Friday, July 5, 2013

"What will it take?"/Sexual Abuse, Archbishop Dolan, Milwaukee and the Vatican/ Shocking Revelations

"Milwaukee’s Archbishop Listecki warned people last week, “Prepare to be shocked”, with regards to reading sexual abuse case-related church documents which were released July 1st. I read several of the documents and the following things did strike me with intensity so I appreciate the warning: The Vatican stated in one of its letters to Tim Dolan, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time, “…the Dicastery would call to your Excellency’s attention the priorities for the use of ecclesial goods as established in c.1254.2, noting that the support of clergy ranks second in importance only to divine worship.” I think many people sense church hierarchy prioritizes protecting ritual and clergy above all else but it was startling to see it in writing. There’s no mention of the flock, victims or anything else as having a priority other than ritual and clergy, by the way. .." 
Bridget Mary's Response:
How many times must we encounter the same tragic response from the hierarchy and Vatican to the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church?

"Star Spangled Virgin, Blessed or Blasphemous" by David Gibson
Bridget Mary's reflection
In my view, Mary, mother of Jesus, would not wrap herself in any flag as she is the mother of all.

"Excommunicated from the Catholic Church, Local Nurse Providing Another Model of Priesthood"

"The war between the Liberation Theology movement and Rome is over "

Gianni Valentevatican city
“The Latin American ecclesial and theological movement known as “Liberation Theology”, which spread to other parts of the world after the Second Vatican Council, should in my opinion be included among the most important currents in 20th century Catholic theology.” This authoritative and glorifying historical evaluation of Liberation Theology did not just come from some ancient South American theologian who is out of touch wit the times. The above statement was made by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which Ratzinger headed in the 1980’s, after John Paul I appointed him to the post. The Prefect gave two instructions, warning against pastoral and doctrinal deviations from Latin American theological currents of thought.

This decisive comment about the Liberation Theology movement is not just some witty remark that happened to escape the mouth of the current custodian of Catholic orthodoxy. The same balanced opinion pervades the densely written pages of “On the Side of the Poor. The Theology of Liberation”, a collection of essays co-written with liberation theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez and published in Germany in 2004. Gutiérrez invented the formula for defining the Liberation Theology movement, whose actions were – for a long time – closely scrutinised by the Ratzinger-led Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The movement was not criticised once during this time.

Today the book seems to wave goodbye in a way to the theological wars of the past and the hostility that flash up now and again, to cause alarm on purpose.

The book put an official seal on a common path the two had followed for many years. Müller never hid his closeness to Gustavo Gutiérrez, whom he met in Lima in 1988, during a study seminar. During the ceremony for the honorary degree which the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru granted to Müller in 2008, the then bishop of Regensburg defined the theological thought of his master and Peruvian friend as fully orthodox. In the months before Müller’s nomination as head of the dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, some claimed his closeness to Gutiérrez proved he was not suited to the role previously held by Cardinal Ratzinger (24 long years).

In the book’s essays, the two authors/friends back each other up. Müller says the merits of Liberation Theology go beyond the Latin American Catholic. The Prefect stressed that in recent decades, Latin America’s Liberation Theology movement has been oriented towards the image of Jesus Christ the Redeemer and liberator, an image all genuinely Christian theological currents are oriented towards. This stems from an evangelical inclination towards the poor. Müller affirmed that “poverty in Latin America oppresses children, the elderly and the sick,” to such an extent that many are driven to “contemplate death as the only way out.” Right from the outset, the Liberation Theology movement “forced” theological movements founded elsewhere, not to consider the real living conditions of people and individuals as something abstract. He saw “the body of Christ” in the poor, as Pope Francis does.

The arrival of the Catholic Church’s first Latin American Pope made it possible to look at those years and experience without being conditioned by the controversies that raged at the time. Without the ritualism of the false mea culpas and superficial changes, it is easier today to see that the hostility shown by certain sections of the Church towards the Liberation Theology movement was politically motivated and did not really stem from a desire to preserve and spread the faith of the apostles. Those who paid the price were the theologians and pastors who were completely immersed in the evangelical faith of their people. They either ended up in the mince or faded into the shadows. For a long time, the hostility shown towards the Liberation Theology movement was invaluable factor in helping some climb the ecclesiastical career ladder.

In one of his speeches, Müller (who in an interview on 27 December 2012 suggested it was likely a Latin American would substitute Ratzinger as Pope) did not hesitate to describe the political and geopolitical factors that had influenced certain “crusades” against the Liberation Theology movement: “the satisfaction of depriving the Liberation Theology movement of all meaning was intensified by capitalism’s sense of triumph, which was probably considered to have gained absolute victory. It was seen as an easy target that could be fitted into the same category as revolutionary violence and Marxist terrorism,” Müller said. He referred to a secret document prepared for President Reagan by the Committee of Santa Fé in 1980 (so 4 years before the Vatican’s first Instruction on the Liberation Theology movement), requesting that the U.S. government take aggressive action against the movement, which was accused of transforming the Catholic Church into “a political weapon against private property and productive capitalism by infiltrating the religious community with ideas that are less Christian than communist.'' Müller said: “The impertinence shown by the document’s authors, who are themselves guilty of brutal military dictatorships and powerful oligarchies, is disturbing. Their interest in private property and the capitalist production system has replaced Christianity as a criterion.”

After decades of fierce conflicts and opposition, the friendship between the two theologians – the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the man who was once investigated by the Congregation – has helped create a clear distinction between the ephemeral ideological frameworks of the past and the genuine evangelical spirit that inspired so many of the paths taken by Latin American Catholicism after the Second Vatican Council. In Müller’s eyes, 85 year old Gutiérrez - who is due to visit Italy, including Rome, this coming September - did not wear out his theological reflections in conferences or university meetings but found inspiration in the liturgies priests celebrated for the poor, in Lima’s run down suburbs. Essentially he was inspired by the basic experience which derived from the idea that “being Christian means following Jesus,” as Gutiérrez himself said in simple and biblical terms. It is the Lord himself who tells us we should “commit to working directly with the poor. The truth brings us closer to the poor,” Müller said, quoting his Peruvian friend..."

Pope Francis' Encyclical "Light of Faith"

..."Transformed by this love, we gain fresh vision, new eyes to see; we realize that it contains a great promise of fulfilment, and that a vision of the future opens up before us. Faith, received from God as a supernatural gift, becomes a light for our way, guiding our journey through time. On the one hand, it is a light coming from the past, the light of the foundational memory of the life of Jesus which revealed his perfectly trustworthy love, a love capable of triumphing over death. Yet since Christ has risen and draws us beyond death, faith is also a light coming from the future and opening before us vast horizons which guide us beyond our isolated selves towards the breadth of communion. We come to see that faith does not dwell in shadow and gloom; it is a light for our darkness. Dante, in the Divine Comedy, after professing his faith to Saint Peter, describes that light as a "spark, which then becomes a burning flame and like a heavenly star within me glimmers...."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

"Tuesday's Child Has Far To Go- The Tuesday Ministry" by Judy Lee, ARCWP

They came. They came to our Tuesday Ministry, July 2,2013, in the flash flood,thunder and lightening type of summer rain we are having here in Fort Myers, Florida. They came by foot, by bike and by bus. Only Roger has a car and he brought two others. Almost everyone was dripping wet. We gave out shirts and towels. Lauretta opened her heavy backpack and gave out mangos from her tree to everyone. The mangos were exquisite and she was applauded. Chris settled her 3 month old baby and two year old in. Little Carl was given a big new truck and he moved it around the circle. Kathleen, 70, wiped her face and silver hair with a towel and sat by her favorite person, Mr. Gary who welcomed her warmly.

Some came because they were hungry and Ellen McNally the local Call to Action President and her husband Jack,85, brought a tantalizing homemade Lasagna with garlic bread that cooked in the oven awaiting presentation with a delicious green salad and deserts. Call To Action is a progressive Catholic group with chapters throughout the United States and they support women priests. On our Ministry Tuesdays they make this a literal form of support by bringing and serving the food prepared by themselves and other CTA members. They are an important part of our Good Shepherd Ministries, served by two Roman Catholic women priests, myself, Judy Lee, and co-pastor Judy Beaumont. Ellen and Jack are a part of the family that gathers on Tuesdays. They were with us in 2007 when we joined a ministry of the Lamb of God Lutheran Episcopal church in feeding the hungry and homeless on Saturday nights in a local park. They were with us in 2008 when we drew up to a hundred and fifty people on our Friday night Church in the Park. They were with us in late 2009 when we purchased the house that we turned into a church and a transitional shelter for homeless people. And they remain with us now as we continue the feeding traditions on Tuesdays and Sunday after church. No one needs come to church to be fed, the hot food is served after the church service and all are welcome to any part of the afternoon. They also can get food from our food pantry at those times. They are among the over 70 homeless people we have now gotten into affordable housing and assisted in getting incomes. And they are the newly homeless or unemployed or living on low fixed incomes who seek our support. They come to minister to each other. Those with homes bring those without homes and resources to be helped.

They come because we are family to those who have no families and friends to those who have no friends. They come because they are hungry for affiliation and acceptance and love and a place to have fellowship and thank God together as much as for food and a host of social and spiritual services. Most love coming to the worship and discussion of the day’s Scriptures that takes place before the meal.Our group meeting is lively and animated. People were were shunned and scorned by others now lead the group.

Today’s Scriptures were the story of Joseph forgiving his brothers in Genesis 49 and of Jesus telling his followers not to be afraid and to trust God’s love as God knows when a tiny bird falls and how many hairs you have on your head. Joking about his shaved head, Mr. G. led the discussion of forgiveness sharing that for the first time he was able to ask a family member for forgiveness. He said it was easier for him to forgive than to ask for forgiveness. But a weight was lifted off of his chest. This resonated with many as they shared stories of forgiving and being forgiven. Lauretta tied the two Scriptures together as she said “I know the love God has for me because of this church. When I came to the church when it was in the park, I was out of my head. I needed forgiveness from so many for the things I did. I disrupted everything. No one wanted to come near me. I was thrown out of every other church and was so hungry. This church welcomed me as I was and cared for me as if I was a little sparrow with broken wings. The pastors and all of you who were there loved me back to health. I could not accept my mental illness and would not take my medicine. But through your love today I am happy to take my meds, I have a lovely home and am reunited with my family,and most of all you are my family. That’s why I bring you fruits and honey and things all the time.” Everyone applauded her and the meeting went on.

After the meeting I spoke with Chris who is newly housed with her two babies. We agreed to help her pay her electricity deposit or she would lose this precious housing. This is not something we do often as the line then goes around the block.But we could not see her lose this precious housing. She was also delighted at the gifts of clothing for her children and herself and her developmentally slow older brother. As I held the tiny baby who already wheezed with asthma I thought of those sparrows and prayed.

Judy Lee,ARCWP

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"Francis Plans Dramatic Pro-Immigrant Outing"/National Catholic Reporter
"For Europeans, especially Italians, the southern Mediterranean island of Lampedusa has become what the deserts along the Mexican/U.S. border have long been for Americans -- the scene of appalling humanitarian tragedies as desperate migrants try to reach a better life as well as a metaphor for political and cultural tensions over immigration policy.
The fact that Pope Francis has chosen Lampedusa for his first visit outside Rome on Monday, therefore, is anything but casual.
To get a sense of its impact, imagine a newly elected president of the United States announcing that his first trip outside D.C. would be to the border to see for himself where people have died and to embrace detainees in an ICE facility. It would be taken as a bold way of proclaiming that compassion will be a hallmark of the new administration. That's exactly how Italians, and Europeans generally, are reacting to Francis' planned outing.
Traveling without the usual pomp, Francis is scheduled to arrive Monday morning to embrace migrants who've made it to Lampedusa, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, and to mourn those who died along the way. The Vatican announced the trip just a week in advance, suggesting it's a highly personal decision.
The trip has an interreligious dimension, given that a large share of those who wash up on the island are Muslims. It also has clear political subtext, including in the United States where Catholic bishops are leading the charge for immigration reform..."


Milwuakee Archbishop Warned Vatican of Sex Abuse Scandal/Transferred Millions to Cemetary Fund
Bridget Mary's Response:
What would Jesus do?
 It is my hope that women priests will be part of the healing process. May we reach out to those who have lost hope and to  Catholics who have walked away with hearts broken.  To begin this process, I believe we need to realize that God is love and is in love with each of us. So healing begins in the divine embrace and within a loving, praying, compassionate faith community. This is what it means to be "church" to one another.
Bridget Mary Meehan,,

Monday, July 1, 2013

Celebrating Sacraments at Good Shepherd Church, Ft. Myers, Florida by Judy Lee, ARCWP

What a beautiful day this was at the Good Shepherd Church in Fort Myers, Florida!
The mothers, Linda and Toni Ann moved us greatly by beginning the celebration of the baptisms with prayers for the children.

When Jakein read his prayer of thanksgiving before his First Holy Communion, I thought my heart would burst. These prayers are in the tradition of the Black Catholic church and have so much meaning that they should be used everywhere.

While the pictures of the day are imperfect, and many of the most important moments were missed, it was a perfect joy for our community to share in the baptisms of Jakein John, 11 and Courtney Symone, just 7 months old. Jakein was both serious and joyful. His understanding of what happened to him today is way beyond his years.

He summed it up saying: "When I was baptized I felt so different and after it was over I felt better,I felt so good.I feel new and I am new!" The baby was amazing too, she never cried or fussed, but seemed to be taking it all in with her mother, Grandmother and little Aunt,Joelle whom we baptized three yeas ago now. Our proud God-parents are Dr. Joseph and Mrs. Pearl Cudjoe who made the day for these children and families in the way they stood up for them-and this will be for always.

Jakein's Grandmother and mother were there as well along with 14 members of his family,all of whom we baptized except one. He is 21 and will be baptized this Fall.

To us, this is what it is all about-opening the saacraments and sharing them with everyone!
Oh yes, oh Happy Day!

Pastors JudyLee and JudyBeamont, arcwp

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Jimmy Carter: Women's Plight Perpetuated by World Religions

Activists Arrested Decrying Killer Drones at CIA in Langley, VA. on June 29, 2013

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP,  (holding yellow sign), walks with fellow activists in peaceful protest against drones at CIA

LANGLEY, VA – Fifty people protested killer drones at the main gate of

the CIA today, and six individuals were arrested. The action was

organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR], a

group that has been active in challenging U.S. invasions of

Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries, abolishing torture, closing

Guantanamo, and bringing an end to drone warfare.


Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP, ministers at "die in " at symbolic mourning rite for innocent victims of drone attacks

Those arrested were Joy First, Mt. Horeb, WI; Malachy Kilbride,

Arlington, VA; Max Obuszewski, Baltimore, MD; Phil Runkel, Milwaukee,

WI (Catholic Worker Archivist <>); Cindy

Sheehan, Vacaville, CA; and Janice Sevre_Duszynska, Lexington, KY.

Members of NCNR previously sent a letter to CIA Director John Brennan

requesting a meeting to discuss ending the drone program, and have

received no response. Because the group is concerned about continuing

deaths from drone strikes, they decided they must act, and they must

personally go to the CIA and ask for a meeting. They were joined by

Cindy Sheehan, Brian Terrell, and other activists from Code Pink,

World Can’t Wait, Veterans for Peace, Answer, and many individuals

affiliated with other groups to protest the illegal and immoral CIA

killer drone program. Sheehan is the mother of Casey who was killed

in 2004 in Iraq. Terrell was recently released from federal prison

after serving a 6-month term for a peaceful protest against drones at

Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.


The group walked up to the gates of the CIA with a copy of the letter

they had sent to Brennan. When they were denied a meeting, six

individuals crossed onto the base. After announcing a mock drone

strike, five people lay down on the ground and were covered with

pictures of drone victims. The sixth person keened and wailed over

the bodies. After 20 minutes, the group rose up and began to walk

further onto the base carrying pictures of drone victims. They were

arrested, and cited and released on site.

Somewhere around 3500-4500 people have been killed by drones in

Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and other places around

the globe with no due process. According to a study from Stanford

and NYU only 2% of those killed are high-level targets. Over 200

children have been killed in Pakistan alone. According to Malachy

Kilbride, NCNR, “These illegal drone strikes are not making people in

the U.S. any safer and will only perpetuate the cycle of violence.”


NCNR citizen activists believe they have the right and a Nuremberg

responsibility to highlight perceived illegal government operations.

Moreover, the Nuremberg trials pointed out that citizens must act to

prevent their government from further illegal activities. Ellen

Barfield, Vets for Peace, commented on the arrests stating, “Because

our government seems incapable of restricting drone weapons, these

brave citizens are practicing their Nuremberg responsibilities.”


Max Obuszewski 410-366-1637 <>

Joy First 608-239-4327 <>