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Pope Francis confirms finality of ban on ordaining women priests -- sort of

Joshua J. McElwee  |  Nov. 1, 2016

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM SWEDEN Pope Francis has said he thinks the Roman Catholic church's ban on priestly ordination for women will continue forever, saying his predecessor Pope John Paul II's declaration on the matter "goes in that direction."

Francis expressed his thoughts on the subject in response to a question Tuesday from a journalist aboard the papal flight back to Rome after a two-day visit to Sweden.

Read More...plus comments

Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community

Jane Kryzanowski | November 1, 2016

Recently the Regina house church reviewed developments in our community over the past year which included serious consideration of a name.  After much prayer and discernment, the name Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community was chosen. 

As a community, we honour Mary as:

  • one who received the healing touch of Jesus,
  • a faithful follower and supporter of his ministry,
  • a person loyal to Jesus even in his darkest hours of suffering and death,
  • a tomb watcher to whom the mystery of the resurrection was revealed,
  • the apostle to the apostles proclaiming Jesus risen,
  • a dearly beloved disciple, and
  • a leader in the early church.
She also bears the burden of being greatly misunderstood throughout much of church history and by many today.

We ask her inspiration and guidance as we journey in faithfulness to our call to proclaim by our words and actions the Good News Jesus preached and which she witnessed, the loving tenderness of God.  We also commit to telling herstory as we claim our story.

Rejoice with us in this development of our community!

Jane Kryzanowski, RCWP
Email:  photina61@gmail.com


Patriarchy Will Not Have the Last Word -- Press Release by Women's Ordination Conference

For Immediate Release: 1 November 2016

Contact:  Kate McElwee +1 607.725.1364

On the papal plane from Sweden to Rome, Pope Francis was asked by a journalist:

“Is it realistic to think that there might be women priests in the next few decades?” 

“On the Ordination of women in the Catholic church, the last word is clear,” Francis responded, before mentioning John Paul’s 1994 apostolic letter banning the practice, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. “It was given by St. John Paul II and this remains.”

“But really forever? Never?”

“If we read carefully the declaration made by St. John Paul II it goes in that direction.”

The Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) is profoundly disappointed with Pope Francis’s reliance on his predecessors’ documents regarding the possibility of priestly ordination for women.

Several times Pope Francis has been asked by journalists aboard the papal plane regarding women’s priestly ordination.  The reason this question cannot be suppressed is because the exclusion of women defies the example of Jesus, who welcomed men and women equally. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is an outdated, fallible and painful document created by his predecessors to diminish the leadership and vocations of women.

Instead of citing John Paul II, Pope Francis might have cited the Vatican’s own Pontifical Biblical Commission that concluded in 1976 that there is no valid scriptural or theological reason for denying ordination to women, or looked to archeology and historical documents that show women’s leadership in the early church. He could have looked to Jesus who welcomed women as his equal. Or he could look to the people of God who overwhelmingly support the ordination of women.

The Church cannot be afraid to examine customs when they no longer communicate or resonate with the Gospel. A Church that is not open to the gifts of half of its membership is unsustainable and out-of-touch with the needs of its people. “Never changing” is not only historically inaccurate but simply not an option when it comes to women’s equality.

The Women’s Ordination Conference and the majority of U.S. Catholics we represent do not accept “never ever” as an option. We will continue to work for the full equality of women in the Roman Catholic Church knowing that unjust laws are indefensible with a God that does not discriminate. Patriarchy will not have the last word.


'I want to see women priests in the Catholic Church', Lutheran Archbishop tells Pope Francis

Ilgin Karlidag | Oct 28, 2016

Pope Francis still has a lot of work to do on a range of moral issues despite encouraging comments from the Catholic Church head, leaders of Sweden's Lutherans say ahead of his visit to the country.

"It is clear that he has said and done things that have ignited much hope among many Catholics and even many people outside the Catholic Church," Sweden's first female Lutheran Archbishop, Antje Jackelén, told AFP.

Stockholm Bishop Eva Brunne hailed the Argentine pontiff as "a breath of fresh air". But the openly lesbian bishop added: "He has a lot to work on when it comes to gender issues, for example."

Francis kicks off a two-day visit to Sweden on Monday to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation – a highly symbolic trip, given that Martin Luther's dissenting movement launched centuries of bitter and often bloody divisions in Europe.

Sweden's branch of the Lutheran Church is amongst the most liberal in Christendom, and the pope's visit highlights deep splits between the Vatican and this gay-friendly constitutional monarchy, where same-sex marriage is allowed even for priests.

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How to Be a Catholic and a Feminist

Jean E. Barker | Sep 28, 2016

Full of questions about her lifelong Catholic faith, journalist-turned-public-interest-lobbyist Celia Viggo Wexler decided to interview other women who have remained in the Church despite their disagreements with its official teachings. Her new book, Catholic Women Confront Their Church: Stories of Hurt and Hope (Rowman & Littlefield, Sept.), features nine activists, theologians, and other professional women who are engaging with the institutional church in multiple ways.

Conflicted about the Church’s refusal to respond to the concerns of Catholic women, and uncomfortable with the conservative Catholicism practiced in her parish, “I had come to a fork in the road in my own life,” Wexler told PW. “I did not know whether I could continue to be a practicing Catholic and a feminist.”

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Francis proves Catholic church still needs a Reformation

Maureen Fiedler  |  Nov. 3, 2016 NCR Today

What a way to screw up a celebration of the Reformation! And prove that the Catholic church still needs one!

Pope Francis weighed in on the question of women priests ... suggesting that it will never happen. In so doing, he quoted his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who was implacably opposed.

Francis had stirred some hope among people (like myself) who favor the ordination of women when he started that commission to study the question of women deacons. But alas! He has now fallen for the party line. Maybe he was always in that camp, but he never said so before.

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Why has the pope said no to women priests?

Delia Gallagher, CNNNovember 2, 2016

Pope Francis' resounding no to women becoming priests may come as a surprise considering the popular narrative of him as a reformer who seeks to bring change to the Roman Catholic Church.

Often seen as wanting to overturn the conservative thrust of recent pontificates, Francis has shown himself to be squarely on the side of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI when it comes to women's ordination.

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FutureChurch Renews the Call for Dialogue and for a Long Overdue Round of Listening to Women in the Church

FutureChurch Press Statement             
November 4, 2016

In response to Pope Francis' recent remarks on women's ordination to the priesthood, FutureChurch renews our appeal for widespread dialogue on this challenging issue and for respectful listening to Catholic women in dioceses, parishes and communities.

Just one year ago, Pope Francis told an Italian church gathering that when delving into the problems facing the church, "Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts, interrogatives -- but is alive, knows being unsettled, enlivened."  He encouraged Catholics saying, "Dream of this church, believe in it, innovate it with freedom."

"Catholics worldwide have been encouraged by Pope Francis' call for open questioning and for fearless dialogue," said Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director of FutureChurch.  "One reason this particular dialogue concerning women's ordination continues to be important is that, under the current structure, ordination is central to decision making and governance."

"We need to enter into deep and respectful dialogue." said Russ Petrus, FutureChurch Program Director.  "We need to ask important questions about Pope Francis' identification of a Petrine dimension where bishops decide and a Marian dimension for 'the feminine dimension of the church' because it reinforces complementarity -- a patriarchal framework that perpetuates the assignment of roles based on gender impeding the Church's desire to create 'a more incisive presence' for women."

"There is no one solution for creating greater gender balance in our Church, yet it is clear that new doors need to be opened if we are to seriously engage Catholic women at the heart of our tradition and employ their wisdom, witness and faith in the ongoing development of that tradition," said Mary Louise Hartman, FutureChurch Trustee. "To ignore this task is to put our future at risk, something we know that is already occurring with the unprecedented loss of younger Catholic women and millennial Catholics, in general."

Pope Francis has engendered a new era of dialogue, listening and trust in the Holy Spirit that compels us to engage in the challenging conversations of our times bearing in mind the assurance he articulated last November when he said, "May it be a free church and open to the challenges of the present, never in defense for fear of losing something."


It’s Not a Complement:
The pitfalls of a gendered theology of church

Natalia Imperatori-Lee |  November 4, 2016

More troubling than the question of whether women can participate in the church’s sacramental ministry as priests is the infiltration of such a gendered ecclesiology into the highest echelons of the church’s hierarchy.

This language of Marian and Petrine dimensions has two primary sources. The notion of the church as Christ’s bride, of course, has scriptural roots: It comes from the Gospels and the Letters of St. Paul and is expanded upon in the Book of Revelation.

The association of that metaphor with Marian and Petrine dimensions of the church, however, comes from a theologian who was a favorite of both St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, a Swiss onetime Jesuit named Hans Urs von Balthasar. While he is well known for his contributions to theological aesthetics, many theologians take issue with the gendered language he uses to describe the church as a masculine/feminine complementary reality, where Mary and Jesus, or Mary and Peter, correspond to separate dimensions of the church.

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Women Priests Tell Pope Francis:   We Are Already Here

For immediate release | November 3, 2016

MEDIA CONTACT:  Martha Sherman,
Board President, Roman Catholic Women Priests-USA

Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, an organization of Roman Catholic women ordained as priests in apostolic succession, is disappointed by Pope Francis’ recent statements that supported the sexist ban on women in the Roman Catholic priesthood.

Two days ago, Pope Francis attended a celebration marking the anniversary of the Reformation. In the midst of Lutheran clergy, he heard the Gospel proclaimed by a female Lutheran archbishop and embraced her in a show of solidarity. Why, then, is the Pope so resistant to expressing solidarity with Roman Catholic women called to the priesthood?

The evidence is clear: there is no legitimate barrier to inclusive ordination in Scripture or Tradition. As our friends at the Women’s Ordination Conference reminded us in their statement, history, theology, and the People of God overwhelmingly support gender-inclusive priestly ministry.

 Furthermore, the Pope’s statement ignores a reality in the Roman Catholic Church: Roman Catholic women are already sharing their priestly gifts with diverse communities around the globe. In our own organization, hundreds of women and others unjustly excluded from priestly ministry are following their God-given calls to ordination through a new model of ordained ministry in a renewed Roman Catholic Church.

 “Pope Francis has called for Catholics to open wide the doors of our hearts, but he is also trying to close doors on gender justice” said Martha Sherman, RCWP Board Circle President. “As much as he may try, Catholic women are determined to keep the doors of Gospel equality open”.


Catholic Women Preach goes Live

Today, All Saints Day, catholicwomenpreach.org went live with three faith filled, challenging and inspiring reflections for the Advent Season from Sister Jamie T. Phelps, O.P, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, and Sister Barbara E. Reid, O.P.! And we're just getting started:   Kerry Robinson, Carolyn Woo, Nancy Pineda-Madrid, Marie Adele Dennis, Sr. Christine Schenk and Sr. Cathy Hilkert are coming up soon!

Be sure to visit Catholic Women Preach today to view both the videos and texts of these phenomenal women preachers!

Catholic Women Preach is an innovative project designed to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the Church today by responding to Pope Francis’ call for broader and more active engagement of the baptized in the preaching mission of the Church. This project is a deeply faithful, hopeful and joyful initiative intended to build up the Church.

CWP offers the theologically informed perspectives of Catholic women:

  • to serve as an inspirational, theologically based resource for ordained priests, deacons, catechists, and all involved in the ministry of the word in the Catholic Church
  •  to encourage Catholics, especially younger adult Catholics, with messages of hope that renew faith, strengthen us and encourage active engagement in the life of the Church for our work in the world
  • to provide a global platform for women’s voices and faith reflections so that the fullness of our Catholics giftedness can be accessed by all Catholics.


On women clergy, Pope Francis fears ‘disease’ of clericalism

John L. Allen Jr. | November 1, 2016

On the way back from Sweden, Pope Francis appeared to suggest that the Church's ban on women priests is "forever." What that doesn't address is where he may come down on women deacons, which seems harder to handicap -- but the right place to start is his aversion to clericalism.

I don’t know how to handicap where the pope will come down on the issue, but I do know where to begin in trying to describe how he’s likely to approach it: What he sees as the “disease” of clericalism, and the danger of clericalism setting the tone for discussions of women in the Church.

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Call To Action Statement: Catholics are Ready for Women Priests

CTA | November 2, 2016

It is clear that Catholics across the United States support women priests. At the time of Pope Francis’ election, the Pew Research Center showed that six out of ten Catholics think the Pope should open ordination to women. Today, however, Pope Francis made it clear that he does not foresee women’s equality in the church.

“For a Pope who proclaims the need for mercy, Pope Francis is not being merciful to Catholic women,” said David Saavedra, Interim Co-Director of Call To Action. “The ban against ordination keeps women from having meaningful representation at the Vatican or in Catholic decision-making bodies across the globe. As a result, policy decisions are being made about women’s lives without any women at the table where those decisions are made.”

This was not always the case. History shows that women were ordained as deacons, priests, and bishops in the early centuries of the church.

“We are ready for women priests to be restored in the church,” noted Mr. Saavedra, “and are supporting women who are moving ahead with ministry or ordination without Vatican approval.  Catholics are working in movements like Call To Action to ensure that one day women and men will be able to equally minister alongside one another. This is what Jesus modeled and we hope the same for our church.”

Roy Bourgeois Responds to Pope Francis on Women Priests

Roy Bourgeiois | November 3, 2016

"Pope Francis, God created women and men of equal worth and dignity. How can men say that their call to be priests is authentic, but God's call to women is not?

Let's face it, Pope Francis the problem is not with God, but with an all male clerical culture that views women as lesser than men. Sexism, like racism and homophobia is a sin."

[Roy Bourgeois, is a priest who was dismissed from his religious order because of his support of women priests.

Doctrinal congregation convokes meeting on role of women in the church

Cindy Wooden | September 29, 2016

Leaders of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith spent three days in late September listening to women theologians, canon lawyers, Scripture scholars and specialists in other academic fields talk about roles women have played in the Catholic church and roles they could play in the future.

After the symposium Sept. 26-28 was over, the congregation issued a brief statement outlining the topics discussed and listing the women who made formal presentations. The congregation said the papers will be published at a later date.

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Rent A Priest Service in India

T. K. Devasia | September 27, 2016

Former Catholic priests in the southern Indian state of Kerala have launched an illicit "rent a priest" service to meet the spiritual requirements of Catholics who do not avail of services from their parishes. 

The service aims to help Catholics who have been critical of their parish priests to hire former priests listed with the association called Catholic Priests, Ex-Priest and Nuns Association.

Former priests in this association provide spiritual services, including administering sacraments.

According to Catholic practice, a priest who has left the priesthood is not supposed to administer sacraments or celebrate Mass for the public. Although the sacraments administered are valid, the acts are considered illicit as the former priests have had their rights to do so revoked.

Reji Njallani, a layperson and national president of the association said their aim is to help Catholics who want spiritual help get it because they "have fallen away" from their parishes for whatever reasons.

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Pope and Anglican leader say churches share 'certain yet imperfect communion'
 "We trust in God's grace and providence, knowing that the Holy Spirit will open new doors and lead us into all truth."  Will the ordination of women be one of the doors?

Joshua J. McElwee  |  Oct. 6, 2016

Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby met twice this week in Rome for symbol-laden encounters, where they jointly commissioned 19 pairs of bishops from their two global faith communities to go back to their home countries sharing joint prayer and mission.

The two also issued a joint statement Wednesday evening, declaring that while there continue to be "serious obstacles" blocking the path to full unity between their two churches that their clergy and faithful should not "undervalue that certain yet imperfect communion that we already share."

"New circumstances have presented new disagreements among us, particularly regarding the ordination of women and more recent questions regarding human sexuality," said Francis and Welby, nodding towards the differences between their churches' teachings on priestly ordination and gay relationships.

"While, like our predecessors, we ourselves do not yet see solutions to the obstacles before us, we are undeterred," stated the two Christian shepherds. "We trust in God's grace and providence, knowing that the Holy Spirit will open new doors and lead us into all truth."

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Invitation to Toronto RCWP Canada Ordination

Letter to the Editor

Promotion of the ordination of women

I would like to share a few ideas on how to promote the ordination of women.
Perhaps various groups could join together and go as a group to church services wearing buttons proclaiming that the Church should "ordain women now".  One or two people wearing a button may not be noticed but many would.  It might make a media story as well.  If people became bold enough they could also pass out buttons or other information from public sidewalk locations near a church as people approached the church for a service.
Perhaps ordering a bunch of buttons and planning some organized ways for groups to use them as opportunities arise might be the way to go.  Other venues could be public lectures at the university, fall suppers, parish events, or the Archbishop's New Year Levy.
Some of the supporters of the ordination of women may not be able to be involved in public issues because of their positions of employment.  Individual discernment would be required regarding how publicly one can be at this point in their lives.

As civil law stands at this time, religious institutions have the right to practice discrimination if something is in opposition to their belief system.  It is interesting to note that Mormons are not allowed to be polygamous even though that has been tolerated officially in the past by their church.  Why?  Because civil law prohibits polygamy.   We in Canada have a charter of human rights, but the charter seemingly is ignored when it comes to women’s ordination and married priests in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.  Perhaps it is time to challenge this.
I'm struck by the fact that there are many dispersed groups of people gathering for community and spiritual growth, yet lack the coordination of efforts to move issues forward. 

Phoebe, Regina, SK


Archbishop Paul-André Durocher honored at FutureChurch Annual Event for His Work to Open Discussion on Women Deacons; Expanded Leadership for Women

Mary Louise Hartman | October 8, 2016

On September 22, 2016, FutureChurch  honored Archbishop Paul-André Durocher (Gatineau, Quebec) as the 2016 Recipient of the Father Louis J. Trivison Award at the annual Fall Event.  Archbishop Durocher made international news for his visionary proposal during the 2015 Family Synod in Rome calling on bishops to discuss women deacons and expand leadership for women in the Church including greater opportunities for preaching. 

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Canadian Cardinal will not refuse funerals for medically assisted deaths.  Cardinal Gérald Lacroix says he will not follow the example of several other Canadian bishops.

Global Pulse staf | October 4, 2016

Cardinal Gérald Lacroix of Quebec said he will not follow his fellow Canadian Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories in refusing funerals for those who asked to be euthanased, the Catholic News Service reports.

"I don't plan specific directives aimed at refusing this support or refusing access to the anointing of the sick and the celebration of funerals," Cardinal Lacroix said in a statement last Thursday.

The Cardinal was reacting to a document published earlier this month by the Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories, addressed to the clergy, in which they said these sacraments and celebrations may be refused for those opting for assisted suicide or euthanasia.

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Polish Women advocate for ordination of women with book and facebook page

Kaplanstwo kobiet? Katolickie feministki wypowiadajace sie o etyce seksualnej i antykoncepcji? Charyzmatyczne kobiety obecne w sluzbie liturgicznej? Feministyczne czytanie Biblii? Kobiety uprawiajace powazna teologie? Walka o rownouprawnienie w kosciele?

TAK! - i nie tylko w teorii, ale i w praktyce, jak pokazuje na konkretnych przykladach z rozmaitych krajow i kregow kulturowych Zuzanna Radzik. Kosciol kobiet to pasjonujaca podroz po istniejacych na swiecie praktykach, ktore pokazuja, ze udzial kobiet w kosciele jest o wiele szerszy i glebszy niz mogloby sie nam, Polkom i Polakom, wydawac.

Women in the Priesthood? Catholic feminists speaking out about sexual ethics and contraception? Charismatic women present in the service of the liturgy? Feminist reading the Bible? Women doing some serious theology? The fight for equality of rights in the church?

YES! - And not only in theory but also in practice, as shown in concrete examples from different countries and cultures by Zuzanna Radzik. 
Kosciol Kobiet is an exciting trip about the existing practices in the world, which shows that the participation of women in the church is much broader and deeper than it seems to Polish women and men.

Female panelists share their struggles in male-dominated religions

Traci Badalucco  |  Oct. 11, 2016

Women in the Catholic church have long been their own advocates, pushing the hierarchy and those within their faith communities to grant them the same ecclesial leadership roles as their male counterparts. The door, however, has remained closed -- but the fight has continued.

. . .

"Women from all walks of life are often told, 'We have separate but equal roles.' That usually means totally the opposite," said Kate Kelly, a human rights lawyer who was excommunicated from the Mormon church in June 2014. "The same is true in Mormonism. Women are told and buy into that lie."

Prairie Messenger editorial says women treated unfairly

Peter Novecosky | October 5, 2016

The Catholic Church is not the only institution today examining the role of women in its structure and mission. Based on its 2,000-year-old tradition, the church, once very patriarchal, is struggling to recognize and empower women to use their gifts more fully in the church.

Surprisingly, another institution has come under criticism — one with a much shorter history: television and film.

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Priest was ordained, reduced to the lay state, married, widowed, then re-instated -- also supports the ordination of women

Dan Morris-Young | Oct. 6, 2016

"The church has no problem touting the stories of married Episcopalian or Lutheran clergy being ordained priests, but it's a bit squirrelly about stories like mine," says Salvatorian Fr. John Pantuso.

His story? Entered seminary training in late 1950s for the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians), first vows in 1960, ordained 1967, left priesthood, laicized, married, two sons, years of lay church work, widowed, renewed Salvatorian vows, reinstated as priest, named a pastor, retired.

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Deacons, millennials part of bishops' conversation at women's conference in Indiana

Heidi Schlumpf  |  Oct. 8, 2016

All the speakers at “Women of the Church: A Catholic Leadership Conference” this weekend were women--except for two. Archbishop Joseph Tobin, CSsR, of Indianapolis and Bishop Charles Thompson of Evansville, Indiana, were part of a moderated conversation during the three-day conference in southern Indiana.

Answering questions from attendees that had been collected in advance, the bishops expressed support for women deacons, the possibility for women preaching and a desire to dialogue with younger “millennial” women.

“I’m hopeful,” said Archbishop Tobin about the possibility of women deacons. As co-chair of the North American Orthodox Catholic Theological Consultation, Tobin said he was encouraged by the fact that the Orthodox recognize the tradition of women deacons.

Thompson, a canon lawyer, noted that the Canon Law Society of America released a document supporting women deacons in 1995.

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My Take

Eusebio L. Koh | Santo Nino Council, K of C (Blessed Sacrament Parish, Regina) | September, October and November, 2016 Newsletter

Last month, I was invited to a lecture by a distinguished American whom I’ve heard so much about. He is Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a 78 year old priest laicized by the Vatican for advocating the ordination of women priests. Here is part of his statement on his dismissal from the Maryknoll Society:  “I believe that our Church's teaching that excludes women from the priesthood defies both faith and reason and cannot stand up to scrutiny.

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Reflections on Roy Bourgeois' Visit to Calgary

Monica Kilburn-Smith | October 1, 2016

We had a truly wonderful day with Roy Bourgeois, visiting from Georgia, on September 18th. It was a joyful and affirming event that brought the community together in so many different ways, and the evening talk at Southwood United invited others from the wider community to attend also.

Thank you again to everyone for all that you did to make the day so fine, whether it was helping with a specific task or simply being present in body/mind/heart! It was good to be together on this special day.

Roy's personal story was moving, often heart-wrenching, to hear.  He spoke of his work with the poor and oppressed in Latin America, his activism with the SOA (School of the Americas) Watch (including going to prison for his convictions), his advocacy for LGBT rights, his naming of the sad culture of sexism and abuse of power within the Catholic church, and of course his support of women priests.

We must keep hope alive he said, over and over, hope for a church of tomorrow that honours all people as equals.  His focus on conscience, compassion, and justice forms the heart and soul of his faith.  His story of following God's call in his life inspires us to identify what we are called by God to name, face and address (non-violently) in our own lives, our own society, our own church, even our own families.  Roy's courage is a beacon to us all!

What stands out most about Roy Bourgeois is the social conscience he possesses

Garth Miller | October 1, 2016

Roy Bourgeois has lived an incredibly interesting life. What strikes observers most about him is that he never takes short cuts. In his youth (and now) he was always taken aback by the injustices that he viewed both worldwide and within the hierarchy of the Catholic church.

His experiences from  humble roots in a small settlement near Baton Rouge, Louisiana that led him to become a decorated war veteran in Vietnam to a missionary worker in Bolivia and priest in El Salvador has shaped him into the iconic individual he represents today.

What stands out the most about him is the social conscience he possesses. He has never been able to endure social injustices in silence. If Roy sees something that is unjust, he confronts it and will not be silent. It is a trait that many famous people have.

Roy believes that humanity's greatest enemy is ignorance. He is dedicated to peace-making. He believes one cannot silence the truth, and even though this stance has cost him dearly, leading to his being defrocked as a priest for his support of the ordination of women priests, he now believes that this has been a blessing for him. It gives him both peace and hope.

His dedication to the inclusion of women priests and gays in the Catholic church, as well as his resolve for world peace, makes him a beacon to all idealistic people.

Roy has never taken the easy road. He realizes that worthwhile issues require stringent commitments that often
include dire consequences. Roy confronts issues head-on and always takes the high road. He is an admirable man and a luminary, and I feel honoured and privileged to have met him.

Special people chose the higher path and in different ways laid down their lives for their sisters and brothers

Gene Swain | October 1, 2016

Our very special third Sunday, September 18th celebration included talks by a very special man: Roy Bourgeois.

Roy mentioned several people who he feels made a great difference. He mentioned Mahatma Ghandi. Ghandi could have stayed in South Africa where he could have done much good as a successful lawyer. But he chose a better path.

He mentioned Mother Teresa. She could have stayed in her convent and done much good leading her community of nuns. But she chose a better path.

He mentioned Rosa Parks. She could have taken her place in the back of the bus and had a peaceful, productive life. But she chose a better path.

He mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King. He could have stayed in his community church and inspired his people with his example. But he chose a better path.

He didn’t mention Roy Bourgeois, but we will. He could have stayed quiet in his Maryknoll community and done great good ministering to the poorest, most downtrodden people but he chose a better path.

All of those special people chose the higher path and in different ways laid down their lives for their sisters and brothers. Jesus said that there is no greater love.

I see Roy Bourgeois’ life’s journey not so much as a transformation as a difficult climb up a ladder.

He started life as a good young Southern Catholic man who was able to accept the separation of white citizens from Blacks as normal and just.

There were many rungs on the ladder he had to climb:  As a young naval officer in Viet Nam, he began to see the bad side of his nation’s war against that people

As a volunteer in an orphanage full of children many of whose parents had been killed by his own nation, he questioned his own involvement.

Called by his God to be a peacemaker rather than a warrior, he joined the Maryknoll order of priests.

Assigned to serve the poor in South America, he began to openly challenge the treatment of the poor.

Expelled from that country, back in the U.S., he began to question his nation’s policy of training the soldiers who were abusing the poor in Latin American countries.

Assigned to El Salvador, he witnessed firsthand the murder of Oscar Romero and many of the aid workers who were living and working with the poor in that land.

Convinced of his own country’s complicity in those deaths, he led peaceful demonstrations against “The School Of the Americas,” which trained those murderers.

Jailed for his protests, he prayed. His prayers inspired him to understand that he too needed forgiveness; forgiveness for the time when he had accepted the injustice of Southern discrimination.

He saw many kinds of discrimination, including that of his own Church’s refusal to end discrimination against women. When one of his fellow protestors against war, asked him to join in her ordination to the priesthood, he accepted.

As he stands on the top rung of the ladder of his life, he is at last content that, in spite of expulsion from his beloved Order and from his priesthood, his conscience is clear.

He can do no other!

      Homily for
                 “Orpah’s” Priestly

Marie Bouclin, Bishop for RCWP Canada | October 1, 2016
I Corinthians 12: 4-11
Psalm 16
Colossians 3: 12-16
John 15: 12-17
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The readings we have just heard are about call. God who calls us as chosen ones, the Spirit of God who empowers us with gifts for service, and Jesus who calls us to be his friends and to bear fruit.
Orpah has heard God call her to priesthood within the community of Roman Catholic Women Priests. We are part of a prophetic movement within our church which began with the ordination of seven women on the Danube River in 2002. Our mission is to prepare, support and ordain predominantly women who have been called by the Holy Spirit to help rebuild the church (and how prophetic is that with a Pope called Francis). We are, like other prophetic movements, just a bit ahead of our time. But in fourteen years our movement has spread from Germany and Austria to 14 countries on 5 continents. Orpah is the 15th person to be ordained within RCWP in Canada , and she is, I believe, number 227 worldwide.
Most, if not all of you, are aware that our own church leadership does not recognize our call. Maybe that is a good thing. It means we can propose a different model of priesthood to those who seek a renewed church based on the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. A church where people are fully welcomed whatever their gender, ability, marital status or sexual orientation; where compassion is more important than blind obedience, where blessing trumps condemnation, where equality, collegiality, and consensus-building are not just buzz-words but our way of being in relationship – with our God, with the people we serve and with one another. That is our “path of life” which brings us “endless joy” as we just heard.
Operating on the margins gives us greater freedom to return to our Christian beginnings as small house-churches. We can build a truly Catholic church together – whether it’s in an ecumenical bible-study or meditation group, an interfaith prayer group or in social outreach programs of all kinds, and we can grow together as followers and friends of Jesus.
There are three significant phrases to retain from today’s Gospel: 1) “I have called you friends”; 2) “You are my friends if you follow my commands”; 3) “You did not choose me. I chose you.”
1. Jesus calls us friends – not servants, not underlings, but equals. Because a friend is someone who accepts me just as I am (warts and all), who enjoys my company, trusts me, confides in me, sometimes agrees to disagree with me, especially on non-essentials. With a friend I can share my deepest fears, regrets and sorrows; I can also share my wildest dreams and my secret hopes. This is the relationship Jesus offers to each of us. Christ is that kind of friend to each one of us. AND it is a two-way street.
2. IF we follow his commands. This is both deceptively simple and virtually impossible: “love one another as I have loved you”. We must love one another as Christ loved us, with “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience”. This is a very, very tall order.
But Jesus gave us a second command – the indispensable one if we even faintly hope to keep the first, and that is to remember him, Jesus, and his telling us, “Do this in memory of me.”
One of the great strengths of our Roman Catholic faith is our sacramental tradition – those rituals built around symbols like water, bread, wine; the sights, sounds, tastes and smells wherein we find the Divine Presence. As a Roman Catholic priest, Orpah is called to sustain and nurture the relationship of friendship with the Divine within the community that is calling her. She will gather people to celebrate Eucharist, meditating on God’s word, breaking bread and drinking at one cup. She is called to keep alive, through the Eucharist, the subversive memory of Jesus.
You see, Jesus understood that as human beings, we need to gather together – as friends – to find strength and sustenance, and the courage to follow him. We need ritual to shore up our identity as disciples of Jesus, as “friends of God and prophets”.
3) And the Holy Spirit chose Orpah to perpetuate the memory of Jesus through her ministry.  To paraphrase Teresa of Avila, Christ has no hands but ours to feed the hungry, to provide clothing and shelter for the poor, to care for the sick, to bring freedom for the captives of all kinds, and to preach his Good News. Christ chooses her to call forth the wealth of gifts in her community. Christ chooses some as apostles, teachers, leaders: people of wisdom, knowledge and faith, people of prayer, contemplation and good common sense to discern who among us is gifted with healing, miracle working, prophecy, discernment, praying with tongues as we read in First Corinthians.
As God’s chosen one, Orpah will strive to “clothe herself with love which binds everything together in perfect harmony”. She accepts to journey with young people, old people, sick people, people searching for meaning and purpose, people who have lost hope or any sense that there is a spark of the Divine within them. Our call today and in the years to come is to support her.
In a moment, Orpah will publicly respond to God’s call: “Here I am. I am ready.”  It is a call to prophetic obedience: obedience to the Holy Spirit who is sending her to be the messenger of God’s mercy to an emerging church and to the world.
So, as we lay hands on Orpah, we will pray for a fresh infusion of God’s Spirit within her. And then we will break bread together and drink from the cup of joy and salvation. We will celebrate our friendship with Jesus. We will re-commit to following his commands. And we will thank our God for choosing Orpah – and us – to bear fruit, abundant fruit, fruit that will last. Amen.


Wayne Holst | October 1, 2016

The following article is being published with the approval of the woman ordained who prefers her name not appear here as she needs to adjust to a new role in her Calgary community.

The ordination ceremony was conducted at St. David's United Church, Calgary on Friday, August 26th, using leadership endorsed by the renewal movement -- Roman Catholic Women Priests.

The Western Canada region of RCWP Canada is served by a woman bishop, Marie Evans Bouclin, who performed the rite of ordination in apostolic succession according to a church liturgy.

Her associate, friend, and my colleague – woman priest Monica Kilburn-Smith – participated, as the community shared in the new priest's first celebration of the sacrament of the eucharist, to which all gathered were invited (including me, a Protestant).

I have been a friend and supporter of the woman priest movement for many years and view it as an authentic attempt to anticipate  the day when women are fully recognized as priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

I am also proud that St. David's United, Calgary could provide Christian sanctuary for this event, in the classic practice of the catholic tradition.

A strong sense of an authentic call to the priesthood on the part of the ordinand

I had never met the candidate before this mass but my first impression, which I always trust, was that of a humble and deeply committed individual.

Making the decision to become a Catholic woman priest was not easy -- and will continue to be challenging -- but I sensed she had been able to work through many things in her spiritual formation and has a strong sense of who she is and what will sustain her.

I came to this decision, not just by listening to her words and observing her deeds during and after the mass, but -- most importantly -- in the way she presented herself. She is a person of integrity, whose words, deeds and appearance are integrated. This was quite evident.

I honour her for this. I celebrate her, and  the people who have helped her come to this point in life and spiritual formation.

Evidence of priestly integrity leads to affirmation of the ordinand by the gathered faith community

I have worshipped with this Calgary community in the past but not for a time. I was very impressed by what I experienced during and after the mass.

I could see that much preparation had gone into building the Christian family that birthed and welcomed this new priestly member on her special day.

That spirit and quality was also evident in the episcopal officiant who ordained her and the collegiality of other clergy who accompanied her into this new calling.

I come from a church tradition that follows the reformers who advocated for the priesthood of the baptized. In this understanding, we are  all ministers to each other (lay and clergy) and to the world.

That said, God frequently seems to call some of us to undertake special service. A dual vocation of leadership and mutual ministry in community was very apparent here.

I saw no evidence of clericalism (that great danger to the church where some are considered institutional Christians of higher status than others and honoured/protected as such). Participating in this liturgy offered me the gift of ecumenism in a most rewarding way. At no point did I feel excluded.

A witness to gracious support of the ordinand by persons who love and are closest to her

Ordination rites can be heady experiences! But the proverbial "morning after" usually brings us back to reality.  That's when our true friends can appear.

I sensed that the new priest has strong support from her husband and immediate family with whom she can always be most intimate and honest. This is a valuable teaching from the Protestant tradition that many Catholic religious today can never fully experience.  May this not be the case for much longer!

Allowing married women and married men into the diaconate, as Pope Francis seems to want, is a step in the right direction.

If she is to survive the inevitable turmoil that confronts those in ministry -- and some of that  is created by people you might least expect to cause difficulty -- the ordinand will need substantive support from those nearest and dearest.

Ordinations can sometimes be misleading. They can convey that following the will of God in our calling will always lead to  happiness and a sense of fulfilment.

Unfortunately, that is not necessarily true. But I sensed at this unique gathering that a strong spiritual and practical support-system is already in place.

Those of us who have experienced some terror in ministry can only hope and pray God's great mercy and loving kindness upon this new member of the priestly family.

Here is the written greeting I extended to the ordinand in the church lobby guest book: "This is a foretaste of the feast to come."
Amen. May it be so in many ways.

The author welcomes comments at his Colleagues List Blog

My thoughts on the Women’s Ordination debate

Emil Kutarna | October 1, 2016
It has nothing to do with validity, liceity or heresy. It is simply a law, and it can be changed.

Pope Gelasius I in the fifth century made the law that women should not be presiding at the altar.  So it is a historical fact that there once were Catholic women priests.
The proof people use against women’s ordination is that it is forbidden by Canon Law.  The problem is that people have little understanding about the basic concept of LAW.  Just because something is a law does not make it true or good -- it makes no difference whether it is civil law or Canon Law, there are good laws and bad laws in both.
Therefore, as Bishop Patricia Friesen said about Canon 1024, ‘Bad Laws are to be broken; otherwise we are complicit in doing wrong’.  Conclusion: That is why we must break the bad law by ordaining women, otherwise we agree with the bad law that discriminates against women.

Regina Conference  
focuses on journey from silence to solidarity
Special to the RCWP Canada website | September 20, 2016

A devote Catholic from Louisiana for the first time made a connection between spirituality and social justice when he met a Canadian priest in Viet Nam.  Roy Bourgeois served his country's military and even was awarded a purple heart, but found his calling to the priesthood under the influence of Father Lucien Olivier of Quebec who operated an orphanage for children who had lost their parents in the war.

Only after three years in the seminary did Father Bourgeois join a protest declaring that the U.S. was wrong to continue the war in Viet Nam.  It was during his first assignment to Bolivia as a Maryknoll Missionary that the poor became his teachers and he realized his solidarity with them.  After five years Father Bourgeois was kicked out of Bolivia after being arrested for protesting the treatment of the poor.

Conditions in South and Central America became more oppressive and brutal during Father Bourgeois' tour of duty there.  Archbishop Oscar Romero, five Jesuits and two of their co-workers in El Salvador, as well as several priests in other countries, not to mention countless campesinos died at the hands of the military government.  Before he was slain while celebrating Mass, Archbishop Romero declared, “Thou shall not kill – Soldiers, disobey your officers who say 'kill'!”

Back in the U.S., Father Bourgeois continued to protest injustice.  This time it was the organization of frequent rallies at Fort Benning, Georgia, where protestors played recordings of Archbishop Romero's voice to South American soldiers who were being trained at the U.S. facility.  Over the years, 60,000 soldiers were trained there.  By contrast, year after year, the protest rallies, now called School of the Americas Watch, grew from ten protestors to 20,000.  As a result of the rallies and petitions to the respective governments, five South American countries withdrew their trainees from these facilities.

The SOA Watch continues until today.  In addition, protestors of injustice have turned their focus to the U.S – Mexico border to stand in solidarity and assist immigrants and refugees.

An injustice closer to home is forbidding the ordination of women

Special to the RCWP Canada website | September 20, 2016

After four years in and out of prison for protesting U.S. militarism, with lots of support from his Maryknoll Missionary community and bishops of many countries, the support came to an abrupt end.  Father Roy Bourgeois began to speak about injustice to women.

At a Regina public lecture attended by 56 people on justice in society and in the Roman Catholic Church, Father Bourgeois asked, “Who are we priests and bishops to say our call to the priesthood is authentic and women’s call is not?”  Quoting Joan Chittister, he asked how it was that God who created the universe is not powerful enough to call women to be priests.  In an all male clerical culture women are lesser.  Father Bourgeois insisted that you cannot address this issue until you address the issue of power.

Roy Bourgeois came to a point, he said, when I couldn't be silent.  He recalled an incident where he took advantage of his appearance on Vatican Radio.  He was invited by Vatican Radio to speak on the School of the Americas Watch and American foreign policy.  Five minutes before his allotted time was up, Father Bourgeois was able to declare, “An injustice closer to home is forbidding the ordination of women.  There will never be justice in our Church until women are ordained.”  Father Bourgeois said he was very much at peace after this incident at Vatican Radio, and it was not “a big deal” for Vatican officials until he preached a homily at a woman's ordination at Lexington, KY.

Eventually, over a three year period, Father Bourgeois was summoned several times by his religious superiors to explain himself.  He welcomed dialogue over the matter of women's ordination, but was repeatedly told that Pope John Paul II clarified the Church's position on the matter and that there was to be “no talking about it”.  The ban on discussing the ordination of women had the opposite effect.  The matter was being discussed widely.  Survey figures in the press reported 70% of lay faithful being in favour of the ordination of women.  Arguing from the sacredness of conscience and from the reality that his religious superiors were asking him to lie, Father Bourgeois stated that he could not obey an unjust law.  This resulted in his expulsion from his Maryknoll Mission family, and his “reduction to the lay state”.

The issue of the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church, Father Bourgeois told the accepting conference participants, I began to relate to the issue of racism.  Promoting and being in solidarity over such issues causes sadness and pain, but joy can return.  His main regret is that he didn't do this earlier. 

Concluding remarks during the evening conference presentation:  Our God is calling us back from our silence.  We need each other (community).  Sometimes we feel compelled to step out and make a statement.  It's painful to stay in our Church, but we are the Church and are called to walk in solidarity with others.  Change comes from the bottom up.  Oppressors will not willingly give up their power.  We must demand it in a non-violent way.

"Justice with a capital J is subversive."

"Injustices are not of God."

"As with racism, 'equal but separate' is a lie."

"We are capable of change."

"Prayer without action doesn't accomplish very much."

"Our silence is justifying the injustice."

"Regarding women's ordination, in 20 years we are going to look like a bunch of fools."  -- Andrew Britz

"What makes you think it will take so long?" -- Anonymous

"I'm sick and tired of giving priests, bishops and cardinals a pass."  -- Roy Bourgeois

"If I would leave them alone, they will keep on doing what they're doing."

"Giving women only some authority is like telling Rosa Parks that now you may sit in the middle of the bus."

Dictating to God is blasphemous

Judith Pellerin | September 20, 2016

When we speak of our tradition, we can't just go back 500 or 1000 or even 1500 years. We need to go to the very beginning, when the followers of Jesus met in homes to celebrate Eucharist.

There is clear evidence that there were women priests from the beginning, before the church became patriarchal and totally dominated by men.  Our church leaders want to close their minds to those early years of the Christian church, and instead continue to model the church on later centuries when church power meant political power, and women were denigrated and ignored.

Scripture scholars tell us there is no scriptural basis for excluding women from the priesthood.  It is male ego deciding that they know best what God desires, and to whom the Spirit of God will give a call to priesthood.  They dare to dictate to God.  How blasphemous!

A woman — and also a Roman Catholic priest

WILL CHABUN | September 16, 2016

Jane Kryzanowski remembers the day she got The Call.

It was 2011 and a female Catholic bishop — yes, there are such people — was in Regina for a workshop, describing her own spiritual journey — and something started “burning” in Kryzanowski‘s soul.

She felt “a real resonance” as the bishop talked.

The bishop noticed something and later asked Kryzanowski, “Are you the one I’ll be coming back to ordain?”

It was, Kryzanowski recalled, “like being struck by lightning.”

Tremors and shivers and “I think I broke into tears.”

After much thought, she began checking how to become a woman priest, trained but not recognized by what she calls the “institutional” or “traditional” Catholic church.

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Entrenched sexism and complacency in the church’s senior management

WILL CHABUN | September 16, 2016

Roy Bourgeois considered himself a good soldier.

He’d done a military tour of duty in Vietnam, then — his idealism awakened — became a Roman Catholic priest in the Maryknoll Order, specialists in foreign missions.

But as time went by, he became more and more disenchanted — first, with American political and military intervention everywhere, but particularly in Central America. There, the U.S. government trained counter-revolutionary forces through the U.S. Army’s “Schools of the Americas” military counterinsurgency centre — even as local right-wing militias killed peasants, priests and even Bishop Oscar Romero.

Bourgeois also became increasingly uncomfortable with the Roman Catholic Church’s own attitudes toward LGBT people and the ordination of women.

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New Canadian archbishop: A church in dialogue doesn't just mean 'yelling louder'

Joshua J. McElwee  |  Aug. 30, 2016

The Catholic church will only be able to create changes in wider society if it engages in dialogue with those outside the faith community by "deeply listening" to them on tough issues, says a new archbishop in Canada's Saskatchewan province.
Archbishop-designate Donald Bolen, who Pope Francis appointed earlier this summer to lead the Canadian archdiocese of Regina just north of the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota, said the church cannot expect to be heard just by speaking more loudly.

"When we're dealing with really difficult and challenging questions we need to be faithful to church teaching, faithful to the kerygma, the revelation we're given, but we need to bring that into dialogue if we want to be taken seriously and if we want to have an influence on the world," said Bolen, speaking in an NCR interview Thursday.

"It's not by yelling louder," said the archbishop. "It's by engaging in articulate conversation and challenging positions."

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         Roy Bourgeois at Regina

 and Calgary

Joshua J. McElwee | August 2, 2016
Pope Francis has created a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church, following up on a promise made last May in what could be an historic move towards ending the global institution's practice of an all-male clergy.
. . .
Many church historians have said however that there is abundant evidence that women served as deacons in the early centuries of the church. The apostle Paul mentions such a woman, Phoebe, in his letter to the Romans.

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Un prix cher payé

Linda Spear, RCWP Canada, Sutton, QC                    

Marie-Ève Martel | 05 août 2016

Contrairement à Mme Bergeron, une autre femme de la région a toutefois pu réaliser son rêve. En 2010, Linda Spear est devenue la première Québécoise et la sixième Canadienne à être ordonnée prêtre, malgré l'opposition de Rome. Une ordination qui a toutefois un prix cher payé pour celles qui osent défier l'Église.

«Nous sommes automatiquement excommuniées si on accepte l'ordination,
» explique-t-elle.  «Il y a certainement un double standard.»

«Je n'ai jamais entendu d'histoire de prêtre pédophile excommunié. C'est un drôle de message qu'on envoie...»

D'abord sceptique face à l'annonce du pape, qui avait déjà montré une certaine ouverture face à l'ordination des femmes, en mai dernier, la prêtresse se dit maintenant plutôt optimiste.

Lire la suite

Interdenominational Liturgy celebrating Creation

Editor RCWP Canada web site | September 4, 2016

Today two alternative Christian communities, Salal + Cedar and Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonanzin met in the in the parking lot of  St. Anselm's Anglican Church to walk and pray in Pacific Spirit Park –unceded Musqueam Territory and to celebrate the Eucharist.

Salal + Cedar Watershed Discipleship Community is a ministry of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, led by Reverend Laurel Dykstra.  This community holds worship outdoors and have a vocation for growing capacity for environmental justice in the lower Fraser Watershed, Coast Salish Territory. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonanzin is an independent inclusive community in the Roman Catholic liturgical tradition, based in east Vancouver led by Roman Catholic Woman Priest, Reverend Dr. Victoria Marie, a member of RCWP Canada.

Both communities have a heart for creation and believe racial justice, economic justice and environmental justice are connected.  The leaders of both communitis have strong ties to the Catholic Worker Movement.  Rev. Dykstra lived for extended periods at the Los Angeles Catholic Worker and the Tacoma Catholic Worker.  Rev. Dr. Marie is the co-founder of the Vancouver Catholic Worker, where she and Sarah Bjorknas live and have provided hospitality for the past 17 years.

There is no more shame in a woman's wanting to use sacramental or spiritual power than there is shame in Pope Francis' own use of it

Jamie Manson  |  Aug. 17, 2016

In late June, on a flight back from Armenia, Pope Francis told a team of reporters that he was angry.
What made Francis angry wasn't the continued deaths of countless refugees, or the latest instance of environmental degradation or some grim statistics about rates of human trafficking. No, what angered him was the suggestion, by some in the media, that he had "opened the door to deaconesses," after his May 12 dialogue with the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).

"Really?" Francis said incredulously to the reporters aboard the plane, "I was a bit angry with the media because this is not saying the truth of the thing to the people." He explained that, after the UISG meeting, he asked the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Gerhard Müller) to compile a list of possible members of a commission to study the role of women deacons in the early church.

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Women church workers, leading the way towards equality, changing perceptions of women in ministry, are the prophets for our time

Nicole Sotelo  |  Aug. 18, 2016

With the Vatican's announcement of members for the women deacon commission, media have raised the question again of women's leadership in the church. Much like the "Rosie the Riveters" that the government ushered into the public workforce during World War II, the Vatican has also welcomed Catholic women to serve in limited church roles for the last half century. They work on the front lines of local parishes, some diocesan offices, and a smattering of support roles at the Vatican. In fact, women make up 80 percent of lay church workers in the United States.

Now that the Vatican welcomes women as church workers, why do Catholic officials balk at women's leadership in roles with significant decision-making authority, even when the decisions significantly affect women's lives? Part of the reason -- and the solution -- may rest in emerging research.

Research has shown a lingering gender bias against women who actively seek leadership. It turns out the bias is not just against women's leadership, in general. It rises when women step outside of their current, culturally prescribed gender roles and are perceived as desiring leadership.

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-- Des femmes au clergé

Marie-Ève Martel | 06 août 2016

Depuis quelques décennies, les femmes ont réussi à se tailler une place dans bon nombre de corps de métiers dits non traditionnels. Elles ont obtenu le droit de vote, puis, dans certains cas, l'équité salariale. Un plafond de verre persiste pourtant: l'Église. Mais cela pourrait changer. Mardi, le pape François a nommé une commission d'étude sur les femmes diacres. Certains y perçoivent une ouverture du Vatican à ordonner, un jour, une femme. Une revendication qui trouve écho ici, dans la région.

Une seule femme a officiellement demandé au diocèse de Saint-Hyacinthe d'être ordonnée diacre, nous confirme l'organisation. Il s'agit de la Sheffordoise Claire Bergeron, qui a formulé sa requête à la fin des années 1990.

Sa demande fut même acheminée au Vatican, lui dit-on.

Lire la suite

Some thought on Bishop Spongs new book "Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy”

Emil Kutarna | August 19, 2016

Spong says that Jesus is not God.  Does this mean that Christianity collapses like a house of cards? After almost two thousand years is it possible to be so mistaken about redemption?

For me personally does it mean the loss of my priesthood? That is huge. That hurts!  Does it mean that Jesus never did come down from heaven into my hands when I, Emil, carefully pronounced the holy words of consecration?  How proud my Polish mom and dad were to see their son up on the altar.

What about all the baptisms I performed? Were they a nice ceremony, but it never washed away Original Sin? What about all the confessions I heard and absolutions I gave? Perhaps they were psychologically healing, but was that it? Did God forgive their sins or not?

It pains me deeply to think that a large part of my life being a priest may have been a huge mistake. My only comforting thought is that it was an honest mistake. I was happy in my ignorance.

On the other hand, it also brought me much satisfaction to be able to be with people at important times in their lives. I was at their side to share their joys and sorrows. There were the happy marriages, and the tearful funerals, especially poignant at the burial of little children.

But where do I go from here?  To be honest if Jesus is not the God of my youth, then I have a new  appreciation of the man Jesus.  As God, I am not surprised at what Jesus did and said. Of course he could do miracles, multiply bread, walk on water, cure a blind man.  But if he is only human like you and me, then he must be a genius.  For me then, what he said is more wondrous than any miracle!

For Jesus to contradict the powerful religious leaders of his nation, must have taken a lot of Jewish chutzpa. As God that shouldn’t surprise anyone. But as a human to do what he did which cost him his life, that’s a matter for admiration, not adoration.

Concerning “Atonement Theology” Richard Rohr, OFM,  quotes Duns Scotus (d.1308):  “Jesus did not come to change the mind of  God about humanity, Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God.” And I say that makes more sense to me than the idea of Jesus dying to placate a stern God.

Bishop Spong says about Jesus:  I think that his humanity became so full and so complete that the meaning of God could find expression in him.  I think all human beings have that capacity.” This sure sounds like what the Franciscans and Eastern rites teach calling it “Divinization”.

So where can I go from here?  I don’t want to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” So I will try to adapt by trying to give new meanings to old practices.

I’ll still ‘go to Mass’ but the magic for me in the breaking of the bread and sharing of the cup in memory of Jesus will nudge me a little closer to loving my neighbor. And according to Jesus, this is how I show my love for Abba, my loving parent.

Emil Kutarna, Regina

Vancouver inclusive community sponsor meaningful events

RCWP Canada Editor | July 29, 2016

Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community Society members Jan, Vincent, and Victoria along with friends of OLGT Kevin and Peter, pictured below enjoyed the speakers and talented entertainers at the Aging With Pride event yesterday afternoon. 

On July 22nd, many who attended the liturgy and potluck for the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene expressed appreciation for the event.  A special thanks was expresed to Laura Tompkins whose painting of Saint Mary Magdalene was the key visual for the liturgical space.

An outdoor prayer and meditation event called Sacred Earth: Sacred Trust" action took place on June 12th.

This growing community is based in east Vancouver.  Their vision statement states that they are a community that is Christ-centred, egalitarian, inclusive, and compassionate.  Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community Society holds Sunday masses at 3 pm on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month at The Listening Post – 382 Main St Vancouver BC (off East Hastings St.). They welcome anyone to join them.

Reverend Dr. Victoria Marie, an ordained priest of Roman Catholic Women Priests Canada is the leader of OLGT.  According to Society members her life experiences have made her adept at detecting the silent suffering of others. She realized that many of her brothers and sisters here in Vancouver felt abandoned by the Church and were hungering for a spiritual home. She had been denying the call to the priesthood because of fear of not being good enough and fear of being cast aside by the Church. But after some soul searching, discernment and lots of discussion with friends, she was ready to answer the call, which she did on July 29, 2012, her fourth anniversary of ordination being today.

For more information see: 

Pope Francis Appoints Scholars to Commission to Study Diaconate for Women
Kate McElwee: Italy (+39) 393-692-2100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org
Erin Saiz Hanna: USA (+1) 401-588-0457 ehanna@womensordination.org
For Immediate Release: 2 August 2016
Rome, Italy:  The Women's Ordination Conference (WOC) welcomes and is encouraged by Pope Francis' gender-balanced and lay-inclusive appointments to study women deacons in the early Church, including U.S. expert and 2015 Women's Ordination Worldwide presenter, Dr. Phyllis Zagano.
We pray that such a commission, similar to the Pontifical Biblical Commission of 1976 that concluded there is no scriptural barrier to women's priestly ordination, will inform a new reality for women in our Church: one that models equality and inclusion.

Only when women are equally included in all ordination rites -- as deacons, priests, and bishops -- and at all Church decision-making tables, can we begin to restore our Gospel values of equality and justice.


The Spirit, through sisters provides us with a powerful example of pastoral leadership.  Where are the Canadian and US Bishops in all this?

NCR Editorial Staff  |  Aug. 5, 2016

Catholics are well-acquainted with -- and NCR readers seem especially attuned to -- the adage that "the church thinks in centuries." The utterance is usually greeted with a knowing nod, eye-rolling or a sigh, depending on the topic at hand, because the usually unspoken understanding is "so don't expect anything to change in your lifetime."

Pope Francis' appointment Aug. 2 of the Study Commission on the Women's Diaconate stood that adage on its head. Francis created the commission, he said, "after intense prayer and mature reflection," but the idea was only presented to him in May.

Less than three months to put a papal commission together? That has to be a record. Let's hope it is a sign that Pope Francis is coming to a clearer understanding about the urgency with which the church must act to fully include women in all aspects of its life.

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Global sisters group thanks Francis for creating commission on women deacons

Joshua J. McElwee  |  Aug. 3, 2016

The main umbrella group of Catholic women religious around the world is expressing gratitude to Pope Francis for creating a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the church, thanking him for responding to their call for the creation of such a group.

The International Union of Superiors General (UISG) had asked the pontiff to create a commission to study women deacons in a meeting in May between him and some 900 of their members, each the head of a female religious order around the world.

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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee  running mate, Tim Kaine, favors allowing women to become priests

Kimberly Winston | Jul. 22, 2016

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton announced Tim Kaine, the junior Democratic senator from Virginia and former governor of that state, as her vice presidential running mate Friday.
Kaine, a Roman Catholic, will appear with Clinton, a Methodist, at next week's Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Here are five faith facts about the new vice presidential candidate.

1. He was taught by Jesuits.

Kaine was raised Catholic in Missouri. His parents were so devout, Kaine told C-SPAN, that “if we got back from a vacation on a Sunday night at 7:30 p.m., they would know the one church in Kansas City that had an 8 p.m. Mass that we can make.” He attended an all-boys Jesuit high school in Kansas City and worked for a year with Jesuit missionaries in Honduras, where he taught welding -- his father's trade -- and carpentry.
. . .

3. He favors allowing women to become priests.

When Pope Francis visited Washington, D.C., in September 2015, Kaine attended the pontiff's historic address to Congress. Before the speech, he issued a statement. "If women are not accorded equal place in the leadership of the Catholic Church and the other great world religions, they will always be treated as inferiors in earthly matters as well," Kaine said. "There is nothing this Pope could do that would improve the world as much as putting the Church on a path to ordain women."

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Magdala celebrations heal long-buried misogyny -- but will our daughters care?

Christine Schenk  |  Jun. 23, 2016

To say I was thrilled when the Vatican upgraded the celebration of St. Mary of Magdala to a feast on par with those of the other apostles doesn't nearly begin to cover it.
On June 10 Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship said:

It is right that the liturgical celebration of this woman has the same grade of feast given to the celebration of the apostles in the General Roman Calendar, and shines a light on the special mission of this woman, who is an example and model for every woman in the Church.

St. Mary of Magdala, the statement says, "has the honor of being the 'prima testis' [first witness] of the Lord's Resurrection. ... [and] Precisely because she was an eyewitness of the Risen Christ, she was also, on the other hand, the first to bear witness to him to the Apostles."

I'm not sure if most of us realize just how big of a deal it is to have the Vatican say St. Mary of Magdala was not a prostitute but an apostle in her own right, and the first to witness Jesus' Resurrection.

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The Role of the Popes in the Invention of Complementarity and the Vatican’s
Anathematization of Gender

A scholarly 18-page paper originally published in Religion and Gender Special Issue 2016

Mary Anne Case | June 29, 2016


This article examines the origins and uses by the Vatican of the theological anthropology of complementarity, arguing that the doctrine of complementarity, under which the sexes are essentially different though not unequal, is an invention of the twentieth century untraceable in earlier centuries, but developed by, among others, the Popes from Pius XII through Benedict XVI, in part as a response to feminist claims, including those recently anathematized by the Vatican under the term "gender." After exploring some difficulties with the application of the doctrine of complementarity as Catholic orthodoxy, the article concludes by compiling preliminary evidence as to the extent Pope Francis will continue his predecessors' approach to complementarity.

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Actualizing vision of recovering true vocation

vikki marie | June 24, 2016

From the evening of June 16th to the afternoon of June 19th, I had the opportunity to participate in the EcoFaith Recovery Weekend Institute at Newburg, OR. Our learning cohort included five interns, young people between the ages of 18 – 30 and three of us older folks between 53 and 71.

The EcoFaith Recovery Team invited us to share and participate in actualizing their vision of recovering our true vocation, restoring our sanity, reconciling right-relationships, rediscovering courage and reclaiming our prophetic imagination.

Imagine, with all of this great learning going on, I had the added bonus to meet a young woman, Sarah Holst of Duluth, MN, who is seriously discerning applying for the program of preparation to become a Roman Catholic Woman Priest. She plans to apply once she has met the educational requirement. It is so heartening for me to see a woman, not yet 30, joining our movement.

[vikki marie, a priest of RCWP Canada who lives in Vancouver, BC is from Brooklyn, NY.  Email: sistersea@gmail.com]

Letter from Bishop Don Bolen to the people of the Diocese of Saskatoon and the Archdiocese of Regina on the occasion of his new appointment

July 11, 2016

Dear members of the clergy, religious communities, and faithful of the Diocese of
Saskatoon and the Archdiocese of Regina,

Grace and peace to you in the Lord Jesus Christ.

By now you will have received the news that I have been appointed by Pope Francis as the
Archbishop of Regina. I write this note with many and conflicting emotions, held together by a deep and abiding trust in God’s mercy and faithfulness.

Serving with you in the Diocese of Saskatoon these past six-plus years has been one of the great joys and privileges of my life. Under the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI then of Pope Francis, together we have sought to address pastoral challenges within our parishes and communities.

With an exceptional team of clergy and lay leadership, we have sought to be a church that in our parishes and outreach proclaims the Gospel of Jesus Christ, trying to live the Gospel with integrity, mindful always of the mercy of God at the source of our calling. We have striven to be a church in dialogue with our culture, with other Christian communities and with adherents of other religious traditions, always open to working together at the service of God’s merciful
designs for humanity. We have sought to be a church seeking justice, engaging in issues of the day, addressing systemic injustice, and showing special concern for those on the margins of our society. While our efforts have been shaped by our own limitations and failings, we have felt and seen significant signs of the Holy Spirit at work in our midst.

The years I have served in Saskatoon have coincided with the Truth and Reconciliation process addressing the painful legacy of the Indian Residential Schools. As a people, we need to learn to tell the story of our land differently. As church, we are learning anew to walk together with Indigenous peoples. Through a series of initiatives, we have set out with energy on this walk, with the support and guidance of many Indigenous friends. I hope and pray that these efforts and this learning will continue.

The date for the transition to Regina has not yet been set. As of July 11, 2016, I am the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Saskatoon, with the authority of a diocesan bishop. Upon my installation as Archbishop of Regina, it is to be anticipated that the College of Consultors in the Diocese of Saskatoon will be asked to meet and elect a diocesan administrator who will work with others to lead and guide the diocese until a new bishop is named.

I have every confidence that the Holy Spirit, who has been leading us these past years, will continue to be at work in the fine and gifted lay faithful, religious, and clergy of the diocese.

Thank you for your faith, wisdom and generosity, which have made it such a joy to minister alongside you these past years. You remain in my heart and I assure you of my ongoing prayers, and in turn, ask your prayers for all that lies ahead.

To the clergy, religious and faithful of the Archdiocese of Regina, I promise to try to serve you well, by the grace of God, and very much look forward to working with you at the service of the Kingdom.

Returning to Regina means coming home to the place where I grew up (then in the Diocese of Gravelbourg), where I was educated (many years at Campion College), and where many of my family members and friends still reside. I was ordained a priest by Archbishop Charles Halpin, blessed by Archbishop Peter Mallon’s willingness to have me spend years working at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome, and had the privilege of serving (briefly) as Vicar General of the Archdiocese then as fellow bishop alongside Archbishop Daniel Bohan. Many of my teachers in the faith, spiritual guides and mentors in life have been from among the clergy and faithful of the Archdiocese.

There is a great legacy within the Archdiocese of strong parish communities, evangelization, dialogue, collaboration between all the people of God, and the pursuit of justice. It is a privilege to serve in a new way, alongside all of you, as we strive to be faithful to the Gospel and respond to the world in its needs.

I am also mindful that many things have changed in the Archdiocese in my years away from it, and that my knowledge of its parishes and people is very limited. There is a steep learning curve ahead, and I ask in advance for your patience, and especially for your prayers. It is my hope to keep as episcopal motto the phrase from Thomas Merton which speaks eloquently the name of God: ‘mercy within mercy within mercy’. May we jointly be held by and draw life from that great font of mercy, and daily show it to others and to the world.

Yours in the Risen Lord,
+ Donald!Bolen

The Church & Women: At a Crossroad -
No one can say he or she is for the poor as Jesus was and do nothing for the equality of women

Joan Chittister | July 6, 2016

Pope Francis has won the heart of the world by being humble, simple and pastoral – the warm and caring face of the Church, a man like Jesus who is a man of the poor.

But clearly, no one can say they are for the poor as Jesus was and do nothing, nothing, nothing for the equality of women. To address classism does not begin to resolve the problems that come with sexism.

The full humanity of women, human anthropology, and our efforts to eradicate poverty are indeed among the issues that will measure both this papacy and this Church as it moves again from an age that is dying to a new age that is coming to life.
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Pilgrims give letter to Pope Francis:  “We suffer because many women feel like strangers in our Church, not taken seriously or feeling unwelcome, because they are too little involved in responsible bodies and in decision-
making processes.”

John L. Allen Jr. | July 6, 2016

A group of eight pilgrims walked over 600 miles from Switzerland to Rome to support a "Church with women," not advocating female ordination, but wanting to open a dialogue. The good news for such folks is that there's a surprisingly wide range of possible steps that don't impinge on Catholic teaching or tradition.

One of the more striking Catholic pilgrimages in recent memory wrapped up in early July with a small Mass at a side altar in St. Peter’s Basilica.

A group of eight people, seven women and one man, had trekked more than 600 miles from St. Gallen in Switzerland to Rome, carrying nothing more than backpacks and walking sticks, and concluded their journey by walking through the Holy Door of St. Peter’s and then taking part in a private liturgy.

In principle, there’s nothing unusual about the experience itself, as covering long distances on foot always has been part of the pilgrimage tradition.

What sets this one apart is the motive: The eight pilgrims covered that ground carrying signs that read “For a Church with women,” saying they wanted to make a point about the need for Catholicism to do a better job of listening to women’s voices.

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Why can’t church be more like AA?

Kathleen Hirsch | July 10, 2015
One recent morning I had coffee with a friend, a devout Catholic who is in recovery.

“It’s hard when we read the Big Book and get to Bill’s letter about clergy,” she said, referring to the Alcoholics Anonymous handbook written primarily by AA co-founder Bill Wilson. “He writes that over time, he came to accept, and actually admire, some of them,” she sighed as she set down her cup of Dunkins. “When we get to those lines, almost everyone in the room groans.”

For many of those seated in the AA meeting with my friend, and their brothers and sisters elsewhere, AA and other 12-Step programs have become the “new church.” 

This church is a blend of many faces. There are victims of clergy abuse who can barely make their way down to the church basement where the meetings are held. There are those who felt spiritually starved in what they experienced as a cold, judgmental, and unforgiving Church culture. There is the contingent that desperately seeks companionship, those who have experience of church less as conversation than a lot of listening. And there are those who feel isolated by the superficial greetings among those in the pews.

If I had a dollar for every person who has asked me, “Why can’t the Church be more like AA?”

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Failures at the college of cardinals -
How long will out-of-touch curialists and cowed bishops impose idiocy on the church?

William Grimm | July 9, 2016

The ability, or even tendency, to make stupid remarks is not, at least officially, a prerequisite for being made a curial cardinal. But neither does it seem to hurt the odds of one's wearing a red biretta around Rome.

In 2011, a Spanish bishop claimed that Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, then head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, had declared that the United Nations was conspiring to make half the world's population homosexual over the next 20 years. Like the U.N. quest for world peace, health and education, if such a program indeed exists it seems to be behind schedule.

A more recent asinine declaration by a cardinal comes from Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. Repeating a call he has made many times, in a recent interview the cardinal said he wants priests to face east when celebrating the liturgy.

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Ordaining women as deacons would contribute to the good name and effective witness of the church as an institution by the orderly channeling of women’s energies into its “regular” ministries rather than ad hoc and “irregular” ones.

Rita Ferrone | June 27, 2016

At last fall’s Synod on the Family, Archbishop Paul-André Durocher of Quebec asked that the ordination of women as deacons be considered. The suggestion didn’t seem to go anywhere. More recently, however, when a gathering of nine hundred heads of women’s religious communities from around the world (the International Union of Superiors General) raised this question again in May, Pope Francis was interested. He said he would call together an official commission to clarify the question of the historical role of women deacons. I was pleasantly surprised.

It was not long, however, before doubts set in. Hadn’t such a study already been done, with zero result? And the pope’s idea of asking the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to inform him of the state of the question—wasn’t that the kiss of death? After all, the head of the CDF, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, is well known for his opposition to women in the diaconate. Was this just a way to avoid a tough question—form a committee?

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Pope Francis says Christians must apologize to gay people for marginalizing them, and also to the poor, to mistreated women, to children forced to work

Joshua J. McElwee  |  Jun. 26, 2016

The Catholic church and other Christian communities must apologize to gay people and to many groups they have let down or offended throughout history, Pope Francis has said.

In a press conference Sunday on the flight back to Rome after his weekend trip to Armenia, the pontiff said bluntly: "The church must say it's sorry for not having comported itself well many times, many times."

"I believe that the church not only must say it's sorry ... to this person that is gay that it has offended," said the pope. "But it must say it's sorry to the poor, also, to mistreated women, to children forced to work."

"When I say the church: Christians," Francis clarified. "The church is holy. We are the sinners."

The pope was responding to a question about remarks German Cardinal Reinhard Marx made last week that the Catholic church should apologize to the gay community for marginalizing them.

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Why Is the Vatican Now Letting Advocates of Women’s Ordination Hold a Demonstration in its Back Yard?

Anthony Ruff, OSB | June 8, 2016

As if there haven’t been enough surprises under Pope Francis, here’s another one: not only did Women’s Ordination Worldwide have an unprecedented meeting with an official from the Vatican Secretariat of State and give him a petition, the group is also being permitted to hold a public demonstration in the public gardens of Castel Sant’Angelo on Friday, the day that the Pope celebrates a jubilee Mass for priests in St Peter’s Square. Members of the women’s ordination group have also been given tickets to attend the Mass.

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June 9, 2016 | by Christopher Lamb in Rome

The group has been given official permission to hold a public demonstration in the gardens of Castel Sant’Angelo

Campaigners for women's ordination have unprecedented meeting with Vatican representative
Campaigners calling for women priests are meeting in Rome this week where they have launched a poster campaign drawing attention to their cause and they will participate in their first ever official public demonstration.

Women’s Ordination Worldwide, which this year marks its 20th anniversary, wants to re-open dialogue in the Church in spite of Pope John Paul II’s ruling that the matter of female priests should not be discussed.

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Women's Ordination Worldwide meets, marches in Rome

Traci Badalucco  |  Jun. 3, 2016

Advocates for the ordination of women to the Roman Catholic priesthood marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of their movement in Rome with a three-day conference that culminated today with a pilgrim's walk down the Via della Conciliazione to St. Peter's Square.

Women's Ordination Worldwide, or WOW, a coalition of international groups supporting women's ordination, hosted the meeting and march in Rome to urge church leaders to re-open a dialogue on the question of ordaining women, which Pope John Paul II closed 22 years ago with publication of his apostolic exhortation Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, "on reserving priestly ordination to men alone."

The "Open the Door to Dialogue" conference June 1-3 coincided with the Vatican's Jubilee for Priests and Seminarians, part of the official celebrations marking Pope Francis' Jubilee Year of Mercy.

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WOW will host a “Jubilee for Women Priests” during Vatican Celebrations of the Priesthood:

 Throughout the Year of Mercy, the Vatican is hosting celebrations at St. Peter’s Basilica, and from June 1-3 Pope Francis will mark the “Jubilee for Priests.” To the Vatican this means one narrow demographic, painfully excluding many of God’s people. In response, women’s ordination advocates will host a “Jubilee for Women Priests,” which offers an opportunity to celebrate a renewed image of the priesthood – one that is inclusive and welcoming of all people. Our Jubilee comes as Pope Francis is calling for the Church to “see in the women’s movement the working of the Spirit for a clearer recognition of the dignity and rights of women.” (Amoris Laetitia)

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Pope Francis Agrees to Open Commission to Study Diaconate for Women

Kate McElwee: Italy (+39) 393-692-2100 kmcelwee@womensordination.org

Erin Saiz Hanna: USA (+1) 401-588-0457 ehanna@womensordination.org

For Immediate Release: 12 May 2016

Pope Francis Agrees to Open Commission to Study Diaconate for Women

Rome, Italy:  The Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) applauds the women religious of the International Union Superior Generals (UISG) for brazenly dialoguing with Pope Francis on leadership and ministerial roles for women in the Church, including the opening of the diaconate to women.  In response to the sisters’ questions, Pope Francis agreed to launch a Vatican Commission to study the diaconate to include women, stating: “It would be good to clarify this.”

Opening a commission to study the diaconate for women would be a great step for the Vatican in recognizing its own history.  Decades of research on this topic has already been published by renowned feminist voices. WOC recommends that the Vatican’s commission include the following scholars: Gary Macy, Dorothy Irving, Ida Raming, Sr. Christine Schenk, John Wijngaards, Phyllis Zagano.

Biblical and historical evidence cites several women deacons working alongside men in the early Church including: Phoebe, St. Olympias, Dionysia, St. Radegund and St. Macrina.  Such a commission, similar to the Pontifical Biblical Commission of 1976 that concluded there is no scriptural barrier to women’s priestly ordination, could begin to restore the Gospel values of equality and justice.

Pope Francis also stated that a woman cannot be in Persona Christi, and therefore cannot preach or preside over the Eucharist. WOC rejects this flawed interpretation that a male body is a necessary condition of representing the Body of Christ. Upholding this discrimination, as though it were the will of God, is simply indefensible.

While WOC celebrates this step from the Vatican, until women are included in all decision-making structures and as priests and Bishops of the Church, equality remains painfully denied.

May 22nd marks the 22nd anniversary of the Vatican’s Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, banning all discussion on the ordination of women. WOC advocates that a new commission on the diaconate include discussions on priestly ordination for women in the Roman Catholic Church. 


New Brunswick Catholic women's group protests Cathedral renovation
Group says Saint John diocese needs to repair relationship with women first

Rachel Cave | April 21, 2016
Some Catholics are calling on the Saint John diocese to modernize its relationship with women, before spending millions to restore the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

"Fixing up the bricks and mortar while ignoring half your people, that is short-sighted," says historian Elizabeth McGahan, a proponent of letting women into the priesthood.

On Tuesday night of Holy Week, McGahan stood in silent protest, along with a dozen members of the New Brunswick Catholic Network for Women's Equality.

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We are women and men, sisters and brothers, grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers, godparents -- members of the Catholic community who are deeply committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and who believe the Body of Christ must include all genders equally. Today, we call on our Church leaders to work with us to build a Church that strikes down every oppressive practice, teaching, and law that assigns women and girls to a subordinate status.  We call on our leaders to create a Church that is truly inclusive and alive with the gifts, spirit, and potential of all its members.

A Church for our daughters is a community that

•recognizes that all people are created in God's image and equally endowed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the common good.

•honors the vocations and ministries of all its members, fostering and welcoming all called to priesthood, diaconate, and liturgical leadership.‍

•opens its sacred sacraments to all, as nourishment and ritual without limitations based on gender or sexuality.

• celebrates the witness and contributions of our foremothers in faith – those in Scripture, those in our tradition, and those who walk with us today.

•‍affirms the spirit of the divine present in the gifts, needs, and dreams of all God’s people.

•‍celebrates and promotes a spirituality that recognizes an inclusive God, beyond gender, and incorporates language that is inclusive and representative of God’s feminine, masculine, and non-gendered attributes in liturgy, doctrine, and pastoral practice.

•‍honors women’s moral agency to make decisions that impact their health and family life.

•‍takes a firm and proactive stand opposing all forms of exploitation and violence perpetrated against women.

•‍advocates for social structures that support and sustain the basic needs of women including access to clean water, clean air, adequate housing, food, security, education, the workforce, political and social engagement, and freedom of movement.

•‍advocates for education for all our children, but especially for our daughters around the world who face daily acts of discrimination and violence in their quest for knowledge.

•‍works to dismantle oppressive structures and customs that disproportionately impact women creating inequality in pay, employment opportunities, development of public policy, and property ownership.

•‍works to eradicate destructive forces that triply oppress women of color such as racism, religious intolerance, and unequal access to social goods.

•‍honors and justly compensates the contributions of women working in the Church including equal pay, equal access to job opportunities, healthcare, and paid family leave.

•‍commits to reflect on its own participation in the oppression of women; to repent for unjust acts, systems, and teaching; and to renew structures of leadership to be more inclusive of the People of God at every level.

We pray together as a family of the faithful with the vision of a Church community that at its core upholds the full equality of all of its members. So that our daughters and yours may know radical inclusion and justice, equality without qualification, and an institution that transforms oppression into love without bounds, let us build a Church for our daughters.

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It's time to be honest about Pope Francis and women

Jamie Manson | May. 19, 2016

Several years ago, I asked in this column, "When does our hope for Pope Francis become denial?"
After last week's frenzy over women deacons, I believe I may have found my answer.

The glimmer of hope came, of course, when Francis agreed to launch a commission to study the role of women deacons in the early church. The idea of a commission was suggested to the pope by a group of women religious during their annual International Union of Superiors General (UISG) meeting.

Hours later, just about everyone saw some version of a headline declaring that the pope was considering ordaining women deacons.

Unfortunately, few people had the time to read the full story behind the headline. And even fewer people had time to read Francis' complete response to the sisters' question about women deacons. (You can find it here in Italian and English.) If they had, they would have heard the pope reassert all of the theological ideas that prevent women from any form of equality in the Roman Catholic church.

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Toronto Conference
Women deacons would be great help to aging clergy, says theologian
Evan Boudreau | May 10, 2016 

One solution to the shortage of clergy available to Canadian Catholics starts with the ordination of women into the diaconate, according to Phyllis Zagano.

“In the days and weeks ahead, think and pray about women, the diaconate and the future of ministry,” said Zagano, a Catholic theologian and American author, in a speech May 6 at Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College. Her lecture kicked off a two-day conference titled “Women, the Diaconate and the Future of Ministry.”

“Pray about this triangulation of subjects because they frame both the Church’s problems and the solution to those problems.”

Ordaining women would address the chronic shortage of clergy to serve many of the rural and remote areas of the country, said Zagano.

“In its rural territories Canada suffers a dire clergy shortage,” she told the audience of about 80 people.

Women deacons would be given the authority necessary to properly run a parish, including signing off on official documents that lay people are unable to do.
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Pope Francis Has Painted Himself into a Corner on Women Deacons

Mary E. Hunt | May 17, 2016
Talk of Roman Catholic women deacons threatened to push Donald Trump off center stage for a nanosecond. Pope Francis’ seemingly spontaneous remarks in Rome on May 12, 2016 at the triennial meeting of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) about setting up a commission to study women deacons sparked wide ranging responses but no promises of equal treatment of women.

Some clerics got their chasubles in a twist, their stoles in a knot, over the horrifying thought of women becoming deacons. Can a woman pope be far behind? No, in all likelihood, gentleman, probably not. Some longtime proponents of women’s ordination cheered as if it were a done deal and they just needed to be measured for their vestments. Not likely, friends, and be careful what you pray for.

Let me offer a perspective that casts the whole question in a very different light.
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Video interview by CTV of Erin Saiz Hanna re: Commission to Study Diaconate for Women

Nicole Winfield | May 12, 2016

Pope Francis said Thursday he is willing to create a commission to study whether women can be deacons in the Catholic Church, signalling openness to letting women serve in ordained ministry currently reserved to men.

Francis agreed to a proposal to create an official study commission during a closed-door meeting with some 900 superiors of women's religious orders in Rome for their triennial assembly.

Read More and watch video

Trusted papal aide says a woman could be Vatican’s ‘Prime Minister’

By Ines San Martin

Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin said Tuesday, “A woman could be [the Vatican's] Secretary of State" because the role is "evidently not bound to the sacraments or the priesthood."

Read more →

Toronto conference to explore women and diaconate

MICHAEL SWAN | April 29, 2016

If a woman comes down the aisle carrying the book of the Gospels, and if she later stands at the ambo to read the Gospel and preach on it, would your parish cease to be Catholic?
Right now it is illegal under Church law for any Roman Catholic bishop to ordain a woman as a deacon. But that wasn’t always the case. The law restricting the diaconate to men is just a Church law and Church laws can change.

“In reality, the issue is much more theological (doctrinal) than canonical,” said Fr. Frank Morrisey, one of Canada’s most senior canon law experts. “If the doctrine is clarified, then the canonical prescriptions can be revised by the proverbial stroke of a pen.”
So, how do you clarify doctrine? Toronto’s University of St. Michael’s College is going to take a stab at it May 6 and 7 with a faculty of theology conference titled “Women, the Diaconate and the Future of Ministry.” It’s a question that gained new energy when Gatineau Archbishop Paul-André Durocher brought it up at the Synod on the Family last fall.
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Women want to be deacons, want clergy to speak up about it

Christine Schenk  |  Apr. 28, 2016

I'll admit it took me awhile to warm up to the idea of a female diaconate.
This is because 23 years ago, I was among the first in my home diocese to become a lay ecclesial minister. I feel strongly about the immense gift this ministry is to our parishes. Lay ecclesial ministers, and particularly female lay ministers are the too-often-invisible glue holding parishes together.

And most priests agree with me. According to a 2015 study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate*, 75 percent of priests said parish life would be aided by an increase in full time lay ministers and that the church needs to move faster in empowering lay persons in ministry.

Today there are over 39,500 lay ministers -- 31,600 of whom are women -- serving the U.S. church. This blessed gift from the Spirit seems to be here to stay -- another 22,000 people are enrolled in ministry training programs, and 60 percent (13,200) are women.
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Two Roman Catholic Church reformers remembered

Sr. Margaret Rita Brennan's leadership has lasting influence for US women religious

Sr. Margaret Brennan, a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Mich., died April 28 at the motherhouse at the age of 92.


Daniel Berrigan, priest, prisoner, anti-war crusader, dies

Obituary: Anti-war crusader Jesuit Fr. Daniel Berrigan, 94, died Saturday, April 30, of natural causes at Murray-Weigel Hall, a Jesuit health care facility in the Bronx. 


  Happy Mothers Day

     Biblical maternal images of God


Francis: Spirit works in laypeople, 'is not property of the hierarchy'
Joshua J. McElwee    |  Apr. 26, 2016 

Pope Francis has again sharply denounced the culture of clericalism among priests in the Catholic church, calling it "one of the greatest deformations" that must be confronted by the global faith community and saying it helps "diminish and undervalue" the contributions that laypeople make.
The pontiff has also strongly reaffirmed the right of laypeople to make decisions in their lives, saying that priests must trust that the Holy Spirit is working in them and that the Spirit "is not only the 'property' of the ecclesial hierarchy."

In a letter to Cardinal Marc Ouellet in his role as the head of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, released by the Vatican Tuesday, Francis says he wants to speak to the members of the commission about how to better serve what he terms "the Holy Faithful People of God."

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Questions from a Ewe

"Do you have eyes and not see?" (Mark 8:18)

A women's issues supporter confronts Papal Nuncio in Ghana

The Ewe | Sunday, April 17, 2016

I recently finished a three month Peace Corps Response assignment in Ghana.  Being in Peace Corps required refraining from political commentary and this blog danced along a line regarding that stipulation so I suspended writing during my assignment.  However, I’m back. 

I actually began writing this article on the plane flying home, having just watched the movie “Spotlight” again.  This is the movie about the Boston Globe’s investigative journalism that blew the lid off the systemic nature of the church’s sex abuse scandal. 

After spending three months in a culture that has extensive unreported sexual exploitation issues largely facilitated by cultural taboos against pursuing legal action…much like those the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team exposed in the Archdiocese of Boston…I find myself even sadder for the Church than the first time I watched the movie.

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If Francis can offer a forty-minute, private meeting to a formerly excommunicated bishop . . . Why not open up a dialogue with the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement whose first priests were ordained by a valid Roman Catholic bishop?

Jamie Manson | Apr. 6, 2016
Earlier this week, NCR's Joshua J. McElwee reported that, on April 1, Pope Francis met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X. Founded in 1970 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the Society widely rejects the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.
According to the society's website, the "false teachings" of Vatican II include the Council's exhortations on religious liberty, ecumenism, liturgical reforms, collegiality and what they call the "modernist" idea that "that the human conscience is the supreme arbiter of good and evil for each individual." The society is an ardent defender of the Tridentine Mass (Fellay's liturgical dress rivals any garb donned by Cardinal Raymond Burke) and believes passionately in the supremacy of the Roman Catholic church over all other religions.

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Pope Francis' exhortation a radical shift to see grace in imperfection, without fearing moral confusion

Joshua J. McElwee | April 8, 2016

Amoris Laetitia: Pope Francis departs from recent pastoral practice, asking clergy to embrace God's grace at work in difficult and unconventional situations families face.
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Vatican Embassy Witness : From Condemnation to Conversation: Vatican Nuncio Dialogues with Women Priests

Roy Bourgeois, Jane Via and Janice Sevre-Duszynska  | April  8, 2016

From 2002 through 2016, the Vatican has condemned the ordination of women priests. Since the ordination of  “The Danube Seven” in 2002, the Vatican has tried a number of strategies to quash our movement: excommunication, silencing, shunning, firing and ignoring. Now ten years since the first U.S. ordinations on the boat in Pittsburgh, the door has been opened for the first time. During Holy Week, March 24, the feast day of Oscar Romero, in the era of Pope Francis and his Year of Mercy, a conversation -- turbulent at first -- began.

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Am I Cowardly Refusing to Believe in Jesus’ Resurrection (A Brief Sunday Homily)

Mike Rivage-Seul | April 1, 2016

Today’s gospel relates the story of “Doubting Thomas.” The picture is familiar. The apostles have locked themselves in the Upper Room, cowering in the very place where they recently shared a Last Supper with their beloved Yeshua.

Even in that hallowed space, FEAR is the watchword of their days and nights. The apostles are afraid of the Temple authorities. They’re afraid of the Romans. In the light of Judas’ betrayal, they might even be afraid of one another.

Then suddenly, Yeshua materializes in their midst. His message: “Why all this fear?  Be at peace instead.”

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Bishops of Canada welcome Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops joyfully welcomes the Holy Father’s PostSynodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia: On Love in the Family. As the national assembly of the Catholic Bishops of this country, we encourage its prayerful reception among all the faithful, and recommend its careful study to married couples and families, and to those agencies and organizations working with them, as well as to pastors and those in consecrated life who are called to be at the service of family life.

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The tale of Pope Francis, his Vatican adversaries, the Episcopal Synod, and Amoris Laetitia reads like a wild west saga

Mike Rivage-Seul | April 10, 2016

It was like a cliff-hanger novel that had me on the edge of my seat. I’m talking about Pope Francis’ latest publication – his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia: On Love in the Family (AL). In it the pope purposed to gather the contributions of bishops at their extended Episcopal Synod which met over the last two years. The meetings were tasked with responding to the contemporary crises of the family and human sexuality including contraception, abortion, divorce, and same-sex marriages (AL 4).

The Exhortation read as if it were the plot of a Wild West thriller:

A backward town has been taken over by a gang of crooks, frauds and perverts. They’re well-entrenched. And the Black Hats have all the locals cowering behind locked doors. Unexpectedly however, a new sheriff shows up with his shiny star and white hat.

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MARY E. HUNT | APRIL 11, 2016

Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on Love in the Family, leaves much to be desired—pun intended.

If you are heterosexual, married, divorced, and remarried with an understanding parish priest, you have reason to be hopeful that your “irregular situation” can be fixed. If you use most forms of effective birth control, have an abortion, or are a sexually active LGBTIQ Catholic, you might as well read Dante and/or seek another denomination if you expect to be treated with equality, dignity, and respect.

The “Joy Love Club” is members-only.

The document reflects the papal conundrum of pastoring realistically in the contemporary world without changing any church doctrine or major teaching. The result is unequal opportunity ambiguity. Some things can be parsed—as in the communion debate—while other things are off the table, such as same-sex marriage. Rationales for such decisions are lacking other than wan references to previous church teachings. It reminds this reader of Francis’ openness to gay priests (“Who am I to judge?”) and his claim that the ordination of women is a settled matter. Settled by and for whom? Once again the patriarchal power paradigm is shored up by a pope who likes to have it both ways. Certain pastoral decision-making is kicked downstairs to priests and bishops, but that is effectively how things work now. Theology follows practice.

The fundamental problem in this document is methodological: there is only one ideal—heteronormative uncontracepted sex in monogamous marriage—in relation to which everything else is derivative, lesser, lacking, and/or forbidden. At the same time, the Pope wants to welcome and be pastoral to everyone. Catholic market share has slipped precipitously worldwide due in large part to this ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic’ way of looking at sexuality. Thinking postmodern Catholics simply do not take kindly to such groundless generalities in the face of so much evidence to the contrary. What about Uncles Pat and Bill who love and share so generously?

Amoris Laetitia, the Pope’s summary reflections following the 2014 and 2015 Synods on the Family, gives new opportunities to use the term “jesuitical.” While attempting to avoid extremes, the writers do not succeed in squaring the circle.

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What Is Francis Saying with 'Amoris Laetitia'?

Massimo Faggioli | April 8, 2016

Amoris Laetitia, the fruit of the long “synodal process” that unfolded between 2014 and 2015, is in keeping with what we’ve come to understand as Pope Francis’s pastoral and nonacademic style. The exhortation draws from his previous catechesis and that of John Paul II, as well as from the documents of bishops’ conferences around the world. And, at 52,500 words, it is very long. But how does the document actually address the at-times contentiously debated issues that arose in the course of the two synod gatherings in Rome?

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'Amoris Laetitia': Francis challenges the church

Michael Sean Winters | April 8, 2016

From start to finish in Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis challenges the church to do more than simply repeat the Catechism and harangue the fallen.


Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia) extensive coverage:

For extensive coverage via the National Catholic Reporter, click here.

For the complete book length document, free of charge, to read here or on your smart phone, click here for the pdf version

Video Flips The Script On The Ridiculous Reasons Women ‘Should Not Be Pastors’

7 Reasons Men Should Not Be Pastors

Sojourners | April 5, 2016 

Despite the remarkable strength and vibrancy of their spirituality, women are still having trouble breaking through the stained-glass ceiling.

Many of the largest religious denominations in America, including Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and the Southern Baptist Convention, don’t allow women to be ordained into the priesthood or hold the top leadership positions within the church.

And even within the religious organizations that do allow women to lead, it’s rare for women to serve at the very top.

Sojourners, a faith-based social justice organization, released a video on Tuesday that took a satirical look at this nearly 2,000-year-old trend.

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Different experience speaking to women’s group and men’s group about Church reform

Tony Flannery | Mar 30, 2016

In the past couple of weeks I spoke at two ProBus meeting in Limerick. (ProBus groups are made up of retired business and professional people, who come together on a fairly regular basis, have some input and discussion, and also a social dimension.). The first group was all men, and the second one all women. The topic was the same, Church reform.
 Both events were very enjoyable, in that they were very receptive groups, and there was no pressure in speaking to them. There was about the same number, around forty, in each.
 But there the similarities ended, and I found the difference between a mens group and a womens group fascinating and interesting.

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Priests occupy steps of Vatican Embassy on Holy Thursday to protest Vatican
policy on women priests

Jane Via, Janice Sevre Duszynska, and former Maryknoll Priest Roy
Bourgeois occupy steps of Vatican Embassy on Holy Thursday, March 24, 2016 to protest Vatican policy on women priests

Foot washing near Vatican Embassy

Read statement delivered to Vatican Embassy

If Jesus can wash his followers feet, women can lead the church

Soline Humbert | Mar 22, 2016

Jesus subverted the master/servant power relationship and the male/female relationship
When Jesus washed his disciples’ feet he took on not just a servant’s role but a female servant’s role.
On Holy Thursday in Catholic churches throughout the world the ritual of the washing of the feet will be enacted, in memory of Jesus’s example of loving intimate service and in fulfilment of his command to his disciples to do the same.

This year a change in the rules at the request of Pope Francis means that women may officially be among those whose feet can be washed. The priests, however, will remain males.

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Vatican newspaper essays suggest women should preach at Mass
David Gibson   |  Mar. 2, 2016

A series of essays in the semi-official Vatican newspaper is urging the Catholic Church to allow women to preach from the pulpit at Mass, a role has been reserved almost exclusively to the all-male priesthood for nearly 800 years.

"This topic is a delicate one, but I believe it is urgent that we address it," Enzo Bianchi, leader of an ecumenical religious community in northern Italy and a popular Catholic commentator, wrote in his article in L'Osservatore Romano.

"Certainly for faithful lay people in general, but above all for women, this would constitute a fundamental change in their participation in church life," said Bianchi, who called such a reform a "decisive path" for responding to widespread calls -- including by Pope Francis -- to find ways to give women a greater role in the church.

Two nuns also contributed articles in the March 1 special section that is part of a new L'Osservatore Romano series on women called "Women-Church-World."
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Churches and faith communities that continue to exclude women from decision-making and ministerial roles and treat them as de facto second-class citizens are seen as anachronistic and unjust by a steadily increasing number of women and men of our time

Robert Mickens | March 28, 2016
Christians around the world are now in the Easter season and singing "Alleluia!" once again.
But not all of us. Not even all of us Catholics.
. . .
Leaders of the various Christian denominations are in near-full agreement that our divisions cause scandal to non-believers and cripple our efforts at spreading the Gospel and drawing all people to Christ.

But divisions are only part of the reason why more and more of those who have been baptized into the Christian community -- including, and maybe even especially, Roman Catholics -- are leaving their churches or abandoning their faith all together. And why the un-baptized are not even interested in joining.

No, there is something much more fundamental and troubling at work.

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World Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination to he held April 4th

Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937 -- American painter -- public domain)

A message from Women's Ordination Conference:

April 4th marks the 22nd annual World Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination. This concerted, global action is celebrated on the Feast of the Annunciation and together we will honor Mary's "yes" to God to bear Christ for the world. 

On this day we also celebrate the women who courageously say "yes, I am called" to priestly ministry. In solidarity with women's ordination advocates around the world, WOC members host prayer services and liturgies to honor this special day. 

Please pray with us! 

Whether you host a liturgy with your community or take a moment to personally pray in solidarity with us, thank you for saying "yes" to women's equality in the Church.

Women share struggles at Vatican event, avoiding issues of ordination, governance

Joshua J. McElwee  |  Mar. 9, 2016

A dozen women from around the world shared compelling and sometimes harrowing stories of their struggles for peace, education and equality during a Vatican event Tuesday, with some calling for better representation and women's leadership at the highest levels of the Catholic church.

The event, organized as an opportunity for women to share their voices from the center of the church bureaucracy on International Women's Day, was careful however to skirt the issue of women's governance in the Catholic community, choosing to speak instead of women's capabilities to share leadership.

The above article elicited the following comments:

The positions of authority, responsibilities, accolades, platitudes, and bromides women are allowed by the RCC are nothing but sops to stifle women's rightful requests of gender equality.

If someone says, "So is this gonna lead to women's ordination?" the correct response, "So, what if it does?" not "Can't talk about that because it's too disturbing to the men in charge."

And why are church men so obsessed with this single issue of potential ordination?

Having a major tizzy fit if a conversation of appropriate women's roles looks like it might hint at starting to sort of allude at cautiously approaching maybe the topic of ordination is just a device the sexist hierarchy uses to shut down any assertiveness whatsoever.

If ordination of women is "off the table", . . . nothing else really matters if the male-only hierarchy does not open the doors to equality.

Anytime I hear words like this or that topic is off the table, I find myself reminded that what's going on here is a mistrust.

Women's ordination is not "off the table", and people should not be fooled into accepting that spin.

When put in naked terms, it becomes clear that the exclusion of women from ordination/ priesthood is justified only on reasons of ignorance, arrogance and obsession.

. . . women will not have full equality in the institutional Church until they are ordained.

. . . institutional misogyny . . .  It's about speaking about it and dealing with it effectively, forcefully, publicly and persistently right now. And it's about preventing it in the future.

Female ordination is one of the "symptoms" of the Church's misogyny toward women. Let's correct the root causes - complementarity and the demand that men and women "fit" narrow gender roles - and the rest will fall into place.

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A Message from Amnesty International

On International Women’s Day, we will be celebrating some significant milestones and accomplishments for women’s rights around the world.

We will also be marking this day by calling on you and all human rights supporters to speak out on one of the most pressing challenges facing women and girls right here in Canada: the alarming crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.


When men make women’s work of advocacy invisible, they make the victims invisible as well

Ruth Krall | March 6, 2016

It's my honor to share with you today an important essay by Ruth Krall responding to a recent report published by National Catholic Reporter regarding the discussion of the legacy of John Howard Yoder in the Mennonite Church. As I've noted repeatedly on this blog,* the work of Ruth Krall, a Mennonite peace-and-justice scholar, and of other Mennonite women, has been critically important in making the Yoder story known to the public, and in forcing Mennonite institutions to come to terms with Yoder's legacy of serial sexual violence towards female students and women he counseled pastorally, even as he represented the church in the public square as its most well-known advocate of non-violence.

And so, as Ruth herself is, I was dumbfounded to read the recent NCR article by two (male) scholars reporting on the discussion of Yoder's legacy and not in any way referring to the ground-breaking work Ruth has done in this field. Here's Ruth's response to this article:

[Editors note:  The editor of NCR responded to this editor's inquiry.  He expressed dismay at Ruth Krall's criticism, since she was consulted and quoted in an extensive article in NCR last June.  The main reason for posting this article is to indicate that women's voices on many issues are being silenced.]

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Why Men Dislike Going To Church

R. Rice  |  March 6, 2016
Charles Horejsi, a retired University of Montana professor of Social Work, wrote this discussion paper for a group called Faith and Practice that he and his wife lead at their parish.  This paper was posted on the Concerned Catholics of Montana webpage.  A day after posting, the website had over 600 hits on their small regional website.  An extensive discussion ensued on the Catholica website in Australia.  Remember as you are reading this paper, it is to stimulate discussion and does not represent the author’s complete thoughts on the manner.  You might find the paper an excellent tool to use in your own parish or group.  To that end you can print out a PDF of the paper by clicking HERE.

Patriarchy – Privilege – Power

J. A. Dick | March 7, 2016

On Tuesday, March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day. Another and far more important Super Tuesday than the one that (temporarily?) highlighted US presidential contender Donald Trump.

Perhaps the March 8th day should be circled on calendars as “Beware-of-Patriarchy-Super-Tuesday.”
Patriarchy is pernicious: an old authoritarian ecclesiastical vice that denigrates just about everyone in the name of Christian virtue. It is very much alive, if not well, in today’s world.

Patriarchy proclaims male superiority over women. It also destroys children; and in the past week we have seen three big examples of patriarchal child abuse: (1) SPOTLIGHT the Oscar-winning film about the widespread and systemic sexual abuse of children in the Boston area by Roman Catholic ordained ministers (priests), as the National Catholic Reporter editorialized a great humiliation for the Catholic Church. (2) The Vatican’s treasurer Cardinal George Pell’s testimony from Rome to the Royal Commission in Australia about Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse. Pell is at the tip and top of a sordid clerical abuse iceberg. One wonders how Pope Francis can keep Pell in his Vatican position. (3) And then, on March 1st came the grand jury report that two Roman Catholic bishops in the Pennsylvania Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown covered up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by more than 50 ordained ministers and other religious leaders over a 40-year period. Commenting about the victims, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane observed: “Their souls were killed as children. They weren’t out playing baseball; they were trying to avoid priests.”

Attributes of power, control, non-emotional rationality, and extreme competitiveness are often praised as traditional male qualities and used to explain why men should be “in control.” Women are often subordinated due to – as a bishop friend likes to stress — their “emotional expressiveness.” 

Reflecting about Christian life and ministry – past and present – I count six anti-woman heresies that need to be condemned as un-Christ-like. Even, today, in all Christian churches, they are often proclaimed as virtues:

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Free the Eucharist from the curse of clericalism
Greg Reynolds  |  Mar. 5, 2016

The Eucharist is strangling the Catholic church. Most anthropologists assure us that rituals are essential to human life and self-discovery. Good rituals can be informative and formative. Bad rituals can be inhibiting and harmful.

I believe in the Eucharist as the source and summit of our life of Catholic faith. As a diocesan priest for more than 30 years, I have reflected long and hard about the power and purpose of our central sacred ritual.

One conclusion that I have come to is that many of the rubrics and traditions that have been built into it over the centuries are reinforcing the curse of clericalism that is bedeviling our church worldwide.

While not claiming to be an expert liturgist, theologian or church historian, let me identify some of the glaring flaws that I see in the way the holy sacrifice of the Mass is generally celebrated.

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'Spotlight' takes home best picture honors at Oscars
Brian Roewe  |  Feb. 29, 2016

“Spotlight,” the film that follows The Boston Globe’s investigation into the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic church, won best picture at the 88th Academy Awards held on Sunday night.

"This film gave a voice to survivors, and this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican," producer Michael Sugar said in accepting the Oscar.

"Pope Francis, it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith," he added.
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Extended coverage of Spotlight

Lessons from the Canadian TRC: Reconciling with God?

Gladys Ganiel | February 9, 2016

As part of my ongoing research, I’ve been reading the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which is concerned with the abuse of Aboriginal people in residential schools. Most of those schools were church-run and the role of Christianity (including how religious institutions and religious ideas facilitated abuse) is analysed in the Report. The Report also details examples of the Canadian churches in issuing apologies and engaging in reconciliation activities.

Survivors of the residential school systems are  quoted throughout the report, and I was struck by the comments of Elder Jim Dumont, who observes that the church is avoiding ‘reconciling with the Spirit’, and calls on the church to ‘reconcile with their God.’ So often – whether in Canada or in other contexts where Christianity is used to justify violence or abuse — Christians think of reconciliation in individual terms.
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Twice removed: Why our sacraments often don’t connect with real life -- we need to reinvent ways to ritualize and reformulate what those rituals mean

Joseph Martos | February 17, 2016

In the first two centuries of Christianity, theology was based in experience. Words that were later taken to refer to things that are outside the realm of experience were originally attempts to talk about things that the followers of Jesus were experiencing. For example, when Paul wrote about justification by faith, he was not talking about getting right with God by believing in Christ, but getting your life straightened out by trusting that what Jesus taught is true. When the Book of Acts talks about being saved through baptism, it does not mean washing away sin by going through a ritual, but being rescued from selfishness by being immersed in a caring community.

[For the full version of the article, click here.  Joseph Martos is the author of many books and articles on the sacraments. This article is based on research published in Deconstructing Sacramental Theology and Reconstructing Catholic Ritual (Wipf and Stock, 2015).]

What if We Imagined God as a Woman?


Mike Rivage-Seul | February 6, 2016

[Presented here in full with the permission of the author.]

Have you ever seen Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues?” A few years ago that series of dramatic readings was presented at Berea College where I taught for 40 years. The readings were as provocative as the play’s title. All of them reflect the unique experience of being woman that most of us Christian males find so difficult to understand, especially after so many years of brain-washing at the hands of predominantly male clergies.

I bring that up because today’s liturgy of the word (5th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Is. 6:1-2a, 3-8; Ps. 138: 1-5, 7-8; I Cor. 15: 1-11; Lk. 5: 1-11) is so obviously male-centered in a very misleading way. The readings of the day suggest that God is male and that Jesus’ and Paul’s closest collaborators were exclusively men. And that in turn explains why Christian pastors of so many denominations participate so enthusiastically in what has been called a 21st century “War on Women.” It explains why the Catholic Church is so afraid of women priests.
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Voices of Faith on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2016):  Mercy Requires Courage 

Dear friends,

The countdown to the next Voices of Faith event has begun! We are very excited to share all the latest news with you.

Voices of Faith has gained great momentum and continues to be a forum from the heart of the Vatican, drawing positive attention from around the globe.

We will hold our 3rd annual Voices of Faith event in the Casina Pio IV, Vatican Gardens on Tuesday, 8 March, 2016. The event will highlight the positive work that the Church does through the stories of its women internationally. This work includes accompanying the poor, ensuring human dignity and promoting equality.

In this Holy Year of Mercy we will emphasize that mercy requires courage. Voices of Faith 2016 will present courageous women who are responding to Pope Francis' call through their lives and their work.

This promises to make the 3rd edition of Voices of Faith an outstanding and very special event, which will be streamed live on www.voicesoffaith.org on International Women’s Day 8 March. The transmission commences at 15:00 (14:00 UTC or 9:00 a.m. ET) until 18:00. Be sure not to miss the event by adding the date to your calendar.  Our website now features the complete lineup of extraordinary women contributing to Voices of Faith as well as all the details regarding this year’s event.
Finally, we would love to share the new Voices of Faith music video with you.

Everyone here at Voices of Faith is looking forward to spending a very special International Women's Day with you.

Yours sincerely,

The Voices of Faith Team

Georgian ambassador speaks on role of women in Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches
Vatican Radio | January 29, 2016

Mother Church & Her Battered Daughters

Kaitlin Campbell | January 27, 2016

Archbishop Baurillo Rodríguez of Toledo, Spain, drew deserved social media scorn from around the world for remarks in his Feast of the Sacred Family homily on December 27, 2015. Addressing the rise in divorce and perceived causes for family division, Rodríguez demonstrated his—and by extension, the church’s—view of the relationship between women and men as a fundamentally hierarchical one. “Most women who are murdered by their husbands,” the archbishop said, “do not accept them, or have not accepted their demands. Frequently, the macho reaction has its origin in a time when the woman asked for a separation.”

Put aside, if you can, the archbishop’s blaming of the victim and exoneration of the murderer. There’s also a big problem with his logic. Domestic violence can’t be adequately solved by “just talking it out” because abuse isn’t just about disagreement between male and female; it’s about power and control. Emphasizing the differences in gender in this context serves to legitimatize male dominance.
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A voice from the recent past:

Elizabeth A. Johnson's Assessment of ‘Ordinatio Sacerdotalis’

‘Disputed questions: authority, priesthood, women.’, by Elizabeth A. Johnson, Commonweal, vol..123, January 26 1996, pp. 8-10.

Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J., is professor of theology at Fordham University and the author of many books, such as:
* Consider Jesus: Waves of Renewal in Christology (1992);
 * Women, Earth and Creator Spirit (1993);
 * She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse (1993);
 * How to Paint Miniatures (1994);
 * Pauline Theology: Looking Back, Pressing On (Editor, 1997);
 * Friends of God and Prophets: A Feminist Theological Reading of the Coounity of Saints (1998).

Part of a special section on women and the priesthood. Infallibility is not a personal attribute of the pope but a charism divinely given to the church, which the pope may use in deciding major questions of faith or morals. Pastor aeternus, the document that presented the First Vatican Council's teaching on papal infallibility, distinguished between "doctrine that must be held" (doctrina tenenda) and "doctrine that must be believed" (doctrina credenda). The significant difference between the two is that the former could be changed whereas the latter could not, and there is disagreement among theologians over whether tenenda comes within the scope of infallibility. The application of the concept of tenenda to the ban on women priests by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is discussed.

Thanks to the careful, quick work of canon lawyers and theologians, it has become clear that the Vatican's recent Responsum ad dubium is not itself infallible teaching. It has the status of a statement of a Vatican congregation, no more, no less. Yet the confusing use of infallibility makes equally clear that Rome is determined to close the question of women's ordination as it is maturing in the church.

Consulting the faithful on the matter of this doctrine would yield a different outcome, for interesting combinations of women's giftedness in ministry, pastoral need, and a deep sense of the injustice of exclusion lead many in the church to entertain the possibility of this development. Instead of working patiently and wisely with the question, however, institutional leadership short-circuits what may well be a God-intended development of doctrine and tries to impose its answer by authoritarian fiat.
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Manitoba women became first to get the vote in Canada 100 years ago, then it was ‘merely a matter of time’

Tristin Hopper & Alexandra Heck | ​February 1, 2016

Like the abolition of slavery, responsible government and gay marriage, women’s suffrage is one of those rare political causes that succeeded so thoroughly that it becomes progressively difficult to remember what all the fuss was about. But go back 100 years, to the time of Nellie McClung (above), and these arguments would have been echoing through saloons, church socials and editorial pages.

The Case Against

They’ll get hurt: Until the late 1800s, Canada did not decide elections by secret ballot. Voters would have to go a polling station, call out their vote publicly and then dodge a rain of blows from thugs representing the other party. It was an unsafe place for anyone, really, but it was particularly inadvisable to show up in a corset and hoop skirt.

It’s taunting God: The idea of being “born to one’s station” was still quite popular in the early 20th century. If God had wanted to give women the vote, he would have made them men. This was the opinion of Queen Victoria herself, who called women’s rights a “mad, wicked folly … on which my poor feeble sex is bent.”
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What if We Imagined God as a Woman?


Mike Rivage-Seul | February 6, 2016

[Presented here in full with the permission of the author.]

Have you ever seen Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues?” A few years ago that series of dramatic readings was presented at Berea College where I taught for 40 years. The readings were as provocative as the play’s title. All of them reflect the unique experience of being woman that most of us Christian males find so difficult to understand, especially after so many years of brain-washing at the hands of predominantly male clergies.

I bring that up because today’s liturgy of the word (5th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Is. 6:1-2a, 3-8; Ps. 138: 1-5, 7-8; I Cor. 15: 1-11; Lk. 5: 1-11) is so obviously male-centered in a very misleading way. The readings of the day suggest that God is male and that Jesus’ and Paul’s closest collaborators were exclusively men. And that in turn explains why Christian pastors of so many denominations participate so enthusiastically in what has been called a 21st century “War on Women.” It explains why the Catholic Church is so afraid of women priests.

Significantly, Ensler refers to that particular male prejudice in the prologue to her Vagina Monologues text. There she quotes Gloria Steinem who recalls:

“In the sixties, while I was doing research in the Library of Congress, I found a little known treatise about the history of religious architecture which blithely stated a thesis, as it were known by everybody, to the effect that the traditional shape of most patriarchal buildings of worship imitates the female body. Thus, there is an external entrance and another internal one, the labia majora and the labia minora; there is a vaginal central nave, which leads to the altar; there are two curved ovarian structures on either side; and finally, in the sacred center is the altar or uterus, where the great miracle takes place: men give birth.

“Though this comparison was new for me, it opened my eyes with a shock. Of course, I thought. The central ceremony of the patriarchal religions is nothing else but the ceremony in which men take control of the “yoni” power of creation by giving birth symbolically. It is no wonder that male religious leaders state so often that we human beings are born in sin … because we are born from female tummies. Only by obeying the rules of the patriarchy can we be “reborn” through men. It is no wonder that priests and pastors decked out in long vestments sprinkle our heads with a fluid that mimics the waters of birth. It is no wonder that they give us new names and promise us we will be reborn in eternal life. It is no wonder that the male priesthood attempts to keep women far removed from the altar, just as we are kept far removed from control of our own powers of reproduction. Whether symbolic or real, everything is aimed at controlling the power that resides in the female body.”

Talk about provocative! Here Ms. Steinem is claiming that creative power is focused chiefly in the female body, though men obviously have an ancillary role in the begetting of life. Because their role is so obviously secondary, a primary patriarchal purpose in organized religion, Ms. Steinem says, is for men to alienate or steal the vastly superior womanly power of life and to control it – against women themselves.

Patriarchal religion accomplishes its task by dressing men up like women. It has them sprinkling their congregations with the waters of birth introducing them to “eternal life.” This form of life is held to be more important than physical life, and male pastors claim to control it to the exclusion of women. The prerequisite for women’s access to life eternal is that they adopt the rules of the exclusively male priesthood especially those connected with female powers of reproduction centered in the woman’s body whose architecture the male priestly domain of church actually mimics.

Ms. Steinem’s analysis suggests why someone even like our beloved Pope Francis seems skittish about women priests.

After all, female priests might inspire women to recognize their inherent superiority over men in terms of centrality to the life processes (both physical and spiritual) that the patriarchy struggles so mightily to control. If women were allowed the leadership that their biology suggests, what would become of the male-centered church – of the male-centered world?

Today’s liturgy of the word tries to keep us from asking such questions. It begins with a description of God in highly masculine terms centered in the macho realm of palace and court. God is depicted as “king.” He (sic!) is “Lord.” He inspires fear and awe. He dwells in a smoke-filled room surrounded by all the trappings of power and might. Like the prophet Isaiah, those who appear before him feel small and ashamed of the very words that come from their lips.

This, of course, is the image of God we’ve been offered from the cradle. (Can you imagine how different we’d feel personally, ecclesiastically, nationally and internationally if the familiar image of God were a mother nursing her child? Would you feel any different towards such a Mother God? – Remember, it’s all just symbolism. And the image of God that’s come to dominate arises from one of the most patriarchal traditions in the history of the world.)

The male-centeredness of today’s readings continues in the selection from Paul’s first letter to Christians living in Corinth. It’s a key passage because Paul is trying to establish his identity as an “apostle,” even though he never met Jesus personally. Paul bases his claim on the fact that Jesus appeared to him just as he did to the other apostles. So he says “Remember what I preached to you:” Christ died for our sins. He was buried and raised on the third day. He appeared to the 12, then to 500 “brothers” at once, then to all of the apostles, and finally to Paul himself.

There is so much interesting in this summary of Paul’s preaching. What, for instance, happened to Jesus’ words and deeds? Paul’s gospel begins with Jesus’ death! What about Jesus’ life which revealed the character of God as compassionate and “womb like?” (See Marcus Borg, Meeting Jesus again for the First Time, chapter 3.)

However, even more to the point is Paul’s omission of the fact that according to ALL of the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection appearances in the canonical gospels, Jesus’ first appearances were to women, not to men!! (Remember Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene in John 20:1-18?) Using Paul’s logic, doesn’t that establish the primacy of women in the church – and in the priesthood? The Paul of First Corinthians doesn’t want to go near that question. And neither do most church officials.

And then we have today’s gospel selection from Luke. It’s the call of the first apostles. According to Luke, Peter, James, and John are the first to follow Jesus. That leaves us with the usual impression that Jesus called only men.

Omitted from our vision is the fact that according to Luke himself (8:3) there were “many women” taking an active part in the Jesus Movement. Besides Jesus’ mother Mary, we know the names of some of them: Mary Magdalene, several other Marys, Suzanne, Salome, Martha and Mary of Bethany, Joanna. . And the roles of these women weren’t confined to preparing food and washing clothes.

In the first Christian communities, men and women met and worshiped together. Both men and women preached the message of Jesus with the same authority, and both men and women presided at the celebration in remembrance of their crucified Master. Like the men, the women had representation and decision-making power in the communities as priests and bishops.

That was even true of the communities of Paul. Paul himself taught that “In Christ there is no male or female” (Galatians 3,28). With this claim he legitimized the active participation of women in the first Christian communities. Also, he makes emphatic mention of many women in his letters and lavishly praises their work. For example, he mentions by name the deaconess Phoebe (Romans 16,1), Junia (Romans 16,7), Prisca, Julia, Evodia and Sintece, all of whom he called his “collaborators” (Philippians 4,2). He also mentions Claudia, Trifena, Trifosa, Prisca, Lyida, Tiatira and Nympha of Laodicea. Of the 28 persons to whom Paul accords special praise in his letters to the early churches, 10 are women!

All of that changed in the 4th century, when Christianity lost its soul and became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Then Christianity adopted for good the courtly vision today’s first reading affirmed: macho-kings, courts, palaces, smoke-filled rooms, men dressed like women, denigration of women’s bodies, men trying desperately to affirm their superiority against all the evidence – of biology, life’s processes, Jesus’ own example, and women’s traditional roles as nourishers, healers and spiritual counselors.

Let’s talk about how women might take back those roles both in church and in politics. How do we help transform people as closed as today’s church patriarchs – or as open as Pope Francis? How do we facilitate changes in our bishops and priests? How do we let go of our own acquiescence to the misogyny of our church and culture?

Pope's decree opens Holy Thursday foot washings to women and girls


Since the theology of the priesthood is based significantly on the events of Holy Thursday, is this an opening to consideration of women's ordination?
- Editor

The Holy Father has written a letter, dated 20 December and published today, to Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in which he decrees that from now on, the people chosen for the washing of the feet in the liturgy of Holy Thursday may be selected from all the People of God, and not only men and boys.

The Pope writes to the cardinal that he has for some time reflected on the "rite of the washing of the feet contained in the Liturgy of the Mass in Coena Domini, with the intention of improving the way in which it is performed so that it might express more fully the meaning of Jesus' gesture in the Cenacle, His giving of Himself unto the end for the salvation of the world, His limitless charity".

The solution for a more inclusive church? Look to the seminary

Nicole Sotelo    |  Jan. 28, 2016 Young Voices   

Last week when the Vatican issued its approval for washing women's feet, I had been researching women faculty at Catholic seminaries. What will help church officials move away from their myopic gaze on women's body parts to a vision of their full humanity? It seems part of the solution may be in the classroom.
It turns out that Catholic seminaries employ few full-time women faculty to train the next generation of priests. I looked at official seminaries used by the four largest Catholic arch/dioceses in the United States (Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York). Among these schools, women represent only 10 to 17 percent of faculty.

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In His Thoughts and in His Words --
Francis on Women

By Miriam Duignan | Jan 29, 2016 

Pope Francis has introduced a new style to the Catholic church. He has been lauded as more open, loving and nonjudgmental than his predecessors. As internationally loved as Pope Francis is, the status of women within the Catholic church is his blind spot, where the open debate and relaxation of strict rules have not extended. When Francis said, “Who am I to judge?”1 in relation to gay priests, he seemed to step away from the disapproving tone and explicit moralizing normally associated with the Catholic hierarchy. Yet absolute judgment still applies when it comes to women.

[This significant, extensive and still timely article was originally posted at consiencemag.rog on January 26, 2015. - Editor]

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Wisdom Commentary introduces feminist interpretation of every Bible book

Dawn Araujo-Hawkins|January 28, 2016

Dominican Sr. Barbara Reid has created a work of feminist biblical interpretation that delves into every book of the Bible. An eight-woman board of feminist scholars, including Canadian theologian, Mary Ann Beavis of St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon, helped her coordinate the project, and in November, the first three of what will ultimately be a 58-volume series of feminist biblical commentary were published by Liturgical Press: Hebrews, Haggai and Malachi, and Micah.

I’m not a feminist, but...

The F word, manhaters and gender discrimination up for debate at University of Regina

 Ashley Martin, Regina Leader-Post
January 20, 2016

Donica Belisle noticed a phenomenon while teaching a class about the history of women in prairie Canada.

When her University of Regina students would approach her with a question or a comment, it was often prefaced with “I’m not a feminist, but.”

Whether they were asking about the history of maternity leave or remarking on women’s suffrage, they “seemed really hesitant to identify as feminists,” said Belisle, a history professor.

They told her it was because they didn’t want to be called “radical” or “manhaters.”

It got Belisle thinking: “When did feminism become the F word? And even though people want gender equality, they don’t want to identify themselves with a movement that helped create gender equality.”

That theme is part of a panel discussion Wednesday night at the U of R — I’m Not a Feminist But… A Brief History of Canadian Women’s Activism. Alongside Belisle will be professors Darlene Juschka (women’s and gender studies) and Carmen Robertson (visual arts). Audience participation is encouraged.

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-- There are already “women priests,” for example; and they deserve our appreciation, collaboration, and support.

January 18, 2016 J. A. Dick

Some time ago I was having a pleasant lunch conversation with a small group of American bishops. A couple of them were my friends and seminary classmates. It didn’t start with me, but gradually the table conversation shifted to the intrinsic immorality of the gay lifestyle, the heretical aberration of women “pretending” they are ordained, the immorality of artificial contraception, and an exaggerated humanism distorting Catholic theology.

One bishop thumped the table and said that if he were pope he would demand that all Catholics make a pledge of fidelity to church teaching and a promise of obedience to the instructions of their bishops. That did it for me.

With a chuckle I told them they would have little credibility, moving in that direction. I told them that the table conversation for the past twenty minutes had focused on issues that most Catholics had resolved years ago and young Catholics yawn at, the same way they yawn at old relatives who repeat and repeat the same old stories every time there is a family get-together. “Bishops, friends,” I said “you have to change the conversation….”

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Open Letter to Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller from Bishop Ida Raming, RCWP Germany

The letter was sent to Cardinal Gerhard in July by registered mail. An acknowledgement was received from the CDF, but no response dealing with the contents of the letter.  So, Bishop Raming decided to make the letter public. - Editor, January 28, 2016

Dr. theol. Ida Raming
70599 Stuttgart (Germany)

December  2015

To the Prefect of the CDF
Card. Gerhard Ludwig Mueller
Palazzo del Sant'Uffizio
00120 Città del Vaticano

Rev. Cardinal,

Out of concern for negative developments in our RC Church which are deeply contrary to the Spirit of Jesus, I want to appeal to you as chief of the CDF.

First, please, allow me to introduce myself to you:  I am a Roman Catholic theologian with a doctorate in theology, and was promoted as a member of the faculty of the University of Muenster (Westphalia) in 1970. I'm  also an active witness of the Vatican Council II (having submitted a petition to the Council in 1963, together with Dr. Iris Mueller, who died in 2011).

In my dissertation, (published in 1973, second edition 2002; English translation: 1976, 2004), I carefully researched the position of women in the tradition of the  RC Church, especially the reasons for the exclusion of women from diaconate and priesthood.  My teacher (+ 1988) was a well-known specialist in the history of Canon Law and of Canon
Law itself.

Since entering the field of theology, I have attentively observed the development concerning this issue and have published numerous articles and several books on it.

Through my research, I've gotten a deep insight into the long history of discrimination against women in the Catholic tradition. I found not only biblical texts discriminating against women, but also texts of Church Fathers and Church teachers (e.g. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas). They emphasize that women are both genetically and morally inferior to
men. Therefore, they claim that women are restricted to a state of subjection (status subiectionis). Consequently, women are denied not only the dignity of being created in the image of God (at the very least, this is deeply questioned) but also the possibility of being validly ordained  (cf. the argumentation of Thomas Aquinas and other canonists, concerning the state of subjection of women and the ordination of women).

These texts were collected as sources into the Corpus Iuris Canonici and laid the foundation of the so-called impossibility of women's ordination, as CIC/1917 c.968 §1 declares: "Sacram ordinationem valide recipit solus vir baptizatus" - ("Only a baptised  man can validly receive sacred ordination"). This law was taken over into the CIC/1983 c.1024 without any change, despite the protest of women's movements and critical scientific research.

The result is:  The exclusion of women from ordination to priesthood is based on a severe, long lasting discrimination against women which can be proven by many sources from church history and church tradition. This history remains closed to honest reappraisal by church leaders even in our own times, and therefore the discrimination remains in place to the present day.

Of course, today responsible church leaders avoid referring to the so-called inferiority of women as reason for their non-ordination.  The present social situation and ideals in democratic states are such that this argument would be dismissed out of hand.

But behind the argumentation of the Church leadership concerning the “non-ordination" of women, you can still find the ongoing discrimination against women.  It is simply disguised.

Referring to the exclusion of women from ordination, Church leaders (including the CDF) declare that Jesus was totally free in choosing only twelve males as apostles. This argumentation does not take into account that the position of women during Jesus' lifetime was totally inferior (excluded from teaching in public and from witnessing in the courts). Thus women were not able to act as apostles, who were sent by Jesus to teach and give public witness.  By the same token, Jesus could not choose a slave (legally incapacitated) into the group of  the Twelve – by way of striving for the liberation of slaves! It is evident:  Church doctrine  without taking into account social-cultural and historic developments inevitably leads to false conclusions and false doctrine!

In order to support the exclusion of women from priestly ministry, Church leaders also refer to the “otherhood", the “other, or gender-specific, role of women".  But who defines the so-called “otherhood“, or “other role” of women?  It is only the Church leadership – in relation to whom women  are in a state of subordination!  Indeed, it is revealing and striking that Church leaders are always stressing that the exclusion of women from ordained priestly ministry does not imply any discrimination or disadvantage to women! That is, of course, an effort  by the leading Church pastors to
assuage women, to disguise the injustice against them.  However, the truth  is that only the ones who are oppressed by the injustice – the women – are able to express what they feel as discrimination against them, not the decision-makers (= Church leaders)!

In my opinion, the doctrine of the Church in "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis"  (John Paul II., 1994) is mistaken when it claims that “the church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women“. 

Indeed, I wish to emphasize that the church (church leadership) does have “the authority to confer priestly ordination on women”! They can surely rely on the following texts of the Bible:

* 1 Cor 12:11:  "All these gifts  are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he/she gives them to each one, just as he/she determines."  That means: God is freely calling women to priestly ministry; no-one can limit God to calling only men to priesthood!

* Gal 3:26-28: "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

These words of scripture are awaiting acknowledgement and realization in the RC Church.  Because of  church leaders’ persistence  in their patriarchal behavior and spirit, the realization of these words of the Bible is prevented – to the detriment of our Church.  But in spite of this, it is my hope and belief that God's living spirit will introduce the church “into all truth" (cf. John: 16,13), even concerning the position of women  – in the face of the resistance of church leaders!

In this hope for the Spirit of Truth I send you greetings

Ida Raming

Women advised to avoid places where her person is reduced to her anatomy and her spirituality is defined and circumscribed by someone else. Barbie deserves better and so do Catholics.

Mary E. Hunt  / February 1, 2016

Did it strike anyone else as odd that the Vatican announced that women could have their feet washed on Holy Thursday the same week Mattel announced three new Barbie sizes (and a number of other variations) for its iconic doll? The convergence was nothing short of astonishing in a news cycle when competition for the surreal is keen.

Rome got out ahead with its news on January 21, 2016. Women are now eligible to have our feet washed in the Holy Thursday liturgy, a privilege heretofore reserved officially for men though anatomically it appears that women’s and men’s feet are remarkably similar. Even Pope Francis has been known to wash women’s feet in these ceremonies. Now it is company policy, proving there are some perks to being the pope.

In a clear case of teaching catching up with practice, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued the news signed by its prefect, Cardinal Robert Sarah:

To manifest the full meaning of the rite to those who participate in it, the Holy Father Francis has seen fit to change the rule in the Roman Missal… according to which the chosen men are accompanied by the ministers, which must therefore be modified as follows: … pastors may choose a group of faithful representing the variety and unity of every part of the People of God. This group may consist of men and women, and ideally of the young and the old, healthy and sick, clerics, consecrated persons and lay people.

Note the ease with which a male-only gender rule was erased by the addition of the phrase “and women,” an act that has caused apoplexy among conservative Catholics. They fear that, because the ceremony is based on Jesus’ humble action with his disciples at the Last Supper allowing women to participate (albeit passively), this change will open the door to women’s ordination.

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Pope's decree opens Holy Thursday foot washings to women and girls


Since the theology of the priesthood is based significantly on the events of Holy Thursday, is this an opening to consideration of women's ordination?
- Editor

The Holy Father has written a letter, dated 20 December and published today, to Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in which he decrees that from now on, the people chosen for the washing of the feet in the liturgy of Holy Thursday may be selected from all the People of God, and not only men and boys.

The Pope writes to the cardinal that he has for some time reflected on the "rite of the washing of the feet contained in the Liturgy of the Mass in Coena Domini, with the intention of improving the way in which it is performed so that it might express more fully the meaning of Jesus' gesture in the Cenacle, His giving of Himself unto the end for the salvation of the world, His limitless charity".

An Epiphany with Wise


 |  Simply Spirit

Throughout the Christmas season, friends occasionally send me cards, cups and other assorted tchotchkes praising the "three Wise Women." You have probably seen them: "Three Wise Women would have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, swept the stable, made a casserole and brought practical gifts."

I love this humorous feminist take on a beloved Christmas story.

But, recently, a renowned authority on the Gospel of Matthew, Dominican Fr. Benedict Thomas Viviano, believes it entirely possible that women could have been among the Magi portrayed in the Matthean birth narrative. Viviano is professor emeritus at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He also wrote the commentary on Matthew in The New Jerome Biblical Commentary.

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