Friday, September 30, 2016

The Creation: Meditation Video

"Vatican newspaper examines deaconesses and the early Church" - A Green Light for Women Deacons by the Vatican?

Bridget Mary's Response:
The Vatican newspaper may be sending a green light in support of women deacons. This first step toward the full equality of women in the church could eventually lead to women priests, bishops and open up  leadership positions to women in a more inclusive, egalitarian church. The Roman Catholic Church needs a renewal of ministry in the community of the baptized, where all gifts are called forth and affirmed  in a  non-clerical, empowering circle of spiritual equals. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,

Catholic World News
September 29, 2016
"Nearly two months after Pope Francis instituted a commission to study women and the diaconate, L’Osservatore Romano has published an article on deaconesses and the early Church.
Carlo Carletti, an archaeology professor at the University of Bari, said that the starting point for any examination of the topic is Romans 16:1, in which St. Paul refers to “our sister Phoebe, a deaconess.”
Of the 30 inscriptions that refer to deaconesses, said Carletti, 25 have been found in Asia Minor (in modern-day Turkey).
Carletti attributes this geopraphical concentration to the legacy of St. Paul, who included women in his missionary activity. In the West, on the other hand, “the diaconal ministry … remained constantly a male prerogative.”

Honoring Saints and Ancestors: An Online Retreat for the Season of Remembrance: Daily Nourishment from the Abbey of the Arts

October 31-November 19, 2016

The Christian feasts of All Saints and All Souls on November 1st and 2nd honor the profound legacy of wisdom our ancestors have left to us.  These feasts coincide with the Celtic feast of Samhain which marks the beginning of the dark half of the year in the northern hemisphere and is a festival of the final harvest and remembering the dead.  These moments on the great turning of the year’s wheel is believed to be a “thin place” where the ancestors are especially accessible to us across the veil.

Join us for an online self-study retreat experience welcoming in the gifts of the dark time and honoring the many saints of our heritage.  We will explore the gift of our genetic and spiritual roots and celebrate the coming of the fruitful darkness (in the northern hemisphere) when the seeds of new beginnings are planted.  November is traditionally the month of remembering the dead (although this retreat can be experienced at any time of year).  Welcome in the presence of the Communion of Saints who support us in each moment.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

How to Be a Catholic and a Feminist: Celia Viggo Wexler By Jean E. Barker, The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is Catholic and Feminist

Bridget Mary, liturgy in Dublin in Aug. 2016

Bridget Mary's Response; The Association of  Roman Catholic  Women Priests is introducing a new model of priestly ministry to our Church that is rooted in Jesus'  practice of a community of equals. In our inclusive communities, all are welcome, including the divorced and remarried, gays, lesbians and transgender to celebrate Eucharist. For example, at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida our presiders include both ordained and non-ordained ; our homilies invite dialogue with the entire community; we pray the words of institution in the Eucharistic Prayer together; and all raise hands in mutual blessing as we go forth to serve our sisters and brothers in the world. We affirm primacy of conscience and make decisions as co-equals in ministry and finances.
It is a not an add women and stir clerical operation! We offer the Roman Catholic Church a vibrant, inclusive model of an egalitarian priestly ministry that is one with the community of the baptized!

"Among the range of diverse voices, including those of younger Catholics, Wexler discovered key themes, in particular what she called “the primacy of conscience” in making moral decisions that might differ from official Church teachings. While this can apply to a broad range of personal choices, “there is for many women a sense that the church does not respect the role of conscience when women are making decisions about reproductive issues, even birth control,” Wexler said. For Frances Kissling, whom Wexler refers to in the book as “abortion’s moralist,” her disagreements with the Church’s teachings on sexual ethics led to a 25-year career of very public activism as president of Catholics for a Free Choice (now Catholics for Choice), which fights for abortion rights.
Ordination of women to the Catholic priesthood was another topic Wexler’s interviewees discussed. Several “actually felt a call to the priesthood, and it mattered a great deal to them that that call was denied to them by the Church,” said Wexler. The women revealed a range of nuanced views on the impact of women priests: “Nun on the Bus” Sister Simone Campbell, who as executive director of NETWORK lobbies for social and economic justice, told Wexler that “we have to open our eyes to the broader story. We’re thinking of ordination too narrowly.” Taking another view, Latina theologian Teresa Delgado “does not believe that ordaining women to the priesthood alone would greatly alter the church’s unbending orthodoxy,” Wexler writes in the book.
While women are contributing their perspectives to Catholic theology, some of Wexler’s interviewees felt strongly that women’s voices should also be heard from the pulpits in Catholic churches. They “bemoaned the fact the liturgy is the poorer because women do not preach,” Wexler said. Psychotherapist and author Sharon MacIsaac McKenna, a former nun, told Wexler she was distressed by the quality of the sermons she heard in Church, knowing women colleagues capable of, in McKenna’s words, “doing it with more care and more pastoral sense.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Hope Transforms 2" by Jan Phillips

"Hope is not a powerless waiting for, but a powerful welcoming of the future we are creating."

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 27th Sunday OT, Oct. 2, 2016 Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Some translations of two words in today's gospel
obscure the point of this passage.
First, there's “douloi, the Greek word for slave.
Our Catholic New American Bible translates it as servants.
Other translations call them “hired workers” or “employees.”
But it really does mean slaves.
Jesuit Fr. Dennis Hamm observes that,
in first century Israel slavery was simply a fact of life,
with two-thirds of the population either slaves or former slaves.
Fr. Hamm says that both Jesus and the early Christian writers
used slavery as a positive metaphor
to describe human relationships with God.
Then there's that adjective that's translated as “miserable.”
Other versions translate it as
worthless, unprofitable, useless, or unworthy.
Presbyterian scripture scholar Ken Bailey renders it
as those “to whom nothing is owed,”
meaning that our relationship with God is parallel to a slave.
God doesn't owe us anything
for doing what we are supposed to do.
So this gospel teaches us humility.
We are God's people,
and we're expected to do good.
We're expected to do our best.
And once we've done that,
God doesn't owe us for it.
There's nothing we can do to put God in debt to us.
In today's first reading we heard the prophet Habakkuk
complaining to God about injustice.
But God doesn't owe us justice.
God is justice, that right relationship that brings peace.
God gives us life
and gives us the ability to love
and to serve in the ways of right relationship that create justice.
Still, we get discouraged.
Like Habakkuk we look around and see oppression and violence.
We see war and famine and destruction.
We cringe at the devastation of poverty.
We are aghast at the deep disrespect for people and planet.
Seeing all that, knowing injustice is rampant,
what gets us up out of bed in the morning?
What moves us?
Some days it might be family, the kids, friends.
Other days it might be to keep a promise.
Others it might be that we just don't want
to suffer the consequences if we don't get up and go to work.
Whatever gets us moving, it reveals a relationship—
with people, with the world,
with that gracious mystery we call God.
Whatever gets us moving, we can call it faith.
It's what we are loyal to, have a vision about, what we care for.
It's what we believe in.
Yes, faith.
It can be strong... and still falter.
It can be weak... and still hold up.
The gospel gives us another lesson in humility
when Jesus tells us we don't need a big bunch of faith,
that we can move mountains with trust
that's the size of a tiny mustard seed.
He had to be using that rhetorical device called hyperbole
to make a point,
because I haven't seen anybody but coal miners
moving any mountains lately.
But I have seen people who are changing the world.
Last week I went to a presentation
by the Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie,
a group of ordinary citizens who are trying
to put pressure on local and state officials
to start here the same process
that cleaned up Chesapeake Bay.
And there's a group of local priests
who are part of a national effort to end racism
in our Catholic Church.
And then there was Tuesday,
when members of the League of Women Voters
stood at every library to get people to register to vote.
And Wednesday Tree Toledo helped two clients of Lott Industries
plant a Blue Spruce in memory of a staff member who,
they said, had been really nice to them.
It's like anthropologist Margaret Mead said,
that we should “Never doubt that a small group
of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed,” she said, “it's the only thing that ever has.”
These folks are changing the world.
Then there's a family, members of this assembly,
who bought a newer car this week.
Instead of trading in the old one,
they had a mechanic check it over to make sure it was still safe
and then gave it to a local refugee family through USTogether.
It's like Pope Francis said, commenting on today's gospel,
that the mustard seed is small,
but faith that size is enough
“to do things that are humanly impossible, unthinkable.”
The faith of these people, and many others in our town,
is making a difference.
Think about holy people we've heard about.
They didn't set about to do big things.
They had a vision.
For Mother Teresa it was the conviction that every human
has the right to dignity, even in poverty and facing death.
She wrote about the years when she felt abandoned by God,
long years when she kept on helping one person at a time.
Through all that,
her conviction sparked enough faith to keep her going.
For Malala Yousafzai
it was the belief that every girl has a right to education.
She lived that belief and was shot for it,
and kept it through her recovery, and she still keeps going.
She calls us to remember that “One book, one pen, one child,
and one teacher can change the world.”
Some people who do little deeds of justice end up being famous.
But most of us end up unknown to the world,
even to close neighbors, and friends, even to family.
You probably don't think you've moved any mountains.
You doubt if you've even shifted a pebble in the road.
But I see you doing it anyway.
You keep up on issues and talk about them with your friends.
You write letters to the Blade and letters to officeholders.
You help people.
You take part in organizations that work for peace and justice.
You pray.
You vote.
You keep on trying, with that little mustard-seed faith,
to stir into flame
the Spirit that makes you strong, and loving, and wise.
I thank God for your witness to the Gospel!

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

Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Twenty -One Activists Arrested at Pentagon in Peace Witness Organized by Campaign for Nonviolence

Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP  on left holdiing sign 
 On September 26, 2016, after years of unsuccessfully seeking meetings with elected and appointed government officials over the ongoing US wars, proxy wars and military occupations, armed drones, US war crimes, and the increasing Pentagon budget activists associated with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) went to the Pentagon today once again seeking a meeting with decision-makers in the Pentagon chain of command including Secretary Ashton Carter. They told Pentagon police they wouldn’t leave until they spoke to an official in a position of authority about war crimes committed by the US and that they were following their obligations under Nuremberg to draw attention to these crimes of US government elected and appointed officials. Although the activists were nonviolent the Pentagon police placed 21 activists under arrest and charged them with “Violation of a Lawful Order”.

The presence of antiwar activists today at the Pentagon follows the International Day of Peace, the over 700 actions of nonviolence around the US and other countries organized by Campaign Nonviolence calling for an end to war, poverty, and for serious efforts to address the climate crisis and environmental degradation. In addition, many of the activists had attended the World Beyond War conference held in Washington, DC at American University over the weekend entitled “No War 2016: Real Security Without Terrorism”. The attempted meeting by activists was a continuation of the over 700 events organized by Campaign Nonviolence this month in addition to carrying the message of World Beyond War to the Department of Defense and Obama Administration. The activists tried to also deliver a petition signed by over 23000 people to President Obama, Secretary Carter, and German Chancellor Merkel calling for the closing of a drone relay station at US Air Force Base Ramstein in Germany which has been linked to the deaths of innocent civilians. Activists in Germany also attempted to deliver this petition to Merkel today. Australian activists acted in solidarity at the US military base in Pine Gap and another solidary action was held at West Point, NY by others concerned about the US drone program.

 Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska one of those arrested explained why she was at the Pentagon seeking a meeting today “The measure of a healthy society is how we treat the marginalized. How we can care for them in a just and humane manner when 56% of the federal budget goes to the Pentagon for its 800+ military bases and the killing? That fills the pockets of the weapons manufacturers!” The World Beyond War conference and Campaign Nonviolence say there is a link between poverty, war, and the environmental threat to the planet. They say that there needs to be a new way of running our planet and resolving international conflict through nonviolence. “The reason why I took action today is because I am moved by conscience by the words of the late peace activist Daniel Berrigan who said “Because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total - but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial.” We all need to get out of our comfort zone and away from what is convenient for us when it comes to taking action. We cannot continue on the path of more war while so many social problems exist in society. War is a threat to Mother Earth and all humanity. The way of war is not sustainable” Kilbride said.

Those arrested include Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Richard Ochs, Malachy Kilbride of Maryland, Alice Sutter, Felton Davis, and Chat Gunter of New York, Don Cunning and Manijeh Saba of New Jersey, Brian Terrell of Iowa, Phil Runkel of Wisconsin, Joan Stallard, Art Laffin and Eve Tetaz of Washington, DC, JoAnne Lingle of Indiana, Howard Mettee of Ohio, Phoebe Sorgen of California, Henry Lowendorf and James Pandaru of Connecticut, Beth Adams and Paki Wieland of Massachusetts, Nancy Gowen of Virginia.

A November 3, 2016 court date has been scheduled in the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. The activists said they are looking forward to their day in court.

Pew Research Center, the percentage of Catholics went from 90 in the 1960s to 69 at present.

According to a 2014 study from the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Catholics went from 90 in the 1960s to 69 at present.

"According to a 2014 study from the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Catholics went from 90 in the 1960s to 69 at present.
U.S. Catholics at large, but Hispanics in particular, are seeing a similar tendency. Among millennials, they represent close to 60 percent of the total, yet a 2013 study from Pew shows that one in four adult Latinos are now “former” Catholics.
As a footnote, some observers pointed out last September, as Francis was headed to the United States, that outreach towards the Latino community was one of the reasons he chose to deliver 14 of his 18 addresses in the country in his native Spanish."
Younger Catholics not identifying as such, rather “Nones”.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Early Church Understanding of Eucharist as a Sacred Meal - Recommended Reading of New Book by Theologian Joseph Martos

"The Lord’s supper described in 1 Corinthians is best understood as a communal meal to which many people brought food. There is no indication that the so-called words of institution were spoken during the meal; rather, those words of Jesus are given as the rationale for the meal. The body of the Lord to which the text refers is more likely the local community than what was later called consecrated bread. • Jesus’ words over the bread and wine, as recounted in the synoptic gospels, cannot be used as proof texts for later Christian eucharistic beliefs because the copula “is” would not have been used in Aramaic. Likewise, the bread of life discourse in the fourth gospel can be interpreted symbolically, as Protestants have done since the Reformation. In other words, there is no reason to take these passages literally except in the interest of supporting later Catholic doctrines." (Joseph Martos, Deconstructing Sacramental Theology and  Reconstructing Catholic Ritual)

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Celebrates Eucharist in Sarasota, Florida

This new scholarly book by theologian Joseph Martos presents a comprehensive study of the sacraments from the early church up to modern times. His recommendations for a more meaningful celebration of the sacraments by the people of God is both inspiring and geared to meet the needs of Catholics today who hunger for deep, spiritual , communal celebrations of the Christ Presence in our midst.
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,

"Now comes Joseph Martos, a retired professor of philosophy and theology, with a new book that argues this: Nearly the whole of Catholic sacramental theology “is intellectually bankrupt.”
Deconstructing Sacramental Theology and Reconstructing Catholic Ritual says that in creating its sacramental theology over the centuries (especially through the work of the Scholastics), the church has misinterpreted scripture and patristic writing and wound up with doctrines in bad need of being pulled apart and put back together in ways that would be much more meaningful to the church today.
Martos told me the following: “The question I try to ask, and which most scholars do not ask is: What in the author’s experience is the author trying to talk about when language is being used metaphorically? For example, I believe that ‘new life’ probably refers to a visibly new lifestyle rather than to an invisible injection of divine grace. … I think justification by faith refers to getting one's life straightened out by trusting in the teachings of Christ rather than to being seen as just in the eyes of God even though one is still a sinner, as Luther proposed. If ideas do not come from nowhere, what in Paul’s experience could he have been talking about when he spoke of being justified by faith?”
In the book, Martos adds this: “Although the Second Vatican Council opened a door to change, real change has not occurred because of the hierarchy’s belief that the way things looked in the thirteenth century is the way they still look -- or at least ought to look.”
Well, I’m not a Catholic theologian, nor am I meant to be one. So I’m not the right person to do a critical analysis of the author’s many arguments in this 300-page volume.
The reason I bring it to your attention is that I think all faith communities need challengers.
People who raise difficult questions, who question foundational assumptions -- especially if they do it in a constructive spirit and not out of anger or bitterness -- help faith communities remain vibrant and worth taking seriously..."
[Bill Tammeus, a Presbyterian elder and former award-winning Faith columnist for The Kansas City Star, writes the daily “Faith Matters” blog for The Star’s website and a column for The Presbyterian Outlook. His latest book is Jesus, Pope Francis and a Protestant Walk into a Bar: Lessons for the Christian ChurchE-mail him at]

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Upper Room Liturgical Celebration - Wisdom and Unity,Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community of NYS Capital Region

Kathleen Ryan, ARCWP and Lynn Kinlan led the Eucharistic celebration today at the Upper Room. They chose the theme of Wisdom and Unity. Lynn's homily starter is below followed by the reading used during the liturgy.

Welcome to our Inclusive Catholic community where all are equals and everyone is invited to participate in the homily discussion and our prayers. Each one of us is has a wisp of wisdom and we learn from each other.

Theme: Today, our theme is Wisdom and Unity. The Spirit of Wisdom is central to the act of creation; a resource used by the Divine to do no less than set the earth and heavens in place. As beloved ones from and of the Divine, each of us is invited to deploy our shares of Wisdom to continue Creation in a loving way. We do that as members of one body, sometimes troubled, but always trying to seek and move together toward greater peace and justice.

Homily Starter: Wisdom as a female spirit of ultimate value is expressed in lovely metaphors – She offers pleasant paths, roads leading to peace and she is a tree of life for those who embrace her. Most reassuringly, the first line says “When you find Wisdom” so, each of us is supposed to develop Wisdom and hold fast to her. Wisdom isn’t some spectral Holy Ghost in a trinity working above and beyond us; it isn’t for some and not others; it is the readily available result of a faithful heart. Every one of us has our own Divine Wisdom to contribute if we agree to walk the road, take the path, hug the tree and hold fast.
Our second reading asks us to clothe ourselves in a bunch of virtues (compassion, kindness, humility etc.) which seem like different names for Wisdom. But here, Paul recognizes the trial of wearing such clothes close to our skin and our hearts–we have to bear with one another and forgive all the time and not hold onto grudges. Sounds not so easy, so why should we do it?
Traditional religion says to save ourselves and reach heaven. Paul doesn’t mention sin or a someday heaven. He makes Christ’s peace our natural calling immediately. He says we can experience Divine peace as members of one unified body as long as we put on the clothes of wisdom and bind ourselves together in love. So our shared Wisdom leads us to peace and unity, sometimes troubling and challenging but always loving… and isn’t that the essence of our continuing story of creating ourselves to mirror the image of the Divine? Your thoughts?

A Reading from Proverbs  3:13 - 20

Happy are you when you find Wisdom,
when you develop discernment.
For she is more profitable than silver,
and brings yields greater even than gold.
She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you can conceivably desire
can equal her value.
She holds long life in one hand,
riches and honor in the other.
Her paths are pleasant ones,
and all her roads lead to peace.
She is a tree of life for those who embrace her,
and all who hold fast to her find happiness.
For it was through her that Yahweh laid the earth’s
through her that the heavens were set in place.
By God’s knowledge the depths were deepened,
and clouds dropped down dew.

A Reading from Paul to the  Colossians 3:12-15

Because you are God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
Clothe yourselves with heartfelt compassion, with kindness.
humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another;
forgive whatever grievances you have against one another –
forgive in the same way the Holy One has forgiven you.  Above all else, put on love,
 which binds the rest together and makes them perfect.
Let Christ’s peace reign in your hearts since, as members of one body,
you have been called to that peace.

These are the inspired words of Paul, disciple of Jesus

Upper Room Inclusive Catholic Community of NYS Capital Region