Saturday, February 11, 2012

Judge Scalia 's Opinion in 1990 May Impact Current Bishops' Campaign to Deny Contraceptive Coverage

At is a Daily Kos reference to a history of circumstances similar to the current contraception issue, going back to 1879.
Here's an excerpt from Scalia's opinion on this topic in 1990:
"... We have never held that an individual's religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition...".

Friday, February 10, 2012

Press Release: from Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Supporting Contraceptive Coverage for Women/ Opposition to U.S. Bishops

Press Release: from Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests: February 10, 2012
Media Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska,, 859-684-4247
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan,, 703-505-0004
Who Better to Speak for Roman Catholic Women Than Women Priests and Women Themselves?
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests support contraceptive coverage for women as an issue of conscience and religious freedom. We applaud the part of President Obama's plan that would require that insurance companies offer contraceptive coverage at no cost.
The U.S. bishop have no right to impose their dogma in the public sphere.
Who are they to take from women power over their own bodies?
Who are they to withhold from women their God-given authority to make their own choices, including reproductive choices?
We women priests of ARCWP stand in solidarity with Roman Catholic women and all women. We believe all women have the divinely human right to make reproductive decisions on their own behalf -- without consulting male priests or bishops.
We know from Catholics for Choice that 98% of sexually active Catholic women use a method of contraception banned by the U.S. bishops.
We are also aware of our sisters who live in abject poverty in the U.S. and across the globe. Many of these women may have been denied access to affordable birth control by their governments. Others are forcibly denied the use of contraceptives by husbands or male partners who have no regard for their female partner's safety or volition. Complicit in this suffering is the all-male boys' club at the Vatican and their male bishops throughout our world community who influence public policy at all levels including the United Nations, that affects women, their choices and their children.
We continue to pray for our spiritually bereft brother priests at the Vatican and U.S. bishops. The scandalous behavior of too many across our world community and their idolatry of male power and privilege is a sin against women and our our Loving God who calls both men and women to the priesthood.
Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum who has a zero track record on women's rights, has said that ..."President Obama may force Roman Catholic churches to hire women priests." Despite his facetious remark, women priests exist and their communities are growing. The Vatican is running scared. We celebrate Eucharist and speak out for the voiceless in the U.S. and in eight other countries. We remember what Jesus taught us and are consciously living out the Gospel mandate to empower and liberate.
"The Spirit blows where She will."
The days of the Vatican's influence are numbered.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Santorum: "President Obama may force Roman Catholic churches to hire women priests". ..
Santorum: Fear the guillotine

Just over the past couple of days, Santorum argued that evidence from climate scientists are an elaborate "hoax"; he said President Obama may force Roman Catholic churches to hire women priests; and he argued gas prices "caused the housing bubble to burst."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Talking about bizarre,  this comment by Santorum is clearly over the top! But it sure does appear that the bishops and Santorum are on the same page about women priests. We are  among their worst nightmares, along with contraceptive coverage for women! I believe I see a pattern here, do you? Power and control over women's bodies and sexuality, sexism, patriarchy.....

Furor Over U.S. Bishops on Contraception/Women, Stand Up to U.S. Catholic Bishops on Contraceptive Coverage/"Tales from Kitchen Table" by Gail Collins/NYTimes

Gail Collins hits the nail on the head in her New York Times article below. The U.S. Catholic bishops are desperately trying to impose a rejected dogma on the prohibition of contraception on the public. It is hard to believe that these bishops have any moral credibility left after their cover-up of pedophile priests who sexually abused thousands of children. Now the bishops are trying to dictate public policy that will deny contraceptive coverage to women! This is truly outrageous. Women of all faiths and no faith should demand that their freedom of conscience and their freedom of religion be honored in all public policies since our country was founded on the separation of the church and state. Women, stand up to U.S. Catholic bishops on contraceptive coverage or face rejected Catholic dogma becoming the law of the land!
Bridget Mary Meehan,
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

February 8, 2012
The problem here is that they’re trying to get the government to do their work for them. They’ve lost the war at home, and they’re now demanding help from the outside.
Religions don’t get to force their particular dogma on the larger public. The government, in return, protects the right of every religion to make its case heard.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Catholic Women Priests Served Church Before, Can Do Now/ By John McNally
Ordination Liturgy- Judy Beaumont in Ft. Myers, Florida
The argument for women priests in the Catholic Church is based in Scripture, where we find that Jesus Christ had many women associates in his ministry on Earth.
Besides his own mother and other women he had a close relationship with Mary of Magdala, who was the first of his disciples to learn that he had risen from the dead. And St. Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, who was the first to write any of the New Testament scriptures, writes of several women who were his very close associates and whom he refers to as deacons.
Scripture scholars now realize that Jesus did not ordain anyone, and that the first bishops and priests to serve the church were installed long after Jesus had left the Earth. They probably came to be as a result of the destruction of the Jewish temple in 76 A.D. and the consequent demise of the Jewish priesthood. At any rate, the Bible indicates that Jesus thought women and men were equals and should be treated as such.
Our Catholic bishops today like to characterize themselves as successors of the apostles. However, most of the apostles were dead and gone before we ever had any bishops in our church. And our leaders like to describe our church as a monarchy. But in reality our church started out as a democracy. The first religious services in our church were conducted by mothers and fathers and laymen and laywomen in private homes, in secret, because it was dangerous to be identified as Christian or Catholic in the Roman Empire at that time.
Leaders of these services were chosen by their peers. Thus the Catholic Church was originally a democracy and did not identify herself as a monarchy until the fourth century, when the Roman Emperor Constantine became her protector. The church then patterned herself after the Roman Empire. And don’t let anyone tell you that it is an unbroken tradition in the church that women can not be priests. Dorothy Irvin, a local scholar, has done a lot of research in Rome and early Christian sites and located engraved inscriptions which depict women as bishops and priests. And up until the ninth century, women were being ordained as deacons. It is worthwhile noting that a lady, Ludmila Javorova, was ordained a priest secretly on Dec. 28, 1970, behind the Iron Curtain when male priests were not allowed to function. She was able to give the sacraments to people without the authorities getting suspicious by virtue of the fact that she was female.
Today women are no longer asking church authorities to be ordained. They know that’s a dead end. They are taking back their God-given place in the church. They are demanding equal rights with men and want to be treated as Jesus treated them. They want to function again as women did in the early church.
They do not believe that it is as important to obey a man-made law as it is to serve God’s people. Their idea is that an unjust law (women can’t be priests) is no law at all.
They will not go away. Since women were first ordained in 2002 there are women priests in 23 states. Judy Lee and Judy Beaumont are women priests serving in Fort Myers.
Since church authorities bar them from serving as parish priests they have made serving the homeless in our area their ministry, finding housing, clothing, transportation, and government help for them, and providing meals for them. Yes, indeed, there is good reason why women should be priests as well as men.
John W. McNally is secretary of the Catholic Call to Action Conference of Southwest Florida. He lives in Estero.

Statistics Show Catholics Use and Support Access to Contraception/ Majority of Catholic Women Do NOT Follow Church Teaching/ Catholic Hierarchy on Contraceptive Use

According to these statistics, the U.S. hierarchy's efforts to bully the Obama administration into granting an exemption to coverage for contraceptives is out of touch with the majority of Catholic women. US Catholics, including Catholic women, follow their conscience and support contraceptive coverage. Catholic women are the experts on birth control, not the male celibate hierarchy. Their wisdom speaks for itself in the statistics below. It is time for the bishops to "listen up" since women are half of the church's membership!
Bridget Mary Meehan

Catholics Use Contraception.
98% of sexually experienced Catholic women have used a contraceptive method other than natural family planning as compared to 99% of the general population. "Countering Conventional Wisdom: New Evidence on Religion and Contaceptive use, Guttmacher Institute, April 2011.
Only 2 % of Catholic women, including those who attend church once a month or more, rely on natural family planning. Guttmacher Institute, April 2011

Catholics Support Contraceptive Coverage.
More than 6 in 10 Catholic voters surveyed in 2009 supported health insurance coverage- whether it is private or government insurance - for contraceptives. (Belden Russonello &Stewart , "Catholic Voters Views on Health Care Reform and Reproductive Health Care Services," Catholics for Choice, 2009
A 2010 poll showed that Catholic women voters are more likely to support health plan coverage for birth control- 77% versus 71% of the population at large. (Hart research, "Survey: Nearly Three in four Voters in America Support Fully Covering Prescription Birth Control," Planned Parenthood, October 12, 2012
85% of Catholics believe in extending birth control coverage to those who want it but cannot afford it- this is more than 82% of the general population.( Public Religion Research Institute, "The Morning Buzz," January 23, 2011)

Catholics Support Contraceptive Access for Minors
Catholics (55%) are as likely as the general population (57%) to believe that 14  to 16 year-olds should be able to access contraception, even if their parents do not approve. (General Social Survey 2007.

Catholics Believe in Limits on Religious Exemptions
Two thirds (65%) of US Catholic voters believe that hospitals and hospitals and clinics taking taxpayers dollars show not be allowed to refuse to provide certain medications or procedures.
((Belden, Russonello &Stewart , "Catholic Voters Views on Health Care Reform and Reproductive Health Care Services," Catholics for Choice, 2009)
Nearly 8 in 10 Catholics (78%) oppose allowing  pharmacists to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions. ((Belden, Russonello &Stewart , "Catholic Voters Views on Health Care Reform and Reproductive Health Care Services," Catholics for Choice, 2009)

 Catholics Put Conscience First
A 2011 survey revealed that only 10% of US Catholics believe that church leaders have the final say about contraception. 66% believe individuals alone decide what is right or wrong about abortion. (National Catholic Reporter, "Right and Wrong: Who has the Final Say?" , October 24, 2011. )
When a 2005 poll asked whether they were more likely to follow the pope's teaching or their own conscience on difficult more questions, 74% of US Catholics questioned said they would follow their conscience. (Jeffrey M. Jones, "US Catholics' Reaction to Pope Benedict XVI More Positive Than Negative,' Gallup News Service, April 20, 2005.

Catholics Support Changing Church Teachings
When asked in 2005 about the next pope, 78% of US Catholics polled said that birth control should be allowed by the church.  (CNN/Gallup/USA Today Poll, April 2005.

(Source: Jon O'Brien, Catholics for Choice)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Majority of Catholics Support Coverage for Contraception/ Majority of Women Support Coverage for Contraception/Catholic Hierarchy Should Provide Contraception Coverage: Issue of Conscience for Catholics and for Women

Here are some telling statistics from a Public Religion Research Institute survey published today at

Roughly 6-in-10 Catholics (58%) believe that employers should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that cover contraception. This percentage is actually three points higher among Catholics than the national average of 55%. Among women nationwide, it is 62%.

A majority of Catholics (52%) say that religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals should have to provide coverage that includes contraception.

Bridget Mary's Reflection
Since the majority of Catholics support coverage for contraception, it indicates the obvious, the sense of the faithful. Unfortunately, the hierarchy has abandoned this cornerstone principle of Catholic theology. Church teaching should  reflect the faith of the believing community. In this issue, over 98 percent of Catholic women do not follow the ban on artificial birth control. Once again, the bishops are tone deaf and have lost credibility by attempting to bully the Obama administration into giving them an exemption that the majority of their fellow Catholics do not support. The male conservative pundits who are the hierarchy's cheer leaders should get in touch with the people in the pews , who are the church, and not presume that the hierarchy is the church. Just because the bishops oppose contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act, does not mean millions of Catholics do too!
Bridget Mary Meehan

Congratulations, President Obama, for Safeguarding Religious Freedom! by Angela Bonavoglia in Huffington Post
"So thank you President Obama. You protected the religious liberty of the hundreds of thousands of Catholic women -- and non-Catholic women -- who work for these important institutions. You saw to it that these women have this crucial element of primary care, which, by helping them to space births, will go a long way towards protecting their health as mothers and the health of their infants. Actually, it was a very pro-life move. "
Bridget Mary's Reflection;
Amen, Angela Bonavoglia! One wonders, as I have said before, how can a pro-life hierarchy  oppose contraception which prevents abortions? Makes no sense! Women should rise up for their rights - primacy of conscience and religious liberty. They should demand that the bishops treat them as equals images of God with the ability to make their own moral decisions motivated by conscience. I believe this is another reason that the male bishops are threatened by the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement.  Women priests are visible reminders that women are equal images of God and therefore, worthy to preside at the altar and to fill any position of ministry for which they are qualified.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Church's Ban on Contraception Starves Families and Damages Ecosystem/ Jamie L. Manson/ NCR
"As the battle over contraception coverage raged in our national debate last week, a small report on "PBS NewsHour" demonstrated the devastating effects that the Catholic church's ban on contraception has on poor nations..."

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
If we had a married priesthood, do you think they'd have large families? Would contraception be even an issue? I know that women priests are affirming primacy of conscience on this issue as well as other moral issues.  The institutional church's ban on contraception contributes to global poverty in the third world as Jamie Manson argues. Is this not a serious sin? Can you imagine Jesus of Nazareth supporting the Catholic Church's ban on contraception? Jesus criticized the religious leaders for placing heavy burdens - rules and rituals- on the people that did not draw them closer to God. Catholic hierarchy, take heed!