Saturday, October 11, 2014

Thomas Merton described a transformative, perhaps unitive experience in Conjectures of A Guilty Bystander:

“In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world…. This sense of liberation from an illusory difference was such a relief and such a joy to me that I almost laughed out loud…. I have the immense joy of being man, a member of a race in which God Himself became incarnate. As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.
“Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed…. But this cannot be seen, only believed and ‘understood’ by a peculiar gift.”
Watch for your own “Fourth and Walnut” corner (now Fourth and Muhammad Ali Boulevard in Louisville) wherever you find yourself today. Allow the gates of heaven to open, showing you that God is here, now, in all. Let one person or creature or stone remind you of their and your own identity, indwelled by God’s presence.
Gateway to Silence:
The kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2).

Why are Young People Leaving the Church in Such Numbers?
"There's the bad news for Commonweal readers, and we may as well get right to it: Just over half the young people raised by parents who describe themselves as “liberal” Catholics stop going to Mass entirely once they become “emerging adults”—a new demographic category that means either prolonged adolescence or delayed adulthood, defined here in Young Catholic America as ages eighteen to twenty three.
But now, let’s put that sad trend in perspective: The picture isn’t all that much better for the children of “traditional” Catholics. Although only a quarter of those young adults say they’ve stopped going to Mass entirely, only 17 percent say they’re going every week, and in general, their allegiance to church membership and participation seems nearly as faded as the kids of so-called feckless liberals.
Only 7 percent of these young adults who might have turned out Catholic can be called “practicing” Catholics—if “practicing” is tightly defined as attending Mass weekly, saying that faith is extremely or very important, and praying at least a few times a week. About 27 percent are at the other end of the spectrum, classified as “disengaged,” meaning that they never attend Mass and feel religion is unimportant. In between these two poles is a complex landscape of the marginally attached—perhaps willing to identify themselves as Catholic, attending Mass sporadically at best, and in general living life with their Catholic identity as a more dormant, if not entirely irrelevant, force...
It should be no surprise to observant parents that 61 percent of even the “practicing” category of unmarried emerging adult Catholics report that they have had premarital sex, with 60 percent of those having had sex within the past month—only slightly lower than the percentages reported by much more marginal Catholics. In interviews, even churchgoing young Catholics acknowledge they have major differences with the church’s “unrealistic” teaching in this area. (Surely it’s also one of the reasons younger Catholics are less likely than ever to present themselves at a parish for Catholic marriage.) It’s an impasse of a magnitude that all the New Evangelization and Theology of the Body workshops in the world seem unlikely to resolve anytime soon.
DOES ANYTHING "WORK" in the face of all this data suggesting that nothing does? The authors point out that marriages where both partners are Catholic are more likely to produce children who stay at least marginally Catholic; that fathers’ active involvement in religion is particularly helpful; and that Catholic schools do make it slightly less likely that a graduate will completely abandon practice in later life. Yet even these factors seem to operate on the margins in terms of statistically proven effectiveness. As a parent, you’ll finish this book feeling as if, even if you do everything right, the odds are way less than 50-50 that you’ll see your children turn out as Catholic as you are..."

Rehearsing Justice:Links to Blog on Experiences in India by Victoria Rue, RCWP

Victoria Rue, M.Div., Ph.D.

Victoria Rue, is a Roman Catholic Woman Priest, who is in India and is sharing her experiences on the blog below.

Ziauddin Yousafzai: My daughter, Malala, Nobel Prize Winner

Today’s classic TED Talk

Ziauddin Yousafzai: My daughter, Malala

16:36 minutes · TED2014
Pakistani educator Ziauddin Yousafzai reminds the world of a 
simple truth: Women and men deserve equal opportunities
 for education.
 He tells stories from the life of his daughter, Malala, 
who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 simply for daring to 
go to school
 -- and who just this week won the Nobel Peace Prize.
 "Why is my daughter so strong?” Yousafzai asks.
 “Because I didn’t clip her wings."
Watch now »

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 28 OT, Oct. 12, 2014, Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Today’s Gospel story appears in at least three different versions—
in the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew
and in the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas.
Just like he did with last week’s story,
Matthew takes Jesus’ original parable
and turns it into a Christianized allegory
for the way God deals with people,
an allegory that addresses
the specific concerns of Matthew’s own community.
The scholars of the Jesus Seminar comment
that Matthew’s editing of this story
puts it out of touch with what Jesus said and did.
In short, Matthew makes the dinner party into a wedding feast
and the host into a king,
then extends the allegory to teach lessons about the people
who were leaving the early Christian community.
Matthew’s “kingdom of heaven” is ruled by a vindictive king
who not only kills the murderers but burns their town.
Then the king ferrets out a guest who isn’t dressed properly,
and kicks him out.
Jesus does not see God in that way.
He says God’s right here—
“the reign of God is among us,” as the original Aramaic reads.
So this story as Jesus tells it has two characteristics pieces:
• Exaggeration in the last-minute refusal
of every one of the invited guests.
• Reversal of social convention
in the gathering of people off the streets to fill the banquet hall.
The parable upsets the applecart for his listeners.
It tells the religious leaders
that they are choosing to stay away from God’s banquet
and that God will fill their places
with people who are eager to be at the feast.
Who is at this feast?
The banquet image in the Old Testament
stands as a sign of God’s unlimited love,
and Isaiah makes it clear that all are welcome
when he writes that God will prepare
this banquet of rich food and fine wines
for all peoples.
There’s always enough food on the banquet table in God’s house.
As Paul says, God is lavish in providing for everyone.
There’s more than enough.
Down at Claver House the volunteers
serve up a banquet of donated food every weekday morning—
cereal, fruit, toast and jelly, doughnuts,
coffee and milk and juice; fruits and vegetables,
soup and casseroles and salads and desserts.
There’s a place at the table and plenty of food
for anyone who walks in the door.
Last Tuesday a new guest walked into Claver House—
let’s call him Jerry.
Youngish (well, younger than me), not too shabbily dressed, clean.
New in town, he said, just in from Florida
and hoping for snow so he could work like last winter,
when he went door to door and shoveled snow.
And then Ms. Agnes came in,
coughing and fighting for breath,
staying just long enough
to get a container of soup to take home with her
so she could get back on the oxygen.
Then Ronald, looking tired and a bit scroungy,
with a battered piece of luggage on wheels
that carried everything he owns.
All are welcome!
Tent City is setting up downtown at the end of this month,
a veritable jamboree of services and winter coats and meals.
All are welcome!
Thanksgiving’s just a few weeks away, our national holiday.
The food pantries around town
are taking down the names of families
so they can deliver all the fixings for Thanksgiving dinner.
Everyone’s invited to the table.
For people without family in town,
or without a kitchen to cook in,
the people of Christ the King Church
are putting together, as they do every year,
a giant Thanksgiving banquet—
all are welcome.
In terms of volunteer hours,
Toledo is the second most compassionate city in the world;
only Seattle ranked higher in this year’s Compassion Games.
Lavish generosity!
Total welcome!
Just like Jesus.
There’s no record of his ever kicking anybody off the mountain.
He told people that the kin-dom of God is at hand.
He tells us the same thing.
We, right here, right now—
whenever we are welcoming,
whenever we invite everyone to the table—
are helping to make it happen.
Glory be to God, it’s good to be here!

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

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates 52nd Anniversary of the Opening of Vatican 11: Imogene and Michael Rigdon, a Married Priest Couple Presides

On October 11, 1962 Pope John XX111 offered this prayer at the opening of the Second Vatican Council:

Almighty God! In you we place all our confidence.
Look down kindly on these people of your Church.
May the light of your grace help us in making decisions and in making laws.
Graciously hear the prayers which we offer you with unanimity of faith, voice, and mind.
O Mary, help of Christians, help of bishops, arrange all things for a happy and helpful outcome.
With your spouse, St. Joseph:
the holy apostles, Peter and Paul;
St. John the Baptist; and St. John the Evangelist,
intercede to God for us.
Jesus Christ, our loving redeemer
immortal ruler of people and the ages
to you be love, power 
and glory for ever and ever. Amen. 

Married Priest Couple Imogene and Michael Rigdon presides at liturgy celebrating 52nd anniversary of opening of Vatican 11

At our liturgy readers read from four of the Council's Documents 
religious freedom, expansion of the role of the laity, celebration of 
the liturgy in the language of the people to foster a fuller participation of the assembly in the liturgy, and much more.
We are hopeful that the Synod of the Family will listen to the 
voice of the faithful and allow changes in church laws such as welcoming the
divorced, remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments.

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Community follows teaching of Vatican 11.
Everyone celebrates the Eucharist as we gather around the Banquet Table of love. 

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, welcomes newcomers to community

For more information about Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community,
visit our website:
For more information about the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, visit

Friday, October 10, 2014

Links to Articles on Synod on the Family/ARCC

More on Synod on the Family 

Hope Rises as Synod Winds Down for Week/ Future Church/

While all the bishops and cardinals more or less assent to the daily mantra, "doctrine cannot be changed," more and more are proposing creative pathways around that obstacle as they feel a new openness to speak freely under Francis. 

Archbishop John Dew of Wellington of New Zealand, a cathnews_nz veteran who has attended five synods, attests to the difference Pope Francis is making at the synod.  He said Pope Francis, "is just there wondering around and talking to people. He's very serious about collegiality. People feel freer and you can sense that in the atmosphere." 

On Thursday, the head of the Canadian Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Paul-André Durocher spoke of a major shift, a new starting place for theological reflection by bishops at the synod; the same starting place espoused for decades by mujerista, womanist, feminist and liberation theologians around the world.

"What's happening within the Synod is we are seeing a more inductive way of reflecting; starting from the true situation of people and trying to figure out, 'what is going on here?'", said Durocher.  "We are finding that the lived experience of people is also a theological source...a place for theological reflection."

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster said at the Tuesday Press Briefing that the experience of married couples is being heard first, before prelates speak. And this is new according to Nichols. He noted that many "positive suggestions being put forward," and that "we have to approach the social reality of marriage in a friendly dialogue."  Nichols asserted that equality, rejection of violence and the dignity of children were strands found in western culture that "we can befriend."

What couples had to say this week   
If experience is central to this synod of bishops and the experience of people is  a starting place for theological reflection, what are married couples who get the floor at the synod saying?  It's a mix, but below are some of the salient points they made.

Ron and Mavis Pirola of Australia shared a story of friends who have a gay son who wanted to bring his partner home for Christmas. The couple's love for their son took paramount importance over Church teaching saying, "he is our son."  Using this example, the Pirolas explained how the Church might benefit.

"In our experience, families, the domestic churches, are often the natural models of the open doors for churches of which "Evangelii Gaudium" speaks"  While acknowledging families could benefit from better teaching and programs, the stressed that "more than anything, they [those who are seen as outside orthodoxy] need to be accompanied on their journey, welcomed, have their stories listened to, and above all, affirmed." 

Even more pointed, they said that the clergy could become better prepared in presenting Church teachings by "learning from the domestic church."   The Pirolas believe that this demands a new mindset for lay people.  "They must no longer be viewed as collaborators of the clergy, but truly recognized as co-responsible for the Church's being and action." 

Vatican Radio photo George and Cynthia Campos of the Philippines told the story of failure in reaching out to Catholics living in "irregular situations."  Reflecting on why their ministry failed, they suggested that "an enlightened pastoral charity inaugurating innovative forms of 'accompaniment' of conjugal spirituality formation and of inclusionary participation in church life leading to full communion needs promotion and enactment by our ordained ministers."

Jeffrey and Alice Heinzen of the USA framed the crisis in the Church as the result of "the age of the diminished family structure."  Upholding a more orthodox framework for analyzing the problems facing families, they asked how Catholics can, "effectively share what we know to be true in practical, simple and convincing ways so that all men and women are challenged and supported to live life-long marriages and build homes that reflect the domestic Church?"

ron haring cns Stephen and Sandra Conway of South Africa shared their experience and work in a program for couples whose marriages are in crisis as a way of proposing greater openness by the Church. Citing the story of a couple who had joined the RCIA program but who could not get a first marriage annulled, the Conways called for more openness on the part of the Church.  They said, "If God is the ultimate forgiver and full of compassion then these couples should be forgiven for previous mistakes, how ever, they believe that they are constantly reminded and guilty of these past relationships or mistakes by not being able to partake in communion." 

Arturo and Hermelinda Zamberline of Brazil were inspired by the leadership of Fr. Henri Caffarel who taught that couples should not deliberately close themselves off from having children. They asked the synod leaders to quickly make clear the teaching of Humanae Vitae so Catholics could more readily comply.

Promoting the natural family planning method they also admitted that "many Catholic couples, even those seriously seeking to live their marriage, do not feel obligated to use only natural methods."   

They go on to say that although natural methods for planning the family are good, they may not be practical for many.  Citing the pace of life for many young Catholics and the learning curve for success using natural family planning, "the majority of Catholic couples" are not using natural methods.

Olivier and Xristilla Roussy of France told the story of wanting a big family, learning the methods of natural family planning, deciding to try birth control pills, and, even though it meant an unplanned pregnancy, their returned to natural family planning as the best path toward holiness. 

They also stated that mercy was central, not just to others, but for the life of the Church.  "We are called to love people and walk with them rather than judge their actions; to be witnesses to mercy not ignoring the realities they face.  Only this attitude of the heart can prevent us from becoming small communities; narrow, controlled and ultimately dying."

Even the most orthodox couples, expressed the need for better pastoral care this week.  Some of them reflected what Fr. Thomas Rosica heard synod leaders say, "The Eucharist is a sacrament that supersedes all sacraments.  Jesus is present in the Eucharist and we must allow Jesus to do his work in the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is left for us sinners and we should not portray a church mentality which places limits on God's love."

Archbishop Durocher on Thursday sums up the best how the diverse hopes expressed by the synod couples can come together when he said the Church must strive for "a marriage of justice and mercy." 

To read the couples testimonies go to the Vatican Press office website

Related stories
Sex, Marriage and the Catholic Church by Tina Beattie

Archbishop Hart on Synod: We need a language of love
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Synod needs to understand there are no simple solutions for today's family crisis Thomas Reese | Oct. 3, 2014

..." Making a marriage work is hard work. But too often, marriages don't work. Blaming the victims is no solution. No one gets married just so they can get a divorce. What does all this mean for the synod on the family? I think it calls for humility in the face of complicated problems that have been around for centuries. There are no simple answers. Simply repeating church teaching won't make any difference. Allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to go to Communion is necessary and compassionate, but it will not cure what ails families. Pope Francis is right. We have to respond pastorally to the facts on the ground and not try to impose an ideological solution based on some ideal that rarely exists in the real world. We should not expect a solution to the family crisis from the synod, but we can hope that synod initiates a serious conversation in the church that should continue even beyond next year. "

Carol Ann Breyer Memorial, Oct. 4, 2014 at Mary Mother of Jesus Liturgy in Sarasota, Florida

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The First Century and the Ministry of Women

 PBS "Frontline" Program on the First Christians:"From Jesus to Christ-The First Christians"

Benedictine sister's witness a turning point in struggle for women's equality in the church

by Christine Schenk, Oct. 9, 2014
"A great woman has gone from our midst. Her name is Christine Vladimiroff, and we who are passionate about church reform owe God profound thanks for the gift of this woman's life.
At age 17, Christine joined the Erie Benedictines because the nuns in her high school "were the most happy and competent women I had ever seen." She finished college and earned a doctorate at the Universidad International in Mexico City. She served as secretary of education for the Cleveland diocese, a college professor, and the executive director of Second Harvest, a national network of food banks, before she was elected prioress of her community in 1998. She died in the arms of her sisters on Sept. 25 after an extended illness.
During her eight-year tenure as head of the Cleveland Catholic school system, Christine was affectionately known around town as the "czarina." Clevelanders quickly discovered she possessed a backbone of tempered steel. This strength served her well when, in March 2001, the Vatican ordered her to "forbid and prohibit" her fellow Benedictine, Joan Chittister, from speaking at a Women's Ordination Worldwide conference in late June in Dublin...

In ensuing months, she consulted bishops, canon lawyers, Joan herself, her own sisters, and other Benedictine communities. She journeyed to Rome on a mission to help Vatican officials understand why she could not do what they asked of her. She addressed them with the practiced professionalism acquired from navigating many a board meeting in church, nonprofit, and academic settings. Oh, and by the way, she did it in fluent Spanish. All of this helped quite a bit, since most Vatican males have scant experience dealing with multilingual professional females possessing backbones of steel.
But in the end, it was not Christine's professionalism or her backbone that won the day. It was the incandescent truth to which she witnessed in her official response to Rome:
Christine's refusal to be used by the Vatican "to deliver an order of silencing" encouraged Catholics the world over. It's hard to say what effect it had on Vatican officials, though all the dire penalties previously threatened mysteriously melted away."
Christine's Explanation of Obedience: There is a fundamental difference in the understanding of obedience in the monastic tradition and that which is being used by the Vatican to exert power and control and prompt a false sense of unity inspired by fear. Benedictine authority and obedience are achieved through dialogue between a community member and her prioress in a spirit of co-responsibility. The role of the prioress in a Benedictine community is to be a guide in the seeking of God. While lived in community, it is the individual member who does the seeking.

Sex, Marriage and the Catholic Church
While ruling out women's ordination, Pope Francis has been quietly insisting on the appointment of more women to positions of influence within the ...
Bridget Mary's Response
While I appreciate the small signs of progress for gender equality that Pope Francis has made in the area of the Vatican Curia , the full equality of women including women priests in the church is the voice of God in our times. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Feminist Theology and Church Renewal by Jim Lauder, ARCWP

Lately, I am excited to read about feminist theology because I believe this perspective holds one of the keys for church renewal.  Church renewal is a timely topic as we anticipate the election of a new pope who we pray will provide leadership, and inspiration for church renewal, and re-ignite many of the positive initiatives of Vatican II.  Sadly he will not be a she!  If he were a she, then I suspect the Church would be well on its way to renewal before she even opened her mouth and accepted the cardinals invitation to the office of Holy See.  For certain; we are left with a he, and hopefully he will brush up on his understanding of what a feminist theological perspective can bring to the church as a servant to the world. 
In a chapter entitled, Woman Doing Theology in Latin America, found in the book, With Passion and Compassion; Third World Women Doing Theology (1988), Roman Catholic sister, Ivone Gebara writes.  “When a women’s experience is expressed in a Church whose tradition is machistic, the other side of human experience returns to theological discourse: the side of the person who gives birth, nurses, nourishes, of the person who for centuries has remained silent with regard to anything having to do with theology.”  Gebara reminds us that theology is more than reason alone, “something that words cannot express.”  Feminist and indeed liberation theology, springs from life and a person’s lived experience in the world.  She adds, “many women are especially gifted with a deep intuition about human life and are able to counsel, to intuit problems, to express them, to give support, to propose solutions, and to confirm the faith of many people.”  Are not those the qualifications of a pope?  Feminist theology does not negate a masculine perspective, but instead, it embraces both the masculine and feminine, and offers hope for church renewal. 
Ideally, the next pope will share Gebara’s hope and vision that, “the day will come when all [emphasis mine] people, lifting their eyes, will see the earth shinning with brotherhood and sisterhood, mutual appreciation, [and] true complementarity.”  Let us pray for such an outcome.  Even if the next pope embraces a different perspective, remember you and I are the church, the people of God, as Vatican II reminds us.  In our daily lives let us honor and embrace each other’s full humanity, consistent with what Jesus did for us, and do what we are called to do by God, whether God is a she or a he!
Jim Lauder, April 11, 2005 (Reprinted with permission)
Jim Lauder is an ARCWP priest from Canada.

Deacon Georgia Walker ARCWP - Commentary on Criminal Justice System and Witness for Non-Violence/ Challenging Drone Warfare in a U.S. Court by Kathy Kelly,

The following article was written by Kathy Kelly to briefly describe how our arraignment hearing unfolded on Tuesday.  This first part is my reflection. 
Deacon Georgia Walker in gray jacked seated next to Kathy Kelly , Voices for Creative Nonviolence
This morning I am still stunned to have experienced the way in which our so called justice system works.  My primary ministry is with men and women who are coming out of jail or prison or in some other way caught up in the justice system.  Daily, I hear of the injustices that many of them must endure. 
I am always quite aware that 95% of the criminal convictions in the United States are a result of “plea bargains” rather than actual trials.  Many, many innocent individuals take pleas in order to just get it over with and to get on with their lives.  Today, I took a step to becoming more “literate” about their world and I feel profoundly humbled and privileged to have walked a bit in their shoes.
When we first arrived in court with our lawyer and our supporters, we were offered a “plea bargain”…if we would plead guilty, the military prosecutor would recommend that the judge sentence us to one month of prison and a $500 fine.  In a preliminary opening to the hearing…the judge carefully informed us of our “rights”.  He then let us go back and confer with our lawyer.

Kathy and I could not say that we were guilty.  So we asked our attorney to ask the prosecutor if we could plead “no contest”.  He said he would accept that plea and would then ask the judge to sentence us to three months in prison and $500 fine. 
Back before the judge again…he said that he would not permit us to plead “no contest”.  He once again informed us of our “rights” to take the original plea of guilty or go to trial.  The prosecutor would then ask for six months in prison and $500 fine.  Note that as you exercise your rights that the threat of punishment keeps increasing.  As Kathy and I sat there at the table before the judge, we looked at each other like “deers caught in the headlights” and realized that in a matter of 18 seconds we went from one to three to six possible months of confinement…just by exercising our rights.  And we are  educated, privileged white women with an actual lawyer by our sides.  No wonder the men and women with whom I minister so often take the plea bargains even when they know themselves to be innocent!
So our trial date is set for Dec 10th…please pray for all that face decisions such as these each day!  by Deacon Georgia Walker, ARCWP
On October 7, 2014, Kathy Kelly and Georgia Walker appeared before Judge Matt Whitworth in Jefferson City, MO, federal court on a charge of criminal trespass to a military facility. The charge was based on their participation , at Whiteman Air Force Base, in a June 1st 2014 rally protesting drone warfare. Kelly and Walker attempted to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the Base Commander, encouraging him to stop cooperating with any further usage of unmanned aerial vehicles, (drones), for surveillance and attacks.
The prosecutor, USAF Captain Daniel Saunders, said that if Kelly and Walker would plead guilty to the charge, he would seek a punishment of one month in prison and a $500 fine. Kelly and Walker told the prosecutor that they could accept a “no contest” plea but were not willing to plead guilty. The prosecutor then said he would recommend a three month prison sentence and a $500 fine. The judge refused to accept a “no contest” plea. Kelly and Walker then requested a trial which has been set for December 10, 2014.
Brian Terrell, who also attended the hearing, has previously been tried before Judge Whitworth on the same charge. In October of 2012, Whitworth sentenced him to the maximum penalty of six months in prison. His co-defendant, Ron Faust, also went to trial and was initially sentenced to five years probation which was later reduced to one year. Mark Kenney, also a co-defendant, had pled guilty and received a four month sentence.
Kathy Kelly noted that drone strikes on October 7, 2014 killed seven people, in Pakistan and that this is the third day in a row of drone attacks in Pakistan’s Waziristan area. On October 6th, eight people were killed and six wounded. Today also marks the thirteenth year of U.S. war in Afghanistan, a country which was considered, in 2013, to be the epicenter of drone warfare.
“I feel we’re compelled by our conscience, “ Georgia Walker told a gathering of 35 people in Kansas City, the previous evening. “We’re compelled by our own spirituality, to keep speaking up and to keep getting people to know that silence is complicity. We have to speak out to say ‘Not in my Name.’”
“I’m sure that Georgia and I didn’t commit a crime,” said Kathy Kelly. “We tried to send out an alarm about a crime that’s being committed at the base. Innocent people, including children are killed by the drone strikes.”
Kelly and Walker later met with supporters and attorneys to discuss plans for a vigorous defense on December 10th, International Human Rights Day.

Kathy Kelly ( co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ordinary Catholic Women "Have always done Theology and Ministry in both Word and Deed"

 In The Elephant in the Church,  Irish theologian Mary T. Malone affirms that ordinary Catholic women " have always done theology and ministry in both word and deed."
 (The Elephant in the Church, p. 171. )

"...But perhaps on an even more important level, the experience of the ordinary day-in, day-out women of Catholicism, can begin to be respected as among primary bearers of the Faith, and respected and heard and treated as the significant theologians that they are. They can also be recognized and respected as the foundation stones of many a parish community, for without the presence and ministry of women, these communities would not exist. For women have always done theology and ministry in both word and deed. Their theology has not necessarily been expressed in tomes or lecture halls, but it is the daily living guide of more than half of the Church. This is not to exclude lay men, but at least they can move freely in the male symbolic universe that is Catholicism. Women have had to create their own religious universe and it is the uniting of these two universes, practically unknown to each other, that will save the Church of God in our time."

 Women today are being called to a renewed priestly ministry who do not have formal theological training, but  who have rich, diverse and varied life experiences, spiritualities, educational and professional backgrounds and ministries. The  Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests utilizes individualized holistic approaches, theological resources and pastoral programs to prepare deacons and priests to live Gospel equality as mystics, prophets, sacramental ministers and activists in service of God's people. As co-creators and partners with other reform-minded Catholics, we develop inclusive, empowered  communities that welcome all to receive sacraments at the Banquet Table of God's extravagant love.  Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,,

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Maureen McGill and Katy Zatsick co-preside at liturgy with Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

WATER CELEBRATES 35 Years Ago Today: Theresa Kane's Witness

Thirty-five years ago, on October 7, 1989, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, Theresa Kane, Sister of Mercy, offered her gracious, generous welcome to Pope John Paul II on behalf of U.S. women religious on the occasion of his first visit to the United States. Her prophetic words bear rereading on this anniversary:
"As I share this privileged moment with you, Your Holiness, I urge you to be mindful of the intense suffering and pain which is part of the life of many women in these United States. I call upon you to listen with compassion and to hear the call of women who comprise half of humankind.
As women we have heard the powerful messages of our Church addressing the dignity and reverence for all persons. As women we have pondered upon these words. Our contemplation leads us to state that the Church in its struggle to be faithful to its call for reverence and dignity for all persons must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries of our Church.
I urge you, Your Holiness, to be open to and respond to the voices coming from the women of this country who are desirous of serving in and through the Church as fully participating members." 
The Pope and Vatican officials responded negatively to what were then and remain now strong and clear words spoken by a woman who dared to act as an equal member in a biased church. Theresa inspired many women to do the same, planting seeds of feminist ministry and encouraging robust spirituality despite subsequent decades of continued discrimination and oppression. Seizing her moment, and doing so with such dignity and grace, Theresa Kane became an embodiment of full personhood.
WATER thanks and celebrates Theresa for her courage and integrity.
Join us on Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 1 PM EDT, for a special WATERtalk, "Making History, Making Change: A Conversation with Theresa Kane." We will reflect together on the historical importance of the event, the many repercussions that followed, including the current problems that American nuns and other lay people experience with the Roman Catholic Church. We will envision together what lies ahead for those who embrace a commitment to equality. Please register here: Feel free to email Cathy at if you have any trouble registering or need more information. Thank you!
Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER)
8121 Georgia Ave, Suite 310
Silver Spring, MD 20910
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