Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rev. Debra Meyers, Breaking the Holy Ceiling

Breaking the Holy Ceiling

Group to ordain the first female Catholic priest in Cincinnati

By German Lopez · May 22nd, 2013 · News
debra meyersDebra Meyers - Photo: Jesse Fox
Despite strong Vatican opposition, one group is preparing to ordain Cincinnati’s first Roman Catholic woman priest on May 25.
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) already ordained a woman priest in Louisville, Ky., and it’s hoping to carry the movement around the country, including Cincinnati.
The Vatican and local Catholic leaders oppose the movement, and the ordination isn’t technically legal under the Catholic Church’s rules. But ARCWP says its ordinations put pressure on the Vatican to pull back rules that are keeping it in the past.
Locally, Debra Meyers will be ordained as the first Catholic woman priest. Meyers holds a Ph.D. in history and women’s studies and a master’s in religious studies. She is currently a professor of history and women’s studies at Northern Kentucky University, and she also serves the Resurrection Community in Cincinnati where she promotes equality and social justice. For Meyers, this is a chance to break the glass ceiling and prove women can take up the highest roles in Catholic organizations, which she says is a necessary next step for the Church to keep up with the times.
CityBeat interviewed Meyers about her ordination. The full interview, edited here for clarity and brevity, is available below.
CityBeat: What led to this ordination?
Debra Meyers: I have been a minister for a very long time. My primary focus is single moms with children. One of the reasons is that single mothers and their children make up a vast majority of the impoverished people in the United States today. Without an education — an associate or bachelor’s degree at the very minimum — a woman can’t find a job for a living wage, as opposed to some men who take jobs in construction that don’t require as much of an education.
One of my jobs as an adviser was to make sure that single moms have an opportunity to get an education and break out of this cycle of poverty. My dedication to this particular group has extended to my many volunteer activities. So I’ve been a minister for a long time, and ARCWP offers me an opportunity to solidify what I’m doing.
CB: What is ARCWP’s main goal?
DM: I think that ARCWP is really interested in fulfilling what Jesus Christ promised us, what Paul and the New Testament promised us and certainly what the Vatican II promised us, which is that we were all made in the likes of God and we are all qualified to be prophets, priests and shepherds in this world.
In that view, women are created with equal ability and should be allowed to answer God’s call with equal relevance as men do.
That’s really what we’re all about: We’re just looking for equality for women so that they’re not just second-class citizens that are just washing dishes. We are in fact called by God to do some of the things men are doing. We have the right to fulfill that calling.
CB: Why do you think Vatican officials have been resistant to this movement?
DM: Certainly, the Vatican as an entity has a lot to preserve. It’s been a male-dominated organization from the start. By allowing women in with equal footing, that really disrupts a lot of the male domination that’s been going on.
It also would really press the Vatican to fulfill the promise of Vatican II. That is to be inclusive and welcoming of everyone, which the Church hasn’t done a very good job of in the past 60 years.
CB: Of what other groups do you think the Vatican could be more inclusive, besides women?
DM: The Church should take the message forward — that Jesus didn’t exclude anyone. He welcomed everyone to the table. He welcomed everyone to be part of the faithful group. He welcomed everyone into the New Covenant.
What was promised by God, and all He was asking from all of us, was to love one another. That means everyone, whether you’re gay, lesbian, white or black. It’s an inclusive idea that welcomes every single person that wants to partake.
That’s really another thing that ARCWP is very interested in: helping the Church [understand] that it’s heading down the wrong path by excluding people.
CB: So this group could help cover more than women, and it could help other groups that feel left out, such as LGBT individuals?
DM: Absolutely. For the most part, there’s been a real feeling of alienation for a lot of Roman Catholics because most of us have gay relatives, gay friends and women who have been called by God and been excluded from ordination. We all know people like that. We know nuns that are doing fabulous work, and they’re being pressured to conform to certain things from the Vatican as well.
We’re all beginning to question the exclusiveness of the traditional Roman Catholic Church. All we’re saying is we’re Catholic, we want the Church to really embrace the idea that the congregants are the Church and we really believe in Jesus’ message of the inclusion of everyone.
CB: Recently, a Catholic school teacher was fired for getting pregnant out of wedlock. How do you feel about that kind of situation?
DM: We ought not to be judgmental. There needs to be room for healing above all else. When people are in an environment where they find themselves in difficult positions, they need help; they don’t need judgment.
CB: What do you feel personally qualifies you for this ordination and movement?
DM: As I mentioned before, I’ve been ministering to a variety of people for a very long time as a professor, adviser and social worker at volunteer organizations. But I’ve also had, in addition to my other degrees, a religious studies degree with an emphasis in pastoral care. That certainly qualifies me for this position.
But I got all this experience prior to even knowing about ARCWP. I got it on my own because it was the right thing to do. I was called by God to work for God’s people.
CB: What will your ordination change about your personal position?
DM: I don’t think it’s going to change me all that much. I think it is good for me to be a visual example particularly for women about the promise of a more inclusive Church. It helps women know that they really do have the quality, and they don’t have to suppress it. When they’re called by God, here are examples of how they can fulfill God’s love.
It may open up new doors and possibilities to reach people, and that’s my real hope. This isn’t some kind of stunt or anything. I really do believe in this.
CB: Anything else you’d like to add?
DM: People that are really critical of this movement: I would ask them to really think about how important it is to love our neighbors and love the diversity of our neighbors. Allow people when they are called by God to fulfill that calling. They’re being called to fulfill the greater good, not themselves. For people try to quash that progressive movement forward is really shameful. ©

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nuns on the Bus are coming June 5th-mark your calendars......

To all friends,
This will be a great time to meet some authentic leaders of the Catholic tradition.  They will go to Saxby Chanblis office at 3PM on June 5 and at 7PM will they will be have a Friendraiser...we are calling all to join the Sisters........

Good Shepherd Services of Atlanta
2426 Shallowford Terrace, Chamblee, GA 30341

Save the Date June 5

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ordination in Cincinnati-Dr. Debra Meyers-Press Release

Historic First Ordination in Cincinnati as Dr. Debra Meyers will be ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest

Release date: May 7, 2013

Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska, D.Min. (media) 859-684-4247,

Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, 703-505-0004,

Dr. Debra Meyers, 513-735-2876,

On Saturday, May 25, 2013, Dr. Debra Meyers of Batavia, Ohio will be ordained a priest in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. The presiding bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan of Falls Church, Virginia and Sarasota, Florida. The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. at St. John's Unitarian Universalist Church, 320 Resor Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45220.

All are welcome.

Media are invited to a pre-ordination conference on Saturday, May 25, at 11:30 a.m. at the church with the candidate and Bridget Mary Meehan. Call Janice (859-684-4247) to schedule an interview. Respectful filming/photo taking during the ceremony is acceptable.

The ordained is theologically prepared and has many years of experience in ministry.

Dr. Debra Meyers earned a Ph.D. in History and Women's Studies and a MA in Religious Studies with an emphasis on pastoral care. The author of several books, she is a professor of History and Women's Studies at Northern Kentucky University. Her ministry focuses primarily on single mothers and their children who make up the vast majority of impoverished people in our country. She also serves the Resurrection Community in Cincinnati where they are living the Gospel of equality and social justice. Dr. Meyers is a wife, the mother of two successful children and a grandmother.

"God called me to the Catholic priesthood as a child and every step of my academic and spiritual life as well as my social justice activism has prepared me to serve God's people as a pastor," said Dr. Meyers. "I thank ARCWP for the opportunity to fulfill God's call."

Since two-thirds of the world's poor are women, justice and equality must be top priorities for our church. Our world and church can no longer function without the voices of women's lived experience. Women priests are visible reminders that all women are images of God.

On March 13, five hours before the new pope was elected, a woman priest celebrated Mass in Rome. The church is at a crossroads with a new pope and women priests. This paradigm represents a holy shakeup and is pregnant with potential for renewal and change. Pope Francis's simplicity and solidarity with the poor and marginalized is the Good News that Catholics have been waiting for. Now is the time to embrace women.

We are encouraged by the tender gesture of Pope Francis who washed the feet of women in prison on Holy Thursday, thus breaking the sexist tradition of washing only men's feet.

During the Easter homily Francis affirmed women as the first witnesses to the Resurrection. "This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria...The women are driven by love and know how to accept this proclamation with faith: they believe, and immediately transmit it, they do not keep it for themselves."

Women who have accepted the call from God to priesthood and who have become women priests want to share "the joy of knowing that Jesus is alive, the hope that fills their heart."

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests calls on Francis to embrace the full equality of women, including women priests.

Women priests are answering the call and our movement is growing since it began in 2002 with the ordination of seven women on the Danube. There are now 150 in our Roman Catholic Women Priests' Movement in the world, including 100 in the U.S. living and serving in over 60 inclusive Catholic communities and welcoming all to receive the sacraments.

According to a recent CBS Gallup Poll, over 70% of Catholics in the U.S. support women priests. There is no shortage of vocations as women are now saying "Yes" to this call and are being ordained. Two women will be ordained priests and two will be ordained deacons in Falls Church, Virginia in June.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Introducing the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests/WWW.ARCWP.ORG/Update 2013/NEW VIDEO on YOUTUBE

Watch new youtube video with update 2013 on the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Visit us at

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Is Pope Francis Inaugurating a third millinium? Leonardo Bo ff

Is Pope Francis inaugurating the third millennium?

by Leonardo Boff
Earthcharter Commission

The first millennium of Christianity was marked by the paradigm of community. The Churches had relative autonomy regarding their own rites: Orthodox, Coptic, Ambrosian from Milan, Mozarabic, from Spain, and others. They venerated their own martyrs and confessors and had their own theologies, as seen in the flourishing Christianity of North Africa with Saint Augustine, Saint Cyprian and the lay theologian Tertullian. Those Churches recognized each other, and even though a mostly juridical vision in Rome was already appearing, the primacy of charity predominated .

The second millennium was characterized by the paradigm of the Church as a perfect and hierarchichal society: an absolutist monarchy centered in the figure of the Pope as supreme head (cephalic), endowed with unlimited powers and, most recently, with infallibility, when he makes declarations as such in matters of faith and morality. The Pontifical State was created, with an army, a financial system and legislation that included the death penalty. A body of experts of the institution was created, the Roman Curia, responsible for the world ecclesiastical administration. This centralization produced the Romanization of all of Christianity. The evangelization of Latin America, Asia and Africa was accomplished within a process of colonial conquest of the world, and meant that the Roman model was transplanted, practically annulling the embodiment of the local cultures. The strict separation between the clergy and the lay was made official. The lay had no power of decision, (in the first millennium the lay participated in the election of bishops and even of the Pope), and were turned into childlike non-entities, in law and fact.

The palatial ways of the priests, bishops, cardinals and popes were affirmed. The titles of power of the Roman emperors, starting with those of Pope and Sumo Pontiff, were transferred to the bishop of Rome. The cardinals, princes of the Church, dressed up as the high Renaissance nobility, and so it has remained until now, scandalizing more than a few Christians, who were used to seeing Jesus of Nazareth as poor, a man of the people, persecuted, tortured and executed on the cross.

All indications are that this model of Church ended with the resignation of Benedict XVI, the last Pope from this monarchical model, in the tragic context of scandals that have touched the very heart of the credibility of the Christian message.

The election of Pope Francis, who comes «from the end of the world», as he presented himself, from the periphery of Christianity, from the Great South where 60% of Roman Catholics live, will inaugurate the ecclesiastic paradigm of the Third Millennium: the Church as a vast network of Christian communities, rooted in the various cultures, some more ancient than the Western cultures, such as the Chinese, Indian and Japanese, the tribal cultures of Africa and the communities of Latin America. It is also embodied in the modern culture of the technologically advanced countries, with a faith that is also lived out in small communities. All these incarnations have something in common: the urbanization of humanity, where more than the 80% of the population live in huge conglomerates of millions and millions of persons.

In this context, it will be impossible to talk of territorial parishes, but of neighborhood communities, of the buildings, of the streets nearby. In that Christianity, the lay will be protagonists, encouraged by priests who may or may not be married, or by women priests or women bishops, bound more by spirituality than administration. The Churches will have different faces.

The Reformation will not be restricted to the Roman curia, that is in a calamitous state, but will be extended to the entire institution of the Church. Perhaps only by convoking a new Council, with representatives from all of Christendom, will the Pope have the security and the master lines of the Church of the Third Millennium. May the Spirit not fail him.

Leonardo Boff

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Catholic Assemblywoman: Newark Archbishop priorities are appalling

Assemblywoman: Newark Archbishop John Myers' priorities are appalling: Opinion

Star-Ledger Guest ColumnistBy Star-Ledger Guest Columnist
on May 01, 2013 at 6:33 AM
archbishopmyers.JPGThe Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of NewarkAristide Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger
By Valerie Vainieri HuttleNewark Archbishop John J. Myers must go. I agree wholeheartedly with The Star-Ledger editorial calling for his immediate resignation

If he does not resign, the Roman Catholic Church should swiftly investigate his support and protection of the Rev. Michael Fugee, a priest who admitted to sexual contact with a minor.
The archbishop placed Fugee in various positions throughout the archdiocese, from chaplain at St. Michael’s Medical Center to co-director of the Office of Continuing Education and Ongoing Formation of Priests, to a parish in Rochelle Park. Myers shuffled Fugee into each new post after his history came to light.
There seems to be a blatant breach of the agreement reached with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Archdiocese of Newark to keep Fugee away from minors by Myers.
huttle.jpgAssemblywoman Valerie Vainieri HuttleFile photo
As a lifelong Catholic and a public official, I was outraged to learn of the archbishop’s efforts to promote Fugee and to continually expose children to him knowing his past behavior. Myers may have confused turning the other cheek with turning a blind eye, but lay Catholics have not.As horrified as I am by Myers’ latest disregard for his parishioners, I am sad to say that I am not surprised.
Reading about Myers on Sunday,

I was reminded of why I was not at church, as I was on so many Sundays in years past.
Several years ago, the pastor of my church received a call from Myers after a single letter requested that I be removed from serving as a lector. Because I am an advocate for marriage equality, it was not appropriate for me to speak publicly in church.
To Myers and some others, it did not matter that the bill was titled Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act, as it would allow for marriage equality in New Jersey and would not force the church to perform same-sex marriages or even recognize them. I may have been driven away from my church, but my faith has never wavered.
I attended parochial school, actively participated in my church, volunteered as a CCD teacher, taught pre cana with my husband, served as parish council president, and was invested as a Lady of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the highest honors bestowed upon a layperson. This was under the spiritual leadership of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, now cardinal and archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C.

Like so many others, I am both Catholic and progressive. I do not see a conflict between my faith and my progressive values. As a child in catechism class, I was taught to heal the sick, help the abandoned and feed the hungry. Now, as the chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee, I dedicate my efforts to bettering the lives of individuals with disabilities, children and low-income families. I sponsor legislation focused on equality, access to opportunity and strengthening the social safety net.
Yet, for Myers, my beliefs and my work somehow make me an inappropriate participant in the church. Well, I ask whether it is better for the church to be known for caring for society’s most vulnerable or for protecting child abusers, ignoring sexual misconduct and using religion to cloak a lack of acceptance of our LGBT family and friends.
We as Catholics are often challenged by our faith. We are frequently disappointed, frustrated and disgusted by the actions of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy. We need spiritual leaders who inspire and protect our youth, not expose them to sexual predators.
Not only for the sake of the children but the entire flock, Myers should step down!
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) represents the 37th Legislative District.