Saturday, March 21, 2015

Alicia Bartol Thomas Leads Taize Prayer Chant of Veni Sancte Spiritus at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Community Before Liturgy on March 21, 2015

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Liturgy in Sarasota, Florida with Co-Presiders Imogene and Michael Rigdon, A Married Priest Couple, Homily Starter 5th Week of Lent, 3/21/15 Imogene Rigdon

Imogene and Michael Rigdon co-preside at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, with Janet Blakeley ARCWP, music minister on March 21, 2015
          Thanks to Matthew Fox, I have a new understanding of Mystics and how being a mystic in today's world is not only possible but necessary. Being actors and warriors, standing up for social justice, is the mystic's spirituality of compassion.
          Mystics are lovers, awed by life and telling others. For many years I've thought of mystics as quiet, contemplative saints. And since Matt Fox came this week, I know they are people like you and me.
          Mystics are compassionate warriors. Uniting their mystical awareness of the oneness of people and the earth with social justice is their spirituality of compassion. Not the fuzzy sentimental words of compassion, but bold actions.
          So Mystics are forever standing up for social justice--often loudly. This is their love in action. We too can live and be God's compassion.
          Mary Oliver, Fox's favorite poet and mystic, leaves us with three steps to being a compassionate mystic:
1. Pay attention to the wonder of people and the planet
2. Be amazed!
3. Share your amazement. Stand up for justice.
Adapted from Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion, Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1999.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"Woman's Body"" Poem by Frances Croak Frank

Woman’s Body
Did the woman say,
When she held him for the first time in the dark of a stable,
After the pain and the bleeding and the crying
‘This my body, this is my blood’?

Did the woman say,
When she held him for the last time in the dark rain on a hilltop,
After the pain and the bleeding and the dying,
‘This is my body, this is my blood’?

Well that she said it to him then,
For dry old men,
Brocaded robes belying barrenness,

ordain that she not say it to him now.  

Frances Croak Frank, (Contemporary): Frances was involved in England in the Anglican struggle for the ordination of women. Praying with the Women MysticsMary Malone pg. 17).

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CELIBACY IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, Perfect for Late Night Comedy! (Special thanks to Edwina Gateley for Sharing this Resource)


PETER -first pope - and apostles chosen by Jesus were, for the most part, married men


Age of gnosticism -light/ spirit = GOOD

darkness / material things = EVIL

A person cannot be married and be perfect; HOWEVER, priests were married


306 - Council of Elvira, Spain; Decree #43 - a priest who sleeps with  his wife the night before Mass will lose his job

325 - Council of Nicea; decreed that after ordination, a priest could not marry; Proclaimed the Nicene Creed

352 - Council of Lnodicea; women are not to be ordained (suggesting that before this time there was ordination of women).

385 - Pope Siricius left his wife in order to become pope; decreed that priests may no longer sleep with their wives.


401-S t. Augustine wrote, "Nothing is so powerful in drawing the spirit of a man downwards as the caresses of a woman."


567 - 2nd Council of Tours; any cleric found in bed with his wife would be excommunicated for a year and reduced to the lay state

580 -Pope Pelagius II; his policy was not to bother married priests as long as they did not hand over church property to wives or children

590-604 -Pope Gregan; the Great said that all sexual desire is sinful in itself (meaning that sexual desire is intrinsically evil?).


France: documents show that the majority of priests were married


St Boniface reported to the pope that in Germany almost no bishop or priest was celibate.


836 - Council of Aix-la-Cha pelle openly admitted that abortions and infanticide took place in convents and monasteries to cover up activities of uncelibate clerics

S t. Ulrich, a holy bishop, argued from scripture and common sense that the only way to purify the Church from the worst excesses of celibacy was to permit priests to marry.


1045 - Pope Boniface IX dispensed himself from celibacy and resigned in order to marry.

1074 -Pope Gregory VII said anyone to be ordained must first pledge celibacy: 'priests must first escape from the clutches of their wives'.

1095 - Pope Urban II had priests' wives sold into slavery; children were abandoned.


1123 - Pope Calistus II: First Lateran Council decreed that clerical marriages were invalid 1139 - Pope Innocent II: Second Lateran Council confirmed the previous council's decree.


Bishop Pelagio complains that women are still being ordained and hearing confessions


Transition: 50% of priests are married


- Council of Trent states that celibacy and virginity are superior to marriage
1517 - M artin Luther

1530 - Henry VIII

Inquisition, Galileo, Newton


1776 - American Declaration of Independence

1789 -French Revolution


1804 - Napoleon

1882 - Darwin
1847 -Marx, Communist M anifesto

1858 - Freud

1869 - First Vatican Council; infallibility of the pope


1930 -Pope Pius X I: sex can be good and holy

1951-Pope Pius X II: married Lutheran pastor is ordained a Catholic priest in Germany 1962 - Pope John X X III: Vatican Council II; vernacular; marriage is equal to virginity

1966 -Pope Paul VI: celibacy dispensations

1970's - Ludmilla Javorova and several other Czech women ordained to serve needs of women imprisoned by Communists

1978 -Pope John Paul II: puts freeze on dispensations

1980 - married Anglican/ Episco pal pastors are ordained as Catholic priests in the USA; (also in Canada and England in 1994)

1983 - New Canon Law


• St Peter, the Apostle

• St Felix III -483-492 (2 children)

•. St Hormidas -514-523 (1 son)

• St Silverus (Antonia) 536-537

• Hadrian II -867-872 (1 daughter)

• Clement IV -1265-1268 (2 daughters)

• Felix V - 1439-1449 (1 son)


Name of Pope

St Damascus

Papac y

Son of ...

St Lorenzo, priest

St Innocent I


Anastaius I



son of a priest

St Felix


son of a priest

Anastasius II


son of a priest

St Agapitus I


Gordiaous, priest

St Silverus


St Homidas, pope



son of a priest

Boniface VI


Hadrian, bishop

John XI


Pope Sergius III

John XV


Leo, priest


Innocent VIII


several children

Alexander VI


several children

Julius II


3 daughters

Paul III


3 sons, 1 daughter

Pius IV


3 sons

Gregory VIII



Oxford Dictionan; of Popes

H.C. Lea, History of Sacerd otal Celibacy in the Christian Clzurch, 1957

The Churclz With A Human Face, E. Schillebeeckx, 1985

J. McSorely, Outline Histon; of tlze Church by Centuries, 1957, F.A. Foy (ed.),1990
Catholic Almanac 1989

D.L. Carmody, The Double Cross - Ordination, Abortion and Catholic Feminism, 1980

P.K. Jewtt, The Ordination of Women, 1980

A.F. Ide, God's Girls - Ordination of Women In the Early Christian & Gnostic Churches, 1986

E. Schussler Fiorenza, In Memory of Her, 1984

P. DeRosa, Vicars of Christ, 1988


Myth: All priests take a vow of celibacy.

Fact: Most priests do not take a vow (religious orders only); it is a promise made before the bishop (secular priests)

Myth: Clerical celibacy has been the norm since the Second Latern Council in 1139.

Fact: Priests and even popes still continued to marry and have children for several hundred years after 1139. The Eastern Catholic Church still has married priests.

In the Latin Church, one may be a married priest if:

a) one was a Protestant clergy first and joins the Catholic Church; or

b) if one is a lifelong Catholic and promises never again to have sexual relations with one's wife

Over 200 Attended Lecture by Matthew Fox on "Being a Mystic Today" in Sarasota, Florida/Highlights by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Dr. Matthew Fox, author of 30 books and  popular spirituality speaker

Over 200 people attended an outstanding lecture by international-best selling author Matthew Fox on March 16, 2015 at St. Andrew UCC in Sarasota, Florida.
Some highlights:
"All religions need simplification. We need to move from religion to spirituality."
Jesus came from the Wisdom tradition. He defined his relationship with God with metaphors from nature, flowers, sparrow, seeds, etc)
Both Jesus and Paul were mystics.
Jesus never heard of original sin.
Augustine's dualistic view and original sin associated with sexuality. Spirit not in matter in this view. 

You cannot be a Christian unless you are a mystic. 
A Mystic is a lover.
Every being is Christ Presence on earth.
Compassion is the fire that Jesus came to ignite on earth.
John 1 `: Christ is the light in every being.
Hildegard of Bingen  1098-1181 recovered the Divine Feminine.
Hildegard saw the Cosmic Mary as the Ground of all being.
Eckhart saw Cosmic Christ as the Ground of all being. 
Benedict canonized her, but probably did not read her.
Her monastery was put under interdict.
She challenged Fredrick Barbarosa and Pope Athanasius.
In Eckhart, we see the influence of  Begines and mystics such as Marguerite of Portors who was burned at stake. Eckhart went on to spread her teachings.
"Everything praises God" Meister Eckhart wrote.

We need mystics, lovers 
and prophets who challenge abusive power that dominates and oppresses others. 
Mary Oliver, Modern day mystic- we are called to be"in love with existence"
1. Pay attention
2. Be astonished
3. Share astonishment
Dorothy Shugrue ARCWP, Joan Pech, Matt Fox and Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

"The Call of Jesus" by John Shelby Spong/ An Inspirational Brief Meditation

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 5th Sunday of Lent B, March 22, 2015, Beverly Bingle, RCWP

This week’s readings ask us to face reality.
We can’t save our life.
We can only spend it.
Use it up.
We can’t hoard it in a pile somewhere or put it in a bank,
then pull it out to use it later.
It’s gone.
Today’s gospel has Jesus presenting us with that very paradox,
first in a metaphor about a grain of wheat
and then more straightforwardly:
if we try to save our life, we lose it.
If we give our life away, we save it.
The scholars of the Jesus Seminar tell us
that the grain of wheat imagery
has deep roots in our Christian tradition;
they observe that the idea of losing your life if you love it
and saving it if you hate it
was most probably part of the oral tradition about Jesus
and that the evangelist later added the context
to Christianize it for his community.
The scholars paraphrase what Jesus meant like this:
I’m a human being, just like all humans,
a child of Adam and Eve.
If I love my life, I lose it because it is only for me.
But if I give up my life, I will save it
because I will have used it to serve God and others.
That fits exactly with what we know Jesus said
about the greatest commandment when he recited the Shema:
Hear, O Israel, God is One.
And you shall love God
with your whole heart, and your whole soul.
And, he said, the second commandment is like it:
Love your neighbor as yourself.
We know that Jesus prayed.
Over and over the evangelists weave their stories around that fact.
He goes off to pray alone.
Praying on the mountain.
Telling his disciples not to “multiply words like the pagans do”
and teaching them how to pray.
And after Jesus prayed, he acted.
He didn’t sit around and try to save his life;
he spent it living out the inspiration of his prayer.
He gave his life away doing that.
I was down at Claver House Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day,
and Mark was commenting
that almost three months of 2015 are gone
and he hadn’t done a thing.
I just shook my head and said, “Yeah.”
Commiserated with him.
He felt that way, for sure.
But I know that he tends his grandkids
after his daughter leaves for work
and makes sure they have breakfast and get to school.
And I know he has shoveled the walk
for an even more elderly neighbor all winter
and that he’ll be mowing her lawn all summer.
And he’ll be there when the grandkids get home,
greeting them at the door and asking about their day.
He keeps an eye out on the neighborhood.
He’s my age, retired on a fixed and limited income,
but he’s the go-to guy who fixes people’s cars for them,
and fiddles with their toasters and table lamps
to get them going again.
He doesn’t take money for it—
tells them to pass along a good deed when they can.
Mark is spending his life for his family and his neighbors,
using it up for them.
He gives his life away, and as a result he saves it.
Kelly was there Tuesday, too.
Her home situation isn’t particularly happy.
She gets a small disability check once a month
and manages to live on it.
As usual, she stopped through Claver House for breakfast
on her way to volunteer at her church’s daycare center.
She had baked a green cake
and bought some green candy at the Dollar Store
so she could treat the kids after she read to them.
She could save her time and energy and money,
but she doesn’t.
She gives it away, and as a result she saves it.

That first reading from Jeremiah tells us
why Mark and Kelly do that,
and why each of you do that.
It’s the new covenant,
written on their hearts…
written on the hearts of all of God’s people…
written on your hearts
through the experiences and reflection and prayer
of your lifetime.
Dorothy Day once said,
“Don’t make me a saint;
don’t put me on a shelf.”
If we pray and then go about trying to get ahead,
trying to save our time and energy for ourselves,
we put ourselves on a shelf.

It’s like the eggs my hens lay.
If I try to save them, I lose them.
They get old and rotten.
Nothing stinks like a rotten egg.
But if I don’t save them,
if I use them up or give them away,
they produce good things.
So each of us has to make choice—
give up our lives by doing good for others
and loving and serving our neighbors…
or sit like chickens on a bunch of rotten eggs.

Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor

"Women speak up about equality in the church from the heart of the Vatican" by Sister Christine Schenk/Women Priests, Not Invited, Women's Ordination Off the Table!
"OK, I'm gobsmacked, as the Brits say ("gobsmacked": adjectiveBritish, informal: utterly astonished; astounded). I spent four hours on International Women's Day watching a Voices of Faith event "from the heart of the Vatican" in which women shared stories "for a creative exchange of ideas from a female perspective." There were some amazing narratives."

Bridget Mary's Response:
Yes, I agree, with Sister Christine Schenk! This Vatican meeting was a surprise and a welcome step forward. The Irish often use the word "gobsmacked!  It was a pleasant astonishing surprise to see women talking about equality at the Vatican !
However, until women priests are a reality affirmed by the Vatican officially, gender equality and justice will not be a reality in the Catholic Church. Sexism is a sin. Until women take their rightful place at the altar, women will not be treated as equals in the Roman Catholic Church. Women priests are the elephant in the church's living room! Avoiding the subject is not going to make it go away. The good old boys club needs to be transformed with the experiences and spirituality of women priests!  Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Roundtable on Prevention of Extremism

Feature-length documentary Film "Radical Grace" to have World Premiere in Toronto at Hot Docs 2015

Film follows three American nuns as they continue their social justice work during the Vatican crackdown on “radical feminism” in their ranks,

CHICAGO, IL – The feature-length documentary film Radical Grace will have its World Premiere at Toronto’s Hot Docs International Film Festival on April 28th, 2015. The film by first-time director Rebecca Parrish follows three extraordinary American nuns as they lead social justice initiatives in the shadow of Vatican investigations into “radical feminism” infiltrating their ranks.

For decades, U.S. nuns have been bucking Church hierarchy by living a gospel of love, social justice, and inclusion. But by standing up to conservative leadership, these brave women risk losing their place in the church to which they have devoted their lives. Radical Grace documents the journeys of Sister Simone Campbell, a progressive Washington lobbyist and leader of the Nuns on the Bus campaign; Sister Chris Shenck, an outspoken advocate for women’s ordination; and Sister Jean Hughes, a community worker counseling the formerly incarcerated on the West Side of Chicago.

Today, Pope Francis is changing the Vatican's conservative tone in many ways — but progress on women’s leadership has barely budged. What does it mean for women to be both devoted to and in conflict with a powerful religious institution? Feminists in a patriarchal faith? Why stay? Radical Grace follows these sisters as they fight to change a Church and country at a crossroads.

“The beauty of documentary is in not knowing where your story will lead, and these three sisters exploded my stereotypes,” says Director Rebecca Parrish. “The passion for justice and deep spirituality that they bring to their work made me realize that, even though I don’t consider myself a religious person, that we can all can approach service and justice work from a spiritual place in a way that is uniquely nourishing and sustaining.”

The film will screen three times at Hot Docs 2015: April 28th at 9:15 pm, April 30th at 4:30 pm, and May 1st at 3:30 pm. Key characters from the film will be present for festival activities and to answer questions, including Sister Chris Shenck and Erin Hanna of the Women’s Ordination Conference. The filmmakers will also be hosting an open mixer (event day and time TBD) for the festival community and representatives of local faith-based, progressive, and feminist organizations, creating an environment where activists from sometimes-disparate backgrounds can come together to discuss ways to collaborate on common goals.

The film’s Hot Docs premiere will launch a grassroots and online campaign to bolster activism within religious institutions towards women’s equality; to build bridges between secular and faith-based organizations; and to reclaim faith as a tool for progressive causes. Festival-goers and the project’s online supporters are encouraged to share their reactions, ideas for making change empowered by faith, and their personal stories about how faith and their political views overlap using the hashtag #RadicalGrace.

"This film has the potential to inspire and build bridges between secular and religious progressives and feminists," says Executive Producer Daniel Alpert. "Progressives are ready to reclaim the conversation about morality, which has for so long been ceded to the Right."

The film is a co-production between Chicago companies Kindling Group (The Calling, A Doula Story, @home, Do No Harm) and Interchange Productions. Funders for the project include the Driehaus Foundation, Hartley Film Foundation, The Fledgling Fund, the Roger & Chaz Ebert Foundation, and the Cohen Family Foundation.

About Interchange Productions:
History: Since 2006, we’ve been leveraging our documentary filmmaking skills to communicate our clients’ stories to constituents, customers, partners, supporters, and team members. Our work began with nonprofits in the Chicagoloand area, and over the years we have expanded to small businesses, social ventures, and political organizations throughout the world. In 2012, Interchange Productions received the YouTube DoGooder Non-Profit Video Award for best use of video for the social good.

About Kindling Group:
Kindling Group crafts powerful documentaries and engagement campaigns to ignite change. We embrace a fast changing world of storytelling — combining the artistry of award-winning films with innovative strategies that take media and impact across platforms, genres, and technologies. We initiate our own projects and support independent filmmakers, bringing a unique mix of talents and Chicago-style problem-solving using film for good. Kindling is a Chicago-based 501(c3) nonprofit founded in 2002 by Danny Alpert, a producer, director, and editor whose documentary work has been nominated for both Academy and national Emmy awards.

Media Contact: Laura Wilson
773-728-8489 ext 305

TW: @radgracefilm


Sunday, March 15, 2015

"Eucharistic famine' fear over future of priesthood in Ireland " By Elaine McGee/BBC
Bridget Mary's Response: If the institutional church would affirm women priests and open the door to married priests, there would no Eucharistic famine in Ireland or anywhere else. In the days of St. Brigit of Kildare, there were women priests and married priests and flourishing Christian communities. If it worked then, it surely would work now in Ireland. The Irish people are ready as  is the rest of the world  Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,
Cows in Ireland 

Homily by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP: Ordination of Luz Galilea as a Priest in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Sarasota, Florida on March 14, 2015

Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, this is the day God has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it as we ordain a woman priest!
Luz Galilea prostrates during Ordination Rite

Theresa Rodriguez. Linda Lee Miska and Jack Duffy sing Litany of the Saints
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP lays hands on Luz Galilea during priestly ordination  
Luz Galilea is 50 years old, married with one daughter. 
ARCWP candle given as gift by Rosemarie Smead ARCWP
Bridget Mary anoints Luz' hands for priestly ministry
 Her personal commitments are with Partenia, diocese
without borders (see and with ATD Cuarto Mundo (see a human rights organization which is an NGO, working with UNICEF and the European Council. 
Pat MacMillian read the first Reading from Isaia, Dotty Shugrue,ARCWP seated, was MC
Luz has also spent years working with marginalized people of the First World, doing pastoral work in poor neighborhoods with children and women (catechism training and accompaniment. She is a translator by profession.

Sand Hill Crane came and stayed outside for much of the ordination!
(This beautiful bird moved from Window to Window as if  trying to get the best view and was not perturbed by photographers!  He/She was a blessed and welcome  visitor reminding us of our oneness with all in the community of  creation!)

In the first reading, Isaiah the prophet proclaims God’s vision for us as the kindom of God. According to scripture scholars the word “kindom” is best translated as a “companionship of empowerment.”(Diarmuid O’Murchu) As companions on the journey all of us are called  to be prophets:  “Work for justice! For my liberation is about to come, and my justice is about to come.”
Luz Galilea, newly ordained priest  holds consecrated bread and wine at Communion Rite at Ordination Liturgy

My sisters and brothers, today, we are living our prophetic call as we ordain Luz  to serve God’s people so that Gospel equality and a church of inclusion may grow.

   In the Gospel, a pregnant Mary, who has fled her home, greets her cousin Elizabeth who is also pregnant. Both women are midwives of grace who create a sacred space for each other.

Mary and Elizabeth from stained glass window in Ireland
In the Sanctuary of Women, Jan Richardson depicts the scene: “According to a medieval French prayerbook, two women meet on a road.  Elizabeth, having hurried from her house, leans toward her cousin Mary, one hand on her shoulder, the other on her pregnant belly in an ancient gesture of blessing…. As they lean into one another, these two women make a sanctuary. With the arc of their bodies, with the aches of their longing for someone who understands, with the power of a blessing given and received, Mary and Elizabeth created a space of refuge of welcome and safety.” (Jan Richardson, In the Sanctuary of Women, Upper Room Books, 2010)

 Today, Mary and Elizabeth remind us that we are called to create a sanctuary, a safe place for people on the margins who seek a spiritual home where all are welcome.  We are renewing the church’s theology of sacraments as grace-filled celebrations of the whole community, the Body of Christ, All of us are midwives of grace. As Susan Ross writes:“the sacraments  are gifts of God’s extravagant affection,” that  “provide opportunities for Christian women and men to express, play, celebrate, and live out the “riotous plenty that is God” (Ross, Extravagant Affections,  1998, p. 13).

 In the Magnificat, Mary prays passionately for the marginalized, the excluded, and the oppressed. She proclaims that justice, liberation, and new life is rising up for God’s hurting, excluded people. May we, like Mary, live the Magnificat, by welcoming all to the table of God’s Boundless love.

Women and their dependent children make up two-thirds of the world’s poor. The World Health Organization has also said that every day, 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, and that 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries. In order to transform this appalling situation, we need women as leaders and decision-makers in every aspect of life including at the altar in the church.
 As an international movement, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, our vision is justice for all, justice for the poor, justice for women, and justice for women in the church including ordination. We speak out for women’s rights and for non-violence.
We stand in solidarity with the least and the lowest, and challenge unjust structures that continue to oppress people in our world.

As a priest, Luz Galilea, will work for justice and equality for the people in Colombia, Spain and France. May you, like Mary Mother of Jesus, radiate the Christ Presence as you live a renewed, vibrant priestly ministry in a community of equals.

Damos gracias y alabanzas  para este día,  mi hermana.
 (We give thanks and praise for this day, my Sister!)

Rev. Dr. Bridget Mary Meehan, a Sister for Christian Community, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 31, 2006. She was ordained a bishop on April 19, 2009.  Dr. Meehan is currently Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program for Global Ministries University, and is the author of 20 books, including   Living Gospel Equality Now: Loving in the Heart of God, The Healing Power of Prayer and Praying with Women of the Bible. She presides at liturgies in Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Meehan can be reached at and