Saturday, July 14, 2012

Catholics Should Not Allow Bad Things like Sexual Abuse to Keep On Happening in our Church/ "Jerry Sandusky and doing the right thing"/Washington Post

In an article entitled: "Jerry Sandusky and doing the right thing," Alexandra Petri writes:
"Until people discover that really damages your institution is sacrificing your decency to its good name, such horrors will keep happening... People like Sandusky may well be monsters. But more frightening are the people who weren't monsters and allowed this monstrous thing to keep on happening.The real question of history is not how bad things happen to good people but how good people allow bad things to happen."

The lessons of the Penn State sexual abuse case apply to the Catholic Church. We should ask ourselves how could Catholics allow the  hierarchy to cover-up sexual abuse for so long? 

Again, Petri hits the nail on the head: "Individual failures of conscience multiply in the name of something comfortingly large like 'the program." 

The bishops and the Vatican chose to protect 'the church', not the victim of sexual abuse and in the end brought shame, devastation, and grave scandal to the church. 

Catholics should, like Voice of the Faithful, demand accountability and transparency from their church leaders in all cases of sexual abuse. No more cover-ups and intimidation of victims by diocesan lawyers!

If  the national media had put as much attention on the recent Philadelphia story of 37 priests accused of sexual abuse, two grand jury investigations, the conviction of Monsignor Lynn, and the cover-up by a Philadelphia cardinal as they did on Jerry Sandusky, Joe Paterno and Penn State, we might see more outrage and action by Catholics in support of zero tolerance of clergy sexual abuse of children and youth in the Catholic Church. 

As good people, followers of Christ, Catholics should not allow bad things like sexual abuse and its cover-up to  keep on happening in our church. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp

Friday, July 13, 2012

"A World Of Our Own", video set to music featuring photos of Pope and Cardinals/ Enjoy!
Oh my, back to Trent and the old, clerical, male dominated church illustrates that it is time for a more open, inclusive Catholic Church. Just how did the women priests get into this video!! Yet another example of the Vatican as the gift that keeps on giving.  Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp

"Jesus the Resurrection", Homily by Donna Rougeux, ARCWP, Wed. July 11, 2012

1st reading: Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24
Gospel: Matthew 9: 18-26

Good evening Resurrection community. The name of this community speaks of what is happening to our church when we gather for these liturgies so I am very happy about the choice of this name. When we embrace the teachings of Vatican II by coming together as equals to celebrate liturgies, in a place that welcomes all and encourages full active participation, we are bringing new life to our dying church. The readings we heard tonight from Wisdom and the Gospel of Matthew have resurrection as a theme.

The gospel story we are using tonight, in Matthew, is also in Mark and Luke. On the first Sunday of this month Mark's version was used. It was a longer version packed with meaning. The story in Matthew, shows an evolution of the people's understanding of Jesus. The emphasis of the story in Mark was 'Jesus as healer' and in Matthew the emphasis evolves to 'Jesus as the one who conquerors death or as the one who can transform death into new life'....Jesus was resurrected and has the power of resurrection. In Mark's version of the story the synagogue official describes his daughter as sick and in need of healing but in tonight's version he says his daughter just died. Jesus took the girl by the hand and she got up. Is Jesus inviting you to take his hand and arise to new life today?

Sleep, unconsciousness, and death are states that surround us in many forms throughout our life. But the reading from Wisdom teaches us that God is not the author of death. It reads "God created all things to be alive." In fact when we grasp the understanding of resurrection we find that we do not have to fear death because it always leads to new life. Embracing the Jesus who is the resurrection means transforming sleep to awake-ness, unconsciousness to consciousness and death to life.

Our culture here in the United States and in the Catholic church, unfortunately, too often encourages us to stay asleep, and unconscious. Hanging on to status quo requires that we follow the leaders, relying on tradition and being lulled into an untrue image of living in the land of the "free and the brave." If we remain in these states death looms ahead of us. The awakening that comes with maturity and with embracing the teachings of Jesus who is the resurrection, allows us to be conscious and alive. This transformation is life-giving and exciting but comes with responsibility and renders us unable to go back to being asleep. As we mature and grow into our divine selves...the selves that God has designed us to be, we must rely on Jesus. Even though we can't really turn back to being unconscious or asleep we still have the capacity to choose. We can choose to continue growing or to stay where we are. Choosing growth requires courage and strength along with taking less traveled roads and unpopular stances. Luckily we are not alone because Jesus takes us by the hand just as he did in the Gospel story with the little girl, and says to us "arise."

A great illustration in nature of the metamorphosis of a moth or a butterfly can help us understand what happens to us as we encounter transformations, growth and resurrection in our lives.  Listen to this story of a boy's experience with the metamorphosis of a moth.

A boy found a pear-shaped cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home and kept it for many months. In the meantime, he read about the peculiar-shaped cocoon, how the small end held a narrow opening through which the moth's body must pass. He read that it was no doubt the pressure to which the moth's body was subjected as it passed through this opening that caused the vessels in the wings to develop as the moth emerged.

A year had passed when he noticed the first efforts of the moth to escape her captivity. For several hours it wrestled with the mouth of the cocoon but seemingly could not free itself. Finally, with his penknife, the boy cut away the last few threads, hoping to make the exit a bit easier: It worked! The moth crawled out, dragging her swollen body and tiny wings. The youth continued his watch because he knew the beauty of these creatures at their best, but he was doomed to be disappointed. His seeming kindness had caused the moth to be stunted. She was so stunted, she only lived a short time, crawling painfully instead of flying. She needed that extra struggle to prepare her for life ahead.

How strong are your wings? Have you come through any struggles lately that strengthened you? Are you in the midst of a resurrection?

The other theme in the story tonight is about the faith that we need if we are to be healed and resurrected. Jesus commends the woman who touched his garment for her faith. In the story of the boy with the moth we see his desire to help the moth was possibly coupled with a lack of faith that the moth could endure the struggle. The power of faith in the resurrection Jesus is just what is needed to awaken us from sleep and bring us from death into new life. I close with part of Paul's words to the Ephesians, "May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, so that you, being rooted and grounded in love, will be able to grasp fully the breadth, length, height and depth of Christ's love and, with all God's holy ones, experience this love that surpasses all understanding, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fury at Archbishop's Dismissal by the Vatican/What did he do?/People of Slovakia are not happy/demand answers!

"Arlington Diocese Parishioners Question Need for Fidelity Oaths" by Michelle Boorstein,/" Will Catholic Teachers Be Forced by Bishops To Throw Away Their Birth Control Pills? " Reflection by Bridget Mary Meehan
Will Catholic teachers be forced by  the Catholic hierarchy to throw away their birth control pills?  How will a diocesan bishop, like Paul Loverde, check out compliance? In response to "Arlington Parishioners Question need for fidelity oaths" in the Washington Post July 12, 1012, I argue that church mandated fidelity oaths are a violation of freedom of conscience.  

Primacy of Conscience is a core Catholic moral belief that even the pope himself affirms. Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) expressed the Church’s understanding of the primacy of conscience – an understanding which he stated  while serving as Chair of Dogmatic Theology at the University of Tübingen in 1968.

“Above the pope as an expression of the binding claim of church authority,” writes Ratzinger, “stands one’s own conscience, which has to be obeyed first of all, if need be against the demands of church authority.” St. Thomas Aquinas, a major medieval church theologian, whom conservative church officials often quote, once said that he would rather be excommunicated than violate his conscience. 

It is hard to believe that a church embroiled in a global cover-up of sexual abuse of hundreds of thousands of youth by thousands of priests can get away with attempting to intimidate those who have dedicated their lives to teaching the faith in Catholic schools. How about a loyalty oath for priests and bishops to stop protecting pedophiles? Now there is crime and a scandal to address. See Philadelphia conviction of Monsignor Lynn and the current case against a Kansas bishop if you think this issue has been addressed. Go to ( This web site gives overview and details of the horrific sexual abuse crisis in the United States. Roughly two-thirds of top U.S. Catholic leaders have allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to keep working.)

The Arlington diocese is in clear violation of Catholic Church teaching that affirms primacy of conscience with these forced loyalty oaths. No one should demand that you violate your conscience in order to keep your job. Ask yourself what would Jesus do? Recall how he challenged the religious leaders of his time for their enforcement of rules and regulations that had nothing to do with true religion.   It sounds to me like these loyalty oaths are a local example of a Vatican -inspired, modern day Inquisition!  We, the people of God, are the church, and no church official can cancel our baptism or keep us from living our faith with love and compassion at the heart of the Gospel. 

This is yet another reason we need a renewed priestly ministry in an inclusive Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered Catholic church that includes women priests in every parish today!

Recommended articles:
Haring, Bernard. “Building a Creative Conscience: Resisting Moral Rigor Mortis”,Commonweal, August 11, 1989.
 Kennedy, T. Who Is Worthy? The Role of Conscience in Restoring Hope to the Church (Pluto Press, Annandale, 2000), pp. 84-85.

Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp

Washington Post article by Michelle Boorstein July 11, 2012
"Kathleen Riley knows her beliefs on the male-only priesthood and contraception put her at odds with leaders of her church. But as a fifth-generation Catholic who went to a Catholic school and grew up to teach in one, Riley feels the faith deeply woven through her. So when her Arlington parish asked for volunteers last summer to teach Sunday school, she felt called by the Holy Spirit to say yes.
A year later, the 52-year-old computer scientist feels the same spirit calling her to say no.
Last month, Riley joined at least four other Sunday school teachers and resigned from her post at St. Ann’s parish after a letter arrived at her home requiring her — and all teachers in the Arlington Catholic Diocese — to submit “of will and intellect” to all of the teachings of church leaders.
Although the St. Ann’s teachers represent a tiny fraction of the diocese’s 5,000 Sunday and parochial school teachers, the letter went out to parishes just as classes were finishing for the summer and diocese officials says they do not know how many teachers have received it.
The Arlington Diocese, which includes nearly a half-million Catholics across northern and eastern Virginia, is one of a small but growing number that are starting to demand fidelity oaths. The oaths reflect a churchwide push in recent years to revive orthodoxy that has sharply divided Catholics.
Such oaths are not new for priests or nuns but extend now in some places to people like volunteer Sunday school teachers as well as workers at Catholic hospitals and parish offices.
One in Baker, Ore., reiterates the sinfulness of abortion and says, “I do not recognize the legitimacy of anyone’s claim to a moral right to form their own conscience in this matter.” One in Oakland, Calif., requires leaders of a group doing outreach to gay and lesbian Catholics to say they “affirm and believe” official church teaching on marriage, hell and chastity.
The Arlington “profession of faith” asks teachers to commit to “believe everything” the bishops characterize as divinely revealed, and Arlington’s top doctrine official said it would include things like the bishops’ recent campaign against a White House mandate that most employers offer contraception coverage. Critics consider the mandate a violation of religious freedom.
The Arlington Diocese is considered among the most conservative in the country and was the next to last in the nation to say girls could serve at the altar. Teachers must give the new oath in front of a priest.
“The church is foremost a communion, not a building,” said the Rev. Paul deLadurantaye, Arlington’s head of education and liturgy. “And the church’s teaching is meant to be a service, not to coerce or oppress. . . . This is just to say the church is a reliable guide, more reliable in these matters than what I read elsewhere. There’s something more transcendent than just my own judgment.”
Diocesan spokesman Michael Donohue said the letter was sent to parishes this spring in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s direction that churches worldwide celebrate this year’s 50th anniversary of the start of Vatican II in various ways, including those that “profess our faith in the risen Lord.”
He said the oath is meant to be a positive sign to parents and called it uncontroversial.
“I can’t imagine there are many [teachers] who have issues with the church’s teachings on faith and morals,” Donohue said. Asked about polls showing that the majority of American Catholics use artificial contraception, forbidden by church doctrine, he said he “found it hard to believe” that anyone who had concluded that a church teaching was wrong would want to teach it..."

St. Mary Magdalene/BBC Documentary Now on Youtube/

BBC Documentary on Mary Magdalene (the film)

Mary Magdalene and Jesus: You Light Up My Life

 Read more:
Book for Bible Study, Women's Spirituality Groups, Inclusive Liturgies etc.
Bridget Mary Meehan, Praying with Women of the Bible, (chapter on St. Mary of Magdala,
Saragm Hagar Miriam, Deborah, Ruth, Esther, Judith, Samaritan Woman, Martha, Women with the Flow of Blood,  Mary, Mother of Jesus, Canaanite Woman, Mary of Magdala, Woman who anoints Jesus'head, Lydia, Mary, Mother of John Mark, Thecla.
This book has been used by individuals and groups for  Bible Study, Women's Spirituality Groups, Inclusive Liturgies etc.

Book on Mary Magdalene:
Margaret Starbird, author of The Woman with the Alabaster Jar

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Occupy Catholics Seek to Make Tradition Relevant to a New Movement by Jamie L Manson on Jul. 09, 2012 NCR Online

"We are the 99%, made in God's image, seeking God's justice."
So declares the Facebook page for Occupy Catholics, one of the latest additions to the pantheon of Catholic church justice movements. But rather than emerging out of Vatican II or in direct response to a particular crisis within the institutional church, Occupy Catholics might be the first progressive Catholic group to grow directly out of a popular movement..."

ARCWP and WOC Invite You to a Celebration Liturgy on the Feast of Saint M ary of Magdala on July 22, 2012, 2:30PM-4:30PM in Falls Church, VA.

Association of Roman Catholic
Women Priests
Women’s Ordination Conference

Cordially Invite You To A

Celebration Liturgy
on the Feast of Saint Mary of Magdala

Officiating Bishop
Bridget Mary Meehan, SFCC, ARCWP

Sunday ~ July 22, 2012 ~ 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

First Christian Church
6165 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22044
(please consult for directions)

A free will offering will be taken to help defray our expenses.  If writing a check, please make your donations payable to Godtalk Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit religious organization.  In addition, Inclusive Liturgies, Pink Smoke video, books and other resources will be available for purchase.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Berlin Cardinal Re-Affirms His Support for Lesbian and Gay Relationships
Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki
Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Berlin has re-affirmed his support for same-sex relationships which he made at a German conference of Catholic lay people back in May.
London's Tablet magazine, an international Catholic periodical, reports:
"The Church must rethink its approach to remarried divorcees and gay relationships, the world's youngest cardinal has said.
"Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, 55, made his comments in an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit and said that while the Orthodox Church considers only the first marriage sacramentally valid, divorce and a second marriage is tolerated. Asked whether this could be a model for the Catholic Church, he replied that the Church should talk about it.
Commenting on gay men in relationships he said he tried not to see them as just violating natural law but as people trying to take responsibility for each other in lasting partnerships. 'We must find a way of allowing people to live without going against church teaching,' he said."
Mark deVries, a Dutchman who blogs at In Caelo et in Terra (In Heaven and on Earth), has translated the relevant passage into English:
“ 'Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided,' the Catechism says about people with homosexual tendencies. If I take that seriously, I can’t merely see homosexual relationships as a 'violation of natural law,' as the Catechism puts it. I should also try to perceive it as people permanently taking responsibility for one another, being loyal and willing to take care of each other, even if I can’t agree with such a lifestyle. The lifestyle that we, as the Catholic Church, stand for, is the sacramental marriage between one man and one woman, open to the transmission of life. I have also said this at the Catholic Day in Mannheim, immediately before the passage you quoted.”
deVries disagrees that this statement is an endorsement of lesbian and gay relationships. He states:
"Reading this, I think it is unfair to see Cardinal Woelki’s earlier statement as an acceptance or even endorsement of homosexual relationships. He says clearly that he is unable to agree with this lifestyle. But, and this is the key, he does emphasise an important element of our dealings with people or situations that we don’t agree with. This element is love, as the catechism quote also hints at. Through love, we can see the good in situations which are “intrinsically disordered”, meaning that in their nature they are contrary to natural law. But, as Jesus has shown us, love trumps all, so even in these situations, love can shine through. Does that mean that homosexual acts and relations cease to be disordered? No, they don’t. But, as the Catechism and the cardinal indicate, we must acknowledge the fact that love, loyalty, responsibility and care can be present in this lifestyle."
I think that deVries' argument actually makes the point that Woelki does endorse same-gender relationships. By noting that the love relationship matters more than sexual activity, deVries is pointing out that Woelki's thinking is more in line with theologians, like the recently censured Sr. Margaret Farley, who argue that the quality of a relationship and the presence of love in a relationship should be our standards for moral judgement.
As we stated previously, Cardinal Woelki's comments are a breath of fresh air and part of a growing trend to give some positive acknowledgment of same-gender relationships from some high-ranking clerics in the church. May the discussion continue in this vein.
--Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

"Williams warns Church 'Frustrated' over Women Bishops" BBC/Women, Second Class in Anglican Church?


The Archbishop of Canterbury has said many in the Church of England
are "profoundly frustrated" as it struggles over the issue of women
bishops.The Church's ruling synod has outlined plans to exempt
 traditionalists from serving under women bishops.

But it has said it will now seek to delay Monday's vote on the change.

In his sermon, Dr Williams added that the Church must not become "depressed"
  over its problems...

'Second class'
The Church of England has confirmed that its steering committee for the
draft legislation on introducing women bishops would seek permission
adjourn the final approval debate...

This would allow the bishops to reconsider the amendment agreed in May.

Largely in order to secure the support of moderate conservatives in the synod
who are sympathetic to traditionalists, senior bishops amended the legislation
to ensure it would also give such parishes the right of access to a male bishop
who shared their beliefs about women's ordination.

But some liberal Anglicans feel this would render women "second class" bishops and
 indicated they may vote to reject the legislation, along with conservatives long opposed to the change....

BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott says a postponement
of the vote appears increasingly likely to avoid an
embarrassing and damaging rejection of the legislation."

Church Historian Predicts Schism over Attempts by Popes John Paul and Benedict's Attempt to Rewrte Vatican II
"A top Church historian has said he believes the Catholic Church
will undergo a major schism over its moral and social teaching.
"Christianity, the world's largest religion, is rapidly expanding -
by all indications, its future is very bright," said Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch,
professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University.
"But there are also many conflicts within it, and these
are particularly serious in the Roman Catholic Church,
which seems on the verge of a very great split over the
Vatican's failure to listen to European Catholics."
The 60-year-old historian predicted that the Catholic Church
faced a division over attempts by Popes John Paul II and
Benedict XVI to "rewrite the story" of the Second Vatican
Council by portraying it as a "minor adjustment" rather
than as a "radical move to change the way authority was expressed".

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Member of Liturgy Committee at Catholic Parish Ordained a Deacon by RCWP/Ecumenical Hospitality

Of Women Priests and Ecumenism and how we ... - Catholic News Live

A member of the liturgy committee at a San Francisco parish was 
ordained a deacon on Saturday June 23 according to the website 
of Roman Catholic Womenpriests ...

Bridget Mary's Reflection:
The author of this post's over- the- top- critique of ecumenism 
misses the point that RCWP is offering the church 
a renewed priestly ministry 
in inclusive, welcoming, grassroots communities of faith. 

We are welcome in other Christian churches because they are 
of our profound, prophetic role in renewing 
our RC church according to Jesus' vision and 
our earlier tradition.

Roman Catholic Women Priests are following Jesus' example 
of Gospel equality.
(check out Luke 8, that lists the names of the prominent women 
who were disciples of Jesus and notice the words that there were 
According to scholars, women bankrolled Jesus' ministry. 
The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala. 
Mary, not Peter, was the first apostle, commissioned by Christ
 to proclaim the good news of the resurrection.

Women presided at Eucharistic liturgies in early Christianity. 
See Romans 16.
Women were ordained for 1200 years. 
(Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women's Ordination

The Vatican's own scholars, the Papal Biblical Commission
 in 1976 stated that there is NOTHING in scripture that 
prohibits women's ordination. 

Roman Catholic Women Priests are as Catholic as the pope 
and faithful members of our church.
Our sisters and brothers in other denominations stand
in solidarity with the Spirit's liberating movement for justice
and equality in our church and world. 
Jesus prayed that all may be one. We rejoice
and live Jesus' vision for spiritual unity with 
our sisters and brothers now in mutual trust,
and with loving hearts. 

Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp