Saturday, September 8, 2012

Contraception Use Prevents Pregnancy and Abortions/US Bishops Should Support Contraception to Avoid Abortions

Providing affordable contraception coverage is important in preventing abortions.. The Catholic bishops make no sense when they oppose insurance coverage of contraception. I agree with Steve Schneck that many abortions could be avoided if women had financial resources to afford contraception. If we had women priests making church policy, contraception coverage would be a no-brainer!
Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,
"Catholic University’s Steve Schneck argued that the number of abortions would skyrocket if Romney is elected and Medicaid funding slashed, because a majority of women who have abortions cite financial considerations as a factor and the cuts in aid to those already struggling would only worsen those challenges..."

Friday, September 7, 2012

"First Bishop Found Guilty in Sex Abuse Case"/ National Catholic Reporter/It's About Time Catholic Bishops Held Accountable/Legal Fees -1.4 Million
Finally, the U.S. Courts are holding Catholic bishops accountable for the sex abuse of children. It is about time! Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,
Sep. 06, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- "For the first time in the decades-long clergy sex abuse crisis, a Catholic bishop has been found guilty of criminally shielding a priest who was a threat to children.
Bishop Robert Finn, the head of the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese, received the verdict Thursday on one misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse in the case of a local priest who had been known to be in possession of lewd images of children.
Jackson County, Mo., Circuit Court Judge John Torrence gave Finn a two-year suspended sentence of probation on the charge with nine conditions, including mandating direct reporting of future suspicions of child abuse to prosecutors.
“Let the world know that no matter who you are you can be held to the same standards as everybody else,” said Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker following the verdict.
Finn and his diocese had each faced two separate misdemeanor counts of failure to report suspected child abuse for their handing of Fr. Shawn Ratigan, a Kansas City priest who pleaded guilty in August to federal charges of producing and attempting to produce sexually graphic material of minor girls..."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Encouragment for Those Disappointed with the Church" by Leonardo Boff


Leornardo Boff

"There is great disappointment with the institutional Catholic Church. A double emigration is happening: one is exterior, persons who simply leave the Church, and the other is interior, those who remain in the Church but who no longer feel that she is their spiritual home. They continue believing, in spite of the Church.
It's not for nothing. The present pope has taken some radical initiatives that have divided the ecclesiastic body. He chose a path of confrontation with two important episcopacies, the German and the French, when he introduced the Latin Mass. He articulated an obscure reconciliation with the Church of the followers of Lefebvre; gutted the principal renewal institutions of Vatican Council II, especially ecumenism, absurdly denying the title of "Church" to those Churches that are not Catholic or Orthodox. When he was a Cardinal he was gravely permissive with pedophiles, and his concern with AIDS borders the inhumane.

The present Catholic Church is submerged in a rigorous winter. The social base that supports the antiquated model of the present pope is comprised of conservative groups, more interested in the media, in the logic of the market, than in proposing an adequate response to the present grave problems. They offer a "lexotan-Christianity" good for pacifying anxious consciences, but alienated from the suffering humanity.

It is urgent that we animate these Christians about to emigrate with what is essential in Christianity. It certainly is not the Church, that was never the object of the preaching of Jesus. He announced a dream, the Kingdom of God, in contraposition to the Kingdom of Caesar; the Kingdom of God that represents an absolute revolution in relationships, from the individual to the divine and the cosmic.

Christianity appeared in history primarily as a movement and as the way of Christ. It predates its grounding in the four Gospels and in the doctrines. The character of a spiritual path means a type of Christianity that has its own course. It generally lives on the edge and, at times, at a critical distance from the official institution. But it is born and nourished by the permanent fascination with the figure, and the liberating and spiritual message of Jesus of Nazareth. Initially deemed the "heresy of the Nazarenes" (Acts 24,5) or simply, a "heresy" (Acts 28,22) in the sense of a "very small group," Christianity was acquiring autonomy until its followers, according to The Acts of The Apostles (11,36), were called, "Christians."

The movement of Jesus is certainly the most vigorous force of Christianity, stronger than the Churches, because it is neither bounded by institutions, nor is it a prisoner of doctrines and dogmas, founded in a specific cultural background. It is composed of all types of people, from the most varied cultures and traditions, even agnostics and atheists who let themselves be touched by the courageous figure of Jesus, by the dream he announced, a Kingdom of love and liberty, by his ethic of unconditional love, especially for the poor and the oppressed, and by the way he assumed the human drama, amidst humiliation, torture and his execution on the cross. Jesus offered an image of God so intimate and life-friendly that it is difficult to disregard, even by those who do not believe in God. Many people say, "if there is a God, it has to be like the God of Jesus."

This Christianity as a spiritual path is what really counts. However, from being a movement it soon became a religious institution, with several forms of organization. In its bosom were developed different interpretations of the figure of Jesus, that were transformed into doctrines, and gathered into the official Gospels. The Churches, when they assumed institutional character, established criteria of belonging and of exclusion, doctrines such as identity reference and their own rites of celebration. Sociology, and not theology, explains that phenomenon. The institution always exists in tension with the spiritual path. The ideal is that they develop together, but that is rare. The most important, in any case, is the spiritual path. This has a future and animates the meaning of life.

The problem of the Roman Catholic Church is her claim of being the only true one. The correct approach is for all the Churches to recognize each other, because they reveal different and complementary dimensions of the message of the Nazarene. What is important is for Christianity to maintain its character as a spiritual path. That can sustain so many Christian men and women in the face of the mediocrity and irrelevancy into which the present Catholic Church has fallen. "
Ed. Note: This article was first published on Leonardo Boff's website.

"Catholic Nun Blasts Romeny Budget PLan" See video of Sr. Simone Campbell's Speech /Catholic nun brings her star power to DNCto Democratic National Convention!7E6F5466-2B5A-4B6F-A0F6-2715AFF9EF3C
(CNN) – "Sister Simone Campbell got what may have been the biggest media platform of her life on Wednesday night, when she addressed the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. But the Catholic nun had plenty of star power before that.
Walking around Charlotte this week, Campbell was repeatedly stopped by fans who wanted to pose for pictures.
They had seen her on "The Colbert Report," pushing back on the Vatican's crackdown on American nuns, or read about the "nuns on the bus" tour that Simone organized to decry Rep. Paul Ryan's federal budget proposal.
"One woman came up to me and said 'my husband loves you; I'd be jealous if you weren't a nun,' " Campbell, 66, said Tuesday night.
By asking her to speak at their convention, the Democrats appear keen to capitalize on Campbell's budding celebrity at a moment when the official Roman Catholic Church has been critical of the Obama administration, claiming that it is infringing on religious liberty.
And at a convention that is revolving largely around an alleged GOP-led "war on women," Campbell is a poignant feminist symbol. She has stood up to the Vatican's criticisms of American nuns for what the church says is their fixation on progressive advocacy at the expense of promoting socially conservative positions.
"We're certainly oriented toward the needs of women and responding to their needs," she told Colbert in June, defending the nuns against the Vatican. "If that's radical, I guess we are."
But Campbell isn't taking marching orders from the Democratic Party, either.
When party officials asked her to speak in Charlotte, she made it plain she'd do it only if she could give voice to her anti-abortion views.
And when Democratic handlers revised a draft of her speech in a way that sounded too political to her, she told them she was happy to give her speaking slot to someone else.
The handlers were more than happy to work with her to revise the revisions.
On Wednesday night, Campbell said that Obama's health care law and expanding Medicaid coverage "is part of my pro-life stance and the right thing to do." It was the biggest applause lines in her speech, which was filled with big applause lines.
"Paul Ryan claims his budget reflects the principles of our shared Catholic faith," Campbell said later in her speech. "But the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that the Ryan budget failed a basic moral test, because it would harm families living in poverty...."
"We agree with our bishops," Campbell said. "I am my sister's keeper. I am my brother's keeper..."
Campbell, who has a law degree from the University of California, Davis, has always been political.
 The Ryan plan, in Campbell's view, "set up this total undermining of government services as a way for there to be additional tax cuts for the wealthy."
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Sister Simone Campbell spoke with passion about Jesus' agenda of Gospel justice and compassion for the poor and marginalized, the people who are not represented by expensive lobbyists in Washington DC.  Brava, Sister! May we all join the nuns on the bus to advocate for justice and fairness for the poor,  and keep on challenging those who promote more tax cuts for billionaires! Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Simone Campbell is scheduled for 8:40 PM (Eastern) tonight at the Democratic National Convention

Women Called to Priesthood in the Catholic Church Are Being Ordained: Find Out How!

Times are changing and the Spirit is moving in our church in each of us as the gifts of the Holy Spirit are being called forth to celebrate the sacraments, the holy moments where God embraces us with unbounded grace. Catholics are gathering without priests to celebrate the Eucharist in Ireland and other places where there are no male priests to celebrate.

Jesus called both men and women to be his disciples. (Luke 8:1-3) The Risen Christ sent Mary of Magdala, the apostle to the apostles to proclaim the good news of the Resurrection. Women in the early church presided at the Eucharistic celebrations in their homes. (Romans 16)

 According to Gary Macy in his scholarly book, The Hidden History of Women's Ordination, women were ordained for the first 1200 years of the church's history. Even the Vatican's own Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1976 concluded that there is nothing in the Bible to prohibit women's ordination.

The Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement started in 2002 with the ordination of seven women on the Danube. Our first bishops were ordained by a male bishop with apostolic succession. Therefore our Orders are valid. We are disobeying an unjust canon law that discriminates against women. While the Vatican considers our initiative a revolution, millions of Catholics welcome us grassroots inclusive, partnership model of ministry as a "holy shakeup" whose time has come! We are leading, not leaving the church, into its future now in grassroots communities. In the United States, women priests serve in 29 states. We have grown from 7 to 140 and are in Europe, Canada, Latin America and the U.S.

If you are a woman called or  know of any women who feel called to serve the community in your parish or diocese as priests, please get in touch with me. For more information, visit our website:

+ Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Just Think No" by Maureen Dowd/New York Times

..."Paul Ryan, who teamed up with Akin in the House to sponsor harsh anti-abortion bills, may look young and hip and new generation, with his iPod full of heavy metal jams and his cute kids. But he’s just a fresh face on a Taliban creed — the evermore antediluvian, anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-gay conservative core. Amiable in khakis and polo shirts, Ryan is the perfect modern leader to rally medieval Republicans who believe that Adam and Eve cavorted with dinosaurs. In asserting that women have the superpower to repel rape sperm, Akin ratcheted up the old chauvinist argument that gals who wear miniskirts and high-heels are “asking” for rape; now women who don’t have the presence of mind to conjure up a tubal spasm, a drone hormone, a magic spermicidal secretion or mere willpower to block conception during rape are “asking” for a baby.“The biological facts are perhaps inconvenient, but whether the egg meets the sperm is a matter of luck or prevention,” says Dr. Paul Blumenthal, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology who directs the Stanford Program for International Reproductive Education and Services. “If wishing that ‘I won’t get pregnant right now’ made it so, we wouldn’t need contraceptives...”

Monday, September 3, 2012

Women Priests Join Sr. Simone Campbell and Nuns in Advocacy for Justice for Poor, Not More Tax Cuts for Billionaires /For your information, Simone is addressing the Democratic Convention on Wednesday Evening.

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) stands in solidarity with Network, Sr. Simone Campbell its Director and the “Nuns on the Bus” project as they address the immoral budget proposed by the Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan. A budget supporting human needs would be modelled on “Priorities for a Faithful Federal Budget: Acting with Mercy and Justice as One nation under God.” See
Sr. Simone Campbell as Director of Network A Catholic Social Justice Lobby and one of the interfaith authors writes, “Our message to our national leaders---rooted in our sacred texts—is this: Act with mercy and justice by serving the common good, robustly funding support for poor and vulnerable people, both at home and abroad, and exercising proper care and keeping of the earth.
The charism of ARCWP is to live Gospel equality and justice for all including women in the church and in society now. We work in solidarity with the poor, exploited, and marginalized for structural and transformative justice in partnership with all believers. We cannot sit silent on the sidelines with this proposed budget while it crushes those under its impact. Children, seniors, and those who are poor are all impacted negatively by the proposed Ryan budget.
We join our sisters at Network and on the bus in speaking out against injustice for if we did not, the stones themselves would shout out against such actions.
Janice Sevre-Duszynska,

Simone Campbell, SSS

Executive Director

Simone Campbell, SSS
Sister Simone Campbell has served as Executive Director of NETWORK since 2004.
She is a religious leader, attorney and poet with extensive experience in public policy and advocacy for systemic change. In Washington, she lobbies on issues of peace-building, immigration reform, healthcare and economic justice. Around the country, she is a noted speaker and educator on these public policy issues.
During the 2010 congressional debate about healthcare reform, she wrote the famous “nuns’ letter” supporting the reform bill and got 59 leaders of Catholic Sisters, including LCWR, to sign on. This action was cited by many as critically important in passing the Affordable Care Act. She was thanked by President Obama and invited to the ceremony celebrating its being signed into law.
In 2012, she was also instrumental in organizing the “Nuns on the Bus” tour of nine states to oppose the “Ryan Budget” approved by the House of Representatives. This budget would decimate programs meant to help people in need. “Nuns on the Bus” received an avalanche of attention across the nation among religious communities, elected officials and the media.
Prior to coming to NETWORK, Simone served as the Executive Director of JERICHO, the California interfaith public policy organization that works like NETWORK to protect the interests of people living in poverty. Simone also participated in a delegation of religious leaders to Iraq in December 2002, just prior to the war, and was later (while at NETWORK) part of a Catholic Relief Services delegation to Lebanon and Syria to study the Iraqi refugee situation there.
Before JERICHO, Simone served as the general director of her religious community, the Sisters of Social Service. She was the leader of her Sisters in the United States, Mexico, Taiwan and the Philippines. In this capacity, she negotiated with government and religious leaders in each of these countries.
In 1978, Simone founded and served for 18 years as the lead attorney for the Community Law Center in Oakland, California. She served the family law and probate needs of the working poor of her county.

"A Lifelong Calling Realized in One Woman’s Ordination" By Joanne Zuhl

"Toni Tortorilla remembers being five years old, standing in the back of her church, and feeling a compelling magnetic force drawing her to the altar and to priesthood.
“That’s the only way I can describe it — pulling me to the altar, and in that instance I knew that that’s what I was to do. That’s my life. I knew that,” she says."

"Irish Parishioners Lead Masses as Priest Numbers Fall"/ /Time for Women Priests!
It is time for women priests in the land of my birth, St. Brigit of Kildare, woman bishop, pray for us! Bridget Mary Meehan,
"Parishioners in some parts of Ireland have started to lead Catholic masses, as the number of priests in the country falls. Only 16 young Irish men are due to start training for the priesthood in 2012, compared to more than 150 per year in the 1980s. Not all members of the Church have welcomed the move but there is little sign of the laity-led services ceasing."
Andy Martin reports.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"Some Thoughts in Preparation of Homily Today" by Judy Lee, ARCWP

As I prepare for Sunday's homily in which I hope to combine the choice given us-to follow or to leave Jesus- in last week's gospel(John 6) with this week's Markian Gospel I am struck with the connection. To choose to follow Jesus is often to turn away from tradition-in fact tradition and ritual can almost become a 'false god' when it is an end in itself and not a means to doing what Jesus did-showing us how to bring God's reign on earth.
The Gospel for this week, especially Mark 7: 8 and 9 is exactly what we are struggling with when we struggle with the institutional church, a church that we need to be careful not to become despite our yearning for renewal. Jesus is charged with not following all of the rituals of Judaism and he quotes Isaiah who said "The doctrines they teach are only human precepts. You disregard God's commandments and cling to human traditions". And, according to Verna Dozier,the separation of clerical and "lay" roles in ministry is a distortion of the very "dream of God" to which we are all called.
Regarding this, I would like to share a great book and a wonderful author with you. Of course, you may already know her as she has been writing since the 1980's, but what she has written is both timely and relevant for us as we seek to forge a renewed priesthood-of all believers. The book is THE DREAM OF GOD: A Call To Return (MA: Cowley Publications, 1991). The author is Verna J. Dozier, an African American Episcopal Biblical scholar who has written on the calling and authority of the laity-the LAOS-the people of God. (And here I remember that the "Laos"-from the Greek- are the poor folks and the little ones of this world, the ones to whom Jesus ministered.) In this book she discusses where the institutional church has missed the mark and distorted the dream of God. She says: "The church, as an institution,has again and again fallen away from the dream that God has for us--to FOLLOW Jesus and not merely worship him." (She notes that Jesus never called us to worship him, only to follow him). She examines the clericalism and institutionalism bred in the church and engages all followers of Christ in the call to lead the church again toward the dream of God-the reign of Love and justice for all.
For Dozier, all believers are to minister to and with God's people and work for structural change. Clergy may have some particular ministries but these are equal to all other ministries. Ordaining some to minister and not all to minister,and separating table ministry from preaching and praying (Acts 6:2) is an early church distortion of what Jesus asked of us: to love our neighbors and transform the world to correspond with God's dream. Instead, the institutional church has enshrined both clergy and ritual-making both holy to the point of distorting the very meaning of Christianity- where doing what Jesus did in love and healing and bringing good news to the poor becomes a meaningless tag-on instead of the central meaning of our faith.
As women priests we are breaking with tradition, and our communal consecration and sharing of the Eucharist further breaks with it, as does our inclusiveness and the sharing of the ministerial responsibility with all the church. Woman theologian Mary Hunt has made some excellent critical points about our choice of becoming ordained as still following a tradition that sets some above others. Indeed, I agree with her, and can only accept ordination as a WAY to declericalize and SHARE what has been seen as "only for priests" with all of the people of God. For us, as women in the church -we could neither open nor share what we did not have. Now that we do have it, sacramental responsibility, let us, in the words of Susan Ross, break it open and share it freely. And let us end the distortion Dozier brings so vividly to our attention: let us do a whole lot less worshipping of Jesus and a whole lot more following of Christ.