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Proclaim a vision of justice and peace

Susan K. Roll, Special to The Review | December 1, 2022

It’s the purple season for Roman Catholics, blue season for Protestants.

It’s the standing-on-tiptoes-craning your-neck season

(and not to see whether Santa is coming…)

It’s the season of expectation.

And of dreams.

It’s Advent.

Whichever Lectionary cycle we’re in (and we’re starting Year A, with Gospel readings drawn from Matthew) the Advent readings unfold a four-week sweep of topics that lead in a logical progression:

First Sunday: the second coming of Christ

Second Sunday: a focus on the origins of John the Baptist

Third Sunday: the preaching of John the Baptist as the precursor to Jesus

Fourth Sunday: the approaching birth of Jesus in the flesh.

Now all of this is solidly embedded in time, historical time, yet invites its readers and hearers into something more and deeper. The genius of the First Reading this week from Isaiah is that it was written out of the painful experiences of a certain period in the history of Israel – but its vision draws the hearer out of ordinary time, into a time outside of time.

This is not time-travel in science fiction, but a visionary voyage of hope.

Isaiah’s vision of pilgrimage to a mountain of unity and moral wisdom, of repudiating warfare and destroying the instruments of destruction, makes sense considering that when it was written, in the mid-700’s BCE, Jerusalem was surrounded by war and the threat of violence, insurrection, shifting military alliances, and Assyria’s ambition to build a world empire by conquest.

The prophet Isaiah, apparently a well-educated son of the upper class, was familiar with wisdom traditions and impelled to proclaim a vision of justice and peace transcending national boundaries and the aggressive ambitions of kings. His introductory formula, “In days to come…” seems to promise an armistice at a date in the future, but in fact it’s no more about a time-date expiration stamp than the conventional story formula “Once upon a time” introduces a start date. We’re floating above everyday linear time here. Kairos, the time outside of chronos, is quite different from flat prosaic history.

Just as visionary is the idea of a universally applicable moral law that will secure justice for the poor and oppressed, and free those who are most vulnerable from every form of violence and destruction that can threaten them. On one level we might interpret this as a form of colonialism – why should it be the God of Israel that “imposes terms” on every other nation in the known world? – but, in the face of terror, maybe it’s a last resort. Maybe, beyond the authoritarian and nationalistic aggressions that drive the forces of one nation to march against other nations (and where are they all now?) a deeper core of moral behaviour rooted in the dignity of each person could begin to stabilize the chaos and relieve suffering.

The lovely and comforting vision that “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” has inspired prophets and peace activists of later generations. The prophet Micah’s version of this same text adds the vision that all shall sit down under their own vine and fig tree, “and no one will make them afraid.” But even in the Hebrew Bible the vision can be distorted and even reversed: in Joel 3:10 “Beat your plowshares into swords” is a call to battle.

Last night I was reading through the most recent issue of the Catholic Worker. I always look for names of people I know, because once long ago I was active in Pax Christi on a local level. Some of those people I knew have answered a call to non-violent action to oppose nuclear weapons. Some make huge cauldrons of soup every day to feed whoever comes in the door, no exceptions. Some meet regularly for what the CW calls clarification of thought. Some write. Some pray.

We might not have a use for plowshares or pruning hooks.

But there are many creative, practical, and visionary ways to help make peace.

[Susan K. Roll, Clarence Center, NY, is a frequent contributor.  Her Sunday reflections appear weekly in The Review.]

RCWP Canada Bishop's Message

Advent hurts

My original intention for this message was to share some thoughts on Advent as we have now entered into this Sacred Season.  Last night I was astounded to read the latest interview with Pope Francis which was published in America Magazine in which he attempts to justify the exclusion of women from ordained ministry.  My focus shifted.  I could hardly believe what I was reading.

By appealing to a dichotomy between the “Petrine principle” and “Marian principle” a fictious segregation of men and women is created. The Petrine principle upholds the long-stated position that only men can serve as priests.  The Marian principle, which Pope Francis admits is still in need of a developed theology, places women in a subordinate role. The appeal to medieval spousal imagery of an active-receptive relationship disregards the fundamental message of the Gospel and contradicts our baptismal oneness in Christ.  “. . . there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)   Baptism rests on faith, not on gender, nor nationality, nor other forms of discrimination.
It was my hope, like that of many others, that the invitation to participate in the Synod process would provide the opportunity to explore together the visions and viewpoints of all those seeking a big tent church, where all would be welcomed and accepted in the fullness of the gifts they have been given.  This attempt to justify the exclusion of women from ordination and pigeonholing them again by the men of the church is disheartening.

Would that Pope Francis meet with women who are called to ordination.  If he needs to develop a theology of women and their role in the church, who better to help him?

Coming back to Advent . . .

In cosmology, the deepening darkness of the Autumn days invites us to intensify our attentiveness and awareness of longing for the turning of the solstice, the tipping point where days no longer shorten and nights lengthen, but ever so, almost imperceptibly, days begin to lengthen, holding out the promise of the dawning of a new day.

We are invited to use this time of waiting as a time to clear the lens of our cultural and religious conditioning and know Christ through the eyes of enlightened hearts -- as more than a gendered person in history, but a present reality, a living experience in our everyday lives. 

As a current-day prophet, Ilia Delio calls us out of the wilderness: "Christ is more than Jesus. Christ is the communion of divine personal love expressed in every created form of reality -- every star, leaf, bird, fish, tree, rabbit, and every human person. Everything is christified because everything expresses divine love incarnate.

“… We cannot know this mystery of Christ as a doctrine or an idea; it is the root reality of all existence. Hence we must travel inward, into the interior depth of the soul where the field of divine love is expressed in the 'thisness' of our own, particular lives. Each of us is a little word of the Word of God, a mini-incarnation of divine love. The journey inward requires . . . surrender of our partial lives to become whole in the love of God.  . . . [T]hen we can open our eyes to see that the Christ in me is the Christ in you.”  (Center for Christogenesis blogpost, October 16, 2017) 

This is my Advent prayer.  Would that this be part of the foundational theology of priesthood.


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

Climate Change

Last-minute COP27 deal on loss and damage called 'a real breakthrough'

Doreen Ajiambo and Briean Roewe, ncronline.org |
November 22, 2022

A historic, late-hour deal reached at the United Nations climate change summit, COP27, to establish a "loss and damage" fund for countries vulnerable to the devastating impacts of a warming world represented "a real breakthrough," said Catholic and other religious groups who called it an answer to their prayers and a sign of some progress as negotiations fell short in other areas.

Read More

UN website on COP 27

Indigenous Relations

Indigenous Relations NEWSLETTER

For more info

For more information about the #94in94 campaign, Click Here
To learn more about the Calls to Action, Click Here
To learn how to make a ReconciliAction plan, Click Here
To learn more on where each Call to Action is at, Click Here
To read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's full report, Click here


Giving land back and other ways Canadians are making reconciliation personal -- going beyond orange shirts and land acknowledgments

Sarah Treleaven, broadview.org | November 8, 2022

Last June, Margaret Drescher prepared herself to finally pass along Windhorse Farm, a beloved retreat deep in the forest about an hour-and-a-half drive west of Halifax. All the official documents had been signed months before — the cerebral part of the transaction, she notes — but the June event wasn’t about paperwork or ownership. It was a spiritual return of the property.

Read More


The Review pages list individual events on the following topics:

Church Renewal
Ecumenism and Interfaith
Indigenous Relations
Social Justice
Women's Flourishing

[Updates to the above pages are made periodically between issues of The Review.]

Numéro 160, Automne 2022



Liminaire – Johanne Philipps --4

Quelles postures féministes en études religieuses ? Présentation du livre Spiritualités féministes — Denise Couture -- 6

Spiritualités féministes : corps, plis et intersections — Anne Létourneau -- 12

Un legs spirituel important — Johanne Jutras -- 17

Un ouvrage majeur de théologie féministe — Marie-Andrée Roy --19

Spiritualités féministes : œuvre majeure d’une théologienne féministe et intellectuelle engagée — Monique Hamelin -- 23

« Pour un temps de transformation des relations » Réflexions sur le temps que nous vivons — Christine Lemaire -- 27

Un univers clos réservé aux hommes— Pierrette Daviau -- 31
L’abus sexuel s’enracine dans l’abus spirituel — Marie Bouclin -- 34

Vécus et analyses de femmes sur les abus sexuels dans l’Église — Pierrette Daviau -- 37

Reconstruire des relations d’égalité femme-homme — Nathalie Tremblay -- 40

Un parcours initiatique — Louise Garnier -- 43

Dialogue entre les mots et les images — Monique Hamelin -- 45

Les confidences de Blanche de peur — Martine Lacroix -- 47

Bibliographie sur Marie de Nazareth -- 49

Les 40 ans du réseau Femmes et Ministères (1982-2022) : L’audace de l’espérance — AnneMarie Ricard -- 53

Crédits sur les images -- 57

From the Center for Action and Contemplation -- Find the Flow -- An Advent Meditation

CAC teacher Brian McLaren invites us to participate in a spiritual movement of the future instead of one that tries to return to the past.

Read More

Comments to the Editor

As you have certainly heard that the German bishops have been for an ad limina-visit to the Vatican some days ago.  Two cardinals, Cardinal Ladaria, leader of the CDF and Cardinal Quellet of Canada, leader of the Bishops dicastery, addressed a  sharp speech to the German bishops.

It is very important that a lot of churches and communities in other countries send a message to the Vatican, stating that these reform wishes (f.i. women's ordination and other necessary reforms) do not come only from Germany, but from many other countries in the world!

Perhaps you  can send such  a message to the Vatican!

[Ida Raming, Germany, bishop for RCWP]

Comments to the Editor form



Doing Theology from the Existential Peripheries -- Pope Francis has invited us to listen to one another in a synodal church

The recording of this livestreaming event features a panel discussion on the international theological project Doing Theology From the Existential Peripheries, a research project of the Vatican Dicastery on Promoting Integral Human Development. The project aims at deepening the teachings of Pope Francis and renewing theology.

Moderated by Dr. Mark McGowan, the discussion includes the following participants in the project:
  • Stan Chu Ilo, De Paul University
  • Mary Ellen Chown, Catholic Network for Women’s Equality
  • David Pereyra, All Inclusive Ministries, OCAD University 
  • Darren Dias, OP, University of St Michael’s College, Toronto School of Theology
2:06:00 video recording

German Bishops Assure Vatican but Vow to Proceed With Reform

Nicole Winfield, usnews.com | November 19, 2022

Germany’s Catholic bishops insisted Saturday that their reform process won’t lead to a schism and vowed to see it through, after tense meetings with Vatican officials who want a moratorium on proposals to ordain women, bless same-sex unions and rethink church teaching on sexuality.
Read More

Sexist smoke and mirrors theology -- a tool of oppression

Women's Ordination Conference press release
For immediate release: November 28, 2022

In an interview with America Magazine, Pope Francis upheld the Catholic church’s unequal treatment of women by exploiting misogynistic metaphors to dismiss the sincerely discerned vocations of women. When asked what he might say to a woman who serves her church and experiences a call to priesthood, Francis responded with sexist smoke and mirrors theology, which the Women’s Ordination Conference considers an indefensible attempt to obscure women’s capacity to act in persona Christi.

To make his point, Francis repeats the phrase: “The church is woman. The church is a spouse. Therefore, the dignity of women is mirrored in this way.” This “spousal metaphor” claims a male-female relationship between Christ and the church: By extension, only men can truly represent Christ, and therefore only men can be priests. The simplistic gendering and sexualization of one’s relationship with God and discipleship are not just a disservice to the Catholic imagination, but a tool of oppression. It is only when women claim their authentic call to priesthood that the spousal metaphor becomes the central ecclesiology of the church.

Just last month, the Vatican’s synod office released an encouraging “Working Document for the Continental Stage” which acknowledged global calls for women’s ordination and a collective longing for women in ministry. Yet today, Francis’ reductive understanding of women’s ministerial gifts rings hollow beyond measure, and discordant with synod reports from around the world. His claim that the exclusion of women from ministerial life is “not a deprivation” reflects a man who does not know the depth of pain that women in his own church carry.  He shows willful ignorance to the treasures that have been lost by denying the sacramental gifts of more than half its members. 

The synod implores the global church to “enlarge the space of your tent,” yet today we read the words of a man who would rather build walls out of bad theology than make room for women as equals in Christ.

[CONTACT: Kate McElwee, Executive Director, Women’s Ordination Conference

Synod Reports from across Canada and around the world

Christian Nationalism

20 resources to resist Christian nationalism

Compiled by act.faithfulamerica.org

With hundreds of far-right political candidates using Christ's name to deny election results, demonize their opponents, and spread dangerous conspiracy theories -- all with the blessing of pastors and televangelists -- Christian nationalism is the single biggest threat to both democracy and the church today.

The definition of Christian nationalism is that it is a theocratic political ideology that claims America was founded to be a Christian nation, suggesting that the only true Americans are the country's Christians. It falsely teaches that there is no separation of church and state -- and that conservative Christians should seize complete power by any means necessary.

Read More and view videos, essays
, websites, discussion guides

Feeding the hungry - a Christian response

Jackie Guimond, Special to The Review | December 1, 2022

Not unlike many places these days, employees simply do not ‘show up’ for their shifts.  So it is not uncommon for our local McDonald’s to lock the doors earlier than advertised. Such was the case on a recent Tuesday evening.

Shortly after we arrived to meet over coffee with our friends, Louis and Glenda, the doors were locked. The East Indian manager and two employees were keeping the drive-thru operable while the four of us had the place to ourselves, a pleasant evening for seniors.

Out of nowhere, suddenly a group of girls appeared and started tapping on the window because the doors were locked. We felt helpless and just motioned that we knew the place was closed, shrugging our shoulders in a sympathetic gesture. Then more girls gathered all in matching hockey attire we noticed. More tapping and ‘begging’ at the window.

I took a chance and went to talk to the manager.  If they walked through the drive through, could they be served there (even though it was a chilly night)?

He said, “But I am  short-staffed,” thought for a moment, then went to the door to speak to them and two men who had also appeared. A very brief conversation ensued, and the doors were opened to welcome a girls’ hockey team, two bus drivers and chaperones from Kenora, ON.

They had just played against the Fort Frances team and learned that due to a vehicle accident between here and Kenora, they would have to take the long way home, via Dryden. So, of course they needed food before heading out.

I soon realized the wonderful asset that kiosks can be.  Orders were placed and paid for at the machines and the three employees had everyone served in a mere 20 minutes. There was a wonderful aura of excitement and joy.

I said to the girls, ”Have fun whether you win or lose!” They said, ”Oh yeah .. . we just lost!” I wished them all safe travels and then approached the young manager and thanked him for what he had just done.

Typically humble as ‘his people’ seem to be, he just smiled and nodded.
Ironically, the girls, chaperones and drivers were giving me the thanks for approaching him in the first place.  Even Louis, our friend, said, "Jackie, it wouldn’t have happened without you.”

Still feeling very touched by it all -- an immigrant from India welcoming ‘refugees’ in their own country.  Humbled and grateful to have been part of it.

[Jackie Guimond, Fort Frances, ON is a frequent contributor to The Review]


Bishops of North American Roman Catholic Womanpriest movement condemn the deadly shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, CO

November 21, 2022

We, the bishops of the North American Roman Catholic Womanpriest movement, condemn the deadly shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, CO.

We condemn violence in all its forms and call on all people to stand with the marginalized of society.

We firmly believe that Jesus would embrace the friends and families of those so hatefully killed, offering comfort and consolation.

We just as firmly believe Jesus would be preaching and protesting against the proliferation of guns and gun violence in our society.

Jesus would befriend the LGBTQI+ community just as he embraced the outcasts of his time.

The death of five and the wounding of more than a dozen others is indefensible, yet sadly is barely a headline amidst the daily violence.

The lives of all people are sacred and deserve our respect, our support and our best defense.

We are called to be Christ to others, let us do so loudly and proudly.

In Christ,

+Suzanne Thiel, Bishop of the Western Region
+Jane Via, Bishop of the Region for the Holy Margins
+Jean Marchant, Bishop of the Eastern Region
+Jane Kryzanowski, Bishop of Canada
+Mary Keldermans, Bishop of the Great Waters Region
+Martha Sherman, Bishop of the Midwest Region

Reflections and Homilies on the Sunday Readings of the Roman Missal and the Revised Common Lectionary

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