Monday, October 29, 2012

Australian Bishops are the Voice of Reason inthe "Year of Faith"
The synod coincides with the opening of a special "Year of Faith," which runs from Oct. 11, 2012, to Nov. 24, 2013, which also has focus on "the new evangelization."

"The pastoral letter, titled Jahr des Glaubens or "Year of Faith," has a special chapter on the ongoing deadlock in the Austrian church since the Austrian Priests' Initiative, which has more than 400 members, published its "Appeal to Disobedience" in June 2011. The initiative, which has the support of a large number of Austrian lay Catholics, calls for radical church reforms, including the ordination of married men and women."

Saturday, October 27, 2012

For some journalists the only good and interesting nun is a former and dissenting one....

Bridget Mary's Response: Carl E. Olson's attack on the media for its comprehensive coverage of the ordination of Diane Dougherty of Atlanta, a former nun, exhibits the hubris of male chauvinist misogyny. It is wonderful that both print and television media covered it as one the top stories on Oct. 20th, 2012.. The media gets it that the the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is leading the church in the footsteps of Jesus who called both women and men as disciples and equals. (Luke 6) The Risen Christ appeared first to Mary of Magdala, and called her to proclaim the central dogma of Christianity, the Resurrection. Jesus did not ordain anyone, male or female. Journalists are covering this spiritual revolution because women's ordination is a core issue of human rights and gender justice that is good news not only to Catholics but to millions of people worldwide. Yes, Carl E. Olson, the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is a "holy shakeup" whose time has come! Bridget Mary Meehan, arcwp,

"For some journalists, the only good and interesting nun...."

"Finally, something that strikes me as quite interesting is how journalists who normally wouldn't bother with anyone claiming to have a direct line to God's heart and mind, will soak it up when it comes to women seeking "ordination":

Diane Dougherty's Response:
Mr. Olson clearly pointed to the exact issues I wanted to raise in the many interviews I had:

First, he addressed the five personal references I experienced that helped me come to terms with the heinious evil of "clericalism.

He rightly noted that I came to the conclusion that, "from generation to generation clericalism’s all-male-elite hierarchy dominates Catholicism. It acts as a virus, spreading through healthy people and communities, dividing them, setting one person or group against another..."

But he wrongly concluded I believed that "Jesus was all about "clericalism". On the contrary.....every gospel reference exposes Jesus disgust for those who supposedly speak for God and promote inequality in relationship.

I was glad he showed an understanding of the evil of clericalism when he wrote, "This is not to deny that actual clericalism is not a problem; it is, and it probably always will be." But when he went into what the church teaches....I would like to clarify it is not "the Church" that teaches this-rather the hierarchy.....there is a huge distinction today between the "sensus fidelium" , the voice of the faithful.....and what the hierarchy is teaching....The exodus of 33 million Catholics from the American church gives witness to this grave reality.....And during these political times, the "Catholic" vote sheds a bright light on "Catholic" thought and the divergent thinking of its faithful....

He addressed the hierarchy's teaching saying women and men are "distinct but equal" The argument is similar to the argument given in the south when blacks were housed in separate schools, lived in separate neighborhoods and ofered low paying jobs. They were "separate, but equal" -same construct that created the same false this is seen for the false notion it was in that time. I can only hope the hierarchy's notion that women are "distinct and equal..." will be seen by the next generation for the false notion it is today.

In healthy marriages, women stand on equal footing with their partners....together they define their roles after marriage-society and culture no longer have a say....So it will be in the church, women will stand on equal footing with their male counterparts. We are equally called and structures need to change to honor this call. Empowered women ARE truly feminine and unique...what needs to erode are all frameworks that allow anyone to buy into false notions that allow one gender to define the framework for the other gender......We are seeking out counterparts that want to reframe false notions of "Catholic" projected by an inequality that disrupts and corrupts our church. Hopefully those called to renew the priesthood based in gender equality will step forward and work with us. 


NBC33tv from Baton Rouge, LA

Fr Brian D’Arcy: ‘Why I’d have been a better priest if I’d married’

Comment:  This is a good example of how many who have a vocation are unnecessarily put in a double bind.....the decrees on priestly celebacy as well as ban on woman priets can end tomorrow....  oh yes-for me they ended 10/20/12....


Fr Brian D’Arcy: ‘Why I’d have been a better priest if I’d married’

3 1 9
Saturday, 27 October 2012
Fr Brian D'Arcy has spoken about how celibacy has impacted on his life
Fr Brian D'Arcy has spoken about how celibacy has impacted on his life
In a fascinating documentary to be shown next week, Fr Brian D’Arcy opens his heart as never before. Stephanie Bell reports
A lonely man whose heart ached for a wife and a home of his own while remaining true to his calling is the tragic portrait which Fr Brian D’Arcy reveals of himself in a powerful new documentary.
The controversial Catholic cleric has laid bare his soul in what is a deeply personal and at times highly emotive film charting the extent of his torment in the wake of the Vatican’s move to censor him.
The Fermanagh priest opened his heart to the BBC, who followed him during a six month journey when he questioned whether or not he could remain a priest and be true to himself.
The broadcaster, who is known for his liberal stance on issues such as mandatory celibacy, the ban on women priests and contraception, goes further than he ever has before in revealing his true thoughts in the film The Turbulent Priest. But despite his controversial views on the church, the 67-year-old member of the Passionist Order comes across as a man deeply devoted to his parishioners.
Earlier this year it was reported that Fr D’Arcy had been censured by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican, and that his weekly newspaper columns were being run past a church censor. The step was taken following an anonymous complaint to the CDF. The film starts on the day that news of his censorship breaks just as Fr D’Arcy is due to take Mass. The first of many emotive scenes is filmed as Aideen McGinley approaches the priest to reassure him in front of the church that he has the support of his congregation.
Her kind words prove too much for Fr D’Arcy who struggles to control his emotions and openly weeps.
Tears also flow when he talks about the impact of his own childhood abuse by two members of the church.
He said: “You’re afraid the secret will destroy you until you realise, hey, I’ve nothing to be afraid of. I’ve nothing to be ashamed of and I can say that clearly now, and it’s the same thing when the Vatican came after me, I could say, ‘I’ve nothing to be ashamed of. I didn’t do anything wrong.’”
Fr D’Arcy lets his guard down again when he talks about how celibacy has impacted on his life. He reveals that he was once in love and wanted to marry although he never broke his vows: “I have been in love and I did think I would get married once.
“Both of us were aware it was not just a sexual attraction and both of us felt that we could be holy and good people and be married. I would have been a much better priest had I married. I think it would have been the whole thing of sharing your life with somebody else and the whole thing of making sacrifices for somebody else and also that idea of a companion, a closeness, a friend, someone to call home.”
Another emotive scene comes when he visits the home in England of his good friend Michael Carroll, who was ordained on the same day as him but left the priesthood after 10 years.
Seeing his friend happy in his own home with his wife evoked a strong reaction from Fr D’Arcy who spoke about the incredible loneliness which celibacy forces on priests: “This is what I miss, having a home of my own. Ask any single person who doesn’t want to be single what it’s like. You’re a nobody in the world for a start. You have no place really you can call your own. You have no friendship you can call your own. You have given your life to everybody else and find that you have no life at all at the end of it. Where is home? At the end of my life I don’t have a home. Ideally religious life is supposed to be a type of home. It isn’t, not now anyway.”
In the hour long programme, the BBC’s Natalie Maynes follows Fr D’Arcy as he journeys across Europe in search of answers as to whether he can continue to be a priest. He travels to Austria to speak to Helmut Schuller, a priest who is actively lobbying for reform of some of the church’s teachings. He also visits Father Brian McKevitt, editor of a conservative Catholic newspaper, who has a much more traditional viewpoint and says of Brian’s Sunday World column: “A lot of what you write is a kind of a candy floss spirituality. It looks attractive but when you actually bite into it there’s an absence of substance, an absence of nourishment.”
And he calls with his friend, actor Frank Kelly, who played the infamous Father Jack from the popular comedy series Father Ted. Narrator and producer Natalie Maynes said: “Making this film has been a unique opportunity to document an insider’s take on the Irish Catholic Church, at a time when it is under particular scrutiny.
“Father Brian D’Arcy has been in religious life for 50 years and that half century of experience has convinced him the Church should be taking its lead from the ordinary ‘grass roots’ Catholics he helps on a daily basis.
“But Brian worries the Vatican is returning to the conservative church of his youth which he believes will alienate Catholics struggling with core teachings like clerical celibacy, second relationships, homosexuality, and contraception. The worst case scenario, says Brian, is that ‘we allow them to impose this legalistic church again. Look what happened — that’s what led to the abuse of children, abuse of power, the abuse of the church itself’.”
Throughout the programme, the church comes in for strong criticism from Fr D’Arcy, who concludes of his own situation that he is a priest trying to be authentic in an organisation that is dysfunctional. He is philosophical about how the church might react to him, once again questioning its authority and values.
“I’m a bit nervous about it,” he said. “I’ve no idea at all what the reaction will be. I ended by telling my congregation that I do still want to be a priest but whether or not I will still be a priest on Tuesday (after the programme is screened) is beyond my control.”
The Turbulent Priest, Monday, October 29, BBC One NI, 10.35pm

Read more:

Video piece with this article
Fr Brian D’Arcy: ‘Why I’d have been a better priest if I’d married’

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan's Homily/Bob Watkins Pictures

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan Ordination Homily: Oct. 20, 2012/Atlanta
This is the day God has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Today we are making
history in Atlanta because the Association of Roman Catholic Women
Priests is ordaining six women.

Diane Dougherty will be ordained a priest.(center with red stole)
Barbara Duff, (left, bottom row)
Debra Meyers, (second row, right)
Joleane Presley,(bottom row, right)
Irene Scaramazza, (center, back row)
and Rosemarie Smead (left second row)
will be ordained deacons.
These six courageous women stand on the margins with us to serve God’s people in an inclusive Catholic Church where all are welcome to receive sacraments.

As we gather around Holy Wisdom’s Banquet Table to feast on the Bread of Life and to savor the Wine of Abundant Love, we are blessed to be in this sacred space, the First Metropolitan Community Church.

Like Deacon Phoebe, an influential leader in the early church, and St. Mary of Magdala, the apostle to the apostles, and apostle Junia, a co-worker and partner with Paul in preaching the Gospel, these women have been called by the Risen Christ to “go and tell” the good news of Gospel equality. For some, like the hierarchy, women priests are a revolution, for millions of Catholics, we are a holy shakeup whose time has come.

The Catholic Church should follow the example of Jesus who called both men and women as disciples and treated them as equals and partners in the Gospel.In Luke 8:1-3, we learn that among his disciples were: Mary of Magdala, Joanna, Suzanna, and many more who supported Jesus with their own funds. How many sermons have you heard about the women who bankrolled Jesus’ministry.

Now, however, change is in the air and all over the airwaves!

On Sept. 18th at the International Congress of Coptic Studies, Professor Karen King, a historian at Harvard Divinity School , reported that a fourth century datedpapyrusrefers to Jesus’ wife and states that “she will be able to be my disciple.” (Laurie Goodstein, “A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’s Wife, “New York Times, September 18, 2012)

According to all four Gospels, Mary of Magdala is the only person described as present at both the cross and the tomb. The Gospel of John portrays a close relationship between Mary of Magdala and Jesus. When the other disciples come and go, Mary stays nearby, weeping. In an age where a woman’s word was suspect, the Risen Christ appears first to Mary, not Peter, and calls her to be the apostle to the apostles to proclaim the good news of the Resurrection, the central belief of Christianity. Like Mary, women today, are being called to preach the good news that Christ is risen and continues to rise up in God’s people for justice, liberation, and new life! We are silent and subordinate no more!

In an ancient Coptic Christian Scripture, “Pistis Sophia”, written in the Second Century, Jesus chooses Mary of Magdala and John to “be on my right and on my left.” Mary’s prominence is reflected throughout the document. She asks 39 out of 46 questions and participates in providing interpretation of this document. Peter expresses resentment toward her throughout the work: “My Lord we shall not be able to endure this woman, for she takes our opportunity and she has not let any of us speak and takes all the time herself.” Mary objects to Peter’s efforts to intimidate her and charges that “he hates the female race.”

History is repeating itself today! On Holy Thursday, April 5th , Pope Benedict chastised the growing number of male priests who support women priests. 400 Austrian priests and 300 German theologians and 800 Irish priests have endorsed women’s ordination publically. According to the Irish Independent, the Association of Irish priests called the pope’s criticism “unfair, unwarranted and unwise.”

In Romans 16, St. Paul acknowledges Deacon Phoebe’s leadership in the early Christian movement. Phoebe was entrusted with the mission to proclaim Paul’s letter to the house churches in Rome. She was an influential leader whose authority and credentials were accepted by the local church. Contemporary scholars like Dr. Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza believe that women leaders like Phoebe were not assistants to the apostles, but rather were apostles, missionaries, and leaders of communities equal to and independent of Paul. Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza, In Memory of Her , p. 179, 48. )

In Romans 16:7 St. Paul commended Junia and Andronicus, as “outstanding apostles” who were in Christ before he was. It is the only time that Paul refers to someone other than the Twelve or himself as apostles. Some biblical translators changed Junia, a female name, to the male name Junias, and up until recent years the male name appeared in most bibles. Patristic sources, including St. John Chrsysostom and St. Jerome acknowledged Junia as an apostle.

Somehow, I think Junia might be missing from the contemporary curriculum in Catholic Schools and seminaries. It is time for a revision!

Since Paul, Junia and Andronicus were apostles, there were more than 12 apostles. The “twelve” was a symbolic number referring to the twelve tribes of Israel. And, of course, in spite of what the hierarchy in the Roman Catholic Church states, Jesus did not ordain anyone at the last supper.

Scholars, like Gary Macy, in The Hidden History of Women's Ordination , present scholarly evidence of women in Holy Orders during the first twelve hundred years of the church's history. (One could say that is the church's best kept secret, but NO MORE!!)

Roman Catholic Women Priests are ordained in apostolic succession because a male bishop with apostolic succession and in communion with the pope ordained our first bishops!Therefore, our ordinations are valid.

Our liberation movement is living prophetic obedience to the Spirit by disobeying an unjust, man-made, canon law that discriminates against women in our church. Sexism, like racism, is a sin. Women in the Roman Catholic Church are treated like second class citizens. The Catholic Church cannot continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it. Like Rosa Parks, whose refusal to sit in the back of the bus helped to ignite the civil rights movement, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is not leaving the church, but leading the church into a new era of gender justice.

In 2002, 7 women were ordained on the Danube, in 2006, 12 women were ordained in the first U.S. Ordination in Pittsburgh. Now there are approximately 150. Women Priests are in Europe, U.S., Canada, and Latin America.

As part of an international initiative of the Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests claims equality as a human right.Our vision is justice for all, justice for the poor, justice for women, and justice for women in the church including ordination. We speak out for women’s rights and non-violence. We speak truth to power and the ministry of irritation is our forte! The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests challenges church teachings that negate women’s experiences such as contraception. We support marriage equality and nunjustice for women religious in the recent Vatican take -over of their organization, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. We foster ecumenism and interfaith relations. We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers from all faiths and no faith who work for justice for all who are oppressed and marginalized in our world.
Now we ordain our beloved Sisters, Diane, Barbara, Debra, Joleane, Irene and Rosemarie. Wouldn’t Deacon Phoebe and apostles Mary of Magdala and Junia be proud of them? … and of us?!! Alleluia

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

Link to ARCWP Ordination of Six Women Pictures from Atlanta/Oct. 20,2012/Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests/ Photos Courtesy of Bob Watkins

Newly Ordained:left to right:
Barbara Duff, Bridget Mary Meehan, Diane Dougherty, Jolean Presley,
back row left ot right: Rosemarie Smead, Irene Scaramazza, and Debra Meyers

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Newnan woman challenges Catholic Church on female priests

Newnan woman challenges Catholic Church on female priests

Diane Dougherty photo
Bita Honarvar,
Diane Dougherty (right) worships at the First Metropolitan Community Church of Atlanta Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
On Saturday, Diane Dougherty will defy centuries-old Roman Catholic tradition when she is ordained a priest in a ceremony that her church will neither recognize nor accept.
Nevertheless, the first invitation she sent was to Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory.
She doesn’t expect him to attend.
Dougherty is part of a controversial movement to ordain women as priests and deacons. The women are doing so despite the fact the church has said they will be automatically excommunicated, which means they will not be able to participate in any church sacraments.
“He won’t [attend] because of the pope and this is a hierarchical institution,” said the 67-year-old former teacher and nun, who will be ordained by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. “I don’t know if he wants to attend, but he is a black man. He understands social justice. He’s a very sensitive and loving individual. I just can’t imagine he doesn’t have empathy, although he has written that he does not.”
In a statement, the archbishop stood firm, saying the church has no authority to ordain women as priests “since among His twelve Apostles, Jesus Christ did not include any women in spite of His open association and friendship with women throughout His ministry.”
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, is more blunt.
“I can say I’m the queen of England and it doesn’t make it so,” she said.
Still, Dougherty plans to go ahead with the ordination at First Metropolitan Community Church in Atlanta. Another Georgian, Barbara Anne Duff of Macon, will be ordained a deacon.
The women claim valid orders because an unnamed bishop with apostolic succession ordained the first female bishops, said Bridget Mary Meehan, a bishop of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests who will perform the ordination Saturday.
Dougherty, who is not registered in a parish, will initially preach in her Newnan home.
So far, about 150 women globally have been declared priests or deacons, although the Vatican doesn’t recognize them.
“Priesthood means as a disciple, I stand with all people in the name of Christ, sharing the love of God,” Dougherty said. “And this is why this hurts. They say we can do ministry but can’t stand at the altar.”
The role of women is a big issue in the church, said Eugene Bianchi, a professor emeritus of religion at Emory University.
“It’s a big shakeup in some ways,” he said. “There’s an element of power involved. The Catholic Church has been male, and all of a sudden you’re asking them to let women into the decision-making area of the church. They’re going to be resistant.”
Times, however, are changing, he said.
As early as 2005, the year John Paul II died, a Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll showed a majority of U.S. Catholics, 55 percent, felt the next pope should allow women to be priests. Forty-four percent opposed the ordination of women.
The subject has created conflict even within Dougherty’s family. Her sister, Mary Bray, says she was “shocked and a little torn” when she first heard about her sister’s decision.
But Bray, who lives in Ohio, changed her mind after numerous conversations with her sister.
“If they feel God is calling them to do something,” Bray said, “they shouldn’t be prohibited from doing that just because of their gender.”
Others are taking a wait-and-see approach.
“I follow my church’s teachings,” said Gordon Shenkle, a computer consultant from Tyrone. “It’s not something that’s up for debate as far as I’m concerned.”
If the Vatican decided to accept women as priests, Shenkle said, “then I would accept it as well.”
“Part of belonging to a church,” he said, “is accepting the church’s teachings on morality and leadership.”

Monday, October 15, 2012

Open Letter to Archbishop Wilton Gregory from Diane Dougherty

Comment:  Sad but not surprizing, there has been NO response from our Archbishop.

                                                                                                                                                                September 22, 2012
Dear Archbishop Gregory,
                It is with joy that I am announcing to you my upcoming Ordination to the Priesthood in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.  While I understand this choice will cause some pain for you and many other Catholics in that you will exclude yourself from recognizing the event, it brings to me the greatest joy.  I feel a sincere fulfillment of my vocational calling.
                By way of introduction, I come from Painesville, Ohio the birthplace of the first Archbishop of Atlanta, Paul Hallinan.  Through his inspiration and calling, I began coming to Georgia as early as the 70’s with the Sisters of the Humility of Mary.  I worked summers and holidays at St. Thomas the Apostle and thought Atlanta would become the hope of a renewed church.  Disillusioned by a series of experiences in the North, I left community and moved South in 1987.  I taught at St. Joseph’s in Marietta for 10 years in addition to working part time at the ORE.  In 1997, I was asked to work full time in the department. I served for 4 years until the office was restructured.  During that time, the Archdiocese supported my ongoing formation by allowing me to get a Masters in Pastoral Formation and Religious Education. With my background as a sister, 27 years of experience in parishes and schools and this degree, I was fully formed to serve.  It was my hope to have spent these last 10 years at the Archdiocese, but that was not to be. 
                As far as a vocational tract, mine has been one I would not want talented and educated women to pursue.  It has been far too difficult with roadblocks that deeply injure the soul and spirit.  When I discovered I could be a Roman Catholic and serve as a Woman Priest, and listened to the depth of faithfulness these women are bringing to Catholicism, I found hope in a renewed priesthood where I could stand with you as an equal.  This is my hope and my goal.
                In closing, I would like to say that I am probably a little older than you, have served within the tradition faithfully, and against all odds, I have not gone elsewhere.  Neither of us chose our vocations, our calling came from God.  It is far too difficult to continue to serve as a woman within the existing framework, and since I have not been called to another tradition, I am standing still, proclaiming this call and living in joyful hope that someday soon we will not only be able to talk, we will be able to celebrate a renewed priesthood that allows me to stand with you and welcome all.
                I have enclosed a documentary, Pink Smoke Over the Vatican, a booklet by Fr. Roy Bourgeois where he addresses his Journey from Silence to Solidarity and a great booklet on Women’s ordination from a theological perspective, with my invitation.  There would be no greater joy in Atlanta, than you reaching out to at least talk with me about this issue, offering Catholics an opportunity to discuss the underlying sexism that forms the basis of our exclusion.  Won’t you come to our ordination carrying the joy of my gospel call with you?

                                                                                                                                                Very sincerely,
                                                                                                                                                Diane Dougherty
                                                                                                                                                50 Williams Pride Way
                                                                                                                                                Newnan, GA 30265


“It is within our power-to light the watchfires of faith on a thousand hills of North Georgia.  Their flames will purify the fears and hatreds, the indifference and falsehood of our society.  Their heat will raise the dead bones of old customs to a new life.  Their warmth will recreate here, a Catholic body alive to the gospel …….”

Archbishop Paul Hallinan           Atlanta Archdiocesan Synod of 1966

Friday, October 12, 2012

Why a former nun will be ordained a priest

I am passionate about Jesus’ vision for women disciples in our church --- so much so that on Oct. 20, I will be ordained a priest in Atlanta along with five women who will be ordained deacons. The recent third-century papyrus discovery announced by Dr. Karen L. King confirms what I have always known about my own calling, “She will be my disciple.”
In the 1960s, there were few options for women exploring their vocation. Catholicism was uniform and painted in either/or’s but my love for God and early ministries with the people fed my desire to serve. I entered religious life expecting to leave in six months because I believed God was not limited the uniform vision presented by the church in that age. My experience of convent life far exceeded those stereotypes.
The day after I entered the convent, we began college courses. We studied, prayed, worked and laughed. The sisters immediately engaged us in renewing our constitution and ending pre-Vatican practices. Through baptism we were all called to serve.
We moved out of clerical notions that separated us from people into living the gospel mandate in homes, neighborhoods and wherever the marginalized lived. I was in my glory. For the first 12 years as a sister, I worked in systems operated by those “renewed Catholic women”. I was never denied access to any institution of higher learning. For me, Catholic was defined as raising each person to heights of excellence in a discipleship of equals.
However, during the last 10 years of religious life, I met up with a clerical culture that viewed religious women and laity as expendable, especially if they challenged current systematic practices. When we spoke about salary fairness, we were asked to leave. When we petitioned for Hispanics to use the church instead of a restaurant, we were evicted. The entire staff of the next parish I worked in was forced to resign when the new pastor took over. These events left me psychologically devastated and I decided to leave and move to Atlanta, the hope of the South.
For the next 14 years, I worked in a Catholic school as well as for the Archdiocese of Atlanta as director of children’s catechesis. What I felt, but did not have words to describe, was the growing politic of clericalism creeping throughout the South by the strategic appointment of bishops and priests. As soon as we had established vibrant systems making sound Catholic teaching accessible to a broad range of adults, our department was totally restructured. This recurring motif happened throughout the South. It was then I realized, after 37 years of service, I, as a woman religious and/or lay ecclesial minister, was expendable. It was my “ah-ha” moment.
I saw that from generation to generation clericalism’s all-male-elite hierarchy dominates Catholicism. It acts as a virus, spreading through healthy people and communities, dividing them, setting one person or group against another, working to make the group smaller and easier to control. It superimposes its self-made rules on the gospel confusing the people of God. Because it is male dominated, women and educated laity are a threat to the culture and their influence must be minimized. Once named, I realized one could not reason, collaborate, negotiate, challenge or control it.
When I discovered the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is intent on developing an inclusive, renewed priesthood in a community of equals, I found my true calling. Although I have suffered and endured all internal efforts to “get me to leave” and join the already 33 million displaced Catholics in the U.S., I refuse. I choose to become a “Catholic” priest because I am called to work with others who understand that “Catholic” is more about authentic gospel living than the false notions clericalism breeds.

By Diane Dougherty | 07:23 PM ET, 10/12/2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Breaking News: Please read and sign this unique document....spread widely

Breaking News:  Please read and sign this unique document....spread widely

Cardinal Law told Mary McAleese he was ‘sorry for Catholic Ireland to have you as President’

Comment:  What do women Presidents do when they finish their service? The former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese, is studying Theology in Rome.  She is publishing a book on Canon Law. 

So sorry she had to have this experience, but the majority of women in the church have suffered this and much more, with never so much as a note of sorrow or shame afterward.


Cardinal Law told Mary McAleese he was ‘sorry for Catholic Ireland to have you as President’

Former Irish president reveals blazing row with disgraced US Cardinal on Boston visit

Former Irish President Mary McAleese & Cardinal Bernard Francis Law
Former Irish President Mary McAleese & Cardinal Bernard Francis Law
Photo by Google Images

We Recommend:
Former Irish President Mary McAleese has opened up on a major diplomatic row with an American cardinal who was later disgraced for covering up child sex abuse.
Cardinal Bernard Francis Law was Archbishop of Boston when he clashed with President McAleese on a state visit to the US in 1998.
The Irish leader was publicly berated by Cardinal Law for her open support for the ordination of women priests.
The Catholic Bishop told McAleese that he was: “Sorry for Catholic Ireland to have you as President.”
The former President, now studying theology in Rome where she has published a book on canon law, told the Irish Independent that the Cardinal also attacked a junior minister who had accompanied her on the trip.
She told the paper: “His remarks were utterly inappropriate and unwelcome.
“Cardinal Law lambasted me and a considerable number of the official delegation after ushering us into a room where a well-known American conservative Catholic, Mary Ann Glendon, was waiting to lecture me on my views on women priests.”
McAleese told the paper that the cardinal’s language and attitude were nasty and he demanded that she sit down and listen to the orthodox view on women’s ordination from Glendon.
She added: “We were initially gobsmacked by this arrogant man.
“I then told the cardinal that I was the President of Ireland and not just of Catholic Ireland.”
McAleese then revealed how a heated argument broke out between the two.
She said: “I felt he had insulted Ireland and the Irish people.”
The paper also reports that she confronted the Irish hierarchy on her return to Ireland to find out if they had been briefing Cardinal Law.
She recalled that Cardinal Desmond Connell was ‘visibly upset’ and found it ‘unacceptable’. She said: “He was morally certain there was no input from the Irish bishops.”
Cardinal Cahal Daly apologized to the President at an official launch and confirmed that an invitation by the Irish bishops to Cardinal Law to come to Ireland had been rescinded.
McAleese told the Irish Independent that she was raising the issue now to show the difference in mind-set between the old church and the new church.
Cardinal Law resigned as Archbishop of Boston in 2002 amid allegations he had covered up abuse by priests in the archdiocese.
Speaking ahead of her book launch in Rome, McAleese also said Irish bishops got their handling of abusive priests ‘glaringly wrong’.
She attributed this to ‘utterly atrocious advice and lack of training’.
She added: “The Irish bishops were regrettably in thrall to a few canon lawyers whose views held sway.
“The advice seems to have been to ignore canon law and ignore civil law.
“The only people who became trained lawyers generally were clerics.
“There was an absolute falling away of interest in canon law between 1965 and 1983 when a new code of canon law was introduced.

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Comment:  The voice of reason

Catholic theologian preaches revolution to end church's 'authoritarian' rule

Hans Küng urges confrontation from the grassroots to unseat pope and force radical reform at Vatican
hans kung
Hans Küng: appeal to priests and churchgoers to confront the Catholic hierarchy. Photograph: returned
One of the world's most prominent Catholic theologians has called for a revolution from below to unseat the pope and force radical reform at the Vatican.
Hans Küng is appealing to priests and churchgoers to confront the Catholic hierarchy, which he says is corrupt, lacking credibility and apathetic to the real concerns of the church's members.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Küng, who had close contact with the pope when the two worked together as young theologians, described the church as an "authoritarian system" with parallels to Germany's Nazi dictatorship.
"The unconditional obedience demanded of bishops who swear their allegiance to the pope when they make their holy oath is almost as extreme as that of the German generals who were forced to swear an oath of allegiance to Hitler," he said.
The Vatican made a point of crushing any form of clerical dissent, he added. "The rules for choosing bishops are so rigid that as soon as candidates emerge who, say, stand up for the pill, or for the ordination of women, they are struck off the list." The result was a church of "yes men", almost all of whom unquestioningly toed the line.
"The only way for reform is from the bottom up," said Küng, 84, who is a priest. "The priests and others in positions of responsibility need to stop being so subservient, to organise themselves and say that there are certain things that they simply will not put up with anymore."
Küng, the author of around 30 books on Catholic theology, Christianity and ethics, which have sold millions worldwide, said that inspiration for global change was to be found in his native Switzerland and in Austria, where hundreds of Catholic priests have formed movements advocating policies that openly defy current Vatican practices. The revolts have been described as unprecedented by Vatican observers, who say they are likely to cause deep schisms in the church.
"I've always said that if one priest in a diocese is roused, that counts for nothing. Five will create a stir. Fifty are pretty much invincible. In Austria the figure is well over 300, possibly up to 400 priests; in Switzerland it's about 150 who have stood up and it will increase."
He said recent attempts by the archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn, to try to stamp out the uprising by threatening to punish those involved in the Austrian "priests' initiative" had backfired owing to the strength of feeling. "He soon stopped when he realised that so many ordinary people are supportive of them and he was in danger of turning them all against him," Küng said.
The initiatives support such seemingly modest demands as letting divorced and remarried people receive communion, allowing non-ordained people to lead services and allowing women to take on important positions in the hierarchy. However, as they go against conventional Catholic teaching, the demands have been flatly rejected by the Vatican.
Küng, who was stripped of the authority to teach Catholic theology by Pope John Paul II in 1979 for questioning the concept of papal infallibility, is credited with giving the present pope, Joseph Ratzinger as he then was, the first significant step up the hierarchy of Catholic academia when he called him to Tübingen University, in south-west Germany, as professor of dogmatic theology in 1966.
The pair had worked closely for four years in the 1960s as the youngest theological advisers on the second Vatican council – the most radical overhaul of the Catholic church since the middle ages. But the relationship between the two was never straightforward, with their political differences eventually driving a wedge between them. The dashing and flamboyant Hans Küng, by various accounts, often stole the limelight from the more earnest and staid Joseph Ratzinger.
Küng refers to the "heap of legends" that abound about himself and Ratzinger from their "Tübingen days", not least the apocryphal accounts of how he gave lifts in his "red sports car" to the bicycle-riding Ratzinger.
"I often gave him a lift, particularly up the steep hills of Tübingen, yes, but too much has been made of this," he said. "I didn't drive a sports car, rather an Alfa Romeo Giulia. Ratzinger admitted himself that he had no interest in technology and had no driving licence. But it's often been turned into some kind of pseudo-profound metaphor idealising the 'cyclist' and demonising the 'Alfa Romeo driver'."
Indeed the "modest'' and prudent "bicycle-rider'' image that pope-to-be, now 85, fostered for years has all but evaporated since his 2005 inauguration, according to Küng.
"He has developed a peculiar pomposity that doesn't fit the man I and others knew, who once walked around in a Basque-style cap and was relatively modest. Now he's frequently to be seen wrapped in golden splendour and swank. By his own volition he wears the crown of a 19th-century pope, and has even had the garments of the Medici pope Leo X remade for him."
That "pomposity", he said, manifested itself most fully in the regular audiences who gather on St Peter's Square in Rome. "What happens has Potemkin village dimensions," he said. "Fanatical people go there to celebrate the pope, and tell him how wonderful he is, while meanwhile at home their own parishes are in a lamentable state, with a lack of priests, a far higher number than ever before of people who are leaving than are being baptised and now Vatileaks, which indicates just what a poor state the Vatican administration is in," he said, referring to the scandal over leaked documents uncovering power struggles within the Vatican which has seen the pope's former butler appear in court. The trial ends on Saturday.
It was in Tübingen that the paths of the two theologians crossed for several years before diverging sharply following the student riots of 1968. Ratzinger was shocked by the events and escaped to the relative safety of his native Bavaria, where he deepened his involvement in the Catholic hierarchy. Küng stayed in Tübingen and increasingly assumed the role of the Catholic church's enfant terrible.
"The student revolts were a primal shock for Ratzinger and after that he became ever more conservative and part of the hierarchy of the church," said Küng.
Calling Pope Benedict XVI's reign a "pontificate of missed opportunities", in which he had forgone chances to reconcile with the Protestant, Jewish, orthodox and Muslim faiths, as well as failing to help the African fight against Aids by not allowing the use of birth control, Küng said his "gravest scandal" was the way he had "covered up" worldwide cases of sexual crimes committed by clerics during his time as the head of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as Cardinal Ratzinger.
"The Vatican is no different from the Kremlin," Küng said. "Just as Putin as a secret service agent became the head of Russia, so Ratzinger, as head of the Catholic church's secret services, became head of the Vatican. He has never apologised for the fact that many cases of abuse were sealed under the secretum pontificium (papal secrecy), or acknowledged that this is a disaster for the Catholic church." Küng described a process of "Putinisation" that has taken place at the Vatican.
Yet despite their differences, the two have remained in contact. Küng visited the pope at his summer retreat, Castel Gandolfo, in 2005, during which the two held an intensive four-hour discussion.
"It felt like we were on an equal footing – after all, we'd been colleagues for years. We walked through the park and there were times I thought he might turn the corner on certain issues, but it never happened. Since then we've still kept exchanging letters, but we've not met."
Kung has travelled widely in his life, befriending everyone from Iranian leaders to John F. Kennedy, and Tony Blair with whom he forged close links a decade ago, becoming something of a spiritual guru for the then British prime minister ahead of his decision to convert to Catholicism.
"I was impressed how he tackled the Northern Ireland conflict. But then came the Iraq war and I was extremely troubled by the way in which he collaborated with Bush. I wrote to him calling it a historical failure of the first order. He wrote me a hand-written note in reply, saying he respected my views and thankyou, but that I should know he was acting according to his conscience and was not trying to please the Americans. I was astounded that a British prime minister could make such a catastrophic mistake, and he remains for me a tragic figure." He described Blair's conversion to Catholicism as a mistake, insisting he should instead have used his role as a public figure to reconcile differences between the Anglican and Catholic churches in the UK.
From his book-filled study, where a portrait of Sir Thomas More, the 16th-century English Catholic martyr, hangs on the wall, Küng looks out on to his front garden and a two-metre-tall statue of himself. Critics have called it symptomatic of Kung's inflated sense of his own importance. He is embarrassed as he attempts to explain how it was a gift from his 20-year-old Stiftung Weltethos, (Foundation for a Global Ethic), which operates from his house and will continue to do so after his death.
Far from putting the brakes on his prolific theological output, Küng has recently distilled the ideas of Weltethos – which seeks to create a global code of behaviour, or a globalisation of ethics – into a capricious musical libretto. Mixing narrative with excerpts from the teachings of Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, Küng's writings have been incorporated into a major symphonic work by the British composer Jonathan Harvey that will have its London premiere on Sunday at the Southbank Centre.
Küng says the musical work, like the foundation, is an attempt to emphasise what the religions of the world have in common rather than what divides them.

Weltethos was founded in the early 1990s as an attempt to bring the religions of the world together by emphasising what they have in common rather than what divides them. It has drawn up a code of behavioural rules that it hopes one day will be as universally acceptable as the UN.
The work's aim is arguably high-minded – Harvey described the demanding task of writing a score for the text as an "awe-inspring responsibility". But Küng, who has won the support of leading figures including Henry Kissinger, Kofi Annan, Jacques Rogge, Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson and Shirin Ebadi, insisted its aims were grounded in basic necessity."At a time of paradigm change in the world, we need a common set of principles, most obvious among them the Golden Rule, in which Confucius taught to not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself," he said.