Saturday, February 4, 2012

"Workers, Not Catholic Hierarchy, Should Choose Their Health Care"/Washington Post/ Time to Hear from Millions of American Women and Men Who Practice Contraception

..."Michael Gerson imputed nefarious motives to President Obama for his administration’s requirement that contraception be made more affordable and available for American workers. He lamented the decision’s effects on a bishop, a priest and the vice president. Tellingly missing from this analysis: the profound and beneficial effects on the millions of American women and their families, Catholic and non-Catholic, Democrat, Republican and independent, whose health-care decisions are too often thwarted by a small, powerful cadre of men who have zero credibility with many lay Catholics when it comes to contraception. Churches across the country are filled with good Catholics, the majority of whom use contraception and have no objection to it...."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Catholics, Speak Up for Conscience, Do not let U.S. Bishops Bully Politicans or Control Women's Access to Contraceptives/Affordable Health Care
...."The provision is called the Affordable Care Act. This new law is intended to ensure the just treatment of women and couples who cannot afford adequate medical treatment when it comes to contraceptives and who want to raise families in a safe, responsible manner.This act is a promising attempt to prevent unwanted pregnancies and offers perhaps the most ethical and realistic approach to reducing the abortion rate.
The bishops' reaction was characterized by increasingly typical cries of victimization and hysteria. This self-pity only further diminishes the seriousness with which U.S. Catholics take the hierarchy. The sad truth is, if the numbers of Catholics leaving the church are any indication, most Catholics in the United States probably see the hierarchy more as victimizers than victimized.Some have labeled this decision as President Barack Obama's attack on Catholics, echoing the inflammatory, paranoid spin bishops are putting on any government decision that doesn't go their way lately. This decision is not an attack on Catholics, but rather a groundbreaking move to protect women and to guarantee them greater access to adequate, affordable health care...."
[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:
I agree with Jamie Manson that the bishops are not the church. The Catholic Church's "official teaching" on contraception has not been accepted by the majority of Catholics.  According to the Guttmacher Institute 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used some form of contraception. The Affordable Care Act does not violate the consciences of Catholic women as the hierarchy claim, but rather helps them get the health care they need. In claiming an exemption, the bishops will be imposing their  beliefs on birth control on their employees and forcing them to follow a teaching that the majority of Catholics do not  even obey. How can the bishops who claim to be "pro-life", refuse to support contraceptives that will prevent abortions? It makes no sense. The outrage here is not the Obama administration's policy, but the Roman Catholic bishops who, if this exemption was given, would deny contraceptive coverage to their employees, and enforce their teachings on others in violation of their employees' consciences. The bishops are not the church, the people are the church and that includes women who practice birth control according to their consciences.  One could certainly argue that this is yet another attempt of the Catholic hierarchy to control women's sexuality when they have failed to control  male celibate priests who have sexually abused thousands of children worldwide. Catholics, it is time to speak up and make your views heard! Don't let the bishops bully politicans when they do not reflect you beliefs and practices.  We, the people, are the church!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A PhD Student of Liturgics and Homiletics Affirms Roman Catholic Women Priests Liturgies

Grace and Peace -
I am a PhD student studying homiletics and liturgics.
We've never met, but I wanted to share an amazing experience that I recently had - that has to do with you and your spiritual kinfolk. I'll try to be brief - this actually just occurred yesterday. I am currently taking a readings course on preaching and liturgy - the class consists of two students (the other doctoral student in my program and I) and the professor is brilliant.
The three of us gather once a week and discuss academic readings from within the liturgical movement and prepare various documents, exam questions, and teaching aids that will assist us later in life when we are (hopefully) teaching MDiv students at a seminary or div. school.
This week we read history and historiography about the liturgical reform movement in the twentieth century - Theresa Berger's fantastic, reflective work examining that history in "Women's Ways of Worship." The assignment was to analyze an interesting theme within the readings and find a video or audio recording that was somehow related to the readings. Ideally, something we could show a classroom of students - something that would spark conversation centered on and informed by the readings.
There are millions and millions of youtube videos out there to choose from - we do this sort of thing quite often.The video I chose for reflection was your Holy Thursday Foot Washing liturgy. (
It is such an incredibly moving video. The conversation was brilliant and fascinating - I love everything about that video. I love the way it is framed, the way the music seems to start and stop and start again, the sense of togetherness and comfort - it is liturgically fascinating! This isn't the important part - I just wanted you to know that I was deeply moved by that brief presentation. Here's the really wild part -
After my presentation, my cohort showed her video. There stood a row of women in vestments behind the communion table, the three of us watched together for a full minute before we realized it was you again! It was the video of the eucharist consecration at the ordination service:
It was amazing! We were stunned by the participatory movement - the lifting of hands toward the chancel. And suddenly, incredibly, the entire church lifted their voices and joined the words of consecration! I again felt deeply moved by witnessing this event. It felt profoundly holy.
I was saddened by the comments left below the videos. There is work to do, I suppose.
I wanted to let you know that you are doing a good work - and, I think, enriching the creation - by having these videos posted online. Our conversation continued beyond the classroom and throughout the day.
Please keep posting the videos and doing this important work and thank you!
In Christ,
A Ph.D. Student/Liturgics/Homiletics
(Shared with Permission, Letter directed to Bridget Mary Meehan/See links to liturgies above)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

St. Brigit of Kildare- Abbess and Bishop of Kildare/Table Blessing

St. Brigit of Kildare in St. Patrick's Chapel in Ballyroan, Ireland
"Then, being filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Bishop Mel read the form of ordaining a bishop over Brigit. While she was being consecrated, a brilliant fiery flame ascended from her head...."

St.Brigit’s Table Blessing

I should welcome the poor to my feast,
for they are God’s children.
I should welcome the sick to my feast
for they are God’s joy.
Let the poor sit with Jesus at the highest place
and the sick dance with the angels.
Bless the poor, bless the sick,
bless our human race.
Bless our food, bless our drink, all homes,
O God embrace.
Praying with Celti Holy Women by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"One Person’s Response To Bede Griffith’s Vision" by John Chuchman

The beauty of language can be found

not only in the Greek epics "Iliad" and "Odyssey"

but also in the Indian epics of "Ramayana" and "Mahabharata".

An understanding of Christian expressions of Truth

from the Eastern Orthodox

can be read in

"The Chronicles of Kiev"

and the epic-like tales of "Marko" coming out of Serbia.

Native American, Asian and tales from Oceania

present the highest qualities of humanity

(and love of God---however God was called.)

Where did this goodness,

this desire for truth,

and the exhibition of natural dignity come from?

Is it only to be found in the Western world?

Is it found only in writings of those who belong to the Catholic Church?

The study of the World's great literature

can be a foundation

to uncovering the greatness of humanity's desire

to reach to the stars,

to touch the face of God,

and then to be hugged by that God in return.

The Catholic Church has long listed “Universal” as one of its Marks.

But the term “universal” is deceptive.

Is it that the Church is found all over the world

(a tribute to the men and women missionaries)?

That is only a geographic sense of universality,

and the Church isn't thinking here about possible intelligent beings

on other solar systems---when using the term “universal.”

While geographic universality is no small achievement,

geography does not even begin to touch upon

the spiritual/philosophical concepts of universality.

Bede Griffiths' vision is so much wider, deeper and more sensitive

than anything we have seen expounded

recently from the Catholic Magisterium.

Since the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI,

Christian denominations seeking to become part of the Catholic Church

must adopt its doctrine, discipline and also its schizophrenia

especially in dealing with married men as priests,

women as priests, and with the lives of gays/lesbians.

The Catholic Church has shown little desire to discuss

with an open mind

the universality of the separated churches that are called "Christian".

If the Catholic Church is unable to engage in dialogue

(openness to listening as well as to speaking)

with other Christian confessions,

how will it be able to dialogue with peoples of other cultures, other religions?

What the hierarchy is doing now

is beating a retreat back to the fortifications of Trent.

That world is structured, settled,

and has a hierarchically ecclesiastical typology

that, in reality, thumbs its nose at those who are searching,

who value the prophetic and the charismatic,

at those who call themselves the People of God.

Benedict XVI favors Augustine's concept of reality,

the City of God (Benedict's concept of Church)

vs. the City of Man,

the relative, secular modern world.

In Benedict's "City of God"

the inhabitants must be prepared to engage in battle with

the pagan concepts of secularism and relativism.

Those who do combat

must embrace obedience, unity of thought,

compliance, docility, regimentation,

and discipline under their superiors:

the hierarchy and of course, the Curia and the Pope

(Commander in Chief).

The real tragedy is that

instead of helping people of all religions grow in their Faith,

Catholicism has been relegated by its hierarchs into being

just another competing "ism."

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fr. Anthony Ruff, OSB- Refusal to Endorse "New" Vatican Liturgy

Father Anthony Ruff, OSB to U.S. bishops, in which he explains his reasons for withdrawing from a speaking tour to introduce the new missal translation across the country. He had served as chairman of the music committee of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), the group at the center of the English translation process until the Vatican rejected its work and imposed its own version.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"Bless You" by William J. Schuch, Naples and East Aurora, N.Y./ Naples News
Notwithstanding Bishop Frank Dewane's stern warning to former nun Judy Beaumont not to attempt ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood ("Church warns for woman's soul,'' Jan. 21 Daily News), I attended her valid ordination later that day at Lamb of God Lutheran-Episcopal Church in Fort Myers, which has been supporting Beaumont and Roman Catholic woman priest Judy Lee in their ministry to the needy and homeless at Joshua House, which the two women founded.
It was an inspiring event despite the mean-spirited threat of automatic excommunication for those participating in the ordination. Who knows? Maybe even I qualified for that badge of distinction.
Prior to the ordination and Mass, presided over by Bridget Mary Meehan, one of 12 validly consecrated female Roman Catholic bishops in the world, the crowd viewed the film "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican," a well-documented history of the first 12 centuries of the Church when there were married priests and female priests and bishops, and the centuries since then when females have been arbitrarily denied response to Christ's call to the priesthood by our male hierarchs who insist they are Christ's only sanctioned intermediaries.
I'm appalled at women's willingness to accept second-class church citizenship.
Maybe if they all stayed home next Sunday, the semi-empty churches might send a message to the wannabe monarchs in the chanceries throughout the Catholic world?
Be true to your gender and give it a try, ladies. Make us men proud of you.