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Inclusive language, God talk, and truth speaking

Ilia Delio speaks truth to power:  'Fratelli Tutti'-  Papal dreams or Vatican diversion?

Ilia Delio, | October 19, 2020 photo
As in his previous encyclical, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home," the pope calls attention to the world's problems, the radical disparity between rich and poor, the bloated consumer culture that is enhancing global warming, and the rampant individualism associated with excess wealth. The encyclical aims to promote a universal movement toward fraternity and social friendship grounded in compassionate love, following the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37).
Who could argue against the valiant efforts of a world leader trying to restore a sense of moral goodness and rightness in the world? Indeed, my purpose is not to belie the pope, whose heart seems to be in the right place; however, it is to call attention to the deeper problem underlying the world's problems, namely, the evaporation of religion.

On this note, the pope's encyclical is alarming. Jesus of Nazareth admonished his disciples not to take the splinter out of their brother's eye without first removing the plank from their own eye (Matthew 7:3-5). This admonition bears reflection in light of the pope's advice to the world.

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RCWP Liturgies on Zoom


  • Ilia Delio speaks truth to power:  'Fratelli Tutti'-  Papal dreams or Vatican diversion?
  • Migrational faith journey from "mind places" as a movement for reform within the Church
  • How a longstanding suspicion of inclusive language is killing the Church's message
  • Are women involved in a toxic relationship with the church? -- Gaslighting and cognitive dissonance mar papal documents
  • Catholic women lament “unfortunate androcentric shadow” over “mostly radical” ‘Fratelli tutti’
  • Why is God not female?
  • Comments to the Editor
  • Effort to curb toxic masculinity before it takes root
  • Males who are socialized to conform to 'traditional masculinity ideology' are often negatively affected in terms of mental and physical health
  • Commemorate WOC’s 45 Years of Prophetic Persistence
  • Possibilities when rearranging world-weary words
  • Instead of ableist words, use inclusive language at work and everywhere else
  • “The idea that God is male is by far the biggest religious travesty in human history”
  • RCWP Canada Bishop's Message:  Women: Icons of Christ
  • Mary or the Feminine Utopia -- The story behind the article
  • Women Erased: Adam Has a Womb
  • Comics
  • Comments to the Editor address and form
  • RCWP Canada Links
  • Related Links

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 RCWP Canada Bishop's Message

Women: Icons of Christ

Seeing Kamala Harris as vice-president elect is inspiring. From once-upon-a-time when white men were the only elected officials in the USA to the 20th Century where we saw increasing numbers of women and men - black, indigenous, and people of colour – elected to leadership roles, society has been building to this day. Increasingly women have stood on the shoulders of their predecessors to achieve greater levels of acceptance as competent and inspirational leaders. Stacy Abrams, who nearly won the Governorship of Georgia in 2018, remarked about Kamala Harris’ election: “We (referring to black women) need to see ourselves reflected in our leaders.”

This is so true and applicable to women in all aspects of life including the Church. When the only image we see of God is male, can we really expect women to see themselves as reflections of God or made in the Imago Dei? Mind you, systemic sexism and misogyny would prefer that women be seen as Adam’s rib. Words and pictures we use to image God do matter. They matter a great deal!

In the 1980’s feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruther (Sexism and God-Talk) performed ground-breaking work on the use of language when speaking to and of God, and of its impact on how women see themselves in various social/cultural settings. Through careful examination of the root teachings of the Bible and ancient Goddess-oriented cultures, she hears the voice and sees the prophetic Jesus as liberator of the marginalized, including women, from domination of empire and patriarchy. She envisions a new non-sexist understanding of Christianity, of egalitarian communities served by women and men where God is named and experienced in the fullness of the diversity of the Divine Being. She has certainly helped women see that their truth is found inside - not what is imposed on them by others, and laid the foundation for many women theologians who came after her.

Scholars and theologians, canon lawyers and administrators, educators and pastoral workers are all acceptable roles for women to hold in the Church today. Ordained ministry is still taboo due primarily to the manipulated history of the Church that refuses to accept that women can authentically be icons of Christ. This will change as more and more women see themselves reflected in the lives of women who dare to answer the call of God to priesthood. Roman Catholic Women Priests are making visible something that has been kept invisible: the truth that God can and does call women as well as men to ordained ministry so that the fullness of the face of God can be seen and the abundant and boundless capacity of loving compassion can become evident. Our daughters (and sons) can look to us and see the face of God. They can aspire to be the fullness of whom God calls them to be.

+ Jane

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

Mary or the Feminine Utopia -- The story behind the article

Marie-Andrée Roy, Special to The Review | November 15, 2020

More than thirty years have passed between the writing of "Mary or the Feminine Utopia" by Marie Gratton and its being posted posthumously on the L’autre Parole website.  Here is the story.

In 1988, Monique Dumais and I published a collection of essays in Souffles de femmes, Lectures féministes de la religion at Éditions Paulines. The original manuscript contained a chapter written by Marie Gratton, entitled Marie ou l’utopie faite femme. In her essay, Marie Gratton proceeded to systematically deconstruct Marian mythology by unraveling each of the dogmas that are the building blocks of the Marian myth:  Mary, Mother of God (Council of Ephesus, 431); the Perpetual Virginity of May (Lateran Council, 649); the Immaculate Conception (1854); and the Assumption of Mary (1950). Her position is quite radical. She maintains that “Marian theology is the finely chiseled masterpiece of a triumphalist and triumphant patriarchal system carved out of a dualist and profoundly sexist anthropology.… By presenting Mary as the antithesis of Eve, … the patriarchal system has paradoxically succeeded in ‘demonizing’ all other women.”  The system that proclaims these dogmas has become the “tool and privileged locus of ecclesiastical triumphalism”. In her conclusion, the author admits how sad it is that the figure who exemplifies autonomy and freedom in Luke’s Gospel has been so “outrageously mischaracterized, and has turned against women all the glory lavished upon the mother of Jesus, a woman who would have only wanted to be remembered for what she was: a “righteous heart”.

Before it was published, the entire manuscript had to be vetted by the publishing house. This is nothing unusual. The manuscript had already been rejected by another publisher because it was so blatantly feminist. The publishing house decided it would accept our manuscript if we removed Marie Gratton’s chapter. We were caught in a bind. There were eight other texts and authors waiting to be published. Disheartened and deeply embarrassed, Monique Dumais and I accepted to have the book published without Marie’s text. In her great kindness, Marie never held it against us, for which I am truly grateful.

As far as we were concerned, this was a case of Roman Catholic censorship. The Marian issue is a sensitive one in which much dogmatic energy has been invested. It plays a decisive role in the construction of how women are represented, especially in relationships between men and women and the norms which govern them in the Church. In 1988, John Paul II, who was fervently devoted to the Virgin Mary, had occupied the See of Rome for 10 years, and had published his encyclical Redemptoris Mater just the year before. This provided the context in which a Catholic editor would refuse to raise hackles in Rome. He was well aware of the Church’s teaching on Mary and also knew full well what questioning it would cost him. He did not want the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith intervening after the fact. Women, feminist thought and freedom of expression were the losers.
About four years ago, I asked Marie Gratton for permission to include her text in the suggested readings for my course on women and religion at l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).  It was so well received by the students that it confirmed my sense of its relevance and timeliness. So I suggested we publish it on our L’autre Parole website. Marie agreed. When I visited her in May, 2018 at Maison Aube-Lumière, just a few days before she died, I told her it would soon be published. Thirty years later, it is high time amends are made and the words of Marie Gratton are truly set free.

[The above article by
Marie-Andrée Roy and "Mary or the Feminine Utopia" by Marie Gratton were translated by Marie Bouclin, Sudbury, ON]

Read the 22-page article "Mary or the Feminine Utopia" by Marie Gratton

Women Erased: Adam Has a Womb

A film presentation and discussion by FutureChurch
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 8pm ET

with Dr. Lizzie Berne DeGear

The story of Adam and Eve has been used for centuries to put women in their place ("Eve was made from Adam's rib as a helpmate for him") and to castigate the LGBTQ community ("It's Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!"), but did you know that the Bible does not actually tell that story?

Join us for a special screening of the delightful and eye-opening animated short film (m)adam: Adam's Rib Reframed and a no-holds-barred discussion with filmmaker, Catholic Chaplain Lizzie Berne DeGear, PhD.

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View the 7 minute video, Adam's Rib Reframed, on YouTube
Migrational faith journey from "mind places" as a movement for reform within the Church

Marie Bouclin, Special to The Review | November 15, 2020

Roman Catholic Women Priests are an instrument of reform and renewal within our church. This means urging it forward, courageously forging ahead. It also means migrating. We are on a migrational faith journey as a movement for reform within our Church, even if we’ve been marginalized by its authorities and deemed to have excluded ourselves.

As a movement, we are deeply aware of some “mind places” we have left behind.

First, we have had to move out of our comfort zone in a church that gave us moral and spiritual certainty, comforting rituals, and for many of us fulfilling and gratifying employment.  We seek a Christ-centered spirituality with new rituals still to be created. The future at times may look uncertain, but as we journey we are been blessed with the solidarity of a small and very diverse company of friends and supporters. We are truly grateful.

We have also migrated from an institutional mindset that excludes women and LGBTQ2+ and divorced persons and all heretics (defined as those who think differently) to a community spirit which is inclusive and accepting of differences. This is symbolized in our all-are-welcome communion table.

We have migrated from imposed, infallible doctrine to asking questions and “doing” theology, liturgy and pastoral practice based on our Baptismal priesthood, our personal experience of life and prayer, and our listening  to voice of the Spirit speaking both within and through the People of God.

We have migrated from a narrow Roman Catholic Christianity to authentic ecumenism, finding support and learning from other Christian churches and their prophetic voices.

We have moved away from pyramids of governance based on descending domination to circles of leadership which strive to model transparency, accountability and collegiality.

We have moved from dogma to dialogue, engaging in conversation with people of other faiths or of no faith because we don’t preach about how to get to heaven but rather the Hebrew Tikkun Olam or healing of this world, and we honour all wisdom paths because they too, to quote the book of Proverbs, “are blessed with insight and understanding.”

How a longstanding suspicion of inclusive language is killing the Church's message

Robert Mickens, | September 11, 2020

It is discouraging that Pope Francis still does not seem to appreciate just how unnecessary and unhelpful using masculine language is in the year 2020.

But, then again, he's an elderly priest from Latin America, from a generation and culture where this was never an issue.

Don't kid yourself, the culture warriors, clericalists and social conservatives in the Church who refuse to use inclusive language do so purposely as part of their misguided zeal to defend orthodoxy.

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Are women involved in a toxic relationship with the church? -- Gaslighting and cognitive dissonance mar papal documents

Phyllis Zagano, | October 29, 2020

It's not what they say; it's the way that they say it. Documents and Scripture translations annoyingly border on gaslighting women. Not the big-league, drive-her-crazy gaslighting, just the subtle cognitive dissonance that slips into relationships large and small.

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Catholic women lament “unfortunate androcentric shadow” over “mostly radical” ‘Fratelli tutti’

Mada Jurado, | October 13, 2020

The Catholic women of the Women’s Ordination Conference have lamented the “unfortunate androcentric shadow” over the Pope’s “mostly radical” new encyclical Fratelli tutti.
. . .

The English translation refers repeatedly to Brothers and Sisters, perhaps in response to the legitimate criticisms of the title, but linguistics aside, no women theologians or thinkers were quoted in the text — not even St. Clare, a partner in ministry with St. Francis.

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Why is God not female?

Stephen Tomkins, | June 2, 2015

To talk about God we have to call God something, and avoiding pronouns altogether is cumbersome, as I've just demonstrated again. "It" seems a bit rude, talking as if God was an impersonal force like gravity or inflation. So God has to be "He" or "She", and in a patriarchal society there's no contest. As The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: "God is neither man nor woman: he is God".

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Comments to the Editor

The Archbishop’s Annual Fund request letter had arrived and my annual dilemma surfaces.

Many, many deserving groups will  benefit and continue their work; they need funding to operate. I also very much appreciate the appointment and work of the ecumenical coordinator, Nicholas Jesson, who works with all religions and faiths on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church.

What brings me pause is the refusal of the Roman Catholic Church to recognize, support and work with Roman Catholic Women Priests. What will it take to move forward to correct this unfortunate omission?

My question is whether to donate or to withhold my donation along with a letter to the Archbishop? Is the time right to raise this  issue?

If laypeople want women priests what has to happen to accomplish this official  change? What is delaying this sacred justice correction?

[Woman in a dilemma, Regina, SK]

I am so deeply glad that there are women priests being called into service, with some of you daring to actually make it happen.  Thank you for following your call.

[Cat Charissage, Lethbridge, AB]

Thank you for alerting me to the reflection for All Saints by Susan Roll.  Another clear example of what we are missing by not having Catholic women priests. 

[David Jackson, Edinburg, TX]

Thank you for keeping me on your mailing list.

[Tom Quinn, Danbury, CT]

Effort to curb toxic masculinity before it takes root

Sarah Treleaven, | September 4, 2020

In a Nova Scotia classroom, educator Morris “Moe” Green invites a dozen pubescent boys to draw their chairs into a circle. He helps them relax with a silly icebreaker question — like “If you could speak an animal language, what language would it be?” — and then gets down to business. Green’s program is called Guys Work. Aimed at boys in grades 7 and 9 in Nova Scotia, it covers topics such as sexual coercion, power dynamics in intimate-partner relationships, pornography and gender-based violence.

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Males who are socialized to conform to 'traditional masculinity ideology' are often negatively affected in terms of mental and physical health

Click here for 36-page APA GUIDELINES for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men

Commemorate WOC’s 45 Years of Prophetic Persistence

This November (27-30), the Women’s Ordination Conference will commemorate 45 years of prophetic persistence with a virtual gala and auction: “Breaking Bread at the Table of Justice: A Celebration of Prophetic Persistence.”

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Possibilities when rearranging world-weary words

Ellie Harty, | October 6, 2020

What possibilities arise when we take on rearranging world-wearied words, exhausted expressions, tiresome traditions, tedious tenets, parched principles, prosaic practices to discover, or even create, something utterly fresh, invigorating, maybe even electrifying!

In fact, perhaps the one good thing that comes out of the Catholic Church’s centuries old ban on any other than male words, expressions, traditions, tenets, principles and practices is that we of those other genders now have abundant pent-up creative energy waiting to burst through.

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Instead of ableist words, use inclusive language at work and everywhere else

Monica Torres, | October 16, 2020

When you talk about something going poorly at work, how do you describe it? Think carefully.

If you say “insane,” “psycho,” “lame,” “moronic,” or “crazy,” that’s ableist.

You may work with someone who has a disability or have one yourself, so it behooves you to learn about the power everyday words hold and the pain you can inflict by using inconsiderate language at work.

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“The idea that God is male is by far the biggest religious travesty in human history”

Luis T. Gutiérrez, | September 2, 2020

Since the inception of human history, patriarchal ideology has driven human behavior in ways that are very detrimental to human relations and to the entire community of creation.

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J. A. Dick
, | Novemeber 12, 2020

Some brief (and non-political) thoughts this weekend about biblical translations.

Over the years I have done a lot of translation work and have learned that a translator must try to understand the context, meaning, and nuance of the original text and then pass that on in the new other-language version.

Read More of this 3-page article which has the following sub-headings:

JBK Happy Colour   
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