Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests: Invitation to Ordination of Six Women in Atlanta, Georgia on Oct. 20, 2012

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Joyfully invites you to a

 Celebration of Ordination to the Priesthood

Diane Dougherty (Newnan, GA)
And the

 Celebration of Ordination to the Diaconate

                                     Barbara Anne Duff (Macon, GA)
Debra Meyers (Batavia, OH)
     Joleane Presley (Manassas, VA)
     Rosemarie Smead(Bedford, KY)
         Irene Scaramazza (Columbus, OH)

October 20, 2012
First Metropolitan Community Church
1379 Tullie Road
Atlanta, GA 30329

Ordaining Bishop
Bridget Mary Meehan

Friday, August 24, 2012

"The Not-So-Social-Gospel" by Rev. James Martin, SJ, America

Thank you, Fr. James Martin, for this insightful reflection!
The Lazy Paralytic
1. "When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at his home. 2. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. 3. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. 5. When Jesus saw this he grew angry, “Why did you wreck my roof? Do you have any idea how much that cost to install? Do you know how many tables and chairs I had to make in my carpentry shop to pay for that roof? The reeds alone cost five talents. I had them carted in from Bethany.” 6. The disciples had never seen Jesus so angry about his possessions. He continued, “This house is my life. And the roof is the best part.” The disciples fell silent. 7. “It’s bad enough that you trash my private property, now you want me to heal you?” said Jesus, “And did you not see the stone walls around this house?” “Yes,” said the man’s friends. “Are these not the stone walls common to the towns and villages of Galilee?” 8. “No,” Jesus answered. “This is a gated community. How did you get in?” The man’s friends grew silent. 9. Then Jesus turned and said to the paralytic, “Besides, can’t you take care of your own health problems? I’m sure that your family can care for you, or maybe the synagogue can help out.” 10. “No, Lord,” answered the man’s friends. “There is no one. His injuries are too severe. To whom else can we go?” 11. “Well, not me,” said Jesus. “What would happen if I provided access to free health care for everyone? That would mean that people would not only get lazy and entitled, but they would take advantage of the system. 12. Besides, look at me: I’m healthy. And you know why? Because I worked hard for my money, and took care of myself.” The paralyzed man then grew sad and he addressed Jesus. “But I did work, Lord,” said the paralytic. “Until an accident rendered me paralyzed.” “Yes,” said the man’s friends. “He worked very hard.” 13. “Well,” said Jesus, “That’s just part of life, isn’t it?” “Then what am I to do, Lord?” said the paralytic. “I don’t know. Why don’t you sell your mat?” 14. All in the crowd then grew sad. “Actually, you know what you can do?” said Jesus. “You can reimburse me for my roof. Or I’ll sue you.” And all were amazed. 15. “We have never seen anything like this,” said the crowd.
The Very Poorly Prepared Crowd
1. The day was drawing to a close, and the twelve apostles came to Jesus and said, “Send the crowd away, so that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a deserted place.” 2 But Jesus said to them, “Why not give them something to eat?” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” 3 For there were about five thousand men. And Jesus said to his disciples, “You know what? You’re right. Don’t waste your time and shekels. It would be positively immoral for you to spend any of your hard-earned money for these people. They knew full well that they were coming to a deserted place, and should have relied on themselves and brought more food. As far as I’m concerned, it’s every five thousand men for themselves.” 4. The disciples were astonished by this teaching. “But Lord,” said Thomas. “The crowd will surely go hungry.” Jesus was amazed at his hard-headedness. “That’s not my problem, Thomas. Better that their stomachs are empty than they become overly dependent on someone in authority to provide loaves and fishes for them on a regular basis. Where will it end? Will I have to feed them everyday?” “No, Lord,” said Thomas, “Just today. When they are without food. After they have eaten their fill, they will be healthy, and so better able to listen to your word and learn from you.” Jesus was grieved at Thomas’s answer. Jesus answered, “It is written: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” So taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and took one loaf and one fish for himself, and gave the rest to the twelve, based on their previously agreed-upon contractual per diem. But he distributed none to the crowd, because they needed to be taught a lesson. So Jesus ate and he was satisfied. The disciples somewhat less so. “Delicious,” said Jesus. What was left over was gathered up and saved for Jesus, should he grow hungry in a few hours. The very poorly prepared crowd soon dispersed.
The Rich and Therefore Blessed Young Man
1. As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to him and knelt before him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 2. And Jesus said to him, “What have you done so far?” 3. And he said to Him, “Well I was born into a wealthy family, got into a good school in Galilee because my parents donated a few thousand talents for a building with a nice reed roof, and now I have a high-paying job in the Roman treasury managing risk.” 4. Looking at him, Jesus felt an admiration for him, and said to him, “Blessed are you! For you are not far from being independently wealthy.” And the man was happy. Then Jesus said, “But there is one thing you lack: A bigger house in a gated community in Tiberias. Buy that and you will have a treasure indeed. And make sure you get a stone countertop for the kitchen. Those are really nice.” The disciples were amazed. 5. Peter asked him, “Lord, shouldn’t he sell all his possessions and give it to the poor?” Jesus grew angry. “Get behind me, Satan! He has earned it!” Peter protested: “Lord,” he said, “Did this man not have an unjust advantage? What about those who are not born into wealthy families, or who do not have the benefit of a good education, or who, despite all their toil, live in the poorer areas of Galilee, like Nazareth, your own home town?” 6. “Well,” said Jesus, “first of all, that’s why I left Nazareth. There were too many poor people always asking me for charity. They were as numerous as the stars in the sky, and they annoyed me. Second, once people start spending again, like this rich young man, the Galilean economy will inevitably rebound, and eventually some of it will trickle down to the poor. Blessed are the patient! But giving the money away, especially if he can’t write it off, is a big fat waste.” The disciples’ amazement knew no bounds. “But Lord,” they said, “what about the passages in both the Law and the Prophets that tell us to care for widows and orphans, for the poor, for the sick, for the refugee? What about the many passages in the Scriptures about justice?” 7. “Those are just metaphors,” said Jesus. “Don’t take everything so literally.”
James Martin, SJ/America Magazine

"Taking its medicine does the Vatican some good"by John L Allen Jr/ Pope Not Big Boss of Priests is NEWS to Catholics by Bridget Mary Meehan
I disagree with John Allen. If you take an objective look at the relationship between the Vatican and Catholic  priests and conclude that the Vatican isn't their boss, you'd be mistaken. I recall the Vatican  fired Bishop Morris from Australia for raising the issue of women's ordination as a possible response to a shortage of priests in his diocese. And the list is long of other "boss" like actions such as the censure of priests like Fr. Roy Bourgeois for his support of women priests, and the condemnation of  theologians and priests in Austria, Ireland, and Germany who challenge official church teaching on women priests. Judge Mosman may not be familiar with theVatican's inner workings, but John Allen surely is. Come on, John, don't try to shop this judgement as the reality in our church to ordinary Catholics. We know better! Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,,
John Allen's writes:
..."Now, however, we have an American judge with no dog in Catholic fights -- for the record, Mosman is a Mormon -- who took an objective look at the relationship between the Vatican and Catholic priests and concluded that the Vatican isn't their boss.
In a flash, Mosman might have done more to explain Catholic ecclesiology to the outside world than a whole rafter of paid church spokespersons has accomplished since, well, the dawn of time.
In terms of church politics, the ruling could also act as a firebreak against attempted micro-management from Rome. In the future, if somebody in the Vatican tries to push a priest around, he'd be well advised to reply: "Didn't you guys swear to an American judge that I don't work for you?"

Thursday, August 23, 2012

“Mary Has Chosen the Better Vocation. Do Not Take It Away from Her.”/Mary of Bethany

“Mary Has Chosen the Better Vocation. Do Not Take It Away from Her.”/Mary of Bethany:"Do not take Mary’s vocation as my student away from her. She is entitled to whatever the men students are entitled to. She has the right to be ordained.":

"One problem for a Catholic, even an ethnic Catholic like me, is that getting a Ph.D. tends to make you think you have the right to argue with the Pope, even if he doesn’t think so. Actually, one has a duty to argue with the Pope, because few laypeople have had enough theological training to even know what the conversation is actually about. When the Pope is wrong, it is a sin of omission not to tell him so.

Recently Benedict XVI gave a public statement in which he said that pedophilia committed by Catholic priests was both a sin and a crime and would be punished. Better late than never. One can see why it has been a logistical problem. Apparently, if it had been dealt with when it happened, the Catholic Church in America would have been even more seriously understaffed.

However, unfortunately, at the same time, Benedict said that advocating the ordination of women as priests was just as serious a sin as committing pedophilia. Even Catholics are wondering what planet Benedict thinks he’s living on. The ordination of women as priests is now routine in many Christian denominations, and many Catholic worshippers believe their church’s ban is wrong. But the Vatican, together with the Catholic wing of the Church of England, believes that since Christ did not appoint any women as apostles, it is wrong for women to assume leadership in the Church. That is a specious argument, and it is hard to believe that Benedict, who is a brilliant theologian, does not know that.

There are many peripheral issues around this topic that are relevant, but, if anything, get in the way. One point that needs to be understood is that “apostle” did not mean “disciple.” The Gospels say that Jesus appointed twelve men as ambassadors (“apostle” comes from “apostellen,” which meant “to send out”), that is, to be missionaries, travelling in pairs around the country, for safety. It was merely one specific task, but one absolutely too dangerous for women in that society. However, there were many more than twelve disciples. Further, the Greek term usually translated as “disciple” was not a churchy word and did not imply any sort of ordination. It was mathetes, the ordinary term for any student, including the students of a Rabbi.

Look at the Gospel of Mark. It says that Jesus sent two students to prepare the Seder meal and later arrived there with the twelve men. So the two students who prepared the meal were NOT from the Twelve, and in that society, it was women who cooked the meal, not men. In addition, women must be present for the Seder ritual to be carried out according to the traditional requirements. Anyone looking at that story with fresh eyes would deduce that the two cooks must have been women.

Still, circumstantial arguments like that are not convincing, and the tactics devised for explaining them away have been stockpiled over the centuries. There is a more convincing story, if it is correctly translated. As I mentioned, before I began my doctoral program in 1974, I taught myself to read Greek. I wanted to be able to tell if the Gospels had been translated correctly and honestly. There are a few places where they have not been; for some of these, it is hard to believe that the mistranslation was not intentional.

On the topic of ordaining women, the crucial story to understand in the one about Mary and Martha, in Luke 10. Jesus has come to have dinner with these friends. While Martha is cooking, Mary is sitting at his feet as he talks. This was the ordinary way for students of a Rabbi to sit. He sat on a stool; they clustered around him, arms around knees, so that he did not have to raise his voice. There is a passage in the Talmud that says, “When a sage visits your home, do not sit beside him on the couch. Sit at his feet and listen as attentively as if you were in the schul.” So that’s how Mary was sitting, as a student among the men students.

Martha comes out and complains to Jesus that Mary is not helping her. Jesus’ reply is usually interpreted as meaning, “Don’t worry about it. It’s okay for her to listen to me tonight instead of cooking and doing dishes.” That sort of translation is not only wrong, but intellectually dishonest. I looked at the Greek text at some time in the early 1980s, and was stunned by what I discovered. The Greek word usually translated as “choice” or “lot” actually means “choice of career,” what we now call “vocation.” Jesus was not saying, “Mary is making a good choice for tonight.” He was saying, “Mary has chosen the better career,” the same career as the men students among whom she was sitting. I told this to the young sisters whom I was teaching at Holy Family College in Fremont, California, in about 1982. Many of them hoped to be ordained, despite what church policy was. Upon hearing this correct translation, some of them cheered, and some of them broke into tears.

The next line puzzled me for a long time. “It shall not be taken away from her.” What an irony, I thought. It has been taken away from her. I guess this is one of those embarrassing places where Jesus was just plain wrong in his predictions. Finally the explanation dawned on me, with another shock. The Greek uses an ordinary imperative construction. Jesus was not making a prediction. He was giving a commandment: “Do not take it away from her.” He was saying, Do not take Mary’s vocation as my student away from her. She is entitled to whatever the men students are entitled to. She has the right to be ordained.
Clearly one belief among Roman Catholics and many other varieties of Christians is that Jesus’ commandments must be obeyed. Why not this one? The meaning in Greek is not ambiguous. It has been misunderstood and ignored by being mistranslated, perhaps not on purpose—I don’t know whether that’s the case—but certainly as inspired by the endemic misogyny of classical and much of medieval civilization. This is the time and the ammunition with which Catholic women, especially the Sisters, can confront the Bishop of Rome over their rights. It will not be easy for him to admit that he and every Pope since a long time ago have been wrong, but that is the objective situation. So admit you were wrong, Father, make amends, and be forgiven.

It is hard to understand how very liberal Jesus was toward women without understanding a great deal about the beliefs and practices of his times. Many of the stories in the Gospels have totally different meanings given such an understanding. But let me throw one more bombshell at you.

Because of the internecine warfare and atrocities between official Christianity and official Judaism over the centuries, there are not many stories about or quotations from Jesus left in the Talmud. But there are a few. Consider this one, in Gittin: “The son and the daughter shall inherit equally.” Again, that’s not a prediction; it’s a commandment. How in the world did it get left out of the Gospels? (Perhaps you detect some sarcasm.) The Reverend Barbara Harris, as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America, is proof that the Episcopalians have figured all this out.

As many others have noted, if the Roman Catholic Church had women priests, married priests, and even married women priests, it would not be so short-handed. It does have married priests now; arguments that it can’t have more are bogus. And, of course, having such priests would be far preferable to having supposedly celibate male priests who obviously are not celibate at all. In fact, celibacy was not made requisite for all priests until the tenth century, mainly so that priests’ children could not inherit the local churches. But that’s another story."

Read more:

RAPE, PATRIARCHY AND THE BOMB By Robert C. Koehler/Todd Akin and Rape that is "legitimate"/ A Teachable Moment?

I hope and pray that Todd Akin's statement on "legitimate rape" is a teachable moment that raises consciousness that women are equal images of God and that patriarchal oppression will not be tolerated. Robert C.  Koehler , in the following article, analyzes the macho culture of the military where rape is a serious issue and where only one out of six rapes is reported. It is sickening that the theology is all so familiar. When women are treated as less than equals for centuries by some religions, including in the official teaching of the Catholic Church, one can see the root causes. Until women are leaders and decision makers at the highest level of nations, governments, and religions and all women are treated as equals everywhere, rape will continue to be a serious crime which  plagues our society and which too often goes unpunished and/or ignored. When will we see women as equal images of God and treat them accordingly? Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,
"Todd Akin could have worked on the script for the 1983 Monty Python movie, The Meaning of Life: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
But wait, there’s more. “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something,” the Missouri Senate candidate said in his recent, now infamous TV interview. “You know, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be at the rapist and not attacking the child.”
This is where I heard the bell toll. He hypothesizes that the rape is “legitimate” but the woman manages to get pregnant anyway. So punish the rapist, he says, not “the child” (i.e., embryo) by, presumably, allowing it to be aborted. Who hovers in utter irrelevancy in this scenario? The woman. She’s no more than a fertile medium for the rapist’s “child” and has no say in what should happen next.
“Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate.”
Akin’s words brought the good old days — that is, most of recorded history — back to life. Rape was once a property crime. Under patriarchal law, the victim was the husband or father, who suffered a loss of value when his wife or daughter was sexually violated. “Given this entrenched historical and cultural legacy,” Rebecca Whisnant writes in an entry for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “feminists’ redefinition of ‘rape’ as a crime against the woman herself is nothing short of revolutionary.”
This era is far from over. Only in the last few generations has patriarchal certitude about gender been seriously challenged. When I was growing up, the expression “it’s a man’s world” still masqueraded as common sense. Not only did males have more basic rights and privileges, but most of them thoughtlessly exuded an attitude that equated “female” qualities (nurturing, love, empathy) with weakness.
We still live in the world this mindset has created. The changes over the last 50 years have been largely on the surface; that is, women have more access to society’s institutions — politics, the military, the corporate boardroom — but, for the most part, the institutions themselves haven’t undergone the revolutionary transformation Whisnant spoke of. Their focus remains power and dominance. And in this realm, men rule.
For instance, women now constitute 14 percent of the U.S. military, the ultimate preserve of macho, phallus-centered culture. Hurray for equal rights! But guess what? According to the Pentagon, an estimated 19,000 women get raped in the military every year — a stat that doesn’t change despite periodic scandals that spawn horrific headlines and vows for reform. Furthermore, barely one in six of those rapes even gets reported, because it’s usually the victim, not the perp, who winds up getting humiliated, punished and shunned, often to the utter destruction of her career.
A consciousness of power over others permeates military culture, and women who succeed in this culture must adapt to it. In a Bloomberg Businessweek story last month, retired Navy Rear Admiral Marianne Drew, who played a role in modernizing the Navy’s sexual harassment policies after the 1991 Tailhook scandal, exemplified this in her comments on the most recent military rape scandal, at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where 15 military instructors are under investigation for sexual misconduct involving numerous trainees.
The instructors “have complete control over these kids,” she said, adding: “and it’s important that they do. But it’s possible to get somebody in there who takes that too far.”
It’s not just possible. It’s inevitable.
An extraordinary insight into this can be found in a 1987 essay by Dr. Carol Cohn, director of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights, titled “Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals.” The essay is quoted extensively by Marilyn French in her book The War Against Women. (I first learned of it from a comment on the Common Dreams website posted by artemix.)
Cohn, who spent a summer studying with nuclear weapons scientists, became fascinated with the sexual and reproductive imagery that permeated discussion of the bomb. The successful Trinity test in the New Mexico desert was called “Oppenheimer’s baby” and, she writes: “In early tests, before they were certain that the bombs would work, the scientists expressed their concern by saying that they hoped the baby was a boy, not a girl — that is, not a dud.” And: “In 1952, (Edward) Teller’s exultant telegram to Los Alamos announcing the successful test of the hydrogen bomb, ‘Mike,’ at Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands, read, ‘It’s a boy.’”
Most tellingly of all, Cohn explained that, to defense intellectuals, nuclear disarmament equaled “emasculation.” Thus, “how could any real man even consider it?”
A patriarchal, dominance-obsessed sexuality permeates the most deeply entrenched institutions of American society. Values are changing, but opposition to it is fierce, because for many of those committed to the fixed beliefs of the past, change — which includes women’s rights, indeed, their full humanity — is a loss of raw power. For some, the unconscious metaphor for this is emasculation."
Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong atthe Wound (Xenos Press) is now available. Contact him at, visit his website at or listen to him at Voices of Peace radio.

Catholic Faculty in Philippines Supports Reproductive Health Bill/ National Catholic Reporter/Church Should Change Contraception Prohibition
Let's hear it for the Catholic faculty in the Philippines who support reproductive health care including contraception. Catholics everywhere should challenge the hierarchy and politicans to provide affordable health care services such as contraception. 98% of Catholic women have used artificial birth control during their reproductive years. When will the hierarchy listen to women's experiences and incorporate them into church law? It is time to change the contraception prohibition that most Catholics ignore. Another reason we need women priests now. Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Parishioner Leads Charge to Break Ground for Women in Church" Chicago Tribune/Will Vatican Change its Stance on Female Deacons? Yes, probably sooner than you think!,0,5502778.story?page=2&fb_source=other_multiline&action_ref_map=%5B%5D&fb_action_ids=4539586811299&action_object_map=%7B%224539586811299%22%3A10151085983172954%7D&fb_action_types=og.recommends&action_type_map=%7B%224539586811299%22%3A%22og.recommends%22%7D&dssReturn
This article raises the question: will the Vatican change its mind on female deacons?  Yes, I believe it could happen sooner than we think! "Pope Benedict XVI issued an apostolic letter that distinguished between the role of bishops and priests and the purpose of deacons. While bishops and priests act as icons of Christ, deacons act as Christ's servants, he wrote." I disagree with Pope Benedict's theology because in Christ we are all equal..  Galations 3:28 affirms that by our baptism into Christ, "there is neither male nor female... all are one." Female priests are visible reminders that women are equal images of Christ and that is  the reason that the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement has been such a threat to the institutional church.  We did not wait for permission, but found a way to move the church forward . An unnamed  bishop with apostolic succession ordained our first female bishops, therefore, providing our international initiative with valid orders. Now there are women priests serving in inclusive communities that welcome all to receive sacraments. I call it a "holy shakeup" that is being felt all the way to the Vatican. Hence, now the question of women deacons is on the Pope's agenda for discussion.  Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,

"Lynne Mapes-Riordan, of Evanston, hopes women will one day serve as Roman Catholic deacons. After 800 years, she could be one of the first.
Growing up, she never gave ordination a second thought. But then she learned that, unlike the church's verdict barring female priests, the question of female deacons has never been resolved.
That open question has led Mapes-Riordan, 49, and fellow parishioners at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Evanston to seek an answer. If the church finds in favor of female deacons, she could become one of the first women ordained since the 12th century. After meeting last winter with members of the parish, including Mapes-Riordan, Chicago's Cardinal Francis George reportedly promised to raise the question in Rome during his visit earlier this year.
Scholars say female deacons wouldn't be a novel idea but the restoration of a tradition abandoned centuries ago.
The idea of female deacons "is being talked about very slowly," George said earlier this year during a forum at the Union League Club in response to a question about the future likelihood of female priests. "The diaconate is a more open question. At this place, at this time, it is not a possibility."
Mapes-Riordan, a lawyer, wife, mother of two and longtime parishioner at St. Nicholas, does not take a position on whether women should become priests. The church has made it clear that's not permitted. Ordaining women as deacons is not the same, she said.
"In a strange way, I don't see this being about women," Mapes-Riordan said during a recent interview inside St. Nicholas. "I see it as being about church and mission. We have this part of a puzzle, this piece, that I'm not going to say is missing, but we could have a fuller picture if this (letting women become deacons) was added. I don't see it as a women's issue. I see it as a matter for our church..."

LCWR's Annual Meeting: Some Reflections and a Little Back Story" by Jamie L. Manson/National Catholic Reporter
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
I agree with Jamie L. Manson's assessment.  After an open, prayerful dialogue, the next move will be the Vatican's. Will they dissolve LCWR or not? The nuns are not going to make statements supporting the Vatican's hard line on contraception, gay marriage, and women's ordination. So when the rubber hits the road, what will be next? The LCWR is willing to let go of their official status if forced to do so. Perhaps, a miracle will happen and the Vatican will back down from its hostile take over. I don't expect Archbishop Sartain to attend any of our ordinations of women priests any time soon, although he would certainly be welcome. However, the  Vatican  could take steps to incorporate women in top decision making positions in the church that are now tied by Canon Law to Holy Orders. It is time for the Catholic Church to follow Jesus' example and treat women as disciples and equals. (Luke 8)  Now if the LCWR dialogue with the Vatican results in a step in this direction it will have been worth the pain!
Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp

".... Up until the doctrinal assessment, the Vatican had typically tried to pick off individual sisters for "unorthodox" actions. Sr. Jeannine Gramick, Sr. Louis Akers, Sr. Louise Lears and their respective superiors all experienced their own individual showdowns with the Vatican and the USCCB.
We justifiably equate sisters as advocates for the marginalized. But their advocacy by and large has been for those who are marginalized by society rather than those marginalized by the church. This is the first time women religious, as one body, have found themselves in direct conflict with the Vatican. As one sister told me, "We haven't really been pushed to do this until now."
Now that they have accepted the call of those marginalized within the church, they will attempt to be a voice that "creates spaces for honest and open conversation on the critical moral and ethical questions that face the global community," as their press statement reads. Although some pundits have tried to argue that the sisters, and most progressive Catholics for that matter, no longer have any leverage within the institutional church, women religious have realized they do have positional authority, and it's time to use it.
Together, they are a large stakeholder in the church. Most of them have money, property and influence. Many Catholics see them as leaders in the church, and their consecrated lives give them a powerful presence in the Catholic community and in wider society. They are attempting to use whatever privilege they have been given to bring the church to greater justice. In doing so, they will be the largest group of Catholics to corporately challenge the hierarchy to open itself up to dialogue. And, as the many nun justice vigils attest, there is strong lay support behind them.
As one sister told me, they "will try to create a way where there is no way," echoing a common refrain used in the Civil Rights movement. They will not walk away from the institution without taking this unprecedented opportunity to invite the larger church into deeper conversation. The fact is, I don't believe women religious will ever walk away from their connection to the institutional church. One thing I learned for certain last week: If the sisters go, it will be because Vatican tossed them out.
At one point during the LCWR press conference, one particularly aggressive journalist insisted that Sr. Pat Farrell, then LCWR's president, tell us what exactly LCWR wants.
"I'm hearing a lot of vague language about dialogue," he barked at her. "But what do you want to walk away with?"
She paused for a moment, then responded quietly:

"What we want is to finally, at some end stage of the process, be recognized and understood as equals in the church, that our form of religious life can be and is respected and affirmed. And really, we want to get to the point where there is an environment -- not just for us, but for the entire Catholic church -- for the ability to openly and honestly search for truth together, to talk about issues that are very complicated. There is not that climate right now. So it might sound like just asking for dialogue is vague, but I think ultimately, one of our deepest goals is to create that kind of climate in the church -- not just for ourselves, but for the Catholic church throughout the world."
Given their bold history in our country, if anyone has a prayer of getting this done, it would be the sisters."
[Jamie L. Manson received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics. Her columns for NCR earned her a first prize Catholic Press Association award for Best Column/Regular Commentary in 2010.]

Monday, August 20, 2012

Todd Akin On Abortion: 'Legitimate Rape' Victims Have 'Ways To Try To Shut That Whole Thing Down' (VIDEO)

"Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) justified his extreme opposition to abortion by claiming that victims of "legitimate rape" rarely get pregnant.
In an interview with KTVI-TV on Sunday, the GOP Senate nominee was asked if he supported abortion in the case of rape.
"From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," said Akin said of pregnancy caused by rape. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume maybe that didn't work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist."
Akin won a three-way primary on Aug. 7 for the rights to a November battle against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). McCaskill was "stunned" by Akin's Sunday comments.

Claire McCaskill
As a woman & former prosecutor who handled 100s of rape cases,I'm stunned by Rep Akin's comments about victims this AM

"It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape," McCaskill added in a statement. "The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive."
After Akin's primary win, McCaskill wasted little time in pouncing on his conservative record, calling the congressman "out of touch."
"We're going to prove to Missourians that Todd Akin is out of touch with their problems, out of touch with the pain that they feel, and out of touch with the views that they hold dear," she said back on Aug. 8.
Akin's comments on abortion and rape come less than two weeks after he suggested banning the morning-after pill.
“As far as I’m concerned, the morning-after pill is a form of abortion, and I think we just shouldn’t have abortion in this country,” he said in an Aug.8 interview with KCMO radio. "

"We Sound a Call to Freedom" by Jann Aldredge-Clanton/Inspirational Video on You Tube

"Nuns on the Bus Ride for Fairness" by Janice Sevre-Duszynska

Photo by Sequoia Powers

"People carrying supportive placards June 25 cheered the Nuns On the Bus as they rolled into Fountain Square for the eighth and ninth days of a 15-day tour in nine states.
The purpose of the tour was to celebrate the work of nuns at Catholic social-service agencies that receive federal funding, to meet those they serve and to learn about the effect of proposed federal budget cuts. The nuns also visited the offices of members of Congress to oppose the budget proposed by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and to advocate for an alternative spending plan.
The sisters are part of NETWORK, a 40-year-old Catholic social-justice lobby, based in Washington, D.C,. that speaks out for the burgeoning number of low-income families.
“We can’t turn our backs on vulnerable families,” the group said in a press release.
‘Contribute proportionately’
In May the U.S. House of Representatives passed Ryan’s budget, which would cut food stamps by more than $36 billion and Medicaid programs by $48 billion and reduce other social programs. The budget would raise taxes on 18 million families while cutting taxes for millionaires and big corporations, according to NETWORK.
“All over the country we’ve seen a lot of courageous people who are working so hard to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads,” said Sr. Simone Campbell, NETWORK’s executive director.
She enumerated economic facts highlighted by NETWORK’S “Mind the Gap” blog:
* The wealthiest 1 percent of the U.S. population own more than 90 percent combined.
* The wealthiest 10 percent of the population own more than three-fourths of the nation’s wealth.
* The median African-American household has less than 10 cents for every dollar owned by the median white family.
Campbell said that the United States can only take care of the federal deficit by remembering how it happened. In 2002 the federal government had a budget surplus. Later, for the first time in U.S. history, the country chose to fight two wars without raising taxes. Now the federal government has a budget deficit, and while many people are out of work, Ryan wants to cut social services that provide a home and healthy meals, a place for kids to learn without fear of violence and a place for senior citizens and those with disabilities to share friendship, according to Campbell.
Wherever the sisters traveled, the Nuns on the Bus asked their supporters to repeat the slogan, “Reasonable Revenues for Responsible Programs.”
NETWORK and the Nuns on the Bus are promoting an alternative budget that they say is more humane and just. Called “Priorities for a Faithful Budget,” the proposal was created by interfaith representatives seeking to help bring people out of poverty and provide more economic stability.
“This requires investments in high-quality, affordable education, sustainable jobs with living wages and policies that help families to build assets,” the proposal says.
Those policies include affordable health care and housing.
To accomplish these goals and to reduce the deficit, the alternative budget proposes “a tax system founded on fairness and shared commitment, where those who have reaped extraordinary benefits contribute proportionately to the good of all.”
About 250 people gathered at the Peaslee Neighborhood Center to hear the sisters’ message and share local experiences and concerns.
‘Issue that cries out’
Sister Mary Wendeln, one of the Nuns on the Bus and a member of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood, works at Su Casa Hispanic Center in Cincinnati. The center doesn’t receive money from the government, but the people it serves need government assistance, she said.
“Our clients will suffer as most of their U.S.-born children are eligible for food stamps and Medicaid,” Wendeln said. :If the Free Lunch Program is cut, many students – documented and undocumented – will be hurt.”
Sr. Carren Herring, a Sister of Mercy of the Americas, works with Mercy Neighborhood Ministries in Walnut Hills.
“My clients depend totally on Supplemental Social Security and Medicaid,” she said. “Any decrease in these benefits or failure to keep up with inflation could push them into homelessness. A nation is judged by how it cares for its citizens most in need.”
On June 26 the Nuns on the Bus met with a staff member at the local office of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-West Chester). Supporters outside held signs saying, “In 2012, We Are All nuns,” “Nuns Rule,” “Proud, Social Justice, Christian” and “Nun of Ryan Budget.” When the sisters left the meeting, supporters applauded. Police did not allow a prayer vigil to take place before the sisters boarded the bus for Columbus and Cleveland.
Sister of Charity Jean Miller, who is celebrating 60 years as a nun, said, “The blessing of the Nuns On the Bus tour was that a holistic (lay and sisters) community came together to speak for the poor to our congressional representatives and to our neighborhoods.”
Sister of Charity Louise Akers, retiring coordinator of the Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation, said, “The Nuns On the Bus tour was a great manifestation of the sisters’ commitment to social-justice ministry. Since the Council of Vatican II many of us feel that we have been called to be the church in the modern world by reading the signs of the times. Surely economic injustice is one issue that cries out for a responsive commitment to those who are suffering as a result of systemic inequalities. We stand with the 99 percent.”
Many supporters attended not only to support the sisters’ work with the poor and marginalized and to challenge the Ryan budget, but also to express their solidarity with the sisters in the wake of the Vatican’s criticism of Catholic nuns in the United States for spending too much time working for what they consider social justice instead of speaking out on issues such as gay marriage and abortion."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Vatican Magistrates Order Trial of Papal Assistant Accused of Theft"/Accused Claims Motivation Was to Expose "Evil and Corruption Everywhere in the Church"

VATICAN CITY -- "Vatican magistrates have formally indicted Pope Benedict XVI's personal assistant, Paolo Gabriele, on charges of aggravated theft and have indicted a computer technician from the Vatican Secretariat of State on minor charges of aiding Gabriele after he stole Vatican correspondence.
The publication Monday of the decision of Piero Bonnet, the Vatican's investigating judge, included for the first time the naming of a second suspect, Claudio Sciarpelleti, the Secretariat of State employee.
Vatican police found an envelope from Gabriele in Sciarpelleti's desk and arrested him, according to the documents explaining Bonnet's judgment. While the computer expert gave "contrasting versions of the facts" to investigators, in the end it was determined that there was enough evidence to bring him to trial on a charge of aiding and abetting Gabriele after the fact.
The Vatican magistrates did not set a date for the trial or trials, but Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, said it would not be set before Sept. 20 because the Vatican court is in recess from Tuesday to Sept. 20..."

"Bonnet's report quoted Gabriele as telling Vatican investigators he acted after seeing "evil and corruption everywhere in the church" and he was sure Pope Benedict was not fully informed about what was going on.
"I was certain that a shock, even in the media, could be healthy in putting the church back on the right track," Gabriele was quoted as saying. "In a certain way I felt infiltrated" by the Holy Spirit, he said..."

..."Bonnet said investigators also found in Gabriele's apartment: a check made out to Pope Benedict for 100,000 euros (almost $123,000) from a Catholic university in Spain; a nugget -- presumably of gold -- from the director of a gold mining company in Peru; and a 16th-century edition of a translation of the Aeneid.
Gabriele was questioned repeatedly over the two-month period he spent detained in a 12-foot-by-12-foot room in the Vatican police barracks. He was allowed to return, under house arrest, to his Vatican apartment with his wife and family July 21 and will remain under house arrest until his trial."