Saturday, January 17, 2015

Homily by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan: ARCWP Ordination of 1 Priest, 3 Deacons in Orlando, Florida: Jan. 17, 2015

“A Justice- Seeking Woman in the Gospels Inspires Justice Seekers Today”
By Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP


Today we celebrate a justice-seeking woman in scripture.  Today we celebrate justice-seeking ordinands in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. We will not relent until Gospel equality and justice is a reality in our church and world.

In Luke’s Gospel we encounter a justice-seeking widow badgering a corrupt judge until he relents and does the right thing.  According to scholars, this widow is a courageous woman without resources or family members to assist in her appeal for justice. During this time and culture, a male relative would have accompanied a woman in a court case.  In this story of Gospel equality and social justice, a courageous woman wins justice by her persistent effort. Unafraid to confront a corrupt judicial system slated against her, she refuses to quit, until justice is done. Neither will we!

The persistent widow is a role model for all who are seeking justice within our church and society.

As Isaiah reminds us, we are called to be God’s compassion to those in need of comfort and liberation. Like deacon Phoebe, whom Paul praised as an outstanding leader in the church, we are called to lead our church today into a new era of Gospel equality and partnership, one with the community of the baptized.

Today we rejoice as we ordain 4 justice seekers.

Rita Lucey of Orlando, a member of Pax Christi, has been married for 63 years. She is a mother of four, grandmother of six and great-grandmother of three.  As a justice-seeking woman and human rights activist Rita spent six months in federal prison to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas. Because of her witness for justice issues and her experience in prison she advocated for women in prison and served as a Hospice Volunteer for 25 years. As a priest, Rita will celebrate sacraments in the homes of Catholics who feel alienated from the Church.

Kathryn Shea of Sarasota, is a mother of two children and grandmother of two grandchildren.  She has been married nearly 30 years to Stephen, an ordained minister of the Disciples of Christ.  As a justice-seeking woman, Kathryn protested US nuclear arms build-up and interference in Central America, and was arrested and jailed for civil disobedience numerous times. Kathryn, who is the president and CEO of the Florida Center for Child and Family Development in Sarasota, FL, is a passionate activist for the healthy development of young children, especially children at-risk. As a deacon, she will serve Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida as a member of the liturgical ministry team.

 Jim Marsh of Albany, NY and St. Petersburg, FL has served his local church communities as Parish Councilor, Lector, Eucharistic Minister, and Religious Educator.  In the early 1980s, as a gay man, he was involved in establishing a local DIGNITY Chapter in the Capital District region of NY where he served as a sacramental coordinator. As a justice-seeking man, he worked to create a viable Eucharistic community for those of many faith traditions who were “on the margins” of society and called “disordered” by church authorities. As a deacon, Jim will continue his ministry of service with others in promoting inclusive, egalitarian, justice-seeking communities of faith, inspired by Sophia-Wisdom.

Mary Catherine White of Gorham, New Hampshire, has been married to her soul mate, Adam White, since 2006. She has two adult daughters and a five year old grandson. For nearly twenty years, Mary wore many hats in her local Catholic faith community: Director of Religious Education; Spiritual Director; RCIA Coordinator; Small Faith Community Coordinator; Minister of Communion who presided at Communion Services in the pastor's absence; Liturgical Dancer, and Choir member. As a justice-seeking woman, Mary is a member of a blossoming inclusive Catholic community that has called her to serve as its priest.  She looks forward to her ministry with the people of New Hampshire's North Country.

The good news is according to polls, close to 70% of U.S. Catholics support women priests. Even Cardinal O’Malley in his 60 Minutes interview with Norah O’Donnell, said he favors women priests: “If I were founding a church, I’d love to have women priests. But Christ founded it, and what he has given us is something different.”

Let’s examine the evidence in the bible and Vatican scholarship, 

First, Jesus was not a priest, nor did Jesus ordain anyone a priest. The apostles were not priests or bishops. Jesus called women and men to be disciples, and treated them as partners and equals. In all four gospels, Mary Magdalene was the primary witness to the central event of Christianity — Christ’s resurrection. 

Second: in early Christianity, scholars conclude that women served as deacons, priests and bishops. (See Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women's Ordination and Dorothy Irvin's archaelogical researach)

Third: in 1976, the Vatican’s own Pontifical Biblical Commission stated that there is no theological basis to exclude women from the priesthood.

Fourth: according to Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, #29) “every type of discrimination … based on sex … is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God’s intent.” 
Does a teaching that states women can receive six sacraments and men can receive seven sacraments indicate that discrimination is a core issue here?

The bottom line is: the church cannot continue to discriminate against half of its membership, and blame Jesus for it.

When the institutional church prohibits ordination and fails to treat woman as spiritual equals at every level, it thereby, gives permission to the rest of the world to oppress and dominate women. We must make the connection between discrimination against women in the church and abuse, violence, and gender injustice the world.

In the church’s recent Synod on the Family, women were not only missing from the all male, celibate voting bishops, but also, missing in the final document on church teachings that will affect women’s lives around the globe.

Journalist Angela Bonavoglia writes the following stinging critique of the Synod on the Family in an article entitled “Where Are the Women? “There were passing references to violence against women in the family and in the world in the final Synod document, but nowhere do the Church fathers make a moral case for protecting women from such violence in their own homes and supporting them in leaving such relationships… This omission is doubly concerning coming from a church that forces childbirth on unwilling women by supporting laws that block access to birthcontrol…”  (Where Are the Women? By Angela Bonavoglia | November 20, 2014 http://www.womensmediacenter.com/feature/entry/the-synods-final-document-where-are-the-women#.VHKOmUJZXtg.email

In order to be credible, the Synod on the Family must reflect women’s experiences. They could check in with some of our women priests who are mothers and grandmothers! We are faithful Catholics who love our church and are offering it a renewed model of priestly ministry that is non-clerical and non-hierarchical, one with all in the community of the baptized.

Our movement began with 7 courageous women who were ordained on the Danube River in 2002.  In 2003, our first women bishops were ordained by a male bishop with apostolic succession. Therefore, our ordinations are valid, but we are disobeying an unjust male-made canon law that discriminates against women.

There are now 200 in the international women priest movement in 10 countries, including 160 in the U.S. serving 60 communities. We celebrate inclusive liturgies with feminine as well as masculine images of God.  All are invited to our Eucharistic table including LGBTs, and divorced and remarried Catholics. Like Rosa Parks in the Civil Rights movement we are breaking an unjust law in the Catholic Church and leading the church into living Gospel equality now.

In conclusion, I will offer a few examples of how our ARCWP priests are seeking justice with other justice seekers in the Body of Christ:

At Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, women priests and married priests gather around the altar with the entire community to pray the Eucharistic Prayer. Each week there is a dialogue homily.  

In Albany NY, the Inclusive Catholic Community is offering a spiritual home to many who have walked away from the institutional church. They are studying scripture scholarship that focuses on the life of Jesus and the central message of the Gospel. And, they are embracing a theology of blessing that requires restorative justice and equality for all. 

On Nov. 15, 2014, five of our women priests gathered with hundreds at the gates of Ft. Benning GA. to celebrate a Eucharist of the People on the 25th anniversary of the Martyrdom of two women coworkers and 6 Jesuits at the University of Central America in El Salvador in 1989.

Georgia Walker, who was ordained a priest on Jan. 3, 2015 in Kansas City, crossed the line at the old nuclear bomb parts plant in South Kansas City to protest the toxic waste dump there. Hundreds of workers either died or are suffering from major chronic illnesses due to exposure to chemicals at that site. For her non-violent, justice-seeking action, Georgia was convicted of trespassing and was sentenced to one-year of unsupervised probation by the Municipal Court of Kansas City.

Today we celebrate the ordination of Rita, Kathryn  Jim, and Mary Catherine, four prophetic witnesses to Gospel equality.

Like the persistent widow, our women priests’ movement is a holy shakeup rising up for justice in the Catholic Church!


Bridget Mary Meehan, D.Min., a Sister for Christian Community, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 31, 2006. She was ordained a bishop on April 19, 2009.  Dr. Meehan is currently Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program for Global Ministries University, and is the author of 20 books, including   Living Gospel Equality Now: Loving in the Heart of God, The Healing Power of Prayer and Praying with Women of the Bible . She presides at liturgies in Mary, Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Meehan can be reached at  sofiabmm@aol.com and  www.arcwp.org

Friday, January 16, 2015

Media links to Orlando ordination


NBC Today, January 18, 2015

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/wife-grandma-catholic-priest-rebel-women-defy-church-ban-n286766 

Orlando Sentinel Video of Ordination - January 18, 2015

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-rita-lucey-ordination-female-priest-20150117-premiumvideo.html

Orlando Sentinel, January 16, 2015

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/religion/os-80-year-old-woman-ordained-20150115-story.html

Orlando TV Station, January 17, 2015
Woman, 80, to become priest, then face excommunication
http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2015/1/17/rita_lucey_first_wom.html

http://www.wsvn.com/story/27757781/woman-to-become-orlandos-1st-female-priest

Polls find that most Catholics in the United States are at odds with their Church when it comes to the role of women.



2009 Pew study found that of 39 percent of young adults who leave the Catholic Church, and who are now unaffiliated with a religion, said they were “unhappy with the way religion treated women.”
In a separate study last year, nearly 70 percent of US Catholics said they believe women should be ordained to the priesthood.

On Sunday, Jan. 18, 8-9 a.m. EST, NBC Today to run clips of Historic Orlando Ordination of Rita Lucey, 80

NBC will run interview of Rita Lucey of Orlando and Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) as Rita is ordained a priest Jan. 17, 2 p.m. at Christ Church Unity, 771 Holden Ave. in Orlando. 

The clips will be shown on NBC Today on Sunday, Jan. 18, 8-9 a.m.EST.


peace, Janice 859-684-4247

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests to Ordain Rita Lucey, 80, 1st Roman Catholic Woman Priest in Orlando on January 17th Along with Three Deacons

Left to right; Anne Wright, Rita Lucey and Roy Bourgeois

Contact:
Janice Sevre-Duszynska, D.Min. (Media) rhythmsofthedance1@gmail.com  859.684.4247
(note change in my email address: Add 1)

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, sofiabmm@aol.com
703.505.0004

Rita Lucey rluceyis@gmail.com  407.690.3293


On Saturday, Jan. 17th at 2 p.m. the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain Rita Lucey, 80, the first woman priest in Orlando, FL. Three deacons will also be ordained: Kathryn Shea of Sarasota, Jim Marsh of Albany, NY and St. Petersburg, FL and Mary Catherine White of Gorham, NH. The presiding bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan of Sarasota. The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. at Christ Church Unity, 771 Holden Ave. in Orlando. All are welcome.


Rita Lucey, 80, of Orlando, a mother, grandmother and member of Pax Christi, has been married for 62 years. As a military wife of 20 years she became the Religious Education Director on military bases stateside and overseas and “was always impressed by the sharing of ONE chapel by people of all faiths.” She is a human rights activist who, at the age of 64, spent six months in federal prison to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas. Because of her witness for justice issues and her experience in prison, she has advocated for incarcerated women and has also served as a Hospice Volunteer for 25 years. She gives local talks on the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Rita has a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola New Orleans. 
There are now 200 ordained in the international women priest movement in 10 countries, including 160 in the U.S. serving 60 communities. We celebrate inclusive liturgies with feminine as well as masculine images of God.  All are invited to our Eucharistic table including LGBTs, and divorced and remarried Catholics. Like Rosa Parks in the Civil Rights movement, women priests are breaking an unjust law in the Catholic Church.

See major coverage of Kansas City woman priest ordination

http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article4986519.html






Wednesday, January 14, 2015

"Georgia Walker Excommunicated For Attempting To Become Catholic Priest"/Huffington Post Article

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/14/georgia-walker-excommunicated_n_6464452.html

..."On Jan. 7, Bishop Robert W. Finn of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph sent Walker a letter informing her that she'd incurred automatic excommunication for participating in an ordination ceremony not recognized by the Vatican...In an email to The Huffington Post, Walker said that she was "very disappointed to be excommunicated.""I love the Church and I particularly love the local parish in which I have previously been very active," Walker told HuffPost on Wednesday. "However, I am not at all surprised."
Bridget Mary Meehan of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, who conducted Walker's ordination ceremony, responded to Finn's letter on her personal website Monday."The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests are faithful members of the baptized who serve our beloved church in a renewed priestly ministry that welcomes all to celebrate the sacraments in inclusive, Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered communities wherever we are called," Meehan wrote.
Meehan, who identifies as a bishop but whose title is similarly not recognized by the church, argued for ARCWP's claim to validity, citing the organization's "apostolic succession with the Roman Catholic Church.""The principal consecrating Roman Catholic male bishop who ordained our first women bishops is a bishop with apostolic succession within the Roman Catholic Church in communion with the pope," she wrote on her website. "Therefore, our bishops validly ordain deacons, priests and bishops..."
Jack Smith, director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, noted in an email to HuffPost that Pope Francis clearly reaffirmed in his 2013 apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Gaudium" that priesthood is considered the domain of baptized males only. In the same document, the pope said the church must "create still broader opportunities for a more incisive female presence in the Church," a point that Smith also addressed in his email.

"We certainly agree with Pope Francis on the importance of increasing women’s roles in leadership in the Church," Smith wrote. "In this diocese, women serve as directors of diocesan offices, members of the diocesan finance council, heads of schools and charitable agencies and numerous other leadership roles...
...
"For Meehan, Walker's excommunication raises larger questions about the future of women in the Catholic Church."Women's full equality in the church is the elephant in the church's living room," Meehan wrote in an email to HuffPost. "I think the institutional church is moving in the direction of gender justice and women priests are leading the way toward the full equality of women in the church and society..."
Walker, for her part, described where she'd like to go from here in her email to HuffPost."I intend to move ahead with my plans to form an intentional, inclusive Roman Catholic community with persons who are interested in participating in weekly liturgies," she wrote. "This type of worship community will be egalitarian, non-hierarchical and all will be free to actively participate in the worship, service and governance. All will be welcome at the table."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Georgia Walker's Response to the Excommunication Notification from Bishop Finn

left :Georgia Walker , Janice Sevre-Duszynska, and Bridget Mary Meehan
http://www.kctv5.com/story/27843515/catholic-church-excommunicates-woman-priest=
I am very disappointed to be excommunicated.  I love the Church and I particularly love the local parish in which I have previously been very active.  However, I am not at all surprised.  Bishop Finn enthusiastically follows the letter of Canon Law.  For example, he fires gay and lesbian employees despite their competency and loyal service, he encourages the denial of sacraments to those who have divorced or who have had children outside of legal marriage and he discourages Roman Catholic parishes from sharing in ecumenical services with those of other denominations.  He excludes those from the Eucharistic table who are the very people who I intend to serve!  Many persons in Kansas City were afraid to attend my ordination for fear of the repercussions they might face from the chancery—from losing their jobs or being excommunicated themselves.  It is a strange way to govern the church by fear in a country that strives to ensure freedom and a Church which preaches that God loves all of creation. 
One of the priests in my community sent me the following words from St. Paul which may put this letter and notice in right perspective:
"Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? Who is he that condemns?......Who can separate us from the love of God? ..... I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (See Romans 8:33ff)

I intend to move ahead with my plans to form an intentional, inclusive Roman Catholic community with persons who are interested in participating in weekly liturgies.  This type of worship community will be egalitarian, non-hierarchical and all will be free to actively participate in the worship, service and governance.  All will be welcome at the table.  The members of the Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests are leading the Church in a new direction with full participation for women and all other persons marginalized by the Church.  I am a part of that prophetic movement.  I have been ordained by a Bishop who has been ordained in apostolic succession and I plan to serve in the role of priest as a facilitator of worship for those who feel excluded from the traditional Roman Catholic Church.

http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/kansas-citys-first-woman-priest-has-been-excommunicated
Walker says she plans to continue attending Mass at her parish church, St. James, though she will not be taking part in any liturgy."I'm not going to take Communion," she told NCR. "I won't in any way compromise the parish, but I attend to still be part of the community and go there for worship on Sunday."Bridget Mary Meehan, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests bishop who presided over Walker's Jan. 3 ordination, posted to her blog both Finn's letter and a personal response, arguing that women ordained through the association are not leaving the church, but are leading it.

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests to Ordain Rita Lucey, 80, 1st Roman Catholic Woman Priest in Orlando on January 17th Along with Three Deacons


Contact:
Janice Sevre-Duszynska, D.Min. (Media) rhythmsofthedance1@gmail.com  859.684.4247
(note change in my email address: Add 1)

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, sofiabmm@aol.com
703.505.0004

Rita Lucey rluceyis@gmail.com  407.690.3293


On Saturday, Jan. 17th at 2 p.m. the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain Rita Lucey, 80, the first woman priest in Orlando, FL. Three deacons will also be ordained: Kathryn Shea of Sarasota, Jim Marsh of Albany, NY and St. Petersburg, FL and Mary Catherine White of Gorham, NH. The presiding bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan of Sarasota. The ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. at Christ Church Unity, 771 Holden Ave. in Orlando. All are welcome.

There are now 200 ordained in the international women priest movement in 10 countries, including 160 in the U.S. serving 60 communities. We celebrate inclusive liturgies with feminine as well as masculine images of God.  All are invited to our Eucharistic table including LGBTs, and divorced and remarried Catholics. Like Rosa Parks in the Civil Rights movement, women priests are breaking an unjust law in the Catholic Church.

See major coverage of Kansas City woman priest ordination:

Rita Lucey, 80, of Orlando, a mother, grandmother and member of Pax Christi, has been married for 62 years. As a military wife of 20 years she became the Religious Education Director on military bases stateside and overseas and “was always impressed by the sharing of ONE chapel by people of all faiths.” She is a human rights activist who, at the age of 64, spent six months in federal prison to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas. Because of her witness for justice issues and her experience in prison, she has advocated for incarcerated women and has also served as a Hospice Volunteer for 25 years. She gives local talks on the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
=

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Responds to the Letter of Excommunication to Georgia Walker ARCWP from Bishop Robert W. Finn

                          

left to right Colleen Simon, Susie Roling, Georgia Walker,
Bridget Mary Meehan, Henry Stoever
Prayed the Eucharistic Prayer at Ordination Liturgy on Jan. 3, 2015
in Kansas City

In the letter below, Bishop Finn stated that
 "As Bishop of Kansas City-Saint Joseph,
 I hereby declare that Georgia K. Walker has incurred the 
censure of excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the 
Apostolic See, and is subject to the restrictions and 
impediments indicated in canon  1331. "

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan's Response from ARCWP:
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests are faithful 
members of the baptized who serve our beloved church
 in a renewed priestly ministry
that welcomes all to celebrate the sacraments in 
inclusive, 
Christ-centered, 
Spirit-empowered communities 
wherever we are called.  
We are leading the Church, not leaving it, 
in living Gospel equality now. 
Our vision is to act as a community of equals
 in decision-making 
both as an organization and 
within our faith communities. 
The ordinations of Roman Catholic Women Priests are valid
 because of our apostolic succession within the 
Roman Catholic Church. 
The principal consecrating Roman Catholic male bishop 
who ordained our first women bishops is a 
bishop with apostolic succession 
within the Roman Catholic Church 
in communion with the pope. 
Therefore, our bishops validly 
ordain deacons, priests and bishops. 
Consequently, 
all qualified candidates, including baptized ministers 
and priests 
from other Christian traditions, who are presented 
to our bishops 
for ordination are ordained by the 
laying on of hands into
 apostolic succession 
in the Roman Catholic Church. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, bishop serving 
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
www.arcwp.org
sofiabmm@aol.com

                                                         

  DECREE
 EXCOMMUNICATION INCURRED LATAE SENTENTIAE 
BY GEORGIA  K. WALKER

In accord with canon 1024 of the Code of Canon Law, Article 5 of the 
Norms of the motu proprio "Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela,"
with due regard for canon 1378; and whereas Georgia K. Walker 
was advised of the seriousness of her contemplated  course of action 
 to attempt to receive sacred ordination; and whereas in fact 
Georgia K. Walker attempted to receive sacred ordination
in a ceremony at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church in 
Kansas City, Missouri, on January 3, 2015;

As Bishop of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, I hereby declare that 
Georgia K. Walker has incurred the censure of excommunication
latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See, and is subject to the 
restrictions and impediments indicated in canon   1331.

The remission  of this penalty is reserved to the Apostolic See in 
accord with canon   1354,§3 and may be sought 
from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 
if the conditions for remission of a censure have been met according 
to canon  1358, §1 of the Code of Canon  Law.

The offices of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph remain ready to 
assist Georgia K. Walker if or when she seeks such process in good  faith.

Given at the Chancery of the Diocese of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, 
January 7, 2015.

Most Reverend Robert W. Finn
Bishop of Kansas City-Saint  Joseph

Chancellor/Ecclesiastical Notary


Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph
20 W 9th Street Kansas City, Missouri 64105 816-756- 1850 Bishop's Fax: 816-756-2 105 bishopsoffice@diocesekcsj.org




"Gynophobia" by John Chuchman

I will no longer debate the issue of women’s ordination in the church with anyone.

I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance
that emanates from so many right-wing Christians
about how all of Jesus’ Apostles were male,
as if that point of view still has any credibility.

I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me
how “only males can be representations of Christ,"
about how women have a “different role” in the Church,
or about how male-only ordination is “the Church’s Tradition.”

Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy.
I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those
who advocate that women be happy being nuns and priests’ helpers.

I will no longer talk to those who believe
that the unity of the church can or should be achieved
at the expense of the dignity of women.

I will no longer take the time to refute
the unlearned and undocumented claims
of certain gynophobic religious leaders
who advocate for Male Superiority.

I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality
that certain Christian leaders continue to employ,
which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that
"Male-Only Ordination is the Church’s Tradition."
That statement is nothing more than a self-serving lie
designed to cover the fact that these people fear women,
yet somehow know that this fear is incompatible
with the Christ they claim to profess,
so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement.

I will no longer temper my understanding of truth
in order to pretend that I have even a tiny smidgen of respect
for the appalling negativity that continues to emanate from religious circles
where the church has for centuries conveniently perfumed
its ongoing prejudices against blacks, Jews, women and homosexual persons
with what it assumes is "high-sounding, pious rhetoric."

The day for that mentality has quite simply come to an end for me.
 I will personally neither tolerate it nor listen to it any longer.
The world has moved on,
 leaving these elements of the Christian Church that cannot adjust
to new knowledge or a new consciousness
 lost in a sea of their own irrelevance.

 They no longer talk to anyone but themselves.
 I will no longer seek to slow down the witness to inclusiveness
by pretending that there is some middle ground
between prejudice and oppression.
There isn't.

Justice postponed is justice denied.
That can be a resting place no longer for anyone.
An old civil rights song proclaimed that
the only choice awaiting those who cannot adjust to a new understanding
was to "Roll on over or we'll roll on over you!"
Time waits for no one.

It is time for the Church to announce that there are no longer two sides
to the issue of full Equality for Women.
There is no way that justice for Women
can be compromised any longer.

I will no longer act as if the Papal office is to be respected
 if the present occupant of that office is either not willing or not able
to inform and educate himself on public issues on which he dares to speak
with embarrassing ineptitude.

I see no way that ignorance and truth can be placed side by side,
nor do I believe that evil is somehow less evil if the Bible is quoted to justify it.

It is time to move on.
The battle is over.
The victory has been won.
There is no reasonable doubt
as to what the final outcome of this struggle will be.

Women have a legitimate claim on every right
that both church and society have to offer any of us.
The ordination of Women  
is recognized by the state
and must be pronounced holy by the church.




Can any of us imagine
having a public referendum on whether slavery should continue,
whether segregation should be dismantled,
whether voting privileges should be offered to women?

I will also no longer act as if I need a majority vote of some ecclesiastical body
 in order to bless, ordain, recognize and celebrate the lives and gifts
of Women in the life of the church.

No one should ever again be forced
to submit the privilege of citizenship in this nation
or membership in the Christian Church to the will of a majority vote.

The battle in both our culture and our church
to rid our souls of this dying prejudice is finished.
A new consciousness has arisen.
A decision has quite clearly been made.

Inequality for Women is no longer a debatable issue
in either church or state.
Therefore, I will from this moment on
refuse to dignify the continued public expression of ignorant prejudice
by engaging it.
I do not tolerate racism or sexism any longer.

From this moment on,
I will no longer tolerate our culture's various forms of homophobia.
 I do not care who it is who articulates these attitudes
or who tries to make them sound holy with religious jargon.

Things do get settled and this issue is now settled for me.
I do not debate any longer with members of the "Flat Earth Society" either.
 I do not debate with people who think we should treat epilepsy
by casting demons out of the epileptic person;
 I do not waste time engaging those medical opinions
that suggest that bleeding the patient might release the infection.

I am tired of being embarrassed by so much of my church's participation
in causes that are quite unworthy of the Christ I serve
or the God whose mystery and wonder I appreciate more each day.

 Indeed I feel the Christian Church should not only apologize,
but do public penance
for the way we have treated people of color, women, adherents of other religions
and those we designated heretics, as well as gay and lesbian people.

Life moves on.

As the poet James Russell Lowell once put it more than a century ago:
 "New occasions teach new duties, Time makes ancient good uncouth."
 I am ready now to claim the victory.
 I will from now on assume it and live into it.
 I am unwilling to argue about it
or to discuss it as if there are two equally valid, competing positions any longer.
The day for that mentality has simply gone forever.

No longer . . .