Friday, December 16, 2011

"Institutional Dutch Catholic Abuse 'Affected Thousands'"/BBC News
"Tens of thousands of children have suffered sexual abuse in Dutch Catholic institutions since 1945, a report says. The report by an independent commission said Catholic officials had failed to tackle the widespread abuse at schools, seminaries and orphanages. But the report also found that one in five children who attended an institution suffered abuse - regardless of whether it was Catholic.
"This episode fills us with shame and sorrow," said a bishops' statement.

The commission, which began work in August 2010, sought to uncover what had gone on and how it had happened, and examined what kind of justice should be offered to victims.
It was triggered by allegations of abuse at a Catholic school in the east Netherlands, which prompted other alleged victims to come forward."

"Fighting Tradition, A Catholic Womanpriest Leads Mass in East Village"by Brigid Bergin
This is not a new debate. Among the scholars who have weighed in on the issue, Paul Lakeland wrote a book 37 years ago called, Can Women Be Priests? He's the director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University, a Jesuit school in Connecticut. There is no sound theological reason why women can’t be ordained,” Lakeland said.He continues to support women's ordination and knows another woman priest who runs a small parish just outside of Boston. Most theologians would say that Jesus didn’t ordain anybody,” Lakeland said.He added that the development of ministry took several centuries, and given what we know about men and women today compared to what we thought about men and women 2,000 years ago, “there’s no reason that ordination could not be extended to them. But there are many conservative Catholic theologians who would not agree with me.”
"But for Gabriella Velardi Ward — and the other Roman Catholic Womenpriests — they are not waiting for permission from Rome. The change has happened. Ward defines herself as a Catholic priest, leading a parish, looking to enhance the ministry she provides to her congregation.While the Vatican has clearly stated its position against women priests, the future of this movement will depend on whether everyday Catholics are open to embracing a new tradition."

"Infallibility" and Equality in Catholicism by Sister Chris Schenk, csj / Excellent article
Some conclusions and some questions:

It appears that the Vatican is being deluged with faithful Catholic people who, far from having "doubts" about the teaching on the non-ordination of women, are in fact actively in favor of ordaining them.

Could this issue have more to do with Church politics than with theology? Given the fact that there is a Eucharistic famine all over the world because of the priest shortage, wouldn't it make more sense for our leadership to be thinking about who they can include in the priesthood rather than who they want to leave out?

Presuming that Catholics must accept the non-ordination of women, what will the all male church hierarchy do to actively implement women's equality (which they are always so careful to say they support) in the church? Where are the women Cardinals? How may qualified women participate in the selection of the next Pope? What dioceses will be open for qualified women to govern, much as the medieval abbesses functioned as Bishops?

Vatican officials delight in saying that women are "different but equal." Unfortunately ,only men have defined this kind of "equality." Women have been forbidden to join the conversation, and when they do try to offer a different theological perspective based on recent biblical scholarship, efforts are made to brand them as heretics. "Equality" seems to mean that male Catholics are equally entitled to make the rules and female Catholics are equally entitled to obey them.

Somehow, I can¹t believe that this was what Jesus had in mind when he commissioned Magdalen to go and tell her fellow apostles that He had, indeed, risen from the dead

Thursday, December 15, 2011

First Criminal Hearing for Bishop Finnhead of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese Moved to January
Dec. 14, 2011
Joshua J. McElwee
"The first hearing in the criminal case against Bishop Robert W. Finn, head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese, has been postponed until Jan. 12.
Both Finn and the diocese were charged in October by authorities in Jackson County, Mo., with separate counts of failing to report suspected child abuse in the case of Fr. Shawn Ratigan, a diocesan priest who was arrested in May for child pornography.
The hearing was originally scheduled for Dec. 15. Mike Mansur, the communications director of the Jackson County prosecutor’s office, told NCR the delay came at the request of the bishop’s lawyers.
News of the delay comes about a month after Finn dodged separate charges of failing to report abuse in Clay County, Mo., by agreeing to give the prosecutor there wide-ranging oversight of diocesan review procedures in the county. The diocesan chancery is located in Jackson County. The parish where Ratigan last served as pastor is in Clay County. "

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas-Santa Lucia-Sweden


"Female Priests Push Catholic Boundaries"/ Minneapolis Star Tribune Newspaper Article about Compassion of Christ Catholic Community
"Dressed in a priestly white robe and green stole, Monique Venne lifted communion bread before an altar -- defying centuries of Catholic Church law.Despite promises of excommunication from the Vatican, she and six other women in Minnesota say they are legitimate, ordained Catholic priests, fit to celebrate the mass. They trace their status through a line of ordained women bishops back to anonymous male bishops in Europe."We love the church, but we see this great wrong," said Venne, 54, who cofounded Compassion of Christ Church, a Minneapolis congregation that just celebrated its first anniversary. "Not allowing women to be at the altar is a denigration of their dignity. We want the church to be the best it can be. If one leaves, one cannot effect change. So we're pushing boundaries.""Minnesota has emerged as a hotbed for the growing movement to ordain women as priests, with the highest per-capita number of female Catholic priests in the nation, according to the organization Roman Catholic Womenpriests. Women priests are working in the Twin Cities, Red Wing, Winona, Clear Lake and soon St. Cloud. The group claims about 70 women priests in the United States and more than 100 worldwide..."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gaudete, Rejoice! Dance in the Rain, Everyday is Christmas! - Homily Reflection by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

The message today is found in our second reading: Rejoice, Pray always, and give thanks in all circumstances for this is will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

A story that has circulated on the internet is one example of living this message in our daily lives.

A man had breakfast everyday with his wife who had suffered from alzheimer’s. She no longer knew him and was in a nursing home. When asked why he kept it up, he said “she does not know me, he said, but I still know who she is.”

So the author of the story summarized it this way: “love is an acceptance of all that is, all that has been, all that will be and will not be. Life is not about how to survive, but how to learn to dance in the rain.”

In the responsorial psalm we prayed the Magnificat. In her prayer for justice, Mary, a young, pregnant, woman, who could have been stoned to death, reminds us that God is on the side of liberation and justice. “The Bible reveals God”, Elizabeth Johnson writes, “as compassionate lover of justice, on the side of the oppressed to the point where those who oppress the poor insult their Marker.” (Proverbs 14:31)Quest for the Living God, p.76.

In an excerpt from the Associated press story, 3 women accept Nobel Peace Prize:

Gbowee, 39, challenged Liberia's warlords as she campaigned for women's rights and against rape. In 2003, she led hundreds of female protesters through Monrovia to demand swift disarmament of fighters, who continued to prey on women, despite a peace deal.

"We used our pains, broken bodies and scarred emotions to confront the injustices and terror of our nation," she told the Nobel audience in Oslo's City Hall.

She called the peace prize a recognition of the struggle for women's rights not only in Yemen and Liberia, but anywhere that women face oppression.

"We must continue to unite in sisterhood to turn our tears into triumph," Gbowee said. "There is no time to rest until our world achieves wholeness and balance, where all men and women are considered equal and free."

In the Gospels we encounter Jesus who reveals God’s compassion to the poor, the rejected, the outcastes and “offered table companionship so inclusive that it gave scandal.” Johnson concludes , “Deeply affected not only by poverty, but by the sin of sexism in the structures of church and society, women, the excluded among the excluded , realize that God’s preferential option for the poor is an option for poor women.” (Quest of the Living God) p. 77

With Mary, we rejoice, pray always and give thanks in all circumstances that God will triumph over every injustice.

Like Mary and Elisabeth, we are called to support one another as companions on the journey in our struggles, doubts and fears, over our tears. Sometimes this occurs over conversations that take months, --even years and many cups of tea. Like Mary, first priest, who could say, this is my body, this is my blood, we are all called as the Body of Christ to birth Christ in our world in all that we do and say each day, no matter what the cost!

We rejoice, pray always and give thanks in all circumstances as we wrap presents, decorate, write Christmas cards, serve others, that while Advent is a special season of preparation, every day is Christmas!

Mindy Lou Simmons sang “Every day is Christmas”
(For those in the Sarasota area, you can experience Mindy Simmons' beautiful music on Dec. 16th, Friday at 7 PM at St. Boniface Church. Siesta Key Tickets available at the door.)

Sharing by Community in Dialogue Homily (After hymn, the community shared their responses to readings for 3rd Sunday of Advent. )
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Video Clips of Mary Mother of Jesus (MMOJ) Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy on 3rd Sunday of Advent -Dec. 11, 2011