. The law should reflect this reality.”
Our Church violates the inner lives of gays and lesbians when it denies them the sacrament of marriage. Jesus goes to the heart and is in search for the love that will grow and endure. Is this not the model that we as Church, as the people of God, are to follow?
Archbishop Dolan’s time would be better spent getting bishops to report pedophile priests, in promoting the ordination of women priests and to help homosexual priests within the church to step forward, name their truth and be accepted by the faithful who will love them more for their courage.
Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Catholic Organizations Expose What the Bishops Won’t Tell You about Family Planning Open Letter Asks HHS Secretary Sebelius to Stand up for Workers’
- Pre-modern core of speech to the Bundestag
- Talking about God must not become a distraction
Press Release Berlin / Erfurt / Freiburg / Munich, 25 September 2011
At the end of the visit to Germany by Pope Benedict XVI, the Church People’s Movement We are Church (Wir sind Kirche) is appealing to all Christians to continue decisively along the road of dialogue and to meet the challenges of the times together in Christian hope. The motto “A daring new departure“ of the Catholic Conference in Mannheim next year should be a guideline in view of the current church and social crises, which can only be overcome together.
Call to all parishes for ecumenism: “Do what unites us!”
In view of the bitter disappointment of the ecumenical meeting of the Pope in Erfurt, We are Church is calling upon all Catholic and Protestant parishes to join themselves together ecumenically and to “do what unites us!”. The parishes in Germany should declare that the unspeakable splitting of Christendom, which has lasted for almost 500 years, has been ended for them, and should follow the example of the Churches in Bruchsal, which have declared: “We believe that the will of Jesus Christ, that all should be one, is more important than all considerations and questions of theology and church politics, and we know ourselves to be obliged by conviction to obey him more than people.” (www.joerg-sieger.de/oekumene.htm)
The encounter in the friendly atmosphere of the Augustinian Monastery at Erfurt cannot hide the fact that no further initiatives can be expected from this Pope, although at the time of his election he had promised to support concrete visible signs of ecumenism. The appreciative words of Pope Benedict for Martin Luther’s questions about a gracious God, which are just as current today, are certainly worth noticing. But the questions from Luther about the Papacy and the Church, and the share of the Roman Church in the schism of the Churches at that time, were not mentioned by the Pope even in one syllable.
In the decades of theological convergence, the leadership of the Roman Church has gambled away every advance towards trust through its self-righteousness, its rejections and its official blockages. The great majority of the faithful can and will simply no longer follow the inflexible arguments from Rome. Since Erfurt, it is therefore a right and a duty for all who have been baptised in the name of Jesus Christ no longer to hope for further steps from the Church leadership, but to follow their own consciences. It is time to proclaim the one community, the one Church of Jesus Christ that we have long been, and to “do what unites us”. Pope Benedict must be asked why he has not really used the unique opportunity for ecumenism with the Churches of the Reformation.
Pre-modern core of a Bundestag speech argued in a modern way
In his speech to the German Bundestag, the Pope may have succeeded in winning over many critics for himself by mentioning the ecological movement. The repeated legitimate references to human rights will however continue to be incredible, as long as the Catholic Church itself does not fully and completely admit human rights, and make them a reality even within its own Church. His intellectually ambitious speech overlooks the fact that his predecessors fought vehemently against freedom of conscience and opinion. And it deliberately remained silent about the fact that only the Holy See or Vatican and Belorussia have not yet signed the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Pope accepts the autonomous status of conscience without any reservation, but he binds it just as unreservedly to objective, predetermined standards, such as sexuality in the procreation of offspring. It is just there that the pre-modern core lies within his speech, argued in a modern way. Will the Papal discourse succeed in appropriating the phrase “the protection of nature” for his own concepts, so that it makes everyone think of Catholic natural law? Is the Pope perhaps trying to unwind the picture of the window thrown open by his predecessor John XXIII, so that it no longer tells of a fresh wind in the Church, but of obedience in respect of higher norms? Benedict’s message is: “Where God is, there are clear standards.”
For those who know Ratzinger’s writings, there is hardly anything new to hear. A pessimistic undertone marked his thoughts. In Erfurt Pope Benedict, who places his emphases consciously, continued his speech from Berlin, instead of taking a position towards ecumenism and pointing out ways that lead onwards, for example in relation to the year 2017. Ecumenical steps have nothing to do with political calculus, as the Pope supposes. He said in Berlin that mankind does not make itself. In Erfurt he declared that faith is not something home-made. In other words – nothing will change.
Talking about God must not become a distraction from the crisis in the Church
Before this Papal visit, there were no convinced expectations of Joseph Ratzinger. It is well known that he has possessed responsibility in Rome for the worldwide Church for almost 30 years: first as Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, and for a good six years as Pope Benedict XVI. But it is alarming that he now as Pope shows so little readiness at least to acknowledge the situation of crises in the Church, referred to clearly by the Federal President, and to encourage the continuation of the conversation processes which the bishops began. Instead, in his sermon in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, the Pope issued a clear rebuff to all home-made “Church dreams”.
However correct it may be to lament the increasing absence of God from the consciousness of humanity, talking about God must not become a distraction from the crises and problems within the Church. His reference to a spiritual renewal of faith is so true: even ecclesiastical hierarchical structures preach, and must therefore always be measured by the message of Jesus Christ. Many Catholics will find it an especially painful omission that the Pope provided no kind of hope for new pastoral ways, for example for remarried divorced people, whom recently even Archbishop Zollitsch had supported.
The overloaded programme with 17 speeches and sermons by the Pope was a respectable achievement for him, but sadly it was no programme of dialogue. With all his personal modesty, this journey showed very clearly the religious, moral and even political claim to power, which the Roman Catholic Church despite dramatically falling membership still continues to represent. The meeting with the Judges of the Federal Constitutional Court in the Seminary at Freiburg threw up the question of the legal position and the claim to power of the Papacy: as representative of the “Holy See”, as head of state of the Vatican City mini-state and as supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church too.
Sigrid Grabmeier, Tel. 0170-8626290, E-Mail: email@example.com
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Monday, September 26, 2011
"Pope Disappoints Hopes of Catholics and Protestants" By Tom Heneghan (Reuters)- Pope's Visit to Germany
BERLIN (Reuters) - "Pope Benedict's visit to his German homeland was bound to provoke harsh words from his critics. The surprise of the event was how bluntly he took his own Church to task and disappointed Protestants ready to work with him. Despite his frail physique and soft-spoken style, the 84-year-old pontiff delivered a vigorous defence of his conservative views and brusquely rejected calls for reforms, some of which even had cautious support from some bishops.
At the end of his four-day visit on Sunday, Benedict predicted "small communities of believers" would spread Catholicism in future -- and not, he seemed to say, the rich German Church, which he hinted had more bureaucracy than belief.
Some Church leaders fear they may end up with only small communities if they don't consider reforms. Record numbers of the faithful have officially quit the Church in recent years, often in protest against clerical sex abuse scandals.
"The pope was demanding, almost hard -- not in his manner, but in the essence of his words," Berlin's Tagesspiegel daily commented. "Nobody should be fooled by his fragility." ""The pope sees the signs of the times, but interprets them not as a demand to courageously open up the Catholic Church but, on the contrary, to close its ranks...Munich's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the most influential daily in the pope's native Bavaria, summed up the trip with the headline: "He came, he spoke and he disappointed.""
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests- More Wonderful Videos of Historic Virginia Ordination onYouTube- Enjoy!
Pope Benedict Gives Speech on Human Rights to German Legislature/ 100 Members Boycott Speech/Women Priests Movement "Elephant" in Pope's Living Room?
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
It is ironic that Pope Benedict supports human rights but fails to affirm the full equality of women in his own church. The Women priests' Movement is the "elephant" in the Pope's living room. Whether Benedict is "blissfully clueless", or not, Roman Catholic Women Priests are leading the church into its future by living Gospel equality now. We believe women's rights are human rights, and this moral principle applies to the Catholic Church in the same way as it applies to every other institution in our world.
Perhaps, this was one of the reasons for the boycott of 100 lawmakers who did not attend Benedict's address to the German legislature.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Roberta Meehan, ARCWP,
God is not fair! God is not fair! God is not fair! How many times have we screamed those words either out loud or in our hearts? What is not fair? Deaths? Diseases? Losing jobs? Hurricanes? Tsunamis? Robberies? Wars? Family feuds? Of course it is not fair. Of course God is unfair for allowing these to occur. Right? Well, in the first reading, Ezekiel talks about how we think God's ways are not fair. Almost 3000 years ago Ezekiel says we often scream about God's unfairness in our own anguish and desperation because we want God to do things our way. Things haven’t changed much, have they? But, God does not work that way. We all know it intellectually. But, we really do want God to order the universe the way we think it should be ordered – our politicians, our sense of justice, our church leaders, our sense of world order. Everything should be as we envision it. Ezekiel reminds us that it is actually our ways that are unfair. It is not God’s ways that are unfair; it is our ways! But, we really do not listen to Ezekiel, do we? After almost 3000 years, the human spirit is still the same and each of us still knows what is best for the universe. If that weren’t bad enough, in the second reading Paul exhorts his beloved Philippians to “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory.” Of course, we disguise our selfishness and vainglory – because once again we are best at running the universe. We know what is right and who is right. Simple. We are just like the Philippians of 2000 years ago. Fairness according to each one of us is the way it should be, the way we firmly believe it should be. Of course, my concept of fairness may interfere with your concept of fairness. But, my fairness is more fair than your fairness, right? We all think that way on some level. If we listen carefully to those first two readings, we come away with the idea that maybe if we just sit with quiet acceptance and allow God to run the universe and give ourselves to each other selflessly, everything will be fine. That should work, right? It doesn’t matter who is trying to take on the position of God. That position has been filled for quite some time. We need to let that real God run the universe. We just have to sit back and let God take care of everything. That sounds simple enough. (Of course, we do have to get our human nature out of the way first – and that is somewhat of an impossible task. But after that….) Again, that sounds relatively simple. But, it is not simple because we are human – just as our ancestors in Ezekiel’s time and just as our ancestors in the time of the Philippians. We are human. Think about this. God was unfair enough to make us human. Despite all our warts and foibles and imperfections, we are human and we are free to choose to do God’s will. God is so unfair! God was unfair enough to give us a free will so that we could freely let God run the universe. Oh dear! Then we come to the gospel! This is where we see the action that can result from an understanding of the first two readings. Here we have two sons. The first says he is not going to go out and work in the vineyard but then changes his mind and goes. The second says he is going out to work in the vineyard but never quite gets around to it. Does this sound familiar to each of us? Of course, we are all like both of these sons most of the time, are we not? Sometimes we argue with someone else about whether or not we are going to do something. Sometimes we only argue with ourselves. And in our weaknesses, we freely choose – to work or not to work, to say “yes” or to say “no” to chose to run the universe or to let God take care of things while we simply do what we are called to do. That calling could be as simple as taking the dog for a walk or as life-changing as beginning a new career. We are free to choose. And it is just not fair, is it? We are all called to do many things. Sometimes we say “yes” and sometimes we say “no.” Sometimes we do what we are called to do and sometimes we don’t. The problem is accepting exactly what we are called to do and then doing it – while still letting God run the universe. Let us look at some of the more profound problems connected with this concept – problems that go beyond walking the dog or changing careers. The problem is being outraged by injustice and still allowing God to be the ultimate judge. The problem is teaching others to know what is right and to act accordingly without teaching them to be self-righteous and vainglorious. The problem is accepting tsunamis and hurricanes and volcanoes as part of God’s world and then getting in there and helping to clean up the mess when one strikes. The problem is realizing that wars and famine and pestilences are often the result of our failings and not the result of an unfair God – a God who gave us free will. If God waved a magic wand, our humanity would be diminished – and that would indeed be unfair! These are real challenges. These are challenges for the individual – each and every one of us – and they are also challenges for society and for the church. Can we examine our individual, societal, and ecclesial consciences just briefly – using our God-given free will – without being judgmental (and while still letting God run the universe)? God is unfair (but how can I think that when I know otherwise?) and I know how things should be in my life (and they just are not). God is letting the wicked get away with all kinds of things and those things are affecting me! This is not fair. I will humble myself – but only so far. The rest of the world humbles me – and that is not fair either. But, what is God calling me to do? Am I saying “yes” but adding provisos? Am I saying “yes” but worrying about how my actions will be received? Or am I saying “no” because the task seems so monumental but am I at the same time thinking and praying about it and then going ahead with what I am called to do, regardless of the consequences? Am I working on decreasing my tit-for-tat theology? God is unfair; this must be true or such-and-such a politician or mayor or king or whatever would not be in power or would never be running for public office. God is letting the wicked (in my eyes, anyway) get away with things and those things are affecting me and my society and my country and my well ordered universe! This is not fair! How can these people be so ignorant of God’s will? How can they not see that I know what is best for this town or this country or this world? How can God actually love these people? Even the end of the gospel does not say these horrid individuals won’t make it to heaven; it just says they won’t be the first to get in. I do not understand how God can even permit them to think about joining us at the eternal banquet! God is so unfair! (And I am so self-righteous and so vainglorious!) God allows tsunamis and hurricanes and volcanoes and starvation and disease. This is not fair! God allows me to be human! God allows me to exercise my free will. That is most certainly not fair. And as a human, with all my human imperfections, God expects me to make choices for good. God expects ME to go out into the vineyard and do some work? Me? God is so unfair! Why doesn’t God just do it for me? Wave that magic wand, or something, even though it will decrease my free will – decrease my humanity. After all, I am a good person and that is sure a lot of work God is asking ME to do! But, God has unfairly made me human. Because I am human, I can choose and I can be a part of this world. And God has chosen to let me be human and not to wave that magic wand. And the Church. The Church is guilty. God is totally unfair by allowing the injustices in the Church to exist. And God will probably forgive those people and love them anyway. In my universe they would get what they deserve! It is not that I am being selfish – it is just that those Church people are evil and they should be pulverized. What??? God, you have got to be kidding! You expect ME to go out there and do something for the Church – to help make your kingdom come? No, God. Not me! You cannot expect me to work in the vineyard. You have got all those church people out there who have already said “yes” to you. How can I say “yes” when I do not know what I am doing? You think I am saying “no” out of selfishness? Not a chance. You are just going to let those Pharisees and hypocrites into the kingdom anyway. Why should I go out there and do anything to make the church a better and safer place for all people? Why should I work toward understanding and equality and justice? Why should I do all those hard things when so many people are just sitting around. God, you are so UNFAIR! And the tax collectors and prostitutes believed and did God’s will.
Roberta M. Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Is the Roman Catholic Women Priests' Movement "Unblissing" the Vatican's "Blissfully Clueless" Attitude Toward Women's Equality in the Church?
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
I wonder if we can apply Parker's premise to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church when it comes to the question of women's equality in the church.
Is the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement "unblissing" the hierarchy including the Vatican from the institutional church's "blissfully clueless" attitude toward sexism in the church? Something to ponder! What do you think?
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP