Saturday, April 27, 2013

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests:Ordination of Rosemarie Smead, Reuters Article By Mary Wisniewski"Kentucky woman ordained as priest in defiance of Roman Catholic Church"

Rosmarie Smead
(PHOTO CREDIT: Reuters) Ordaining Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan ordains Rosemarie Smead into priesthood as Roman Catholic priest, during Celebration of Ordination at St. Andrew's United Church of Christ in Louisville

Kentucky woman ordained as priest in defiance of Roman Catholic Church
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In an emotional ceremony filled with tears and applause, a 70-year-old Kentucky woman was ordained a priest today as part of a dissident group operating outside of official Roman Catholic Church authority.
Rosemarie Smead is one of about 150 women around the world who have decided not to wait for the Roman Catholic Church to lift its ban on women priests, but to be ordained and start their own congregations.
In an interview before the ceremony, Smead said she is not worried about being excommunicated from the Church — the fate of other women ordained outside of Vatican law.
“It has no sting for me,” said Smead, a petite, gray-haired former Carmelite nun with a ready hug for strangers. “It is a Medieval bullying stick the bishops used to keep control over people and to keep the voices of women silent. I am way beyond letting octogenarian men tell us how to live our lives.”
The ordination of women as priests, along with the issues of married priests and birth control, represents one of the big divides between U.S. Catholics and the Vatican hierarchy. Seventy percent of U.S. Catholics believe that women should be allowed to be priests, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll earlier this year.
The former pope, Benedict XVI, reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s ban on women priests and warned that he would not tolerate disobedience by clerics on fundamental teachings. Male priests have been stripped of their holy orders for participating in ordination ceremonies for women.
In a statement last week, Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz called the planned ceremony by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests a “simulated ordination” in opposition to Catholic teaching.
“The simulation of a sacrament carries very serious penal sanctions in Church law, and Catholics should not support or participate in today’s event,” Kurtz said.
The Catholic Church teaches that it has no authority to allow women to be priests because Jesus Christ chose only men as his apostles. Proponents of a female priesthood said Jesus was acting only according to the customs of his time.
They also note that he chose women, like Mary Magdalene, as disciples, and that the early Church had women priests, deacons and bishops.
The ceremony, held at St. Andrew United Church of Christ in Louisville, was attended by about 200 men and women. Many identified themselves to a Reuters reporter as Catholics, but some declined to give their names or their churches.
The modern woman priest movement started in Austria in 2002, when seven women were ordained by the Danube River by an independent Catholic bishop. Other women were later ordained as bishops, who went on to ordain more women priests and deacons.
“As a woman priest, Rosemarie is leading, not leaving the Catholic Church, into a new era of inclusivity,” said Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan during her sermon today. “As the Irish writer James Joyce reminded us, the word ’Catholic’ means ’Here comes everybody!” ’
Smead had to leave the rigorous Carmelite life due to health reasons, and earned a bachelor’s degree in theology and a doctorate in counseling psychology. She taught at Indiana University for 26 years, and works as a couples and family therapist.
During the ordination ceremony, Smead wept openly as nearly everyone in the audience came up and laid their hands on her head in blessing. Some whispered, “Thanks for doing this for us.”
During the communion service, Smead and other woman priests lifted the plates and cups containing the sacramental bread and wine to bless them.
A woman in the audience murmured, “Girl, lift those plates. I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”
One of those attending the service was Stewart Pawley, 32, of Louisville, who said he was raised Catholic and now only attends on Christmas and Easter. But he said he would attend services with Smead when she starts to offer them in Louisville.
“People like me know it’s something the Catholic Church will have to do,” said Pawley.
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Luncheon of ARCWP and Community  on April 26th in Louisville, KY.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Google Alerts Picks Up Bridget Mary's Response to Kentucky Bishop on Upcoming Ordination of Rosemarie Smead

"Group to ordain woman as priest in Kentucky" Bridget Mary Meehan ...
"Group to ordain woman as priest in Kentucky" Bridget Mary Meehan Responds to Article on Rosemarie Smead's Historic, Upcoming Ordination in Louisville, KY

Archives Demonstrate How LA Cardinal Mahony Obstructed Investigation on Sex Abuse Scandal

"In 2003, with the country newly focused on the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church, a senior U.S. church leader attempted behind the scenes to head off the investigation of the crisis by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, disparaging the institution and its researchers as inadequate.

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, in a strongly worded letter to then-Bishop Wilton Gregory, at the time president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, complained at length about the forms that John Jay researchers produced. He described them as "designed by people who apparently have no understanding of the Roman Catholic Church, ecclesiastical culture, hierarchical structure, or the language of the Roman Catholic Church."

The previously unpublished letters that circulated among Mahony, Gregory, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, Justice Anne Burke and others provide a behind-the-scenes view of some of the tensions in the air the year after the U.S. bishops formulated their Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People during their June 2002 meeting in Dallas. Public outrage had forced the bishops to take a dramatic step to deal with the scandal of sexual abuse of children by priests and the cover-up of the abuse by scores of bishops across the United States.

The letters are part of Burke's archives, held by DePaul University in Chicago. Burke, a member of the Illinois Supreme Court, initially served as vice chairperson of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People, established under the charter. She later took over as chairperson when Keating resigned. The correspondence provides a window into the high-stakes tensions of that period, as questions swirled regarding the board's independence and whether bishops would cooperate with or undermine investigations.

In an April 4 phone interview, Burke said she thought the letters would provide further insight, given the recent disclosures in Los Angeles, of hierarchical attitudes in dealing with the crisis.

She described Mahony at the time as "an obstructionist" and said he represented "a pattern of conduct of circling the wagons so they [the bishops] could protect the clerics and themselves. The first thing they thought of in every instance was 'protect, protect, protect,' and not about the truth or the victims."

Mahony apparently had written letters and made a phone call to Kathleen McChesney, the first director of the U.S. bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, in January 2003, urging that such forms be reviewed "by a large number of" dioceses before being used to survey the dioceses. That didn't happen, and in an April 23, 2003, letter to Gregory about the John Jay study, Mahony wrote, "One could even surmise that the ill-conceived and poorly thought-out questions were designed to create a further media 'feeding frenzy.' It almost seems that the forms were designed, on purpose, by people who have a vested interest in confusing the many intricate issues and maximizing the statistical number of perpetrators, as well as attaching the greatest possible numbers of perpetrators to Diocesan Reports."

Mahony also expressed fear that the information being collected by John Jay researchers, though it went through an elaborate system to disguise the dioceses and keep accused perpetrators and victims anonymous, would be both leaked and subject to legal discovery."

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Pope Francis and the Ongoing Reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious"/ James Martin SJ
Bridget Mary's Response:
I hope that James Martin is right that the new pope is open and the outcome could be positive.
However, if not, the nuns could become non-canonical and continue their exact same mission with the support of the majority of U.S. Catholics, plus they could be ordained priests, if called by their communities, to serve the people in a renewed priestly ministry. Bridget Mary Meehan,

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pope Francis to Appoint More Women to Key Vatican Posts/ Looking Forward to the Announcement!

"Group to ordain woman as priest in Kentucky" Bridget Mary Meehan Responds to Article on Rosemarie Smead's Historic, Upcoming Ordination in Louisville, KY.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- "Rosemarie Smead sees herself as preparing all her life for the step she's about to take.
She was brought up a devout Catholic. She lived for a short time as a cloistered nun. She has theology and counseling degrees. She marched for civil rights in Selma, Ala. -- then worked with troubled children there for years. She forged a career as an Indiana University Southeast professor, training school counselors.
Now the petite 70-year-old from Bedford, Ky., is preparing for what she freely admits is a flagrant defiance of Roman Catholic law -- specifically Canon 1024, which restricts the priesthood to baptized men.
On Saturday, Smead is scheduled to be ordained by the dissident Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. The service will take place in a Protestant sanctuary.
It will be the first such ordination in Louisville by the decade-old Women Priests group, which has been holding such services around the world.
"It's illegal, but it's valid," said Smead. "In order to challenge this law, we have to break it."
National and Kentucky polls have shown around two-thirds of all Catholics -- but a minority of those who frequently attend Mass -- support ordaining women. But church leaders insist that public opinion won't alter Catholic doctrine.
"Despite the name, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is not an entity of the Roman Catholic Church or the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville," Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz said in a statement. "Its action in carrying out a simulated ordination of Dr. Rosemarie Smead stands in direct opposition to the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on the priesthood."

Bridget Mary's Response: The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests are leading the Catholic Church into its future which is now. Like Rosa Parks, who refused to sit in the back of the bus, we are taking our rightful places as equals in our church. Women Priests are visible reminders that women are spiritual equals in God's eyes. We are offering a path to renewing our church into a more inclusive and egalitarian community of faith rooted in Jesus' example in the Gospels. Visit us at

"Kurtz said the "simulation of a sacrament carries very serious penal sanctions in Church law, and Catholics should not support or participate."...

Bridget Mary's Response: We are praying that the church will be filled with enthusiastic Catholics who love the church and support women's equality in the Roman Catholic Church.
Excommunication is a badge of honor. The church burned Joan of Arc at the stake and later declared her a saint. Pope Benedict relativized it by canonizing Mother Theodore Guerin and Mother Mary Killop, two excommunicated nuns. So one could argue, Benedict made excommunication the new fast track to sainthood.

"In 2008, the Vatican stated that any woman who attempts ordination, and anyone seeking to confer it on her, faces automatic excommunication.
The association's 2008 ordination of a Lexington, Ky., woman, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, led to the defrocking of a Roman Catholic priest who took a prominent role in the ceremony.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says Jesus chose men as his apostles and that they chose men as their successors.
"The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord Himself. For this reason, the ordination of women is not possible," it says."

Bridget Mary's Response: The Twelve symbolize the Twelve Tribes of Israel. There were more than 12 apostles. The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala  and entrusted the most important teaching on which Christianity is based to her, not to Peter or any of the males, and that is why the Church Fathers referred to Mary of Magdala as the apostle to the apostles. Also, Paul was an apostle and so was Junia and her husband Andronicus. See Romans 16:7. Historians assert that for twelve hundred years women were ordained in the Roman Catholic Church. In 494 Pope Gelasius wrote a Papal Bull demanding that the bishops of Southern Italy, modern day Sicily stop allowing women to preside at the altar.

"In the face of such opposition, Smead admits she hesitated to seek ordination at a retirement age, a decision "that would require me to have a great deal of courage and to stand up to the dudes."
But, she added, "I have never been a stay-in-the-box person. Because of my relationship with God, I have no fear of excommunication."
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests traces its roots to 2002 and says it has ordained about 100 women priests worldwide, including several bishops, many leading small congregations independent from Vatican authority."

Bridget Mary's Response: The international movement has approximately 150. The Association is one of the branches of the worldwide movement. We have priests and deacons in the United States, South America and Canada.
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of the association said its first bishops were ordained by a Roman Catholic bishop whose name has not been disclosed, giving them valid orders in the line of succession from the apostles.
Advocates for women's ordination contend there is evidence in ancient texts, burial art and other sources that early churches ordained women.
"We're reclaiming that earlier tradition," said Meehan, who will preside at Smead's ordination. She also cited gospel accounts of Jesus first appearing to women after his resurrection and telling them to bring the good news to others.
"That's the meaning of the word apostle, (one commissioned to) go and tell," she said.
Meehan said Smead has had "a lifelong call" to serving others and that ordination "would enhance and expand her ministry."
Smead attended Catholic schools while growing up in Ohio in the 1940s and 1950s. She said she felt a call to serve God and others, but the notion of a woman priest was never discussed then.
"I felt like the best thing I could possibly be is a contemplative nun in a monastery," Smead said.
She spent about three years at a Carmelite convent but left after her health broke down. "We went to bed at 11 o'clock at night. We got up at 4:30 in the morning," she said. "I could not deal with the sleep deprivation."
Eventually she went to Marquette University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in theology. In 1965, she and fellow students took part in the historic march through Selma in support of the Rev. Martin Luther King and other civil rights activists.
After a brief marriage, Smead began working toward a doctorate in counseling psychology at Auburn University while starting a clinic in nearby Montgomery, Ala., for children with severe learning disabilities and emotional problems.
She later returned to Selma to direct a treatment program for juvenile delinquents.
"They were lost in the system, but we took them," she said.
Seeking to train others in similar work, she became professor of counseling education at IUS in New Albany in 1981 and published how-to textbooks on group therapy for children.
Heart attacks in the 1990s prompted Smead to scale back her stressful regimen of teaching, publishing and conference travel. She pursued a new avocation -- raising Australian shepherds and bringing them to dog shows, then training children on how to do the same. Smead retired from IUS in 2007.
"All this time I was going to my Catholic church on Sundays, following what I believe is my spiritual life," she said.
But, she added, "doing couples counseling and family counseling for 40 years, you get pretty darn liberal. ... I've counseled so many women who would come in crying. They had six kids, and the husband and the priest were saying, 'Sorry, you cannot use birth control,' when she was at her wit's end."
When Smead learned about Bourgeois' plight, she looked up the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests online.
She contacted members, began attending its meetings in Cincinnati and was urged to apply for ordination. She said that was an answer to her prayer for direction after retirement.
"I'm in good health," she said. "I'm not going to sit on my duff. I never have. I need to be giving back."
Smead took correspondence courses in theology and was ordained a deacon by the association last fall.
Bridget Mary's Response: Rosemarie has a rich background in theology and ministry that prepares her for priestly ministry in an egalitarian community where all are welcome to receive sacraments, and all are co-equals, rooted in baptismal grace. She has spent years in prayerful preparation and service to people in need, which gave her an ideal background for priestly ministry in the 21st century.
"Many women priests host small churches, as Smead has begun doing in recent months, calling it Christ Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community. Starting May 11, she'll be leading monthly services, using space at St. Andrew.
St. Andrew's pastor, the Rev. Jimmy Watson, said hosting the service was natural for a congregation that welcomes openly gay members and whose denomination was a pioneer in ordaining women.
"These acts reflect the United Church of Christ's extravagant sense of hospitality and inclusion," Watson said."
Bridget Mary's Response: We give thanks for Pastor Watson and the United Church of Christ for the open embrace of our movement for justice and equality. They are beloved brothers and sisters who walk with us on this sacred journey of love and renewal.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Article on Rosmarie Smead's Ordination in USA Today

"LCWR President Asks Pope Francis to Promote Women" Joshua J. McElwee /Time to Appoint Nuns to Top Vatican Posts

Bridget Mary's Response: The majority of the nuns in the U.S. are at a critical crossroads with
the Vatican. Pope Francis would be wise to affirm nuns as equals in our church and appoint them to top jobs in the Vatican now! Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,
"The president of the primary group of U.S. Catholic sisters has asked Pope Francis to consider appointing women to "major leadership posts" in the church and to be open to dialog with women religious.
Franciscan Sr. Florence Deacon, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), makes those encouragements in the May issue of U.S. Catholic, the magazine published by the Claretians.
"Recent popes have ex-pressed gratitude for Catholic sisters’ deep love of the church and generous service to God’s people," Deacon, whose organization represents some 80 percent of the country's 57,000 sisters, writes.
Introducing NCR's first eBook: Best Catholic Spirituality Writing 2012
"However, there were two investigations of Catholic sisters undertaken during Pope Benedict’s era. We hope that Pope Francis, a member of a religious order himself, will be open to a dialogue with women religious and will work with us to support our mission."
"Today young women in the United States are leaving the church in larger numbers than young men, and parents are questioning raising their daughters in a church that doesn’t seem to value women’s participation," Deacon continues.
"We hope Pope Francis hears their concerns and appoints significant numbers of women to major leadership posts in the universal church."