Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Georgia Walker's Response to the Excommunication Notification from Bishop Finn

left :Georgia Walker , Janice Sevre-Duszynska, and Bridget Mary Meehan
I am very disappointed to be excommunicated.  I love the Church and I particularly love the local parish in which I have previously been very active.  However, I am not at all surprised.  Bishop Finn enthusiastically follows the letter of Canon Law.  For example, he fires gay and lesbian employees despite their competency and loyal service, he encourages the denial of sacraments to those who have divorced or who have had children outside of legal marriage and he discourages Roman Catholic parishes from sharing in ecumenical services with those of other denominations.  He excludes those from the Eucharistic table who are the very people who I intend to serve!  Many persons in Kansas City were afraid to attend my ordination for fear of the repercussions they might face from the chancery—from losing their jobs or being excommunicated themselves.  It is a strange way to govern the church by fear in a country that strives to ensure freedom and a Church which preaches that God loves all of creation. 
One of the priests in my community sent me the following words from St. Paul which may put this letter and notice in right perspective:
"Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? Who is he that condemns?......Who can separate us from the love of God? ..... I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (See Romans 8:33ff)

I intend to move ahead with my plans to form an intentional, inclusive Roman Catholic community with persons who are interested in participating in weekly liturgies.  This type of worship community will be egalitarian, non-hierarchical and all will be free to actively participate in the worship, service and governance.  All will be welcome at the table.  The members of the Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests are leading the Church in a new direction with full participation for women and all other persons marginalized by the Church.  I am a part of that prophetic movement.  I have been ordained by a Bishop who has been ordained in apostolic succession and I plan to serve in the role of priest as a facilitator of worship for those who feel excluded from the traditional Roman Catholic Church.

Walker says she plans to continue attending Mass at her parish church, St. James, though she will not be taking part in any liturgy."I'm not going to take Communion," she told NCR. "I won't in any way compromise the parish, but I attend to still be part of the community and go there for worship on Sunday."Bridget Mary Meehan, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests bishop who presided over Walker's Jan. 3 ordination, posted to her blog both Finn's letter and a personal response, arguing that women ordained through the association are not leaving the church, but are leading it.

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