Saturday, October 15, 2011

"St. Teresa of Avila, Patron of Church Reformers, A Gutsy Woman and Mentor for Today" by Bridget Mary Meehan

Bridget Mary Meehan

October 15th is the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila.

Teresa was a woman who loved life, lived it fully, knew her own sinfulness, felt the emptiness that God alone could fill, and discovered abiding peace in the presence of God. I think Teresa is a great mentor for spiritual seekers and reformers today.

As an adolescent, Teresa went out regularly, frequently without parental permission. She lied to her father about an affair with a man she hoped would marry her. Teresa recalled that when she was no longer a virgin, they put her in a convent. After becoming ill with heart problems, she returned home.

Shortly afterwards, she decided to enter the convent to save her soul. Her mother, whom she adored, had died when she was eleven. She had a close relationship with her father. Leaving home to enter the convent was a devastating experience: " I can remember completely what it was like, and in sober truth I don't think that the pain will be more when I die then when I walked out of my father's house, for I felt as if my very bones were being pulled apart."

(As I reflect on leaving home at 18 to enter the convent, I put on a brave face, but felt sad as this was the first separation from my family. Now 45 years later this wonderful group of women , our band" is planning a reunion of the "ins and outs". There is a special spiritual bond that we continue to share that is deeply rooted from our shared memories and prayerful presence. When we entered the convent in 1966, we were 90 strong, and had no idea where God was leading us. Now, the joy is, we stay connected on a listserve and support one another with prayer and words of affirmation and encouragement.
Today families are torn apart by gut-wrenching pain when they are separated for long periods of time-- immigrants, military etc. The blessing now is that there is an internet and we can communicate with loved ones across the miles and time zones.)

After entering the convent, Teresa continued to care for her ailing father until his death. " I suffered much hardship during his sickness. I believe I served him womewhat for he trilas he suffered during mine." (There are many care-givers today who are walking in Teresa's shoes and can identify with her compassionate service to her beloved Dad. )

After her father's death, Teresa lived in two worlds. She longed for intimacy with God. On the other hand she was distracted by the social life that convent living at the time. (Apparently, these were the big party days!)

When she was forty years old, Teresa saw an image of Jesus in agony that changed her life. "The vision of Christ left upon me an impression of his extraordinary beauty, and the impression remains today." From that time on, Teresa grew closer to Christ and developed a way of practicing the presence of God which Teresa desribed as an intimage sharing between friends. (Autobiography 8:5) She could share everything- her joys, sufferings, failures, victories- with her beloved friend, God. On one occasion Teresa's wagon got stuck in mud as she was crossing a river. As she watched her supplies float away, Teresa heard God say to her: "This is how I treat my friends.' "Then its no wonder," she responded, " that you have so few!"

Her deepening prayer life led Teresa to reform the Carmelite Order. After prayerful reflection, Teresa decided that it was time for a renewal of religious life. She would initiate communities in which the 'primitive rule' would be followed where women would live as passionate disciples of Christ through prayer and asceticism. Teresa believed that the fruitfulness of prayer was demonstrated in daily living. "What value God places on our loving and keeping peace with one another, the good Jesus places it before anything else. "

When Teresa wrote her Autobiography, she was under scrutiny for heresy by the Spanish Inquisition for visions and raptures. If she had been convicted, she would have been burned at the stake like many others. Her prayer and reform agenda had become threats to church authorities. Sr. Joan Chittister's analysis: "Her prayer was too personal and ... too Protestant...She was hardly anti-Semitic enough since her father himself was Jewish, and she was starting something new."

Teresa had a cheerful disposition; she did not put up with "sour-faced saints" and she enjoyed play. She often entertained her sisters, instrument in hand, encouraging them to lighten up and share laughter with one another. Although she was a busy reformer with a big agenda traveling the length of Spain creating a new form of religious life during the last twenty years of her life, Teresa had time for recreation and fun. She knew that what we accomplish is not as important as the love in our hearts... Like Teresa we can experience a passion for God in our passion for life. (Makes me wonder if Teresa would be an advocate for women priests if she lived in our time, or perhaps a leader in our movement for justice for women in the church. One thing she would not be afraid of the wrath of the hierarchy as she experienced that first hand with the Inquisiton. And she would be a lively fun-loving companion on the journey. )

Teresa died on Oct. 4, 1582. She was cononized by Pope Gregory XV and declared the first Doctor of the Church on September 27,1970.

Teresa's words continue to inspire generations of spiritual seekers. Her "Bookmark Prayer is one that we can use again and again to calm our nerves, center ourselves, and let go and let God be in charge of our lives. Then as night follows day, wondrous things will happen--maybe even a vision or two of God's love that will sweep us of our feet! Teresa has left us contemporary saints-in-the-making that we are, a sound prescription for holiness, one we can find if we talk and walk with God. (This reflection is from the chapter on Teresa of Avila, in Praying with Visionary Women, Bridget Mary Meehan/ Sheed and Ward, 1999, pp75-80.)

Prayer by St. Teresa of Avila

"Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing frighten you,

Everything is changing;

God alone is changeless.

Patience attains the goal.

Who has God lacks nothing.

God alone fills all our needs."

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Kansas City Bishop Indicted in Reporting of Abuse by Priest"/ New York Times/Call to Action

By and
Published: October 14, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — "The Roman Catholic bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Robert Finn, and the diocese he leads have been indicted by a county grand jury on a charge of failure to report suspected child abuse in the case of a priest who had been accused of taking lewd photographs of young girls. The indictment is the first ever of a Catholic bishop in the 25 years since the scandal over sexual abuse by priests first became public in the United States.
Bishop Finn is accused of neglecting to report abuse that occurred as recently as last year — almost 10 years since the nation’s Catholic bishops passed a charter pledging to report suspected abusers to law enforcement authorities. .."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
It is about time the a bishop is held accountable by civil authorities. The protection of children should be a good shepherd's first priority, not protection of the institution. Yet the Vatican is pressing Maryknoll to dismiss Fr. Roy Bourgeois for his promotion of women priests, but we hear nothing from them about dismissing this priest who abused an innocent child. What would Jesus do? I think he'd be outraged as I am sure the majority of Catholics in Kansas City are.

Isn't it time for Catholics to donate dollars in support of prophetic priests, like Fr. Roy, who speak truth to power and who will be cut off, by Maryknoll? Isn't it time for Catholics to cut off their financial support from bishops like Kansas City Bishop Finn? More than ever we need married priests and women priests now and empowered, accountable faith communities who will not put up with sexual abuse cover-ups. As Vatican II reminded us the people of God are the church. Now is the time for action, people of God!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests


The Book of Ruth reveals a relationship based on unconditional love, and hesed, or God’s loving kindness toward another. It shows the courage of Ruth, who faces the unknown, and the wisdom of Naomi, who guides Ruth. Ruth’s courage and Naomi’s wisdom embody God’s love and validate ordination of women today. They offer evidence that Roman Catholic women priests can enrich the spiritual growth of everyone, and illustrate how women can achieve their place in the church. First, Ruth reflects godliness in her unconditional love, as opposed to a “conditional” love of a patriarchal institution based on obedience and prejudice. Second, Ruth honors an older woman; in turn, Naomi shows Ruth that obstacles are not insurmountable. Third, Ruth, has the courage to demand justice, without rancor or subservience.
Unconditional Love
That beautiful passage(1) in which Ruth declares her love for Naomi, reminds me of a holy woman in my own life, my Mother, who signed all letters to her seven children, her ten siblings, her students, and everyone she cared for, with, “My Unconditional Love.” Hers was a matriarchy, where all children were equal in the eyes of the mother; her love was unconditional. Ruth is a kindred spirit of the holy in Mother.
In contrast to this unconditional love, in a patriarchy of privilege and power such as the church, love is conditional, based on good behavior and conformity. The institutional church fears loss of this power for themselves more than they value spiritual gain for the many. (2)
Yet every human needs unconditional love. Early Church anchoress, Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) repeatedly declares God’s love is not earned by good behavior nor lost by sin. God’s love is unconditional, like that of a good mother. She stresses that God is both our mother and our father. This idea was also developed by Francis of Assisi in the thirteenth century. (3)
Unconditional love bears hurts, forgives thoughtlessness, and surmounts prejudice, knowing that buried within them is an ember of God’s energy waiting for a breath of love. Women priests are this breath of love, from which a brighter, warmer church will arise.
Respect for other Women
Contrary to abundant and demeaning mother-in-law jokes, Ruth demonstrates love and respect for the elder Naomi. Unfortunately, this respect is not seen often enough. Too many women perceive other females as competitors for men. Consequently, they master techniques and dress to emphasize sex appeal, since that attracts males. They claim, as if it is desirable, “I prefer the company of men over women.” Sexual attraction is normal, of course. But it cannot be the sole quality upon which to esteem women.
Columnist Ruth Marcus observes how much appearance matters for female candidates. “It is no accident that the two most prominent women in the Republican Party today, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman, are trim and attractive.”(4)
Ruth would hold that female attractiveness is not of prime importance, and discrimination against women is deeply wrong.
In 1970 our first Jewish Congresswoman, Bella Abzug was elected from New York’s Manhattan District 19. Called “Bellicose Abzug” by Time Magazine (5), she was known for wide-brimmed hats, a fiery personality, as well as work for feminism, peace, and civil liberties. She said, “ I began wearing hats as a young lawyer because it helped me to establish my professional identity. Before that, whenever I was at a meeting, someone would ask me to get coffee.” Ruth would deem Bella Abzug a soul-sister, hat and all. Both were strong, determined, and just. Both women knew that self-respect and courage are agents for attaining equality. Like Ruth, Bella Abzug was a role model for the holy.
Courage to Demand Justice
Ruth goes to work in a foreign field knowing God accompanies her. She is independent and demonstrates self-esteem when talking with Boaz. “Ruth has rights and she knows it. She is entitled by Jewish law to the leftovers in the fields. She seeks justice, not favors. The word of God in Ruth is that women have rights. Women, too, are a Word of God and are also worthy of being heard.” (6)
Women today must have courage to assert, again and again, that there is no defense for discrimination. When women are insistent in this, they expand godliness in everyone. The church opposes women priests because they threaten it’s patriarchy. That is a good thing. For the patriarchal church is a harsh, authoritarian thing with a God that loves only conditionally and is male. Ironically, the church’s central image is not a powerful oppressor, but a crucified and powerless victim (7) who loves and respects women. It follows, then, that the church was founded on a love and concern for society’s outcasts. This foundation is anticipated in the Book of Ruth. God works primarily through Ruth and Naomi, and not Boaz, to bring new life to the line of David from which the Messiah comes. “Women plot the liaison between Ruth and Boaz, initiate the relationship, make plain the resolution, name the baby. And Ruth hands the baby to Naomi as her own. This is woman’s work. And of God. ‘The Lord made her conceive,’ the Scripture says. Boaz is not even in the picture.” (8)
The story of Ruth gives further evidence of God’s love for the marginalized. The Moabite, Ruth, marries Boaz and their son, Obed, is grandfather of King David. It is a Moabite, whom the Torah curses, (9) an outcast woman, from whom Israel’s greatest king and its future come. The story of Ruth makes clear that God works through everyone. She proves women are designed for the priesthood; they bring God’s love to the world. In contrast, the 1994 papal declaration of John Paul II stated that now, and for all time, women cannot be priests. Many Catholics are troubled by such blatant and boastful claim to male supremacy. One in ten Americans are former Catholics. (10) Women leave the church because it does not accept them in God’s love. They know that Christianity, spoken by Jesus, affirms God’s love equally for everyone. Unconditional love cannot co-exist with a patriarchy that asserts only what men do is important and women are inferior and exist largely for men’s use.
Bella Abzug once observed, “The establishment is made up of little men, very frightened.” She could be speaking of the church. Men in the institutional church are afraid to admit their limitations, so distort Scriptures to “prove” their superiority. This is not new. In the 12th century, the name of a strong woman, Junia, was changed to that of a male in the Bible. (11) Apparently as a woman, Junia was too threatening to the patriarchal church.
Today, insecure males use false tradition and phony law to dominate women. They hide behind strange definitions of religion and questionable interpretations of historical texts. Religion should help us see the God in each of us. Church leaders should ask a question so popular that it has attained a cult quality. Nonetheless, the question is always valid. “What would Jesus do?” Would Jesus, a victim who defended outcasts, permit church tradition to discriminate against women? Of course he wouldn’t. Like his ancestor Ruth, (through his mother, Mary, lineage of David,) Jesus loved and respected women as well as men.
Ruth would champion the thousands of women like Bishop Bridget Mary Mehan and Janice Sevre-Duszynska, who are moving the church out of it’s calcified prejudice toward a loving acceptance of women as equals in the priesthood. There is no ‘ordination’ anywhere in the New Testament, much less a law forbidding women to be priests. “Jesus was a revolutionary. The Last Supper was not an ordination. Jesus never ordained anyone. He called us to a community of equals, with mutuality: a circle, not a hierarchy. He challenged the religious and civil authorities of his time to empower the marginalized, including women.” In 1976, no biblical obstacles were found to women's ordination. Women's rights are human rights. Who are Shaughnessy and his brother priests at the Vatican to say that God calls only men? Such thinking and behavior is a sin against women and our loving God.” (12) It is this commitment to justice, this principle of life, that Ruth would celebrate as an image of the holy.
Today’s Catholic women, like Naomi and Ruth, have no intention of being victims. They are moving forward, living God’s message of justice and change. Like Ruth, they are the other face of God--a nurturing, loving face that is courageous, wise and strong. They value themselves; in turn, others value them as well. They seek justice with dignity. They become Catholic priests. This is how change happens. Bit by bit, woman by woman. They don’t wait for a patriarchy of frightened old men to grant ‘permission.’ Their courage reveals the true meaning of God--love of self; love of everyone--and helps future generations of women, and men as well, become more Godly. Like Ruth, they move the human race toward a better spiritual future.
“The fact that women keep striving for fullness of humanity may be the greatest act of faith they make in a just and loving God.” (13)
When Boaz marries Ruth, he gives what he possesses; Ruth gives what she is. In giving what one is, one becomes more than one is. Ruth is wisdom, and “Wisdom [is] the feminine personification of God in the Hebrew Scriptures.” (14)
When the institutional church disallows women priests, it diminishes the entire Catholic community. Most especially, it diminishes itself. Women are as spiritual, if not more, than men. Women are the backbone of the church. They do the work; they sing the songs; they teach the young. Women and men are two faces of God; when they become collaborators in faith, they expand our reach toward the best in humanity; the best in godliness.
But if they are denied the priesthood--the place that can best use their courage, their nurturing, and their wisdom--they look for wholeness in other arenas. Some turn to eastern practices. Each yoga practice begins and ends with the greeting, “Namaste,” which means, "the Divine in me greets the Divine in you." That is reverence. It is far removed from, “the puny thing that religion has been allowed to deteriorate into over the years.” (15)
“It is wrong to leave half the human race--its most caring and compassionate side--out of the discussions. How can there be a decent life decision unless based on care, compassion? The presence of women is necessary if a human race on the brink of extinction from war, racism, starvation and global violation is itself to be saved.” (16)
Ruth shows that life is to be shaped, not endured; that women can surmount the impossible. The authoritarian church is preoccupied with power and control; it fears change, and ordaining women is change. Yet the world is rapidly changing, and the church must change as well. Ruth would call for the church to rejoice at the ordination of women priests.
A wise old woman, once told me, “The challenge in life is its daily-ness.” Years ago, I went to church looking for help in this daily-ness, with no luck. “Nothing is said in the pulpit to achievements.... The lessons doled out to women are meekness and do some humble service for men,” said Elizabeth Cady Stanton. (17) Her words mirrored my experience.
One exception was Sheil Center at Northwestern University where I attended mass in the 1970‘s, when our children were young. Fr. Krump was genial, but his true talent was his sermons. He didn’t give many. Each week he invited someone from the community to speak. God’s energy permeated the chapel on Mother’s Day when a mother spoke about the delight and challenge of her role, or on Father’s Day when a father talked about the wonder of his responsibilities. Such speakers reflected the holy. Ruth would be proud.
The simple story of Ruth is an inspiration for all women, but especially for those who want to be priests. Ruth does not rationalize; she loves both men and women. She takes advice from Naomi, her mother-in-law, and speaks as an equal to Boaz. Ruth shows unconditional love and hesed, God’s loving kindness toward another, and reveals women as images of the holy. Her story gives strength and inspiration to women priests whose ordination is crucial. For women priests will help the Church find the God in all of us.

for DM640 Women of the Bible
Lessons from the “Book of Ruth”
by Diana Milesko
Page 1 (1)1(Ru 1:8,9,14-17) “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you.
Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die; there will I be buried.”
(2) Catholic Patriarchy Towards a Liberal Catholicism: “Psychology and Four Women” by Peter C. Morea. SCM Press. 2000, pp.96-110.
(3) Wikipedia: Julian of Norwich
(4) Columnist Ruth Marcus, October 6, 2011 “Erie Times” p 7B
Page 2 (5)“The CIA: Prying into Mail, Plotting Murder”, Time Magazine Mon, Mar. 17, 1975
(6) The Story of Ruth: Twelve Moments in Every Woman’s Life by Joan D. Chittister (Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids MI/ Cambridge UK 2000) p 49
(7) Catholic Patriarchy (ibid)
(8) The Story of Ruth: (ibid) p 54
(9) Deut 23:3 An Ammonite or Moabite may not enter the assembly of the Lord; to the tenth generation none of their descendants shall ever do so.
Page 3 (10) Bridget Mary’s Blog, October 3, 2011
(11) Praying with Women of the Bible, Bishop Bridget Mary Mehan, Liguori/Triumph Press Liguori, MO, 1998. pp. 109-110
(12) Bridget Mary’s Blog, October 3, 2011: Janice Sevre-Duszynska Priest, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Lexington
Page 4 (13) The Story of Ruth (ibid) p 75
(14) Praying with Women of the Bible p 35
(15) “What Is Prayer? A Conversation with Srr Joan Chittister” by Janet Haag, The Huffington Post, June 8, 2010
(16) The Story of Ruth (ibid) p 81
(17) Praying with Women of the Bible pp 27- 28 Elizabeth Cady Stanton

***Note from Bridget Mary Meehan

This insightful paper connecting Ruth to contemporary issues of justice and equality was written by Diana Milesko for a Global Ministries University D. Min. course- DM640 Women of the Bible.
For more information about Global Ministries Univeristy, visit:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Women Priests' Supporters Travel to Rome to Witness for Justice and Equality/Janice Sevre-Duszynska and Donna Rougeux Will Report From Rome Too

October 13, 2011
Dear Members and Friends,
In just two days WOC will once again take on Rome! With the support of women's ordination supporters from around the world, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to hand-deliver our petition, signed by over 15,000 justice-seeking men and women!
This year WOC will be joined by Call To Action, Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests/Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA and Women's Ordination Worldwide.
Together, we will lift up your voices in St. Peter's Square. You can follow along with our day-to-day updates and pictures on WOC's new blog, The Table - where talking religion is always proper etiquette. Thank you for your continued energy and generous support!
Next stop: the Vatican!

In Peace,

Kate Conmy
Membership Coordinator

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bishop Marie Bouclin Becomes First Roman Catholic Canadian Woman Bishop

(left to right: Deacon Donna Rougeux,
Priest Janice Sevre-Duszynska from Association
of Roman Catholic Women Priests
were present at historic ordination of first Canadian
woman ordained a bishop by the Roman Catholic Women
Priests Movement on Sunday in Germany.
Bishop Gisela Forster, one of the Danube 7, is standing behind Marie and Janice in the background.)

(Left to right)
Deacon Donna Rougeux, Bishop Patricia Fresen,
Priest Janice Sevre-Duszynska

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Warm wishes and blessings from the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests to Marie Bouclin, the first Roman Catholic Canadian Woman Bishop! May the Roman Catholic Women Priests Initiative continue to bloom and grow in Canada!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

"The 100th Anniversary Celebration of St. Joan's International Alliance" By Janice Sevre-Duszynska

Dorothy Irvin at 100th Anniversary Celebratio
of St. Joan's International Alliance in England

St. Joan's Alliance Celebration of 100th Anniversary
This afternoon as we travel to Trier, Germany on the Euro-rail, I'd like to share a little about the group and its history. St. Joan's Alliance grew from the Catholic Women's Suffrage Society founded in London in 1911, the only association of Catholics to work for women's right to vote. These early suffragettes did not have it easy, according to Myra Poole, who spoke at our gathering. They were sexually harassed by police when arrested and force fed in jail. They were faced with so much opposition and cruel behavior that they believed in militancy. In 1910, 300 women tried to break into Parliament and were abused as they were taken to jail. The Roman Catholic Church, five per cent of the population, did nothing to serve or protect the women. For example, when a parish priest spoke in favor of the women and their cause, they were beaten up.

The three brave women responsible for the beginnings of St. Joan's were Florence Barry, Beatrice Gatsby and Gabrielle Geoffrey. These justice-minded women worked for the eradication of poverty and prostitution as well as for the vote. In 1921, Joan of Arc was canonized and she became a symbol of those who stand up to oppression. In
1928, members of St. Joan's spoke of their need of "losing ecclesiastical virginity." There were suffragists in the audience at Vatican II who tried to work for women priests.
St. Joan's was the first group in Catholicism to work for women priests. In the 60s, the women also worked for the diaconate, made a cautious request for priesthood as well as for a thorough examination of Canon law. Theologians Ida Raming and Mary Daly belonged to St. Joan's. "Patriarchy's everywhere," said Daly. "Even in outer space."

Other women in the movement spoke of the "Living Pix," the Incarnation as more important than the Eucharist as Mary had Jesus and lived. They said it was better to hover around the church door rather than the stage door and recognized the desire of so many women who would prefer to go to confession to a woman priest. Yet, the Victorian nun was taken as the norm, said Myra Poole, even as she was the "climax of absurdity." "She did good works and obeyed and didn't challenge. She surrendered her name, submerged her identity and individuality," said Myra. "The nuns at St. Margaret's Hall in Oxford were not interested in the Alliance."

In the early 40s, Alice Abadan of the Alliance called for social transformation. "Let us not be blinded by habit and convention," she said.

Meanwhile, French women got the vote in 1944-45. As the Alliance grew, members held women congresses.

The Alliance has played the leadership role in petitioning for lay (men and women) observers and women auditors at the Second Vatican Council (1961-1964); the revision of the nuptial liturgy; revision of those canons of the Code which adversely affect women; admission of women to Holy Orders.

In 1963, St Joan's asked for women religious to elect their own representatives to the Vatican Council. There was a motion for women's ordination at the International Congress of Laity in 1967. In 1968, members took on the topic of birth control.
That year theologian Ursula King wrote an article on women's ordination. In 1976, Canadian bishops led the way to ask for women's ordination. However, Pope Paul VI was surrounded by conservative men.

Mary Dietrich from Canterbury joined St. Joan's in 1966. As the Alliance spread to other countries, the word "international" was inserted. Dorothy Irvin has been a member of the
Alliance for over 40 years.

Registered as a non-profit association in Belgium, the Alliance is active wherever there are members, and attends United Nations sessions in Vienna, Geneva, and New York.
Consistent and valuable work has been done with the United Nations (and earlier with the League of Nations) for the advancement of women in the following areas:

- Equal access to education and vocational training
- Economic opportunities
- Family law
- Abolition of child and forced marriages
- Slavery and traffic in persons
- Female genital mutilation
- Human rights for women
- Elimination of discrimination against women

Dorothy Irvin, Connie Aligada, Sharon Masloski, Gabriella Velardi Ward, Julienne Feza and I have been active reps for the Alliance for the past three years during the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The Alliance has worked for the ratification by member states of the United Nations' "Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women," the "Convention for the suppression of Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of Others," and the "Convention on the Rights of the Child." Since 1966 the U.S. Members of the Alliance have supported the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment.

St. Joan of Arc is recognized as having played a determining role in forming the concept of national sovereignty, a concept essential to the work of the UN today. See

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Open Letter to U.S. Bishops About Priest Shortage Crisis/ Support Roman Catholic Women Priests Now by Promoting Women's Vocations to Priestly Ministry

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Sign the letter to the U.S. bishops below and support Roman Catholic Women Priests Now!

Do you know a woman who serves the people of God and is open to being called by a faith community to serve as a priest in a inclusive, renewed model of priestly ministry?

If you do, invite her to pray, discern and contact the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, and/or Roman Catholic Womenpriests USA

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

FCM’s (Federation of Christian Ministry) Roman Catholic Faith Community Council is supporting a special Open Letter to US Bishops about the impending priest shortage crisis in the US. A number of priest organizations and national church renewal/reform groups are also joining this effort.Studies show that half of the 19,302 active diocesan priests plan to retire by 2019. We are ordaining about 380 new diocesan priests each year. In just eight years, we will have only 13,500 active diocesan priests to serve our 18,000 parishes, presuming ordinations remain constant, as they have for over a decade. (2008 Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate study)

To sign onto the open letter, download paper copies to circulate, download a free organizing kit or circulate to family and friends, or simply sign yourself. Click this link

The open letter will be published in one or several national Catholic publications in 2011 and 2012. Every effort will be made to contact individual US Bishops and officials at the US Bishops’ conference. Only your name and diocese will be included in the online listing. (it is ok to sign anonymously if you wish)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Media Advisory: Fr. Roy Bourgeois and Women Priests' Supporters Go to Rome- Press Conference on Monday, Oct. 17th, 2011; Italian Premiere-"Pink Smoke"

Contact: Erin Saiz Hanna – 202. 675. 1006, Mobile in Rome (10/16-10/20) - 401.588.0457


Fr. Roy Bourgeois and pro-women’s ordination delegation to hold press conference; march to Vatican to deliver petition signed by 15,000 supporters

WHAT: Press conference, followed by march to St. Peter’s Square

WHEN: Monday, October 17th, 2011 @ 12:00 PM
Press are invited to attend the Italian Premiere of Pink Smoke Over the Vatican at 11:00 AM, just prior to the press conference*

WHERE: CASA DEL CINEMA (Sala Kodak) - Largo Marcello Mastroianni, 1 Ingresso da Piazzale del Brasile, Parcheggio di Villa Borghese – Roma


Fr. Roy Bourgeois,
Roman Catholic priest, peace activist and founder of the human rights group School of the Americas Watch. Fr. Bourgeois currently faces dismissal from his Maryknoll order for his support of women’s ordination.

Erin Saiz Hanna, Women’s Ordination Conference (USA), Women's Ordination Worldwide (International)

Nicole Sotelo, Call To Action (USA), U.S. Representative of the International Movement We Are Church (International)

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Ordained Roman Catholic Woman Priest (USA)

Therese Korturbash, Catholic Network For Women’s Equality (Canada), Women's Ordination Worldwide (International)

Miriam Duignan, (International)

Dr. Dorothy Irvin, renowned scholar on women's ordination in the early church

* Pink Smoke Over the Vatican is an award-winning documentary film about the controversial movement of women seeking ordination in the Roman Catholic Church.

Bridget Mary's Reflection:

I can't wait to share the photos and movies of this upcoming event! Can you imagine some of the Vatican Prelates attending "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican"?

Let's hope that representatives from the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith meet with Fr. Roy and his lawyer, Fr. Tom Doyle, who has put together a brilliant defense rooted in "primacy of conscience". Thousands of Catholics have signed petitions in support of Roy.

The Maryknoll Order should not only affirm their brother Roy, but challenge the Vatican for pressuring them to dismiss this faithful, courageous priest. Isn't it sad that pedophiles and the bishops who kept them in ministry are not excommunicated or thrown out of their orders or dioceses, but prophetic priests like Fr. Roy, are shown the door!

No matter what the Vatican or Maryknoll do, Fr. Roy Bourgeois will always be a priest of the people and a prophet of justice.

Now we are at a tipping point as more and more male priests and bishops join Fr. Roy- 400 Austrian priests, a growing number of French priests, the Irish Association of Priests, the Australian Priests' Association and over 250 German -speaking theologians. (A Cardinal from Portugal, bishops from Switzerland, Ireland and Australia are also on record as open to women priests.)

Roman Catholic Women Priests are a "holy shakeup" rocking the Catholic Church. We are creating a grassroots, inclusive, open church that welcomes all- like Jesus did.Yes, indeed, it is revolution, rooted in Jesus' vision of Gospel equality.

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests