Friday, July 1, 2016

Pope Benedict XVI Says He Dismantled Vatican's 'Gay Lobby', "As Pope Francis said, who am I to judge?"

... "In a new interview-book, the emeritus pope admits to the existence of such a lobby, but says it had only “four or five members” and that he’d managed to dismantle it.
Benedict XVI, Final Conversations is the title of the book to be released worldwide on September 9.This is the first time a pope, or a pope emeritus, has acknowledged on the record that the Vatican either has or had a “gay lobby”. Pope Francis reportedly said one existed soon after his election in 2013, when he had a private meeting with the leaders of the Latin American Confederation of Religious Orders (CLAR).
Yet the Vatican said that encounter was a private one, and CLAR released a statement saying the words couldn't be attributed to the pope."

God's Tender Mercy: Reflections on Forgiveness by Joan Chittister OSB

"The sins of others are before our eyes, our own are behind our backs," the Roman poet Seneca wrote. The terrible truth has been spoken. We hide from others and from ourselves, those things about ourselves, which, if we knew them,  could save us.  If we admitted our arrogance, faced our dishonesties,  named our weakness- at least to ourselves- we would be consumed with kindness. We would know what God knows that there is no one who is not struggling with the same kinds of things we are. There is no one who does not need and deserve our care. " Sister Joan Chittister, God's Tender Mercy, p.28

"Sacred Practices for Nurturing Your Inner Mystic" by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, dancing for joy in the presence of God and community after ordination of women priests!

Music: Chant
Be aware that you dwell in infinite love,  here you experience boundless forgiveness, compassionate healing, and liberating empowerment.
So in this meditation practice, sit still, be aware of your breath, if you need a prayer word to center you, select on, such as God, Love, Sophia, Jesus… whatever feels appropriate for your journey at this time. The object is not to think about anything or feel anything, it is simply to be mindful of the present moment where you dwell in the Holy One in love beyond imagining.

2: Praying with Companions on the Journey:
The miraculous power that filled Jesus, the disciples and the saints is available to all who love God. Through this power of the Spirit, Jesus said that we would do greater things then he did. So, all of us are called to experience that spiritual power in our relationships and ministries. Jan Richardson points out that the illumined Celtic Gospel Books with their spiraling, turning, twisting patterns remind us that “a place of mystery exists within the landscape of our faith, that we never really know a terrain until we allow ourselves to get lost in it, and that the complexities and complications of our lives can offer beauty.” Jan L. Richardson, In the Sanctuary of Women, pp80-81.)

This exercise, can be done in silence and in small groups of 2 or 3.
 ( Depending on relationship, custom,, culture, if appropriate and comfortable for both persons, you could hold hands or place a hand on a person’s head or shoulder during the prayer session.)
We are instrument of God’s loving presence  \for each other. When praying, let the love in the heart of God for this person flow through you… when receiving, open yourself to receiving the spiritual treasures in this prayerful encounter.

4. Sacred Reading/Lectio Divino
Monastics from the times of the desert mothers and fathers, have used sacred reading to move deeper into meaning of scriptures for daily living.  In sacred reading we contemplate a text to savor its hidden treasures and meaning. Each day, we may hear a different message or encounter the Holy One with fresh eyes, The possibilities of Spirit grace "speaking" to us are endless.   In the midst of savoring sacred texts, we make connections with the stories, words and 
metaphors , we let the words sink deeply into our minds and spirits. 
As we come with receptive hearts and listen deeply, new doors to the sacred unfold that reveal the indwelling presence of divinity in our midst.
 One example, Jesus said: “ I am with you always.”  This biblical verse has filled me with deep joy in times of rejoicing and great comfort in times of struggle.

Sacred Practice 4: The Sacred Text of Our Lives
We are created in the image of God and a sanctuary for God's presence in our world. As Jan Richardson writes: "We can also practice lectio with our lives. Our experiences, our memories, our stories, all that we carry around within us, this is material for pondering, for reflection, for prayer Inscribed with the word of God in our very being, we are ourselves sacred texts." ( Jan Richardson, In the Sanctuary of Women, p. 127) When we see ourselves and others as the face of God in our world, we can contemplate the holy presence of divine love, strength, healing, and peace in our every breath, in our every thought, word and deed. A whole new world, beyond anything we could ever imagine opens up to us. In our lives heaven and earth meet- no matter what happens-God is embracing us with abundant love.  Keeping a journal, painting, poetry or any of the creative arts can help us grow in consciousness of our lives as sacred texts. 

When the way is clear, we give thanks .
When the way is painful, we pray for healing and strength.
When we get lost in the complexities and complications of our lives, we pray for wisdom and discernment.
When we experience rejection and confusion, we pray for forgiveness and illumination.
When we face obstacles that challenge us, we pray for solidarity and joy as we accompany one another on the journey. 
May Holy Wisdom accompany us as we minister to one another and celebrating our oneness and diversity as the face of God in our world.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

"Friendliest Catch: A Day on the Bay" Words of Wisdom and Wit from Seth Winners in Sarasota Herald Tribune, June 30, 2016

Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival's fishing tournament a special opportunity

Seth Winners talks about the big fish he's going to catch during the Friendliest Catch fishing tournament on Wednesday. Individuals with special needs joined about 10 boat captains for a day of fishing and a picnic at Sarasota Outboard Club. The event was part of the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix festivities. STAFF PHOTO / DAN WAGNER
Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.
SARASOTA COUNTY  The smell of salt and sunscreen filled the air at the Sarasota Outboard Club on Wednesday.
Under the covered area overlooking Sarasota Bay, Seth Winners, 27, looked straight into the eyes of one of the volunteers, Brandon Kirsch.
“It is on, señor,” Winners said seriously, the neon green color from his shirt reflecting in his glasses.
He bet he could catch more fish than Kirsch. If he lost, he vowed to eat 50 hamburgers.
Winners was one of the 74 participants in the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival's Friendliest Catch Fishing Tournament. The event gives children and adults with special needs the opportunity to interact with local fisherman and catch some fish.
“He loves going out on the boats and meeting the captains,” said Kathryn Shea, Winners' mother and the CEO for the Florida Center for Early Childhood.
Shea adopted Winners when he was 4 years old, but has been with him since he was 4 months old. Winners was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, a condition caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Winners was born intoxicated, and spent the first five weeks of his life on a ventilator, Shea said. At one point, Shea was worried Winners would have to be institutionalized by the age of 7, because his brain damage was so severe, she said. 
Despite this prognosis, Winners progressed and thrived. He attended Oak Park School, and is now at Community Haven in Sarasota. Winners regularly attends events in the community.
The tournament has been a staple in Sarasota for the past 34 years. Winners has participated the past six.
In total, 33 boats went out on the water. Winners boarded a boat with 15 other participants and volunteers for the afternoon.
Once out on the bay, everyone was eager to get their lines in the water.
Winners dropped his line, a pink shrimp dangling off the end.
“Here fishy, fishy, fishy. Come to papa,” he chanted, anxiously looking down at the water.
After losing some bait to fish passing by, he finally felt a tug at his line. With the help of the captains on board, Winners reeled in a fish of his own, all while grinning ear-to-ear.
He named it Leo. He kissed it. Then, he released it back into the water.
The group caught eight fish total. Winners caught two.
After the few hours on the water, the boat headed back to the Sarasota Outboard Club, where lunch was served to all of the participants and volunteers.
Laughter filled the club, everyone reminiscing over their time on the boats.
“Everyone gets a great day on the water. All of the volunteers and liaisons' faces really light up,” said Don Mcguire, co-chairman of the Friendliest Catch.  
Mcguire and his wife, Kim Mcguire, have run the event the past three years. He previously was a captain for one of the boats for 10 years.
At the end of the tournament, awards are given out. Each participant in the competition gets a prize for partaking in the event.
Although the event just happened, Winners is already waiting to get back on the water next year, Shea said.
“When it's over, he always asks how many more days until we can come back,” she said.tains on board, Winners reeled in a fish of his own, all while grinning ear-to-ear.
He named it Leo. He kissed it. Then, he released it back into the water.
The group caught eight fish total. Winners caught two.
After the few hours on the water, the boat headed back to the Sarasota Outboard Club, where lunch was served to all of the participants and volunteers.
Laughter filled the club, everyone reminiscing over their time on the boats.
“Everyone gets a great day on the water. All of the volunteers and liaisons' faces really light up,” said Don Mcguire, co-chairman of the Friendliest Catch.  
Mcguire and his wife, Kim Mcguire, have run the event the past three years. He previously was a captain for one of the boats for 10 years.
At the end of the tournament, awards are given out. Each participant in the competition gets a prize for partaking in the event.
Although the event just happened, Winners is already waiting to get back on the water next year, Shea said.
“When it's over, he always asks how many more days until we can come back,” she said."

"Womenpriests Ordain First Orinda Woman Catholic Priest,"Joanna Truelson RCWP. Article by by Sora O'Doherty
Joanna Truelson Photo Sora O'Doherty

"Joanna Truelson took a big step in her spirituality last 
when the Orinda resident was ordained a Roman Catholic 
womanpriest at a ceremony at the Orinda Community 
Church June 25.

 The ordination, the first of its type in Orinda, was under 
the auspices of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, 
an organization founded in 2002 in Germany. 
The officiant was womanbishop Olivia Doko of 
San Luis Obispo, who was ordained a womanpriest 
in 2006 and a womanbishop in 2010. 
During the ordination Bishop Doko stated, 
"We are not restricted by the past."

 The Roman Catholic Womenpriests describes itself as a

 renewal movement within the Catholic church
 that began in Germany with the ordination of 
seven women on the Danube River in 2002. 

After the ordination of the first priests, 
women have also been ordained womenbishops so that, 
according to the Roman Catholic Womenpriests, 
they continue to ordain priests in the Apostolic succession.

 Roman Catholic Womenpriests claims that the 
ordinations they perform are "valid but illicit," 
as they are in violation of Canon Law
But they believe that they are in conformance 
with Apostolic Succession. ..

..." According to the Center for Applied Research
 in the Apostolate, which collects statistics on Catholicism
 in the United States, in 2015 there were 37,578 Catholic
 priests in the U.S. for a total Catholic population of 
68.1 million. 

There were 3,533 parishes that had no resident pastor and 
the number of active diocesan priests per parish has been 
steadily declining from two in 1965 to one in 2015.

 Truelson was raised in New York and studied nursing at 

Belle-view Hospital. After moving to California, 
she obtaining a BSN degree, and a master's from the 
University of California San Francisco, with a major in 
Mental Health Nursing Administration. 

She worked as a medical surgical pediatric coordinator 
for 24 years. Following a year in which her father died and 
she got divorced, with two young children, age two and five,
 she changed her profession to realtor, 
which allowed her to spend more time with her children.

 Truelson found a program called "A Course in Miracles." 
First she took the course; now she acts as a facilitator. 
She followed Matthew Fox from Holy Names College 
to his own University of Creation Spirituality, 
and in 2000 obtained the degree of Doctor of Ministry...

Truelson later attended the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley, 
and was ordained an Interfaith Minister, also in the year 2000...

Now Truelson feels that she has found her home in the RCWP.

Truelson has been a Womenpriest deacon, and is a
 founding member of Namaste Catholic Community in Orinda, 
which meets for Mass on the second and forth 
Saturdays of each month at the Orinda Community..." 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"Magdala Celebrations Heal Long-Buried Misogyny -- But Will Our Daughters Care?" by Sister Chris Schenk, National Catholic Reporter

  • A woman leads a St. Mary of Magdala prayer service held at a Michigan parish in 201.2 (Courtesy of FutureChurch)
  1. 1
  2. 2
    Mary of Magdala to a feast on par with those of the other apostles doesn't nearly begin to cover it.

..."On June 10 Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship said:
[I]t is right that the liturgical celebration of this woman has the same grade of feast given to the celebration of the apostles in the General Roman Calendar, and shines a light on the special mission of this woman, who is an example and model for every woman in the Church.
Bridget Mary's Response: Finally, the Vatican quietly affirms what contemporary scholarship concluded and the early church fathers taught -- St. Mary Magdala was the apostle to the apostles. In my view, the Vatican owes St. Mary of Magdala and the entire church an apology for portraying the first witness to encounter the Risen Christ as a prostitute.  I am grateful for Sister Schenk who has done so much to promote parishes celebrations of St. Mary Magdala on July 22nd over the past decade. Many of our inclusive Catholic communities have used Future Church's resources in crafting liturgies in honor of the the Apostle to the Apostles for years!

St. Mary of Magdala, the statement says, "has the honor of being the 'prima testis' [first witness] of the Lord's Resurrection. ... [and] Precisely because she was an eyewitness of the Risen Christ, she was also, on the other hand, the first to bear witness to him to the Apostles."
I'm not sure if most of us realize just how big of a deal it is to have the Vatican say St. Mary of Magdala was not a prostitute but an apostle in her own right, and the first to witness Jesus' Resurrection.
Oh, you didn't see the "not a prostitute" part? 
Well it's there, but obliquely concealed by some tactful backtracking from Pope Gregory's disastrous sixth-century sermon that combined three New Testament women -- Mary of Bethany, Mary of Magdala and the female "public sinner" who washed Jesus' feet with her tears -- into one big time woman-sinner-prostitute.
This biblical female Frankenstein's monster was, of course, forgiven by homily's end -- but not before inflicting great damage to the historical memory of Jesus' faithful women disciples. And, I believe, to the religious psyches of women down to the present day.
Thus began a long and destructive tradition in the west of remembering St. Mary of Magdala as a prostitute rather than the first witness to the Resurrection. Thankfully, the Eastern church never adopted the "forgiven prostitute" slur but always honored her as the "apostle to the apostles."
The Vatican's June 10 statement never quite says that Pope Gregory (and succeeding churchmen) got it wrong. Instead it alludes to work done by the Bollandists, a Jesuit group renowned for research into the lives of the saints, who "made a detailed study of the problem of identifying these three women and prepared a path for the liturgical reform of the Roman Calendar."
Did you get it yet?
I'm guessing not. That is because you have to fill in the blanks with one more obscure fact. The 1969 reform quietly changed the July 22 Gospel reading for St. Mary of Magdala's commemoration from the one about the "sinful woman at Simon's house who loved much" (Luke 7: 36-50) to Jesus' Easter appearance to Magdalene and her subsequent apostolic commissioning (John 20:1-2, 11-18).
But did a Vatican office or official ever tell anyone? Were there any public announcements such as, "Hey folks, St. Mary of Magdala wasn't a prostitute after all. We got that one wrong and now we're making it right."
Well, um, no.
So who knew? Basically no one knew except for the Scripture scholars.
And I thank God for them.
I thank God for my teacher, Fr. George Smiga, who, in the early 1990s taught a class on feminist biblical interpretation at our local seminary and spelled it out for us. (This was when you could still discuss such things at a diocesan seminary. Let's hope we'll be able to discuss them again soon.)
I was appalled to discover there is no evidence whatsoever that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute but ample evidence in all four Gospels that she was the first witness to the Resurrection. And I vowed to let people know who she really was somehow.
Enter God's inscrutable providence. In 1997, as director at FutureChurch, it gave me great peace of heart to at last fulfill my vow by launching a national campaign to restore St. Mary of Magdala to her rightful place as the apostle to the apostles.
We asked our supporters to sponsor special celebrations on or around July 22 at which a biblical expert would trace Mary's unparalleled fidelity in accompanying Jesus through crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. This would be followed by a prayer service at which a woman would preside, preach and encourage attendees to reflect on their own encounters with, and witness to, the risen Christ.
Our first Cleveland celebration attracted 200 people to a local parish where Fr. Smiga spoke. A friend encouraged about eight women from her 12-step group to attend. To my surprise, they wept unrestrainedly throughout the prayer service that was created and led by pastoral minister, Laurel Jurecki, who was clothed in a white alb.  
It dawned on me then that we were touching something very deep within the Catholic female psyche. A long-buried wound was slowly being brought to the Spirit's healing light.
Annual celebrations of St. Mary of Magdala completely exploded after that, going from 23 that first year, to 150 the following year to between 250 to 400 celebrations worldwide in each of the last 17 years. Every summer, thousands of women and men helped correct an egregious injustice done to a great woman leader in our church.
Along the way they also worked to correct present day injustices by committing to write, educate and advocate for reinstating female deacons, restoring deleted women to lectionary texts, encouraging women preachers and standing up for Catholic nuns under fire from Rome.
This year FutureChurch has created a celebration around the theme of building a church for our daughters with user friendly resources designed for parishes, schools, private homes and small faith communities. The initiative comes not a moment too soon because according to current research:  "Unlike their grandmothers and mothers, Catholic women born after Vatican II seem less willing to give the institutional church the benefit of the doubt and to stay loyal to the Church and Catholicism while hoping for change" (D'Antonio, Dillon and Gautier in American Catholics in Transition, pp. 96-97).
There is much to celebrate this July 22. The Vatican finally gets it that St. Mary of Magdala is an apostolic model in our Church on par with the male apostles.
But will our daughters even care?  
Or will they walk away sad because they simply won't sit in a pew and allow themselves to be disrespected as their mothers and grandmothers have been.
This is where the Holy Spirit comes in to do her thing.
But She needs our help.
Check out this new A Church for our Daughters campaign sponsored by over 30 church reform organizations and download a St. Mary of Magdala celebration and involve younger women.
And do it today.
St. Mary of Magdala thanks you -- and so do I."
[Sister of St. Joseph Christine Schenk served urban families for 18 years as a nurse midwife before co-founding FutureChurch, where she served for 23 years. She holds master's degrees in nursing and theology.]

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 14th Sunday OT, July 3, 2016, Beverly Bingle, RCWP

In the chapter before today's Gospel,
Luke tells the story of the sending of the twelve apostles,
symbolic of the twelve tribes
and therefore representing the church's mission to Israel.
Matthew and Mark also tell of the sending of the twelve.
Luke, though, is the only one
who adds the sending of the seventy-two
that we heard in today's Gospel.
Like the twelve, the seventy-two is symbolic.
A little background here:
the Greek manuscripts of Luke's gospel
differ about the number—
it's seventy in some, seventy-two in others.
In Genesis Moses chose seventy elders to help him,
and Jacob had seventy descendents.
Both seventy and seventy-two
may also symbolize the number of nations in the world—
the Hebrew text of Genesis says seventy nations,
the Greek text seventy-two.
Whichever number is used,
it stands for the mission of the church to the whole world
and shows the understanding of the early church
that they were sent to proclaim Jesus' message
to all people everywhere.
And that message begins with peace.
They are to be bearers of peace everywhere they go,
telling people that God is in charge,
not the violent or the greedy or the hate-filled.
As Luke writes it, “The reign of God is at hand for you.”
Comparing the ways the gospel writers
described the sending of the disciples
makes it clear that the early church communities
freely adapted Jesus' words to their own circumstances.
The word of God is not abstract.
It doesn't exist in a vacuum.
God's word is alive,
and like our ancestors in faith,
we must interpret God's word
to learn how we are called and sent to preach the good news.
We are the ones who are sent now,
apostles of peace in our time.
But how can we possibly bring peace to this world?
Or maybe the question is how we can BE peace In the world.
Down at Claver House this week I noticed Katy being peace.
She and her husband Rob are regular guests.
Katy greets folks by name when they come in.
Whenever a bag of donated clothes arrives,
she unpacks it and folds things on the table,
calling out to folks, “Shirley, this would look great on you!”
or “Matt, wouldn't your granddaughter like this?”
When Katy notices someone near her with an empty coffee cup,
she'll get up and get them a refill.
And she does all this with cheerful respect.
And Rob… whenever one of the guests starts to get loud,
or, two of the guests let an argument get out of hand,
Rob calmly and firmly asks them to quiet down.
I've seen him defuse some situations that could have turned nasty.
Katy and Rob are peace in the world.
Then there's Barbara Coleman.
From her experience
with the anti-racism “Dialogue-to-Change” group,
she realized that her life did not include people of color.
Sure, she worked with black people,
and she went to church with them.
But she went home to a white suburb.
So she decided to integrate her social life.
She began to invite participants in her group
to supper at her house,
eventually resulting in new friendships
among a half dozen or so people
of different races and backgrounds.
I remember my Aunt Anne being peace in the world.
She preached with her actions,
mothering her five boys,
welcoming their neighborhood buddies into the house
with smiles and snacks
and always an invitation to stay for the next meal.
Whenever a new family moved into the neighborhood,
she was on the step with a cake to welcome them.
She volunteered at the Church.
She made sure people had what they needed,
whether it was a ride to the doctor's office or a listening ear.
She was a good listener,
asking the right questions and never criticizing.
Kind and generous, she preached peace in her own house,
peace in the neighborhood, peace in her parish—
just by being who she was, all without saying a word.
Aunt Anne had the marks of Jesus in her heart—
marks made by a life of gentleness and a loving spirit.
In our second reading St. Paul says he's been troubled so much—
stoning, chains, beatings—
that he considers his scars
to be like the marks of Jesus on his body.
Paul had turned away from his deadly persecution of Christians
to preach peace and practice nonviolence.
We may not have the marks of Jesus on our bodies,
but we can bear the marks of Jesus in our hearts.
Those marks are visible, especially in the world we live in.
They're the ones that John's Gospel says
will make all people know that we are Jesus' disciples—
that we love one another.
No one of us can bring peace to the Middle East.
No one of us can stop the killings on our city's streets.
What we can do is be peace right where we are.
Like Tom McDonald and Sharon Havelak
and the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition,
we can stand on a street corner and hold up a sign.
Like Katy and Rob at Claver House,
we can urge peace in the middle of turmoil.
Like Barbara Coleman,
we can build friendships with people who are different from us.
Like my Aunt Anne, we can reach out with hospitality and concern
to family and friends and neighbors.
Our hearts will grow in peace
when we walk the way that Jesus taught,
and we too will become peace in the world.
We will be apostles of peace,
living signs of love that can soothe tempers,
bridge divisions,
and heal wounds.
Glory be to God!

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Popes Joined Forces to Crush Vatican Coup"/ Vatican Hardliners Oppose Pope Francis' Agenda, New York Times
The lesson here is : do not underestimate the power of hardliners in the Vatican Curia to oppose Pope Francis' agenda of openness to dialogue and to a more pastoral approach in the Catholic Church.

One example is Pope Francis recent announcement of a commission to study women deacons. Some of the Curia fear the changes that a church that treats women as equals and partners--like Jesus did in the Gospels. Indeed, ordaining women deacons would be a first step towards gender equality that could shake the patriarchal power structure to its core! The stained glass ceiling would crack, rocking the good old boys club top down approach. In my view, this would be a positive development as women bring their gifts to minister at the Table. The church would grow, flourish and become more whole.

The Pope's recent apology to gays and mistreated women is opening doors to further dialogue and much needed healing in our church. While these words must be followed by changes in teaching, policies and laws, Pope Francis has made a courageous beginning.

My prayer is that Pope Francis hangs in there through the hostility and opposition of the Vatican Curia. All of us are the church, not just the hierarchy. Let us stand together with Pope Francis, in loving solidarity, as we work for justice, equality and renewal!
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,,

Monday, June 27, 2016

Pope Frqncis Says Christians Must Apologize to Gay People and "Mistreated Women" for Marginalizing them, How About Women Priests?, English  Spanish
Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Yerevan, Armenia, to Rome June 26. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Bridget Mary's Response: I am deeply touched that Pope Francis asked forgiveness of gay people and of "mistreated women." Pope Francis'  words reflect  the compassionate heart of Christ for those on the margins whom the institutional church has hurt through centuries of its toxic teachings and punitive policies.  

May this apology lead to a change in teachings, policies and actions that promote a healthier church that proclaims the spiritual equality of all the baptized.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church needs a major revision. If we are to live Christ's love as Catholics we cannot teach that anyone is objectively disordered! Each person is the beloved of God called to reflect the loving face of the divine in our world. No exceptions!

I pray that Pope Francis will begin a dialogue with our international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement that will lead to the dropping of excommunication and punishments against our members and supporters. We are following our consciences and leading the church into living Gospel equality now. As Francis initiates the commission to study women deacons, he could also begin a healing process of the wounds of sexism with a dialogue with women priests. 

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP,,
"In a press conference Sunday on the flight back to Rome after his weekend trip to Armenia, the pontiff said bluntly: "The church must say it's sorry for not having comported itself well many times, many times."
"I believe that the church not only must say it's sorry ... to this person that is gay that it has offended," said the pope. "But it must say it's sorry to the poor, also, to mistreated women, to children forced to work."
"When I say the church: Christians," Francis clarified. "The church is holy. We are the sinners."
The pope was responding to a question about remarks German Cardinal Reinhard Marx made last week that the Catholic church should apologize to the gay community for marginalizing them.
"I will repeat the same thing I said on the first trip," Francis said today, referencing the press conference he held on a return flight from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2013. "I will also repeat what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: that [gay people] should not be discriminated against, that they have to be respected, pastorally accompanied."
"The matter is a person that has that condition [and] that has good will because they search for God," said the pontiff."
"Who are we to judge them?" he asked, reframing his famous phrase from 2013 into the plural. "We must accompany well -- what the Catechism says. The Catechism is clear."
Francis also said that the culture in which he grew up in Argentina many years ago was a "closed Catholic culture," giving the example of how it was looked down upon to even enter the home of a couple who had been married civilly after one of the partners had previously divorced.
"The culture has changed -- and thank God!" the pope exclaimed. "Christians; we must say we are sorry many times; not only on this."