Saturday, February 14, 2015

Mary Mother Of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Liturgy on Sat. Feb. 14th, 2015 in Sarasota, Fl. with Presiders Priest Lee Breyer and Deacon Kathryn Shea, ARCWP

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community,
During Lent, we will have a meditation time at 3:45PM on Saturdays before liturgy. 
We celebrate Eucharist at 4 PM on Saturdays at St. Andrew UCC 6908 Beneva Rd., Sarasota, Fl. 34238 

Deacon Kathryn Shea with community during Dialogue Homily

Deacon Kathryn Shea at Homily Sharing 
Priest Lee Breyer and Deacon Kathryn Shea,ARCWP 
MMOJ Community Gathers around Table to Pray Eucharistic Prayer

MMOJ Presiders Meeting for Lenten Liturgies
Right: Theresa and Roman Rodriquez, Michael Rigdon (Roman and Michael not in this photo but in photo below
Mary Al Gagon, Katy Zatsick, Jim Marsh, Sally Brochu,, Blakeley, Alicia Bartol, Thomas (not visible in photo), Lee Breyer, Bridget Mary Meehan

Friday, February 13, 2015

One Billion Women Rising -A Proclamation and Getting Ready in Atlanta by, Diane Dougherty, ARCWP


WHEREAS,  One Billion Rising is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls for which annual theatrical and artistic events are produced around the world to raise money and transform consciousness generating broader attention for the fight to stop worldwide violence against women and girls; and

WHEREAS, One Billion Rising is a national call for justice for all survivors of gender violence and the impunity that lives at the intersection of poverty, racism, war, environmental rape, capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy; and

WHEREAS, one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, which adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS; and

WHEREAS, Violence against women does not distinguish according to class, race, age or locality, and many women in all cultures spend most of their lives recovering from, resisting, or surviving violence rather than creating and thriving; and

WHEREAS, One Billion Rising is an act of solidarity locally and across borders, demonstrating to women all over the planet the commonality of their struggles and their power in numbers; and

WHEREAS, One Billion Rising and One Billion Rising REVOLUTION movement mobilizes, engages, awakens and joins people worldwide to raise awareness and help prevent violence against women; and

WHEREAS, the City of Atlanta  joins One Billion Rising and other interested agencies and organizations in rising up for justice to end violence against women and girls; and

NOW, THEREFORE, I, ______________, title of the ____________, do hereby proclaim February 14, 2015, as "ONE BILLION RISING REVOLUTION DAY" and support the call to action.
Dated this ___ day of ________, 2015

"Saturday we celebrate One Billion Rising Atlanta Revolution.  It is already having a mark because the mayor had declared everyone that works for the city will receive equal pay for equal work.....and his representative will display his Take A Stand campaign against sex trafficking and abuse.  An NFL football Player flew in from California to be with us on Saturday and he is bringing 4 of his buddies. We have 40 organizations displaying their work and a senator, songwriters, poets, 4 different groups of drummers, artists and storytelllers (I am included) to weave voices of courage to stand against violence and toward a greater sense of humanity."

You are all with me in the spirit.....


Our revolution is R Evolution -A Revolution based in Love

Sharing God's Extravagant Love: Michael Kelly Sings Song of Praise for Deliverance from Drugs, Sarasota, Fl.

On Tuesday, Feb. 10th, Bob Ferkenhoff ,( green hat in photo), Sally Brochu,( in blue) and I met at McDonald's for a  planning meeting for the Compassion Ministry at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Community. 
Left to right, Brian, Bridget Mary, Sally and Michael

On the way in to the restaurant, before Bob and Sally arrived,  I met a homeless man who introduced himself as Michael Kelly, (with guitar).  I  asked if he'd like lunch. He smiled, said yes, and told me that he would like to sing one of his original songs for me.

In the line at McDonald's, Michael shared that Jesus was his boss (check out his hat) and that he had been off drugs for a number of years.  I told him that I was meeting  friends  who would also like to hear his song. Then, Bob and Sally arrived and we started to plan for a funeral ministry to reach out to members of Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community.
After Michael had finished his  lunch,  we gathered outside and Michael sang the song in the video that he wrote  as a prayer of thanksgiving for God's grace in delivering him from the bondage of heroin. 

Before we went outside we noticed that Michael was sharing his lunch with a friend. Outside we  met his friend, Brian, who had recently lost his grandmother. He shared his sadness that he was not able to be at her funeral. 

Michael Kelly and Bob Ferkenhoff

Enjoy Michael Kelly's song of praise and be blessed!  We certainly were!
Everyday, we have opportunities to share God's extravagant love for and with each other. 

  Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,,

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community 6 OT, Feb. 15, 2015 by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

That reading from Leviticus
has two verses from the beginning of the chapter,
then skips 42 verses,
and ends with three verses from the middle of the chapter.
The five verses we heard today focus on leprosy,
leaving out some very important background
in the 42 in between.
The word we translate as leprosy is the Hebrew word tzaraath,
which can refer, in addition to scaly or blotchy skin or hair,
to stains on cloth or leather,
or even fungi on the stones of people’s houses.
Sometimes it does refer to a skin disease,
but in every case it’s a spiritual illness
that shows up as a physical problem.
The blotch or fungus or mold or scab
is understood as divine punishment
for failure to feel the needs and share the hurt of others—
in short, a failure to be compassionate,
which breaks the biblical law
and makes them ritually impure.
People afflicted with tzaraath
were required to wear torn clothes,
stop grooming their hair,
cover the lower part of their face,
cry out unclean—that is, ritually impure—
and live away from other people.
The isolation was mainly due to concerns
about the risk of moral corruption to other people,
not about a contagious disease.
So what’s going on here in Mark’s gospel?
A man gets a skin blotch or a scab
because he broke a religious law,
and he comes to Jesus and is healed.
Parishes around our diocese
have penance services with private confessions each Lent.
Pastoral Associates I’ve talked with
tell me that they sit in the back pew during these services
and are invariably approached by a parishioner
with a question about going to confession—
what to do, what would happen
when they told the priest what they did or didn’t do,
what to say if they didn’t really have anything to confess.
Everything from “I missed Mass when I was sick”
to “I went to communion even though I’m divorced”
to “I’m not really sorry for what I did.”
They talk to the parishioners about what the church’s rule really is,
or tell them how to make a “confession of devotion”
and encourage them to go to the priest for the sacrament.
When I hear Mark’s story about Jesus and the leper,
I think of those people,
slipping quietly into the back of the church,
hunched over in the pew
whispering their fear of having violated a law
that would keep them from communion.
Ritually unclean.
Then a listening ear
and a word of acceptance
lets them know that God loves them,
over and above everything else,
so they do not need to fear—
God made them,
and God pronounced them good.
That’s the Good News,
so go to the priest and tell your story.
That scene will be repeated in parishes throughout the world
again this Lent,
with a happy ending for today’s lepers
when they find a priest with a listening ear and a loving heart.
It won’t be a happy ending for some, though,
who will tell their story
and find themselves condemned for who they are,
like folks in a committed same-sex relationship;
or chastised for a wise and life-giving decision,
like divorcing an abusive spouse;
or denounced for acting on what they believe is right,
like taking birth control pills.
Mark tells us that the leper was immediately made clean—
restored to wholeness
from whatever spiritual affliction had caused the tzaraath. Jesus
reaches out in compassion,
and the man is healed.
These days scientists are telling us that kindness heals.
When health care workers treat patients with kindness,
their wounds heal faster;
they suffer less pain;
their anxiety and their blood pressure go down;
they get out of the hospital more quickly.
People who have strong social ties—
people who spend time with family or friends or neighbors,
people who go bowling or play cards
or work the Blockwatch or volunteer to tutor—
those folks live longer and recover from illness faster
than those who are socially isolated.
This weekend I signed us up
for the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions’
National Preach-In on Global Warming.
I promised to preach on care for creation.
So you’re thinking that I haven’t mentioned our Tree Toledo project.
I haven’t said a word about reduce-reuse-recycle.
I haven’t suggested that you should have ridden your bike to Mass
through this bitter cold and snow.
You’re right.
What I have done, though, is talk about
caring for the human part of God’s creation—us.
We are all of us the people of God,
and many among us are suffering.
The hungry don’t have a choice
about whether they eat organic grass-fed beef or pink slime.
The homeless don’t have a choice
about turning down the thermostat or planting a tree.
The jobless don’t have a choice
about donating to charity.
The alone and lonely don’t have a choice
about getting healthy faster.
We have choices, though.
We can reach out
to people who are hungry, homeless, jobless, or lonely.
We can help feed them,
help them have homes and jobs,
befriend them.
Hungry people can’t hear sermons;
they aren’t going to care
about the impact of global warming on their grandchildren
if they don’t know where their kids’ next meal is coming from.
Yes, we’ll plant lots of trees in the next five years.
We’ll examine and re-examine our lifestyles
to see how we can reduce our carbon footprint.
We’ll monitor legislation, and we’ll petition for action.
We’ll do our best to mitigate climate change
so future generations will survive and thrive.
In Jesus’ time global warming was not an urgent issue;
it wasn’t an issue at all.
Poverty and oppression were the problem.
They still are the problem,
and we still are called to follow his Way
in the basic care for creation—
tending the spirits and minds and bodies
of the poorest among us.
Our Tree Toledo project cares for the future of all God’s creation.
The same values that motivate us to plant trees for the future
motivate us to act now with kindness and compassion,
loving our family and friends and community,
following the Way of our brother Jesus.

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

"Fifty Shades of Grey: A Trilogy of Deceit, Collusion and Domination" by Dr. Mimi Haddad
"As the film industry promotes "Fifty Shades of Grey," launching on Valentine's Day, I sit beside sixty scholars, activists, and faith leaders from more than twenty countries at a forum convened by the Carter Center: "Beyond Violence: Women Leading for Peaceful Societies." Working to end the domination of women worldwide, these leaders recognize that "prejudice, discrimination, war, violence, distorted interpretations of religious texts, physical and mental abuse, poverty, and disease fall disproportionately on women and girls, as Jimmy Carter notes in Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power. Together, these human rights defenders are refining bold and creative strategies to overturn systems, structures, and worldviews that abuse, marginalize, dominate, and annihilate girls and women worldwide.
While these activists labor to combat abuse, filmmakers are working to normalize the sexual domination of women as entertainment. With scenes holding women in bondage, men inflict pain re-framed as "discipline" in the form of sadism and masochism, offered as the ultimate aphrodisiac. Meanwhile, in hidden corners of nearly every city of the world, girls and women are held in secret prisons and brothels where they endure gang-rape. Firearms and other weapons are used as instruments of rape, and rape itself is unleashed as an instrument of war. Targeted by the military, girls and women are murdered by the masses--a horror undocumented by the world's journalists. Women, whose daughters have been abducted by extremists, wake up every morning wondering, "Is she alive?" Those that use these forms of dominance--sexual, physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual--blame victims, telling them they provoked their own abuse. To suggest that women want rape is the supreme humiliation of victims. Herein the dominance of male over female--a heinous consequence of sin--lures its prey through deception, collusion, and power...

A couple of excellent videos from CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality):  How Becoming Egalitarian Improved Our Married Life

Cardinal Burke, Conscience, and Women Priests/ Response by Bridget Mary Meehan and John Quinn

Bridget Mary's Response;
Never in my wildest imagination did I ever dream, I would write this headline: "Cardinal Burke, Conscience, and Women Priests! Who would ever think that Cardinal Burke would under any circumstance oppose papal authority? For some conservative Catholics, obedience to the magisterium is the holy grail of our faith.  What they forget is that the magisterium's teaching is supposed to reflect the sense of the faithful, the belief of the entire church which includes a reflection on a specific moral issue or belief by ordinary Catholics, the input of scholars /theologians and then after weighing all of this input, the bishops in union with the pope declare an official position. Even after all than, Catholics can dissent from official teaching according to the consciences. Women priests and our supporters are one example. Now Cardinal Burke is ready to dissent from teaching by Pope Francis if it violates his conscience. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,,

John Quinn's Response:

"I am presuming, always fraught with danger, that Cardinal Burke is referring to conscience when he says:

“I simply affirmed that it is always my sacred duty to defend the truth of the Church's teaching ....No authority can absolve me from that responsibility..."

If that is the case I hope Cardinal Burke recognizes that the women who have responded to their vocation and become Roman Catholic Women Priests and Roy Bourgeois and others who support them are also responding to their church formed consciences and that "No authority can absolve them from that responsibility..."

Church teaching and discipline regarding marriage has developed and will develop and perhaps the cardinal is arriving just a little late and out of breath regarding marriage and along with many other hierarchs is in a similar position regarding the ordination of women. "

Ecclesia SEMPER reformanda.
John Quinn


"U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke clarified comments to a French TV station that he would “resist” Pope Francis if the pope deviated from Church doctrine.

The cardinal, a frequent critic the pope, told Catholic News Agency that he was referring to a hypothetical situation.

“I simply affirmed that it is always my sacred duty to defend the truth of the Church's teaching and discipline regarding marriage.”

“No authority can absolve me from that responsibility, and, therefore, if any authority, even the highest authority, were to deny that truth or act contrary to it, I would be obliged to resist, in fidelity to my responsibility before God,” he said.

In an interview with France 2 on Feb. 8, according to a translation on the Rorate Caeli website, Cardinal Burke said that papal power was “at the service of the doctrine of the faith, and thus the pope does not have the power to change teaching, doctrine.”

He was then asked: "In a somewhat provocative way, can we say that the true guardian of doctrine is you, and not Pope Francis?"

The cardinal replied: “We must, let us leave aside the matter of the pope. In our faith, it is the truth of doctrine that guides us.”

When asked: “If Pope Francis insists on this path, what will you do?”

He said: “I will resist. I cannot do anything else.”

The cardinal, a former archbishop of St. Louis, served from 2008-2014 as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Roman Rota. He also sat on the Congregation for Bishops for several years.

Pope Francis removed him from his curial positions and assigned him as patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a 900-year-old institution focused on the defense of the faith and care for the poor. The order has a presence in more than 120 countries, with 13,000 members and 80,000 volunteers. "

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"Expanding Our MInistry" by Deacon Annie Watson, ARCWP at Bloomington Inclusive Catholic Community

Deacon Annie Watson in the middle. Left: Fr. Ryan Cox, Priest at St. Luke's Eucharist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Right:  Fr. Daniel Kostakis, Priest at Bloomington Inclusive Mass in Bloomington, Indiana.

“Expanding Our Ministry”
Mark 1:29-39
Annie Watson, Deacon, ARCWP
February 8, 2015
Seldom has there been such a successful beginning to one’s ministry. After all, we’re talking about Jesus.
The Gospel of Mark’s account of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry is brief and precise. When the curtain opens, John the Baptist is the first to appear on the stage, practicing a ministry of baptism and repentance at the Jordan River.
A Galilean, Jesus of Nazareth, comes to the Jordan to be baptized, receives his call from God, takes time out in the wilderness to contemplate his call, and then begins his ministry with the simplest of messages: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
His homilies were not very long at first.
His confidence soon grew, however, with the recruitment of his first followers, simple fishermen they were, brothers Simon and Andrew, and James and John, and probably a few unmentioned women as well. On the Sabbath they entered a synagogue in the fishing community of Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee.
Somehow Jesus managed to persuade the local leaders to allow him to teach. His homilies were gaining some depth and the audience was astonished at the confidence with which he taught.
As is always true when a newcomer gets some accolades, someone will find something to complain about. Mark describes one particular fellow as having an “unclean spirit,” which is a first century way of saying he had lost his ever-loving mind. The possessed man is so paranoid and fearful of Jesus that he asks, “Have you come to destroy us?”
Jesus effectively tells him to “Shut up!” It worked. The man was humiliated enough to retreat into silence.
Jesus didn’t have to wait long for his next ministry opportunity: bringing healing to Simon’s mother-in-law. Ministering to those closest to us is often the case when we are just getting started.
By that evening everyone was bringing their sick and possessed to him. He must have felt like a lone doctor in a war zone. Whatever he was doing, people were buying into it. They were trusting it. His reputation as a healer and exorcist was growing exponentially.
Finally, he managed to get away from it all. He retreated to a dark, deserted place, praying, while everyone else was sleeping. It’s amazing he was still awake, although after a long day of healings and exorcisms, maybe he needed a long time to wind down.
The disciples must have been able to sleep for a while, but then someone notices that Jesus is not with them, so they go looking for him. “Everyone is searching for you,” they said to him.
He tells them that maybe it’s best to go to some neighboring towns, places that haven’t yet been stirred up by his presence. So, with very little sleep and no Starbucks coffee to drink, he takes his ministry on the road, a village-to-village walk of compassion and healing.
I see a couple of similarities between the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and our ministry today. First, we have our detractors as well. Much like the man with an unclean spirit who claimed Jesus had come to destroy them, there are people today who look at our inclusive Catholic communities and come to the same conclusion.
Recently, Cardinal Raymond Burke blamed the demise of the Catholic Church on women. He told an interviewer, “Apart from the priest, the sanctuary has become full of women. The activities in the parish and even the liturgy have been influenced by women and become so feminine in many places that men do not want to get involved. Men are often reluctant to become active in the Church. The feminized environment and the lack of the Church’s effort to engage men has led many men to simply opt out.”
We hear this kind of blame all the time. “Same-sex marriage is ruining traditional marriage!” “Amnesty for immigrants will destroy our economy!” “The war protestors are enabling our enemies!”
Personally, I truly hope that women and other inclusive Catholics are “destroying” what the Church has been. We would know we are doing something right if people ask us, “Have you come to destroy us?”
The second similarity I see between the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and our ministry today is the need to expand.
In the business world people talk about “expanding the brand.” A company successfully specializes in a particular product. Then one day they decide that if they can make one good product, maybe they can make two or three or more. So they use their expertise to develop other products. They expand their brand.
As inclusive Catholic communities, we are just now beginning to have a brand. We are beginning to make a name for ourselves. At the moment, we have only a few “products” to sell, an ordination here and there, a community here and there. We are slowly developing our product through small gatherings around the country and around the world, and we need to continue to expand.
One day Jesus decided to expand his ministry—his brand—and the rest is history. Even after his death his followers continued to expand his ministry, going to places he may have never dreamed possible. This is what we are called to do at this time in our history—to expand our ministry and our brand, to reach people and places that didn’t seem possible a few years ago.
This is what this gospel text is imploring us to do. As our reputation for being inclusive and compassionate grows, we must grow with it, becoming entrepreneurial in our approach, making sure our message gets a fair hearing in the marketplace of ideas.
The curtain has surely opened for us, the story is progressing, but now is not the time to rest on our laurels. It’s time to emerge from our dark and deserted places and journey to neighboring towns and villages. Everyone deserves an opportunity to hear and see a Gospel of inclusivity. It might as well be us.

Do you think the Catholic Church believes the women’s priest movement is set on “destroying” the church? If so, what needs to be “destroyed”?

Think like an entrepreneur. Are there some ways we can “expand our brand” that we aren’t already doing?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"Dolphins, Childbirth and Mysticism" by Silvia Brandon-Perez, ARCWP


I claim that there is a real relationship between these three, and that although some of the people I know abhor the word mysticism, and are bothered and want to scream and decry and put those of us who speak of these things into locked rooms with a straitjacket, I am, by nature, a poet, and I have to say that I am a poet of the transcendental. That includes miracles and the power of the individual (remember Margaret Mead’s statement: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” I read “Coming of Age in Samoa” at the tender age of 17, when I started college…).

My religion (according to Oxford’s dictionary, from Old French, or from Latin religio(n-) ‘obligation, bond, reverence’, perhaps based on Latin religare ‘to bind’) has always been an eclectic mixture of theological thought and of mystical joy, at times pantheistic (you will see more of this when I tell you about my experiences with dolphins…), or as I defined it recently in a personal credo written as part of my present theological studies for ordination, I believe in the God of sound and fury, in the god of silence and quiet, in the God that is everywhere present, mother, father, sister, brother, all that is and all that is yet to come, the Great Spirit within my heart. I have always personally thought of God as a combination of male and female, but when I have thought coherently about God, as the creator of all that is, I have considered a female metaphor, as in our world it is the female that brings forth life, and nurtures it within her womb. In my heart of hearts I treasure the divinity of the trees, the oceans, the animals around me; from an early age after I left my mother’s home, I was a vegetarian because I did not want to cause the death of another being. I believe in a source of all things, but I believe all that exists is divine and sacred, and that the universe and all life must be revered.

Thoreau the transcendalist says: “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” In Walden, he speaks thus: “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Brahmin, priest of Brahma, and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water-jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges.” I too have read and enjoyed the Gita and the writings of Indian and Sufi mystics, including Rumi and Omar Khayyám. I cut my teeth on the beautiful love poems of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and San Juan de la Cruz, all of whom would probably be interned and treated with psychoactive drugs in our ‘modern’ and ‘enlightened’ world.

I have no problem with miracles; my life has been a compendium of miracles, and I have never relied on the institutions of government or society or the so-called economy. My simple mantra for many years is that God (in whatever form one uses to address the Infinite, the unnameable) is my sufficiency. That does not mean I lack for nothing, because one of the things I have to deal with, in this incarnation, is lack of balance… My present condition of having to deal with a fractured foot, and physical imbalance, is a metaphor of sorts for a lesson I have yet to learn.

My sense of transcendence has equal parts of music and poetry and the beauty of nature and the daunting beauty of babies of all sorts, both in the so-called lower animals, and in women’s babies. My “God” is not the stratified, hierarchical God of my youth, the deus-ex-machina of the Greeks, the being living far from our reach, in heaven somewhere, who has to be addressed by clerics or priests and cannot be addressed directly. I flirted with the Anabaptists when I lived in Pennsylvania, because they have no need of priests or ministers; each can speak directly to God or Spirit, or whatever we may name the unnameable.

I am reading a wonderful book called “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” by Reza Aslan, who argues about the revolutionary, insurrectionist man that I have followed since I first participated in a retreat in Santo Domingo with a young Dominican priest who was a follower of Liberation Theology. My husband who was not a believer, worked with and completely admired the work of what he called “the religious left.” Liberation Theology in some ways is the founding theology behind the religious left, and I would say that Pope Francis, the pastor Pope, preaches the theology of liberation. So did martyr and soon to be saint, Archishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P. in early writings talks about “the preferential option for the poor,” which refers to the preference given to the poor and powerless of society in the teachings and commands of God and the prophets in the Bible. It is stated that on Judgment Day, God will ask what you have done to help the poor: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least sisters or brothers of mine, you did for me.”

I am also reading with delight Ilia Delio’s book, “The Unbearable Wholeness of Being,” which discusses modern science and philosophy after astronomers discovered heliocentrism. “The human person became decentered from a stable universe, insignificant in the face of modern science, while God became remote and distant.” As she says, today our systems, both ecclesial and cultural, find themselves unable to cooperate for the welfare of humankind. We lack a narrative or story to unify or give us hope and courage. We prize above all the individual whose autonomy cannot be disturbed.” Delio’s book and her work is centered around the teachings and writings of paleontologist and Catholic scholar Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who spoke of the meaning of Christianity in an age of evolution. He spent long periods of time in the desert studying the Exocene period and reflected on science and spirituality and mysticism without the rigor of academic theology. Delio calls him the new Elijah, calling forth a new path of salvation for the 21st-century. I, with Delio (echoing Teilhard), believe that evolution is less a mechanism than a process, “a constellation of law, chance, spontaneity and deep time. Evolution tells us that nature is not a closed, causal system of events but a complex series of fluid, dynamic, interlocking, and communicative relationships.”

Going back to dolphins and childbirth, many years ago I participated in a beautiful workshop through the Omega Institute in New York, in which we swam with dolphins at Dolphins Plus in the Florida Keys. The word dolphin comes from the Greek word delphos, which means the womb. In another wonderful book, “Dolphins, Myths and Transformation,” by Ryan DeMares, the first person with a doctorate in interspecies communication, she explores the way people who have had experiences with dolphins have reported life-changing consequences. In ancient times they were linked to redemption and to helping humans to survive. My experience swimming with them in the Florida Keys can only be described as rapturous; it was a very healing time that provided me with tremendous peace and helped me “swim through” some very difficult times. I remember a fellow attorney calling me “Mahatma” when I returned to New Jersey, because he said I had a new sense of calm and spiritual balance. To me, dolphins were clearly a divine creation, full of love, and they communicated total acceptance. They were being used in Florida to treat severely autistic children, and although the healing that went on could not be explained, neither could it be denied.

My first dolphin swim happened in 1990 and it was truly a mystical experience, but long before that, in 1973, I gave birth to my first son, Ernesto Yuri. All my childbirths were natural, and the last three were homebirths, deliberately, because I did not want the possibility of harming my unborn child with anesthesia. While not easy, there is a totally different feeling when you are ‘breathing through’ the experience of childbirth, and at home, with the help of a good midwife, the experience is transcendent. The birth, and I speak only about the first one because there were five and I could speak for a month about each of them, was nothing if not transcendent, mystical, miraculous. When I looked into the eyes of that precious being that had come out of my womb, I felt transformed forever, one with the world, exquisitely alive. I wanted to dance and sing, to share my love with everyone and everything. What do I mean when I say mystical? You become at once silent and awed; time comes to a stop; you are one with the universe. Time expands, and you comprehend or sense or feel, I don’t know the right word, infinity. There is the stillness of the first moment of creation…

I am doing some interesting work in my divinity or theological studies… it is something I have been wanting to do since I first wanted to become a nun at the age of 15 or 16… Because it is my work, it is something I am conducting with no limits, marrying my love of philosophy and poetry with my love of science. I am exploring evolution again, which, as Carter Phipps in his book “Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea” says, is not a superficial idea “but a matter of evidence, painstaking work and breathtaking science.” Evolution is not irrelevant or marginal to our understanding of God, as some fundamentalists say. “Because theology has not developed in tandem with science (or science in tandem with theology) since the Middle Ages, we have an enormous gap between the transcendent dimension of human existence (the religious dimension) and the meaning of physical reality as science understands it (the material dimension). This gap underlies our global problems today, from the environmental crisis to economic disparity and the denigration of women.”

Patriarchal systems have led to the terrible destruction not only of peoples but of Gaia, our beautiful planet. They have led to the destruction of the self-worth of all that is female, including motherhood. Unless we can reconcile the female with the male, and bring back the female into our pictures of the divine, we will continue in this reckless destruction of holiness. The thought of God as Spirit, without thought of gender, may be healthier, but we have had too many centuries of male-centered worship, and to bring us back to the center (to the sacred Womb, from whence all life issues), we must bring up the woman and the womb.

To come full circle to my heading for this piece, I dream of us all swimming gracefully and lovingly in a dolphin pod, in total acceptance of each other, without judgment or fear or anger. Namaste.

Catholic Reform Network says Synod questionnaire was designed to fail ... and is failing

Message for the Media
Contact: Rene Reid
Work phone: 775-825-9196; Cell phone: 775-772-1210 
Catholic Reform Network says Synod questionnaire
was designed to fail ... and is failing

Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI) has written an Open Letter to Pope Francis telling him that the 46-question survey requiring all essay-type answers devised by the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops to gather feedback for the October 2015 Synod on the Family, is totally unworkable and not being promoted on most of the worldwide diocesan websites.
"We know it is an unworkable document," said Peter Wilkinson, CCRI coordinator from Australia, "because our research shows that, in the nine weeks it has been out there, few bishops and dioceses anywhere in the world are using it. The complex survey is not only doomed to fail, but sadly, appears to have been designed to fail."
"Not only will it not gather the voices of Catholic couples and families, but it will drive them away," said Rene Reid, CCRI co-founding director. "Whether it is intentional or not, this questionnaire is counterproductive, threatens to thwart the Pope's wishes, and could even endanger the effectiveness of the Synod itself."  
Many bishops also want to hear the voices of Catholic couples and families, but now find themselves stymied by a Vatican tool unsuited to the task. It is overwhelming to even the most well-educated Catholic. Without the people's voices, those bishops elected to attend the October 2015 Assembly will have little to offer. "Pope Francis has made it clear that he does not want them turning up with formulations for pastoral care based simply on the application of doctrine or their own interpretation of what their people need," Virginia Saldanha, CCRI coordinator from India, pointed out. "That would defy the concluding directives of the October 2014 Assembly."
But the voices should not be only those of practicing Catholics. "Many Catholics no longer attend Mass," said Ms. Reid, "often precisely because of Church teachings, attitudes, and pastoral practices - the very issues that should be on the Synod's agenda. Pope Francis wants the bishops to find concrete solutions to the innumerable challenges that families face. The Lineamenta questionnaire not only shuts down the Faithful but completely leaves out those who are no longer practicing Catholics. If the Synod wants to 'look at the reality of the family today in all its complexities' as stated as its objective," said Ms. Reid, "there has to be a simplified, user-friendly means to gather the reflections of ordinary Catholics."
Catholic Church Reform Int'l, a network which spans 65 countries and shares Pope Francis's vision for a church engaged in a communal search of discernment, is now looking to develop an alternative survey, an uncomplicated living poll which, the CCRI letter explains "will be an invitation to all the baptized to share with the Synod their lived experience of marriage and family:  'How have their marriage and family life benefited from the teachings of the Church, or how has it caused difficulties or harm?' ...They will be asked for suggestions for change. 'If you were once a participatory practicing Catholic but have left the Church, what caused you to leave, what would bring you back?'" Brendan Butler, CCRI coordinator from Ireland who is serving on the committee designing the poll said: "CCRI wants a survey instrument which will be a pastoral agent in itself, looking to support families still in the flock, those on the fringes who will leave if some reform is not forthcoming, and looking to show welcome to those who've strayed or felt driven away."  
"Too long have we lay Faithful colluded in silence out of a mistaken sense of respect," said Robert Blair Kaiser, CCRI co-founder and author. "We need to be speaking out, reminding bishops of the need to respond to families in the context of a complex and changing environment. If the Church is to be a credible instrument of the Gospel, it must instigate structural change in the way it operates. One key element of that is ensuring that all the baptized have a proper say in the governance of the Church."
To read the full letter to Pope Francis, click

Monday, February 9, 2015

Top Stories Today, Pope Condemns Female Genital Mutilation, Domestic Violence Against Women/ No Mention of Women Priests

BBC News
Pope Condemns Female Genital Mutilation, Domestic Violence Against Women
Pope Francis on Saturday condemned female mutilation and domestic violence against ... He did not mention the Church's ban on women priests.,+Domestic+Violence+Against+Women&cd=KhMzOTQ4NjMzOTc3NzQ0MDM2OTkwMhowYjcwOTZkM2MxNmIyOTdkOmNvbTplbjpVUw&ssp=AMJHsmV_iOsISeIARtzx1bX_Bmw2oiQ7oA,+Domestic+Violence+Against+Women&cd=KhMzOTQ4NjMzOTc3NzQ0MDM2OTkwMhowYjcwOTZkM2MxNmIyOTdkOmNvbTplbjpVUw&ssp=AMJHsmV_iOsISeIARtzx1bX_Bmw2oiQ7oA,+Domestic+Violence+Against+Women&cd=KhMzOTQ4NjMzOTc3NzQ0MDM2OTkwMhowYjcwOTZkM2MxNmIyOTdkOmNvbTplbjpVUw&ssp=AMJHsmV_iOsISeIARtzx1bX_Bmw2oiQ7oA Flag as irrelevant
First Things
Fr. McBrien's Legacy
What's more, Fr. McBrien led campaigns on behalf of women priests, constantly assailed Humanae Vitae, and questioned the Church's teaching on ...'s+Legacy&cd=KhMzOTQ4NjMzOTc3NzQ0MDM2OTkwMhowYjcwOTZkM2MxNmIyOTdkOmNvbTplbjpVUw&ssp=AMJHsmV9yA96EMaq9HtQgS0xQ3u1LhB15Q's+Legacy&cd=KhMzOTQ4NjMzOTc3NzQ0MDM2OTkwMhowYjcwOTZkM2MxNmIyOTdkOmNvbTplbjpVUw&ssp=AMJHsmV9yA96EMaq9HtQgS0xQ3u1LhB15Q's+Legacy&cd=KhMzOTQ4NjMzOTc3NzQ0MDM2OTkwMhowYjcwOTZkM2MxNmIyOTdkOmNvbTplbjpVUw&ssp=AMJHsmV9yA96EMaq9HtQgS0xQ3u1LhB15Q Flag as irrelevant
The Nation
Pope condemns domestic violence
VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis condemned female mutilation and domestic violence against ... He did not mention the Church's ban on women priests. Flag as irrelevant