Saturday, May 6, 2017



At the national level, in different cities, from the Afro-Colombian Pastoral, Ecumenical Table for Peace, we were commemorating the 15th anniversary of the massacre of our Afro brothers in Bella Vista: Bojayá-Chocó. May 2, 2002. We participate in different religious congregations and Christian denominations.
Brother Germán, eyewitness tells us the fact
Happened and invites us
A reflection in the light of the Words.
"These are they who have come out of the great tribulation, washed and washed their robes in the Blood of the Lamb" Rev. 07:14
Afro women in commemoration of the massacre of Bojayá,
Held, May 2/02
Your word is Light, who dwells on the path,
It is the Divine Light, which leads us to love "
Presentation of the offerings.
"Orori, orora, the bread of life we ​​are going to present ...
The bread of life we ​​are presenting
That this encourages us to keep fighting.
"Wine represents the wear and fatigue
Of the people who seek to save life "

"A black hug, a smile brings happiness"
Black without jobs, lives without peace,
Black is the root of freedom "

Kentucky bishop lauds New Ways Ministry, despite cautions from Vatican, US bishops

Article in the Tablet in UK News On Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Ordination of Abigail Eltzroth : "Ordination of a Woman Catholic Priest is Not Valid"

The issue is the sinfulness of sexism and patriarchy in the Roman Catholic Church, not  the sinfulness of women priests. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

04 May 2017 | by Rose Gamble

'It would be sinful to receive a fake sacrament from a woman priest and that includes attending a fake Mass,' says Diocese of Charlotte

A breakaway Catholic group says it has ordained a woman as a Catholic priest at a non-denominational church in North Carolina.
Abigail Eltzroth, 64, went through the simulated ordination at the Jubilee! church in Asheville, under the aegis of the group Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
“It’s time for a change and we’re in the forefront, leading the charge,” Eltzroth told the Charlotte Observer following the ceremony on 30 April. “We expect that eventually everybody is going to follow us.”
She added that she intends to start a Catholic community in the Asheville area.
 The Diocese of Charlotte said that under Catholic teaching the ‘ordination’ was not valid.
“I hope that Catholics in the diocese will understand that it would be sinful to receive a fake sacrament from a woman priest and that includes attending a fake Mass,” said David Hains, spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.
According to a statement released by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests following the ordination ceremony, 250 women in 10 countries have been ordained as Catholic priests. In the United States, the group said, women priests serve in 65 “inclusive churches.” That includes women priests affiliated with the association and with a second allied group – Roman Catholic Women Priests – that has the same mission.

PICTURE: View of a fresco said by proponents of the ordination of women to show a woman priest in the early Christian church in the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome, Italy. The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests holds this image up as evidence that there were women priests in the early Christian church. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

"Women priests are not sinful, sexism and patriarchy are."

Bridget Mary's Response: I am grateful to the leaders in the Women's Ordination Conference, Erin Hanna and Kate McElwee for their statement of support of women priests in response to the North Carolina diocese's condemnation of the ordination of Abigail Eltzroth ARCWP.  The international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is leading the way toward a more just and equal church rooted in Jesus example of Gospel partnership and equality. Indeed, women priests are not sinful, sexism and patriarchy are. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,

Kate McElwee: 607-725-1364
Erin Saiz Hanna: 401-588-0457
For Immediate Release: 5 May 2017
The Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) is dismayed by the comments released by David Hains, spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, regarding the ordination of Abigail Eltzroth. In his statement, Hains stated: “I hope that Catholics in the diocese will understand that it would be sinful to receive a fake sacrament from a woman priest and that includes attending a fake Mass.”
The idea that a woman who answers her vocation to share the Good News is “sinful” is an antiquated notion from the Church hierarchy who still consider women unclean and unholy.  Women priests are not sinful, sexism and patriarchy are. WOC celebrates Abigail Eltzroth’s ordination, the more than two-hundred women who practice prophetic obedience by answering God’s call, and all those who worship in these communities.   
Although women are leaving the institutional Church more rapidly than any other group (Pew Research, 2015), they are finding a sacramental home in women-led eucharistic communities and home churches, where all are welcome to the table. We encourage those who find a home in these communities to follow one’s own conscience in seeking the sacraments.
On his recent trip to Egypt, Pope Francis said: “There’s a phrase that should never be used: ‘It’s always been done that way.’ That phrase, let me tell you, is bad. We must always be changing because time changes.” The Women’s Ordination Conference and the majority of U.S. Catholics (88% according to the Shriver Report) who support women’s ordination couldn’t agree more.
As the Roman Catholic Church marks “World Day of Prayer for Vocations” this Sunday, May 7th, WOC prays that the Church hierarchy rid itself of the sin of sexism and once and for all change with the times. It is long overdue that the Roman Catholic Church affirm women’s gifts and welcome women as equal partners in all realms of ministry and leadership.

"When Mary becomes Cosmic" (David Richo 2016) Katy Zatsick ARCWP/Liturgy Reflection

Cardinal Walter Kasper at the Mary and Unity of the Church Ecumenical
Conference in 2008 wrote, "Mary does not stand for the mighty, the haughty and the rich; she stands for the little ones, the powerless, the poor, the meek and humble. She is tender with the sick and disabled, tender also with the sinners." (p4) 

An archetype is a motif, a familiar theme in stories and dreams.  It is also
an instinctive psychic energy without our own spiritual and bodily
consciousness. Archetypes appear in persons, dream figures, story
characters, and numinous events.  (p 10) 

According to Jungian psychology, there is both a masculine and a feminine energy in the psyche of all humans and in all of nature.  Masculine and feminine in this context are not equated with male or female nor are they omitted to males or females. They are psyche-energies, qualities in all of us inherited from our human ancestry.  The term divine feminine in this writing is not reserved to females.  It is a quality of all beings and of God in whose image they are made.  

The archetypes are personified as characters in stories the world over.
Actually, archetypes articulate the full tapestry of energies in our own
life experience and choices: the energy to live through pain as a hero, to
find wisdom like a guide, to pursue a dark purpose as shadow, to protect in a motherly or fatherly way, to act as the trickster who 

trips up the arrogant ego and gives it its comeuppance.   It is the nature of the archetypes that every archetypal character-every archetypal energy -is in us. 

For Jung the Self is the central archetype, God's divine life in us and in
nature. This is the divine life within us, the life of grace that animates
us to live as Christ in the world.   Thus the Self refers also to our inner
wholeness, both a reality about us and the call to us to incarnate the
divine life in here-and-how reality.  (p14)

Mary is the archetype of help before, during and after injustices.  Our
challenge is to ask for more and more from Mary, Protectress of the
Helpless.  This allows the archetype of divine feminine to evolve more fully in our consciousness.  She was always complete but each century reveals more of who she is and can be for us. 

Thus, Mary is the champion, the fierce tigress for justice. ...This Mary
does not support a privileged white ego.  She is best pictured the Black
Madonna, the creatively erotic earth mother who keeps her promise to guide."
and protect our planet. (p4)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

"Weaverville Woman Becomes Priest, Breaks Stained Glass Ceiling" by John Boyle, Asheville Citizen Times
Abigail Eltzroth ARCWP

When it comes to role models, Mary Magdalene rises to the top for Abigail Eltzroth.
While Jesus Christ would naturally take the No. 1 spot on that list, the woman who first discovered Christ's empty tomb and began spreading the word of his resurrection is Eltzroth's kind of lady — in the thick of the story, right there with the men alerting the world to the Earth-shaking good news.
Last weekend, Eltzroth became the latest woman — and the first in the western half of North Carolina — ordained as a Catholic priest by a breakaway group called the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. The official Roman Catholic church, which does not allow female priests, will not recognize her new credentials, but that makes no difference to Eltzroth, a 64-year-old retired economist who moved to Weaverville a year ago.
Eltzroth maintains she is "breaking the stained glass ceiling."
"I’ve been in ministry for a number of years now, and in the Catholic Church that stained glass ceiling is just always present,” Eltzroth said. "Not only is there a limitation (on women's roles), but there's not even an acknowledgment of what we do."
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of Sarasota, Florida, conducted the ordination ceremony, held Sunday at Jubilee!, a nondenominational church on Wall Street in downtown Asheville. Meehan is a bishop with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, one of two rebel Catholic groups in the U.S. that ordain women. The other is Roman Catholic Womenpriests.
Meehan maintains the female priest movement is on the rise, despite the church's cold shoulder, and now includes 250 women in 10 countries.
"The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is leading the church now toward living Gospel gender equality, as women priests lead inclusive communities where all are equal and all are welcome," Meehan said in an email. "Our movement has over 65 inclusive communities in 35 states in the United States, and there are women priests and inclusive communities in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States."
While Eltzroth and Meehan maintain that excommunication is automatic for women ordained by their association, the Diocese of Charlotte, which oversees all official Roman Catholic parishes in the western half of North Carolina, did not confirm that Eltzroth was "officially" excommunicated.
"That's not something the church actively does," said Patricia Guilfoyle, editor of the Catholic News Herald, which serves the western diocese. "It's not like the Pope issues a statement saying, 'This person is excommunicated.'"
She did note that the Vatican in 2007 issued a general decree regarding the excommunication of women who attempt to receive or grant the sacrament of holy orders (becoming a priest).
"Basically, it states that in all of these cases the people involved incur excommunication because they publicly and willfully choose to act in opposition to the authority of the Church — effectively committing an act of schism," Guilfoyle said.
The Charlotte diocese comprises 92 parishes and missions in 46 counties, serving an estimated 450,000 Catholics. Within a 50-mile radius of Asheville, the diocese has 19 Catholic churches or missions.
David Hains, a spokesman for the Diocese, issued a statement in response to Eltzroth's ordination ceremony.
"I hope that Catholics in the diocese will understand that it would be sinful to receive a fake sacrament from a woman priest, and that includes attending a fake Mass," he said.

Dwindling priest numbers in U.S.

The diocese, following Catholic teaching, maintains it follows the example of Jesus, who chose 12 men as his apostles, who were then charged with spreading the faith. In 1994, then-Pope John Paul II issued a statement that said the church has no authority to go further than what Jesus did.
Pope Francis caused a stir last year when he created a commission to study the possibility of women being ordained as deacons in the church, but he later clarified his position and said the exclusion of women from the priesthood is settled matter.
Eltzroth, who converted to Roman Catholicism in 2000 from the Presbyterian denomination, remains undeterred by the current Pope's affirmation of centuries of maintaining that stained glass ceiling. Her organization began ordaining priests in 2002 in Europe and has no intention of slowing down.
"We’re just one step ahead of him," Eltzroth said of Pope Francis. "We’re on the cutting edge. We’re leading the church into the future."

She cites Biblical teachings that support leadership roles for women, and she notes the church has not always had the same policies regarding priests, including the provision that they not marry. She's hopeful for continued evolution within the church, pointing out the church at times has supported slavery and condemned usury, the loaning of money and charging interest.
"Open the doors to women, open the doors to married men, the whole LGBT community," Eltzroth said, summarizing her philosophy on what the church needs to do.
Eltzroth lived in Nebraska and Washington, D.C. for years before moving to Weaverville last year, at the invitation of her grown daughter, who lives in Asheville and told her, "This is your kind of people here." A divorcee, Eltzroth also has a grown son, who lives in Washington, D.C.
She and Meehan believe the Catholic Church, faced with a decades-long shortage of male priests, needs all the ordained leaders it can get. Eltzoth maintains a third "of the active priests in this diocese are foreign born, and that’s probably true throughout the country. They’re coming in from countries that have an even greater priest shortage."
The church has responded in many areas by closing parishes.
On its website, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops states that in 2016, nearly 3,500 American parishes did not have a resident pastor, compared with 549 in 1965. During that same time, the number of priests serving a diocese has dwindled from just over 35,900 to 25,760.
The total number of priests in the U.S. declined from just over 58,600 in 1965 to almost 37,200 in 2016, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. That occurred while the number of people identifying as Catholics increased over the same time period, from 48.5 million to 74.2 million, CARA states.
FutureChurch, an organization that espouses the "return to the practice of priesthood that welcomes both married and celibate men," as well as acceptance of female deacons, highlights "an acute worldwide shortage of priests" on its website. Between 1975 and 2008, "the world's Catholics increased by 64 percent, from 709.6 million to 1.17 billion, but the number of priests increased by only 1 percent, from 404,800 to 409,200," FutureChurch stated, citing CARA statistics.

Changing with modern world?

While many Roman Catholics admire the church's steadfastness and adherence to tradition in a tumultuous modern world, Meehan and Eltzroth say the church needs to evolve to survive.
Meehan said millions of Catholics have become disaffected by the church's conservative stances on the priesthood and other issues, and making the church more inclusive would help bring them back. She believes they are following Jesus' example in inviting everyone to the table to receive the Eucharist (communion) and the sacraments.
"We are leading the church into its future, which is now inclusivity and welcome for all, especially those who are on the margins — gays, lesbians, transgender, divorced," Meehan said. "We have an open table and everyone is always welcome, just like how Jesus welcomed prostitutes, tax collectors, sinners and everyone on the margins. They were all there, at his meals."
Eltzroth is hopeful that the church may open the door to allow married male priests, but she doubts that in her lifetime she'll see the Vatican give the stamp of approval to women priests.
Having spent years in Catholic ministries, including a couple of years in a Catholic prison ministry in Saginaw, Michigan, and another stint working with American Indians on a reservation in Montana, Eltzroth believes she's more than ready to assume the role of a priest. One moment that spurred her into the priesthood was the audacity of a male priest who approached her and suggested she should mend his laundry.
Eltzroth went on to secure a degree from Washington Theological Union, a now-defunct Catholic seminary that was in the nation's capital.
"I plan to start a worship community here in Western North Carolina," said Eltzroth, sitting at a cozy Weaverville diner, not far from where she lives and plans to found her church. "And I expect there are going to be a lot of people who would welcome an alternative to the official Roman Catholic church."
She initially was drawn to the Catholic church by a simple realization, one she hopes to replicate in her church.
"The churches were crowded on Sundays," Eltzroth said. "There were even parents in the back holding small children. I thought, ‘Yeah, I want to be part of that.’”
She had no intention at that point of going into the ministry, but as she participated more fully in the church, she felt a calling to the seminary, which offered advanced degrees in Catholic studies, and says she was encouraged by other church members and even a pastor.
Eltzroth emphasizes that she and her fellow female priests are not bomb-throwers looking to tear down the Catholic church.
"We don’t want to leave the church," she said. "We want to still continue to be an active part of the church, and lead it to be part of the future."
More information on the issues
To learn more about the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, visit
To learn more about Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, visit her blog:
To learn more about the Catholic Diocese of WNC, visit
For statistics on the Catholic Church in the U.S., visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website at

Women Priests Respond to Catholic News Service: "Diocese Says Ordination of Woman as Catholic Priest Not Valid" by Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP and Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

From left to right, Mary Theresa Streck ARCWP, Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP and Abigail Eltzroth ARCWP
at Ordination Liturgy of Abigail Eltzroth in Asheville North Carolina
Women Priests Response in blue*
"The only future worth building includes everyone." Pope Francis

The only future worth building includes everyone, including women priests who are part of everyone. Bridget Mary Meehan

.- A breakaway Catholic group is in the news for attempting to ordain a woman as a Catholic priest at a non-denominational church in North Carolina.
Like the women in the early church, who were ordained, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is leading the church today to live justice and equality now. 
Abigail Eltzroth, 64, went through the simulated ordination at the Jubilee! church in Asheville, N.C. under the aegis of the group Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. She has said she intends to start a Catholic community in the area of Asheville.
Our ordinations are valid because a male bishop ordained our first women bishops, therefore our ordinations are valid.  We are breaking an unjust law that discriminates against women. The bible teaches that women and men are created in the image of God, thus, there should not be six sacraments for women and seven for men. 
“I hope that Catholics in the diocese will understand that it would be sinful to receive a fake sacrament from a woman priest and that includes attending a fake Mass,” said David Hains, spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.
Not only do we follow in legitimate apostolic succession and have valid orders, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests follows their consciences in celebrating sacraments where all are welcome. Pope Francis said that we should have a church for everyone and that includes women priests and the 33 million ex Catholics who have been alienated and excluded because of issues like LGBTI and divorce and remarriage.
Eltzroth converted to Catholicism from a Presbyterian background in her 50s, the Charlotte Observer reports. The simulated ordination was carried out by Bridget Mary Meehan, who presents herself as a Catholic bishop.
All our ordinations valid and we are disobeying an unjust law. In order to change an unjust law in the church, we must break it. 
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests traces itself back to the attempted ordination of seven women on a ship cruising the Danube River in 2002. Attempted ordination of a woman is automatic excommunication for both the person attempting the ordination and the person attempting to be ordained.
Pope Benedict canonized two formerly excommunicated nuns, Mother Theodore Guerin and Mother Mary McKilliop, thereby making excommunication the new fast track to sainthood!
From the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis has been clear on the issue of women priests, while still emphasizing the unique and important role of women in the Church.
Pope Francis needs to match his words with actions, like opening the diaconate to women in the church as a first step toward the full equality of women in the church, as well as appoint women to top -decision making roles in the Vatican and elsewhere.
On his return flight from Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families Sept. 28, 2015, the Pope reiterated that women priests “cannot be done,” and called for a more comprehensive theology on women.
In an interview with Vatican Insider in December 2013, Francis responded to a question on whether or not he'd ever consider naming a woman a cardinal. The very question, he indicated, stemmed from an attitude of clericalism.
“I don't know where this idea sprang from. Women in the Church must be valued not 'clericalised,'” the Pope said. “Whoever thinks of women as cardinals suffers a bit from clericalism.”
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests agrees with Pope Francis on the issue of clericalism. This movement was founded on the premise of a renewed priesthood in a community of equals. In our community everyone has an equal vote in decision making and the same applies to our liturgical communities. 
Throughout the three years since, Francis has consistently called for a more “incisive” feminine presence in the Church, yet has refrained from limiting this presence to a mere position.
We support Pope Francis expanding the roles of women. Pope Francis said that the church must not be afraid of change and that means  women at the Eucharistic Table.

Why the only future worth building includes everyone

17:52 minutes · TED2017
A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you, says His Holiness Pope Francis in this searing TED Talk delivered directly from Vatican City. In a hopeful message to people of all faiths, to those who have power as well as those who don't, the spiritual leader provides illuminating commentary on the world as we currently find it and calls for equality, solidarity and tenderness to prevail. "Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the 'other' is not a statistic, or a number," he says. "We all need each other."

Universal Savior: Ilia Delio reimagines Christ While some see modern science as a challenge to faith, Ilia Delio sees it as an opportunity to think in new ways about God, creation, and the incarnation.

"Make Room for Female Priests" by Ann Harrington ARCWP In response to “Rebel Catholic group defies church...” (May 1) in Charlotte Observer

Left to right: Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, Abigail Eltzroth ARCWP and Ann Harrington ARCWP
I attended the ordination of our newest Roman Catholic priest, Abigail Eltzroth. I am the first woman in North Carolina to be ordained a Roman Catholic woman priest. I am pastor of Free Spirit Inclusive Catholic Community in Greenville, NC.
My path to priesthood evolved in the traditional Roman Catholic Church. As a child in Catholic school I was deeply touched by the church’s teaching on social justice. I left the church in college brokenhearted over the sins of that institution. Later, due to a dynamic Catholic priest and community, I reunited with the Catholic faith. I heard my call to priesthood because of all the spiritual development I did in the traditional church.
How dare David Hains, spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, say we are sinful by doing what the Holy Spirit has called us to do! I invite everyone to come and see what we are doing in our ministries. Jesus ministered to the marginal and outcast of his day and I am following Jesus. I discovered this passion in the Catholic church and I am not going away. The women’s priest movement is the renewal the Church needs.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Christina Moreira ARCWP Shares Her Courageous Woman Priest Response to Archbishop of Madrid's and Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela's Harsh Stances

The first thing is that the archbishop of Madrid, as well as that of Santiago de Compostela, and I fear that others, as I move through the territories, has wanted make people fearful and terrorized. First of all the person who has been most seriously threatened "with the harshest punishment" was the pastor who invited me and who was shocked that the archbishop was involved in his pastoral, since up to now he had let him summon all kinds of people even to talk about reproductive freedom…

As we can see the worst thing today in the Roman Catholic Church is not to be LGBTIQ or pro-abortion or divorced but to be a woman and a priest. It was quite clear to me that I am public enemy number one.

As happened the previous time, a great sadness struck me to the bone because of what it means to receive these harsh words from my church, without being heard, without them knowing who I am or what I do, and simply sent to the media. I think they are kinder to their dog. 

The second is to note, as the members of my community said, that at all times they are showing themselves as extremely harsh – they also receive harsh criticism – it is the deprivation even of freedom of speech. I was not going to confess or marry anyone or to celebrate the Eucharist, but to talk ... to meet people.

What I got out of all this:

- Publicity: the testimonies of solidarity are multiplying and many more people know me.

- A group of people from Madrid organized an alternative meeting the same day but in another place, members of the parish came but also different people who would never have set foot inside a church and who were all very receptive.

- I was promised that I would be invited to events in the future because some people were saying "This is not going to stay this way!" So thank you, Archbishop, every blow makes me stronger.

- From the spiritual perspective, I was telling you in my very awkward English that on the morning of that day when I woke up without knowing what I was going to do whether the meeting would be canceled, I took advantage also of the plane ticket and went to Madrid, and the first thing my heart told God was: Where will we be going today? And it was a turn in me to discover the Presence, the Divine Force accompanying me in the mission. To savor how we would become a team... that grace deserves everything I have lived up to now. I do not go alone, none of us go alone. It was not the same thing as knowing it in theory; it was a sort of theophany in the middle of the storm. I immediately knew that everything would go well.

- Conclusion for ecclesiology: this was a good lesson. I may have, and others also, projects for the church of the temples, but when the Holy One sends me out... I not only obey but I also ask for forgiveness because I was following a path that was not the right one. 

So now I know that I am sent out there... and I am immensely happy, waiting for the next trip to a mission that is already being prepared because several people have already requested my phone for other regions.

I'll wind up calling myself Paula, hahaha!

I love you all, I feel your strength with me and... what more can you ask for. We are big because the one who sends us is Immense ... and we will grow even more

Christina Moreira Vázquez, ARCWP Priest/Asociación de Presbíteras Católicas/Association des femmes prêtres catholiques ,

"As a mother comforts her child, I will comfort you" by Kathryn Christian by Ka

Universal Catholics: An Examination of Alternative Catholics - A Book Review by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP in Conscience Magazine

Byrne argues that the independent Catholics are a gift that helps Catholicism to evolve and meet pastoral challenges such as gender justice: “But since no one thought Catholicism had ‘denominations,’ no one noticed....

In a dramatic illustration of how “the other Catholics” are remaking the largest religion, Byrne recounts the enthusiastic gathering of a Richmond parish of the Church of Antioch on October 16, 2005, for the consecration of three women bishops: Patsy Grubbs, Diana Phipps and Kera Hamilton. She writes: “Archbishop Richard Gundrey laid hands on heads, when he said, ‘Be filled with the Holy Spirit,’ and breathed upon anointed scalps, when each was given a ring and crozier, then fitted with the miter and sweetly fussed with to make sure the hair still looked good, somehow there was no avoiding the sense that this ancient ritual resounded afresh when performed on female bodies. By the end of the presentation of the episcopal insignia, the new bishops were in tears, and so was most of the church.”

As a bishop in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP), a branch of the international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement (RCWP), I found Byrne’s presentation of progressive Roman Catholic groups, including RCWP, particularly interesting. Like the independent Catholics, Roman Catholic Women Priests offers continuity with the Catholic tradition by ordaining bishops in apostolic succession and, like our sisters and brothers in independent Catholic Churches, we welcome everyone to receive sacraments.

The Other Catholics pinpoints social justice as a common thread that connects both independent Catholics and progressive Roman Catholics, and credits the founding bishop of the Church of Antioch as a visionary who impacted the future of both groups on hot button issues. “If social justice aims for the equal thriving of all human beings in society, sacramental justice seeks everyone’s full access to the sacraments. [. . .] The [bishop] took radical Catholic stances on divorce, remarriage, and women’s ordination, pioneering what I am calling sacramental justice.” Even though substantial change in Roman Catholic teaching evolves slowly, it does come. 

In 2016, the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, followed the Church of Antioch’s lead by publishing guidelines on the Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’s document on family, which stated that remarried Catholics may receive Communion under certain conditions.

One takeaway from this book is that Roman Catholicism is not the only way to live a vibrant Catholicism today. The “other Catholics” in independent churches are courageous pioneers of Gospel inclusiveness from whom we have much to learn. Our sisters and brothers in these ecclesial communities have led the way to a more inclusive community of faith by sharing the sacraments with all, and by listening to the Spirit’s call in other traditions and experimenting with new blends of Catholicism.

After reading this book, I look forward to a sequel with more stories about independent Catholics and the new inclusive communities emerging within the Roman Catholic Church. Like Peter Manseau wrote in the New York Times, I too believe: “Though [Pope Francis] surely did not intend it this way, ‘Who am I to judge?’ would be a fitting motto for a papacy that saw a thousand Catholicisms bloom.”

I pray that a thousand Catholicisms will continue to blossom in our church and world!

SISTER BRIDGET MARY MEEHAN, DMIN is a bishop within the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, is one of the founding members of the People's Catholic Seminary and author of Living Gospel Equality Now.