Saturday, July 25, 2015

ARCWP Video Links to Barbara Billey's Ordination on July 25, 2015

Homily for Ordination of Barbara Billey ARCWP in Windsor, Canada on July 25, 2015

Bridget Mary Meehan: 

This is the day God has made, let us rejoice and be glad as we ordain Barbara Billey of Windsor, Ontario, Canada a priest with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.

In Genesis 1: 2 we encounter the Ruah, the Great Spirit, who hovers like a nurturing mother over the earth at the dawn of creation. Throughout the eons, the Spirit’s creative energy has been blazing forth in our evolving cosmos as billions of galaxies came into being!

We are in awe that there are 18 galaxies for every person, and our bodies are made of stardust. The Holy One has inspired our intimate connection with all of creation.

Let us delight that each of us is part of the dynamic cosmic dance of creation. Let us contemplate the entire community of creation, one in the Heart of Love beyond anything we can imagine or dream of!

In Jesus, we encounter the radiant face of God whose wisdom words call us to action as prophets, mystics, healers and reformers. A passion for the kin-dom of God compelled him to surrender his entire self for the evolution of God through him and through us.  Jesus’ central focus was the transformation of human consciousness, then and now.

In Christianity’s Dangerous Memory, best-selling author, priest and spiritual teacher, Diarmuid O’ Murchu believes that Jesus’ vision of Gospel empowerment was characterized by mutuality and circularity. His companionship of equals embraced the oppressed and reflected power with us in partnership rather than power over as in domination and control.

Today, women priests are lighting a fire that transcends the Roman Catholic Church’s patriarchal power system of domination over and control of women’s lives. Our international movement offers a new model of an inclusive, empowered, community of equals, rooted in Jesus’ vision of the kin-dom as a companionship of empowerment. We are on fire for gender justice and women’s equality in the Roman Catholic Church, ordaining women as priests in prophetic obedience to the Spirit. Our movement is illuminating the darkness of centuries old misogyny in which sacred power was the exclusive privilege of men. 

As co-creators with Holy Wisdom, Sophia, we connect the Feminine Divine with the all-encompassing embrace of Divine love and her creative energy that illuminates the path of justice and equality.

Now Michele Birch-Conery, one of our first priests ordained in North America will share her reflections on the evolution of our movement in relation to Luke’s Gospel. 

Michele Birch-Conery:

Thank you, Bishop Bridget Mary and all of you gathered with us to celebrate this 10th anniversary of our North American ordination as we ordain Barbara Billey a Roman Catholic woman priest.

We are just one part of a cosmic reality, but an important one. Our wider understanding encourages the creation of new communities for interdependent living. We gather as communities to address global dilemmas such as economic inequity and violence of all kinds, including abuse of our natural resources worldwide. How do these changes in our consciousness influence a joyous day like today? How does the celebration of a Roman Catholic woman’s ordination in Windsor, Ontario fit in with the entrance of all of us into a new time in the history of the universe?

 Humans have stood at the threshold of transformations for centuries.  Pioneers have opened the doors and stepped across into the new realities that brought necessary advancements for all their people. Our ancestors risked being the first to leave a world they knew and, for their good and the good of others, they crossed a threshold and set out to build a new and usually a freer world.

Barbara Billey’s ordination represents the crossing of another threshold and that crossing continues to open a way forward from the constraints of a great big “NO” about the roles of women, in our church, and in the world. For her sake and ours, Barbara, too, has undertaken her journey to ordination and now into her priestly ministry, against expected resistances. She is well prepared to continue with us in our ARCWP international movement for women’s ordination in the Roman Catholic Church and in that action, for women in all faith traditions and beyond.

Our initiative for the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church has been characterized by a series of firsts and this foundational reality continues to today, the day exactly 10 years from our first North American ordinations on the St. Lawrence River. 

It was the Feast of Mary of Magdala and, in recognition of her, it was also a feast, we could say, of all those women in the early church who have disappeared from our church’s history. But, through the work of historian scholars and an archeologist like Dr. Dorothy Irvin, these women have been re-discovered and recognized to have been ordained deacons, priests and bishops, for service in their faith communities. Our women from the early church, as well as the courageous male Roman Catholic bishops from within our church who began these ordinations, were with us in spirit in that first North American ordination.

Our day, on the river of our new anointing and commissioning, dawned like any other 36 Celsius degree day in Ontario, and for our American friends, almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Nine of us, along with many supporters – family and friends, from all over as well as a huge contingent of Canadian media – rocked the boat. Our song rang out across the waters and, as companions of empowerment in a discipleship of equals, we prayed in unison and wept together in seeing that a miracle had arrived, one we all had been waiting for, for so long, here at last.

No one present, whether in agreement or disagreement of our Sacrament, could have denied the power of the Spirit present in the illumination and fire of the occasion. We were on a cruise ship that, in the ordination rite and in our universal participation, became an ecstatic church ship, now sailing from Ganaoque, Ontario into the Thousand Islands and towards Rochester, New York. It held our Canadian- American realities for the start of our international movement in North America, a movement bound by the living waters of Sacred Presence we cannot deny. In looking back, I’m in wonder that our Detroit River is linked to the St. Lawrence and our origination by way of Lake Ontario, the Niagara River, and Lake Erie. 

Three ordinands for the priesthood were from USA and I was from Canada. Four other women from USA had come forward for ordination as deacons. Then what? This small handful of ordained women was commissioned to return to their locales, on our vast continent and just begin their witnessing and their ministry. The whole of North America was before us, a blank slate and what would we write? What would we speak? To whom would we speak? Who would come forward in support of this disobedience? In spiritual language, such disobedience is called prophetic obedience: obedience to the Spirit rather than the Law. How many times did Jesus counsel that, including in the gospel for today? What realities would we would face now?

The good news is that we are not alone when we return from our ordinations. We have our newly forming local faith communities, as you today enfold and embrace us. We receive affirmation, especially from ordained women and men from other Christian denominations and faith traditions, a number of you here today. As Barb and I interact with people throughout Windsor, those with or without religious affiliation, we often hear, “Thank you for your courage.  It’s about time this happened.” As companions walking an uncertain road made only by walking, we find the ground itself upholds us.

“I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” This passage suggests a completing energy, of the Spirit, in the vitality of our calls to ministry. Well into his mission and aware of his impending death, one of the most political-religious coups of all time, Jesus speaks with urgency about divisions that are inevitable when fulfilling our calling to his way. This is one reality and consequence for initiating transformational change but there is another more subtle message when we consider Jesus’ compassionate way of being.

Within divisions, we each have a sacred calling where the Spirit dwells. Sometimes, we must become empowered to change or leave oppressive institutions or people. In other circumstances, apparent division provides creative tension that opens the door to embracing difference. In differences, our gifts can be applied to new callings that take us into greater dimensions of loving through acceptance and collective goodwill. The Global Charter For Compassion is one example of the evolutionary potential of difference within centuries old division.

In our time, the ways of non-violence are becoming clearer as we we learn and know better how to be together in justice and equality. New discoveries and technology are bringing about the marriage of science and religion, which helps expand our recognition for much needed change that serves all of humanity, especially the most marginalized. We recognize our imperiled planet and know that we must evolve out of our separateness as individuals and beyond dominating practices into the co-operation necessary for the interconnectedness of our global communities. Our survival depends on such transformations of consciousness.

And now today, in one aspect of such transformation, we are received in this little chapel, this little church ship situated alongside the Detroit River and we receive Barb, as I was received 10 years ago on the St. Lawrence.  Now she comes with her much needed gifts and her sacred calling joined with ours. Who knows where the Fire of the Spirit will yet lead her? We only know that she is ready.

Bridget Mary:

Thank you, Michele for your wisdom with us.

A new day is dawning for women who are created in God’s image as spiritual equals. We are united with all God's people as companions of empowerment – prophets, healers and mystics, in love with the Holy, and with all creation in one cosmic dance.

Jesus always gives us freedom to choose, to search our own conscience. “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?” he asks.  As a midwife of grace, Jesus turns us toward Holy Wisdom, Divine Mystery who dwells within our hearts for answers to the depth questions. As One Body in Christ with people of all faith traditions and with those who do not subscribe to one, we can make a difference by using our gifts to advance the evolution of God’s cosmic kin-dom. What will we choose and how will we be fire?


"Windsor woman fights for 'justice for women' in Catholic Church", CBC Article

Barbara Billey to be ordained as priest with Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Posted:Jul 25, 2015 7:00 AM ET

Last Updated:Jul 25, 2015 7:00 AM ET

The Vatican doesn't support the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, but the organization claims it is legitimately Roman Catholic.
The Vatican doesn't support the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, but the organization claims it is legitimately Roman Catholic. Amy Dodge/CBC

As a woman of the Roman Catholic faith, Windsor's Barbara Billey didn't know she could become a priest.

That changed after she spent 10 days on a silent retreat at an Episcopal church in Michigan.

"After that service, someone approached me - who was also on a retreat -  and I believe he was a priest in that tradition. He said, 'are you a priest?' and I said, 'no' and I looked at him and I felt in my heart a 'yes,'" said Billey.

Saturday, Billey will become the first ordained female priest with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests born in Windsor.

Almost immediately after that conversation in Michigan, which was had five years ago, Billey started attending All Saints Anglican Church in Windsor. 

"Believing that would be my only option to be a priest in the Anglican tradition," she said. "But after about a year and a half, something shifted in me and the conditions didn't just feel right to continue on that path."

She wondered how her intense spiritual calling could be fulfilled.

Then, on the weekend of Pentecost, she received an article in the mail from a friend. It was that piece of mail that introduced her to the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.

Billey emailed a bishop in the association and they met the following weekend.

"That path was ignited," she said.

Billey will become one of more than 200 ordained women of the association, worldwide. 

Bridget Mary Meehan will ordain Billey. 

"She's just such a vibrant, radiant reflection of love and compassion," she said

Association not recognized by Vatican

Billey has been active with the ministry for two years in Windsor, and said she frequently attends a Catholic church in Windsor, but she would not disclose which one for the privacy of her family.

"There are people in my life who might feel some discomfort in me naming that," she said.

Billey said she will discontinue her participation at the local Catholic church once she is ordained.

"The long term vision, of course, is that the Roman Catholic church would be inclusive of women at all levels of ministry," she said. "I believe we can only be whole, that is the sacraments, the church, the people of God, can only be whole when all people are included and that would include, not just women but all people that have been marginalized."

The Vatican doesn't support the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, but the organization claims it is legitimately Roman Catholic.

Meehan believes the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is legitimately Roman Catholic because the association's first female bishops were ordained by a male Roman Catholic bishop

 "They passed on what the church calls Apostolic succession," she said.

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, from Lexington Kentucky and who is ordained with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, says her association does not discriminate.

"Jesus welcomed everyone," she said. "We are breaking an unjust law, and we are a movement for justice for women in the church, including ordination, and women in society.

"Everyone is welcome at our table. That means divorced Catholics, former Catholics, non-Catholics, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people, as well."

Sevre-Duszynska hopes the pope will one day "embrace women."

"He is doing such good things in the world, such wonderful things," she said. "Naming oppressive behaviours, of taking care of the earth, naming the harshness of capitalism where so many are oppressed, and people's lives are so fragile because of economic disparity.

"It's a sign of the times, for women to priesthood, to step forward, and say 'I am ready.'"

Father John Comiskey of the Catholic Diocese of London says the women are excommunicating themselves by being ordained as priests.
"They are not in communion with us, they are not in union with us in the faith," he said. "This is not a group that is officially connected to the Roman Catholic as we would expect or as they would expect or as they seem to imply.
 "The Catholic Church does not have women priests. Because they call themselves that doesn't necessarily mean they are connected to the Roman Catholic Church as people understand Roman Catholic."

Links to Barbara Billey Ordination in Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Friday, July 24, 2015

"Vatican adviser: Married priests, women deacons would add 'dynamism'"

Vatican adviser: Married priests, women deacons would add 'dynamis

"Married priests and women deacons should be reintroduced as soon as possible. That would bring new dynamism to the church," Dietmar Winkler, the future dean of Salzburg University's Catholic theological faculty, told the Austrian daily Salzburger Nachrichten in an interview during the Salzburg Festival.
He said he could not see why men who feel called to the priesthood should be forced to remain celibate. Asceticism, which religious feel called to, is a charism that could not be forced on people, Winkler said.
He said compulsory celibacy was not introduced for several hundred years and for diverse reasons, one of which was to prevent imperial dynasties from inheriting church possessions.
Asked what would happen if priests who got married were to get divorced, Winkler said that there were many priests who failed to remain celibate. Failure was always possible. "Jesus came to the broken and not to the perfect," he said.
Did that mean that one could marry twice? he was asked.
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The Orthodox church has found a good solution, he said: It has married priests, and under certain conditions, allows remarriage in church after divorce. According to present Catholic teaching, partners of a second marriage live in permanent sin. "I think that [is] really wrong and this question will be a gripping crunchpoint at the synod in October," Winkler said. "Discussion of marriage theology is a must."
The issue of women priests is "theologically complicated," he said, but women deacons, "which [are] well documented up to the Middle Ages," should be reintroduced as soon as possible. Winkler, 52, a well-known patrologist and orientalist, was appointed an adviser to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity by Pope Benedict XVI and confirmed in this office by Pope Francis. He is also an adviser to Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
[Christa Pongratz-Lippitt is the Austrian correspondent for the London Catholic weekly The Tablet.]

"Pope Francis: a Church emerging: from what to what?" by Leonardo Boff, Theologian

 "Still celebrating the extraordinary encyclical on "caring for the Common Home", we reflect again on an important perspective of Pope Francis, a true expression of his understanding of the Church as "a Church emerging.”  This phrase carries a veiled criticism of the previous model of the Church.  It was a "jailed" Church, given the various moral and financial scandals that forced Pope Benedict XVI to resign, a Church that had lost her most important asset: morality and credibility among Christians and the secular world.
But the concept of a "jailed Church" has a deeper meaning, made possible because it comes from a Pope outside the institutional sectors of the old and tired European Christianity. This had encased the Church in an understanding that had rendered it unacceptable to the moderns, a hostage to fossilized traditions and with a message that did not address the problems of Christians and the world today.  The "Church emerging" marks a break with that state of affairs. The word "break"annoys the representatives of the ecclesiastic establishment, but that does not make it less true. Then the question comes: â€œemerging” from what and to what?
Let's examine some steps:
-Emerging from a Fortress-Church that shielded the faithful from modern liberties to a Field-Hospital-Church that cares for all those who come to her, without regard to moral or ideological matters.
-Emerging from a self-centered Absolutist Institution-Church, towards a Movement-Church, open to universal dialogue with other Churches, religions and ideologies.
-Emerging from a Hierarchy-Church, creator of inequalities, towards a People of God-Church that turns everyone into brothers or sisters: an immense fraternal community.
-Emerging from an Ecclesiastic Authority-Church, distanced from the faithful or even denying them, towards a Pastor-Church that walks among the people, merciful, and with the odor of sheep.
-Emerging from a Papal Church of all Christians and Bishops, that governs with rigorous canonical right, to become a Bishop of Rome-Church, who presides in charity and only from that charity does he become Pope of the universal Church.
-Emerging from a Teacher of Doctrines and Norms-Church, to a Church of surprising practices and affectionate encounters with people beyond their religious, moral or ideological affiliations. The existential peripheries gain centrality.
-Emerging from a Church of sacred power, pomp and circumstance, pontifical palaces and Renaissance nobility titles, towards a Church of and for the poor, divested of symbols of honor, a servant, and prophetic voice against the system of accumulation of wealth, the idol that causes suffering and misery, and kills people.
-Emerging from a Church that speaks of the poor, to a Church that goes to the poor, talks with the poor, embraces and defends the poor.
-Emerging from a Church-equally distant from the political and economic systems towards a Church that takes sides in favor of the victimized, and calls out by name those responsible for the injustices, and invites  representatives of world social movements to Rome, to discuss with them how to find alternatives.
-Emerging from a Self-magnifying and uncritical-Church towards a Church that is truthful about herself and against those Cardinals, Bishops and theologians who are jealous of their status but with a "vinegar or Good Friday" face, "sad as if they were going to their own funeral"; to a Church that is at last  comprised of human beings.
-Emerging from a Church of order and rigor towards a Church of the revolution of tenderness, mercy and caring.
-Emerging from a Church of the devout, as those who appear in television programs, with performing priest artists of the religious market, towards a Church committed to social justice and the liberation of the oppressed.
-Emerging from a Church-obedience and reverence towards a Church-joy from the Gospel and still with hope for this world.
-Emerging from a Church-without the world that allowed the appearance of a world without a Church, towards a Church-World, sensitive to the problems of ecology and the future of our Common Home, Mother Earth.
These and other examples show that the Church is not reduced to being just a religious mission, stuck in a small part of reality.  The Church also possesses a socio-political mission in the best sense of the term, as a source of inspiration for the needed transformations that may lift humanity towards a civilization of love and compassion, one less individualistic, materialistic, cynical and lacking in solidarity.
This Church-on her way out has returned joy and hope to Christians and regained the sense of being a spiritual home. For her simplicity, divesting and welcoming with love and tenderness, she has gained the affection of many people of other confessions, of common citizens of the world and even of heads of State who admire the figure of Pope Francis and his surprising practices in favor of peace, dialogue among the peoples, of the renunciation of all violence and war.
More than doctrine and dogma, the Tradition of Jesus is comprised of unconditional love, mercy and compassion, that is actualized and reveals its inexhaustible humanizing energy through Him.  Truly, among other things, this is the central message of Jesus, acceptable to all people from all corners of the world."


Article in Windsor Star by Sharon Hill: Barbara Billey To Be Ordained by Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Windsor, Ontario, Canada on July 25, 2015
Barbara Billey, ARCWP of Windsor Canada, photo in Windsor Star

"Barbara Billey is about to be ordained by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests — a movement determined to shake up the church hierarchy.
The Windsor woman may call herself a priest after her ordination Saturday, but she knows she won’t be welcome in that role in any local Roman Catholic churches and could be considered ex-communicated.
“I don’t expect any major invitations anytime too soon,” Billey said.
The Windsor counsellor who operates a home church said she felt called to become a priest about five years ago at a retreat and is now part of an international movement to get the Roman Catholic church to accept female priests.
She said it’s about equality.
“At the core of it is what the Gospel and what Jesus represents in terms of including all people,” Billey said. “If we don’t include women we’re excluding more than half the population. The sacraments, ourselves, our church can’t be whole with over half the population excluded.”
Billey wants the church to include women in all levels of ministry, to also include those who have chosen an alternative lifestyle and to use inclusive language such as referring to God as female.
Father John Comiskey, a moderator of the curia who provides administrative help to the bishop in the Diocese of London, said women can serve in many ways in the church but not as priests.
“There’s no question that women are equal but equal doesn’t mean the same,” he said.
Comiskey said there are church teachings which Roman Catholics believe are revealed by God and others that are made by humans. He said the idea of priests not being married is a man-made rule or tradition which could be changed but things like the Ten Commandments or the idea of priests being male are considered revealed by God.
The current Pope Francis has said more than once that the issue of women becoming priests is closed. Comiskey said that in 1976 Pope Paul IV said the evidence wasn’t conclusive but Pope John Paul II said clearly it was revealed by God and unchangeable.
He said the term Roman Catholic woman priest is incorrect because Roman Catholics don’t have female priests.
By participating in the ordination ceremony, women who become so-called priests ex-communicate themselves because they would not be in communion with the Pope, the local bishop or following the church teachings, Comiskey said. They can show up for a mass but they cannot serve as a priest and if they implied that they are in communion with the Roman Catholic church, the diocese would issue a public statement to clarify that they are not.
Comiskey said Jesus broke all kinds of taboos such as his treatment of women — both sides of the argument agree the risen Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene first — but if Jesus had wanted women to be priests or disciples he could have done that. His 12 disciples were men.
Bridget Mary Meehan, the bishop of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, is coming from Florida to conduct the ordination service Saturday in Windsor. Meehan calls the movement a holy shakeup that is challenging the church’s gender inequality and sexism. She sees male-only priests as a man-made rule

“We, the Roman Catholic women priests movement and the bishops doing the ordaining are breaking an unjust law that discriminates against women. Therefore we are living a prophetic obedience. We’re following our consciences.”

Meehan said the women don’t want to leave the Catholic church. They want to lead it at a time when the Catholic church struggles with the dwindling number of men who feel called to become priests. When Pope Francis visits the United States in the fall, the association will be ordaining more women and urging the Pope to allow female priests.
The association has almost 70 members in Canada, the United States and Latin America. It is part of a larger movement that Billey said has about 200 women including 15 women in Canada who call themselves Roman Catholic priests."
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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Why I Remain a Catholic" by Clare Julian Carbone ARCWP

My Response to John Churchman’s question - Why I remain in the Roman Catholic Church
The question you pose to each of us is an extremely important one. It is a question I have been grappling with a lot particularly in light of the fact that my Faith Community for the past 6 years has been with an Episcopal Church here in SLC.  I have been known to introduce myself on various occasions, as a Roman Catholic taking refuge at St. Paul’s! I deeply love and give heartfelt thanks to God for the wisdom and inclusivity of this beautiful community where I have been welcomed, loved and nurtured. I have had to reflect deeply as to why I do not fully cross over and leave behind me the wounding, discouragement and struggle of being Roman Catholic.  This is my response to that question – to myself, to you, and to God.

It is helpful to keep in mind that the innumerable denominations within Christianity are all off-shoots of the Mother Church. They are each a fragment of what Jesus envisioned and prayed would one day, ‘All Be One’. How does the Oneness of God, the Unified-all Merciful Heart of God, bear our constant need for judgment and division?  Whether or not we consciously realize it, we each carry deep in our psyches the age old wounds of these multiple spiritual divorces and with it the profound longing for reconciliation. I choose therefore to remain within the Catholic faith because of the Oneness and wholeness Jesus prayed for and for which we are all longing. 

This is not meant to imply that all would become RC, just the opposite.  Instead the hope is that RC would acknowledge, honor, and even celebrate the diversity of ways in which human beings express their love and worship of God.  A wholeness within the greater Church and an inclusive love and acceptance of one another as brothers and sisters would prevail - just as a mother loves and cherishes each unique child. As Mother Church is healed from within, her children too will be healed, reconciled with one another and at One with God in Christ.  

 Mary too is of great significance in my decision.  Roman Catholicism unlike many denominations unabashedly celebrates her and reverently includes her in the story of our redemption. The Marian Dogmas, though often only partially understood, hold a key place I believe in understanding humanity’s inclusive status within the Godhead.  When we celebrate the feast of the Assumption for instance, we are acknowledging a visual representation of the female gender being unequivocally received by the Trinity.  Carl Jung wrote that Pope Pius XII’s formal pronouncement of the Assumption in 1950 was “the most significant theological event since the Reformation”, and I believe this is because the Church, inspired by the Holy Spirit, (albeit somewhat unconsciously), was led to acknowledge through Mary the place of equality in the Godhead of the female gender. Mary’s Assumption is able to give us a visual representation of this, whereas Jesus’ Ascension could not. Jesus, having redeemed All of humanity by his Love and enduring Oneness, could only physically embody one of the two genders he lived, died and was raised for. The hierarchy exploits this and teaches that since Jesus was male, only males therefore can image him and be ordained. But this was not due to God’s preferential treatment of the male species but rather due to the practical physical limitation that one human being was unable to embody more than one gender in one lifetime.  Mary’s presence assists us in this dilemma.

When we as Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Assumption and other Marion dogmas, though our rational minds may miss the deeper meanings, our souls in essence are receiving the sublime message being conveyed that the feminine aspect of God expressed through the feminine gender of Mary is unequivocally accepted and empowered by God along with the male. 
This is precisely why I anticipate with great hope the confirmation by Pope Francis of what is known as the Fifth Marion Dogma – that Mary is Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix with Christ. Mary and the Dogmas associated with her visually depict for us the reality from God’s perspective that the female is equally empowered and co-creators with God in Christ.  Rather than eclipse the person of Christ, as some would argue, the Marion dogmas, from my perspective, show us that the wholeness we have in Christ is extended to the female as well.  The Fifth Marian dogma will I believe express and complete the image of this reality in a profound way – that every believer, male and female participates in the redemptive work of Christ.

 It is truly right for us to reverence Mary as part of our expressed Catholic faith. While it is through Christ alone that we are made fully whole and sinless, it is through Jesus and Mary together, in their human relatedness to one another on earth and in heaven, that we are given a vision of our ultimate human journey to God, fully alive, fully inclusive and absent of human exploitation, greed and dominating power. Mary’s contribution to our human journey towards wholeness cannot in my estimation be overstated. Therefore, I choose to remain within the Roman Catholic Church, in part, because Mary is there and she is a key to our understanding of the full inclusive envisioning of God’s human creation, male and female.

In the face of excommunication by the RC hierarchy which you refer to, I turn to Romans 8 and am reassured that NOTHING in all creation can ever separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  For further affirmation on the journey I turn to the women of the New Testament and am newly enlivened as I observe how Jesus loved, empowered and sent them forth to minister. To help me turn my focus away from my own propensity for judgment I look to St. Francis who profoundly understood the Oneness of God’s Creation, and with him pray, “Lord make me an instrument of your Peace”. Finally, for the human encouragement and belonging I too am in need of in my own earthly journey, in this time and in this place, I turn to my faith community, to many friends and loved ones and to the great hearted, courageous women and men of ARCWP.

Clare Julian Carbone, ARCWP
July 5, 2015