Saturday, May 12, 2012

Youtube Movie of Homily at Ordination of Two Roman Catholic Women Priests by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan , Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Link to Homily by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Ormond Beach Ordination Part3.mpeg - YouTube
Homily by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Ordination of Miriam Picconi and Wanda Russell as priests in Ormond Beach, Florida on April 14, 2012

"Pope Declares Hildegard of Bingen a Saint"/by James Martin S. J./America/ Hildegard Challenged Corrupt Hierarchy for Abuses

VATICAN CITY (Catholic News Service) -- "Although she was never canonized, St. Hildegard of Bingen is to be added to the Catholic Church's formal list of saints, and Catholics worldwide may celebrate her feast day with a Mass and special readings by order of Pope Benedict XVI.

The Vatican announced May 10 that the pope formalized the church's recognition of the 12th-century German Benedictine mystic, "inscribing her in the catalogue of saints." The same day, the pope advanced the sainthood causes of 19th-century U.S. Bishop Frederic Baraga of Marquette, Mich., and of Sister Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, a member of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, N.J., who died in 1927. The pope's order regarding St. Hildegard recognizes her widespread fame of holiness and the that Catholics have venerated her for centuries.
In a 2010 series of audience talks about women's contributions to the church, Pope Benedict dedicated two talks to St. Hildegard. He said she is a worthy role model for Catholics today because of "her love for Christ and his church, which was suffering in her time, too, and was wounded also then by the sins of priests and laypeople." In St. Hildegard's time, there were calls for radical reform of the church to fight the problem of abuses made by the clergy, the pope had said. However, she "reproached demands to subvert the very nature of the church" and reminded people that "a true renewal of the ecclesial community is not achieved so much with a change in the structures as much as with a sincere spirit of penitence...."
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Like the prophets of old, Hildegard preached an unpopular message of reform to Church officials.
Hildegard castigated Pope  Anastasius IV, she wrote: "Wherefore, O man, you who sit on the papal throne, you despise God when you embrace evil. For in failing to speak out against the evil of those in your company, you are certainly not rejecting evil. Rather you are kissing it. And so the whole world is being led astray through unstable error, simply because people love that which God cast down." (Letters of Hildegard of Bingen, vol. 1.)
Hildegard allowed the burial of a man who had been excommunicated in the monastery cemetery. Several days after his interment, Church officials ordered his body exhumed and threatened Hildegard's community with interdict, which meant her nuns could not receive the sacraments or recite the divine office if it did not comply. Hildegard chose interdict and conscience.
Saints Hildegard  Mother Thedore Guerin and Mother Mary MacKillop have two things in common. They were punished by the hierarchy of their time. Mother Guerin and Mother MacKillop were two nuns who were excommunicated by their bishops. Hildegard and her nuns were put under interdict. Now Pope Benedict has officially canonized these three  gutsy women as saints and role models of holiness for the entire church. Obviously the take home message is the church is always in the process of reforming itself in every age, and excommunication is not a barrier to sainthood. If Hildegard were alive today, she would probably have some harsh words to say to Benedict and the bishops who covered up the rape and sexual abuse of thousands of youth.  I disagree with the Pope who stated that her way would be penitence without change of structures, both are needed.
So cheer up, all you who face the ire of the hierarchy for your prophetic witness to justice and equality in the church including nuns and Girl Scouts. I consider my excommunication for prophetic obedience to the Gospel a badge of honor! It is a joy to walk in the footsteps of these gutsy women saints, trusting that there is nothing to fear because the power of God is with the marginalized and those who seek justice for all including the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement. One day, I pray, a future pope will welcome our movement and that the church will adopt the structural changes that will transform it into a more open, inclusive, just and egalitarian community of faith, rooted in Jesus' example in the Gospels.  
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Vatican vs. the Nuns. by John Shelby Spong

  ..."Dissent in an autocratic system strikes at the root of authority and threatens the imposed conformity. It now appears that the “independence” of these sisters had to be countered and the sisters brought into line, that is into conformity with the teaching of the bishops. So now a “visitation” has been ordered by the Vatican and, once again an all-male hierarchy in the name of a God named Father, has directed that women be disciplined and forced to conform to the patriarchal ordained leadership of the church if they want to remain in religious orders. Since no women can be ordained, there is no way that women in this church will ever be empowered to do anything, no court to which they can appeal this abuse of authority and the world gets to see how empty the idea still promulgated by this church really is: namely that treating women as second class citizens does not mean that women are regarded as “inferior” only that they are “different.” In this church all power flows through the hierarchy of the ordained and since no woman is in that flow chart, women are inevitably and finally powerless. “Separate but equal” was once nothing more than propagandistic perfume sprinkled over the stench of segregated America, now it is to be propagandistic perfume sprinkled over the stench of a patriarchal, sexist church. “Separate but equal” is always separate, but it is never equal!..."

US Catholic Bishops vs. Girl Scouts/ You Can't Make this Stuff Up!
The Girl Scouts are in trouble for Links to organizations like Doctors Without Borders that promote emergency contraception! Give me a break!
What world do these bishops live in? How about the real world where women are raped in war torn areas of the world?
It is old news that most pew-going Catholics  have used artificial birth control.
What's next for the bishops- a communion line shake down?
Perhaps an inquisition of Catholic workers on their bedroom practices?
A Catholic teacher has been fired for using in vitro fertilization to get pregnant.
It appears these bishops are engaged in a ill-advised war on women and girls. 
Soon there will be more Catholics excommunicated or fleeing the institutional church then "loyal" to the Pope and hierarchy Catholics who tow the ecclesiastical line in the church.
The silver lining in this dark cloud is that Roman Catholic Women Priests are growing in numbers and offering inclusive liturgies where all are welcome to receive sacraments. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Thursday, May 10, 2012

US Catholic Bishops Cover Sign Identifying Site in DC/ Afraid of Nun Justice Supporters?

This photo was on the Women's Ordination Conference Facebook page today. Interesting that the USCCB covered their sign because people were coming in support of the sisters and had been told to meet by the sign. Still over 60 people showed up at the USCCB headquarters. 

U.S. Catholic Bishops Take On Girl Scouts after the Nuns/War on Women!

"A lightning rod in the culture wars, Girl Scouts come under scrutiny from Catholic bishops"

Bridget Mary's Response: Unbelievable! Is there no end to the meddling by the Catholic bishops? This takes the cake, or should I say, cookie! What's next an official Catholic boycott of Girl Scout cookies! 
I am sure the nuns and women priests who have been excommunicated by the hierarchy, will support the Girl Scouts and their programs to foster leadership!  We need more women power. 
Hey everyone, let's reach out and purchase more Girl Scout cookies too?! Don't let the Catholic bishops control the Girl Scouts! 
"At issue are concerns about program materials that some Catholics find offensive, as well as assertions that the Scouts associate with other groups espousing stances that conflict with church teaching. The Scouts, who have numerous parish-sponsored troops, deny many of the claims and defend their alliances."

"US Priests Reportedly Behind Vatican Crackdown on Nuns"/ Take the Survey on MSNBC to Express Your Support of Nun Justice/ Bridget Mary's Response to MSNBC article and support of Nun Justice

...."Gibson, a Religion News Service correspondent, said the crackdown shows that concerns about poverty and economic inequality are taking a backseat in the church.“There’s so much riding on the gay marriage battle, and on abortion rights, and on contraception that [bishops] want everybody in the church to be doubling down on those issues and not being distracted by social justice,” Gibson told
Bridget Mary: What ever happened to the Vatican following the Gospel? Jesus' primary concern was living justice and compassion, loving God and neighbor. He taught "whatsoever you do the least of my sisters and brothers that you do unto me". Have the bishops tossed justice and compassion out the window in this latest power play to bully the nuns? I don't recall anything Jesus said about contraception or gay rights. And Gibson leaves out the "third elephant in the room, women's ordination." The nuns are in big trouble with the Vatican for their support of gender equality including women priests!  If the nuns go non-canonical, declare their independence from Vatican control, the women religious who have been doing priestly ministry for years, could be ordained. Just think how blessed Catholics would be to have nun priests. The nuns' views on contraception, gay rights and women's ordination reflect ordinary Catholics attitudes. The Vatican's bullying of the nuns is an abuse of power and a fiasco, both morally, spiritually. Another reminder that the hierarchy is not the church, the people of God are and they are supporting the nuns! 

...."Bishops have been playing defense for years in the wake of the church's sexual abuse crisis, and Gibson said they've been looking for issues on which they can reassert their moral authority.“These issues are ones they think they can do that on, so they really want to show that... they’re calling the shots,” he added.

Bridget Mary: You have got to be kidding. They have lost all moral credibility! The global sexual abuse coverup belongs at the door of the Vatican. This bullying of the nuns, most of whom are elderly and have devoted their entire lives to service to those in need, is the last desperate gasp of a patriarchal church, out of control! 

..."American Catholics are showing their support for the nuns, organizing vigils all over the country to advocate for the end of the crackdown. The Nun Justice Project is one organization standing with the nuns against what they call "a prime example of how the hierarchy in the Roman Catholic Church misuses its power to diminish the voice of women."An online petition started by Nun Justice had garnered more than 41,000 signatures at the time this story was written....The LCWR will meet starting May 29 to begin its discussion of the Vatican's doctrinal assessment and the implementation plan put forth by the Holy See. The Vatican has the power to remove the official recognition of the LCWR.

Bridget Mary: Hopefully, the LCWR, in prophetic obedience to the Spirit,  will affirm primacy of conscience in the hot button issues and  declare independence from Vatican control. It is not like the nuns need a good housekeeping seal of approval of the Vatican in the 21st century. As the young people today say, nuns rock!

Do you think the Vatican is justified in cracking down on U.S. nuns?"

Bridget Mary: Take the survey! Express your outrage. Support Nun Justice! The U.S. nuns should be investigating the Vatican for its global sexual abuse coverup that has allowed pedophiles to rape and sodomize children and youth. The Vatican's blatent bullying effort of the nuns is an exercise in hypocricy that boggles the mind! One recent example, the horrific, Philly sexual abuse cover up that goes to the top! And the Vatican has the nerve to investigate elderly nuns who have served the church for decades!
Bridget Mary Meehan, SFCC, ARCWP
I am a Sister for Christian Community, an independent Catholic religious community of Sisters, that was founded in the 1970's to offer a new paradigm of religious life for women who did not want to be controlled by the hierarchy, but wanted to be a leaven of Christian community in the church and world. I was ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest in Pittsburgh in 2006 and bishop in 2009.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Vigils for Nun Justice in Support of LCWR Are Being Held During May Outside Cathedrals in the U.S.

Tuesday evening May 8th Prayerful Vigil Portland, Oregon outside St. Marys Cathedral to support Catholic sisters. Catholics prayed this evening for the religious women and their leadership the LCWR as they begin to deal with the latest mandates from the Vatican. This is just one of many vigils taking place around the country on Tuesday nights during May. The message is clear that "The people are the Church" not the Vatican and that the people support the sisters and their positions on subjects of health care, women's equality in the church, gays and lesbians and freedom of conscience. Vigils in support of nun justice are being held on Tuesdays outside cathedrals in the United States.

Dear Cardinal Dolan: Is the Pope Catholic? Carol DeChant
"Dear Cardinal Dolan,
Because "60 Minutes" names you Our Man in Rome (as the most likely to become the first American Pope), I'm writing to ask about the Vatican's investigation of American nuns -- presumably for not being "Catholic enough." Can you find out: What is the Pope thinking? Can you influence this disastrous endeavor?
Let's assume the Vatican lacks knowledge of the role of nuns in American history: those women who pioneered health treatments, of cancer and hospice (Sister Rose Hawthorne Lathrop), of alcoholics (Sister Mary Ignatia) and of lepers (Mother Marianne Cope); who built schools --through college -- to educate African- and Native-Americans more than 80 years before our Civil Rights movement began (St. Katharine Drexel); and the colonist who founded the first American religious order (St. Elizabeth Seton) to care for poor children. Does the Pope know that American nuns developed the first infant incubator, built and ran the hospital that became Mayo Clinic and founded the world's largest private school system? That nuns were once THE educated working women in our country, establishing orphanages, hospitals and social service agencies with creativity, grit and perseverance (and sometimes being silenced by their bishops for their innovations)...."
..."These questions remain: Does the Pope really want to force American Catholics to choose between standing with our nuns or with a male hierarchy interrogating them for nebulous infractions, with a stated agenda of keeping their findings secret? Where could we find Jesus in all this -- among our nuns, whose life of service is based on the Gospels' call to justice and charity, or in the Vatican, whose concerns appear to be power and secrecy? At the very least, let the investigators ask those who know our nuns best -- the homeless, prisoners, battered women and their children, immigrants, inner-city students, the disabled, the bereaved and the bullied -- if these elderly women are "Catholic enough." And if not, then who is? Is even the Pope "Catholic enough"?
Carol DeChant founded the public relations firm DeChant-Hughes & Associates, Inc. Her recent book is "Great American Catholic Eulogies" (ACTA Publishers).

Support the Sisters: Future Church's List of Practical Ways You Can Help

Support the Sisters!
Dear FutureChurch Friends

Thanks to you, there are now over 40,000 signatures on a coalition petition supporting US sisters after an unprecedented Vatican mandate sought to undermine their integrity and right to freely discern how to live the Gospel.

Our coalition, the Nun Justice Project, has established a website,, and identified Six Things You Can Do to Support the Sisters.

We especially encourage you to:

Record a financial pledge to support your local religious order

Write the Apostolic Nuncio (download sample letters and addresses)

Pray now and during Pentecost week (download a sample prayer service.)

Follow Nun Justice on Tumblr

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) represents eighty percent of the 57,000 sisters in the United States. Their board will meet May 29-June 2 (Pentecost week) to consider a response to the Vatican's action.

FutureChurch is coordinating our advocacy with others in the church reform community.

Please pray for LCWR leaders and for all women religious who are deeply wounded by this latest action.

Thanks for taking action to support the sisters!

Chris Schenk csj, and the board and staff of FutureChurch

17307 Madison
Lakewood, OH 44111

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Historic 2nd Ordination in Lexington, KY. - Donna Rougeux to be ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest

Donna Rougeux at the Vatican (second from left in alb and deacon stole) joined Fr. Roy Bourgeois, middle, Janice Sevre Duszynska, right, Ree Hudson, behind Fr. Roy and Erin Hanna from WOC on far left)

Press Release date:  May 9, 2012

Contact:  Janice Sevre-Duszynska, 859-684-4247,

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, 703-505-0004,

Donna Rougeux, 859-221-3082,

On Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. Donna Rougeux of Lexington, Kentucky will be ordained a priest in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.  The presiding bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan of Falls Church, Virginia and Sarasota, Florida. The ceremony will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington, 3564 Clays Mill Road, Lexington, Kentucky 40503. 

As a pre-ordination event, on Saturday, June 2 at 10 a.m. "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican" will be shown at the Kentucky Theater, 214 East Main Street, Lexington 40507. The 58-minute documentary by filmmaker Jules Hart is the story of the justice struggle for ordination for women in the Roman Catholic Church. Tickets are $10 at the door. A Q/A will follow.

All are welcome to the ordination and pre-ordination screening.

Media are invited to a pre-ordination press conference on Saturday, June 9, at 1:30 p.m. at the church with the candidate and Bridget Mary Meehan. Call Janice (859-684-4247) to schedule an interview. 
The ordinand is theologically prepared and has many years of experience in ministry.  

Donna LeMaster Rougeux graduated from Lexington Theological Seminary in 2009 with a Masters in Pastoral Studies. She completed a residency with Hospice of the Bluegrass in 2010, earning four units of Clinical Pastoral Education. She has worked as a Hospice chaplain since she finished the residency and plans on becoming a certified chaplain. Donna is married and has three teenagers.

"I am so thankful that God has called me to work for reform in the Roman Catholic Church. I hope that my daughters, granddaughters and all women will be forever changed and affirmed to follow God's call because of the work that this movement has done and will do in challenging the Church to be the Kin-dom on Earth."

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests rejoices in a “holy shakeup” that millions of Catholics worldwide welcome. The good news now is that male priests, bishops, a cardinal as well as theologians have expressed their support of female priests. They are following in the footsteps of Maryknoll Roy Bourgeois whose prophetic call for a dialogue on women priests is being heard in more and more places today in our Church.

“Nothing can stop the movement of the spirit toward human rights, justice and equality in our world and in our Church,” said Bridget Mary Meehan. “The full equality of women is the voice of God in our time.”

ARCWP celebrates the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the nearly 60,000 women religious they represent in the United States. We reject the unjust, bullying behavior of the scandal-ridden Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who has ordered the LCWR to reform itself more closely to "the teachings and discipline of the Church." It is the corrupt hierarchy, who has spent billions of dollars and devastated the lives of thousands of youth in the sexual abuse crisis that needs reform, not the dedicated nuns in the U.S. Now is the time for the LCWR to speak truth to power. Declare a nuns' emancipation proclamation from Vatican control. Challenge Vatican misogyny publicly. Affirm primacy of conscience and gender equality including women's ordination.
The Women Priests movement in the Roman Catholic Church advocates a new model of priestly ministry united with the people with whom we minister. We stand in prophetic obedience to Jesus who calls women and men to be disciples and equals. The movement began with the ordination of seven women on the Danube in 2002. Today there are over 130 in the movement worldwide. ARCWP is in the United States and Latin America. Our specific charism within the broader global Roman Catholic Women Priests initiative is to live Gospel equality and justice for women in the Church and in society now. We work in solidarity with the poor and marginalized for transformative justice in partnership with all believers. Our vision is to live as a community of equals in decision making both as an organization and within all our faith communities. We advocate the renewal of the vision of Jesus in the Gospel in our Church and world.

"Philly Trial Reveals Unreliability of Religions' Self-Policing Policies" by Maureen Paul Turlish, National Catholic Reporter

"I found out something significant about the Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church as I sat inside Judge M. Teresa Sarmina's criminal courtroom in Philadelphia April 30 and listened to Msgr. Kevin Michael Quirk, a church canon lawyer from the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, W. Va. Quirk, the presiding judge during the 2008 canonical trial of Rev. James J. Brennan – one of two defendants in the current Philadelphia priest abuse trial – for charges of child sex-abuse, was on the stand to authenticate the transcript of that trial, as well as provide insight into the procedures of a canonical trial.

One revelation proved startling. While possible victims of childhood sexual abuse and other lay witnesses are asked to take an oath to “tell the truth, the whole truth etc.” during a canonical trial concerning the public good, an alleged priest-perpetrator is not. Canon 1728.2 says, “The accused is not bound to confess the delict [crime] nor can an oath be administered to the accused.” Why in God's name would anyone believe that an individual like the criminally charged Brennan is necessarily telling the truth during a canonical trial when he is not even required to swear to the truth of his statements? It seems to me that Quirk was describing one religious denomination's version of "I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may tend to incriminate me.” In so many words, Brennan took the Fifth.

Archbishop Chaput Removes Five Philly Priests/Victim Advocates Call for Accountability /Another Whitewash of Sexual Abuse by Catholic Church that Endangers Children?
"Archbishop Charles Chaput speaks at a May 4 press conference announcing the rulings on 8 of 26 priests suspended for sexual misconduct accusations. (Screen capture, Archdiocese of Philadelphia)
Five of the 26 Philadelphia priests suspended in the wake of sexual abuse allegations revealed in last year's grand jury report will be removed from public ministry, Archbishop Charles Chaput announced Friday at a press conference.
Three of the 26 will be returned to ministry, while 17 cases are still pending in various stages of the investigation process, Chaput announced.
Chaput said the fate of the five priests determined "unfit for ministry" is still unknown. Each has the option to appeal the decision to the Vatican. If they decline or fail in their appeal, they could face laicization, life under supervision or a life of prayer and penance...Abuse victims advocacy groups expressed dissatisfaction with Chaput's announcements.We are shocked that 14 months after a grand jury raised concerns over 37 accused priests, only eight of these cases are resolved. Catholics, citizens, children and the accused priests deserve better," said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests...
History shows us and common sense tells us that no institution can effectively investigate or police itself, certainly not an ancient, rigid, secretive, all-male one with a horrific track record on children's safety," he said.In a statement released after the press conference, Terence McKiernan of said, "Archbishop Chaput has missed a crucial opportunity to deal with allegations of sexual violence against children in a transparent way."He has given us absolutely no information about the alleged crimes or about how they were investigated. It is not enough to say that Gina Smith and her colleagues are trustworthy. The same claim was made about the Review Board, and look where that got us," he said in the release.
Chaput's invoking of the gag order related to Lynn's abuse trial and the need to protect victims' confidentiality is "the oldest excuse in the church's playbook," McKiernan said...The suspensions of the 27 priests came under former Philadelphia archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali, following a February 2011 grand jury report -- the second in six years -- that criticized the archdiocese for allowing dozens of priests to remain in ministry, despite having standing charges of sexual abuse and misconduct against them.When asked why it took two grand jury reports to get to a point of taking action on the suspended priests, Chaput declined to evaluate the past, saying he only arrived in Philadelphia eight months ago.The same 2011 report recommended charges against former secretary of clergy Msgr. William Lynn, Fr. James J. Brennan, Fr. Charles Engelhardt, defrocked priest Edward Avery and schoolteacher Bernard Shero. Lynn and Brennan are currently co-defendants in a trial about to enter its seventh week."We would have assumed, by the year 2011, after all the revelations both here and around the world, that the church would not risk its youth by leaving them in the presence of priests subject to substantial evidence of abuse. That is not the case," states the grand jury report.
The 2011 report found 41 priests with allegations of abuse against them that remained in assignments exposing them to children. Of the 41, four had died, were transferred to another diocese or had been removed, bringing the number at the time to 37 active priests in the archdiocese with allegations against them.
"We understand that accusations are not proof; but we just cannot understand the Archdiocese's apparent absence of any sense of urgency," the report states, adding, "These are simply not the actions of an institution that is serious about ending sexual abuse of its children. There is no other conclusion."

Monday, May 7, 2012

"Hierarchy's Inability to Mourn Thwarts Healing in Church" by Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea
"The Catholic hierarchy from the papacy on down seems to be roiling through a series of manic episodes in which they execute perverted power plays against those perceived as enemies. This kind of mania often is exhibited by large identity groups whose power has been threatened and who are unable to respond adaptively to that loss through a process of healthy mourning.
For decades now, the power of the Catholic monarchy to control the social, spiritual, and political lives of its members has been in decline. While Humane Vitae, the 1968 papal encyclical that upheld the church’s traditional ban on artificial contraception, placed Catholic dissension (or perhaps spiritual maturation) in relief in the late 1960s, the sexual abuse crisis returned it to center stage throughout the past decade. In fact, Humane Vitae was only superficially about birth control and the sexual abuse crisis was only partially about sexual abuse. Both crises were fundamentally about power: who holds it, over whom, to what extent, in what areas of life..... Even more recently, priests in some quarters have assumed a power to insist that attention be paid to the need and the rightness of expanding priestly ministry to the married and the female. In other words, the common citizens of the realm are calling out the royals on their failures to care well for those most in need -- victims of hierarchical neglect and abuse inherent in the sexual abuse crisis; priests who cannot meet the needs of the flock; women speaking on behalf of women and children, minorities, the Earth, and the poor...The failure to mourn power that is crumbling is rampant among the Catholic monarchy. A manic thrust to restore the past can be seen in a nostalgic return to cathedral length trains, cassocks, birettas, and a new/old missal in which words are more important than meaning...Catholicism and Saudi Arabia are the last all male kyriarchical monarchies left on the planet. The Catholic monarchy’s power cannot be restored to what it was. While the hierarchy shows no signs of growing and growing up through an adaptational mourning process, the rest of us can mourn the loss of the church we thought once was, so we are ready if a new day ever comes."
[Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea, a clinical psychologist, was the only mental health professional to address the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the sexual abuse crisis at their 2002 Dallas meeting, and she was one of the clinicians speaking about sexual abuse to the Conference of Major Superiors of Men that year. Frawley-O’Dea is coauthor of Treating the Adult Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse and coeditor of Predatory Priests, Silenced Victims.]

"Blame Mary for the Role of Women in Church Today" by Isabella R. Moyer/NCR
"Blame Mary for the belief that women, as natural nurturers, are best suited for home life, caring full-time for children and husbands. Blame Mary for promoting the perfect religious woman as a humble, obedient handmaiden. Blame Mary for giving generations of young girls an impossible paradigm of motherhood while remaining chaste and virginal spouses. Blame Mary for rationalizing the male-only priesthood. She, who is the holiest and most exalted of all humans, was not a priest. Therefore, women should strive for holiness, not ordination. Blame Mary.
Or, more correctly, blame those who continue to perpetuate the Mariology of the past....
...Mary is the woman of the Magnificat, praising God while crying out for justice and peace for all God's oppressed. Humble handmaidens do not cry out that the mighty be dethroned and the poor be raised.
Mary is a wife and mother who knows the fear of exile, the hardship of a refugee, the heartache and worries of raising a child......In this month of May, we will pray rosaries, sing her glories and lay flowers at her feet. We should also revisit this woman of the Gospels, for in her, we will find a model of discipleship for us all."

Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland Meet to Discuss Reforms including Women Priests/ Pope Benedict/Vatican Discipline Rebel Irish Priests

Association of Catholic Priests discuss Church's future
Cardinal Sean Brady
The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, has faced calls to resign

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An organisation which represents more than 850 priests in Ireland has been meeting on Monday to discuss the future direction of the Catholic Church.
The Vatican has recently criticised leading members of the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) for expressing views which contradict Church teaching.
The ACP meeting comes at a turbulent time for the Church in Ireland.
Its leader, Cardinal Sean Brady, is facing calls to resign over his handling of a clerical sex abuse case.
The ACP meeting, entitled "Towards an Assembly of the Irish Catholic Church", has been taking place at a hotel in Dublin.
One of the event's organisers, Father Brendan Hoban, said: "We believe that in 20 years time there will be very few priests in Ireland.
"We believe too, as everybody understands, that without priests you have no eucharist, and without eucharist you have no church.
"We are saying, 'what's the plan B'."
Many women at the conference said they felt excluded from the Church, and there were calls for a debate on the issue of female priests.
The organisers said they expected only 200 people to show up but there were more than 1,000, which they said was proof of the demand for a more open and democratic Catholic Church.
Change The conference was described as a first effort to bring people together to discuss the current state of the Catholic Church in Ireland which has been rocked in recent years by a series of high-profile child abuse scandals.
During that period, a number of priests have openly expressed their desire for change in Church rules on matters such as clerical celibacy, the ordination of women and the ban on contraception.


"The Catholic Church once dominated Irish public life, but Irish society has diverged sharply from its traditionalist teaching.
In the wake of the sex abuse scandal - and with its leader Cardinal Brady hamstrung by his own role in failing to report abuse to police - the Irish Church has lost authority and respect with bewildering speed.
The deepening sense of public alienation, and dwindling congregations has rallied more than a quarter of all active Roman Catholic priests in Ireland to what amounts to a rebel group.
On Monday, they recruited lay Catholics to the call for fundamental reforms, including some they know Rome views as impossible. It represents an unprecedented challenge to the Vatican's authority.
For its part, the Vatican will flatly refuse such reforms, but publicly it is likely to say little, hoping to deny the Association of Catholic Priests the advantage that taking them on might provide.
However, in recent months, some of Ireland's most vocal, liberal priests have been disciplined by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
They include leading ACP member, Father Tony Flannery, and the broadcaster and newspaper columnist Fr Brian D'Arcy.
Fr Flannery, who is based in County Galway, was ordered to stop writing articles for a Redemptorist Order magazine to which he had contributed for 14 years.
Fr D'Arcy was told he must get prior approval to write or broadcast on topics dealing with church doctrine.
In the run-up to Easter, Pope Benedict warned that the Church would not tolerate priests speaking out against Catholic teaching.
Last week, a BBC documentary uncovered new revelations about an internal Church investigation into clerical child sex abuse in 1975.
It said a teenage boy who had been sexually abused by Fr Brendan Smyth gave the names and addresses of other children who were at risk from the paedophile priest to Cardinal Brady, who at that time was a 36-year-old priest.
He passed the allegations to his superiors but did not inform the police or the children's parents.
Fr Smyth continued to sexually assault one of the boys for a year after that.
He also abused the boy's sister for seven years, and four of his cousins, up until 1988.
The ACP recently commissioned a survey of Irish Catholics which found that 90% would support the introduction of married priests.
The survey also found that 77% of Irish Catholics want women to be ordained, while more than 60% disagreed with Church teaching that gay relationships were immoral.
At the time, Fr Brendan Hoban from the ACP said the results were proof that the perception of Irish Catholics as traditionalist, conservative and resistant to change was wrong."

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All are welcome at Inclusive Liturgies at Mary Mother of Jesus Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Bridget Mary Meehan, Lee Breyer, Michael Rigdon , Katy Zatsick
celebrate Easter Vigil liturgy with Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community.
Liturgies are scheduled on Saturdays at 4 PM at St. Andrew United Church of Christ in Sarasota, Florida. (all year round). Contact Roman Catholic Woman Priest Katy Zatsick for more information:

Roman Catholic Women Priests Visit the Vatican:"We Can Not Wait for the Church to Change"

( left to right: Juanita Cordero, RCWP-USA and Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, RCWP-Austria)
An article written in Spanish by Eusebio Valand translated by ZoomBookmarkSharePrintListenEnglish\

A bishop and a priest, Catholic dissidents explain their defiance of the Vatican
The two former nuns were not allowed to take communion in the church of San Pedro and were asked to leave the basilica.
They are staying in one of the numerous Roman convents operated as hotels, five minutes walk from the Vatican. But hide their status to avoid problems with the nuns. They put the collar on when entering the streets. The Austrian Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, 56, is a founder of the dissident movement Roman Catholic Women Priests (RCWP)-Roman Catholic priests, and has already reached the rank of bishop. The American Juanita Cordero, 70, is serving as a priest in a worshiping community in Los Gatos (California). They are tourists in Rome, but took the opportunity to contact the press and made public in its sole discretion. "Our main goal is to testify that the (women) priests are here to stay, we have been called to the priesthood, which are equal to men," Cordero says with conviction. "God has called me, I know we can not wait for Rome to change," drives home this petite and energetic widow. From the age of 17 to 27 years Cordero was a nun. Then she married a former Jesuit. They had four children and adopted a fifth African American. Cordero was always very active in her Catholic parish. She cannot earn money in the Church but just wants to do pastoral work, and continue her commitment to serve the people. Nothing more. " The Bishop (Christine)was between 20 and 25 years, a Benedictine nun. Then she left the convent and got married. She clarifies that, despite its rebellious stance, she is still paying the voluntary levy that exists in Austria for Catholics. According to Cordero, the relationship between RCWP and the official Church is uneven. Both say they receive much support from the religious orders, especially the Jesuits and Franciscans, and less from diocesan priests, "but this support is growing quietly." Mayr-lumetzberger warns that diocesan priests are afraid of reprisals, of losing their parishes and their salaries. - Where is the Church, after seven years with Pope Benedict XVI? -We asked. - Backwards-Cordero answers without hesitation.. The bishop and the priest of RCWP complain about the diminishing role given to women in the liturgy, including by deleting altar girls. Mayr-Lumetzberger attributes it "the ministry of dictatorship," which, in her view, overlooking the Church. "There is much fear of being thrown out of office," she says. Both are convinced that there will be a collapse of existing structures, but that will be healthier for the faithful. "The issue is not only priests, but gays and lesbians, divorced Catholics, contraception, are closed questions for discussion." laments Cordero. Mayr-lumetzberger confident that in the future, little by little, the Vatican accepts exceptions by the back door, as it has done with the inclusion of Anglican married priests or special status for traditionalists Lefebvrists. According to the bishop, the successor to the current pope may open hands with women. And remember: "The mission of the bishops, also the bishop of Rome, is to unite, not divide."

Center “No podemos esperar a que la Iglesiacambie”

Ciudad del Vaticano. Corresponsal
Están alojadas en uno de los numerosos conventos romanos que funcionan como hoteles, cinco mi- nutos a pie del Vaticano. Pero ocultan su condición para no te- ner problemas con las monjas. Se ponen el alzacuello en la calle. La austriaca Christine Mayr-Lu- metzberger, de 56 años, es una de las fundadoras del movimien- to disidente Roman Catholic Wo- men Priests (RCWP) –sacerdoti- sas católicas romanas– y ya ha lle- gado al rango de obispa. La esta- dounidense Juanita Cordero, de 70 años, es sacerdotisa y atiende a una comunidad de fieles en Los Gatos (California). Están en Ro- ma de turismo, pero aprovechan para contactar con la prensa y darse a conocer con discreción.
“Nuestro principal objetivo es
A las dos ex monjas se les impidió comulgar en la basílica de San Pedro y fueron expulsadas
testimoniar que las sacerdotisas estamos aquí para quedarnos, que hemos sido llamadas al sacer- docio, que somos iguales a los hombres”, afirma con convicción Cordero. “Dios me ha llamado, lo sé; no podemos esperar a que Ro- ma cambie”, remacha esta viuda menuda y enérgica.
Desde los 17 hasta los 27 años Cordero fue monja. Luego se ca-
só con un ex jesuita. Tuvieron cuatro hijos y adoptaron a un quinto, afroamericano. Cordero siempre fue muy activa en su pa- rroquia católica. También traba- jó como enfermera voluntaria en Latinoamérica y África. “Soy ca- tólica hasta la médula”, enfatiza.
El jueves pasado, en la basílica de San Pedro, en una misa mati- nal a la que asistían muchos sa- cerdotes, Mayr-Lumetzberger y Cordero quisieron comulgar, pe- ro se lo impidió un joven cura. Ya las habían detectado el día ante- rior. Luego, mientras visitaban la cripta, guardias vaticanos las obli- garon a salir del templo.
El movimiento RCWP nació en Austria, en el 2002. Su prime- ra acción fue la ordenación de sie- te sacerdotisas. Para ello logra- ron la colaboración de un ex obis- po argentino, Rómulo Braschi. Ahora, entre diáconas, sacerdoti- sas y obispas, son unas 130 en to- do el mundo. A las candidatas se les exige una licenciatura en Teo- logía. El mayor crecimiento se produce en Estados Unidos. Ob- viamente, el Vaticano no las reco- noce y las ha excomulgado.
“Eso no me afecta para nada –comenta la obispa Mayr-Lu- metzberger–. Es un castigo que no funciona”. “No queremos ga- nar dinero en la Iglesia ni hacer carrera –agrega–. Sólo queremos hacer trabajo pastoral, seguir nuestra vocación y servir a la gen- te. Nada más”. La prelada fue, en- tre los 20 y los 25 años, monja be- nedictina. Luego dejó el hábito y se casó. Aclara que, pese a su pos- tura contestataria, sigue pagando el impuesto voluntario que existe en Austria para los católicos.
Según Cordero, la relación en- tre RCWP y la Iglesia oficial es desigual. Dicen recibir mucho apoyo de las órdenes religiosas, en especial de jesuitas y francisca- nos, y menos de los sacerdotes diocesanos, “aunque su respaldo está aumentando de manera si- lenciosa”. Mayr-Lumetzberger advierte que los sacerdotes dioce- sanos tienen miedo de sufrir re- presalias, de perder sus parro- quias y sus salarios.
–¿Dónde va la Iglesia, tras sie- te años de Benedicto XVI como papa? –les preguntamos.
– Hacia atrás –contesta, sin du- darlo, Cordero.
La obispa y la sacerdotisa de RCWP se quejan del papel cada vez menor que se da a las muje- res en la liturgia, incluso supri- miendo las niñas monaguillos. Mayr-Lumetzberger lo atribuye “al mecanismo de la dictadura” que, a su juicio, domina la Iglesia. “Hay mucho miedo a que los echen de sus puestos”, afirma. Ambas están convencidas de que habrá un derrumbe de las actua- les estructuras, pero eso será sa- no y recuperará a los fieles. “El tema no es sólo las sacerdotisas, sino los gais y lesbianas, los católi- cos divorciados, los anticoncepti- vos; son cuestiones cerradas”, la- menta Cordero.
Mayr-Lumetzberger confía en que en el futuro, poco a poco, el Vaticano acepte excepciones por la puerta de atrás, como ha he- cho con la inclusión de curas ca- sados anglicanos o con un estatus especial para los tradicionalistas lefebvrianos. Según la obispa, el sucesor del actual Papa tal vez abra la mano a las mujeres. Y re- cuerda: “La misión de los obis- pos, también del obispo de Ro- ma, es unir, no dividir”.c

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Sister Brigid McDonald Calls Vatican's Reprimand of U.S. Nuns Group a 'Misuse of Power' " By Beth Hawkins | 05/04/12 
"Last month, Benedict announced that a four-year Vatican investigation had found the Leadership Conference of Women Religious has challenged church teaching on homosexuality, the ordination of women and the 2010 health-care reform popularly dubbed Obamacare. Nuns, the investigation also concluded, spend too much energy on poverty and economic injustice and not enough on abortion and same-sex marriage.
Leaders of the group, which represents some 80 percent of U.S. nuns, including McDonald's order, are not yet ready to speak publicly about the Vatican’s decision to appoint a bishop to oversee five years of reform, screen every speaker at its public programs and replace its handbook for talking about matters the Vatican said should be settled doctrine.
At 79¾ years old, McDonald is not about to stop calling things like she sees them. One of three biological sisters who are all members of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, where she devotes her time to the peace movement, she doesn’t seem to fear Rome’s displeasure. All of which must make her precisely the kind of radical the Vatican hopes to whip into doctrinal shape.
McDonald recently shared her personal reaction to the news with MinnPost. What follows is an edited transcript of that conversation.
MinnPost: What are you hearing in your community about the decision?
Sister Brigid McDonald: Well, some are shocked that he would go that far, you know, to start using his power. To me, it is a misuse of power, a misuse of authority where he can step into religious communities and dictate how they should speak about these issues....
MP: Who do you think will be hurt by this move?
SBM: I have a feeling women theologians who are partners with the nuns and some of our teachers in our schools will be really hurt. It will be a fear hurt and they may not feel free to speak out.
I am suspicious of the motivation. I don't think it is for the common good. They are trying to get us back, bring us back, as it was in the beginning and now as it will ever be, amen, or something like that. They want us back in the habits and being obedient. You don't belong out here with social workers.
MP: Do you think that it will work?
SBM: I can't imagine it working. I think we are too wrapped up in the issues of the time. You can't just forget the common good and the people who are suffering right now. The more you are with those in pain, the more radical you become to overcome that pain. I don't think it is possible to go backwards.
I really feel that Jesus would want us to go forward and to be out there where the people are in pain. I believe that about Jesus. I always say, Jesus never said worship me, he said follow me, so that is what I am trying to do.We haven't got any more habits left anyhow. We would have to find those all over again."

"Bishop Morlino Warns Dissenters to Stop — or Else" by DOUG ERICKSON | Wisconsin State Journal | Another Example of Bullying by the Hierarchy

 Two Catholic scholars called highly unusual, appears to include the possibility of offenders being prohibited from taking part in church sacraments such as communion, confession and burial.
"Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino has moved to quell a backlash against a group of conservative priests in Platteville by warning parishioners they risk formal church censure unless they stop spreading "rumors and gossip."
The action by Morlino, which two Catholic scholars called highly unusual, appears to include the possibility of offenders being prohibited from taking part in church sacraments such as communion, confession and burial.
The warning came in a five-page letter Wednesday from Morlino to St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Platteville. The congregation has been roiled by opposition to the traditionalist priests, who began serving the parish in June 2010.
Within months, church donations fell by more than half, and about 40 percent of the church’s 1,200 members signed a petition seeking the priests’ ouster. The church’s 77-year-old school is set to close June 1, a loss many parishioners tie directly to the collapse of donations.
The letter, in which Morlino raises the prospect of invoking the church’s Code of Canon Law against dissenters, has stunned many parishioners.
"There’s almost shock and awe," said Myron Tranel, a member of the church’s finance council. "But mostly, there’s a lot of disappointment that the bishop has decided to deal with it this way..."
Others applaud the bishop’s move, saying decisive action was needed because criticism had gotten out of hand."

Read more:

"Thank You, Sisters!" from Fr. Jim Martin, SJ America Magazine

 Jim Martin, SJ (America Magazine)

Austrian Catholic Parish Does Not Receive Communion at First Holy Communion/ Austrian and German Priests Challenge Vatican on Women Priests/Pope Benedict Reproves Them for " Call to Disobedience"

VIENNA, Austria -- "The parish church of Amras, Austria, near Innsbruck in Tyrol, was chock-a-block full for the first-Communion Mass on April 22. Shortly before Communion, the parish priest, Norbertine Fr. Patrick Busskamp, announced that only Catholics who were in a state of grace should come forward to Communion. Catholics who are divorced and remarried and Catholics who do not attend Mass every week were not worthy to receive the Eucharist, he said.
When Communion time came, not a single adult came forward. The entire congregation demonstratively remained seated. Only the children received Communion....
Referring to the high numbers of Catholics who are leaving the church -- more than 87,000 Austrian Catholics have formally left the church in the last two years -- one of the mothers of a child receiving first Communion told the press it was incomprehensible that the few remaining Catholics were being antagonized like this. Another mother warned that the patience of faithful Catholics is nearing its end...
In June last year, the Austrian Priests' Initiative, which claims about 400 members, released a document, "Call to Disobedience," that suggests saying a public prayer at every Mass for church reform; giving Communion to everyone who approaches the altar in good faith, including divorced Catholics who have remarried without an annulment; allowing women to preach at Mass; and supporting the ordination of women and married men.
Also last year, 311 German-speaking theologians from Austria, Germany and Switzerland endorsed the ordination of women and married men and called for an "open dialogue" on the church's "structures of power and communication."
Pope Benedict XVI used his homily [1] during this year's Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, April 5, to criticize dissent from church teachings as an illegitimate pathway toward reform and renewal. Without specifying the country, Benedict said a group of priests from a European nation had issued a call for disobedience of church teaching, specifically regarding the question of women's ordination.
Last June, while making it clear he could not allow an "appeal to disobedience" to stand because it "disrupts church unity," Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna gave the dissenting priests time to reflect. He said he hoped for an "amicable" solution.
After the pope's Holy Thursday homily, Schönborn again urged the Austrian priests to remove the word "disobedience" from their declaration.
In a long interview in the Austrian daily Der Standard, the pastor of Vienna's cathedral parish, Fr. Anton Faber, said he believes Schönborn has signaled a paradigm shift [2] in the Austrian church. Talking about the cardinal's allowing a gay man in a registered same-sex marriage to remain on a local parish council, Schönborn was telling his priests to always give priority to the individual human being as Jesus had done.
"I am very proud of the cardinal. That was an exceptional decision. Anything else would have been a disaster. To send away a committed member of the parish council who enjoys the trust of his parish because he lives in a same-sex partnership would have been madness," Faber said. "That was an example of living reality that every sensible priest practices. It is the way in which we priests in the archdiocese of Vienna have been coping with the dilemma of remarried divorced Catholics for more than 10 years now."
The cathedral priest also spoke with high regard for the Austrian Priests' Initiative, though he is not a member. The members are "excellent, convincing and deeply impressive priests who in no way corresponded to the image of rebels," Faber said.
After years of striving for church reform, they have chosen a rhetorical device -- their call to disobedience -- that has caused a stir and attracted the attention of Schönborn and Rome more than had previously been the case, Faber said."
He said it is imperative for the church to address such issues as priestly celibacy; women's position in the church; who should have a say in episcopal nominations; and homosexuality.
[Christa Pongratz-Lippitt is an Austrian correspondent for the London-based weekly Catholic magazine The Tablet.]