Friday, December 17, 2021

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community Liturgy, Fourth Sunday of Advent, Dec. 18, 2021, Liturgical Team: Presiders: Elena Garcia ARCWP and Janet Blakeley ARCWP Readers: Pat MacMillan and Maryal Gagnon Music Minister: Linda Lee Miller IT: Peg Bowen and Jerry Bires





Join Zoom Meeting - New Link

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81534075389?pwd=TTdGY2NxS3AzTW13ODJESkdYME9aUT09

 

Meeting ID: 815 3407 5389

Passcode: 803326



Theme: Go in Haste! Sharing with all, the Joy of Christ’s Presence within!

Welcome 

(Janet) We warmly welcome you to our inclusive Catholic community, Mary Mother of Jesus in Sarasota, Florida. All are welcome here. We invite you to pray the liturgy where it says: All. And please, sing your heart out while muted! Everyone will be muted during the service. We ask all our readers to “unmute” for their reading and then “re-mute” again. All are welcome to share as inspired after the homily starter  and during the prayers of the community- unmute yourself and remember to re-mute yourself after your sharing. Please have bread and wine or juice with you as we pray our Eucharistic Prayer.

 

Lighting of the Advent Wreath: (Elena)                                                                                                  Called to live God’s abundant generosity, we dedicate ourselves on this 

Fourth Sunday in Advent to imaging Christ together. As we near the 

celebration of God’s living presence to our world in the birth of Jesus 

Christ, may we experience a rebirth in ourselves bringing Christ’s 

renewed presence to a broken world so in need of hope and compassion.


~May our dedication and service in Christ’s name begin to change the world as we light this candle today, proclaiming the message through us that God’s compassion and justice are for all.

~As we image Christ together, may we be faithful to our call of being God’s presence, active and living in each of us and in community.  We ask for courage to see Jesus in all who cry out for compassion in their weakness and need.  Help us to find you and respond with loving care.


All: We give you thanks, Loving God, for this time of waiting, preparing us to 

receive you with love and hope.  May we respond with courage to all that 

this gift asks of us as we joyfully celebrate your continuing presence in 

our lives.


Opening Song      I am Confident and Unafraid   


https://youtu.be/C93_o26Mv1I 

 

(Elena)  Opening Prayer:

O God of the Universe, your vastness is beyond our power to imagine, but you have come among us and revealed yourself in Christ. As we celebrate this liturgy today may we, like Mary and Elizabeth, recognize our dignity and serve one another  with respect for the diversity of your gifts to us. May we come to realize with Mary that we are your highly favored ones and that you desire to be with us. Increase our faith and fill our hearts with a new spirit so that we may bear your word to the world.  We ask this for all creation in union with Christ who radiates In all and through all to your honor and glory forever. Amen


(Janet) Transformation Rite  

The one we await is already among us.  Do we have the courage to see? 

Most gentle and loving God, may we begin to see all that prevents us

from finding Jesus in our midst.  (pause)

Help us to clear away the clutter in our hearts and minds, distracting us from recognizing his gentle presence.  (pause)


All: Transform us, O God!


Liturgy of the Word

(Pat M)  The First Reading is recorded in the Book of the Prophet Micah 5:1-4a

But you, Bethlehem, David’s country, the runt of the litter-------from you will come the leader who will shepherd-rule Israel.  He’ll be no upstart, no pretender. His family tree is ancient and distinguished. Meanwhile, Israel will be in foster homes until the birth pangs are over and the child is born, and the scattered brothers come back home to the family of Israel.  He will stand tall in his shepherd-rule by God’s strength, centered in the majesty of God-Revealed. And the people will have a good and safe home, for the whole world will hold him in respect-

Peacemaker of the world!

These are the inspired words of the Prophet Micah and we as a community affirm them by saying: Thanks be to God


PAUSE for a moment

(Maryal)  Psalm 81--82   Response: Sing in unison to the Most High


~ Sing a Song, sound the great bells, the flute and the harp.

Blow the trumpet at the new moon, at the full moon, and on all the feast days.

Sing in unison to the Most High


~ I say, “Within you dwells the Beloved, the Breath of your breath; 

Open your heart in the silence and know the One in the many.”

Sing in unison to the Most High

Arise! Join in the new creation! Let harmony reign among all the nations!

We recognize the Holy One within and go in haste to share the Good News!

Sing in unison to the Most High


(Maryal G)    The Second reading is found in “Christmas Reverie” by Teresa Boersig OCD

“Make your home in me as I make mine in you”(Jn15:40)   Our first home was in the womb of our earthly mother, but the womb of God is our “forever” home. Living in God’s womb is living in the heart of the Trinity.  Nicodemus asked Jesus if a grown person could enter again the mother’s womb.  In the womb of God, our Eternal Mother, we can indeed enter and find again the source of our being, the font of life giving waters, the life of our life. God is pregnant with us—holding us, nourishing us, delighting in us, bringing us into birth at each new moment--

Yet enveloping and embracing us forever in the fold of this Holy Womb. It is our refuge, our place of repose, our home.

These are the inspired words of Teresa M. Boersig and as a community we affirm them by saying,   Amen


Pause

Celtic Alleluia

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tps://youtu.be/o1rc7ojQtJU


(Elena) Gospel:  A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke1: 31-45

Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and travelled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly,

You’re so blessed among women, and the babe in your womb also blessed!

And why am I so blessed that the mother of my Lord visits me?

The moment the sound of your greeting entered my ears,

The babe in my womb skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.

Blessed woman who believed what God said, believed every word would come true!

And Mary said, “I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God!


These are the inspired words of the Evangelist Luke and we respond:  All: Thanks be to God


Celtic Alleluia

https://youtu.be/o1rc7ojQtJU



(Janet)     Shared Homily



Profession of Faith: (Pat & All):

~We believe in the all-embracing Source of Life, birthing and healing, making all things possible.

~We believe that the transformative Divine sparks relationship across Earth and Eternity, with love beyond our wildest dreams.

~We believe that The Beloved waits patiently for us to erase the boundaries we place around human consciousness, and to realize heaven in the here and now.

 ~We believe that in the twists and turns of difficult times, The Holy One invites us into relationship with a love that can soothe and unify a hurting world.

~We believe in Jesus whose radical blend of divinity and humanity reveals the promise and the challenge of being crafted in the image and likeness of Our Creator.

~We believe that like Jesus, we are called to bring generous presence to the lonely and despairing, the hurting and broken, the yearning and

disenfranchised.

~We believe in the Spirit of Sophia Wisdom, nudging the universe to unfold as it would  making each new day one filled with promise and possibility.

~We believe that the Spirit inspires within and among us the gentleness to comfort, the daring to challenge and the strength to lift up.

~We believe in the wildfire of the Spirit, sweeping through this amazing journey of life, urging us toward wholeness, forever and ever.

(December, 2016 A Creed for all times By Lynn Kinlan)


(Maryal) Prayers of the Community 

 We bring to the table prayers for our community and the world. 

 Our response is:  Christ of the Universe graciously hear us!

~ You come to bring us hope and courage. May we support people who feel rejected and hopeless in their present struggles.

Christ of the Universe graciously hear us!

~You come as a radiant reflection of God’s love. Assist us to be reflective women and men as we take steps of action for the sake of Justice. 

Christ of the Universe graciously hear us!

~We bring to the table all who have lost loved ones and are bearing the enormous burden of grieving during this season of hope. May they experience consolation and compassion from the heart of the Holy One dwelling within. 

All Christ of the universe graciously hear us!

~We bring to the table all our sisters and brothers who continue to suffer from natural disasters, man’s inhumanity to man, and unbearable suffering of mind and body. Teach us how to stand by them and serve them as you would.

R. Christ of the universe graciously hear us!

~We bring to the table the intercessions in our Community Prayer Book……

R. Christ of the universe graciously hear us!


**Please unmute to share your prayerful concern and then remember to remute

After each prayer we all respond: Christ of the Universe graciously hear us! 

~What other concerns shall we bring to the table?   …………….

(Maryal)   Christ, we will be your presence in the world today and every day of our lives. 

All: Amen


Offertory

We offer our gifts. 🎶  Here is My Life” by Joe Wise


https://youtu.be/Ao5VnopCP-Y
 


**(Let us pause for a moment of silence before we begin the Eucharistic Prayer.)


Preparation of our Communion Gifts


(Janet and All):  Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness, each one of us has bread and fruit of the vine to offer at this sacred meal, that which the earth has given and human hands have made.  They will become for us our Bread of Life and Spiritual Drink.  Blessed be God for all the love that has been given to each one of us. 


Eucharistic Prayer

(Janet and All):  Loving God, you embrace us with your extravagant affection in our times of both blessedness and weakness.  You are always with us…you live in us and we live in you.  May we reflect your compassionate care in everything we do and say with everyone we meet today.  And moved by the Spirit, each one of us will sing our shared blessing:

Song:  Holy, Holy, Holy (Karen Drucker) 



https://youtu.be/orKBBIj5LZA


(Elena  and All): Creator God, we thank you for the gift of Jesus of Nazareth in history – and the gift of Jesus the Christ in faith. You brought him from among all your people to baptize us in your Spirit.  His life was moved by his consuming vision of your presence both in himself and in his earthly mission.  He revealed you to us through his compassionate life well lived. And he showed us, through his teaching and example, not only how we should live, but also for what we may suffer and even die…as he did. Through him and your Spirit, you breathe life into us so that we may be witnesses to his gospel messages. 


(Janet )  Epiclesis     **Please extend your hands over the bread and wine as we pray together:

(Janet and All) We invoke your Spirit upon the gifts at this Eucharistic table, bread of the grain and wine of the grape, that they may become gifts of wisdom light and truth and remind us of our call to be the body of Christ to the world.


(Elena)  When his time on earth had come to an end, Jesus - aware of and accepting his destiny - gave up his life for the values that he deeply believed, lived and taught…his conviction that love is stronger than death.  And then, in providing an example of his wisdom for all people in every age to come, he opened wide his arms and died on a cross.  The Spirit that lived in Jesus resurrected him to a new life, a promise that he made to all of us, too.  Jesus is with us today as he will be through the end of time.

(Elena)

** Please stretch out your arm over the bread and cup

(Elena)  We remember the gift that Jesus gave us the night before he died.  He gathered with his friends to share a final Passover meal.  And it was at that supper that Jesus took bread, said the blessing and shared it with them saying: take this, all of you, and eat it.  This bread is you; this bread is me.  We are one body, the presence of God in the world.  When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you.  This is the new and everlasting covenant.

 (short pause)

(Janet) In the same way, Jesus took a cup of wine, said the blessing and gave it to his friends saying: take this all of you and drink it.  This wine is you; this wine is me.  We are one blood, the presence of God in the world.  When you do this, remember me and all that I have taught you.  This is the new and everlasting covenant.


(Janet):   Jesus, who was with God in the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth, is with us now in this bread.  The Spirit, of whom the prophets spoke in history, is with us now in this cup.  

Let us proclaim this mystery of faith…All: Christ dies, Christ rises, Christ comes again and again and again.


(Pat)    Jesus who walks with us on the path to holiness, you are the spark of love in whom we believe; the Wisdom of Sophia in whom we trust; and the desire for justice that consumes us.


(Maryal)   

As we celebrate the memory of Jesus, we remember our prophetic leader. We remember the communion of saints who have inspired and loved us and all who have gone before us leaving their foot prints on our hearts.(Names………..)


All: For it is through living as Jesus lived that we awaken to your Spirit loving through us to promote justice and equality in our service to our sisters and brothers.  AMEN


Prayer of Jesus

(Janet) & All:  Eternal Spirit, Earth maker, Pain bearer, Life giver,

Source of all that is and that shall be. Father and Mother of us all,

Loving God, in whom is heaven –The hallowing of your name echos through the  universe.

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world,

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings.

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom sustain our hope and come to earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In the times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trial too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever.  Amen

 (A contemplative prayer in the style of Taize from St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Seattle.) 


(Pat and All)                  PRAYER FOR THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD

 ~O God of Courage, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice. We will live justly.

 ~ O God of Compassion, You call us to be your presence in the world. We will love tenderly.

 ~ O God of Truth, You call us to speak truth to power. We will walk with integrity in your presence.


(Elena and  All): What we have heard with our ears, we will live with our lives. As we share communion, we will become communion, both Love’s nourishment and Love’s challenge.


(Elena)    **Please share Eucharist with the words “You are the Body of Christ”, “You are the Face of God”. 

COMMUNION:  Mary Did You Know?”     


https://youtu.be/ifCWN5pJGIE
 


Pause

Final Prayer. (Janet) : 

Spirit of the Holy One, we gratefully acknowledge your presence among us and within us. We  thank you for the grace you have bestowed on us during this Eucharistic celebration. Your gift of life is a source of joy for us, O Holy One, but the challenge to grow often weighs us down. Grant us the courage to live responsibly in all of the areas of our lives. Inspire us with new ways to serve you and one another as we realize your constant presence. Let all that we do radiate our faith and hope in your love for us.  Bless all who encourage us on the way, as together we strive for the unity that is yours, Creator, Word, and Holy Spirit. Amen.


PRAYERS OF GRATITUDE, INTRODUCTIONS, ANNOUNCEMENTS


(Elena and All)  COMMUNAL BLESSING

~May you be blessed with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships.

~May you seek truth boldly and love within your heart.

~May you continue to be the face of the Holy One to all you meet.

~May you hold steadfastly to your faith and belief that when the Beloved speaks, it comes to pass.


(Elena)  Full of Christ’s peace, may we go out in haste to share the Good news of the Divine Presence dwelling within. Remember, that as the face of Christ to the world we are absolute existence and a field of infinite possibilities.   All: Amen


Closing Song : The Brotherhood of Hope

Revelation Canticle    


https://youtu.be/hviSWWe-C5Q
 


**The following is for your meditation pleasure during the week.

Holy Is His Name


https://youtu.be/QAy08-WkeqU
 



Holy Is His Name

https://youtu.be/QAy08-WkeqU


______________________________________________________________________________


If you want to add a prayer intention to our MMOJ Community Prayer book, please send an email to Joan Meehan.  jmeehan515@aol.com



If you want to invite someone to attend our liturgy, please refer them to our website at MaryMotherofJesus.org     


To support our community, please send your check to:

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community 

St Andrew UCC, 6908 Beneva Rd, Sarasota, Florida 34238


Liturgy prepared by Elena Garcia, and Janet Blakeley

Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests

egchofgod@gmail.com



Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Homily on the Feast of the Virgin Guadalupe Patroness of Latin America, at Ordination to the Priesthood of Mercedes Segura Rodriguez ARCWP


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Newly Ordained Priest: Mercedes Segura Rodriguez ARCWP in red stole, and Bishop Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea ARCWP with sacred chrism anointing her hands.



Buenaventura, December 12/2021

On this very special occasion, the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of Latin America, it is an honor for me to preside over the ordination to the ministry of presbyterate of our colleague Mercedes Segura Rodriguez, as well as for the ARCWP Movement (Roman Catholic Presbyteresses).


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We are facing difficult situations both locally, nationally and internationally, and we are witnessing major crises, devastating either by the pandemic, either by armed conflict and violence, either by the economic situation, either by the violation of human rights that plagues the people, wherever we are.

In the midst of all these problems, we see with great hope, more and more as women, we organize ourselves in different groups, making marches, convening conferences, denouncing, raising our prophetic voices claiming for the care of life, of the common home, justice and peace.

We women priests have not become priests to echo the patriarchal system. In the face of what we are living, we rise up as did the prophetess Deborah who exclaimed:

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"The villages were forsaken in Israel, they had decayed, until I Deborah arose, I arose as the mother of Israel" Judges 5:7.

Our fields are desolate, the rivers polluted, commerce threatened by vandalism on the roads, children no longer play in the streets, neighbors no longer see each other talking in their backyards, social relations are broken by jealousy of authority, power and distrust. Families are confined to their homes for fear of violence.

We have all been invited to seek a solution to the subhuman situation we live in. The solution is yours and mine.

By our Baptism, women and men are called as daughters and sons of the Divinity, to become part of its history, and not to make our own history. The Divinity is not calling extraordinary beings, but ordinary beings like those of us present here.

Responding to the call that the Divinity makes is not an easy task, there will always be obstacles, which we must learn to overcome, since we cannot announce the Good News if we remain only attentive to who is with us or who is against us. We ask ourselves, do we intend to leave our mark, or leave the mark of the Divine, in the proclamation of the Good News through us in our ministry?

Being anointed, remembering our Baptism, invests us with authority and power for the proclamation of the Gospel, filling our hearts with righteous indignation to wield the sword of the spirit in holy rebellion and prayer that urges us to fight against a patriarchal clerical society that marginalizes and oppresses us as women.

To prophesy is not to foretell the future, to prophesy is to denounce situations of injustice. Let us not forget that because of our Baptism we are prophets.

In present times like the ones we are living, courage and bravery are needed. It is the testimony and the image of many women who from memorable times have preceded us with their example and fortitude, who stimulate us and challenge us to change for a more just and humane society.

The figure of Mary, her attitude visiting her cousin Elizabeth and the proclamation of the Magnificat on that occasion, are gestures worthy of observation, analysis and reflection.

Without consulting, without asking for permission, pregnant, she went alone, through difficult and difficult paths to share the news of her pregnancy with her elderly cousin in the same situation. Mary is a bold and courageous woman, determined to change a system of oppression by bringing the Good News. It is the announcement of the Good News that dignifies the human being. Precisely because she brings a clear announcement, the message is given half-heartedly, it is deceived, distorted, sowing doubt, fear and mistrust. It is trapped in norms and structures.

Mary receives the message of the Good News, she does not decorate it with lights, quotes or colors. Full of dignity, she stands up proudly and without fear, she shares it with her cousin and gives it to humanity.

The Magnificat is her manifesto of political character, deep cry of her entrails, she thanks the Divinity that sublimates and elevates her: "He has done great things in me". She feels that the Divinity has brought her out of nothingness. She knows his power and his glory and exclaims:

"He doeth exploits with his arm: he scattereth the proud in heart, he bringeth down the mighty from their thrones, and exalteth the lowly, he filleth the hungry with good things, and the rich he sendeth away empty."

Neither Mercedes, nor any of the presbyteresses become presbyteresses to acquire another certificate or diploma, nor to show off or boast.

To be presbyteresses is to serve, to be among the people with the people, being presbyteresses does not make us different from being people. Our ministry is commitment, in an attitude of committed loyalty, making the Good News known.

AMEN.
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"Women lead religious groups in many ways – besides the growing number who have been ordained by Deborah Whitehead

 https://theconversation.com/women-lead-religious-groups-in-many-ways-besides-the-growing-number-who-have-been-ordained-170433


sojourners.org


My Response: I highly recommend this well-researched article that gives an overview of women in religious leadership as a slow work in progress by Dr. Deborah Whitehead,  Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Boulder, Colorado. Bridget Mary

"Women have been nuns, teachers, priestesses, gurus, heads of religious orders, deacons and elders. In the U.S., Jarena Lee became the first woman authorized to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1819. In 1854, Antoinette Brown Blackwell was ordained by a local Congregationalist church in New York, becoming the first U.S. woman to receive full ordination as a minister.

But women’s ordination was not widespread in the U.S. until the 1950s, when some Protestant Christian denominations began to offer formal ordination and full clergy rights to women, beginning with the United Methodist Church (UMC) and what would become the Presbyterian Church USA in 1956. These changes sprang from the desire to formalize local and smaller-scale practices of women’s leadership as well as to respond to larger cultural changes such as the second-wave feminist movement.

Some feminists rejected all religious institutions, and religion more generally, as inherently patriarchal. Others left their own communities to create entirely new women-centered forms of religion. But many preferred to remain and work within their traditions to make them more inclusive, looking to history, tradition and sacred texts for resources. Women’s ordination is only one piece of this ongoing work...

Roman Catholics

When asked in 2016 whether women would ever be ordained as priests, Francis referenced Pope John Paul II’s 1994 apostolic letter definitively denying the possibility of women priests and remarked that “on the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, the last word is clear.”

[This Week in Religion, a global roundup each Thursday. Sign up.]

Yet many Roman Catholic women remain undeterred and continue their decadeslong  struggle for women’s ordination. Since 2002, the controversial organization Roman Catholic Women Priests has ordained around 200 “womenpriests” – and some men – into what they term “renewed priestly ministry,” many of them serving communities in the U.S.

Thinking beyond ordination

Women’s ordination has contributed to significant changes in U.S. religious communities, in many cases opening pathways to ordination for LGBTQ and other marginalized groups and leading to greater diversity within their traditions as well as higher levels of participation and commitment among women parishioners.

But others have criticized the focus on ordination as too limited. Instead of simply being incorporated into male-dominated institutions, they argue that women should work to transform them.

The focus on ordination also obscures the many less visible forms of women’s leadership in religious communities. Further, it may reflect limited understandings of individual freedom and the nature of religious authority.

Other forms of discrimination


...For example, 71.8% of U.S. congregations surveyed say they allow women to preach or lead services. But the 2018-2019 National Congregations Study, which surveyed 5,300 U.S. religious communities including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and other religious groups, found that only 56.4% of these communities would allow a woman to “be head clergyperson or primary religious leader.” It also found that only 13.8% of congregations are actually led or co-led by a woman, and only 8.1% of U.S. adherents belong to communities that are led or co-led by women – both figures representing increases of just 3% since 1998.

Even after decades of women’s ordination in major U.S. religious organizations, very few women have served in top leadership roles.

The phrase “stained glass ceiling” has been used to describe “the limitations encountered by women in religious leadership roles.” Although much progress has been made, more subtle forms of discrimination and limitations on women’s opportunities for advancement persist. The gender pay gap among clergy is far worse than the national average.

Although some women have been successful in breaking through the stained glass ceiling, the struggle for more inclusive and just religious communities continues."

Monday, December 13, 2021

Why the Vatican Won't Heed Catholic Women's Groups Challenge to Sign European Human Rights Agreement that Prohibits Gender Discrimination by Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP



In an article published by the Associated Press entitled “Women Urge Vatican to Sign Europe Rights Convention,” Nicole Winfield reports that Catholic Women's groups are urging the Vatican to sign an agreement protecting human rights and banning discrimination based on race, religion, gender or political beliefs. 

Even though this commitment to human rights has been ratified by 47 European states, the Vatican won’t sign this commitment because the hierarchy promotes policies that discriminate against baptized members in the Church who follow their consciences including women priests who are promoting spiritual renewal and transformative justice in inclusive ministries and communities around the world. 

 In the recent update of Canon Law, Pope Francis failed to correct the mischaracterization of the ordination of a woman priest as a "grave crime" that is in the same category as clerical sex abuse. 

The real "grave crime" against the Church is not committed by women following their call to sacred orders, but, by the Vatican hierarchy who covered-up decades of clergy sexual abuse of minors around the world. 

The excommunication of prophetic women living a renewed priestly ministry in people-empowered faith communities is an outrageous injustice that should alarm Catholics everywhere.

While Pope Francis is a strong advocate of human rights on social justice issues such as the plight of migrants, he does not connect the full  equality of women in the Church and in the world as interrelated to poverty, violence, environmental degradation, and the flourishing of life on the planet.  

We owe a debt of gratitude to the following European women's groups, named in the article, for advocating that the Vatican sign this document supporting human rights for everyone, everywhere: "Catholic Women Speak in Britain; We Are Church in Ireland, Germany and Austria; Women for the Church in Italy; Voices of Faith in Rome and Liechtenstein, as well as similar progressive Catholic groups in Spain, France, Croatia and Switzerland."