Monday, November 11, 2019

"McAleese calls on Pope to do more for women" by Sarah Mac Donald, "Roman Catholic Women Priests Claim our Spiritual Authority to Ordain Women in an Inclusive Model of Church" by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Mary McAleese, former president of Ireland
My response: Like Jesus and Paul, Roman Catholic Women Priests are claiming our spiritual authority to deconstruct and reconstruct our faith tradition by  ordaining women as a prophetic act of justice in obedience to the Spirit.  We are on the inside edge of the Church, creating a new model of priestly ministry in a non-clerical, egalitarian Church.  Our vision is to lead the Church to embrace the full equality of women in all ministries in the 21st century.  Like Jesus and Paul we are following our consciences and challenging an unjust law that discriminates against women. Like Jesus and Paul, Roman Catholic Women Priests we have met with stiff resistance from the Vatican. ( automatic excommunication) for our reform/renewal, prophetic actions.  We reject excommunication and are not leaving the institutional Church. The people of God are the Church , not the hierarchy alone. Many Catholics around the world welcome women priests  and support women taking their rightful place as leaders and equals in an inclusive Church. (check out recent polls) 

Richard Rohr argues that both Jesus and Paul trusted their own experience of God against the status quo of their own Jewish religion. This deep trust led Paul to oppose Peter, the supposed first Pope, 'to his face' over the issue of whether Gentile converts should be required to undergo the Jewish rite of circumcision (Galatians 2:11-13). Jesus and Paul had drawn upon the deepest source of their own tradition to then totally reframe that tradition for the larger world. They, like all the prophets , we 'radical traditionalists.' You can only reform things long term by unlocking them from inside- by their own chosen authoritative sources. Outsiders have little authority or ability to reform anything. "   (The Universal Christ, pp. 116-117) Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,

"Former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese, has called for the "culture of deference" towards priesthood in a clericalised church to be stripped away and for women to insist on being listened to on equal terms.
Speaking at a conference in Trinity College Dublin on "Women the Vatican Couldn't Silence", along with American Benedictine, Sr Joan Chittister, Professor McAleese referred to the acceptance of the belief in an ontological change in priests following ordination that places them apart from the laity.
"The acceptance that a priest when he is ordained becomes something 'other', something superior, something better than us, who are the laity, feeds a culture of deference and a culture of silence. I think all of those things now need to be stripped away," she told up to 400 people who attended the talk.
There was a standing ovation for Professor McAleese and Sr Joan Chittister from Erie in Pennsylvania, who explained that she had been "in trouble ever since" her last visit to Ireland in 2001. A reference to the Vatican's threat to impose penalties on her for attending the Women's Ordination Worldwide conference that year.
Referring to the "shunning" that goes on in the Church, she explained that she gets invited continually by laity to speak to them but that their parish priests won't let her speak on church property. "I believe there is a hitlist some place and I must be on it," she said.
The theologian and author of many books said women's role in the church today was "invisible" and that the church "is a wholly owned subsidiarity of pious males". She further commented: "Only dead women count in the catholic church."
On the issue of Pope Francis and women, Mary McAleese said she did not believe women were a priority for the Argentinian pontiff. "I don't think he sees us as a priority, he has other priorities and we're pretty far down the list it seems to me. He says things from time to time that show an attitude to women which is paternalistic rather than egalitarian."
Referring to Pope Francis' efforts on church synods, she questioned why they could not be live streamed.
"These are our pastors talking about our problems, discussing information that we as the people of God have fed to them. What is so secret? Why could there not be more women? Why were all four synods dominated entirely by men? At the Synod for the Amazon there were 33 women, not one of them had a vote. Yet there was one layman who was given a vote - an exception was made for him. Why?"
She called on Pope Francis to end the provision that allows bishops and priests to opt out of having female altar servers to "show that he got it where women are concerned".
Dr McAleese also called on the Irish bishops' conference to intervene in the case of silenced Irish priest Fr Tony Flannery who was censured by the Vatican in 2012.
The Vatican "know perfectly well that he is no heretic," she told The Tablet. "It would be wonderful if the episcopal conference could see its way to asking the curia - the CDF in particular - to resolve the issue because it is a festering sore. It doesn't reflect well on those who are our sacred pastors." 

Sarah Mac Donald is a freelance journalist based in Dublin, Ireland. She contributes to The Tablet, the Irish Independent and NCR
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the  Church 

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