Canada Bishop's Message
Discipleship of Equals
of the early Jesus movement who played a huge role in proclaiming the
good news, have inspired feminist archaeologists and theologians to
dig into the origins of the early church. In her recent work, Mary
and Early Christian Women: hidden leadership,
Ally Kateusz notes that “one of the most striking phenomena about
the early followers of Jesus is that women appear to have been
exceptionally involved in the spread of the movement.” We don’t
often hear of them except in a the Letter to the Romans which is not
included in the Catholic Church's lectionary.
shouldn't be a surprise that it was in community, men and women
together, that they worked out what this new commandment of Jesus
meant: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Women were
faithful disciples throughout his ministry, witnessed his death and
burial and broke the good news of the resurrection. They were part
of the early communities as they worked out what they were to be and
was in the community of believers, women and men, a discipleship of
equals who continued to discern the way all can live into the
fullness of life promised by the Risen Christ.
The Acts of the Apostles was written for Greek converts to the Jesus movement. They were curious about how a religion that had
started among Jews had come to embrace them. It is a story of
exclusion, struggle, persecution, martyrdom. The early followers of
Jesus were expelled from the Synagogue. They were persecuted by the
likes of Saul and even killed. Saul experienced conversion from a
persecutor of Christians to a believer and a person very influential
in the development of Christian communities.
all of the letters written by Paul to communities were ones he had a
major hand in establishing. As he traveled the Mediterranean region,
Paul used letters to keep in touch with them. The letter to the
Romans is different, however, because the church already existed
there. Instead of being a follow-up letter, this is a letter of
introduction. Paul was planning to visit Rome and wanted to introduce
himself and his gospel message to the church in advance of his
was eager to express the connection he already felt with the church
in Rome, even though he had never been there. This connection began,
of course, with their shared status as Christ-followers and the
message about Jesus that both he and they preached. The points of
connection extended to specific people that Paul knew or at least
knew about, when he wrote the letter. Near the end of the letter,
Paul sends greetings to a number of individuals, pairs or household
groups whom he knows to be at Rome. Greeting these people by name
solidifies Paul’s connection to a place he has yet to physically
passage which is a composite picture of the diversity of the earliest
Christian community in Rome (Romans16:1-16)
provides insight into the nature, character, and roles of the
communities. The people Paul greets are male and female, young and
old, Jew and Gentile, slave and free. Their unity comes not from
their uniformity but from their connection to a common mission. No
matter their gender, social status, economic status, or ethnicity,
they are all co-workers in Christ.
to an article
by Marg Mowczko, the twenty-nine named people in the letter to
the Romans, a third are women and are described in terms of their
ministry (Phoebe, Prisca, Mary, Junia, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis).
By comparison, only three men are described in terms of their
ministry (Aquila, Andronicus, Urbanus), and two of these men are
ministering alongside a female partner (Aquila with Prisca,
Andronicus with Junia).
the first to be named, was probably the bearer of this letter. She is
called a servant or deacon. It helps to remember that the words
“deacon” and “deaconess” really didn't exist in Greek; the
word was servant. Junia was one of those sent, probably along with
her husband (Andronicus). Like Priscilla and Aquila, they were
probably active in evangelizing and the establishment of new
churches. That would help explain their imprisonment at this early
date. The groups of names in the latter verses likely refer to house
church communities and include women along with men who are hard
workers among the people.
wanted to foster unity among the believers in Rome and the different
house churches. Paul makes a point of highlighting the ethnicity of
some of his fellow Jews, (Rom.
16:7, 11, 16:21).
He asks that these people and the various households be greeted and
calls for mutual and reciprocal salutations among the Roman
Christians. This is significant as there were tensions between the
Jews and Gentiles in the Roman Church at the time Paul wrote his
letter. He wanted to ease tensions among the Romans, including
to interpret the words that Paul wrote about women is a matter of
ongoing debate in the church and among biblical scholars. It is
apparent that women were active in significant ministries in the
church at Rome. It is also apparent that gender does not seem to be a
prominent issue for the historical Paul in this text. Paul has no
problem with these women. Rather, he affirms them and their
ministries. Did Paul make a point of affirming these women in an
effort to ease tensions caused by some Roman Christians who had
a problem with ministering women?
Kryzanowski, Regina, SK
is bishop for RCWP Canada]
Truly Our Sister
A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints by Elizabeth A. Johnson
This book pays tribute to this first-century peasant who fulfilled her mission as a friend of God and a prophet.
Book Review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Sadly, we’ve lost an apostle, Hans Kung is dead.
He was perhaps the most forward-looking theologian on Vatican II.
Almost singlehandedly, he got a large number of bishops to resist Pope
Paul VI when he proposed to retain to himself the questions of
celibacy, birth control, womens’ place, the Jews and reform of the
Curia. Sadly, in the end he and the bishops lost on birth control,
celibacy and reform of the Curia, but they did advance the church from
the middle ages to at least the 19th century.
In 1979, Pope John Paul II removed him from his position as a
theologian at a Catholic university and forbade him to teach at any
Catholic institution. The pope and the Curia tried to shut him
up, but were not successful. He kept his professorial place at an
Austrian University and continued to write best selling theology books.
In a book in 2011, he wrote that the Church is “seriously, even
terminally ill because of the abuse scandals, celibacy, women not in
the priesthood, birth control and resistance to reform.”
Hans Kung was a true Apostle of the 20th and 21st centuries.
[Gene Swain, Calgary, AB]
In the interest of The Review becoming as perfect as
possible, technically that is, we are introducing Typo Tracker,
counting on the eagle eyes out there to identify typos, spelling
errors, grammatical errors, broken links, inconsistent formatting, or
any other technical glitches that shouldn't be there.
Disagreement with the content won't count for this contest.
Prizes, as yet
undetermined, will be awarded to the first person who identifies each
In the last issue of The Review,
the date for the Francis Comic was given as 2022. It should have
been 2021. The subscriber who found the typo wants to remain
|Who is Mary for women today? – Zuzanna Radzik interviews Tina Beattie
mother, strong, free, normal, human, mystic
journalist and feminist theologian Zuzanna Radzik interviewed Tina
Beattie about Mary for women in the Church today, which was the cover
story of the Polish weekly, Tygodnik Powszechny.
The Zoom interview was recorded and you can watch it here as a YouTube video. (56 minutes)
Visitation of Vatican liturgy office could lead to liturgical reform
Thomas Reese, ncronline.org | April 8, 2021
If the pope asked you what you thought about Catholic liturgy, what
would you say to him? What is going well? What needs to change?
Bishop Claudio Maniago of Castellaneta, president of the Italian
bishops' conference's liturgical commission, must answer these
questions for the pope, who asked him to do a “visitation” of the
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.
Although charged with overseeing liturgy for the church, the office has
done little to support badly needed liturgical reform.
In a second article,
Thomas Reese offers his own ideas on improving liturgy as an attempt to
get the conversation going, inviting liturgical scholars and others to
consider his proposals.
Other people's thoughts on reforming the liturgy
We must restore the powerful witness of women leaders to the Catholic lectionary
Christine Schenk, ncronline.org | April 16, 2021
My ears perked up last week when I learned that Pope Francis had
authorized a "visitation" at the Congregation for Divine Worship and
the Discipline of the Sacraments following the recent retirement of
that office's prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah.
I couldn't agree more with Jesuit Fr. Tom Reese's opinion that this office "has done little to support badly needed liturgical reform."
But it is not for want of trying on the part of reform-minded Catholics.
In 2008 a two-year campaign supported by nearly 20,000 Catholics
worldwide asked the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God to restore
biblical women leaders to lectionary texts from which their witness had
been diminished or deleted. Full disclosure: I helped spearhead this
campaign and was in Rome during the synod, albeit watching around the
edges. Here are a few examples first identified by Benedictine Sr. Ruth
Fox that we shared with synod bishops:
Beth Allison Barr wants Christians to know where 'biblical womanhood' comes from. (It's not the Bible)
Pearl Gregor, Special to The Review | May 1, 2021
It's been awhile since I've sent a comment to The Review.
Tonight, I couldn't resist. Women around the world, including the world
of the Southern Baptist Conference which has even more of a
stranglehold on women that the Vatican, are restless.
"We are tired. Tired of putting up with the crap of gender bias. And we
have a voice that grows by the day. The earth can't withstand much more
of the toxicity that is patriarchal Christianity."
I read the attached article. I want to bring attention to the answer
Ms. Barr gave to the questions: "What will it take for Christian
patriarchy to end? What will it take for that to thappen. The answer is
deep, and so simple. What if we stopped putting up with it? What if
women in churches, instead of being silent like I was, actually stop
allowing the leaders to get away with it? I think that can help to
Yes. What if we did just that. What if women who have awakened in this
century? What if men who have awakened in this century? What if What if
we simply stopped being silent? Silence is complicity. What if we quit
doing and being the nice, noisy women we are? What if we simply quit
the meetings, the never ending conversations, the begging, the
pleading? So far, we have been rather quiet. I know some have been
fairly noisy but apparently NOT noisy enough. It's difficult being
noisy. There are many who would just be happy if we shut the hell up
completely and went back to doing the dishes, not banging any pots and
pans around in the kitchen.
What if women in churches, just stood up next Sunday and said, "I'm
done. Here's what we want for the women and children of the world. I
think the RCWP Canada would write a script available to every women who
would be willing to stand in her church on Mother's Day and declare her
I'm pretty sure we could get this organized by Mother's Day Sunday
2022. This year might be a bit sketchy. But next year??? Women have
organized families and home businesses and corporations and nations. I
One of the taglines for the book is, “It’s time for Christian
patriarchy to end.” What do you think it would take for that to happen?
What comes next?
What if we stopped putting up with it? What if women in churches,
instead of being silent like I was, actually stop allowing the leaders
to get away with it? I think that can help to change things.
[Pearl Gregor, PhD, New Sarepta, AB is author of
Dreams Along The Way]
Allison Barr's new book, “The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the
Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth" -- an interview