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Holy Week

“Do not be afraid”

Ilia Delio, christogenesis.org | April 13, 2020

Christ is Risen from the dead! And who did Christ first appear to upon rising from the dead, according to Matthew? Not to Peter or any of the twelve apostles but to two women each with the name of Mary. Imagine that! The greatest event in the history of the cosmos–a miraculous event that defied the laws of nature–was first seen and bore witness to by women.

Did the Trinity form a commission and decide this was the safest route, given the men disciples abandoned Jesus in his most needed hour (not to mention Judas’ betrayal)? Or is it simply that the women believed and trusted the message of the angel, “Do not be afraid,” while “the guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men.” Women steeped in faith, attentive to what they heard, acted on the words spoken to them and went out to preach the Good News to the disciples: “He has been raised from the dead!”

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  RCWP Canada Bishop's Message

The Sacred Triduum -- Suffering, the nature of true love

Coming to the end of Lent and entering into Holy Week, I want to share a bit of how Cynthia Bourgeault concludes a course on Mary of Magdala, looking at the place of Mary in the Passion accounts and what they say.

A major development in Cynthia Bourgeault's view is that Mary of Magdala is an archetype of the transformative power of kenosis  -- self-emptying love -- as was Jesus. 

She sees the presence of Mary in the anointing of Jesus for his burial and the anointing of Jesus at the tomb as "bookends" to the Paschal Mystery.

Mary of Magdala is recognized in the life of Mary of Bethany and  as the Magdalene at the foot of the cross and thereafter.  In John's gospel, Mary of Bethany annoints the feet of Jesus for his burial.  This is a "bookend" that is matched by Mary of Magdala going to the tomb to annoint the body of Jesus on Easter morning.

In between the "bookends" is Mary's faithful companionship with Jesus through the crucifixion, death and burial. She is prominent among the women present in the passion narratives. In John's Gospel, she stands at the foot of the cross with Mother Mary and her sister. In Matthew's Gospel, Mary Magdalene and another woman kept vigil at the tomb. In all the gospels, she goes with haste to the tomb on the morning after the Sabbath to do a proper anointing of the body.

More than any of the male apostles, Mary Magdalene “gets it.” She understands Jesus and the meaning of sacrificial love. The necessity of Jesus to suffer is not to atone for the sins of humankind. The need to suffer is because this is the nature of true love -- to give oneself freely for the good of the other and to create wholeness from broken parts.


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

Call for reckoning on abuse of Native American children at Catholic boarding schools -- Currently United States has no commission like Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools

Lucy Grindon, ncronline.org | March 5, 2021

In its attempts to address sex abuse crises, the Catholic Church has issued apologies, conducted investigations and paid reparations, but the Vatican has never publicly apologized for abuse inflicted on Indigenous Americans at Catholic-run boarding schools in the United States and Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries, according to presenters at a Febrary 25th online panel event, "Native American Communities and the Clerical Abuse Crisis," hosted by Fordham University's Taking Responsibility project.

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Pope's trip showed solidarity with suffering Iraqis but shocking disregard for pandemic

NCR Editorial Staff, ncronline.org | March 10, 2021
By any measure, Pope Francis' March 5-8 trip to Iraq, the first of a Catholic pope to that country, was historic. One need only glance at the image of the pontiff standing among the sand-colored rubble of the remains of the four churches in Mosul, so cruelly destroyed under the brutal Islamic State regime, to grasp the significance.

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Bishop Barron's 'beige Catholicism' erases years of racial, social justice activism

Rebecca Bratten Weiss, ncronline.org | March 10, 2021

Bishop Robert Barron's recent piece detailing the "evangelical path" of his organization Word on Fire has provoked heated debate over his use of the term "beige Catholicism" to refer to the faith of liberal or progressive Catholics. It's not the first time he's used the term. He coined the phrase 25 years ago, to critique modern or liberal Catholicism as "a faith that had become culturally accommodating, hand-wringing, unsure of itself."

Barron has long combated post-Vatican II trends that he sees as anthropocentric rather than Christocentric. He connects these trends with the loss of the beauty and splendor of the Catholic cultural tradition. But he has now become concerned with what he sees as liberal Catholicism's dangerous opposite extreme: the radical traditionalist movement in the church.

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Cardinal Schönborn says Church cannot refuse blessing for gay couples

Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, international.la-croix.com | March 25,2021

The Austrian cardinal is the latest of more than a dozen German-speaking bishops who have criticized the Vatican for trying to stop priests from blessing same-sex unions

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Everyone likes a contest -- Introducing Typo Tracker

The editor, Special to The Review | April 1, 2021

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 particular typo.

If this online magazine becomes too proficient at avoiding typos, we may have to plant some.

In spite of the date, this article is not a joke.

Jesuits' new commission on women, Jesuit Pope Francis, and Lucetta Scaraffia on the ordination of women

Marie Bouclin, Special to The Review, April 1, 2021

On International Women’s Day, the Society of Jesus announced the creation of a Commission on the Role and Responsibilities of Women in the order. The commission is the next step in the Jesuit's efforts more fully to include and collaborate with women.

This is very interesting indeed, given that Pope Francis is a Jesuit and will undoubtedly be following their discussions.

I recall that the Jesuits had decided in the seventies that Liberation Theology coming out of Latin America and its option for the poor included ending the oppression of women. But the Vatican clamped down on that. They appointed bishops who supported the regimes that "disappeared" and murdered many who worked to implement liberation theology. Many we know by name and thousands we don’t.

On a personal note, when I was ordained contra legem, my Jesuit friends were supportive and understood why we were going that route, especially when I told one of them that, unless women answered the call to priesthood, the Eucharist, the “fount and summit of the life of the Church” and central to remembering Jesus, would be lost for lack of community leadership (i.e. shortage of priests). He said he believed it would be women who would “save Christianity” and knelt to ask for my blessing. A moment I’ll never forget.

On another note, recently I listened to an interview involving Lucetta Scaraffia, the woman who resigned with her whole team, as editor of Women Church World, a supplement to the official L'Osservatore Romano.

She has been criticized because she did not support the ordination of women.  Her point was made when Pope Francis said, in creating yet another commission on the ordination of women as deacons, that he does not want to “clericalize” women. Scaraffia says that she does not support ordination of women because that would just give the hierarchy a further means of control over women.  I think she is saying that in the current context, if Canon 1024 of Church law were changed and women were ordained legally, they would simply be co-opted into perpetuating the clericalist model of priesthood. Scaraffia emphasized her point that “the Church” does not listen to women, even her team of women journalists/ historians/ theologians who were an “intellectual powerhouse”!  When her team denounced the sexual abuse of nuns many of whom had been forced to have abortions (which bishops and priests paid for), the Pope did nothing. Still hasn’t.

She does not mince words about the corruption in the Church hierarchy, its “putrid” hypocrisy on the issue of abortion especially, and about women generally. Her most recent book, Féministe et chrétienne, is excellent. (Only available in Italian and French.)  She said Catholic women had to continue to “fight”, to continue doing what we are doing – speaking out, renewing theology, living the Gospel of justice and keeping an open-minded dialogue with “lay” (which I take to mean unchurched or who have left the church) feminists who think differently on a variety of important issues.

[Marie Bouclin, Sudbury, ON, is bishop emerita of RCWP Canada]

RCWP Canada Statement Regarding Church Blessing of Same-sex Unions

Roman Catholic Women Priests Canada supports the Statement made by Catholic Network for Women's Equality (CNWE) Church Blessing of Same-sex Unions.

We stand with gender diverse individuals as beloved children of the Creator.  Our communities are inclusive and welcoming to all.

We are here for anyone who is suffering needlessly because of recent Vatican statements that denounce same-sex love as sinful and unworthy of God’s blessing.

We are prepared to minister to the needs of anyone who desires to have their love affirmed and blessed before God and the community of believers.

Contact RCWP Canada

Catholic conversation about sex and gender has a pair of problems

Daniel Walden, commonwealmagazine.org | March 8, 2021

It i
s not unfair to say that Catholic conversation about sex and gender has a problem. More accurately, it has a pair of problems: one concerns our ability to speak credibly to the non-Catholic public; the other concerns our ability to speak productively to one another.

The first problem is, I am sorry to say, largely our own doing. The Church has the canonical structures to bring women into the uppermost ranks of leadership without any alteration to our understanding of sacramental theology, but has not used them. Ga
y men remain officially barred from seminaries by force of a document whose reasoning cannot withstand thirty seconds’ thought.

Catholic public intellectuals and bishops routinely talk about “gender ideology,” a term with no clear referent, in statements and interviews. In short, we are not credible both because our institutions are hypocritical and because we routinely spout nonsense in public—nonsense that, unfortunately, also structures our internal conversations, leading to the second part of the problem.

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Reflections on the Sunday Readings
by Susan Roll

Reflection for the Second Sunday of Easter  B, April 11, 2021

Acts 4: 32-35;    Psalm 118;    1 John 5: 1-6;    John 20: 19- 31.

I think most of us have learned, or re-learned, a great deal about human touch in the past thirteen months since the coronavirus pandemic shut down life as we knew it.  We have learned that touch can be dangerous, spreading contagious sickness, leading to long-lasting suffering or even to an anguished death while gasping desperately for air.  On the other hand, we become more aware of how life-giving the act of touch – appropriate touch, a touch offered and accepted – can be for our mental health and our sense of belonging to a human family.  How often have you heard (or said!) “I just want to hug my grandchildren!”

But in the meantime—don’t touch.  Don’t embrace.  Don’t breathe, at least not on other people.  All of these stand in stark contrast to the profoundly bodily beauty and intimacy of our Gospel readings last week and this week, an intimacy that does not sicken, but heals.

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Vatican announces priestly ordination now open to women

Peter Borowitz, Special to The Review | April 1, 2021

In a last ditch effort to meet the deadline of the last day of March, International Women's Month, the Vatican announce the abolition of Canon 1024.

Responding to presssure from various women's groups across the world, 70% of the lay faithful, many priests, and a few cardinals, the Vatican spokesman stated that it was finally a favourable time to open priestly ordination to women. 

In an attempt to apologize for regrettable statements in the past, the spokesman stated that the Vatican no longer believes that women theologians are merely strawberries on a cake or future clerics in skirts.

Reiterating a time-honoured method of making an important announcement, the Vatican spokesman stated that the church has always taught this.

When questioned what was meant by "this" the spokesman declined to answer. 

One intrepid reporter wondered whether Pope Francis had been consulted, why this announcement was made a day before April 1st, and who was this masked Vatican spokesman.

RCWP Liturgies on Zoom


Regina, Saskatchewan CANADA 

Celebration of the Sacred Triduum

Holy Thursday, April 1, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. CST

Good Friday, April 2, 2021 - 3:00 p.m. CST

Paschal Vigil, April 3, 2021  - 7:00 p.m. CST

Contact the Zoom host for an invitation: kryzanowskisk@yahoo.ca  The Zoom links are send a 1/2 hour before the liturgy begins to those who are registered. 

Easter Sunday morning liturgy contact:  Sourdough Community, Sudbury, ON, at 10:00 a.m. EDT
St. Bridiget of Kildaire Community, Calgary, AB at 10:00 a.m. MDT.

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