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Canada celebrates diversity on June 21st, June 24th, and July 1st

Demographics of Canada

Statistics Canada conducts a country-wide census that collects demographic data every five years on the first and sixth year of each decade. The 2016 Canadian Census enumerated a total population of 35,151,728, an increase of around 5.0 percent over the 2011 figure. Between 2011 and May 2016, Canada's population grew by 1.7 million people, with immigrants accounting for two-thirds of the increase. Between 1990 and 2008, the population increased by 5.6 million, equivalent to 20.4 percent overall growth. The main drivers of population growth are immigration and, to a lesser extent, natural growth.

Canada has one of the highest per-capita immigration rates in the world, driven mainly by economic policy and, to a lesser extent, family reunification. In 2019, a total of 341,180 immigrants were admitted to Canada, mainly from Asia.

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  • Canada celebrates diversity on June 21st, June 24th, and July 1st
  • Demographics of Canada
  • Calls to Action:  Church Apologies and Reconciliation
  • Timeline of Catholic Women’s Ordination in the Context of Work by Women’s Ordination Worldwide
  • The end of clericalism -- we are getting there
  • Italian Church reform group criticises revival during coronavirus of theologically “problematic” indulgences
  • German laypeople cry: “Anyone who is against the ordination of women is against the equality of women and men”
  • The history of Canadian slavery goes back 400 years
  • Comments to the Editor
  •  RCWP Canada Bishop's Message: Prophetic discipleship
  • Now this is who God is!
  • Can a Woman Be Catholic?
  • Theologian proposes Church overhaul idea of Sunday Mass “obligation”
  • Francis Comics
  • Message to the Editor address and form
  • RCWP Canada Links
  • Related Links

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 RCWP Canada Bishop's Message

Prophetic discipleship

We are in the midst of celebrating our diverse Canadian heritage.  June 21st is National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 24th is St. Jean Baptiste Day, a celebration of the history and culture of French Canadians, and  July 1st is Canada Day.  We are a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-faith country.

The murder of George Floyd a month ago continues to raise cries for justice from people of colour here in our country as well as in the USA.  This is in addition to the ongoing cries for justice from our Indigenous peoples: cases of police brutality, missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, stolen lands and waters.  This is in the midst of the global pandemic that has a greater impact on people who are marginalized by social structures that favour those of us who are descendants of European settlers and privileged by our whiteness and colonializer status. 

In this context, we are challenged to reflect on what prophetic discipleship means for us today in our relationships. 

Many years ago when I lived in Chicago, I had a friend who fell in love with a black person.  Her family was very upset.  They wouldn’t let her come to visit them if he came along. They certainly wouldn’t come to visit her, knowing he would likely be around.  In spite of this family rejection of her friend, the couple decided to get married. The family refused to come to the wedding or have anything further to do with them. 

I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you know similar stories where family loyalty was paramount and choosing to live in love put one on the outs.

In the section of the Gospel for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary time, Matthew explores the question of discipleship with his community.  What are the consequences of being a follower of Jesus and making him your priority? 

Kinship was a strong element of the Jewish society.  Extended families lived in close proximity and binding them together with arranged marriages was part of that.  The ideal arrangement would be for a man’s son to be married to his brother’s daughter.  Loyalty to the household was paramount.  Anything like what my friend experienced would result in rejection.  You may remember the episode of Chava in Fiddler on the Roof as an example of this. Tevye cannot accept Chava’s choice to marry a non-Jew, Fyedka. 

The message that the follower of Jesus would have greater loyalty to him than to the disciple’s family was radical.  If following Jesus meant doing something contrary to the family rules the disciple would need to leave the household.  Marriage is but one example, more pressing were things such as caring for the sick or poor who were despised by the priests and Levites (e.g. Good Samaritan). 

Leaving the family unit and aligning oneself with a group of strangers would be difficult.  Matthew gives the admonition that like Jesus, suffering – the cross - would be part of the experience.  Taking up the teachings of Jesus would not be easy.  Loving one’s enemies, loving someone outside the “acceptable” group, anyone who was seen as a threat to the family security, would be difficult.  The disciple would need to be prepared to put aside old habits and associations and take up the challenge of developing new ways of living and relating to others.  

Paul, in the letter to the Romans, tells them and us, that our baptism brings us into a new kinship – one that is fully inclusive of all people.  For those of us who have privilege because of our skin colour, our colonial heritage, or any other trait, we have the responsibility to be proactive in truth telling and justice seeking.

We have certificates that we treasure in our lives – diplomas and degrees, professional licences.  We often see them on walls in offices of doctors and lawyers.  As Christians we also have a certificate that we ought to cherish - our baptismal certificate.  But that certificate is not the proof of our being disciples of Jesus.  We must measure our life and actions against the teachings of Jesus.  Would we be proud to post your baptismal certificate on a wall for all to see?

Matthew offers consolation to the disciple.  He assures them that changing their way of life and becoming a committed follower of Jesus is rewarding.  It provides new associations and a new community of like-minded people who are like family and who support them as they, too, support others.  Loyalty to Jesus has its reward.

Another encouragement for the new disciples was that every little thing that was done in the name of Jesus would come with some reward, a sense of satisfaction, a returned kindness, a blessing.  Even a cup of cold water given to one in need would be rewarded. 

Another scripture reading underlines the generosity that God has for those who do what they can for another.  A prophet rewards the generosity of the Shumenite woman.  To have a child was the greatest honour for any woman or man in the culture of the time.

Let us take heart and do what we can to promote equality and justice for all people of our world today beginning with our families and communities.  Let us join our dreams and visions for a tomorrow when all will be accepted and respected as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Following three examples are ways to take action for equality and justice.  There are many more and you are encouraged to find something that you can do to live up to your baptismal promises to be  a fully engaged disciple of Jesus, unafraid to make new alliances and live Gospel justice now.

 Last Sunday when I was looking for ways to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day, I came across a website from the Office of the Treaty Commissioner.  It had information on a ConnectR Reconcilition Challenge.  That piqued my interest; I am interested in ways to implement the actions of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

What is the ConnectR Reconciliation Challenge?
Beginning June 21, one may visit BeAConnectR.org every week for eight weeks to choose a new commitment under the categories of Spirit, Head, Body, or Heart. Commitments include activities such as:
· Attend an Indigenous cultural event
· Authentically engage with an Elder
· Learn more about a First Nations community near you
· Try an Indigenous recipe
· Watch an Indigenous film

Organizations and individuals may also join the ConnectR Challenge Facebook Group to share experiences and receive updates to help guide and support their journey. This group will provide the link to several scheduled video calls with Indigenous Elders, leaders, and youth for discussions to facilitate learning and reflection on Indigenous issues. Those not on Facebook may email beaconnectr@gmail.com to be added to a mailing list.

The ConnectR Reconciliation Challenge is an initiative of Reconciliation Saskatoon – a community of over 115 organizations, non-profits, businesses and partners who have come together towards one mission: to initiate a citywide conversation about Reconciliation and provide opportunities for everyone to engage in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

Through the facebook group referenced above (which I joined),  I learned of the book, Me and White Supremacy by Laylaf F. Saad.  It is a step by step reflection process for people of white privilege to examine their racist thought and behaviours.

Saad builds on the work of Peggy McIntosh. (White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack).  This is one of the articles circulating in the past few weeks following the murder of George Floyd. If you haven't read it yet, I recommend it highly.

Members of Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community, Regina, SK, started gathering in June on Zoom to talk about white privilege and what we can do.  I proposed that we use Saad's book as a guide for our discussions.  Originally a 28-day challenge to explore white supremacy, this book is divided into four sections each with six topics and reflection questions.  When we meet (approximately every two weeks) we talk about our experiences with a section of the book.  In this way we are a peer support group.  Individually we probe the meaning of white privilege in our lives and in society.

Another opportunity to engage in building positive relationships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples is participating in Circles for Reconciliation

These are small gatherings of an equal number of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in discussion circles.  Led by two trained facilitators, groups meet for ten gatherings 75 minutes in length. These meetings allow for the beginning of respectful relationships, which the TRC stresses is the basis of reconciliation. The participants sit in a circle, providing greater opportunities for consensus and being respectful of traditional Indigenous values and customs. A variety of themes are available for the circle to choose and can be adapted to different Indigenous customs and practices across Canada. Circles are now being convened via Zoom.  There is no cost for individuals to participate, only a common interest in working toward truth and reconciliation and equality of opportunity for Indigenous people.

+ Jane

[Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK is bishop for RCWP Canada]

Can a Woman Be Catholic?

Joan Chittister, mailchi.mp/benetvision | June 2020

Slowly, slowly I began to ask myself a different question: Could a woman really be a Catholic at all? The fullness of the faith was surely not meant for us. And that, according to Roman catechesis, was because God wanted it that way, and much as they might like, they could not do otherwise. So surely God, too, does not really want us. Not really. Not completely. So why would a woman be there?

The answer came out of the stuff of the question itself: God. I no more believed that God made women half human, half capable of grace, half available to the divine than I believed that no one else except Catholics went to heaven or that those who were not white were not fully human or that we could perpetrate whatever violence we chose on anyone else we named lesser than ourselves and call it holy. I did not believe in a God who created half the human race in order to reject it.

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Theologian proposes Church overhaul idea of Sunday Mass “obligation”

Mada Jurado, novenanews.com | May 29, 2020

A theologian has proposed the Church overhaul the idea of a Sunday Mass “obligation” incumbent on Catholics.

Key points
– “Tragicomical” that bishops dispensed faithful from Sunday duty during COVID-19
– “Obligation” hardly fits into faith as personal “friendship” with Jesus
– Argentine archbishop suggested Sunday duty “could fall” as result of pandemic

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JBK Happy Colou                                              r

Calls to Action:  Church Apologies and Reconciliation

58) We call upon the Pope to issue an apology to Survivors, their families, and communities for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the spiritual, cultural, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis children in Catholic-run residential
schools. We call for that apology to be similar to the 2010 apology issued to Irish victims of abuse and to occur within one year of the issuing of this Report and to be delivered by the Pope in Canada.

59) We call upon church parties to the Settlement Agreement to develop ongoing education strategies to ensure that their respective congregations learn about their church’s role in colonization, the history and legacy of residential schools, and why apologies to former residential school students, their families, and communities were necessary.

60) We call upon leaders of the church parties to the Settlement Agreement and all other faiths, in collaboration with Indigenous spiritual leaders, Survivors, schools of theology, seminaries, and other religious training centres, to develop and teach curriculum
for all student clergy, and all clergy and staff who work in Aboriginal communities, on the need to respect Indigenous spirituality in its own right, the history and legacy of residential schools and the roles of the church parties in that system, the history and legacy of religious conflict in Aboriginal families and communities, and the responsibility that churches have to mitigate such conflicts and prevent spiritual violence.

61) We call upon church parties to the Settlement Agreement, in collaboration with Survivors and representatives of Aboriginal organizations, to establish permanent funding to Aboriginal people for:

i. Community-controlled healing and reconciliation projects.

ii. Community-controlled culture- and language-revitalization projects.

iii. Community-controlled education and relationship-building projects.

iv. Regional dialogues for Indigenous spiritual leaders and youth to discuss Indigenous spirituality, self-determination, and reconciliation.

Full 536-page Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Timeline of Catholic Women’s Ordination in the Context of Work by Women’s Ordination Worldwide

Timeline 9

2010: Women’s Ordination Worldwide stands in solidarity with Catholic women in Ireland who call for a widespread boycott of Mass on Sunday, September 26, 2010.  The boycott is initiated by 81 year old Jennifer Sleeman from Clonakilty, Co Cork who calls on women to stay away from Mass in protest at their treatment as ‘second-class citizens’ by the Church.  The boycott receives substantial support including from the newly formed Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland.  Those not wishing to stay away from mass but wanting to support the action wear green armbands to mass.  WOW’s press release is here:  WOW Supports Irish Boycott of Mass: Sept. 26, 2010

2010: TIME magazine names the work for women’s ordination as one of its top ten religious news stories of the year.  Members of Women’s Ordination Worldwide are featured.

2011: In February,  Augustinian priest and professor at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry John J. Shea sends a letter to his provincial, Fr. Anthony Genovese, and two of his superiors informing them he is stepping aside from active ministry  until women are ordained priests in the church.  In May, he receives a canonical warning from Genovese accusing him of violating Ordinatio Sacerdotalis  -- the 1994 Pope John Paul II Apostolic Letter stating, “The church has no  authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that  this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful”  -- and asking him not to speak publicly on the issue. Shea agrees not to speak publicly against the official teaching of  the church.  In 2012, Boston College refuses to renew his teaching contract.

2011: Women’s Ordination Worldwide stands in solidarity with 225 courageous theologians from Germany, Austria and Switzerland who publicly name the ordination of women and open dialogue about structures of participation as urgent reforms needed in the Catholic Church.  Women’s Ordination Worldwide calls 2011 a ‘Year of Departure' for the Church:  ‘Let this Year of Departure be the year when the Church parts ways with the archaic arguments and excuses used to exclude women from priesthood. We urge our Church leaders to enter into dialogue both with women who experience a call to priesthood and with priests and laity who believe that that call comes from God.’  WOW’s press release is here:  WOW Congratulates German Theologians for Support of Women’s Ordination - Feb. 24, 2011

2011: Swiss Bishop Markus Büchel calls for far-reaching reforms in the Catholic Church. He speaks openly for women’s ordination saying, ‘We must search for steps that  lead there… I could imagine that women’s diaconate could be  such a step.’ Pointing out that discussion about women’s ordination has not been permitted for a good  while, he say, ‘We can’t afford this anymore.’ Regarding priesthood for women,  Büchel says, ‘We can pray that the Holy Spirit enables us to read the  signs of the times.’  The statement is considered explosive. Schweizer Bischof für Frauen als Priesterinnen

2011: April - In a moving ceremony at Vienna’s UN-City Church, 21 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the largest and best-known underground Church in the former Czechoslovakia – called Koinótés — founded by the late Bishop Felix Maria Davidek – receives the Herbert-Haag Foundation Award for Freedom in the Church.  The award is bestowed annually on persons and institutions ‘for courageous actions within Christianity’.  At the prize-giving ceremony in Vienna, Bishop Davidek’s Koinótés is for the first time publicly recognised for what it was – a valiant effort to assure the Church’s survival under persecution. Present  at the ceremony is Ludmila Javorova, the first woman priest ordained by  Bishop Davidek.  At the ceremony she says, ‘The  work has been begun. Others must  continue it. Even if the Vatican  considers the matter closed, it is my  firm belief that at some point in  the future this dossier will be  reopened.' (Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, The Tablet, April 9, 2011).

2011: Women’s Ordination Worldwide stands in solidarity with Australia’s Bishop William Morris who is forced into early retirement  by the Vatican because of his suggestion to open dialogue about women’s ordination. Morris’s pastorally sensitive suggestion is made out of his concern for growing numbers of Catholics being deprived of the Eucharist due to priest shortages.  WOW issues a press release here:  WOW Supports Australia’s Bishop William Morris - May 25, 2011.  Bishop Morris’s removal happened  in the context of Cardinal Bernard Law being given a post in Rome (and thereby escaping prosecution in the USA for protecting pedophile priests).  Running parallel to this was the news of two bishops named in Ireland’s Murphy Commission whose resignations were rejected by the Vatican.The Murphy Commission found that despite sexual abuse being 'endemic'  in boys' institutions, the church hierarchy protected  perpetrators and allowed them to take up new positions teaching other  children after their original victims had been sworn to secrecy.

2011: Cardinal Jose da Cruz Policarpo, seventy-five year old Patriarch of Lisbon, who has just been confirmed for another two years as head of Portugal’s Conference of Catholic Bishops, publicly states there are no fundamental theological obstacles to the ordination of women.  At one time considered a contender for the papacy, he is immediately called to Rome for a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.  On return home, Cardinal Policarpo retracts his statement.

2011: Women’s Ordination Worldwide travels to Rome for a public demonstration with Father Roy Bourgeois.  Two members of the WOW delegation and Roy Bourgeois are detained by police.  The documentary film Pink Smoke Over the Vatican has its Italian premiere at Casa del Cinema in Rome.  The documentary features (among others) the compelling stories of heroes in the work for women’s ordination, Patricia Fresen (excommunicated 3 times on account of her work in the movement) and Roy Bourgeois — a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, recipient of Purple Heart for his service during a tour of duty in Vietnam, and priest who is excommunicated and expelled from priesthood on account of his support for women’s ordination.

[This is the seventh excerpt of a timeline we are serializing here.  For the full timeline, see the Women's Ordination Worldwide website.]

The end of clericalism -- we are getting there

Phyllis Zagano, ncronline.org | Apr 21, 2020

As the human race joins the rest of the planet in a struggle for survival, the church is also trying to find its footing.



For too long — say, 800 to 1,000 years — the sacramental life of the church has been under priestly lock and key.

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Italian Church reform group criticises revival during coronavirus of theologically “problematic” indulgences

Cameron Doody, novenanews.com | April 28, 2020

An Italian Church reform group has criticised the revival during the coronavirus of theologically “problematic” and “ecumenically unfortunate” indulgences.

Key points
– A practice “extraneous to the feelings of most Christian people”
– Against modern ecumenism and the spirit of Vatican II
– The coronavirus pandemic, a chance for the Church to rethink sin and forgiveness

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German laypeople cry: “Anyone who is against the ordination of women is against the equality of women and men”

Mada Jurado, novenanews.com | June 15, 2020

“Anyone who is against the admission of women to all ordained ministries is also against the genuine equality of rights between women and men”, German laypeople have cried.

Key points
– “Just as there is no such thing as ‘a little bit pregnant’, there is no such thing as ‘a little bit equal'”
– Church affirmation of equality means nothing without affirmation of equal access to ordination
– “Who can still take such the Magisterium seriously today?”

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The history of Canadian slavery goes back 400 years

Kamyar Razavi, globalnews.ca | June 12, 2020

View 7 videos on being black in Canada

         Comments to the Editor

Dear beloved friends in America,

I reach out to hail you and your spirit, thankful for you in my life, admiring of your consistent, longterm work for justice and mercy and grieving the suffering upon suffering your country endures.  We Canadians take note of the pain of your people, one crisis after another, and look to our own woes and unfinished work.  As the Harvard Business Review noted: "It doth make monks of us all." (Change that to 'contemplatives'). 

Now I must get out my cardboard and make my sign for our Peterborough "Black Lives Matter" gathering tomorrow. What I will write is "I understand that I will never understand. Nevertheless. I will stand".  Don't know the source.  Love and blessings.

[Rosemary Ganley, Peterborough, ON]

There really is a God. In time people, especially male clergy people,will get it. Do you remember the Childhood story "The Emperor's New Clothes"? Most folks did not admit to seeing the naked emperor. This is the same as the truth that the patriarchy does not see the truth of the naked injustice of banning Women Priests. As you may remember a young child said,"He's got no clothes on." The truth was told.

[Fran McDonald, Fort Saskatchewan, AB]

One definite area where we as Canadians fail to realize and acknowledge our own racism, whether personally or systemically, can be clearly seen when it comes to our indigenous peoples.

We recently had three rallies against racism. Two of the rallies dealt specifically with Black Lives Matter. Hundreds of people came out. The other rally, which I understood was largely, but not solely, intended to speak to racism against indigenous peoples in our city, and province, and country was attended by a mere handful of people in comparison with the other rallies. This itself speaks to our blindness, and our refusal to acknowledge, our racism toward indigenous peoples in our communities and on reserves.

Our Chief of Police is one of the few in the forefront of leaders who is speaking out against this racism, and who is putting both his words and his actions into practice.

[Judith Pellerin, Regina, SK]

In a recent interview, Professor (Fr.) Bryan Massingale of New York’s Fordham university cited St. Thomas Aquinas’ statement on  sins of anger:  Aquinas said that righteous anger in the face of injustice is not a sin, but a virtue.  Fr. Massingale said that anger at racial prejudice is therefore a virtue.  He further said that righteous anger in such a  case requires that we act upon it.  Fr. Massingale cited a hypothetical case where at a family dinner, someone makes a prejudicial remark and we say nothing.  In that case, he said, we are complicit in that attitude, though perhaps we only remain silent  in order to keep peace.  In that instance, he said, keeping silent is unjust and is sinful.

I would take his statements to their logical conclusion and say:  Any injustice, whether racial, age related, gender, or other, requires our righteous anger.

I cite the recent Global TV report of the harassment of Jon Cornish and his wife who, when walking in their neighbourhood, were harassed and told to leave by a woman.  They tried to ignore her, but she confronted them by obstructing them with her car and told them to get out of the area, because they were not welcome in her neighbourhood.  (Jon Cornish is of mixed black and white blood.) Global did not follow up on the story and did not name the woman, or even the community where it occurred.  I have to say that by being a bystander in the case, Global was complicit in the prejudicial tirade, and if we as citizens of this city do nothing, we too are complicit.

I will go further and say that gender prejudice in the Catholic church is just as sinful and all Catholics, from the pope, cardinals, bishops, priests and laity, are complicit and sinful if we do nothing to bring God’s creation of men and women as equals into reality in our church.  The Catholic and Orthodox churches are now almost the only Christian denominations that still, whatever is claimed, consider women as less than equal with men and we must, right now, act with righteous anger to rectify this injustice, or live in sin. 

[Gene Swain, Catholic male, Calgary, AB]

Now this is who God is!

Francis Comic Strip Archive
Francis, the comic strip 
by Pat Marrin June 11, 2020
National Catholic Reporter

Used with permission

To send a Comment to the Editor, please use this email address:  rcwpcanada@outlook.com or use the form below:

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