Friday, October 20, 2023

All About Women Articles from Future Church on Synod in Rome

 Special thanks to Future Church for this list of Articles on the Synod in Rome. Notice that the Ordination of Women is on the agenda. 

This photo  is from  one of the  presentation about  women priests’ ministries in the worldwide Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement that was held at Casa Bonus Pastor on October 13, 2023.

From Future Church:

We are beginning to see the first fruits of all the long labors of Catholic women throughout the decades including people like Sr. Mary Luke Tobin SL and Rosemary Goldie, who were auditors at the Second Vatican Council. Since that time thousands of women have stood up in the face of patriarchal standards that have kept women out of governing and ministerial offices and off the altar. There is no way to name all the women on whose shoulders we stand, but we can join together in this moment to thank God for them all.

Since this is a historic year for Catholic women in the church, I wanted to compile as complete a list as possible of every article, interview, or podcast that has been produced thus far (if you know of others and you want me to add them, please let me know at

Some of the articles are from the conservative outlet, National Catholic Register which I wanted to include so that you could see how the synod is being framed from the critic's side. Most are from media outlets that support equalizing the roles of women, women's ordination, and others efforts to bring women's full equality to our Catholic history of misogyny and patriarchy. I hope you find these articles as rich and informative as much as I did.

All About Women

Exclusive: Jeannine Gramick, LGBTQ advocate, reveals details of meeting with Pope Francis by Joshua McElwee of National Catholic Reporter, October 18, 2023.

Laywoman’s Speech Opposing Women’s Ordination Draws Big Ovation by Jonathan Liedl of National Catholic Register, October 18, 2023.

Testimony at the Synod of Estela P. Padilla, FABC-OTC, October 18, 2023.

The Vatican Briefing podcast: A key bishop considers women deacons by Joshua McElwee and Christopher White, October 17, 2023

Synod Diary: Synod Mothers make their voices heard in Rome by Colleen Dulle of America Magazine, October 17, 2023

Bishop on Synod Drafting Committee Expresses Openness to Women Deacons by Joshua McElwee of National Catholic Reporter, October 17, 2023.

There's Too Much Emphasis on Women's Ordination by Hannah Brockhaus in the National Catholic Register, October 17, 2023.

At events inside and outside Vatican's synod hall, focus on women's equality  by Rhina Guidos of National Catholic Reporter, October 16, 2023.

As the Synod Turns to Women Deacons, It gets Interesting by Colleen Dulle of America Magazine, October 16, 2023.

Delegates at Spirit Unbounded address issues facing the Church by Sarah MacDonald for The Tablet, October 16, 2023.

The Synod, Church reform groups, and the next pope by Robert Mickens at LaCroix, October 14, 2023.

Inequality ‘embedded’ in Catholic Church says McAleese by Sarah MacDonald for The Tablet, October 13, 2023.

Synod Looks at Catholics’ Shared Mission, But Also Exclusion of Women by Cindy Wooden in The Tablet, October 13, 2023.

Heidi Schlumpf interviews Kate McElwee on "The Francis Effect" podcast, October 13, 2023.

Testimony dat Synod of Sr. Gloria Liliana Franco Encheverri, ODN, October 13, 2023.

The lay woman bringing Catholic social teaching to the heart of the Vatican by Ashley McKinless and Zac Davis at Jesuitical.

Spirit Unbounded: Racial power dynamics drive abuse, says US priest by Sarah MacDonald for The Tablet, October 12, 2023.

Meet the lay woman who led the U.S. synod process by Colleen Dulle for "Inside the Vatican" October 12, 2023.

Synod snapshots: Cardinal Müller is easy to spot; Sr. Barron gets a big promotionby Christopher White of National Catholic Reporter, October 12, 2023.

Two-tier Church undermines laity’s ‘shared dignity’ at Spirit Unbounded Conference by Sarah MacDonald for The Tablet, October 11, 2023

The Vatican Briefing podcast: Women at the pope's table by Joshua McElwee and Christopher White of National Catholic Reporter.

Catholic Church ‘should not be afraid of change’ says Cherie Blair on Spirit Unbounded Conference by Sarah MacDonald for The Tablet, October 10, 2023.

Theological Reflection at Synod by Professor Anna Rowlands, October 9, 2023

Testimony at Synod of Siu Wai Vanessa Cheng, October 9, 2023

Sisters at Vatican synod see 'dismantling of the hierarchical' by Rhina Guidos of National Catholic Reporter, October 6, 2023.

Walk with Women: Procession and Witness for Women's Ordination in Rome by Ordain Women, October 6, 2023.

Vatican Synod on Synodality signals hope for women’s ordination advocates by Claire Giangravé for Religion News Service, October 6, 2023.

Synod's focus on listening may signal power shift in Catholic Church, says sisterby Rhina Guidos of National Catholic Reporter/Global Sisters Report

Protesters call for ordination of women as Pope opens Vatican meeting on future of Churchby Associated Press, October 4, 2023. 

Let Her Voice Carry: Women's Ordination Worldwide Prayer Service, by Ordain Women, October 3, 2023.

Pope signals openness to blessings for gay couples, study of women's ordinationby Joshua McElwee and Christopher White of National Catholic Reporter, October 2, 2023.

'Orthodoxy is spacious': At retreat, synod members hear about women's hopes, LGBTQ issues by Joshua McElwee and Christopher White of National Catholic Reporter, October 2, 2023.

The Sisters Involved with the Synod on Synodality by Global Sisters Report.

5 suggestions to make the pope's big Synod of Bishops actually mean somethingby Mary Hunt for the National Catholic Reporter, September 27, 2023.

The synod could change whether women can be ordained as deacons or priests. These women are hopeful.  by Heidi Schlumpf of National Catholic Reporter, September 15, 2023

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Closing of Lay Led Assembly by Victirino Pérez Prieto

It was a joy to be at this alternative lay-led Synod that was broadcast around the world and to meet courageous leaders of Catholic organizations dedicated to promoting human rights and equality in the Church. See this wonderful article featuring some highlights of this historic Synod written by Victorina Pérez Puerto 
Joan Chittester: “The Church has to change, change, change!”

Closing of the 'Shadow Synod': “Shut us up!”

Closing of the alternative Synod
Closing of the alternative Synod

The meeting bears the significant title of “Human rights in an emerging Catholic Church”, convened by the international organization Spirit Unbounded (“Spirit without borders”), with the support of more than forty Church organizations

One of the participants was a prominent person: Raúl Vera , bishop emeritus of Saltillo (Mexico), collaborator of Samuel Ruiz in Chiapas and one of the critical episcopal voices in the Latin American Church

“The fundamental challenges of society today are the humanization of human rights and the Christianization of the Church,” said Chittister.

Mary McAleese:  "The Church is not credible because it is not transparent"; in this way, it is not consistent with the message of its Master.

The  Lay-led Synodal Assembly” or “Shadow Synod” has concluded its meeting at dusk on October 14 with these words from Joan Chittester and Mary McAleese with which I title my post, two of the most valuable women in the Church, although it was not wanted to include them in the Vatican Synod, or Synod of Synodality, described as an open and participatory path for the entire Church, in the spirit of Francis.

The first is a well-known Benedictine nun, former university professor and renowned international lecturer, one of the most prominent North American Catholic theologians, with more than fifty published books, some of them bestsellers published in several languages. The second is a Catholic laywoman, with a doctorate from the Gregorian University, former professor and former chancellor of Trinity College Dublin, and former president of Ireland. Both lucid, critical and free women in the Church.

We give you 'RD Report – Keys to the Synod of Synodality'

Although my previous article has provoked very critical and even insulting comments from the usual intolerant ultras - some of those insults have had to be eliminated by the moderator of these blogs -, although I also received words of gratitude through other means, I continue to speak of this superb meeting in Rome - whose program I have already spoken about in a previous post -. The meeting bears the significant title of “Human rights in an emerging Catholic Church” , convened by the international organization Spirit Unbounded (“Spirit without borders”), with the support of more than forty Church organizations known especially beyond our borders (WOW , WOC, ARCWP, CfCh, Donne per la Chiesa... ) and some Spanish ones like Redes Cristianas. This name has come in handy for this alternative Synod, in which we have heard words said with peace, but with energy, with freedom interior and exterior.

It's a shame that everything took place in English, with the difficulty it poses for Spanish-speaking people who do not know that language and without being able to have simultaneous interpretation, due to the precariousness of the media; I hope it will be taken into account on another occasion, because it may have been one of the reasons why only two Spaniards participated (my wife Christina, an interpreter who has been a great help, and I) and some Hispanic Americans. One of them is a prominent person: Raúl Vera , bishop emeritus of Saltillo (Mexico), collaborator of Samuel Ruiz in Chiapas and one of the critical episcopal voices in the Latin American Church, with whom I had the opportunity of a conversation that will appear here in a few days.

Meeting organizations
Meeting organizations

Although most of the talks and debates were online since last Sunday the 8th (with participation by prominent theologians such as Leonardo Boff and Diarmuid O'Murchu and others), on the 13th-14th there was the face-to-face meeting simultaneously in Rome and Bristol , as well with some notable people.

There were interesting conferences by specialists on women in the Italian Church (Dora. Paola Lazzarini ), in the German Church (Dora. Claudia Nothelle ) and in the Zimbabwe Church ( Martha Musonza ); others on the female disciples of Jesus with two English specialists from the universities of Edinburgh (Dora. Helen Bond ) and King's College London (Dora. Joan Taylor ), on sexual scandals in the Church (Dor. Luca Badini ), and conferences such as “Who and what we miss in the Synod and why” ( Jamie Manson ) or “We have already won”, by Dora. German Martha Heizer , co-founder of We Are Church, which was sanctioned years ago in the Church: “We do not need,” she said, “for the Church to teach us how couples should love each other.”

Bridget Mary Meehan , American and Irish bishop and theologian with numerous publications, spoke hopefully of her Association of Women Priests in the Catholic Church (ARCWP), which already has an important group not only of priests but also of bishops.

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan

The two most important conferences were given by the two women I mentioned at the beginning. Joan Chittester spoke about “Living the discipleship of equals” . She began by saying with humor that she did not want to come to Rome, because she was afraid that what happened to Jesus of Nazareth would happen to her, that she did not want to go to Jerusalem either, because she was afraid that what happened to her would happen to her... But she did. In fact, she got into serious trouble with the hierarchy more than twenty years ago for participating in the first major meeting of the WOW (Worldwide Network for the Ordination of Women).

“The fundamental question is what do Church communities really need?” he said at the beginning. And the answer was resounding: “The Church has to change, change, change!” He told a well-known anecdote about a girl whose mother took her to church one day, and when she saw that there were only men leading the celebration, she asked why it was like that; and her mother responded: “It's just that in the Church those who lead are only men.” And the girl answered: “Then what are we doing here?”

Christina Moreira and J. Chittister
Christina Moreira and J. Chittister

“The fundamental challenges of society today are the humanization of human rights and the Christianization of the Church,” said Chittister . "Because," he continued later, "the Church is seriously failing with all the people with whom it should not do so: children, women, minorities, the marginalized and the poorest... Those most hurt by society." She is demanding true equality between women and men in the Church, with access to ordained ministries.

The Christian commitment - he repeated - is to live as disciples of Jesus and be consistent with it; that is, “living the way he lived: free and committed to the most marginalized.” The Church today has to find the path of true discipleship: for herself, for women and for everyone, being “consistent with baptism . ”

For her part, Mary McAleese titled her long and lively talk, very critical of the current Church hierarchy , “The discipleship of equals is denied ” She began with a resounding phrase: “All inequalities scandalize Christ,” and this especially affects the largest religious institution in the world, with a seat at the UN: the Catholic Church. This must change above all in being faithful to the equality that the discipleship of Jesus Christ entails. And also in other aspects. “The Church is not credible because it is not transparent”; In this way, it is not consistent with the message of the Master of it.

However, this discipleship of equals does not even appear in the Instrumentum laboris of the Vatican Synod. Even praising Francis' courage in defending the poorest and creation, McAleese was critical of him because that is not the case in the Church and he does little to change the face of this patriarchal and sexist Church. She went so far as to say: “Despite his fresh spirit and his innovative statements, Francis's theology ends up being sexist, unjust and violating human rights in the Church, by denying the real equality of women in it.”

Former president of Ireland
Former president of Ireland

Both women had the final debate with questions from people who were participating in Rome and Bristol . They gave us phrases like:

“At the Synod they ended up talking about what should be talked about in it, instead of talking about what they already received from the communities,” although there were brave words like those of the German delegation (McAleese). “The authentic discipleship of Jesus is not submissive obedience, it is being critical like him of all the injustices and patriarchal inequalities… This is what the Apostles did, they imprisoned them and they announced the message again”; “We are like an army of soldiers who carry an atomic bomb, but do not pay attention to them”; “Explain to the people why you have come here and what we have talked about, that will change things in the Church”; “What we do here is very different from what they are doing in the Vatican Synod”; “A synodal Church is a Church that really listens and that does not remain silent, silencing questions” (Chittister). McAleese added harsh words about the lack of this communication that kills the Church: “What is out there is the empire of fear.”

Former President of Ireland M. McAleese
Former President of Ireland M. McAleese

To the question of a journalist The Synodal Times , a newspaper created for the occasion, about whether “Pope Francis is “taking away with one hand what he gives with the other,” the former president answers: “ The Pope is only willing to change what that can change, which is little; It seems that he is more concerned about being loved, that's why he says what people want to hear " ; “The Pope is about to swim and put away his clothes (or “give one of lime and another of sand”, a traditional translation of the expression used by “flip flop pope”)… Nobody knows what he really thinks… Although in this way he has created a space so that the Spirit may express itself.” Chittister finished with the hopeful words of the old Bob Dylan song: “Times are changing… And they will change more if we think and decide for ourselves… Don't be silent!”

alternative synod
alternative synod

Prayers for Peace and Justice in the Middle East and in Ukraine


Let us pray day and night for peace and justice for all the people in this horrific war in the Middle East and in Ukraine.

Peace in the Middle East

God of mercy and compassion,
of grace and reconciliation,
pour your power upon all your children in the Middle East:
Jews, Muslims and Christians,
Palestinians and Israelis.
Let hatred be turned into love, fear to trust, despair to hope,
oppression to freedom, occupation to liberation,
that violent encounters may be replaced by loving embraces,
and peace and justice could be experienced by all.

- Reverend Said

Bring Justice and Peace

God of all creation, bring justice and peace to our world.
Teach us to be peacemakers. Guide us in our pursuit of
justice and the common good. Inspire us to welcome all, forgive
all, and love all. Direct us as we walk in the shadow of Jesus: the
Way, the Truth, and the Life. Inspire us to perceive the world
through your eyes, that we might find hope and joy each day,
supportive of each other.

Father and Mother of All Mercies

Father and Mother of all mercies, we pray for the families who have fled their homes in fear. We lift up the mothers and fathers who have escaped with only their children, leaving everything else behind. Their country has changed, their lives will never be the same and they are afraid of the future.

You are the God who heals. Please bring your comfort and healing to those who are hurting.

We lift up the communities who have taken in refugees and displaced people, even though they may be struggling themselves. We thank you for their generosity and compassion towards those in distress.

Holy One, you are the God who provides. We pray that timely help and support will reach all who are in need.

Father/Mother God, there is so much pain and conflict across the Middle East. We pray for leaders throughout the region and ask you to turn their hearts towards peace. As our leaders and those around the world consider how to respond, please grant them wisdom and insight.

Jesus, you are the Prince of Peace. We pray for an end to the violence and bloodshed, and ask you to bring a new dawn of peace across the Middle East.