Friday, December 21, 2012

"Remember All the Children, Mr. President" by Bill Quigley

Remember the 20 children who died in Newtown, Connecticut.
Remember the 35 children who died in Gaza this month from Israeli bombardments.
Remember the 168 children who have been killed by US drone attacks in Pakistan since 2006.Remember the 231 children killed in Afghanistan in the first 6 months of this year.
Remember the 400 other children in the US under the age of 15 who die from gunshot wounds each year.
Remember the 921 children killed by US air strikes against insurgents in Iraq.
Remember the 1,770 US children who die each year from child abuse and maltreatment.
Remember the 16,000 children who die each day around the world from hunger.
These tragedies must end.

Prayer to Holy Wisdom/ Sophia by Laura Grimes

7           Show us your mercy, O Sophia, *
   and grant us your salvation.

8           I will listen to what Sophia, our God, is saying, *
   for She is speaking peace to Her faithful people
   and to those who turn their hearts to Her.

9          Truly, Her salvation is very near to those who fear Her, *
   that Her glory may dwell in our land.

10       Mercy and truth have met together; *
   righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

11       Truth shall spring up from the earth, *
   and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

12       Sophia will indeed grant prosperity, *
   and our land will yield its increase.

13       Righteousness shall go before Her, *
   and peace shall be a pathway for Her feet.

 And an excerpt from Laura Grimes' Advent Meditations book 
(daily divine feminine scripture readings for the season) is

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. 
For you didn’t receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received 
the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Amma! Mother!”
The Spirit Herself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God; 
and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; 
if indeed we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him.  
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time 
are not worthy to be compared with the glory which will be revealed 
toward us.

For the creation waits with eager expectation for the children of God 
to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to vanity, not 
of its own will, but because of Her who subjected it, in hope 
that the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of decay 
into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.  
For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together 
until now.  Not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first fruits 
of the Spirit, even we groan within ourselves, waiting for adoption, 
the redemption of our body.

For we were saved in hope, but hope that is seen is not hope. 
For who hopes for that which they see?  
But if we hope for that which we don’t see, we wait for it with patience.  
In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we don’t
 know how to pray as we ought.  
But the Spirit Herself makes intercession for us with groanings 
which can’t be uttered.  She who searches hearts knows what is in the 
Spirit’s mind, because She makes intercession for the
 saints according to God.
Romans 8:14-27

Both books, as well as Sophia’s Book of Hours and Sophia’s Rosary, 
are available at her book website

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Support Women Priests With Prayers and Financial Support
Dear Family, Friends and Supporters of ARCWP:
As we draw near to Christmas and the close of 2012, we look back on this year with great joy
and extreme gratitude. We give thanks for you, our supporters.  Together we are moving
toward a renewed inclusive Christ-centered, justice seeking Catholic Church emerging in
more and more places led by ordained women.  In 2012 five women were ordained as priests
and another six women as deacons.  We anticipate the ordination of as many as nine women
as priests in 2013.  In spite of the Vatican-imposed punishment of excommunication our
movement for Gospel equality continues to grow.
ARCWP is a new vision rising up: one of inclusion, nonviolence and justice in our church and
world community.  We are active in ministries with those who are living on the margins due
to homelessness, racism, poverty and difference.  We serve as pastors for house churches
and inclusive Catholic communities.  We are educators and authors, retreat leaders and
peace activists.  We provide pastoral care in a variety of medical settings. We work with
youth, families, the elderly and the disaffected to heal and build community often in
ecumenical settings.  
Our vision rose on November 17 when Jesuit Father Bill Brennan co-presided with our Janice
Sevre-Duszynska at the Progressive Catholic Coalition liturgy at the School of the Americas
(SOA) protest in Georgia.  In just a few days our joy was tempered by the news that the
Vatican dismissed Fr. Roy Bourgeois from the Maryknoll order and the priesthood. But he
will always be our courageous priest.  We have collaborated with Women's Ordination
Conference and Call to Action in support of Fr. Roy who said. “ is my conscience that
compels me to say publicly that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is a grave
injustice against women, against our Church and against our Loving God who calls both men
and women to the priesthood.”
As we look ahead to 2013 we know that we will need increased financial support.  Our largest
expense is for our ordinations and all the ways we spread the good news of the women priest
movement: speaking to groups in colleges and universities and at showings of the
documentary “Pink Smoke”, through our website, and by visiting and collaborating with our
priests in South America.
That’s what ARCWP is about.  We work tirelessly to bring about the Kin-dom in local
communities by the giving of ourselves in ministry and by challenging the powers that be.
We know that we can count on you to support our efforts. Please make your tax-deductible
donation to: ARCWP at the address above.
We invite you to visit our website ( and Bridget Mary’s blog (bridgetmarys. for the latest in our movement for a renewed inclusive church.
We offer you our blessings as we move forward together,
The Women of ARCWP

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, Inc. is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt charitable organization.
Donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Bishops Investigating US Nuns Have Poor Records on Sex Abuse Cases" by Jason Berry
Vatican Selections Include Bishops and Cardinals who Protected Pedophile Priests
Cardinals and bishops involved in the LCWR investigation have suffered no discipline for their blunders in their handling of clergy pedophiles, according to news reports and legal documents.
Cardinal Bernard Law was the prime mover behind the “apostolic visitation” of all American nun communities, other than monastic ones, and the subsequent CDF investigation of the LCWR, according to sources in Rome, including Cardinal Franc Rodé, the retired prefect of the congregation that oversees religious orders.
Law, who refused to comment for this article, has not spoken to the press in 10 years. He resigned as Boston archbishop in December 2002 and spent 18 months living at a convent of nuns in Maryland, with periodic trips to Rome. In 2004, the Vatican rewarded him with a position as prefect of Santa Maria Maggiore, a historic basilica; he took an active role in several Roman Curia boards, and became a fixture on the social circuit of embassies in Rome. Boston was a staggering mess.
Abuse settlements there have cost $175 million. Mass attendance since 2002 has dropped from 45 percent to 16 percent. Declining financial support has caused a storm of church closings, from 400 parishes in 2002 to 135 today.
Six years after Law found redemption in Rome, clergy abuse cases exploded in Europe.
“You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry,” Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Catholics of Ireland in a letter on March 19, 2010, as the Irish reeled from a government report on a history of bishops concealing clergy predators. “Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated,” the pope continued. “You find it hard to forgive or be reconciled with the Church. In her name, I openly express the shame and remorse that we all feel. At the same time, I ask you not to lose hope.”
Despite the uncommon tone of contrition, the pope’s letter offered no procedures to remove complicit bishops or genuine institutional reform.
On April 4, 2010, as cases of clergy abuse in other countries shook the European heartland, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel criticized Benedict for “reluctance to take a firm stance ... [on] a crisis for the entire Catholic Church, a crisis that is now descending upon the Vatican with a vengeance and hitting its spiritual leader hard.”
Two years later, the drumbeat of criticism has subsided; but the core problem is unchanged. Under the logic of apostolic succession, in which each bishops stands as a descendant of Jesus’s apostles, the power structure gives de facto immunity to cardinals and bishops for gross violations of moral trust, much less the law.
Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Missouri, remains in his office despite his conviction in civil court, which did not draw a prison sentence, for concealing a perpetrator. Pope Benedict has not punished any of the hierarchs who recycled so many sex offenders by sending them to other parishes.
The double standard in church governance — men of the hierarchy immune from church justice — has become a glaring issue to leaders of missionary orders in Rome as the CDF probes the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in America.
In 2005, shortly after Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger emerged from the conclave as Pope Benedict XVI, he appointed San Francisco Archbishop William Levada to succeed him as prefect of the CDF. Levada became a cardinal soon thereafter.
Levada was caught in a swamp in 2002 amidst news reports on abuse cases under his watch. He formed an Independent Review Board of primarily lay people to advise him and review personnel files on questionable priests. Psychologist James Jenkins chaired the board. Father Greg Ingels, a canon lawyer, helped set it up. Jenkins grew suspicious when Levada would not release the names of priests under scrutiny. 
In May of 2003, board members were stunned on reading news reports that Ingels had been indicted for allegedly having oral sex with a 15-year-old boy at a local high school in the 1970s. Levada, the board learned, had known about the allegations since 1996, yet kept Ingels in ministry and as an adviser. Ingels helped fashion the church's 2002 zero-tolerance policy and wrote a bishops’ guidebook on how to handle abuse cases. Ingels stepped down.
Jenkins quit his post, denouncing Levada for “an elaborate public relations scheme.” 
Robert Mickens reported in The Tablet in May that Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, a protege of Law’s, asked the CDF to investigate LCWR.
Lori established several communities of traditionalist nuns as bishop of Bridgeport, Conn. between 2001 and 2012.
As a canon lawyer, Lori helped write the US bishops’ 2002 youth protection charter. It has no oversight over bishops. In 2003, Lori approved a $21 million abuse victims’ settlement involving several priests. Voice of the Faithful criticized him for allowing an accused monsignor to stay in his parish. In 2011 the priest resigned after a female church worker made sexual harassment allegations.
In a Jan. 12, 2011 Connecticut Post op-ed piece, VOTF leader John Marshall Lee cited a priest who had been suspended for sex abuse yet appeared in clerical attire at public gatherings. 
“Does this behavior contradict Bishop Lori's assumed supervisory orders suspending priestly public activities?” Lee asked. “How does a bishop enforce his instructions in this regard? Where does a whistleblower report this behavior, or determine if the priest in question was suspended in the first place?”
Lee cited another cleric who had been removed after “credible allegations of sexual abuse” but with no indication that he was defrocked. 
“There is no current address for this man who might have been labeled ‘sex offender’ (had the church acted responsibly when leaders first heard of adult criminal behavior perpetrated on Catholic children) and who may continue to be a potential threat to children," Lee continued. "Is the church saying that such men are no longer a public threat to children?”
Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, who wrote the secret report on LCWR for Levada, has said he got most of his information from LCWR literature. Writing in his diocesan paper, Blair made the accurate point that several speakers at LCWR conferences have taken positions, like ordaining women, that are contrary to church teaching.
Does this mean that the ordination of women is a new form of heresy? Can religious conferences function with academic freedom? If the truth of the church is defined by men who have violated basic moral standards of Christian life in disregarding the rights of children and their families, how does their behavior meet the sensus fidelium, or mind of the faithful, extolled by Vatican II?
Blair’s own background spotlights a double standard that rewards bishops who scandalize lay people.
In 2004, the priest in charge of Toledo’s $60 million capital campaign was accused by two men of having abused them as boys many years before. Blair kept Father Robert Yaeger in his fundraising job while an attorney negotiated settlements for the victims. The bishop removed Yaeger after eighteen months, as the fundraising campaign drew to a close, but before the settlements made news.
“A priest who was publicly critical of Blair's handling of the sexual abuse crisis has been silenced from speaking to the media,” says David Yonke, an author and former Toledo Blade reporter who covered religion for years. ”Father Stephen Stanbery used to call me regularly but stopped about two years ago. He could not acknowledge that he was silenced by the bishop but it is clear that’s what happened,” says Yonke, now with Religion News Service.
Blair forcibly retired a veteran pastor who criticized the bishop’s parish closures as “high-handed decisions with almost no collaboration with anyone.” In one parish he installed a priest who had had a long relationship with a woman. When the parishioners found out, Blair reassigned the priest. A spokesperson said the bishop had to keep quiet as the priest told him in confession. 
In 2005, parishioners in the farm belt town of Kansas, Ohio, filed a Vatican appeal when Blair closed St. James parish. It failed. They filed suit to save the parish in county court, arguing that the bishop was only one trustee but parishioners owned the property. The state sided with the bishop. “We spent $100,000 in legal fees,” said parishioner Virginia Hull. “Bishop Blair paid his lawyers with $77,957 from our parish account.” Blair had the church demolished.
Blair, Lori and Levada became bishops with help from Law, whose influence at the Vatican as a member of Congregation for Bishops was pivotal in selecting new American priests for the hierarchy.
The second member of the three-man committee now supervising LCWR is Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill. In a 2007 homily in Grand Rapids for the Red Mass, an annual liturgy for lawyers and judges, Paprocki, who has degrees in civil and canon law, declared that “the law is being used as an instrument of attack on the Church. This was true from the earliest times when the earliest Christians were, in effect, outlaws in the Roman empire for refusing to worship the official state gods.”
He saw clergy abuse lawsuits were undermining the church’s religious freedom. “This attack is particularly directed against bishops and priests, since the most effective way to scatter the flock is to attack the shepherd,” he insisted. “The principal force behind these attacks is none other than the devil.”
Equating the devil with lawyers seeking financial compensation for victims of child sexual abuse drew heavy criticism for Paprocki.
In a 2011 homily the bishop took a rhetorical backstep, saying, "Apparently I did not make myself clear that it is the sins of priests and bishops who succumbed to the temptations of the devil that have put their victims and the Catholic community in this horrible situation in the first place.”
In a column for his diocesan newspaper before the November election, Paprocki attacked the Democrats’ party platform supporting abortion.
Without endorsing Mitt Romney outright, he wrote that “a vote for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your soul in serious jeopardy.”
Did bishops who sent child molesters from parish to parish, on to fresh victims, without warning parishioners, promote “actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil?” Does apostolic succession absolve them of all wrongdoing?
Bishops gain stature in the estimation of cardinals and popes by proving their loyalty. A chief way to do that is by serving as an investigator of priests or nuns who run afoul of the hierarchy as threats to the moral teaching upheld by bishops, regardless of what the bishops have done.
Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle is delegated by the CDF to ensure that the nuns’ leadership group conforms to changes the Vatican wants.
Sartain was previously the bishop of Joliet, Ill., a diocese that was wracked with abuse cover-ups and lawsuits under his predecessor.
In spring of 2009, a Joliet seminarian, Alejandro Flores, was caught with pornographic pictures of youths, some of which appeared to be of underage boys. No criminal charges were filed.
Bishop Sartain ordained Flores a priest six months later, in June 2009. Then in January 2010, Flores was arrested for molesting a boy. He pled guilty in September 2010, the same month that Pope Benedict promoted Sartain to archbishop of Seattle."

Research for this series has been funded by a Knight Grant for Reporting on Religion and American Public Life, sponsored by the Knight Program at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism; the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting; and the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

Link to Slideshow Homily at Call to Action Produced by Roman Catholic Women Priests USA and the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests/"Standing on the Shoulders"/Dedicated to Fr. Roy Bourgeois for his support of women priests/Enjoy!

Canadian Media Interview with Roy Bourgeois on Ordination of Women

"For years Roy Bourgeois mixed activism with his religion as a Roman Catholic priest. He was a vocal proponent of human rights in Latin America. Then he took up the struggle for the ordination of women. For the Vatican that was one struggle too many. Roy Bourgeois has been excommunicated and today as part of our project Line in The Sand,the Dilemmas that Define Us, we hear from Roy Bourgeois about where he drew his line. "

Women Priests Celebrate Prophets As Spiritual Revolution Continues /Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Press Release: December 19, 2012
From: The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska, D.Min., 859-684-4247
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan,; 703-505-0004

The spiritual revolution of Roman Catholic Women Priests is shaking the Catholic Church to its foundation.

We now have the second official statement in a month from the National Catholic Reporter challenging the Vatican over the issue of women priests. It is a call to male priests for solidarity with those who have been reprimanded for publicly supporting women priests:  Maryknoll Roy Bourgeois, Jesuit Bill Brennan and Franciscan Jerry Zawada.

Moreover, 4,000 Sisters of Mercy, the largest group of women religious leaders, have signed a statement in support of Fr. Roy and for justice and equality for women in the church.

They were joined by the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Monsignor Helmut Schuller of Austria who heads the 400-Austrian Priests’ Initiative was stripped of his title by the Vatican.

Swiss Abbots Speak Out for Church Reform including women's ordination.

No punishment against male priest supporters of women’s ordination will stop the Spirit from rising up for justice for women in the church.

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas – Christ with us -- we celebrate and affirm all modern-day prophets who speak out publicly, challenging sexism, the elephant in the church’s living room.  This is Good News! Thanks be to God!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mercy Nuns Statement of Support for Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Link to National Catholic Reporter Support, Irish Priests' Association Support Roy and Women's Ordination/Vatican Punishments Fail /Tipping Point for Women Priests?

Bridget Mary's Response: 
Once again the Vatican and the bishops are the gifts that keep on giving to the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement!  Courageous male priests,  the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and the Catholic press are challenging the Vatican for its tactics of intimidation and punishment against those who support women's ordination. There is no sugar-coating it. This is a spiritual revolution in the Catholic Church that is shaking the Vatican and moving the church forward towards a renewal. Perhaps, we are even approaching a tipping point for women priests!

What do  Maryknoll Roy Bourgeois, Franciscan Jerry Zawada and Jesuit Bill Brennan have in common? They are peace and justice activists, who co-presided with Janice Sevre-Duszynska at different liturgies. Roy gave the homily at her ordination  on Aug. 9, 2008 and has spoken out for women's ordination in many places in the United States and Canada. Fr. Jerry in 2010 and 2011 and Fr. Bill n 2012 co-presided with Janice at liturgies at the School of the Americas Watch in Columbus, GA. Their punishment:Fr. Roy Bourgeois was thrown out of the Maryknoll Order for his promotion of women's ordination Fr. Jerry's case is pending, Fr. Bill Brennan, a Jesuit, is not allowed to celebrate public Masses, speak to the media, or leave his nursing home without the permission of his superior!  It is outrageous to treat a faithful, 92 year old priest like a child!

Monsignor Helmut Schuller of Austria has been stripped of the tile Monsignor as punishment for leading the "Appeal to disobedience." According to the National Catholic Reporter: "Schüller, a former deputy to Vienna's archbishop, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, has made waves by organizing some 400 Austrian priests into the Austrian Priests' Initiative, which published an "Appeal to Disobedience" in June 2011.That appeal, which has the support of a large number of Austrian lay Catholics, calls for radical church reforms including the ordination of married men and women.")  

It is good news for Catholics to see our  priests challenging sexism, the elephant in the church's "living room! Amen, brothers, amen!

It is a wonderful surprise, in light of the Vatican persecution of the nuns, specifically of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, to read the strong statement of solidarity from Sisters of Mercy of the Americas! I hope that there will some gutsy nun priests soon!

Pope Benedict canonized two excommunicated nuns, Mother Theodore Guerin and Mother Mary MacKillop. So, one could argue that the pope has made excommunication the new fast track to canonization! Saints Joan of Arc, Mother Theodore Guerin and  Mary MacKillop, patron saints for primacy of conscience and of the excommunicated, pray for us! Perhaps, the growing number of the excommunicated is sending a message to the Vatican today. We are no longer afraid! Roman Catholic Women Priests are leading, not leaving the church!

Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp.

Links to Recent Top Stories on the "ever punishing" Vatican and the push-back from the Catholic Press/NCR, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and the Irish Priests Association:

This critical challenge is written by Tom Fox, publisher of the National Catholic Reporter

Editorial supporting women's ordination in National Catholic Reporter in early Dec.

MERCY NUNS Speak out!
 See also the link to the Mercy Nuns' Statement in which they clearly support Fr. Roy Bourgeois and affirm their position for justice and equality for women in the church.
If the nuns jump from the institutional ship, that is big news!

Association of Irish Priests Speak Out in solidarity with Fr. Roy

Franciscan Jerry Zawada, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP, Jesuit Bill Brennan

Story of Punishment of Jesuit Priest who co-presided at 
Mass with Woman Priest- 
Janice Sevre Duszynska,

(See photo)

(See photos of Liturgy of Janice and Jesuit Bill Brennan)

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Bishop Dana Reynolds, Janice Sevre-Duszynska  Aug. 9, 2008
Ordination of Janice as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest

National Catholic Reporter- Male Priests Support of Women Priests- "A Lament Over the Silencing of Brothers" by Tom Fox/Publisher

A lament over the silencing of brothers

 |  NCR Today
"The decision in October by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to remove longtime peace advocate Roy Bourgeois from the Maryknoll fathers upset many Catholics.
Bourgeois was singled out for having participated in the ordination of Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janice Sevre-Duszynska in August 2008. Shortly after Bourgeois was notified by the Vatican that he had incurred a latae sententiae, or automatic, excommunication for his participation.
Then last month Jesuit Fr. Bill Brennan, a 92-year-old Milwaukee-area priest, was informed he could no longer  celebrate Mass or perform any other priestly duties after it was disclosed he had participated in a eucharistic liturgy with a woman priest

It seems priests will be singled out as long as they associate with women priest liturgies. It also seems the conflict between advocates of an inclusive priesthood and those who support an entirely male priesthood in the Catholic church will not die out soon.
One small example: A few days back I received an email from Jim Ewens, a former Jesuit living in North Lake, WI. He wrote what he called a “Hopkinsian lament,” wondering out loud why more religious had not spoken out against the way the Vatican had treated Bourgeois and Brennan. This is Ewens' lament. "
               A Hopkinsian Lament over the Silencing of Brothers
Is there not one, nowhere, no how, not (even) a single Jesuit -- or two --
In the entire Great Lakes province who might dare, so to speak, up, out --
Finding some way to stand forth and say:
"Yes, I do support my brother, Bill Brennan S.J., his friends, Roy Bourgeois,
Jerry Zawada, O.S.F. , the NCR Editorial Statement -- the
600 Austrian and 1,000 Irish priests -- in stating that it is well past time
To ordain women to priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church."
I mean, if not now, when? At 75, 87, 92? Wholly retired, slipping Into
Dementia? At any rate, well past when most other Catholics in the country
Or world will have approved the rightness of overturning this massive wrong.
True, there might, in time, be charges, losses, challenges, repercussions.
As there were back in the 60s for hundreds of thousands who sat in at
Lunch counters, marched, rode in the front of buses, for months, years,
Until laws were passed, freedoms won, for millions. We were with them, then.
Why not now? In large numbers. The Sisters of Mercy across the country
Have seen fit to do so. The American Catholic Council concurred as well.
Are Jesuits different, quieter, unable, unwilling? But since when -- and why?
It could be changed. By one, two at a time, then some more. This Advent.
Talk more about elephants in the rec room. Then, stand up, move them out.

O Antiphons (link to Martha Kelly's Art/ Prayer from Joan Chittister for Dec. 18th

Dec. 18th

O Adonai
when we build a vision of life it is necessary to realize that Jesus must be the center, not our institutions, good as they may be; not our plans or personal talents, necessary as they are.

O Adonai, leader of ancient Israel, giving Moses, while in the burning bush, Sinai. Come with outstretched arms and teach us. 
Sr. Joan Chittister

From Bridget Mary:
O loving God, embrace us this day, and fill our hearts with a profound compassion for all who weep especially the families that lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook tragedy. May we move foward with the resolve to make the changes that will prevent future mass killings by passing gun control laws, providing better mental health resources and reaching out to all those who are in need who cross our path in life.