Saturday, October 27, 2012

Media Coverage of Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests' Atlanta Ordination of Diane Dougherty as a Priest Stirs Criticism of Conservatives / " For some journalists, the only good and interesting nun...." Check out Diane's and My Response to Carl E. Olson's Article

Bridget Mary's Response: Carl E. Olson's attack on the media for its comprehensive coverage of the ordination of Diane Dougherty of Atlanta, a former nun, exhibits the hubris of male chauvinist misogyny. It is wonderful that both print and television media covered it as one the top stories on Oct. 20th, 2012.. The media gets it that the the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is leading the church in the footsteps of Jesus who called both women and men as disciples and equals. (Luke 6) The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala, and called her to proclaim the central dogma of Christianity, the Resurrection. Jesus did not ordain anyone, male or female. Journalists are covering this spiritual revolution because women's ordination is a core issue of human rights and gender justice that is good news not only to Catholics but to millions of people worldwide.  Yes, Carl E. Olson, the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is a "holy shakeup" whose time has come! Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,

Diane Dougherty's Response:
Mr. Olson clearly pointed to the exact issues I wanted to raise in the many interviews I had:

First, he addressed the five personal references I experienced that helped me come to terms with the heinious evil of "clericalism.

He rightly noted that I came to the conclusion that, "from generation to generation clericalism’s all-male-elite hierarchy dominates Catholicism. It acts as a virus, spreading through healthy people and communities, dividing them, setting one person or group against another..."

But he wrongly concluded I believed that "Jesus was all about "clericalism". On the contrary.....every gospel reference exposes Jesus disgust for those who supposedly speak for God and promote inequality in relationship.

I was glad he showed an understanding of the evil of clericalism when he wrote, "This is not to deny that actual clericalism is not a problem; it is, and it probably always will be." But when he went into what the church teaches....I would like to clarify it is not "the Church" that teaches this-rather the hierarchy.....there is a huge distinction today between the "sensus fidelium" , the voice of the faithful.....and what the hierarchy is teaching....The exodus of 33 million Catholics from the American church gives witness to this grave reality.....And during these political times, the "Catholic" vote sheds a bright light on "Catholic" thought and the divergent thinking of its faithful....

He addressed the hierarchy's teaching saying women and men are "distinct but equal" The argument is similar to the argument given in the south when blacks were housed in separate schools, lived in separate neighborhoods and ofered low paying jobs. They were "separate, but equal" -same construct that created the same false this is seen for the false notion it was in that time. I can only hope the hierarchy's notion that women are "distinct and equal..." will be seen by the next generation for the false notion it is today.

In healthy marriages, women stand on equal footing with their partners....together they define their roles after marriage-society and culture no longer have a say....So it will be in the church, women will stand on equal footing with their male counterparts. We are equally called and structures need to change to honor this call. Empowered women ARE truly feminine and unique...what needs to erode are all frameworks that allow anyone to buy into false notions that allow one gender to define the framework for the other gender......We are seeking out counterparts that want to reframe false notions of "Catholic" projected by an inequality that disrupts and corrupts our church.

Diane Dougherty
50 Williams Pride Way
Newnan, GA 30265

 "For some journalists, the only good and interesting nun...."    

"Finally, something that strikes me as quite interesting is how journalists who normally wouldn't bother with anyone claiming to have a direct line to God's heart and mind, will soak it up when it comes to women seeking "ordination":
"If God calls, you have to respond," Doughtery says, never more certain that her mission is divinely inspired and led. "So I've said I'm not leaving Catholicism, I'm just going to lead it in a different direction." ... "I'm saddened by the Archbishop and the notions he has that women cannot be priests," Dougherty says, "because it's Christ who gives the calling, and if Christ gives the calling and a woman has the calling, and they say we can't do this, then it's almost idolatry, because how do they know God would or God wouldn't?"
The hubris here is astounding: "I'm just going to lead it in a different direction"! What other group of people can claim such supernatural powers and get this sort of fawning coverage? (Yes, I can think of few. But I'll stop for now.)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan Ordination Homily: Oct. 20, 2012/Atlanta

This is the day God has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Today we are making
history in Atlanta because the Association of Roman Catholic Women
Priests is ordaining six women.

Diane Doughterty will be ordained a priest.(center with red stole)
Barbara Duff, (left, bottom row)
Debra Meyers, (second row, right)
Joleane Presley,(bottom row, right)
Irene Scaramazza, (center, back row)
and Rosemarie Smead  (left second row)
will be ordained deacons.

These six courageous women stand on the margins with us to serve God’s people in an inclusive Catholic Church where all are welcome to receive sacraments.

 As we gather around Holy Wisdom’s Banquet Table to feast on the Bread of Life and to savor the Wine of Abundant Love, we are blessed to be in this sacred space, the First Metropolitan Community Church.


   Like Deacon Phoebe, an influential leader in the early church, and St. Mary of Magdala, the apostle to the apostles, and apostle Junia, a co-worker and partner with Paul in preaching the Gospel, these women have been called by the Risen Christ to “go and tell” the good news of Gospel equality. For some, like the hierarchy, women priests are a revolution, for millions of Catholics, we are a holy shakeup whose time has come.


The Catholic Church should follow the example of Jesus who called both men and women as disciples and treated them as equals and partners in the Gospel.   In Luke 8:1-3, we learn that among his disciples were: Mary of Magdala, Joanna, Suzanna, and many more who supported Jesus with their own funds. How many sermons have you heard about the women who bankrolled Jesus’ministry.


Now, however, change is in the air and all over the airwaves!


On Sept. 18th at the International Congress of Coptic Studies, Professor Karen King, a historian at Harvard Divinity School , reported that a fourth century dated  papyrus  refers to Jesus’ wife and states that “she will be able to be my disciple.” (Laurie Goodstein, “A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’s Wife, “New York Times, September 18, 2012)


   According to all four Gospels, Mary of Magdala is the only person described as present at both the cross and the tomb. The Gospel of John portrays a close relationship between Mary of Magdala and Jesus. When the other disciples come and go, Mary stays nearby, weeping.  In an age where a woman’s word was suspect, the Risen Christ appears first to Mary, not Peter, and calls her to be the apostle to the apostles to proclaim the good news of the Resurrection, the central belief of Christianity.  Like Mary, women today, are being called to preach the good news that Christ is risen and continues to rise up in God’s people for justice, liberation, and new life! We are silent and subordinate no more!


   In an ancient Coptic Christian Scripture, “Pistis Sophia”, written in the Second Century, Jesus chooses Mary of Magdala and John to “be on my right and on my left.” Mary’s prominence is reflected throughout the document. She asks 39 out of 46 questions and participates in providing interpretation of this document. Peter expresses resentment toward her throughout the work: “My Lord we shall not be able to endure this woman, for she takes our opportunity and she has not let any of us speak and takes all the time herself.” Mary objects to Peter’s efforts to intimidate her and charges that “he hates the female race.”


   History is repeating itself today! On Holy Thursday, April 5th , Pope Benedict chastised the growing number of male priests who support women priests. 400 Austrian priests and 300 German theologians and 800 Irish priests have endorsed women’s ordination publically. According to the Irish Independent, the Association of Irish priests called the pope’s criticism “unfair, unwarranted and unwise.”


  In Romans 16, St. Paul acknowledges Deacon Phoebe’s leadership in the early Christian movement. Phoebe was entrusted with the mission to proclaim Paul’s letter to the house churches in Rome. She was an influential leader whose authority and credentials were accepted by the local church. Contemporary scholars like Dr. Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza believe that women leaders like Phoebe were not assistants to the apostles, but rather were apostles, missionaries, and leaders of communities equal to and independent of Paul. Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza,  In Memory of Her , p. 179, 48. )


  In Romans 16:7 St. Paul commended Junia and Andronicus, as “outstanding apostles” who were in Christ before he was. It is the only time that Paul refers to someone other than the Twelve or himself as apostles. Some biblical

translators changed Junia, a female name, to the male name Junias, and up until recent years the male name appeared in most bibles. Patristic sources, including St. John Chrsysostom and St. Jerome acknowledged Junia as an apostle.


 Somehow, I think Junia might be missing from the contemporary curriculum in Catholic Schools and seminaries. It is time for a revision!


Since Paul, Junia and Andronicus were apostles, there were more than 12 apostles. The “twelve” was a symbolic number referring to the twelve tribes of Israel. And, of course, in spite of what the hierarchy in the Roman Catholic Church states, Jesus did not ordain anyone at the last supper.


Scholars, like Gary Macy, in The Hidden History of Women's Ordination , present scholarly evidence of women in Holy Orders during the first twelve hundred years of the church's history. (One could say that is the church's best kept secret, but NO MORE!!)


   Roman Catholic Women Priests are ordained in apostolic succession because a male bishop with apostolic succession and in communion with the pope ordained our first bishops!   Therefore, our ordinations are valid.


Our liberation movement is living prophetic obedience to the Spirit by disobeying an unjust, man-made, canon law that discriminates against women in our church. Sexism, like racism, is a sin. Women in the Roman Catholic Church are treated like second class citizens. The Catholic Church cannot continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it. Like Rosa Parks, whose refusal to sit in the back of the bus helped to ignite the civil rights movement, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is not leaving the church, but leading the church into a new era of gender justice.


In 2002, 7 women were ordained on the Danube, in 2006, 12 women were ordained in the first U.S. Ordination in Pittsburgh. Now there are approximately 150. Women Priests are in Europe, U.S., Canada, and Latin America.


   As part of an international initiative of the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests claims equality as a human right.  Our vision is justice for all, justice for the poor, justice for women, and justice for women in the church including ordination. We speak out for women’s rights and non-violence. We speak truth to power and the ministry of irritation is our forte! The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests challenges church teachings that negate women’s experiences such as contraception. We support marriage equality and nunjustice for women religious in the recent Vatican take -over of their organization, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. We foster ecumenism and interfaith relations. We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers from all faiths and no faith who work for justice for all who are oppressed and marginalized in our world. 


Now we ordain our beloved Sisters, Diane, Barbara, Debra, Joleane, Irene and Rosemarie. Wouldn’t Deacon Phoebe and apostles Mary of Magdala and Junia be proud of them? … and of us?!! Alleluia!   


Bridget Mary Meehan, D.Min., a Sister for Christian Community, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 31, 2006. She was ordained a bishop on April 19, 2009.  Dr. Meehan is currently Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program for Global Ministries University, and is the author of 20 books, including   Living Gospel Equality Now: Loving in the Heart of God, The Healing Power of Prayer and Praying with Women of the Bible. She presides at liturgies in Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida and celebrates liturgies with groups in N.VA.  Dr. Meehan can be reached at and

Media links to Stories on Atlanta Ordination of Diane Dougherty as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest: "Former Nun Faces Excommunication"/WXIA/NBC)/Story updated on Oct. 20th

Woman to ordained as Ga's first female Catholic priest
MyFox Atlanta
However, the Roman Catholic Church says she will be excommunicated because the church does recognize women priests or the ordination service she will ...
Atlanta woman faces excommunication for seeking to be a priest
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests has ordained, worldwide, some 140 women as priests in its organization, so far. The campaign for women ...
Statement from Atlanta Bishop Wilton Gregory on ordination of women
The attempt to "ordain" women by the group titled "Roman Catholic Womenpriests" brings division and fractures unity in the Church. The Congregation for the ...
Diane Dougherty warned she'll be excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church if she's ordained as a priest by The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. (Source: WXIA/NBC)

Diane Dougherty warned she'll be excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church if she's ordained as a priest by The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
(Source: WXIA/NBC)

ATLANTA (WXIA/NBC) - "A Georgia woman, a former nun, is seeking to change the Roman Catholic Church, realizing she will soon be excommunicated from the church.
On Saturday Diane Dougherty is going to be ordained as a priest, not in the Catholic Church, but in an organization called The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
It is an international organization that the Catholic church condemns.
Dougherty wants to be part of changing the church she loves, realizing and accepting the consequences of what the church considers her defiance and disobedience.
She is just obeying God, she said Wednesday.
"God calls all of us, and if we happen to be a woman, there shouldn't be these structures that keep us from it," Dougherty said.
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests has ordained some 140 women as priests in its organization so far.
The campaign for women priests drew Pope Benedict's personal condemnation this past April.
"If God calls, you have to respond," Doughtery says, never more certain that her mission is divinely inspired and led. "So I've said I'm not leaving Catholicism, I'm just going to lead it in a different direction."
Dougherty plans to serve as priest to a community of believers in Atlanta that wants the church to change...."
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
There is one incorrect face in the above article. The international  movement has approximately 150 members. The Association is one of the branches of the international movement  who has branches in Europe, Canada, U.S. and South America. Our model of governance is egalitarian and our mission includes promotion  of social justice as constitutive to the Gospel: justice for all, justice for the poor and marginalized, justice for women and justice for women in the church including ordination in a renewed priestly ministry in a community of equals.

Link to ARCWP Ordination of Six Women Pictures from Atlanta/Oct. 20,2012/Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests/ Photos Courtesy of Bob Watkins

Newly Ordained:left to right:
Barbara Duff, Bridget Mary Meehan, Diane Dougherty, Jolean Presley,
back row left ot right: Rosemarie Smead, Irene Scaramazza, and Debra Meyers