Letter in part -PDF file could not be copied....
DIOCESE OF ST. AUGUSTINE,
17 September 2012
Recently I requested to meet with you through Father Phillips, the pastor of Holy Faith Church, regarding your attendance at a Eucharistic liturgical service-conducted by Dina O'Callaghan, an excommunicated Catholic woman.
I was disappointed to hear that you declined my invitation.
I was also disheartened to find out that you told Father Phillips you attended the service with full knowledge of Mrs. O,Callaghan's situation and magisterial teaching with regards to the ordination of women. Father Phillips has informed me that, while you have no intention of attending Mrs. O'Callaghan's services again, you cannot promise not to do so. Father Phillips therefore informed you that he can no longer permit you to represent the Church in public by serving as a “Reader”.
Enclosed are four documents that explain why the catholic church believes it is beyond her capacity to ordain……(woould not copy)
Please study and pray over them………
I must warn you, in accord with Canon Law, that if you choose to participate in the "Masses" conducted by Mrs. O,Callaghan and other members of the organization of Roman Catholic Women Priests or encourage others to attend you will be placing yourself outside the fulI communion of the Catholic Church and further actions may need to be taken by the Bishop up to and including denying you the reception of the sacraments.
Once again, please study and pray over the documents I have enclosed. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you and help you to remain in full communion with the Catholic Church.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Very Reverend Timothy M. Lindenfelser, J.C-L.
Most Reverend Felipe J Estevez
Reverend John Phillips
Response from Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan and ARCWP leadership
To: Catholic Center
11625 Old St. Augustine Road
Jacksonville, FL. 32258-2060
Dear Rev. Timothy Lindenfelser, Bishop Felipe J. Estevez and Rev. John Phillips:
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) is saddened by your recent letter (see below) threatening to deny sacraments to Tom and Gwen Umlauf, faithful Catholics, who attended a liturgy at which one of our priests, Dena O'Callaghan, presided. Your threat to use denial of the sacraments to Tom, Gwen and anyone who attends women-priest led liturgies is an example of ecclesiastical bullying that Catholics everywhere are challenging.
We note that your letter condemns Dena O’Callaghan but fails to mention her husband, John , a Roman Catholic priest who presides alternately with her at Catholic Masses in their local communities in Ocala and elsewhere.
Even if you oppose the ordination of women as priests, it is unconscionable that you would single out a dedicated Catholic couple like Tom and Gwen Umlauf, and threaten to deny access to the sacramental life of the Church for attending a liturgy celebrated by a woman priest.
Roman Catholic Women Priests are living prophetic obedience to God who calls us to lead our church into a new era of gender justice rooted in Jesus’ example of Gospel equality and partnership. Even Vatican biblical scholars support our position. In 1976, the Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded that there is no evidence in Scripture that would prohibit women’s ordination in the Catholic Church. Sexism is a sin. The institutional church cannot continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it.
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (www.arcwp.org) is walking in the footsteps of women like Saints Mother Theodore Guerin and Mary McKillop, both of whom were excommunicated by their bishops and canonized by Pope Benedict.
Primacy of Conscience takes priority over all laws. Therefore, Catholics, in all situations must follow their consciences. We affirm Gwen and Tom for their love of the church and courageous act of prophetic obedience to the Spirit.
Like the prophets who spoke truth to power, we challenge this example of ecclesiastical bullying as anti-Jesus and anti-Catholic. You attempt to sever members of the body of Christ, but they know that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:35-39).
We call you, Rev. Timothy Lindenfelser, Bishop Felipe J. Estevez and Rev. John Phillips, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus as our brothers and partners in ministry in a renewed priestly ministry.
From: The Leadership Circle of ARCWP:
Dena O'Callaghan, Dorothy Shugrue, Judy Lee, Bridget Mary Meehan