Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Response to Archbishop Timothy Dolan's Letter to President Obama

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Response to Archbishop Timothy Dolan's Letter to President Obama by Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP,
is a Roman Catholic Woman Priest
ordained in Lexington, KY. in 2008
As president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Timothy Dolan wrote in a September 20 letter to President Barack Obama that the Obama Administration’s fight against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, will undermine marriage and create a serious breach of Church-State relations.
Is Archbishop Dolan saying that marriage will become less of the sacrament it now is if it’s a marriage between gays or lesbians?
Nothing could be further from the truth.

Procreation cannot be the main point of marriage considering that many people marry after the age of childbearing and have sacramentally blessed marriages.
Ask those who have taken the vow to married life and faithfulness in the sacrament of marriage rather than male priests who have never been married or who have never been involved in intimate relationships. While bringing children into the world is a blessing and responsibility, the heart of marriage between two people is their respect and treatment of one another...which can enhance the community or take away from it. 

What is the heart of marriage – except the spiritual journey of two people growing closer to Christ, each other and their community. That, in my mind, is the essence of the sacrament. And, that grace and blessing can be lived and given to two people of the same sex.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan lies when he says the Church recognizes “the immeasurable personal dignity and equal worth of all individuals including those with same sex attraction.” He compounds his dishonesty when he says “we reject all hatred and unjust treatment against any person.”
The Church puts same sex couples in harm’s way when it limits the sacrament of marriage to a man and a woman. It attempts to make the sanctity of their human connection less than that between a man and a woman. When their love is not valued and honored by society and the church, then it follows that they are looked at as scapegoats or lepers. The sacrament of marriage takes place between two people who are committed to each other and publicly vow their love and lives to one another. It has nothing to do with gender. Rather, it is about the universal love to which the liberating Christ calls us to in the Gospels – to journey together in bringing about the Kin-dom.

Dolan further states “While all persons merit our full respect, no other relationships provide for the common good what marriage between husband and wife provides. The law should reflect this reality.”

Our Church violates the inner lives of gays and lesbians when it denies them the sacrament of marriage. Jesus goes to the heart and is in search for the love that will grow and endure. Is this not the model that we as Church, as the people of God, are to follow?

Archbishop Dolan’s time would be better spent getting bishops to report pedophile priests, in promoting the ordination of women priests and to help homosexual priests within the church to step forward, name their truth and be accepted by the faithful who will love them more for their courage.
Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Posted by Bridget Mary at 12:47 PM 0 commentsLinks to this post

Bullying of the first degree....

In what seems to be a related move, Sacred Heart Fr. Bob Bossie, who has worked at the center for more than 30 years, has been suspended indefinitely from his work there by his provincial.....
In a nutshell:
“This situation is not about Roy or even about women's ordination,” said Desautels. “It's about freedom of conscience and the scandal of demanding silence on topics such as the equality of women in the church and the possibility of ordination for those women who so desire it.”  Sr. Kathleen Desautels

8th Day Center for Justice pressured over women's ordination

The 8th Day Center for Justice, long a staple of Catholic social justice activism in the Chicago area, is facing pressure from Cardinal Francis George because of a Sept. 18 event that featured a screening of the film “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican” and a talk by Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois.
“Pink Smoke” is a documentary expressing support for women's ordination in the Roman Catholic church. Bourgeois is currently under threat of removal from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers if he does not recant his own support of women's ordination.
NCR has learned that heads of religious orders associated with the center, which is supported by 39 orders of religious men and women, received letters from George several days before the event.
Two people who read the letter, dated Sept. 12, described its contents to NCR. Both said the letter mentioned that George stated the event could lead to scandal and confusion among the faithful over the church’s teaching on ordination and that he asked the leaders to remove their congregations’ support of the event.
In what seems to be a related move, Sacred Heart Fr. Bob Bossie, who has worked at the center for more than 30 years, has been suspended indefinitely from his work there by his provincial.
In a press statement this afternoon, the 8th Day Center stated that “many” of its sponsoring congregations had received letters from George. The center emphasized that it had hosted the film viewing, not the affiliated congregations.
“In response to [the] ‘Pink Smoke’ event, the leadership of many of 8th Day’s sponsoring congregations received a letter from Cardinal George regarding their assumed sponsorship of ‘Pink Smoke,’ ” according to the center’s statement. “This was a misunderstanding. 8th Day member congregations were not sponsors of this event.”
“We recognize the cardinal’s concerns, and pray that some common ground for dialogue can be found in our mutual love for our church,” the statement continues. “8th Day is committed to continue to create a safe space for dialogue about the primacy of conscience deeply rooted in our love for the church and all the people of God.”
The 8th Day Center, founded in 1974, invites religious congregations to become members of the organization by donating money, or by sending staff members to work at the office. Eight congregations, considered “sponsoring members” by the center, are represented by individual staff persons in Chicago.
Sr. Kathleen Desautels, who is a member of the Sisters of Providence of St.-Mary-of-the-Woods and represents that congregation as a staff member at the center, said in a phone interview that George had sent letters to at least the eight “sponsoring member” congregations
In response, she said, the center’s coordinating council, which acts as a board for the organization and is made up of representatives from the eight sponsoring congregations and a number of the other 31 that support the center, sent a letter to George Sept. 21 asking to discuss his concerns regarding its leadership decisions.
A spokesperson for the Chicago archdiocese said yesterday they could not confirm George’s letter to the heads of congregations associated with the center, and said it may fall into the category of “personal correspondence,” which is not generally shared with archdiocesan staff.
In a letter made available to the media regarding his status with the center, Bossie said his suspension came after George contacted Sacred Heart Fr. Tom Cassidy, head of the U.S. province of the priests of the Sacred Heart, regarding the Sept. 18 event.
“Following being contacted by Cardinal George of Chicago, the provincial council of the Priests of the Sacred Heart has suspended for six months their sponsorship of the 8th Day Center for Justice and the presence of Bob Bossie,” reads Bossie's statement. “After six months, the council will review their decision.”
In a similar statement, Cassidy confirmed Bossie’s suspension from the center for an “indefinite period of time,” but did not relate it to the showing of the film.
Through e-mails with others familiar with his suspension, Bossie said he would prefer not to speak publicly as he wishes to have more conversation with Cassidy and is also focusing much of his energy on taking care of his brother, who recently had open-heart surgery.
Desautels, who is also on the staff of the center, said that beyond the loss of Bossie on the staff, the Sacred Heart congregation has suspended its funding, which she estimated to total some $14,000 a year for the social justice organization.
That loss of funding, Desautels said, is “going to be very hurtful to us” as it is “one of our largest yearly gifts.”
Desautels, who has been on staff with the organization for over 25 years, also said that while the center did wish to promote discussion with its showing of “Pink Smoke,” it hadn’t organized the event specifically to promote women's ordination.
In fact, she said, before the viewing of the movie, a center staff member read aloud the official church teaching regarding women's ordination from the catechism in order to “allay whatever possible confusion.”
Bourgeois has asked Dominican Fr. Tom Doyle, a noted canon lawyer, to fight his removal by arguing for his right to express his conscience.
While Desautels expressed hope that “something good will come” from 8th Day Center’s future discussions with George, she also said the situation raises larger questions on the freedom of people to follow their conscience regarding church teachings.
“This situation is not about Roy or even about women's ordination,” said Desautels. “It's about freedom of conscience and the scandal of demanding silence on topics such as the equality of women in the church and the possibility of ordination for those women who so desire it.”
[Joshua J. McElwee is an NCR staff writer. His e-mail address is]

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement "unblissing" the hierarchy including the Vatican from the institutional church's "blissfully clueless" attitude toward sexism in the church?

From Bridget Mary's Blog

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is the Roman Catholic Women Priests' Movement "Unblissing" the Vatican's "Blissfully Clueless" Attitude Toward Women's Equality in the Church?

Kathleen Parker, a popular, conservative journalist and TV commentator, stated that in her opinion men tend to dominate in meetings where both genders are present: "It isn't necessarily that men intentionally marginalize women or even that they disrespect them. It is that they It's nature. Put the most brilliant woman at a table with five men (even far less intelligent men), and the woman will be ignored. She is invisible. She can't be heard by male ears. It isn't her fault; it isn't even the men's fault except that they are blissfully clueless. Women need to unbliss them." Kathleen Parker, "The President's Distaff Shortfall," Washington Post, A 19, 9/25/2011,
Bridget Mary's Reflection:I wonder if we can apply Parker's premise to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church when it comes to the question of women's equality in the church.
Is the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement "unblissing" the hierarchy including the Vatican from the institutional church's "blissfully clueless" attitude toward sexism in the church? Something to ponder! What do you think?
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP

Posted by Bridget Mary at 3:54 PM 0 comments Links to this post

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Roman Catholic Womenpriests Ordain Six Deacons in California

On September 18th Jennifer O'Malley, Roberta Fuller, Maureen Mancuso, Cindy Yoshitomi, Christine Fahrenbach and Diane O'Donnell were ordained deacons in Santa Barbara CA.
Links to YouTube Videos:Deacon ordination in Santa Barbara
Entrance Procession: Deacon Ordination in Santa Barbara
Prostration 1: Deacon Ordination in Santa Barbara
Prostration 2: Deacon Ordination in Santa Barbara
Deacons receive the Gospel
Posted by Bridget Mary at 11:46 PM

Pink Smoke Over the Vatican-coming to Atlanta 10/29/11

DOCUMENTARY “PINK SMOKE OVER THE VATICAN” TO BE SHOWN IN ATLANTA Saturday, October 29 at 1:30 PM, PushPush Theater, East Decatur Station, 121 New Street, #4, Decatur, GA 30030.



Press Release: September 24, 2011
From the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP)

Diane Dougherty, ARCWP, 770-683-8101 (ordained deacon, metro-Atlanta)
Janice Sevré-Duszynska,  ARCWP, 859-684-4247 (ordained priest, Lexington, KY)
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan,
ARCWP, 703-671-6712, 703-505-0004, (ordained priest and ARCWP Bishop, Sarasota FL and Falls Church VA)
Roy Bourgeois, 706-682-5369 (former Maryknoll priest, excommunicated by the Vatican for attending Janice’s ordination and for speaking out in favor of ordaining women in the Roman Catholic Church, Columbus GA)
Jules Hart (Eye Goddess Films) 831-915-0188 (documentary film maker)
Dorothy Irvin, PhD, 612-387-3784, (Roman Catholic Theologian & Biblical Archaeologist, Minneapolis, MN)

"Pink Smoke Over the Vatican," an award-winning documentary about the struggle for justice and equality for women in the Roman Catholic Church -- and how it affects women worldwide -- will be shown  in Decatur, GA, Saturday, October 29 at 1:30 PM at PushPush Theater, East Decatur Station,  121 New Street, #4, Decatur, GA 30030. 

Janice Sevré-Duszynska, ARCWP, a Roman Catholic Woman Priest whose journey toward priesthood is featured in the documentary, will introduce the movie and answer questions afterwards, with Diane Dougherty, ARCWP, who plans her Atlanta ordination in Fall 2012.  

The film was shown on July 23 in Cincinnati at the Esquire Theater to a sell-out crowd of over 200 and in Lexington in August, 2011.

Janice was ordained on Aug. 9, 2008 at the UU Church in Lexington, KY.  Maryknoll priest Fr. Roy Bourgeois participated in the Eucharist with the women priests and bishop at the table. He also laid hands on Janice in blessing and gave a prophetic homily in support of women priests.  The Vatican informed Fr. Roy that he had 30 days to recant his support of women’s ordination or he would be excommunicated. He refused to recant.

Fr. Roy was sent a letter from Maryknoll Superior General Edward Dougherty on July 27th, 2011, stating that Fr. Roy had 15 days to recant his support of women priests. Fr. Roy sent a response to Fr. Dougherty saying that he would not recant. On Aug. 8, 2011 it was announced that because of his excommunication for participating in Janice's ordination and refusing to recant his support of women priests, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest of 38 years, would be dismissed from his Maryknoll community unless he recants his support for women priests. Fr. Roy has maintained his refusal to recant. As of this date, he has been given a second canonical warning, which may lead to a dismissal from the order.

The letter from Fr. Roy included this statement: "I firmly believe that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is a grave injustice against women against our Church, and against our God. My brothers, in God's eyes there is neither male or female. We are one. Just as you and I were called to be priests by our loving God, women are also being called to serve our Church as priests. Let us welcome them and give thanks to God.”  
(See: )

Fr. Roy is featured in the film countering the Vatican’s view on women’s ordination. Since his public support of women priests, hundreds of male priests, several bishops and a cardinal, as well as theologians, have publically expressed their support of female priests. 

The ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church is viewed by many as a keystone to the empowerment of women worldwide. The women interviewed in Pink Smoke have made the connections between sexism in the Roman Catholic Church and discrimination and violence toward women and children in our world.  These concerns include traditional prejudice, education, employment, female genital mutilation, hunger, poverty, and reproductive safety.
In "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican" film maker Jules Hart tells the story of the women priest movement in the Roman Catholic Church. “It is not every day that you meet people who give up everything for what they believe in,” says Hart, who is not Catholic. Her film features the women priests and supporters that inspired her to make this documentary. She points out that the Vatican insists that women who are ordained -- and any supporters in attendance – automatically   “excommunicate themselves.” Catholic theologians say this is not possible. If women priests work for the Church, they lose their jobs (and membership in their religious communities). Supporters spotted at ordinations of women have suffered the same punishment – merely for attending. Male priests who want to support the equality of women remain silent out of fear of losing their jobs and pensions. Most Catholics are unaware of this controversy, due to decades of forced silence on the matter of women’s ordination.

The film chronicles the history of the women's ordination movement in the Roman Catholic Church, beginning with the secret 1970 ordination of Ludmila Javorova, during Czechoslovakia's communist rule. The Roman Catholic Women Priests movement began when three male bishops ordained seven women on the Danube in 2002. In 2003, two of the original seven women were elevated as bishops. More women were ordained near Ottawa, Canada in 2005. The the first ordination of women in the U.S. was held in Pittsburgh, in 2006. Today over 120 women have been ordained Roman Catholic Women Priests or are candidates for ordination. Currently, they are in 24 states in the U.S. and in nine other countries, in Latin America, Canada and Europe.

People who have seen “Pink Smoke” say that it is a prophetic grassroots story, which speaks truth to power.  


Documentary of Ordination to Diaconate, featuring Diane Dougherty, ARCWP
Monica Pearson, WSB Atlanta, April 18, 2011

Local Woman Defies Vatican, Works To Become Priest

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Supreme Court Takes Up Church Employment Disputes and the “Ministerial Exception”

HUGE NEWS...... " For instance, if Roman Catholics, Orthodox Jews and other religious groups with a tradition of an all-male clergy were successfully sued for gender discrimination, they would be forced to accept women into their clerical ranks."

In Brief: The Supreme Court Takes Up Church Employment Disputes and the “Ministerial Exception” 

Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

ANALYSIS September 21, 2011
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On Oct. 5, 2011, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that could help determine how much latitude religious organizations have in making employment decisions about clergy and others who perform religious duties. The case centers on a legal doctrine known as the “ministerial exception.” The Supreme Court has never expressly ruled on the doctrine, but judges in lower federal courts have used it to exempt religious organizations from anti-discrimination laws and other statutes that regulate how employers treat their workers. These decisions have emphasized that courts should not intervene in employment matters when doing so would require them to evaluate the qualifications or performance of employees who carry out religious functions, such as preaching or leading worship. In Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC, the Supreme Court will decide whether a teacher who devoted part of her day to religious duties should be considered a ministerial employee in a wrongful dismissal suit. More importantly, Hosanna-Taboroffers the court an opportunity to shrink or expand the reach of the ministerial exception, thereby putting its stamp on an important doctrine that has been applied in different ways by lower federal and state courts.
How did this case arise, and how did it reach the Supreme Court?
The Hosanna-Tabor grade school in Redford, Mich., was operated by a congregation affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). (The congregation closed the school in 2009.) Like other schools run by the LCMS, Hosanna-Tabor employed two types of teachers: lay teachers, who were hired by school administrators to serve one-year, renewable contracts; and "called" teachers, who were approved by the congregation and hired on an open-ended basis.
The notion of being "called" has deep roots in Christianity. It refers to the belief that certain individuals are chosen by the church to perform religiously important tasks or roles. In the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, teachers can be called only after they meet specific requirements, notably the completion of significant theological and other coursework. Even then, someone can be called to teach only by a vote of the congregation for whom he or she will work. Once a teacher is called to his or her position, he or she is deemed to be a “commissioned minister,” a position without the preaching or sacramental duties of ordained ministers but with important religious functions.
Teacher Cheryl Perich received her call from the Hosanna-Tabor congregation in 2000. Perich taught her fourth-grade students a range of secular subjects, including math, social studies and music. She also taught religion four days a week, regularly led her students in prayer and in a daily devotional, and planned and led worship services – duties also assigned to lay or contract teachers at the school.
In June 2004, Perich was hospitalized for what was eventually diagnosed as narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder that can make people fall asleep at inappropriate times. During the first months of her illness, Perich was put on disability leave, given full pay and benefits, and told that she would have a job when she returned. In December 2004, Perich’s doctor informed her that she would be able to return to work in two to three months, information that Perich passed along to school administrators. However, around this time, the school hired another instructor to teach Perich’s class for the remainder of the academic year. In addition, school officials expressed concern that Perich would not be able to fulfill her duties if she returned, a judgment ratified first by the school’s board and then by the Hosanna-Tabor congregation.
On Jan. 30, 2005, the school, citing concerns about her health, asked Perich to voluntarily resign her call. Perich refused, reiterated that she was ready to report back to work and even showed up for work one day – without the school’s permission. During this time, Perich also said that if the dispute could not be resolved, she would take legal action under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which prohibits all but the smallest employers from discriminating against people with disabilities. The act also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who attempt to assert their rights under the act.
On April 10, 2005, the Hosanna-Tabor congregation voted to rescind Perich’s call, citing a number of factors, including continuing concerns about her health and ability to function as a teacher. The church also said it wanted to be fair to the teacher who had been hired to replace her and who would have to be let go if Perich resumed her duties. In addition, the congregation claimed that it was troubled by Perich’s threats to sue, especially given that the church has long taught that Christians should resolve disputes internally rather than in the courts.  (Perich would later say that she was never informed about the church’s internal dispute-resolution process.)
On May 15, 2005, Perich filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that Hosanna-Tabor’s actions violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The EEOC and Perich then filed suit in federal district court alleging that the church had retaliated against Perich – in violation of the ADA – by rescinding her call after it learned that she had a disability and was contemplating legal action. On Oct. 23, 2008, the district court decided against Perich, ruling that since she had been called as a commissioned minister, her firing was subject to the ministerial exception and thus was not within the court’s purview. On March 2, 2010, this decision was overturned by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Perich was not covered by the ministerial exception because most of her duties – teaching nonreligious subjects – were secular. The church then appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, which on March 28, 2011, agreed to hear the case.
What arguments does Hosanna-Tabor make in its brief before the Supreme Court to defend Perich’s dismissal?
Hosanna-Tabor centers its arguments on a longstanding constitutional principle that courts should not rule on religious questions, such as determining what is the correct interpretation of church doctrine. One outgrowth of this principle is the ministerial exception, which its defenders say is aimed at keeping courts out of employment disputes involving religious institutions and their clergy, or other employees who perform important religious functions.1  
Hosanna-Tabor argues that without the ministerial exception, religious organizations could be forced to make employment decisions that run counter to their core beliefs and doctrines. For instance, if Roman Catholics, Orthodox Jews and other religious groups with a tradition of an all-male clergy were successfully sued for gender discrimination, they would be forced to accept women into their clerical ranks.
In its brief to the Supreme Court, the church points out that virtually all federal appeals courts -- and many state courts -- have adopted the ministerial exception, and not only in cases involving ministers, priests, rabbis and other clergy. Courts also have applied the exception to employees who are not clergy but perform functions “important to the spiritual and pastoral mission of the church.” Notably, the church says, courts have applied the ministerial exception to some parochial school teachers on the grounds that they are an important part of a religious institution’s efforts to pass its faith and traditions on to the next generation.
In its brief, the church acknowledges that Perich spent the bulk of her time teaching secular subjects, but it emphasizes that she also performed crucial religious functions, including teaching religion four days a week, leading her students in prayer three times each day and regularly planning and even leading worship services. In addition, the church says, it instructed Perich and other teachers to integrate religion into the secular subjects they taught, so that those classes had a religious element. Indeed, Hosanna-Tabor states, “Perich was the Church’s primary means of teaching the faith to her students. She gave her students more religious instruction than all other employees and volunteers combined.” Furthermore, the church argues, Perich was more than a teacher, having “occupied the ecclesiastical office of commissioned minister” and been called by the congregation. They point out that such a call involves completing up to eight college-level religion courses, passing an oral exam and being selected by the congregation. Indeed, they say, the church believes the call “ultimately comes from God.”
Finally, Hosanna-Tabor contends, courts should be wary of trying to determine what role certain employees do or do not play in a religious organization and of policing a church’s internal disciplinary procedures. The church says that if the court were to order Perich reinstated or award her monetary damages, it would be settling a religious question – in this case, determining who does or does not fulfill a ministerial function in the church. The church maintains that the Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that delving into such religious questions is unconstitutional.
What arguments do the EEOC and Cheryl Perich make in their briefs before the Supreme Court to explain why the ministerial exception should not apply to Perich’s dismissal?  
The EEOC and Perich center their arguments on the principle that, with rare exceptions, religious organizations are subject to the same laws and legal requirements as everyone else. This includes the Americans with Disabilities Act, which, they say, clearly prohibits employers from retaliating against a disabled worker who has threatened legal action in order to counter allegedly discriminatory behavior. 
Like other federal civil rights laws, the ADA includes provisions that protect religious organizations from being forced to hire or retain someone who does not share their religious identity or beliefs. But like other civil rights laws, the EEOC and Perich say, the ADA does not allow churches and other religious groups to discriminate on any other basis, such as race or disability. Furthermore, they argue, nothing in the statute exempts religious organizations from complying with the provisions prohibiting retaliation – which according to them is what is at issue in this case.
The EEOC and Perich further contend that the ministerial exception does not insulate Hosanna-Tabor from its responsibilities under the ADA. While they agree with Hosanna-Tabor that the ministerial exception is grounded in the First Amendment’s Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses, they argue that neither of the clauses can be used to justify the broadly construed ministerial exception claimed by Hosanna-Tabor.
While the Free Exercise Clause guarantees religious liberty, the Supreme Court has ruled, most notably in its landmark decision Employment Division v. Smith (1990), that the clause does not grant churches the right to ignore valid laws, even when those laws impede religious practice.2 As a result, the EEOC and Perich say, the Free Exercise Clause would not require a ministerial exception that overrrode otherwise valid statutes, including the anti-retaliation provision of the ADA.
The other potential source of the ministerial exception is the Establishment Clause, which courts have interpreted as imposing limits on state involvement with religion. But, the EEOC and Perich argue, applying the ADA’s anti-retaliation provisions would in no way entangle the state with the Hosanna-Tabor church. They emphasize that Perich is not seeking reinstatement, only monetary damages. Even if the court were to rule against Hosanna-Tabor, they say, the church would not be forced to rehire someone it no longer wants to employ, but only to pay damages for the harm it has caused.
Finally, Perich and the government argue that applying Hosanna-Tabor’s expansive view of the ministerial exception “would have profound and profoundly adverse consequences for the operation of the anti-discrimination laws.” If the church’s view of the ministerial exception were to become law, they claim, all teachers at religious schools (more than 300,000 people) would be unprotected from virtually any kind of workplace discrimination, regardless of what they taught. Indeed, they say, if the court were to accept Hosanna-Tabor’s broad view of the ministerial exception, churches could evade a host of workplace protections, from labor laws to whistleblower statutes, by classifying all teachers as “ministerial” and then dismissing anyone who did something the church opposed, such as attempting to expose some kind of wrongdoing in the organization.
What are the possible implications of the Hosanna-Tabor case?
A ruling by the Supreme Court for Hosanna-Tabor that broadly defines the ministerial exception would likely lead lower courts in future cases to defer to the judgment of a church or religious organization when determining whether an employee is “ministerial” for purposes of applying the ministerial exception. If the Supreme Court adopted such an approach, lower courts would be more inclined to accept the religious organization’s judgment that one of its employees has ministerial duties and to rule that the ministerial exception applies. The high court also could rule that the ministerial exception applies to all relevant parts of the ADA, including the provisions prohibiting discrimination and retaliation. A ruling of this sort would broaden the scope of the ministerial exception beyond the parameters already set by lower courts.
Another possibility is that the Supreme Court might rule more narrowly in favor of Hosanna-Tabor by concluding that it was the combination of Perich’s called status and her significant religious teaching responsibilities that made her a ministerial employee. Such a fact-based ruling would offer considerably less guidance to lower courts as they grapple with the ministerial exception in the future.
The high court might give neither side a clear victory by sending the case back to the federal district court. For instance, the high court could instruct the district court to ask Hosanna-Tabor to demonstrate that its dismissal of Perich was rooted in religious precepts and not done simply because it was impractical to bring her back in the middle of the school year. However, such a ruling might be interpreted as a win for those who oppose a robust, broadly applied ministerial exception, because it would shrink the parameters of the existing exception by adding this extra requirement. Indeed, such a ruling would require churches to demonstrate that they had specific religious justifications for their employment decisions, such as disapproval of the content of a minister’s sermons. In the wake of such a ruling, religious entities would need to be clear from the start about the religious precepts behind their employment actions if they hoped to be shielded by the ministerial exception.
A Supreme Court decision that broadly favors the government and Perich would likely shrink the ministerial exception, limiting it to narrow circumstances that involve religious questions. More specifically, the ministerial exception would continue to apply in situations that clearly require a court to decide disputed questions of religious doctrine, such as cases that hinge on whether an instructor in a parochial school was properly teaching religion or whether the leader of a church was preaching a message that was contrary to that church’s teachings. If the court followed this path, religious organizations would be able to successfully claim the ministerial exception much less frequently. In particular, the exception would rarely, if ever, apply to teachers who, like Perich, taught primarily secular subjects and were disciplined or dismissed for matters unrelated to their religious duties.
A narrower victory for the government and Perich might focus more on the issue of retaliation against employees who report, or threaten to report, allegedly unlawful behavior. In light of the public’s interest in encouraging reporting of potentially unlawful discrimination and other wrongful acts, the court might rule that the ministerial exception – even if it applies to conventional anti-discrimination claims – does not apply to anti-retaliation claims, except perhaps for employees whose duties are almost entirely religious.
Because the high court has never before ruled on the ministerial exception, the Hosanna-Tabor case offers the justices an opportunity to mold and shape a doctrine that has existed in lower federal courts for 40 years. The lack of even one prior Supreme Court decision on the doctrine makes it difficult to predict how the court ultimately will rule, but the Hosanna-Tabor case has the potential to change the ministerial exception, perhaps quite significantly.
This report was written by Ira C. Lupu, F. Elwood and Eleanor Davis Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School; David Masci, Senior Researcher at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life; and Robert W. Tuttle, David R. and Sherry Kirschner Berz Research Professor of Law & Religion at George Washington University Law School.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

9/17/11 Keep your eyes on Austria 

Vienna cardinal takes tough line on priest revolt

Sat, Sep 17 2011
By Michael Shields
VIENNA (Reuters) - The head of Vienna's Roman Catholic community ruled out sweeping changes demanded by dissident priests and said there could be "serious conflict" if they defied Church teaching on celibacy or give communion to remarried divorcees.
Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn said he would not lead his diocese into a schism with leaders in the Vatican by letting priests flout Church rules after a group of priests issued a "Call to Disobedience" manifesto to try to press reform.
In weekend interviews with Austrian radio and television, Schoenborn backed celibacy for priests, limiting ordination to men and preserving marriage as a life-long commitment.
"If in our diocese here I would step out of line with the community of the Catholic Church then I would lead our diocese into a schism. I am not ready for this and I think no Austrian bishop is ready for this," he said on Saturday.
Late on Friday, he again warned dissident priests that they faced consequences if they stuck to their revolt.
"If it comes to actions that clearly contradict Catholic teaching on faith then it can lead to serious conflict," he said, adding it was not too late to reach common ground in a second round of talks due later this year.
"All possibilities are open. I am counting on dialogue and cooperation," he said.
Dissidents led by parish priest Helmut Schueller have issued the manifesto and say they hope the campaign will persuade Schoenborn to push reforms with Pope Benedict and the Vatican.
The dissidents, who have broad public backing in opinion polls, say they will break Church rules by giving communion to Protestants and remarried divorced Catholics or by allowing lay people to preach and head parishes without a priest.
They oppose the current drive to group several parishes together because of a shortage of priests.
"We are now really going to step on the gas," Hans-Peter Hurka, head of the Catholic reform group "We are the Church," told newspaper Der Standard this week, announcing plans to have hundreds of demonstrators march on bishops' offices.
"It is like in Egypt. There will be a revolution of Church people in Austria. We will make St. Stephen's Square (before the cathedral in Vienna) into Tahrir Square," another activist, Anton Achleitner, said, referring to the square where Egyptians staged protests that ended the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak.
The dispute has come to a head just before Pope Benedict's September 22-25 visit to neighbouring Germany. Benedict, 84, grew up in Bavarian villages close to the Austrian border.
Catholic reform groups in Germany have made similar demands, and a prominent retired Irish bishop, Edward Daly, called on Tuesday for an end to compulsory celibacy for priests, saying it was pushing new recruits away.
(Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

Friday, September 16, 2011

US priests form new national association

May they grow and prosper!diane dougherty

US priests form new national association

Sep. 15, 2011
Fr. David Cooper
A national organization of Catholic priests has been formed and is in the process of informing the U.S. bishops of its existence and preparing to recruit priest members from around the country.
Fr. David Cooper, a Milwaukee pastor and chair of an eight-member organizing core said the new Association of U.S. Catholic Priests has two major goals: to reach out in fraternal support to brother priests and to create a collegial voice so priests can speak in a united way.
“More and more, priests find themselves living in isolated conditions,” Cooper told NCR, either because they are in small dioceses or in vastly scattered regions or because they find the heavy burdens of priest-scarce ministry overwhelming.
The association will stress “our common mandate to serve as Jesus served,” Cooper said, but quickly added that it will also “hold one hand out to the bishops and one hand to the baptized faithful, the laity.”
Voice will be an overarching issue, said Cooper: “For several decades priests did have a voice through priests’ senates and councils. But in 1983 through a change in Canon Law these groups became the domain of the ordinary, and we lost our collegial voice.”
However, Cooper insisted protest and disagreement will not be on the agenda of the new organization.
“During the first four years the association will be celebrating the Second Vatican Council,” he said, “and next June on the 50th anniversary of the council’s opening, we will hold a major convocation at St. Leo University in Tampa, Fla. The topic will be the liturgy, the first document approved at Vatican II.”
Fr. Richard Vega, president of the National Federation of Priest Councils, said he supports the objectives proposed by Cooper and sees no likelihood of competition between the two groups since the association will have individual membership only, while the federation is based on diocesan council membership.
Vega differed somewhat with Cooper’s interpretation of the 1983 change in Canon Law, however.
“There’s a significant number of dioceses where the bishop is not both the president and the chairman of the priests council,” said Vega. “Where there’s a priest chairman who can set the agenda, real dialogue can occur.” The canons, however, require the bishop to serve as president in all cases.
Vega added he is fearful that the association, as it develops, may follow too closely in the steps of the new Irish Priests Association, which has already strongly criticized the Roman Missal translation, asked for a reconsideration of who can be called to holy orders, and endorsed the idea of a married clergy.
“Taking up those issues puts you into immediate conflict with the bishops,” said Vega.
After a retreat at Chicago’s St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., in late August, the core leaders sent a letter to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, notifying him of the new priests’ group existence as a “free association of priests provided by Canons 215, 278.1 and 299.”
Dolan was asked to inform his fellow bishops, and similar letters from the core group began going to every U.S. bishop beginning in early September.
Asked why a national association has not emerged before if it’s such a good idea, Cooper said he didn’t know.
“But when you look around today, you see everybody has a national association or conference,” he said. “The bishops have a conference. There’s an association of Catholic women, Catholic musicians, Catholic theologians, Catholic canon lawyers. Everybody but us. It’s time!
The creation of the association came about in part through an unlikely confluence of events: the setting up of a Web site in Seattle by Fr. Michael Ryan to allow people to protest the coming changes in the Roman Missal, the formation of the Irish Association of Priests, and an inspiration from the Pittsburgh Association of Priests.
Fr. Bernard Survil, a longtime member of the Pittsburgh group (though a priest of the Greensburg, Pa., diocese), helped organize a questionnaire mailing to priests around the country, using contact information placed on Ryan’s Web site as people signed the protest.
The questionnaire asked respondents to prioritize the same objectives the Irish had used in forming their association and to indicate their thoughts about forming a similar U.S. association.
Of the 250 priests who responded, Survil reported, the most favored objective called for an association dedicated to “full implementation of the vision and teachings of the Second Vatican Council with special emphasis on the primacy of the individual conscience, the status and participation of all the baptized, and the task of establishing a church where all believers will be treated as equals.”
Survil, a longtime peace and human rights activist who served many years in Latin America, believes a national association, whatever its goals, will serve to broaden priests’ perspectives all over the country.
“You know,” he said, “especially in smaller dioceses where you have little outside experience, your attitude can become very provincial.”
Another activist and core member, Fr. Len Dubi, found the early work of creating the new priests’ group stimulating.
“There’s so much enthusiasm among these priests from many dioceses,” he said. “You could sense the love of God and Jesus pouring out. It’s like the excitement we felt in the seminary -- even though the median age of our group is about 71!”
Dubi said he is hopeful the association will be successful in attracting young priests, Latino and other minority group priests and the many clergy brought in from foreign countries.
“This is going to be a great experience,” he said.
While the association is creating a Web site, further information is available by emailing: [3]
[Robert McClory is professor emeritus of journalism at Northwestern University, and has contributed to NCR since 1974.]

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tom Doyle confront's Maryknoll's move against Roy Bourgeois

Canon lawyer questions Maryknoll's move against Bourgeois

Sep. 14, 2011
Article Details
Fr. Tom Doyle argues for ability to 'act and think according to conscience'
Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois speaks to a supporter at the SOA Watch vigil outside the gates of Fort Benning, Ga., Nov. 21, 2010. (NCR photo/Joshua J. McElwee)
Fr. Roy Bourgeois recently took another step in his fight to remain a member of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, when he asked his superiors to engage reputable theologians to reconsider issues stemming from his support for the ordination of women.
“In spite of the apparently clear orders of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the related norms of church law, the overall situation with Roy is anything but clear-cut and simple,” Dominican Fr. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer representing Bourgeois, wrote in an Aug. 16 letter to Fr. Edward Dougherty, Maryknoll’s superior general. Doyle is most widely known for his advocacy on behalf of victims of sexual abuse by clergy.
Doyle contends that the church’s prohibition of female ordination is not infallible teaching and asks in his letter “that the assistance and input of reputable theologians be sought in order to look much more deeply” into two central issues: the church’s claim that the teaching is infallible and the right of a Catholic “to act and think according to the dictates of his conscience” even if the conclusions put one in conflict with the church’s highest authorities.
Doyle also argues that the punishment of excommunication and expulsion from the society is disproportionate. As a comparison, he notes that priests and bishops who sexually abused children and/or covered up the abuse have not been excommunicated.
In response to a question, Maryknoll spokesman Mike Virgintino said that Doyle’s letter had been received and that the general council had not yet responded to it “but will review his letter and will respond to him at earliest opportunity.”
In October 2008, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gave Bourgeois, who had participated in a woman’s ordination ceremony, 30 days to recant his “belief and public statements that support ordination of women” or face automatic excommunication. Bourgeois never recanted, saying he could not in good conscience do so.
Whether the priest was formally excommunicated is unclear, because the Vatican never issued a public statement to that effect. At the same time, while never responding directly to Bourgeois, doctrinal congregation officials have communicated with Maryknoll, a society founded 100 years ago to train priests to work in foreign missions.
In a July 27 letter to Bourgeois, Dougherty warned the priest a second time that if he continued his “campaign in favor of women priests and failed to recant publicly your position on the matter” he faced dismissal from the order. Bourgeois was given 15 days from reception of the letter to recant or the dismissal proceedings would begin. However, the letter also noted that Bourgeois had the right to defend himself against the warning and the proposed dismissal.
In an interview with NCR, Doyle said his intent in filing a response with Dougherty was to have the order “take a deep breath and step back from starting the process.” He said there were substantial issues that should be considered by the society’s leadership and members.
In one of several documents filed with Dougherty between Aug. 15 and Aug. 30, Doyle explains that Bourgeois’ defense is based on two rationales: first, Bourgeois’ right to not violate his conscience and, second, his conviction that ordination of women is not an infallible teaching.
Doyle said Bourgeois believes the teaching is not “so essential to the core beliefs of Catholic Christians that to question or reject it is tantamount to a rejection of the fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ which form the core of Catholicism as a people of God.”
Bourgeois’ view of women’s ordination “is shared by countless others, including scripture scholars, theologians and church historians from among the ranks of the laity, priesthood and episcopacy,” Doyle said.
Bourgeois formed his views, Doyle said, “in an unselfish and honest manner, well-aware of the consequences of taking a position that is contrary to the present and past pope as well as most (at least) of the Vatican curia.” At the same time, argues Doyle, there is “no evidence of either consensus or unanimity among theologians, scripture scholars and bishops” that the ban on women’s ordination is “solidly grounded” in either tradition or teaching of the church, as asserted by the late Pope John Paul II in his 1994 apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
“There is a massive body of scholarly work,” writes Doyle, “that credibly challenges the assertion that Jesus ordained anyone as priests and an equally credible and persuasive body of scholarly work that can find no consistent and continuous theological tradition that would support the preclusion of women from sacred orders, other than the tradition that official power in the church has been held by men.”
Doyle also challenged imposition of the punishment of automatic excommunication, saying it did not conform to the requirements of canon law in this case because Bourgeois’ actions do not involve a “malicious disregard” for church authority but rather his belief “that to act contrary to the dictates of his conscience … would be tantamount to a serious sin on his part.”
In a separate document, Doyle submitted a list of quotes from St. Thomas Aquinas, Vatican documents, and the Gospel of Matthew upholding the primacy of conscience in Catholic teaching.
In the same vein, said Doyle, Bourgeois’ actions have not “gravely harmed” anyone, nor has anyone lost belief in God or been “so physically or emotionally damaged that he or she has been deprived of the ability to lead a happy and productive life” because of Bourgeois’ convictions or actions.
In contrast, Doyle notes some 20 members of the hierarchy in the United States, 15 in Europe and three in Canada, including some cardinals, “have been confirmed by credible sources to have committed the canonical delict named in canon 1395.2, that is, the sexual molestation of minors, or the crime mentioned in Title V of the Papal Instruction Crimen Sollicitationis, in force until May 18, 2001, namely sex with men.”
Those infractions, said Doyle, carry a punishment up to and including dismissal from the clerical state.
Yet no member of the hierarchy to date has undergone even a papal investigation, said Doyle, “much less any form of penal sanction. … To this date no archbishop, cardinal or bishop who has violated both canon law and civil law by sheltering known sexual abusers among the clergy or by knowingly reassigning known molesters to other assignments where they could and often did continue to violate the vulnerable, has been asked to resign, much less face justified canonical investigation and prosecution.”
Even among the thousands of priests across the globe who have been credibly accused of molesting minors or convicted in criminal proceedings, not one has been excommunicated, said Doyle, though most have been removed from the clergy ranks.
“The contrast is striking: Thirty-eight bishops who have committed grave sexual crimes which have resulted in serious emotional and spiritual damage to innocent Catholics have faced no disciplinary action, while four bishops who have followed their consciences and publicly questioned Vatican practices or doctrine out of concern for the spiritual welfare of the faithful have not only been humiliated but removed from office.”
Doyle concludes by asking on Bourgeois’ behalf that the process that has arrived at an ultimatum “be seriously and fearlessly re-evaluated” by outside theologians against the backdrop of concerns raised in his correspondence.
[Tom Roberts is NCR editor at large. His e-mail address is]
Related stories from NCR:
Statements of the primacy of conscience In a separate document to Maryknoll Fr. Edward Dougherty, Fr. Thomas Doyle submitted a list of quotes from St. Thomas Aquinas, Vatican documents, and the Gospel of Matthew upholding the primacy of conscience in Catholic teaching. Following are a few selections from Doyle’s letter.
“Conscience is more to be obeyed than authority imposed from the outside. By following a right conscience you not only do not incur sin but are also immune from sin, whatever superiors may say to the contrary. To act against one's conscience and to disobey a superior can both be sinful. Of the two, the first is the worse since the dictate of conscience is more blinding than the decree of external authority.” [St. Thomas Aquinas, De veritate, q. 17, a.5]
“Every judgment of conscience, be it right or wrong, be it about things evil in themselves or morally indifferent, is obligatory, in such a way that anyone who acts against his conscience always sins.” [St. Thomas Aquinas, Questiones quodlibetales, 3, q. 12, a.2]
“Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, tells him inwardly at the right moment: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. His dignity lies in observing this law and by it he will be judged. His conscience is man's most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths. By conscience in a wonderful way, that law is made know which is fulfilled in the love of God and of one's neighbor.” (Gaudium et Spes, no. 16)
"Over the pope as expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one's own conscience which must be obeyed before all else, even if necessary against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority. This emphasis on the individual, whose conscience confronts him with a supreme and ultimate tribunal, and one which in the last resort is beyond the claim of external social groups, even the official church, also establishes a principle in opposition to increasing totalitarianism." (Josef Ratzinger, Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, 1967)
--Tom Roberts

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ordination 9/10/11 More Great Photos and 3 Videos

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests- More Great Photos and 3 Videos

Sign of Peace Led by Gloria Mog
1-113 great photos by Ken Chaison
114-116 mini-videos114 Video of " God of all Grace"
115 Video Eucharistic Prayer/Consecration of Ordination Liturgy
116 Video: Irish Blessing by Choir for Newly Ordained

Monday, September 12, 2011

Priest urges women to protest at 'sexist language' in missal

Priest urges women to protest at 'sexist language' in missal

CATHOLIC WOMEN should write to bishops around the country in protest at sexist language in the new version of the Roman missal, one of the founders of the Association of Catholic Priests has said.
Speaking yesterday as the first of many changes to the Mass were introduced in churches here, Fr Seán McDonagh said it was obvious from the language of the new missal that not a single woman had been consulted while it was being drawn up.
Changes to some prayers and responses were introduced at Masses yesterday for the first time, including to the wording of the I Confess, the Gloria and the Profession of Faith. They mark the beginning of the introduction of a new translation of the missal, which will be used in full from November 27th.
Critics have said the new version, which includes multiple uses of man and men to mean both men and women, is sexist. Responses such as “and with your spirit” to replace “and also with you”, have been criticised as archaic. And the use of words like “consubstantial” to replace “one being with” have been labelled elitist and obscure.
Fr McDonagh said it was regrettable that priests had to fight a linguistic battle over inclusiveness when it should be taken for granted. “Women should write to their bishops and tell them ‘I am not a man’,” he said.
Outside the church of St Vincent de Paul in Marino, north Dublin, where the Apostles’ Creed did not include the phrase “For us men and for our salvation”, parishioners had mixed feelings about the changes.
Phyllis Sparks, who said she was “two years off 90”, found the changes unnecessary and said they had been introduced by “silly old men” in Rome.
“I used to be a holy Roman, I’m not anymore; I’m very disappointed in them,” she said.
Philip Walshe said yesterday’s changes didn’t bother him much. “There wasn’t a great deal to give out about this morning, but I’ve heard people say there will be too much reference to men and not enough to women, so we’ll have to see further down the line,” he said.
Bernadette Fearon said nobody liked change, but in time people would get used to it.
Local resident Amy Keogh said at first she didn’t like the idea and thought we were being dictated to by Rome. “But having been to Mass, I think it’s okay,” she said.
Fr Kevin Doran said one advantage of the new wording was it meant people had to concentrate on what they were saying and on what was being said. “On some days, I think I could say ‘rashers and eggs’ and people would reply ‘and also with you’,” he said.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Historic Ordination-2 Priests 1 deacon Association of Roman Catholic women Priests

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests Ordination- Sept. 10, 2011 - Photos

From left to right:
Bishop Bridget Mary and newly
ordained Deacon Donna Rougeux
from Lexington, KY.

Assembly Prays for Newly Ordained Women
from left to right, newly ordained
priests Dorothy Shugrue from Connecticut,

"Why I am Becoming a Woman Priest" by Adele Jones, ARCWP in San Antonio Express News

left to right
Newly Ordained Priest
Adele Jones, Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan,
Newly ordained Dorothy Shugrue,
newly ordained deacon, Donna Rougeux

ARCWP members present: Adele Jones, Janice Sevre-Duszynska,

Elly Marinaro, Judy Lee, Donna Rougeux, Bridget Mary Meehan,

Katy Zatsick, Dorothy Shugrue, Diane Dougherty, Wanda Russell
Left:Kathleen Rosenberg , wrote
"Mass or Christ Sophia for Ordination.
Tim White on guitar from NOVA
-music ministry provided by
NOVA community.
Jack Meehan on sax.

Donna Rougeux receives Inclusive Bible
during ordination rite.

"Catholic Hierarchy Wrong, Women Should by Ordained" by Donna Rougeux in Lexington Herald Tribune

Assembly joins in prayer of consecration for priests in ordination rite
byextending hands. Dorothy Shugrue and Adele Jones

Photos: courtesy Anita Garrick:!/media/set/?set=a.2199791587862.2120917.1039454709