Friday, September 4, 2015

Article in Philadelphia Daily News on Sept 4, 2015 about the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests' Ordination of Bishops in Philadelphia when Pope Francis is in the United States, Bridget Mary Meehan , ARCWP
Bridget Mary's Response:
I am not a self-proclaimed bishop, but a validly ordained bishop along with the other women bishops in our movement who are ordaining deacons, priests and bishops in apostolic succession. This is the reason that the institutional church takes us seriously. They recognize that we are prophetic and leading the way toward justice for women in the church, not only to ordination but to full equality in all ministries in every area of the church's life. 
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Roman Catholic Women Priests have valid orders because our first women bishops were ordained by a anonymous Roman Catholic male bishop with apostolic succession and in communion with the pope. So all our ordinations are valid, but our orders violate church law.  We are disobeying an unjust law in order to change it in prophetic obedience to the Spirit.
This is the reason the institutional church has excommunicated us. 
In addition, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) is not a clerical model but is a renewed priestly in a community of equals.  I agree with Pope Francis that clericalism is a major problem in the Roman Catholic Church . This is the reason our the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests' vision and mission is developing communities of equals. In our liturgies, for example, the entire assembly prays the epiclesis and words of institution/consecration during the Eucharistic Prayer and usually include a dialogue homily.  Our governance model in ARCWP utilizes a discernment, prayerful approach in a circular model of decision-making. The bishop's main role is to ordain and is a member of the sacred circle with one vote in making decision. We are one with the people of God in co-celebrating sacraments in  inclusive discipleship of equals, grassroots communities. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,
Sept. 4th, 2015 Article on Philadelphia Daily News by Dana Diflippo
"TO EXCOMMUNICATED "Bishop" Bridget Mary Meehan, ordaining women as priests is a backed-by-the-Bible no-brainer.
Bible verses preaching gender equality abound, she said. Look at Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ."
So she'll be in the front rows when "Gender, Gospel and Global Justice" - a three-day international conference dedicated to female ordination and hosted by Women's Ordination Worldwide - kicks off in Philadelphia on Sept. 18.
And on Sept. 24, Meehan, a bishop with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests - a group rejected by the Roman Catholic Church - will personally ordain three women as bishops at Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat in Wallingford, Delaware County.
The Vatican has repeatedly rejected female ordination, excommunicating Meehan and women who have been ordained by groups such as hers.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, founded nearly 500 years ago to defend the church from heresy, has called female ordination an offense as grave as pedophilia. And despite Pope Francis' growing reputation as a progressive, he has not conceded an inch on female ordination, saying in 2013: "The church has spoken and says no. That door is closed."
But Meehan and her supporters say they are not thumbing their nose at the pope. She said Philadelphia - with the upcoming World Meeting of Families and papal visit - is the perfect place to focus attention on an injustice most Catholics want remedied. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. Catholics say the church should allow women to become priests, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study.
"I'm a big fan [of Pope Francis] because he is calling for justice for the poor, mistreated and marginalized," said Meehan, of Sarasota, Fla. "But he leaves women out. Women priests are the elephant in the church today."
While the church has trouble persuading men to join the priesthood, more women than ever are clamoring to become clergy, Meehan said.
"We are not leaving the church. We are leading the church into a new era of justice and equality," she said. "We see ourselves walking very much in the path of Rosa Parks and the suffragettes. We're calling on the church to make the connections between the discrimination against women in the church and abuse and injustice against women in the world."
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia did not respond to the Daily News' request for comment.
Rocco Palmo, a Catholicism chronicler who writes the popular "Whispers in the Loggia" blog, said Francis' stance on female ordination has more to do with his concern about clericalism - clergy believing themselves superior to others - than any personal or institutional sexism.
"Francis sees clericalism as one of the greatest destructive forces in the history of the church," Palmo said. "There's this belief that if you're not a priest, you don't matter."
Yet women have been indispensable in other church roles, Palmo added. The three most influential Catholic services - Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Health Association and the Catholic Charities USA - are headed by women, he said.
"And you can make the argument, and it'd be a very credible one, that the most significant, influential Catholic in this city is not a cleric or a man. It's Sister Mary Scullion, who has done more to reduce homelessness in Philadelphia than anyone and who is living her baptism to the fullest. I don't know what more priesthood would accomplish for her."
Since the first seven female "priests" were ordained in 2002 in Europe, more than 200 women now are ordained worldwide - including about 160 in the United States, Meehan said. None of them are recognized by the Vatican as priests or bishops.
The three women Meehan will ordain as bishops on Sept. 24 in Philly are the Revs. Mary E. Collingwood, of Hudson, Ohio; Michele Birch Conery, of Windsor, Canada; and Olga Lucia Alvarez, of Medellin, Colombia."

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