Friday, November 2, 2012

Warning to Faithful by Diocese of St. Augustine:ARCWP's respose

Letter in part -PDF file could not be copied....

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.
Judicial Vicar
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

Phone: 904-262-3200

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 ( 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


Elder TreeWalker said...

Yes, ecclesiastical bullying must be called out for what it is and those who perpetrate it must be held accountable for their ego-based sin of hubris. For in denying sacrament to those called by God to serve they place themselves above God.

So many bishops and priests have already seen the truth of this that they have ordained these women and passed apostolic succession to them through ordination. The museum-keepers must find work elsewhere; the Holy Spirit is active today in the world, calling women and men to ministry, and calling the people of God to share in the work that is to be done to heal this broken planet full of wounded people.

Lee Iacocca said it best: "Lead, follow, or get out of the way!"

Questions from a Ewe said...

The bishop's response is illogical. If he believes these ordained women are not in the Roman Catholic club anymore shouldn't he see them and their followers the same as he does other groups he believes are "outside the church" such as Methodists? If Catholics in his diocese attend a Methodist service, does he censure and sanction them? I doubt it. It would seem he's therefore not truly seeing these ordained women as "outside the church" because he treats them as insiders over whom he still has jurisdictional authorities. If he says they're out then he needs to let go and let go of his anger.

Diane Dougherty said...

Such a voice of reason-but this is my comment on Clericalism that is hierarchical, it cannot be reasoned with....all of us have to learn to let it go....