Saturday, June 14, 2014

Roman Catholic Womenpriests Ordains Woman as Bishop, in Indianapolis Seven bishops from three countries to conduct the ceremony

Rev. Maria Thornton McClain, RCWP
St. Mary of Magdala Catholic Community

Roman Catholic Womenpriests Ordains Woman as Bishop, in Indianapolis
Seven bishops from three countries to conduct the ceremony

Indianapolis, IN: Indiana will have its first ordination of a Roman Catholic woman bishop, on June 22.

 Nancy L. Meyer of Brownsburg,  will be ordained  in apostolic succession,  at Calvary United Methodist Church, 575 W. Northfield Dr., Brownsburg, IN 46112.   Nancy was elected by the members of the Midwest Region of Roman Catholic Womenpriests to succeed Bishop Regina Nicolosi who is retiring.  Seven bishops will perform the ceremony, including Bishop Regina who will preside, the four other bishops from the United States, one from Canada and one from Austria.

The ordination will be conducted by Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP), "a new model of ministry in a renewed Roman Catholic Church."   Its goal is to achieve full equality of women and men in the Roman Catholic Church, and to live with inclusiveness, respect and justice for all in a community of open and affirming equals.  Over 150 people, women and men, from North and South America, Europe, and Africa have been ordained RCWP priests since 2002.
Nancy L. Meyer was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio.   She has ministered as a high school teacher, a vocation/formation director and as a pastoral associate in an Indianapolis parish for twenty-five years. Nancy pastors a small home church community, Women at the Well, and continues her spiritual direction practice.  The call to priesthood came to Nancy as a young girl and has been nurtured by her education and ministry.  As bishop for the Midwest Region of RCWP, Nancy will provide pastoral and prayerful support for the members in the region as well as ordaining  women deacons and priests.   

Media are welcome to cover the ordination before and after the ceremony.    Media must register with the contact person for guidelines prior to the event.   Bishop-Elect Nancy Meyer and other bishop(s) will be available for interviews at 1:00 PM at the church.   RCWP representatives may be available for interviews after the ceremony.  Please be respectful; this is a sacred event.  

"The Sister of Second Chances" By John Leland/New York Times

Credit Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

"Sister Teresa Fitzgerald, right, the founder of Hour Children. From top to bottom on the left, baby supplies are dropped off for inmate mothers at Bedford Hills prison; Carol Taylor, who spent 35 years in prison and is now known as the “designated grandma,” with Cecil Jackson (in her arms) and Darjay Williams, both 2; Hour Children’s day care center..." ..."Nationally, just over 100,000 women serve time in state or federal prison in a given year — six times as many women as in 1980 — and most have children under 18, according to the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. Nearly 150,000 children have a mother in prison. In New York, 2,420 women are currently in state prisons. But in the debates about how to reform the penal system, nearly all of the focus has been on men, who make up more than 90 percent of all prisoners...."

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, Trinity Sunday, Jun 15, 2014 by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Our Gospel reading carries a lot of baggage for us,
as does the doctrine of the Trinity we celebrate today.
John 3:16--we see it on posters held by fans at sporting events
and written in the black grease
under NFL quarterback Tim Tebow's eyes.
We hear it used by fundamentalists
to claim salvation, superiority, and eternal life,
but only for those who "believe."
We have to ask
what the evangelist John was trying to communicate
to the people of his time,
and what it means for us today.
We have to deconstruct this passage.
We have to take out the anthropomorphic worldview
and remember that God is the ground of all being;
we are not the center of the universe or the rulers of creation.
We have to get past the idea of an "elsewhere God"
who sends Jesus to sacrifice himself
for the sin that got our ancestors thrown out of paradise.
We have to remember that God is love
and turn away from the idea
that non-believers are condemned.
While our ancestors in faith had a worldview
that envisioned God as above the clouds,
in heaven, separate from the earth
and separated from humans by the sin of the first humans,
we no longer hold that worldview.
We understand, in a much more cosmic way,
that God is everywhere, in everything... in us!
Even though we no longer take the scriptures literally,
as our Catholic Church has encouraged us to do
since 1943's encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu,
that does not make us "cafeteria Catholics."
Instead it makes us
reflecting, prayerful followers of the Way of Jesus,
because that is exactly what he did
when he used the Hebrew Scriptures
to speak truth to power in his own time.
So we pull the message of God's love from our Gospel.
We find the image of a God of tenderness and compassion
in our first reading.
And in our second reading we hear the good advice--
mend your ways, encourage one another,
live in harmony and peace--
that will help us to live
in awareness of the God of love and peace.
How does that work out for us today?
This past Tuesday,
I became aware of a miracle in my back yard.
After 21 days sitting on the eggs in her nest,
Broody hatched out a new bunch of youngsters
for my small flock.
First there was one, then four, then seven,
after a full day of pecking themselves out of their shells.
Truly amazing, this blooming forth of life, in my backyard flock,
surrounded by the blossoms of the Hansa roses,
the Shasta daisies, and of course,
the dandelions and buckhorn swaying above the lawn
that I haven't mowed for over a week.
Then the day and night, sun and moon and stars,
and all the universes that science tells us are out there.
And us, conscious, self-conscious, sentient beings, humanoids,
evolving in ever more complexity.
It's not easy to image God any more.
Science is expanding our understanding
of what it means that God is our Creator,
that--as the Baltimore Catechism told us--
we are made in the "image and likeness of God."
We know that we are in God
and God is in us
in more intimate relationship
than we had ever before thought possible.
Most days I just look on in awe and wonder and gratitude.
It's as if my calling, my vocation,
is to appreciate the interconnectedness of it all.
It's easy to live as if we're in charge of the world.
Easy to ignore people in the central city,
sleeping in doorways and on park benches.
Easy to turn away from conflicts on the other side of the world.
Easy to tune out scientific proofs
that our lifestyle today will harm future generations.
But the Bible is clear--we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers.
And our tradition is clear,
as today's celebration of the Trinity bears witness:
God is in relationship with all that is.
It's God as Creator, Jesus as Teacher, the Spirit as Sanctifier--
and each and every one of us and all of creation
are included in this cosmic dance,
or, as Fr. Jim Bacik calls it, this "communion of love."
Our communion--with God and each other and our universe--
is a miracle worth celebrating.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

Friday, June 13, 2014

Kansas City Trifecta Resista 2014 by Janice Sevre-Duszynska,ARCWP

Kansas City Trifecta Resista 2014
by Janice Sevre-Duszynska

From 4 pm Friday May 30 – June 1st about 60 peacemakers gathered at the DeLaSalle Education Center n Kansas City, Missouri to resist fear and encourage peace. We began Friday evening with introductions and nonviolence training. On May 31st we called for a pardon for whistle-blower Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley) at Forth Leavenworth, where she’s serving a 35-year sentence. Then two miles further we vigiled at the Leavenworth Penitentiary  to reduce the five-year sentence of Greg Boertje-Obed, of the Transform Now Plowshares 3, which includes Megan Rice and Michael Walli. Because I attended their trial in May 2013 and the January and February 2014 sentencing, I shared what they asked about our government’s actions and nuclear weapons: “Is it life giving? Does it build community? Or, does it bring destruction and death?”

That afternoon we also resisted the making of nuclear weapon parts and the resultant contaminants at Bannister Federal Complex in KC. At this old NNSA plant, parts from nuclear weapons were made from 1949 to this year. Many people have died of cancer from working here. The plant was built on a toxic dump. Moreover, contaminated water from the nearby Indian Creek and Blue River flow into the Missouri River. As a sign of hope, Georgia Walker and Ethan Hughes walked through the door to a Nuclear Free World, crossing the line onto the complex. Georgia said her action was in remembrance of her aunts who died from cancer contracted at this site. She and Ethan were handcuffed and taken to the Detention Center. She was fined $500 and released, Ethan on Sunday. That evening Kathy Kelly and Brian Terrell of Voices for Creative NonViolence spoke about drones followed by a discussion.

On Sunday, June 1, Pastor Donna Simon and I led an inclusive Interfaith Liturgy at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church, across the street from our meeting place. About 60 gathered with us in the fellowship hall which I had requested as I wanted us facing each other in a circle of equals. Those present included members of the local CTA who had participated in our Eucharist last summer in KC, newcomers and peacemakers in town like myself.
Before we began the liturgy, I introduced the women priest movement quoting Catholic theologian Mary Hunt, “It was not just adding women and stirring.” Rather, we are a renewed priesthood in a reformed church. Everyone is welcome at our table. We sit in a circle of equals.  I invited those present to raise hands to consecrate the Eucharist with me and to mutually bless each other at the end of the liturgy. I invited them to participate in a shared dialogue homily. I asked for five volunteers to read the parts of the Eucharistic Prayer and three more for the Liturgy of the Word. 
Pastor Donna had requested we use Ascension Thursday first reading and Gospel for our Liturgy of Fire for Social Justice written by Bridget Mary Meehan. The theme I chose was  “Rising Up of Justice” and the presence of the Spirit always with us. Our responsorial psalm was the chant “Do Not Be Afraid” from Chanting for Peace on the Earth by John Philip Newell sung by Suzanne Butler.  For the Second Reading I selected a monologue from George Bernard Shaw’s St. Joan. Her inquisitors have just sentenced her to life imprisonment instead of to burning at the stake.

There was a young man with an emotional disability who was walking around and demanding attention.  When I asked who wanted to read the St. Joan passage, both he and a woman volunteered. She offered to help him read the introduction during the Liturgy of the Word. With her help, he finished the paragraph and I said out loud: “Thank you, Ricky.”  He smiled and seemed pleased with himself that he was given a part and was affirmed. He did not interrupt the rest of the service.
“What is rising up inside of you and the world for justice?” I asked. “What is the consequence, the cross you carry along with the help of the Holy Spirit?”  Slowly people responded with the Spirit moving, including Jane Stoever who leads PeaceWorks along with her husband, Henry, an attorney. I stayed with them while in Kansas City.
Together we read the “Litany for the Breaking of Bread, which does not say we are unworthy.
All: Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power, have mercy on us. Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice, have mercy on us. Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world. Grant us peace.
I held up the Eucharist: This is Jesus, Sophia’s Child, who gives wisdom and abundant life to us and to our world. All are invited to this banquet of love.
Pastor Donna gave out the Eucharist as bread, I, as wine, just to one person who passed it on to the next one saying: “You are the body of Christ. You are the body and blood of Christ.”
Spirit blessed our Eucharist.
 I learned that the woman who helped Ricky and who read the St. Joan monologue was Pastor Donna’s partner, Colleen Simon was terminated from her social justice work at a diocesan parish through pressure from Bishop Finn. I smiled from the strength in her face as she shared with others after the liturgy.
Soon after we boarded the bus for Whiteman Air Force Base, where killer drones are guided by remote control. We sang peace songs and some of us spoke about drones including myself and Brian Terrell who spent six months in prison for his resistance at Whiteman two years ago. On this day Georgia Walker and Kathy Kelly did civil disobedience by crossing the line at Whiteman, each carrying a loaf of bread as a peace offering to the soldiers. They were handcuffed, given a citation and released 45 minutes later. They face time in federal prison for drawing attention to our government’s horrific killing and maiming of children, women and noncombatants – as well as other human beings through the use of Hellfire missiles from Predator and Reaper drones.

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), in Ireland, says the church must ordain women and allow priests to marry in order to survive.

Irish Priests call for Ordination of Women

Irish priests calls for ordination of women and marriage in Church

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), in Ireland, says the church must ordain women and allow priests to marry in order to survive.
Pointing out that there are only two priests under the age of 40 in the Dublin archdiocese, Father Sean McDonagh says the Church is “facing an implosion in terms of vocations to the priesthood.”
The group made a number of recommendations which will be discussed at the Irish Catholics Bishop Conference in Maynooth later this week.
In 2012 a survey of Roman Catholics, on behalf of the ACP, showed that 87 percent believed priests should marry and 77 percent were in favor of women being priests. Another 22 percent believed matured married men should be ordained.
McDonagh told that there is nothing “unusual” about appointing female deacons in the Catholic Church. “They were ordained in the past,” he said.
“It’s fairly clear historically that women have served in the church, despite every effort to silence their voices since the 4th century.”
He continued, “Women have to be a very major part of the future of ministry in the church. When you look around the church on a Sunday, who are doing most of the roles? Women.”
The association is also calling on men who left the priesthood to marry to be called back to ministry.
In 1984 there were 171 ordinations in Ireland. In 2006 there were 22. In 2013 just 70 were studying to become priests in Ireland.
McDonagh said it is the obligation of the Irish bishops to raise these issues in Rome and added that it is not an issue unique to Ireland. He also noted that Pope Francis has indicated that he is open to such suggestions.
McDonagh said that while praying for the numbers of vocations to increase is “fine” the Catholic Church needs a plan.

Ireland Needs to Examine Church Role in "Shame" in Tuam Baby Scandal/Bridget Mary Meehan
..."Seriously, dude? What happened is that the remains of 800 children were unceremoniously buried in the backyard.  How can you mistake that for anything other than an atrocity and a total breakdown in humanity?"
Bridget Mary's Response:
While I agree that the entire Irish culture of looking good for the neighbors is part of the context, we must hold the Catholic Church accountable for the role it played in sexual repression by  "shaming" unmarried women who became pregnant. 
We emigrated from County Laois in 1956 to the U.S. Our family suffered the consequences of this deficient theology of shame.  My Aunt after such a pregnancy left Ireland never to return. In another instance, an Aunt and Uncle removed a local neighbor from an  unwed mother workhouse because the conditions were so harsh. 
Jesus would weep and so should we.
Bridget Mary Meehan, originally from County Laois, Ireland

"St. Louis Park Woman Ordained in Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement"
..."She will serve at Compassion of Christ Catholic Community, which meets at Prospect Park United Methodist Church, 22 Orlin Ave. SE in Minneapolis. The church is not authorized by the archdiocese and cannot meet in a Catholic building, but leaders of Compassion of Christ consider it to be an “inclusive Catholic community.”

Thursday, June 12, 2014

"Irish Priests Call for Ordination of Women and Marriage in the Church"/Obligation of the Irish Bishops to Raise these Issues in Rome"

"The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), in Ireland, says the church must ordain women and allow priests to marry in order to survive.
Pointing out that there are only two priests under the age of 40 in the Dublin archdiocese, Father Sean McDonagh says the Church is “facing an implosion in terms of vocations to the priesthood.”
The group made a number of recommendations which will be discussed at the Irish Catholics Bishop Conference in Maynooth later this week.
In 2012 a survey of Roman Catholics, on behalf of the ACP, showed that 87 percent believed priests should marry and 77 percent were in favor of women being priests. Another 22 percent believed matured married men should be ordained.
McDonagh told that there is nothing “unusual” about appointing female deacons in the Catholic Church. “They were ordained in the past," he said.
“It’s fairly clear historically that women have served in the church, despite every effort to silence their voices since the 4th century.”
He continued, “Women have to be a very major part of the future of ministry in the church. When you look around the church on a Sunday, who are doing most of the roles? Women.”
The association is also calling on men who left the priesthood to marry to be called back to ministry.
In 1984 there were 171 ordinations in Ireland. In 2006 there were 22. In 2013 just 70 were studying to become priests in Ireland.
McDonagh said it is the obligation of the Irish bishops to raise these issues in Rome and added that it is not an issue unique to Ireland. He also noted that Pope Francis has indicated that he is open to such suggestions.
McDonagh said that while praying for the numbers of vocations to increase is “fine” the Catholic Church needs a plan."
Bridget Mary's Response:
The Association of Irish Priests and the Austrian Priests Initiative give me hope that
our brother priests are standing up in solidarity with women priests worldwide! Unlike the U.S. bishops who are in denial, the Irish Priests are raising this as a major issue with their bishops with a plan to take it to Rome. Way to go, guys! Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Pope Francis: Catholic Church could fall like a 'house of cards' /US Bishops Have Different Agenda Than Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis has declared himself a "sinner" and says the Catholic Church will “fall like a house of cards” unless it is able to focus more on the “essentials” of preaching the Gospel and less on politics and bureaucracy.

But the...

US bishops open assembly by voting to stay the course
Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl sings during the opening prayer of the annual spring meeting Wednesday of the U .S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in New Orleans. (CNS/Bob Roller)
Brian Roewe Joshua J. McElwee  |  Jun. 11, 2014  National Catholic Reporter
"The nation's Catholic bishops during their annual summer assembly voted to stay the course they have set for themselves over the last several years, focusing on issues of religious liberty, same-sex marriage, and participation in the U.S. political sphere.
In one of only three public deliberations at the event, the prelates voted to renew their efforts in addressing concerns over religious liberty, granting another three-year term to a special bishops' committee organized on the issue.
The bishops are gathered in New Orleans until Friday for their spring meeting, one of two annual plenary assemblies of the U.S. bishops' conference.
Going into the event, many analysts and even some bishops had asked if the prelates would be reorienting their work around the new emphases of Francis' first year as pope, particularly his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel"), and his pastoral tone.
Yet in three and a half hours of open discussion on 17 topics Wednesday, the bishops focused more on old business than new -- hearing updates from the lay group that advises them on preventing sexual abuse of minors, Catholic Relief Services, and the bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage."

[Brian Roewe is an NCR staff writer

Witness for Women's Ordination at Bishops Meeting in New Orleans by Jennifer Molino

Today's witness to the USCCB was hopeful and a lot of fun! There were 17 of us (14 adults and 3 children). This is the largest turnout that we've had for a public action (with the exception of the one in solidarity with the LCWR which Call to Action sponsored). That is impressive---since it was at 3:45 pm on a weekday (a difficult time for most working folks). In general, the spirit was positive in our interactions with the priests and bishops. We stood right beside their processional into the church. We welcomed them and waved and smiled. Many waved and smiled back. Some gave us a thumbs up sign. One or two priests came over to hug us (we know them) or shake our hands and tell us that they, too, hope that women's ordination will happen. At least one bishop was talking to a few of the members of our group. We sang a lot---We Are Called, City of God, This Little Light of Mine, and Amazing Grace (I saw at least one or two priests singing along with us in the processional), and we prayed. Several nuns stopped and smiled.

As always, the lay people were overwhelmingly supportive. Many took pictures or gave encouraging comments when they passed by us. There are always a lot of tourists around, and some ask for our flyers and tell us where they are from. We distributed over 100 flyers. One children's group stopped and stared. After reading our banner, one little boy from the group said, "They should" (ordain women).

The secular media did not really come out, and the religious media generally ignored us. The Catholic News Service (they said they were "with the bishops") was there. The cameraman took pictures but not much of our group. A reporter with a cameraman was there but deliberately positioned herself so that we would not be visible. She did not approach us.

We only caught a glimpse of Archbishop Aymond at the end. He entered from the other side of the cathedral with the cardinals at the last minute.

I regret that I forgot my camera. Fortunately, Paul had a phone with a camera, and Sue took the photo that I sent out (it's our only one). Thanks to everyone who came out, everyone who couldn't be there but was with us in spirit, and especially to the person who suggested that we get our message out at the USCCB Mass and took quite a risk to do so.

Jennifer Molina

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"It's Time for Catholic Faithful to Speak Out' By Judy Hampel

"The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati has been in the news lately for its new contracts, which have resulted in the resignation of beloved, respected archdiocesan teachers.
The issue has also brought to the fore the question many Catholics have been pondering the last few decades while women, LGBTQs and other minorities have gained social and political status in the secular world: How can Catholics justify our participation in the parish life of a church that discriminates against women and gays?
I'm uncomfortable with church doctrine that excludes women from the priesthood and calls LGBTQ lifestyles sinful. These attitudes perpetuate misogynist and homophobic ideals that marginalize minorities and make all women and LGBTQs vulnerable to self-hatred and social marginalization on a global scale. In the media, we witness daily violence and oppression toward women and gays – victims who have paid a steep price for the collective nostalgia Catholics enjoy.
My concerns are compounded by the fact that the church is involved in the formal education of so many children and adolescents, including my own, during their most formative years, putting them at risk of internalizing these misconceptions in ways that could lead to years of misery, self-loathing and prejudice....
...?It's time to make up for lost time. It's time for all Catholics and anyone else who will join us to collectively call to task all leaders and followers of any religion, sect or denomination that indulges in discriminatory doctrines and practices. Because, let's face it, one of the most compelling forces inhibiting universal justice is intolerance toward others, which is often perpetuated by religious archaisms..."

Evolutionary Consciousness Points to a Trinitarian Cosmic Order by Fr. Michael Crosby

..."When I tell other religious and priests that my exploration of these ideas have made me more conscious of how the Trinity and Christ constitute the source and summit of everything in creation, I sometimes find their first reaction is skepticism or fear. However, when they truly examine the idea for themselves, their resistance turns to enthusiastic acceptance. One example might show what I mean. It involves a group of women religious, a U.S. province of an international congregation whose leadership belongs to LCWR.
The whole community had decided to study "the universe story." However, because some of the sisters knew little about evolution while others feared the idea didn't reflect a "sentire cum Ecclesia" Catholicism, the leaders experienced significant "pockets of resistance."
Because I had explored some of these ideas in my recent book Repair My House: Becoming a "Kindom" Catholic, I was invited to the province. The book had outlined three related points:

  • The crisis in Western Catholicism is not so much a crisis of relativism as much as the inadequacy of an organizational model of church that too often reflects a culturally received, historical patriarchal model still based on a "flat earth" cosmology.
  • This invites us to return to the "Gospel" proclaimed by the historical Jesus, namely the "kingdom of God" which we can interpret today as the "governance of Trinity." This must serve as the archetype for all our relationships and structures in the church.
  • The consequent demand that we "repair the house" invites us to a Catholicism grounded in communities that are cosmically Christic, consciously connected, contemplative and compassionate.
The workshop's theme was "How Can We Evolve in Consciousness of Our Connectedness in the Cosmic Christ?" I used a model I've developed that shows that the "economy of salvation" involves us evolving in our consciousness to realize that God's plan for the universe is that Trinitarian and cosmic patterns become embodied in the church and world of today..."
[Fr. Michael Crosby belongs to the Midwest Province of the Capuchin Franciscans. His website is]

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Will the bishops follow Pope Francis in New Orleans? by Thomas Reese | Jun. 9, 2014

In November, when the U.S. bishops met for their annual meeting in Baltimore, they did not pick up on the themes that are the signature features of the papacy of Pope Francis: concern for the poor and marginalized, criticism of the capitalism, and the mercy and compassion of God. Rather, they continued to worry about gay marriage and the contraceptive mandate and voted to write a statement on pornography. (Spoiler alert: They are against it.)
It was truly embarrassing to watch the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in action in Baltimore, especially for those who remember the glory years when the bishops were prophetic voices with their letters on peace and the economy. It was as if they had missed the Francis memo.
This week, the bishops will have another chance to get on the Francis bandwagon as they meet Wednesday through Friday in New Orleans. Will they miss the bus again?
With his emphasis on the poor and marginalized, there is little doubt how Pope Francis would vote in this debate -- just read Evangelii Gaudium. That the bishops are even hesitating shows that they are not yet on board with Pope Francis..."

Monday, June 9, 2014

Pope Francis sacks entire board of Vatican's financial watchdog by Philip Pullella /Step in right direction

"Pope Francis sacked the five-man board of the Vatican's financial watchdog on Thursday - all Italians - in the latest move to break with an old guard associated with a murky past under his predecessor. 

The Vatican said the pope named four experts from Switzerland, Singapore, the United States and Italy to replace them on the board of the Financial Information Authority (AIF), the Holy See's internal regulatory office. The new board includes a woman for the first time.

All five outgoing members were Italians who had been expected to serve five-year terms ending in 2016 and were laymen associated with the Vatican's discredited financial old guard. .."
Read more

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Irish Horror Story- Galway Burials of Innocents/ and Shunning of Unwed Mothers is Catholic Church's Shame
This story which has shocked and shaken the world is a tragic example of the domination of the Catholic Church in Irish society that endured until recent times.
 I was born in Ireland and lived in a quiet, rural area in County Laois in a close-knit family. My Dad, Jack, who is now in the company of the angels and saints had a sister Mary, who became pregnant, left Ireland and never returned. This is a sad story that continues to wrench the heart of many Irish families. May we never forget and hold these women and their children in our hearts forever. May we, as Catholics, change the teachings of our church to reflect the loving, compassionate heart of God, embracing and healing, loving and transforming us. 
As for who can be buried in Catholic cemeteries, church officials should not use burial in blessed ground as a reward or punishment for following church teachings. In the United States, this is Catholic Church practice. The excommunicated, for example, can be denied burial in a Catholic cemetery. 
When one is baptized, one becomes a member of the church. We are the beloved of God and should be treated as such by our religious leaders. While all ground is sacred, this practice of denying burial in a Catholic cemetery by the hierarchy is a spiritual abuse of power that would make Jesus weep. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,
..."No one disputes the 798 deaths however; they’re a matter of record. It’s also worth remembering that Corless’ original intention was to commemorate the dead, not call for a dramatic excavation. But by insisting that the infants had to be buried in the same small plot or the nations outrage would be misplaced and undermined, the broadsheets were merely defending their own  tardiness with a late to the scene shrug.
Coreless herself was having none of it: “But still how many children in the tank, does it matter if it’s 500, 600? If there isn’t a full 796? 10 children in a septic tank? 20? Isn’t that horrific? Is it the numbers that makes it horrific?” she told the Irish Times.
Apparently it is, in some quarters. They might not even make it news worth covering.
But Paul Kanahan still thinks it’s news. Looking around the unmarked gravesite on Saturday he shivered and placed a small Teddy Bear beneath the statue of Our Lady.
The burial mound at Tuam will just be the first of many, he predicted."

Breathe on us Breath of God-Happy Birthday Church! Homily for PENTECOST SUNDAY June 8, 2014 by Rev. Judy Lee, ARCWP

For the last week, I have had some unpleasant bug. Once again I feel my human frailty physically and in my spirit.  I was supposed to be vacationing on the beach but I only got there for two nights as my breathing was heavy with coughing and new symptoms developed. I fully enjoyed being at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico and part of God’s beautiful creation including seeing parent dolphins teach their young how to eat about five feet away from us as we waded in the water.  Yet I needed to rest in bed as much as to be renewed by this. I’m  feeling better now but I am sure that I should not breathe my germs on anyone, and I pray for God to renew my body as well as my soul as I prepare to preach on Pentecost. But the beautiful thing is that it is not my breath but the Breath of God that will renew our people.
Jesus said:“ ‘Peace be with you. As Abba God sent me, so I am sending you.’ After saying this, Jesus breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit…’” John 20: 21-22
Jesus left his disciples with the gift of the Holy Spirit.   He filled them with his Spirit so they could carry on his work of love, inclusion and justice.  Still they were frightened, they had not fully tried their wings to see if they could fly-could really carry on the work of the kin-dom.  On Pentecost, this gift came again in a dramatic way enlivening the followers, the men and women gathered together, with the abilities to reach out to peoples of all languages and cultures with the Good News of the living Christ. The Pentecost story in Acts 2 is such a wonderful accounting of how God provides the church the gifts that are needed to include everyone in the church. In the diverse group gathered in Jerusalem peoples of all then known languages and cultures had gathered. Suddenly, as if with the force of a hurricane, all could hear the Good News in his or her own languages, the disciples could preach to everyone! What a wonderful message of unity in diversity and in how Christ and the Church mandates, breathes,  diversity.
In our church tomorrow the reading from Acts will be read simultaneously in  African languages and in Spanish and English and possibly Italian. How exciting it is to hear the first Pentecost enacted in this way and to know that our church like the Pentecost church is such a diverse group of followers.  Our youth leader, Efe Jane Cudjoe, is now home from her semester in Viet Nam, South Africa and Brazil and she will reflect with us on her experiences of the Spirit of God in those lands and diverse cultures.
Pentecost is one of the happiest feast days of the Church. We gather with excitement, we wear red and we welcome God’s Holy Spirit once again to breathe life into us so we may be the church that Jesus founded and intended. We are ever mindful of the need for renewing God’s spirit within us, not because it has left us, but because we are so often overwhelmed by life’s events and no longer hear or heed it. We need a fresh infusion, for God Transcendent as well as Immanent can indeed breathe new life into us!  An African-American Gospel Song goes: “Spirit of the Living God, Fall fresh on me, melt me, mold me, Fill me, use me, Spirit of the Living God, Fall fresh on me”.   That is our Pentecost prayer.
Acts 1:12-14 and 2: 1-11
The Spirit comes to the followers of Jesus, the men and women gathered in the upper room, in a dramatic and indisputable manner with what sounded like a “violent rushing wind, the noise filling the entire house.” – not a little breeze this time – something like the hurricane that we know well here in Florida. And how they must have been amazed and afraid!  Their spirits were ignited by the Holy Spirit and they burned with the Spirit.  Wind and fire, symbolizing the presence of God, filled them and they even began to speak in other languages.  Here God gives the church, the first Christians – the power to preach, teach and witness to Christ, Risen, Living and present, and to present the Good News to all people; no matter where they live or what language they speak.  And this power is given on the harvest feast of Pentecost (or the Feast of Weeks) celebrated by the Jews seven weeks/50 days after Passover.  As such Pentecost is the reminder of the covenant the Jewish people and Moses made with God on Mt. Sinai.  Luke is telling his followers that the Spirit brings us a new Covenant as God’s new people – that all people, “Gentiles” are now heirs to God’s promises of faithfulness and love.  And we are to preach the Good News everywhere – and especially to the poor, the disenfranchised and outcast of our world even as Jesus came to do that (echoing the purpose of the Prophet Isaiah) and fulfilling Isaiah’s prophetic vision: “The Spirit of God is upon me because the Most High has anointed me to bring Good News to those that are poor.”  (Is. 61; Luke 4:16-20).May the Spirit of God be upon us to do this as well!
1 Cor. 12: 3-7,12-14 (TIB)
Clearly the Spirit distributes gifts “as She will” – No one, no church, no government, absolutely no one can get in the Spirit’s way of distributing gifts.  So, my friends, clearly women – yes, women – and men – young and old of all classes, colors, cultures and languages may be filled and called by the Spirit.  I sit here today in deep thanksgiving for that – Amen?!
Now here are the gifts Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12 – but these are just some of the gifts of the Spirit.
  •  Wisdom in discourse (i.e. teaching/ discussion/communication)
  • Knowledge, the word of knowledge
  • The gift of healing
  • Miraculous powers / also …… as mighty deeds
  • Prophecy
  • Speaking other languages
  • Interpreting other languages
  • The gifts to be apostles, prophets, teachers, administrators (and, yes, priests!)
But, Paul reminds us, it is one and the same Spirit who produces all these gifts and many more and distributes them as She will – “as She will”!! (The words for Spirit in Greek and in Hebrew-Sophia and Ruah are indeed feminine).
Let us now think about these gifts – and name in our hearts other gifts given to each of us by the Spirit.
But gifts are not necessarily or even usually given in especially dramatic ways – just God’s Holy Spirit to the spirit within ourselves.  The breath of God, the breath of Jesus. One of our young people, Natasha is discerning her path to higher learning. Sometimes the answer seems easy and clear, sometimes not so easy or clear. We pray for her as she makes her choice of college.
“We all drink of the one Spirit” (v. 13) – and here is the symbol of the living water and water as the giving of the spirit for we are baptized into one body – but it has many different and necessary parts – different gifts.  As we USE and DEVELOP these many gifts we can join Jesus the Christ in turning the world upside down!! Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on a group of frightened people and they were no longer afraid – AND THE CHURCH WAS BORN!!
The spirit of the living Christ that Jesus imparted to his disciples after the Resurrection en-couraged and em-powered them to go forth.  But the Pentecostal visitation of the Holy Spirit was different, it was dramatic and it was inclusive, for all gathered in Jerusalem.  The followers of Christ, now empowered, could reach the whole world through the many gifts that God gives to each one of us, the body of Christ.
And the body of Christ is diverse and of infinite variety.  The first Pentecost came with loud sounds – wind and fire – the way that the Spirit spoke to the people of old.  Peoples who today are still struggling for peace- those from Israel, Iran and Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan and parts of Africa, Asia and Rome, Jewish converts and Arabs alike were united by the Holy Spirit.  Today the Spirit of God still speaks to the Church in many different ways – and it still says “Peace, Justice, Love and ALL are welcome.  Receive the Holy Spirit, be instruments of peace, be re-newed, forgive all, and live!
May God empower us again to bring our many gifts to God’s world. Spirit of the Living God, fall Fresh on us!  Happy Birthday Church!  Amen.