Saturday, March 7, 2015

Women of Faith Mark International Women's Day on Sunday March 8, 2015 in Global, Interfaith Fast and Social Media Campaign for Gender Justice

Women of faith will mark International Women's Day on Sunday March 8, 2015 by joining together in a global, interfaith fast and social media campaign (#EqualinFaith) for gender justice and the equality of women in their faith communities. The day-long fast and social media campaign will culminate in interfaith prayer services and regional gatherings in more than 20 cities, in three countries.

Equal in Faith organizers embrace the official theme of International Women's Day 2015, "Make it Happen," as a call for all people of faith to stand with women everywhere in the struggle for equality.
Kate McElwee, WOC co-executive director

"When women are denied equitable leadership positions in their faith, it is part of a larger culture of sexism that not only silences women's vocations and voices, but implicitly gives permission to the rest of the world to discriminate against women," stated Kate McElwee, of WOC.

"Equality shouldn't stop at the doors of our churches, synagogues or mosques," asserted Lorie Winder, of Ordain Women. "We refuse to tolerate discrimination against women in our secular institutions.  Why, then, do we accept it in our religious institutions?  Since religion significantly impacts the broader culture, the marginalization of women in our faith communities affects all of us." See the full media release

How to take action:
  • Attend an event near you: See Map
  • Share your solidarity or a photo on social media using the hashtag: #EqualinFaith
  • Pray or Fast: Equal in Faith Prayer Resources
  • "Like" and share the Equal in Faith Facebook page
  • Watch and share the 2015 Equal In Faith Video

Equal in Faith organizers include representatives from Ordain Women (Mormon), the Women's Ordination Conference (Roman Catholic), and Ordain Women Now (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod). Launched on U.S. National Women's Equality Day in 2013, we call attention to the marginalization of women in faith communities and foster solidarity across faith traditions in the struggle for gender justice in religion.

Priest Lee Breyer Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Ordination and Shares Homily Starter at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community on March 7, 2015

The first reading from Exodus is basically the "rules of the road" for those folks going together to new lands/places...i.e. here it is the Jews headed to the Promised Land.  It laid down pretty clearly that there is one leader and identified those behaviors that everyone would do to keep peace on the way. 

John's gospel piece takes place at a time when Passover (and the passion) were near. John tells a temple story (mentioned in every gospel) of what Jesus actually did (if historical) or could have done (if made up from a number of lesser occasions.  The story is either explanatory of why the arrest/killing took place (“it was the worst sort of blasphemy”) or descriptive of the culmination of the increasing number of serious ‘disagreements’ between Jesus' behavior and what was acceptable to the Jewish leaders ("it was the last straw").    Side note: Mark 11:18 says that when "the chief priests and the teachers of the law heard of [the temple business], they began looking for some way to kill Jesus."

While we (i.e. the MOJO community) try to follow "the rules of the road," "love God and one another," but there may be times when we protest (in some way) against those rules and those actions (like Jesus and the temple unrest).  And those activities might not be peaceful or popular (as Jesus' protest wasn't.)  And some people might have limits on the “amount or type” of protesting that is considered acceptable.  In all of this we need to remember the saying that "true peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice" and “if you want peace, work for justice.” But many times, justice can be or seem to be pretty subjective.

Question:  Today society looks to "the rules of the road" (the law), hoping that it will establish and maintain peace.  But there are times when parts of society feels it must protest about the injustice that it experiences. 

How do we understand the peaceable Jesus and the angry and destructible Jesus?  How do we understand our following the "rules of the road" while engaging or participating in "peaceable protests"?

"Dying Catholic Priest Records Videos Declaring Women Should Be Ordained" /Fr. Bill Brennan Co-Presided at Liturgy with Janice Sevre Duszynska, ARCWP
 Bridget Mary's Response: Jesuit Bill Brennan presided at liturgy with Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP at SOA Watch Vigil in Colombus, GA.  Janice, Milwaukee native, has co-presided with three priests at Catholic liturgies.  All three priests were at the receiving end of the wrath of the institutional church. Fr. Roy Bourgeois was thrown was out of Maryknoll, Fr. Jerry Zawada was told he could not celebrate Eucharist in public - the same punishment as Fr. Bill Brennan.  ( Dates of  Eucharistic Liturgies with Janice were: Aug. 9, 2008 with Roy Bourgeois at her ordination in Lexington Kentucky, Nov. 2011, with Fr. Jerry Zawada at SOA Watch Vigil in Colombus, GA. and Nov. 2012, Fr. Bill Brennan at SOA WAtch Vigil in Colombus, GA.)
 Bill and Janice were good friends active in peace and justice  witnesses for years. On one occasion they were arrested in a non-violent witness to close the School of the Americas. Bill is a prophet who continues to advocate for women priests and will do so for all eternity. Thanks Fr. Bill Brennan! 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, 

"Take all of this out of here" by Judy Lee, RCWP: Homily for 3rd Sunday in Lent March 8, 2015

Take All This out of Here!
The cleansing and clearing of the Temple in Jerusalem that we read about in our Gospel for Sunday (John 2:13-25) is one of my favorite Gospel readings. In the synoptic Gospels it takes place just after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem that we celebrate as Palm Sunday, the start of the last week of Jesus’ life.   In this account from John it may take place earlier in Jesus’ preaching career although Passover in Jerusalem is still the context. All four Gospels record an account of this event in the Temple that shows Jesus’ passion and courage, and righteous anger as he speaks truth to power with his words and strong actions.  But, what is the truth that he is speaking here?
“There he found people selling cattle, sheep and pigeons, while moneychangers sat at their counters. Making a whip out of cords, Jesus drove them all out of the Temple…Then he faced the pigeon-sellers: ‘Take all of this out of here! Stop turning God’s house into a market! “  
The account in Matthew (21:13) adds “My house shall be called a house of prayer (for all people/nations) and not a den of thieves”. Matthew describes Jesus as overturning the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves (21:12).   In commenting on the den of thieves, Jesus echoes Jeremiah 7:11 which is in the context of the entire seventh chapter of Jeremiah where the prophet describes the myriad ways the people cling to the Temple but do not follow God’s laws. The prophet tells them to “Reform your ways and your actions….if you (do this) and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place….you will live….Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury….and then come and stand before me in this house that bears my name ….Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers?….”(Jer 7; 1-11).  These offenses include many of the ways the religious leaders and people reject God’s law while saying they “love” God’s house.  The Law is a relational guideline for our relationship with God and with one another. At its heart is justice, especially for those who are on the margins, like aliens and widows and orphans who are impoverished. According to the prophets, and to Jesus we cannot love God’s house if we do not love and KEEP God’s law. That is the point of including the Ten Commandments in Exodus20:1-17 in our readings for this Sunday. It is a review of what those who love God’s house/temple ought to be doing-living in truly just relationships with one another and loving God above all.
Most interpretation of Jesus’ actions in the Temple settle primarily upon the words “moneychangers” and “market place” and miss the full meaning of what Jesus is doing here. This is the last week of Jesus’ life. He knows his fate. In Luke’s account (Luke 19:45-48) before his actions in the Temple he weeps over Jerusalem because they did not recognize “the time of God’s coming to them” (Luke 19: 41-44).  He is defining his mission one last time and with greater passion and energy than ever before. Like the prophets before him, Jesus is saying that the Temple has come to represent religion gone wrong-caught up with animal sacrifices and all of the economic business around it instead of living the Law with all of its compassion and justice for the neediest and most outcast among us. In Matthew 9: 13 when Jesus is speaking to the Pharasaic critics after choosing Matthew the tax collector as a disciple, Jesus tells them to “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’”.  Here he is quoting Hosea 6:6 where the prophet Hosea clarifies what God wants from a people who have broken the covenant- not followed the laws of love, inclusion and justice: “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings”.
In the context of Matthew 21 the “multitude” shouts Hosanna! meaning Save! As Jesus enters Jerusalem. He then acts to save God’s house and God’s people from a false understanding of what God is all about. As he said earlier in Matthew 9, God does not want animal sacrifice or burnt offerings, but mercy and compassion and justice. Jesus is freeing the animals that were awaiting their sacrificial deaths, the cattle and sheep and the little doves, pigeons, the poor person’s sacrifice. He is decrying the sacrificial cult perversion of the religion of the times as well as the money making that relies on cultic sacrifice. The priests stand to lose the most if the people follow Jesus and no longer adhere to live animal sacrifices-they lose money, status, and food. The core of their job centered on animal sacrifice.  It was the chief priests and the elders of the Temple that challenged Jesus to say who gave him such authority? (Matt 21: 23). Jesus was clearly taking on the Temple leadership.  And he also alienated the occupying Roman government as he put love of God as central to the Jews in a time when Julius Caesar claimed to be both God and the Son of God and “gospel’, good news, meant any news about Caesar. Clearly Jesus changed what the Good News was. For the people, he heals, includes, loves, feeds and teaches and calls for new hearts-he is the fulfillment of the prophecies and preaches adherence to the spirit and not the letter of the Law.  His strong actions in the Temple and their meaning to the religious leaders are probably a major reason for his crucifixion.  He throws out those who profit from animal sacrifice and sets the sacrifices free even while decrying those who make money off the poor instead of caring for them in the ways the Law prescribes.  This is Jesus the Liberator of the poor and of all “innocents” including the animals. This is the Savior of God’s message to us and God’s actions in history. This is the Savior of all who break God’s Law and repent, of those seek to serve and love God and the least among us. As 1 Corinthians 1:22-25,our epistle for the day says; Christ is the power and the wisdom of God!  Wow! Or as it says in the Psalms “Selah”-pause and think that over.
What do we do to preach the good news to the people and to the powers that be? How do we take on the Government or even the Church to enact compassion and justice? I am humbled to be a Roman Catholic woman priest. I think of over two hundred of us who in simple faith and  commitment to justice within and outside of the church for women who are courageous enough to sacrifice our good standing in the church to answer God’s call and risk ordination with “automatic excommunication” and the kind of criticism from church leaders that Jesus also endured.   I think this takes the strength of Jesus in the Temple.  I think of Frederick Douglas, Sojourner Truth, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hamer, Viola Liuso, Andrew Goodman,James Earl Chaney and Michael Schwerner, Episcopal Seminarian Jonathan Myrick Daniels and all of those people of faith who challenged segregation and the laws of the land that kept black people, and eventually all poor people, down without equal rights and equal pay. I think of Harvey Milk and the gay activists who gave their lives for the life of the LGBT community. I think of the Plowshare Nein peace activists including our co-pastor Judy Beaumont and presently Sister Megan Rice who chose prison rather than silence or inaction in the face of nuclear proliferation and drone warfare. I think of Greenpeace and animal activists who fight for the least of these. I think of all the parents of poor and minority students who go up to the Principals and Boards of schools to safeguard the learning experience of their students.  I reflect on our own neighborhood Good Shepherd community riddled with gang violence and drive by shootings.  I think of those brave souls who tell the truth about what is happening and make the sacrifices needed to identify and stand against the evil. I pray for the majority who just accept things as they are and thereby cooperate with the horror of violence and the threat of death that plagues the neighborhood. I pray for wisdom and guidance in proclaiming the Good News in this context as it must include naming the evil of drug, gun and gang violence no matter who likes it or not. I have had to say, even as Jesus and the prophets did, “don’t come and sit and smile in this church and go out to break God’s precious law with guns and violence.”
May we look to Jesus, Jesus cleansing the Temple,  Jesus the Christ ,the author and finisher of our faith as we seek to cleanse the wrongs that plague our church, our world and our families and communities. Amen!
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP
Co-Pastor Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community,
Fort Myers, Florida

Friday, March 6, 2015

Rita Lucey, ARCWP "Catholic Priest Defies Church Doctrine" on NPR

Photo by Rob Bartlett: Rita Lucey,
Photo by Rob Bartlett: Rita Lucey,
Rebel is not a word that leaps to mind when you first meet Belle Isle resident Rita Lucey. Nor does the word radical or revolutionary or agitator. Not even troublemaker. In fact, the words that do come to mind to describe the 80-year-old with wispy gray hair and vibrant eyes, are ones you might use to describe your favorite aunt or a kindly neighbor. Bubbly. Charming. Warm.
But Lucey is also a bit of a maverick – she was arrested in 1998 for protesting outside the controversial School of the Americas and served six months in federal prison as a result. She’s an active member of Amnesty International. On Jan. 17, despite strict Catholic Church rules that forbid women from joining the clergy, she became ordained a priest.
She joins a group of about 200 women around the world who are defying church teaching that only men should serve as priests. The women say the church’s stance on the subject is not only outdated, but also unjust and hurts the church in the long run because it refuses to treat women as equals and it closes the door on many devout women willing and able to serve. The first women priests were officially ordained by a Catholic male bishop in Europe in 2002, and the movement to bring more women on board has been growing ever since. The church has excommunicated the women, as well as the men who helped ordain them, and Lucey faces the same potential consequence. But she’s not afraid.
“This is ridiculous and an injustice, and injustices have to be addressed,” she says when asked whether she has any misgivings about her decision. “I have a right to be a priest as much as any man, because God created us equal. Men and women are equal in the sight of God.”

The Miracle Pope:Pope Francis and Women by John Allen, Response by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

"The first pope of the Catholic Church to have had a woman as a boss is steadfast in his defense of the status quo when it comes to women and Church leadership."

 Bridget Mary's Response: I appreciate the story of the wonderful relationship that Pope Francis had with a woman boss. But, I do not understand his defense of the status quo when it comes to women and Church leadership. May I suggest that when he comes to the U.S. that he schedules a lunch with a group of  women including women priests and our supporters. It could be an eye-opener and lots of fun too!
 One of the gifts that women priests bring to the table is that in a church where half of the members are women,  the church needs the Gospel preached from women's experiences and women's lives in order to grow in holiness and to minister to half of the world's population.

"The fundamental reason for the Church’s refusal to admit women to the priesthood is that it’s bound by the example of Christ. Jesus did not include women among his original 12 apostles, so the argument runs, and the Church is compelled to follow that example, restricting the priesthood today to men. "
Bridget Mary's Response: Jesus did not ordain anyone according to the Gospels.  Mary of Magdala was the first witness to encounter the Risen Christ, making her the apostle to the apostles.  In Roman 16:8  St. Paul commends Junia, a woman apostle as a mentor whom he praised for her witness to the Gospel! In Luke 8:3, we read that among Jesus' disciples were Mary of Magdala, Joanna, Susanna and many more who used their considerable means to bankroll the ministry
Since Jesus had women disciples, why can't the Catholic Church have women priests? 
Right now, it is flying on one wing and it is really damaged! 
"Although Francis presumably accepts that teaching, it’s not the basis of his own stance on the issue. For him, the push for women priests is where two forces repellent to him intersect: machismo, "
Bridget Mary's Response: Is Pope Francis refusal to accept women priests rooted in cultural bias? He seems so open in many  other areas. 
 which is an especially resonant concept for a Latin American, and clericalism, an exaggerated emphasis on the power and privilege of the clergy, which is virtually this pope’s personal bête noire.
... "applied to the priesthood, the conclusion is that it’s a fallacy to believe that women will never be equal to men in the Church until they wield the same ecclesiastical power. Instead, the argument runs, real feminism means embracing “complementarity”: the idea that men and women play different but complementary roles in the wider world and inside the Church."
Bridget Mary's Response: Women Priests offer a deep healing of centuries old  sexism in which only men could image Jesus fully at the altar as priests. We are visible reminders that women are spiritual equals. Women's rights are human rights is the basic tenet of feminism. Pope Francis must make the connection between discrimination against women in the church and the oppression , abuse and violence toward women  in the world.  
"Naturally, it’s an argument that’s met with an uneven reception, as many women have responded that it’s rather disingenuous to play down the importance of power when you’re the one wielding it. Moreover, many theologians in Catholicism, both men and women, point out that in all its official teaching on the subject, the Church describes the priesthood in terms of service rather than power. If that’s true, they ask, couldn’t the desire of women to become priests be understood in terms of a call to serve rather than a lust for power? In other words, they wonder, has official papal rhetoric set up a straw man?"
"If anything, Francis recoils from clericalism even more viscerally than machismo. As Francis has defined it, clericalism means two things: first, an over-emphasis on what he called “small-minded rules” at the expense of mercy and compassion; and second, an exalted notion of clerical power and privilege, as opposed to the spirit of service. Francis sees clericalism almost as the original sin of the Catholic priesthood. In informal remarks to leaders of religious orders in late 2013, he referred to the hypocrisy of clericalism as “one of the worst evils” in the Church and memorably said that unless future priests are inoculated against it when they’re young, they risk turning out to be “little monsters.”
 Bridget Mary's Response: I agree with Pope Francis that clericalism is "one of the worst evils." Certainly, the sex abuse cover-up attempted to protect the hierarchy's reputation and status in church and society. 
"Francis believes the demand for women’s admission to the clerical ranks betrays an unconscious clericalism. In a December 2013 interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, he was asked about the notion that he might name female cardinals. “I don’t know where this idea sprang from,” Francis replied. “Women in the Church must be valued, not ‘clericalized.’ Whoever thinks of women as cardinals suffers a bit from clericalism.”....
Bridget Mary's Response: The Association of Roman Catholic Priests is living Gospel equality now in the Catholic Church, All are welcome to receive sacraments in our  inclusive, welcoming communities and ministries. We are not clerical, but rather, function within a discipleship of equals.
I think Catholics should challenge Pope Francis on the issue of gender equality in the church. He said he was going to promote women in the Vatican. I really don't see a lot of progress. Where are the prominent feminist theologians in the Vatican? Women theologians need to be more than the "strawberries on the cake." Their research and scholarship should be valued for its own scholarship in our contemporary world. Where are the women in the top jobs in the Vatican Congregations? 
I applaud Pope Francis for all he has done to reform the church. He is moving in the right direction. He has taken on the Vatican Bank, and taken a strong stance for justice for the poor and oppressed as well as criticizing unjust, greedy policies and structures that keep millions in abject poverty. 
 We are beloved sisters and brothers in Christ, and it is my hope that he will  lift the excommunication against women priests and our supporters as well as all in the church who are following their consciences.   Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Excerpted from THE FRANCIS MIRACLE: Inside the Transformation of the Pope and the Church by John L. Allen Jr., published by TIME Books, an imprint of Time Home Entertainment Inc.

Dr. Diana Hayes, "Standing In The Shoes My Mother Made"

Dr. Diana Hayes, Womanist Theologian. YouTube: Standing In The Shoes My Mother Made:
Dr. Diana Hayes

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Moving from a Theology of Atonement to a Theology of Abundance, Notes by Bridget Mary Meehan from Richard Rohr's book, Eager to Love

Important Insights from Richard Rohr’s book Eager to Love:  From a Theology of Atonement to a Theology of Abundance
By Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
The Franciscan School of Theology's focus on God's extravagant love and abundance taught by Saint Bonaventure and John Duns Scotus provides an alternative to Atonement Theology taught by St. Anselm and St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Franciscan theological position was never condemned and was always held as an alternative by the institutional Catholic Church.  However, most Catholics were not exposed to Franciscan theology, but this worldview fits well today with the spiritual journey of contemporary mystics an emerging universe.

Franciscan School of Theology emphasized God as Outpouring Love, and  our call is to live love each day.
Bonaventure:  “We come from God reflecting the divine image, our DNA is found in God. Everything in creation is an example and illustration of the one God mystery in space and time. ..We return to the Source from which we came.” P. 166.
“Grace is inherent in the universe from the moment of the “Big Bang”. (implied in Genesis 1:2, Spirit hovers over the chaos) Grace is “the very shape of the universe from the start.” In this view, ‘salvation is not a divine transaction that takes place because you are morally perfect but much more it is an organic unfolding, a becoming of who you are already are, an inborn sympathy with and capacity for the very One who created you….The Christ Mystery, …is plan A for God, and not a Plan B, a mop up exercise after Adam and Even ate the apple.”
“For Scotus and for Bonaventure, the Trinity is the absolute beginning and ending point. Outpouring Love is the inherent shaped of the universe and when we love, only then do we fully exist in this universe.” We do not need to understand what is happening or who God is before we live in love.  The will to love precedes any need to fully understand whatever we are doing , the Franciscan School would say.” p. 182
Almost all seminaries taught Thomas Aquinas . This meant that knowing the truths of the faith, correct doctrine was the most importan thing.
“In short, truth was equated with knowing instead of loving.”
Atonement Theology:
“According to the Christian understanding of the Bible in the first millennium, Jesus “died for our sins to pay a debt to the devil or to pay a debt to God the Father proposed by St. Anselm of Canterbury"  (1033-2209)
The great Franciscan theologian, John Duns Scotus, was not guided by Temple language of  atonement, blood sacrifice or satisfaction for sins  but to “the utterly new world that Jesus offered, where God’s abundance has made any economy of merit, sacrifice, reparation or atonement both unhelpful and unnecessary. Jesus undid once and for all (Hebrews 7:27,9:12, 10:10) all notions of human and animal sacrifice and replace them with his new economy of grace, which as at the heart of the gospel revolution.” P. 187
“In other words, we are all saved by grace and the utter freedom of God to love who and what God wills, without our tit-for-tat thinking getting the way of God’s absolute freedom , and absolute freedom to love. .. we all need to know that God does not love us because we are that good, God loves us because   God is good.  Nothing humans can do will inhibit, direct, decrease or increase God’s eagerness to love… Only great love can handle great truth.”  P.188, (Eager to Love, by Richard Rohr)

I believe that God is extravagant love always loving, healing, empowering and transforming, moving in all beings everywhere and always loving, healing and empowering through us. Now, this is a theology of abundance that speaks to contemporary spiritual seekers, mystics and prophets today. 

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP Witnesses for Peace at Creech, Nevada

"Homily: A Time to Be Transfigured" by Silvia Antonia Brandon Pérez ARCWP
“It’s a question of discipline,” the little prince told me later on. “When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1943. a riot is the language of the unheard MLK
Today in the Christian calendar is the Second Sunday in Lent, the Gospel of the Transfiguration. Matthew tells us that Jesus had taken three of his disciples, Peter, James and John, to climb a high mountain. While there they saw Jesus’ face and clothing become radiant, or transfigured. The flowery language of the Bible then tells us that they were then enfolded in a bright cloud, and heard a voice saying: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Mt 17:5).
Jesus or Joshua, as he may have been called at the time, thereafter endures the trials of his passion and crucifixion, a punishment that was meted out to those who attempted to subvert the Roman Empire. This was not a punishment for thieves and other malefactors, but specifically imposed on those who were plotting to subvert, or engaging in subversion in the eyes of the Empire and its tame collaborators, the Judaic representatives of the time. Although this is not something that our Church spoke much about, in viewing the actions of the historical Jesus, they are nothing if not subversive.
In our modern world we learn to view subversion with fear and loathing, but this is because we are under the thrall of colonialism. Save for an outpost of sanity and peace here and there, our civilization as we know it has gone from empire to empire. We live in what is called a democracy, but have never really had the rule of the people in our land. From earliest times, the protections of the law have been granted to the white, propertied, male members of our society. The electoral college of the United States, for example, is able to disregard the popular vote and install into power “presidents” that the people did not elect by popular vote. During the Bush/Gore election, they were aided by a Supreme Court that has, for most of its long history, except for the glorious time of the Warren Court (1953 to 1969), been the handmaiden of moneyed interests and corporate power.
I will not speak of the additional revelations that the apostles report, but of the entire concept of subversion. The Merriam Webster dictionary tells us that to subvert means 1: to overturn or overthrow from the foundation. Regard this first and thus, principal, meaning of the word: To overturn or overthrow from the foundation. The foundation that Jesus or Joshua was attempting to subvert was a many-fold one, that enshrined power over others, and duality, and that in the name of God committed outrages and kept people in dire poverty, by extreme taxation of the most subjugated members of the society. Life in the Palestine of that day was dreadful, as the Jews were frequently unable to keep their families fed, being overwhelmed by punitive taxation both from the Empire and from their Jewish representatives.
This is somewhat similar to the current situation where programs for the least of those in our society are closed down or diminished daily, while the wealthy class gets a pass from those in government, and pay little or no taxes, frequently getting even a refund from the corporate government. And the institutions, particularly in the United States, that are said to protect the common folk, betray them, creating legislation instead to protect the killers of young people, mostly of color, raping the land here and overseas, taking the heritage of native peoples, and subverting “whatsoever things are good” and kind and of good report, because we are indeed in the time of double think and double speak that Orwell so prophetically described in his work.
Thus, as Dr. King said almost half a century ago, the only solidarity that is allowed in our society is the “brutal solidarity [of white and black boys] burning the huts of a poor village.” We are in a time of “cruel manipulation of the poor.” The voice that is heard not only says “this is my beloved son,” but also says, “listen to him.” Jesus the subverter was calling for an end to empire and to greed, and a world where the deed of the Samaritan was more acceptable to God than the prayers and sacrifices of those whose worship was only outward, “the whitened sepulchers” to whom Jesus compares the hypocrites of society (Mt. 23:27).
So if we are to grow in the knowledge of Jesus and listen to him, we must subvert the rotten foundation, as he did. We must become Dr. King’s beloved community and while we pray, move our feet. We must replace the rotten rock of patriarchal oppression with the love of the good Samaritan, we must become a true spiritual ecclesia, whose mission will be, as delineated by the Jesus whose coming passion we remember, to take the message of love to everyone, with no exceptions. A mature community will be loving, peaceful, and committed to help all of its members, whether young or old, abled or disabled, homed or homeless, rich or poor, sick or well, of all colors and creeds, of all genders and languages and cultures. So listen to the words of Jesus, and spread his message of holy subversion outward. May you be a sign of God’s love in the world. We are all God’s children, in whom she is well pleased.
Seminarian Silvia Antonia Brandon Pérez
PIcture of protest, next to Deb Lee April 4

Take Action Today for Justice: Stop Executions, Advocate for Justice and Mercy

Dear Supporters,
HOPE IS STILL ALIVE - Kelly is still alive!
Very late last night, because of a problem with the lethal injection drug, Kelly's execution was postponed. 
And now, all planned executions in Georgia have been temporarily postponed. [1] This is incredibly important. Brian Terrell was scheduled to be executed in Georgia one week from today.
Wow. You helped make this happen!
The right thing happened today - the question now is if the right thing will happen in the days and weeks to come.
The Department of Corrections has stated that it will resume the execution process once the analysis of drugs is concluded. Kelly, Brian, and others still face execution.
NOW is the time to keep up the pressure. Join us in calling Governor Nathan Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens first thing tomorrow morning when their offices open at 9am. 
Call Governor Nathan Deal at 404-656-1776 to say you support a halt to executions. Ask him to take a stand opposing executions.
Call Attorney General Sam Olens at 404-656-3300 and tell him to stop requesting death warrants.
You can also take action right now on social media.
If you're on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, tweet and post @GovernorDeal and @Georgia_AG using the #KellyOnMyMind hashtag. Ask them to make a statement against Kelly's execution, and all executions.
Both Governor Deal and Attorney General Olens are key participants in this process.
Governor Deal has tried to wiggle out of responsibility in Kelly's case, saying last night under pressure that he does not have the authority to grant a pardon or issue executive clemency. 
But he DOES have the power of influence. He is the chief executive in the state.
He appoints the Board of Pardons and Paroles, who yesterday denied Kelly's request for reconsideration of clemency. [2]
He can stand against this execution on moral grounds.
Governor Deal and Attorney General Olens can work alongside people of faith and moral courage--like all of us--who are demanding a more just, merciful, and accountable system.
Momentum is shifting in our favor and it's time to keep up the pressure. Demand a response from Governor Deal and Attorney General Olens.
Over the past 72 hours, we have been able to take a stand for Kelly's humanity. We now must take a stand for all those whose lives hang in the balance.
This movement has grown like wildfire, and we are astounded by what it has become. Continue to stand with us as we show the world the "power of relentless solidarity."[3]
In hope,
Rev. Kimberly S. Jackson, Letitia M. Campbell, and Jeania Ree V. Moore
P.S. If anyone you know has not seen the video about Kelly, please share it with them:

[1] "Press Release: Court Ordered Executions Postponed - Kelly Renee Gissendaner and Brian Keith Terrell." March 3, 2015.
[2] "Parole Board Votes to Let Gissendaner Decision Stand." March 2, 2015.
[3] Walter Brueggemann. Spirituality of the Psalms. Fortress Press, 2001. xiii.

From Women Spirit Ireland

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP, with Code Pink in Los Vegas

Former Colonel Ann Wriight and Paki Weiland with Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP

"God's Daughters", a video about women priests and Holy Wisdom Inclusive Catholic Community in Olympia, Washington

The film features Kathleen Bellefeuille-Rice, Lisa Gosiaco and me, Diane Whalen, as well as their Holy Wisdom Inclusive Catholic Community in Olympia, WA. Available on amazon on DVD on demand. 

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 3 Sunday of Lent, March 8, by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

The great beauty of our Catholic Church
rests in our commitment to follow the Way of Jesus
and take action for social justice.
The great ugliness in our Church
comes when we stray from that commitment
and serve other gods—
when we, or our institutional church,
idolize power and wealth.
In today’s first reading from Exodus, we hear a list of commands.
On the surface of it, they are from God and about God.
Below the surface, they tell us how to treat other people.
The Israelites, freed from bondage, trekking across the desert,
found themselves free from slavery to the Egyptians
but also freed to obey God’s law to love Godself
and to love one another.
Interesting, isn’t it, that there is a commandment
to love God and treat other people fairly
but no commandment to obey religious leaders?
Our second reading has Paul preaching to the Corinthians
to urge them to get along.
He wants them to stop arguing with one another
about whose religious leaders are the best.
He reminds them that all their wisdom
is not as wise as God’s wisdom,
and all their strength
is not as strong as God’s strength.
They are to have confidence in God,
not in Apollos or Paul or Cephas,
those disciples who shared the Good News with them.
Their human leaders have taught them about the Word,
but their relationship is with God.
Today we also hear John’s Gospel story
of Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple.
If we at Holy Spirit had catechumens
entering the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil,
we would have read the story of the woman at the well instead.
But both stories show Jesus thinking
above and beyond the authorities of his day.
The scholars of the Jesus Seminar conclude that,
even though both of these Gospel passages
are the creation of the evangelists,
they are also both based on historical reality about Jesus.
The story of the woman at the well paints a picture
of the typical kind of encounter that Jesus had
with people of all religions and ethnicities,
his openness to dialogue,
the expansive vision he shared in relation to God and religion,
and the impact he had on people.
The story of the cleansing of the Temple paints a true picture
of Jesus’ criticisms of the Temple cult.
What meaning does this carry for us today?
We can see Pope Francis’ reforms
of the Curia and the Vatican Bank
as actions parallel
to Jesus’ throwing the moneychangers out of the Temple.
We can see the economic problems in our own country today
as occasions for a cleansing
of the temples of Wall Street and corporate “personhood,”
things like insurance redlining
that charges the poor more than the wealthy,
like payday and car title loans
that bilk wage earners on the edge of poverty,
or like reverse mortgages
that draw elders into debt and destitution.
Perhaps, even more to the point,
we should look at the institutional hierarchy
of our own Roman Catholic Church with the same critical eye
that Jesus looked at his own Jewish Temple officials.
Much is often made of Jesus’ righteous anger,
but we need to hear about the source of it:
his understanding of the relationship
between God and the People of God on the one hand
and on the other hand
the self-serving, self-aggrandizing, profit-making ways
in which the Temple leaders were interfering
with the relationship between God and God’s people.
We can see the problems we have in our time—
the sex abuse scandal and cover-up;
the exclusion and excommunication of individuals and groups
because they are different
or because they do not accept
the hierarchy’s non-doctrinal statements as infallible;
the emphasis of those in power
on efforts that do not reflect our beliefs.
The disconnection between hierarchy and people
plagues us in lots of ways.
The much-publicized Vatican Synod on the Family
is gathering information from Catholics around the world.
But the Synod document and its 46 questions—the Lineamenta—
seems based on the hierarchy’s flawed ideas of biology
and patriarchal misogynistic view of women.
Our Church tells us that human-caused climate change
is the greatest moral issue of our time,
and Pope Francis is expected
to issue an encyclical in June on the subject.
Yet our U.S. Bishops focus their time, energy, and money
to lobby politicians to get the hierarchy’s views on sex issues
written into U.S. law.
Catholic School teachers around the country have been terminated
because they would not sign a promise agreeing to
“refrain from any conduct or lifestyle…
in contradiction to Catholic doctrine or morals….”
The list specifically includes living together outside marriage,
sexual activity out of wedlock,
homosexual lifestyle,
use of a surrogate mother, in vitro fertilization,
artificial insemination,
and membership in organizations whose mission and message
are incompatible with Catholic doctrine or morals.
All this hurts people we know.
People whose marriages fail are ostracized in their parishes.
Divorced people who re-marry without an annulment
are excluded from Eucharist.
Catholics who marry other Christians
find their spouses told to stay away from the communion line.
Couples who use artificial birth control methods
to plan their families responsibly
are barred from the sacraments.
And good teachers are taken away from our kids.
To get personal, the current rule banning women’s ordination
is just that, a rule, not an infallible teaching,
yet priests are being defrocked
and theologians are being barred
from teaching at Catholic institutions
for suggesting the issue is open to discussion.
We have many other reasons
to speak truth to the power of our religious leaders,
as Jesus did.
It would be enough to show that same righteous anger as he did
at the sex abuse of so many of our children,
the cynical cover-up by our bishops,
the transfer of offending priests
to prey upon more and more innocent victims.
Thinking with the church does not mean thinking with the hierarchy.
Even the Catechism of the Catholic Church confirms that principle
when it states that a “human being must always obey
the certain judgment of conscience.”
It’s not easy to form conscience based on reason and scripture.
It takes up our attention for a lifetime...
and we have to practice what we preach.
Jesus gave up his life for it, and we’re called to follow him.
It’s worth it.
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)