Saturday, September 26, 2015

"A Pastoral Pope, Slipping Conservatives’ Grasp" By JASON HOROWITZ SEPT. 26, 2015, New York Times, with Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP: Response to Pope Francis on Women's Equality in the Roman Catholic Church




http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/27/us/in-pope-francis-philadelphia-visit-catholic-conservatives-hope-for-emphasis-on-basics.html?_r=0


..."Bridget Mary Meehan, a bishop in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, a splinter group that ordains women, said that while she loved Pope Francis, the media “had gone bonkers” in its adoration of him despite his doctrinal orthodoxy on women."


Bridget Mary's Response: Pope Francis does not get the connection between women's equality n the church and in the world. The idea of justice for women in the institutional church, including women in equal decision making roles and the priesthood is a major threat to the Catholic hierarchy.


“He has a big blind spot on women,” she said as she stood in a hallway next to a cake that bore the words “Many Women, One Spirit.” “He doesn’t understand that women are full, responsible moral agents.”


Bridget Mary's Response: 70% of the world's poor are women and their dependent children, the church's condemnation of artifical birth control plays a major role in keeping women poor and pregnant. The Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement makes the connection between sexism in the church and poverty, abuse and violence toward women in the world. Pope Francis needs to recognize that women are the ones who are most marginalized, abused and oppressed in the world and that the church contributes to this tragedy by its policies of discrimination toward women in the church.



"In a handsome stone Quaker retreat about a half-hour outside Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon, Ms. Meehan and dozens of other women in white robes sang hymns among signs reading “Women Priests Are Here” and “Archaeology Says Yes” (a reference to whether women served as priests and bishops of the early church)."


Bridget Mary's Response: The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests celebrated the ordination of 3 women bishops at this Ordination. Our first bishops were ordained by a male bishop with apostolic succession, therefore our orders are valid. We are disobeying an unjust law in violation of a man- made canon law 1024 that discriminates against women. The Catholic Church cannot continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it. The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala and called her to be the apostle to the apostles. Women were ordained for 1200 years in the church's tradition. Pope Francis and the hierarchy of the church should follow the example of Jesus and the early church tradition.


“We are changing the church one inclusive community at a time,” Ms. Meehan said, adding that by living what she called gospel equality, “we are like the Rosa Parks of the Catholic Church” and helping it “grow into a more inclusive family.”


Bridget Mary's Response: There are 215 in the international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement. We serve over 75 inclusive faith communities now. We welcome everyone to receive sacraments, the divorced and remarried, gays, lesbians, transgender, all on the margins of the church. The church that welcomes all must treat everyone as equals, not just those who obey the rules of the church. While Pope Francis has adopted a more compassionate, pastoral tone, he has not changed the toxic teaching of the church that excludes and punishes Catholics who follow their consciences. The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests calls on Pope Francis to drop all excommunications and punishments against Catholics who follow their consciences, including women priests and our supporters. This would be a positive step toward healing the wounds of sexism and oppression of women in the church. Now is the time for Pope Francis, whom we love and admire for his social justice teachings, to embrace women priests whose mission is to serve a more open, inclusive church of disciples and equals.

"Francis has no room for such women at the head of the table, opposing ordaining women and making women nonclerical cardinals, as was done in earlier times.

“The church has spoken and says no,” he said in July 2013."

While he has advocated a “deeper theology” about the place of women in the church and a “greater role” for women in its decision making, he has also said he believes such women suffer from a “machismo” that negates the real differences, and contributions, between men and women."

Bridget Mary's Response: Feminists have been producing significant theologies on women's empowerment for 40 years. It is insulting that the Vatican thinks they should address a deeper theology, what needs to be addressed is the sin of sexism and patriarchy in the church. This is not machismo because women's rights in the church and in the world reflect our deepest realities as equal spiritual images of God who are human beings with full human rights!

"In his homily Saturday morning at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, he spoke at length about women, but provided no opening for expanding their roles in liturgical life. He relied instead on appreciation for their current status and efforts, praising "the immense contribution which women, lay and religious, have made and continue to make to the life of our communities."

Bridget Mary's Response: I thought that Pope Francis would affirm women as spiritual equals in the church and open a door to the full equality of women in all areas in our church. I was touched by his appreciation for women's gifts in ministry in the church, including the thousands of nuns who have labored for years to educate the children and youth of Philadelphia. I am grateful for my spiritual formation as an IHM Sister from 1966-1980. There is a long struggle ahead for justice and equality for women in our church.  I am not discouraged because I believe Pope Francis may open the door to dialogue during this holy year of mercy. I hope that he asks forgiveness for centuries of sexism and opens the church to the gifts of women in all areas of church life including ordination in a renewed priestly ministry that is one with the people with whom we serve.  May he have the courage to go where no pope has gone and transform patriarchal structures that continue to treat women as second class citizens in our church. Pope Francis has said that the church must not be afraid of change. As a woman of faith, I believe all things are possible with God! Women priests are here!






Bridget Mary Meehan, bishop, serving the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Ordains 3 new bishops at Ordination at Pendle Hill, near Philadelphia on Sept. 24, 2015 during Pope Francis' Visit to U.S. , www.arcwp.org, sofiabmm@aol.com











Links to Women Priests and Pope Francis Media Stories

BBC Interview with Donna Rougeux, ARCWP

Three New Female Catholic Bishops Ordained in Delaware County

http://www.delcotimes.com/general-news/20150924/three-new-female-catholic-bishops-ordained-in-delco

Bridget Mary Meehan- Interview about Pope Francis on Al Jazeera
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8ZTj-8GAhM

"A Pastoral Pope, Slipping Conservatives’ Grasp" By JASON HOROWITZ SEPT. 26, 2015, New York Times, with Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP: Response to Pope Francis on Women's Equality in the Roman Catholic Church






..."Bridget Mary Meehan, a bishop in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, a splinter group that ordains women, said that while she loved Pope Francis, the media “had gone bonkers” in its adoration of him despite his doctrinal orthodoxy on women."


Bridget Mary's Response: Pope Francis does not get the connection between women's equality n the church and in the world. The idea of justice for women in the institutional church, including women in equal decision making roles and the priesthood is a major threat to the Catholic hierarchy. 


“He has a big blind spot on women,” she said as she stood in a hallway next to a cake that bore the words “Many Women, One Spirit.” “He doesn’t understand that women are full, responsible moral agents.”


Bridget Mary's Response: 70% of the world's poor are women and their dependent children, the church's condemnation of artifical birth control plays a major role in keeping women poor and pregnant. The Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement makes the connection between sexism in the church and poverty, abuse and violence toward women in the world. Pope Francis needs to recognize that women are the ones who are most marginalized, abused and oppressed in the world and that the church contributes to this tragedy by its policies of discrimination toward women in the church. 


"In a handsome stone Quaker retreat about a half-hour outside Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon, Ms. Meehan and dozens of other women in white robes sang hymns among signs reading “Women Priests Are Here” and “Archaeology Says Yes” (a reference to whether women served as priests and bishops of the early church)."


Bridget Mary's Response: The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests celebrated the ordination of 3 women bishops at this Ordination. Our first bishops were ordained by a male bishop with apostolic succession, therefore our orders are valid. We are disobeying an unjust law in violation of a man- made canon law 1024 that discriminates against women. The Catholic Church cannot continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it. The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala and called her to be the apostle to the apostles. Women were ordained for 1200 years in the church's tradition. Pope Francis and the hierarchy of the church should follow the example of Jesus and the early church tradition. 


“We are changing the church one inclusive community at a time,” Ms. Meehan said, adding that by living what she called gospel equality, “we are like the Rosa Parks of the Catholic Church” and helping it “grow into a more inclusive family.”


Bridget Mary's Response: There are 215 in the international Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement. We serve over 75 inclusive faith communities now. We welcome everyone to receive sacraments, the divorced and remarried, gays, lesbians, transgender, all on the margins of the church. The church that welcomes all must treat everyone as equals, not just those who obey the rules of the church. While Pope Francis has adopted a more compassionate, pastoral tone, he has not changed the toxic teaching of the church that excludes and punishes Catholics who follow their consciences. The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests calls on Pope Francis to drop all excommunications and punishments against Catholics who follow their consciences, including women priests and our supporters. This would be a positive step toward healing the wounds of sexism and oppression of women in the church. Now is the time for Pope Francis, whom we love and admire for his social justice teachings, to embrace women priests whose mission is to serve a more open, inclusive church of disciples and equals.

Francis has no room for such women at the head of the table, opposing ordaining women and making women nonclerical cardinals, as was done in earlier times.
“The church has spoken and says no,” he said in July 2013."



 
Bridget Mary Meehan, bishop, serving the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Ordains 3 new bishops at Ordination at Pendle Hill, near Philadelphia on Sept. 24, 2015 during Pope Francis' Visit to U.S. , www.arcwp.org, sofiabmm@aol.com

Janice Sevre Duszynska - Interview about Pope Francis on Democracy Now
http://www.democracynow.org/2015/9/24/female_priests_stage_die_in_outside?utm_source=Democracy+Now!&utm_campaign=63cc96fc9a-Daily_Digest&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fa2346a853-63cc96fc9a-190337265

Interview with Suz Thiel RCWP on Demonstration outside Synod on the Families in Phila. 
http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-pope-visit-women-ordination-20150923-story.html


women priests
Daily update ⋅ September 21, 2015 
She intends to take to the streets of Washington when Pope Francis arrives there next week to push for acceptance of women priests. (Emma ...

Colorado Women Priests Call for Change in Catholic Church
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/colorado-women-priests-call-for-change-in-catholic-church

"A church that dreams of rights for women can be great, too" by Jamie Manson, National Catholic Reporter

http://ncronline.org/blogs/grace-margins/church-dreams-rights-women-can-be-great-too


  • Women's ordination advocates in Washington Sept. 24 (Photo/Molly Butler)
“A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to ‘dream’ of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work; the fruit of a faith which becomes dialog and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton.”
So said Pope Francis to Congress this week.
The line deeply moved most of those who were listening. But it also puzzled those of us who struggle for women’s equality in the Roman Catholic Church.
The pope clearly understands the value of full rights in society, the need to raise up the oppressed, and the importance of dialog. Why, then, can he not connect his own truth to the discriminatory practices inside the walls of his church? Why can’t he see that there is a connection between the struggle for women’s equality in the church and in the world? Why would he continue to perpetuate the mandatory silence on the discussion of women’s ordination?
How could Francis not hear the irony of his own statement? He leads a church of one billion people — an institution that refuses to allow its members to discuss, let alone dream of, the idea that God calls women to full authority and decision-making power in the church.
Support theindependentCatholic news source bringing you live coverage of francis_0.jpgPope Francis' historic visit to the United States.Subscribe to NCR!
It’s not as if there isn’t already support for women’s ordination among the church’s flock.
Studies suggest that at least 60 percent of Catholics in the United States support the ordination of women.
They are not alone. According to a 2014 Univision study of 12,000 Catholics on five continents, the majority of Catholics in France (83 percent), Spain (78 percent), Argentina (60 percent), and Italy (59 percent), the United States (59 percent) and Brazil (54 percent) would also like women to have equal standing in ordained ministry.
The Univision study also demonstrated that, even in countries know for traditional Catholic piety, such as Poland (38 percent), Mexico (35 percent) and the Philippines (21 percent), there is sizeable support for women priests.
These numbers prove that those who long for women’s equality in the Catholic church’s leadership are hardly lone voices crying out in a desert. So why can’t we hear them?
At last weekend’s Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW) in Philadelphia, the answer emerged painfully from a panel of four male Roman Catholic priests, three of whom, Roy Bourgeois, Tony Flannery and Paul Collins, had been excommunicated for their support of women’s ordination. (Among those gathered in the audience were at least one hundred women who suffered the same punishment for the same act of advocacy.)
Both Bourgeois and Flannery recounted stories of brother priests who refused to join them in advocating for women’s equality. Though their colleagues quietly agreed with him, publicly they kowtowed to the hierarchy’s insistence that the issue of women’s ordination must never be discussed, let alone supported.
Catholics dissent from any number of issues related to church doctrine: contraception, LGBT inclusion, divorce and remarriage. But the punishments for advocating for women’s ordination are uniquely swift and severe. Priests lose their faculties; advocates are denied the Sacraments or excommunicated. The issue of women’s equality in the church remains profoundly threatening to the institution.
It is a lesson learned by the fourth priest panelist, Jack McClure of Most Holy Redeemer parish in San Francisco, who was still in good standing at the time of the WOW panel.
Just two days after his appearance at WOW, McClure was informed by Precious Blood Father and Most Holy Redeemer pastor Matthew Link that the secretary for San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said McClure can no longer celebrate Mass at his parish beyond the end of this month.
As has been reported by NCR in the past, McClure and the parish have distinguished themselves by their inclusive ministry to LGBT Catholics.
Yet Cordileone, who has practically made his career off of fighting LGBT rights and marriage equality, did not censure the parish or its priests for their work with the LGBT community. Supporting women’s ordination, however, was grave enough to rip McClure from the sacraments and his community.
McClure’s story is one of many that expose the dark system of bargaining at work in the Roman Catholic church vis-à-vis women’s ordination. If one refuses to speak out for women’s equality, one gets to keep one’s job, retirement benefits and access to the sacraments. Privileges in the church come in exchange for silence. Obedience demands complicity in injustice.
Of course, Catholics are not alone in this. At another panel during the WOW meeting, women from Jewish, Mormon, Muslim and Anglican faith traditions spoke about their own battles to advocate for the full inclusion of women.
Kate Kelly was excommunicated from the Church of Latter Days Saints for advocating for women’s ordination. Like other women on the panel, she reminded participants that the struggle for women’s equality in religious institutions is deeply connected to the struggle for women’s equality in society, too.
“Gender discrimination in religious traditions impacts all women, not just women of faith,” Kelly said. “Even if you don’t believe in God, this affects you.”
Kelly’s point was amplified powerfully in Mercy Sr. Theresa Kane’s letter to Pope Francis, which she read to WOW’s attendees during the conference’s opening ceremonies.
“I urge you, Pope Francis, to listen to the women of our church and world who cry out in anguish as women throughout the ages have done,” Kane said. “Only radical [at its roots] gender equality in church and in society will begin to diminish the violence, hatred and other forms of inhumanity in our world today.”
The very next day, retired Sacramento bishop Francis Quinn announced his support for women’s ordination in The New York Times. In a follow up article in America magazine, Quinn explained that Pope Francis’ call for dialogue on church issues had emboldened him to break his silence. 
Quinn is 94 years old and in assisted living. Yet he dared to break his silence, intrepidly speaking truth about the church’s most perilous issue.
Will others follow suit? Will those majorities who support women’s ordination have the courage to finally speak it aloud? Or will the culture of silence and draconian punishment be perpetuated?
As I have written previously in NCR, the women’s ordination movement is about much more than making women priests. Women across the world suffer disproportionately from destitution, lack of education, violence and slavery. The women’s ordination movement seeks to help church leaders recognize that if they were to fully include women in their leadership as their equals, the church could be a powerful force in dismantling the structures of poverty, abuse and oppression that are intricately tied to the systematic belief that women and men are not equal.
Francis has won global affection because he is a champion of the poor and oppressed, and a fierce promoter of human rights. A church of one billion people and a charismatic pope could have untold influence on raising up women globally to equal status and dignity. As a church, we must begin to see that there is a clear connection between justice for women inside the church and justice for women in the world. And we must speak out about it.
Francis is right, a nation can be great when it enables its brothers and sisters to dream of full rights, fights oppression, and seeks true dialog. A church can be great when it does the same.
How much more powerful would Pope Francis’ call for justice and equality be if the church itself were a true reflection of justice and equality?
[Jamie L. Manson is NCR books editor. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, where she studied Catholic theology and sexual ethics. Her email address is jmanson@ncronline.org.]

Friday, September 25, 2015

Interview with Janice Sevre Duszynska on 'Democracy Now'

Three New Female Catholic Bishops Ordained in Delaware County

http://www.delcotimes.com/general-news/20150924/three-new-female-catholic-bishops-ordained-in-delco

Shown is a celebration of the ordination of new women bishops at the ordination of women priests by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests at the Pendle Hill Retreat Center in Nether Providence. Bishop Bernard Callahan of Lansdowne, left, joined the celebration. ROBERT J. GURECKI — DAILY TIMES
NETHER PROVIDENCE >> More than 40 years ago, when Bridget Mary Meehan was an Immaculate Heart of Mary sister teaching in Delaware County parish schools, she was forming the foundation that eventually led her to becoming a bishop with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
“Everything, I learned in ‘Nunhood 101’ — prayer, ministry and service of the church,” said Meehan, who taught fifth grade at the old St. Rose of Lima Grade School in Eddystone in 1969, and fourth grade at the former Sacred Heart Grade School in the Manoa section of Haverford in 1973.
Thursday afternoon at Pendle Hill Quaker study retreat and conference center, Meehan presided at the ordination of three Roman Catholic women from the United States, Canada and South America as bishops at a Mass celebrated with about 40 Roman Catholic women priests clad in white robes, and approximately 35 other supporters, male and female.
The new women bishops include Mary Eileen Collingwood of Hudson, Ohio, Michele Birch-Conery of Windsor, Ontario and Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea of Columbia.
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Assisting in the ordination was Bishop Sibyl Dana Reynolds, founder of the Sisters of Belle Coeur and author of “Ink and Honey,” and Bishop Bernard Callahan, a hospital chaplain and pastor of the Church of Francis and Clare that operates out of Lansdowne Presbyterian Church. He was previously pastor of the Church of the Beatitudes that formerly operated at the Garden Methodist Church in Lansdowne then at the old Price Street Episcopal Church in Trainer.
“I think any reflection of Christ that is gender-specific is not a reflection of Christ,” said Callahan who was consecrated a bishop in 2013 in the Ecumenical Catholic Ordinariate, a movement dedicated to Christian unity inspired by the Second Vatican Council.
Raised Roman Catholic, the retired mechanical engineer was ordained a priest in 2003 in the Old Catholic Church that split from the Vatican in the 16th century in Holland after the Bishop of Utrecht gave sanctuary to Huguenots, French Protestants being pursued by the Jesuits. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the Old Catholic Church allows priests to marry and allows women to be priests. A widower, Callahan has two sons and two granddaughters.
“I think theologically, it’s the correct thing to do,” said Callahan of ordaining Roman Catholic women. “I think this organization of women priests is a sign of how correct that is because it’s a growing organization, full of energy and lay people predominantly have no problem with women priests.”
The three women ordained bishops Thursday brought to 44 the number of women Meehan has ordained deacons, priests or bishops in 2014 and 2015 alone. There are about 215 women in the United States, Latin America and Canada ordained priests through the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, and Roman Catholic Womenpriests USA which began in Germany with the ordination of seven women on the Danube River in 2002. Two of those women attended the bishops’ ordination Thursday.
Propelled by feminism and a desire to follow a different religious path, Meehan left the Immaculate Heart nuns in 1980, joined the Sisters for Christian Community who are independent of Vatican authority and eventually became the first woman and the first Roman Catholic to earn a doctorate in ministry from Virginia Episcopal Seminary.
“I loved the IHMs but I really felt I wanted to be in a new part of religious life, in parish ministry,” said Meehan who now serves at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Fla.
In 2006, she was one of eight women ordained priests by three women who consider themselves Roman Catholic bishops on a boat at the juncture of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers in Pittsburgh. Eileen McCaffery DiFranco who now celebrates Mass at a Methodist church in Upper Darby, was also among them. In 2009, Meehan was ordained a bishop in Santa Barbara, Calif.
In 2006, former Philadelphia archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali called the women priests’ ordination “invalid” and maintained that scripture and sacred tradition “clearly indicate that Jesus called only men to follow him as Apostles.”
Thursday Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput and his spokespersons, who have been involved with World Meeting of Families events in Philadelphia this week, couldn’t be reached for comment. However, in 2010, former Pope Benedict XVI said bishops who attempt to ordain women and women who attempt to be ordained in the Roman Catholic Church will be excommunicated just as priests who sexually abuse children will. Both sex abuse and the ordination of women are grave crimes against the Roman Catholic Church, stated Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s sex crimes prosecutor in 2010.
The author of 20 books including “Living Gospel Equality Now,” Meehan noted that the church did not require an ordained priest to consecrate the Eucharist until the 13th century.
Wednesday in Washington, D.C., some women priests who were in attendance at Thursday’s ordination were arrested when they staged a “die-in” by reclining on the street outside a church to promote their cause to the visiting Pope Francis who will be in Philadelphia this Saturday and Sunday.
“We call on Pope Francis to affirm women priests as beloved members of the church and to lift all excommunications and punishments against women priests and our supporters,” said Meehan during her homily Thursday.
Meehan praised the pope for his “prophetic advocacy for economic justice and for ecological healing of our earth.” She urged him to make the connection between poverty, violence, abuse of women and the earth and the second class status of women in the church and to allow women to control their own fertility with artificial contraception. She also called on Francis “to affirm the primacy of conscience for all Catholics including gays, lesbians, transgender, divorced and remarried, women priests and our supporters.”
“By these actions, Pope Francis can open the way to deep healing in the Catholic church of today and for the future,” declared the bishop.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Patti Mengers is a reporter for the Daily Times who writes health and religion issues. She's also a member of the paper's editorial board. Reach the author at pmengers@delcotimes.com .