"If heading a
religious community is a lonely job for any woman, a Catholic Womenpriest might
be the loneliest of all. Yet the ordination
of Catholic women within the Womenpriests movement, which flaunts Roman Catholic
Church law forbidding the practice, continues to grow, as members demand greater
inclusion of women in the institutional
Comment: Jimmy Carter got it right again-now for our part.
We must campaign strongly in the forum of public opinion, to gain access to
every agency of broad influence, spreading clear information about how present
religious practices in all denominations condone the sin of sexism by
attributing men's acts of dominance to God, when in actuality they are contrived
to control women.
He got it right when he wrote criminal practices tied to
religion supports ," the belief that women must be subjugated to the
wishes of men (in order to) excuse slavery, violence, forced prostitution,
genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime."
The most recent coverage by media of the Stuebenville crisis
giving ample sympathy to the boys who raped an underage girl and put it on You
Tube, without the thought of remorse or wrongdoing at the time. As the media
repeatedly announced with the greatest compassion that the boy's lives were
over, most absorbed the emotions without comment to the life of the victim, or
to the fact that they committed a heinous crime. This piece offers a glimpse of
the mountains all societies have to climb in terms of shifting consciousness
from male privilege to criminal acts.
Once again-thank you Jimmy Carter for actively following the
God of love and compassion and bringing to all of us the leadership that helps
define who God is in our 21st century.Religions, most particularly the Catholic Church as run by the
hierarchy, must face many challenges in our time, and hopefully gender eauality
will be at the top of the list.
p://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/video/excommunicated-female-priest-detained-over-183219630.html At the end of this clip-you see Janice being taken by a policeman....she will be writing about this experience.
Best summary ever written-thank you Nancy
"Bottom line: If the pope can resign, the rest of us can say goodbye to the cult of suffering and the cultic exaltation of the priesthood -- and we can welcome women to the pulpit, the poor to our table, and the laity to the exercise of their own common sense."
With The Pope's Resignation, Everything Has Changed
Archbishop O'Brien, the disgraced leader of Catholics in Scotland, won't be the last casualty of the current Vatican shakeout precipitated by Benedict XVI's resignation. The question now is not whether the Church will survive, but how and for whom.
The most long-lasting outcome of the decision by Joseph Ratzinger -- "Benedict XVI" seems passé already -- to resign from the papacy continues to be the act itself. We have not come close to absorbing this. While there have been other cases of papal resignation in the last two millennia, they have little bearing on this moment. This is different.
As with the decision to divorce or leave the country or have the surgery after all, our attention at first was consumed with the clutter of detail: the rules of the conclave, the renovation of the residence deep in the Vatican, what happens to the papal ring.
We know the drill. There will be a conclave, white smoke, a figure in brocade will be presented to the joyful crowd below, a subdued yet authoritative narrator's voice commenting as I watch the scene on cable. I follow the news closely, I may opine on the choice, perhaps you'll read my words in your newspaper as I note the significance of an Italian (stability, housecleaning at the Curia) or an African (global Catholicism!) or that guy from Quebec (pro-family conservatism, Canadian-ness).
But everything has changed. Whoever it may be, his papacy will be defined not by the reign of Benedict, but by Benedict's last act, foregoing the slow swoon of a death on stage in favor of a short bow to the audience before a most purposeful exit. The houselights have come up rather quickly and we are all struggling to our feet, gathering our things and checking our watches -- until we glance sideways and see the slowly emerging and unintended consequence of this resignation in one another's eyes: all bets are off.
The image of the barque of Peter, floating serenely through the various ages of human history, has been un-done by this one public act and the dominoes that keep falling. From here on, as bishop of Rome, the pope does not serve above history; he serves with a college of his peers as they guide a very human church in history. For Christians, for Catholics in particular, this distinction matters. It does not negate the gift of the Spirit to the Church, but it re-affirms, with surprising resonance, that the Church is both a spirited and deeply human institution. In resigning the papacy, Benedict has allowed the Church to rejoin the world. This is potentially even more important than the necessary bloodletting about the sexual scandals that will have our attention at first.
In the world the Church re-joins, trials can make one stronger, but unnecessary suffering generally crushes its victims. If the pope can resign, a woman with a compromised uterus, for whom pregnancy means certain death, may have her tubes tied. If the pope can resign, the pastor who gave his all with fidelity and vision for 30 years, but now sees his deep loneliness, can leave the priesthood and marry without shame. If the pope can resign, the older couple who have taken in her mother with severe dementia, risking their own health and driving their adult children away, can call that nursing home. Today.
In the world the Church re-joins, the priesthood can serve the Church, but not as its supreme exception. If the pope can resign, we can put to rest the numbing grip of clericalism. Celibacy didn't cause the sex abuse crisis, but the clerical fiction that celibacy makes priests holy did. There is not more sexual abuse in the Church than elsewhere, but the perversion of clericalism geometrically increased its impact, often on the most vulnerable. Clericalism dictated that when the Church got serious about eradicating sexual abuse from the clergy, the laity received re-education. Clericalism has kept bishops from speaking plainly about other bishops; it has put artificial barriers between priests and those they serve, and it has too often reduced the Church's sacramental action to nothing more than pretentious superstition.
If the pope can resign, the women students I have mentored all these years can walk into their local bishop's office and put their credentials, and their years of witnessing to the faith, on the table. If the pope can resign, Catholics in wealthy countries might have to account for the glaring disparities, the "geographical differences," between rich and poor parishes in a world church. If the pope can resign, a pastor can finally give the response he's always wanted to give to the anxious person at the wedding reception who wants to know if the Saturday afternoon wedding "counts" for Sunday mass: "It's your call."
Bottom line: If the pope can resign, the rest of us can say goodbye to the cult of suffering and the cultic exaltation of the priesthood -- and we can welcome women to the pulpit, the poor to our table, and the laity to the exercise of their own common sense.
The pope has resigned; the bad news is tumbling out of all corners. What a relief.
AFTER serving as a Roman Catholic priest for 40 years, I was expelled from the priesthood last November because of my public support for the ordination of women.
Catholic priests say that the call to be a priest comes from God. As a young priest, I began to ask myself and my fellow priests: “Who are we, as men, to say that our call from God is authentic, but God’s call to women is not?” Isn’t our all-powerful God, who created the cosmos, capable of empowering a woman to be a priest?
Let’s face it. The problem is not with God, but with an all-male clerical culture that views women as lesser than men. Though I am not optimistic, I pray that the newly elected Pope Francis will rethink this antiquated and unholy doctrine.
I am 74 years old. I first felt God calling me to be a priest when I was serving in the Navy in Vietnam. I was accepted into the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in New York and was ordained in 1972. After working with the poor of Bolivia for five years, I returned to the United States. In my years of ministry, I met many devout Catholic women who told me about their calling to the priesthood.
Their eagerness to serve God began to keep me awake at night. As Catholics, we are taught that men and women are created equal: “There is neither male nor female. In Christ you are one” (Galatians 3:28).
While Christ did not ordain any priests himself, as the Catholic scholar Garry Wills has pointed out in a controversial new book, the last two popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, stressed that the all-male priesthood is “our tradition” and that men and women are equal, but have different roles.
Their reasons for barring women from ordination bring back memories of my childhood in Louisiana. For 12 years I attended segregated schools and worshiped in a Catholic church that reserved the last five pews for blacks. We justified our prejudice by saying this was “our tradition” and that we were “separate but equal.” During all those years, I cannot remember one white person — not a teacher, parent, priest or student (myself included) — who dared to say, “There is a problem here, and it’s called racism.”
Where there is injustice, silence is complicity. What I have witnessed is a grave injustice against women, my church and our God, who called both men and women to be priests. I could not be silent. Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination against others, in the end, it is not the way of a loving God who created everyone of equal worth and dignity.
In sermons and talks, starting in the last decade, I called for the ordination of women. I even participated in the ordination of one. This poked the beehive of church patriarchy. In the fall of 2008, I received a letter from the Vatican stating that I was “causing grave scandal” in the Church and that I had 30 days to recant my public support for the ordination of women or I would be excommunicated.
Last month, in announcing his resignation, Pope Benedict said he made his decision after examining his conscience before God. In a similar fashion, in November 2008, I wrote the Vatican saying that human conscience is sacred because it always urges us to do what is right and what is just. And after examining my conscience before God, I could not repudiate my beliefs.
Four years went by, and I did not get a response from the Vatican. Though I had formally been excommunicated, I remained a priest with my Maryknoll Order and went about my ministry calling for gender equality in the Catholic Church. But last November, I received a telephone call from Maryknoll headquarters informing me that they had received an official letter from the Vatican. The letter said that I had been expelled from the priesthood and the Maryknoll community.
This phone call was one of the most difficult and painful moments of my life. But I have come to realize that what I have gone through is but a glimpse of what women in the church and in society have experienced for centuries.
A New York Times/CBS poll this month reported that 70 percent of Catholics in the United States believed that Pope Francis should allow women to be priests. In the midst of my sorrow and sadness, I am filled with hope, because I know that one day women in my church will be ordained — just as those segregated schools and churches in Louisiana are now integrated.
I have but one simple request for our new pope. I respectfully ask that he announce to the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world: “For many years we have been praying for God to send us more vocations to the priesthood. Our prayers have been answered. Our loving God, who created us equal, is calling women to be priests in our Church. Let us welcome them and give thanks to God.”
On Wednesday, March 13th, I was featured on a TV program-People's TV (local TV station) when the Pope was chosen and on Thursday, March 14th I was asked by a producer on Moscow International to be in a debate with a man from Ottowa, a religious sister Myra Poole from England. Other than needing a haircut, new glasses and a coach-I think it went pretty well.
gives me hope, despite . . . I have hope that the papacy of the former
Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, will lead to
significant change in the Church, despite some disquieting facts. On social
issues, his leadership does not look promising. He led and lost a campaign in
Argentina to prevent gay marriage from being legalized, earning a tense
relationship with the government of Argentina and President Cristina Kirchner.
But history moves so inexorably toward acceptance of gays that this does not
Liberation Theology, considering it tainted by Marxism. This disturbs me more,
and it seems inexplicable, considering his lifestyle. The archbishop lived
simply, opting to have an apartment in the city instead of residing in the
mansion reserved for the archbishop. He cooked his own meals and rode the bus.
His outreach to the poor included visiting with residents of slums, and he makes
a point of communicating with ordinary people. These facts not only endeared him
to his faithful; they appeal to me. I can respect a conservative who places so
much emphasis on care for the poor. He chose the name “Francis” in honor of
Francis of Assisi and apparently models his life on the saint known for
advocating peace, simplicity, love of nature, and bringing people
military dictatorship of the 1970s, Bergoglio as Jesuit superior dismissed two
priests from the Jesuit order because he disapproved of their anti-government
activism. They were subsequently kidnapped and tortured, and he was accused of
colluding with the government on this case and for failing to prevent other
disappearances by speaking out strongly against the junta. A lawsuit was
dismissed, but debate about his guilt continues.I expect this will go
nowhere for lack of evidence and his elevation to the papacy, but the potential
for trouble persists.
is not a Vatican insider—he has never lived in Rome—I hope he will appreciate
the need to reform the Roman Curia and to diminish its power over Catholics the
world over. Bishops around the world are clamoring for restoration of
collegiality, meaning decentralized power and more local input into decisions,
for instance, on the appointment of new bishops. As archbishop, Bergoglio was
reputed to be a competent administrator besides having his austere lifestyle.
This bodes well for reforming the Curia and its global relationships. Things
needing to be cleaned up are Vatican finances and clergy sex abuse, most
troubling, the lack of accountability for bishops involved in it. I expect more
exposés of bishops covering up their own cover-up, as happened to Cardinal Roger
Mahony of Los Angeles. This issue will not go away.
Bergoglio is loyal
to traditional Church teaching and opposed to changes favored by Americans. He
opposed married clergy, women priests, and legal abortion. He opposed the free
distribution of contraceptives in Argentina, a disquieting detail. He asserted
that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children, but while
battling gay marriage in Argentina, he also rebuked priests who denied Baptism
to children born out of wedlock. Bergoglio is a brilliant Jesuit intellectual,
and I tend to trust intellectuals’ ability to analyze and see the broad
implications of issues. I expect them in time to at least understand liberal
Mostly my hope
rests on the fact of change, which ultimately leads to renewal. Change has a way
of doing this. And if power is decentralized, if the Curial dictatorship can be
broken, more substantial change can happen in spite of the views of people at
the top. Hope springs eternal.
The smoke billowing into the Rome sky was neither white, nor black, but pink – to back the argument in favour of women being able to be ordained as priests in the Catholic Church.
A group of several Catholic women – from Britain, America and Australia – gathered in Rome to protest against the continued exclusion of women from the priesthood.
The smoke they let off from small flares mimicked the puffs that will emerge from the Sistine Chapel chimney indicating whether cardinals have decided on a new pope.
“The Catholic church should be a healthy and vibrant place with equality, with both men and women called to the priesthood. Jesus did not exclude women. Jesus encouraged women and actively sought to include them,” said Miriam Duignan, Communications coordinator of the association ‘Women can be priests’. “So why do the cardinals who are supposed to represent Jesus, make a point of actively excluding women, of telling them to be quiet? And of criminalising anybody that speaks out in favour of women priests?”
The Women’s Ordination Conference has campaigned for female Catholic priests for over 30 years. But there is little sign among the frontrunners for pope that the issue will become a priority.
By Catherine Hornby
ROME (Reuters) - Protesters demanding a greater role for women in the Roman Catholic Church set off a pink smoke flare on a hill above the Vatican on Tuesday as the men-only conclave that will choose the next pope began.
Mimicking traditional smoke signals from the Sistine Chapel - white for a new pontiff and black for an inconclusive vote - the women also wore pink clothes and "Ordain Women" badges.
Some women argue that they already play an important role in the Church, teaching and caring for young Catholics and doing much of its missionary work, while others say exclusion from senior roles and the ban on women's ordination is out dated.
"The current old boys' club has left our Church reeling from scandal, abuse, sexism and oppression," said director of the Women's Ordination Conference, Erin Saiz Hanna, one of a small group assembled on the Janiculum hill overlooking St. Peter's.
"The people of the Church are desperate for a leader who will be open to dialogue and embrace the gifts of women's wisdom in every level of Church governance," she said.
The Vatican says women cannot be ordained priests because Jesus Christ willingly chose only men as his apostles. Advocates of a female priesthood say Jesus was merely conforming to the customs of his times.
Tuesday's protest in Rome followed a pink smoke rally in New Orleans over the weekend, with similar events planned in cities across the United States in coming days.
Last year, Pope Benedict restated the Church's ban on women priests and said he would not tolerate disobedience by clerics on fundamental teachings. Under his leadership, the Vatican cracked down on advocates of female ordination.
But some cardinals attending the conclave this week have spoken out about the need to review the role of women in the Church and the leadership positions open to them.
Argentine Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, 69, told Reuters this month that women must have a much more important role in the life of the Church and be able to contribute in areas which are now only open to men.
At present women, most of them nuns, can only reach the position of under-secretary in Vatican departments, the No. 3 post after president and secretary.
Currently only two women are under-secretaries: Sister Nicoletta Vittoria Spezzati and lay woman Flaminia Giovanelli.
Spezzati holds the post at the Vatican's department for religious orders, which is run by Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, who will vote in the conclave and is a potential compromise candidate for pope.
He has played a mediating role after the Vatican last year reprimanded American nuns for not doing enough to fight against abortion and gay marriage. He has also been credited with easing the heavy-handedness of his predecessor at the department who had complained about liberalising trends in the Church.
Giovanelli works for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace under Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana, the top African candidate for pope.
Some women who are tired of waiting for the rules to change have taken matters into their own hands. The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) say there are now more than 124 female priests and 10 bishops worldwide, though the Vatican considers them excommunicated.
Janice Sevre-Duszynska from the ARCWP, who attended the Rome protest in her white priestly robes, said if she met the next pope she would ask him for a follow-up to the modernising Second Vatican Council of 1962-65, which discussed relations between the Church and the modern world.
"I would say to him that we need a new Vatican council with no bishops being invited, no cardinals, no priests, but just getting the people from local parishes, and people who have come out of prison and homeless centres," she said. (Additional reporting by Ana Valderrama and Philip Pullella; Editing by Louise Ireland)
'Pink Smoke' demonstration calls for more female leaders in the Catholic church
The Women's Ordination Conference staged a demonstration outside of St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter on Sunday, March 10, to advocate for more female voices in the Catholic Church. (Photo by Juliet Linderman, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)
In response to the unorthodox departure of Pope Benedict XVI -- who on Feb. 28 became the first pope to resign from the papacy in six centuries – and the subsequent gathering of 115 male cardinals to designate his replacement, a small group of Catholic women, and a few men, gathered just before noon outside of St. Louis Cathedral on Sunday to advocate for equal rights in the church.
The demonstration, organized by the local chapter of the Women's Ordination Conference (WOC), consisted of prayers, songs and a call for gender equality in the Catholic church that includes the ordination of women as priests, and an expanded effort to include women’s voices in the church and in the Vatican.
Should the Catholic Church allow women to be ordained as priests?
On Tuesday, when the conclave officially begins, a chapter of WOC will travel to Rome and send up a plume of pink smoke – a direct response to white smoke that will rise once a new pope is selected – to draw attention to the group’s cause. There will be similar demonstrations in nine cities across the United States.
“(On Tuesday) the women of the church, and the members of the Women’s Ordination Conference, send up pink smoke to protest the lack of women’s voices at the conclave, and to protest the ban on women from all leadership and decision making positions in the church,” said Kim Nunez, clad in a pink T-shirt. “We recognize this 'election' as the celebration of patriarchy, and the painful reminder of the misogyny of the hierarchy.”
Organizer Jennifer Molina, who is a leader of the local chapter of WOC, cited the papal election as a “historic moment” in the Catholic Church – and an opportunity to pursue policies that have been previously frowned upon, such as the inclusion of women in priestly positions, as well as an inclusive and welcoming attitude towards gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Christians. Additionally, the group called for transparency and accountability for victims of sex abuse, and an end to corruption.
“It’s just as divine and just as valid when the call from God goes to a woman as to a man," Molina said. "This practice is based on sexism, and it’s a sin; it’s time for us to be called to repentance, and dialogue, and reconciliation together.”
As the morning rolled into afternoon, and churchgoers began spilling out of St. Louis Cathedral into the French Quarter, demonstrators eager to discuss the cause provoked mixed reactions.
Dorothy Haase, who is visiting New Orleans from her native New York, rebuffed the efforts of one demonstrator to engage her in conversation. Haase said she is a practicing Catholic, and does not believe the church should change its policies regarding women in the priesthood.
"We can have a fuller church by including women in the priesthood." - John Fitzgerald, Women's Ordination Conference demonstrator
“They say they want respect as humans, and they are respected,” Haase said. “But if they want to do this, they should go somewhere else, to another religion. I'm not interested in listening to it.”
A male churchgoer also refused to accept the pink pamphlet demonstrators were handing out on Sunday. “That’s not right. That’s not exactly right,” he muttered as he hurried away from the protest.
But other Catholics were thrilled to see the Pink Smoke brigade outside of St. Louis Cathedral, and jumped at the chance to join the cause.
“I’ve been looking all over for you!” said Bertha Deffes, a New Orleans resident. “I hope this has some effect somewhere down the line. All you have to do is look at the history of the church, and it’s ridiculous. It’s time; it’s way past time.”
“This dialogue is centuries overdue,” said Lois Blatters, who joined the demonstration. “The church is still stuck in the medieval times.”
John Fitzgerald, also a demonstrator, said that he believes the exclusion of women from the priesthood is a sexist act, and that such an act tarnishes the integrity of the church.
“Sexism is a sin, and it’s time to repent,” he said. “My experience as a human and a Catholic is degraded by that sexism. We can have a fuller church by including women in the priesthood.”
Former Archbishop of New Orleans Alfred Clifton Hughes would not discuss the demonstration, but said that his hope for the next pope is “someone who is going to bring people together…and help us respond to God in our lives.”
“We want women in the church,” he added, “in every way that God intends.”
Excommunicated female priest detained over Vatican protest
(AFP) – 1 hour ago
VATICAN CITY — "An excommunicated female priest decked out in her liturgical robes was detained by Italian police for demonstrating at the Vatican on Thursday, where she called on the Catholic Church to rethink its policy on ordaining women. Unfurling a red and white banner reading "Women Priests are Here", Janice Sevre-Duszynska said she wanted to draw attention to the lack of a voice for women as cardinals gather at the Vatican to choose former pope Benedict XVI's successor. "As the cardinals meet for their conclave to elect the new pope, women are being ordained around the world!" said Sevre-Duszynska, a member of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, decked out in an ivory, handmade alb and green stole. "There are already 150 female priests in the world. The people are ready for change," she said in a quick interview with AFP in front of St. Peter's Basilica, before being taken away in a police car. Officers said they were questioning her "right to wear those vestments". Sevre-Duszynska, an American who lives in Kentucky, was ordained by a female bishop and has been leading mass for four years -- though she and all other female priests have been excommunicated by the Vatican. "The huge decision as to who will lead the world's Catholics is being made among men alone, which is a mockery. Not hearing the opinions of half of the world is like a slap in the face," she said. "Young people are leaving the Church in droves because they refuse to accept women priests. We ask our brother priests to publicly speak out for women priests," she added. Sevre-Duszynska said she didn't have much hope that this conclave would change much for women, but urged supporters to make their voices heard in a bid to influence policy. "For a new pope who opens the way to the ordination of female priests, the Holy Spirit would have to appear here herself for the big shake-up. Here's hoping," she said.
Deacon Barbara Duff and Rev. Diane Dougherty celebrated a liturgy on Feb. 28, 2013-Justice Rising, at First Metropolitan Community Church in Atlanta. On the day the Pope retired, we sang The Canticle of Turning, praying that in this amazing age in which we live, the momentum toward a renewed priesthood and gender equality in our Catholic tradition would be realized.
Pictures by Helen Turley
Please forward this email and please respond to the LA Times. They closely monitor their online traffic, there is a section for comments, so please write in, or call the editor of the op-ed page. If this goes well, Fr. Roy will be their go to Catholic' on women's ordination, the School ofthe Americas, matters of conscience and other important issues. As many of you know Father Roy, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for his work to close the US School of the Americas, has been speaking out for women's ordination in the Catholic Church. The Vatican excommunicated him and kicked him out of the Maryknoll Order last October 2012 (he's been a priest for 40years) for not recanting his belief that women are equal to men and can be called by God to be priests. (Meanwhile the pedophile priests have yet to be excommunicated.)
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-pope-qualities-20130303,0,7041221,full.story Gender justice
By Roy Bourgeois
The Catholic Church teaches that the call to be a priest comes from God. It also says that only men can be priests. The question I've been asking my fellow Catholics — and would ask the next pope — is this: How can a woman's call to priesthood — which is directly from God — be wrong? In failing to ordain women, the church is guilty of sexism, which is impossible to justify in a faith that preaches that a loving God creates everyone of equal worth. Historically the church's leaders, looking to keep themselves — all men — in power, have said that while all people are created equal, women's roles are separate. This argument for barring women priests reminds me of my childhood in Louisiana. I attended segregated schools and worshiped in a Catholic Church that reserved the last five pews for blacks. In my anger at the injustice being done to women, I am still filled with hope that women will be ordained, just as those segregated schools in Louisiana are now integrated Roy Bourgeois was a Catholic priest with the Maryknoll Order for 40 years. He was dismissed from the priesthood in late 2012 after he refused to renounce his participation in an ordination ceremony for a female priest.