Advent Calendar 2019
Shady Ladies: Fore-mothers of Jesus – and of us -- Part 2
“Prepare the Way” of the Lord is the cry of Advent. John the Baptist is the classic character who brings this message centre stage. In my last message I offered an invitation to take a longer look at preparing the way by going to the 1st Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and his recitation of the genealogy of Jesus. Beginning the Gospel in this way was important to the author who was writing for a fledgling Christian community with strong Jewish roots, in order to establish the identity of Jesus as the Messiah--that he was of the house of Judah and the house of David. In other words that the covenant promise of YHWH to Abraham would be fulfilled: “I will make of you a great nation . . . your descendants will be as numerous as the stars of the heavens or the sands of the seashore.”
Included at the beginning of the list is four women: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba. Why are they there? What is it about these women that Matthew feels the need to include them? Is there something about their position in the Jewish history or in the character of these women that makes them important to the lineage of Jesus? What can we learn from them? Let us look at them one by one--even if only briefly. You may want to read their stories in full, as referenced with each name.
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[These reflections are inspired by the writings of Helen Bruh Pearson, Mother Roots (Upper Room Books, 2002), John Shelby Spong, Born of a Virgin (Harper SanFrancisco, 1992), and Elizabeth Johnson, Truly Our Sister (Continnum, 2005).]
[Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK is bishop for RCWP Canada]
Sr. Carmel McEnroy, author who captured women's role in Vatican II, dies
Sarah MacDonald, globalsistersreport.org | December 3, 2019
Mercy Sr. Carmel McEnroy, author of a groundbreaking work on the role of women in the Second Vatican Council, has died at age 83 in Galway City, Ireland, after a long illness. McEnroy received a master's degree and a doctorate from the University of St. Michael's College, Toronto School of Theology.
Though McEnroy will be best remembered for her book on Vatican II, she will also be remembered for the treatment she received from St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, in St. Meinrad, Indiana [She fought against censure and, ultimately, she was fired by St. Meinrads for her public support for ordaining women priests]. A distinguished theologian, she taught systematic theology there for 14 years and was tenured in 1992.
To Speak the Truth in Love: 'To me Theresa Kane was, and is to this day, a sign of hope'
Christine Schenk, globalsistersreport.org | December 5, 2019
The only copy of Theresa's greeting that the pope [John Paul II] would receive was one retrieved from television footage. What church officials had received beforehand was a copy of a statement drafted by Catholic Advocates for Equality and signed by thirty-nine sisters. It asked the pope "to listen to the particular concerns of Catholic women in the United States." This effort, like the silent witness, was completely separate from Theresa's greeting. Between the petition and the obvious activism of sisters with blue armbands as he processed in from the back, the pope must have had more than an inkling that all was not going to go completely as planned.
Read More of the first and the second of two excerpts from Sr. Christine Schenk's new book on Mercy Sr. Theresa Kane
Clericalism and a New Model of Priesthood
Marie Bouclin, Special to The Review | December 15, 2019
In his Letter to the People of God, Pope Francis denounces clericalism as the cause of the sexual abuse scandal that is, according to Canon Lawyer Thomas Doyle, O.P., the worst crisis in the church since the Reformation. I’ve come to connect clericalism and sexual abuse ever since I heard women’s experiences of abuse of clerical power, particularly stories of sexual abuse, harassment and unjustified dismissals of women by priests and bishops. In fact, it was those abuses, and a need for a new model of priestly service that put me on the path to priesthood. I could see an urgent need to find ways of healing the rape of the soul that is clergy sexual abuse. It became very important for me to understand clericalism so that we, in the women priest movement can be ever watchful lest we fall into its trap.
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[Marie Bouclin, Sudbury, ON is RCWP Canada Bishop Emerita]
I would like to be able to communicate with Jean MacKay, Regina, SK [re: her inquiry about the happenings at the US-Mexico border]. Could you ask her if she would send me her e-mail or phone number or both. Though the pictures and narrative offer some information about the border, she has several other questions that are not answered. We have the people here who can give her accurate information.
[David Jackson, Edinburg, TX]
Many thanks to the editor of The Review for running Nora Balcon's insightful piece on the drive to ordain married men, and how as a direct result the ordination of women would be put on the back burner. I've heard much the same from other commentators, and I think she's right. It would be dangerous to underestimate the depth and pervasiveness of misogyny, conscious or unconscious, in the Roman Catholic Church. If, somehow, there are enough male clergy to fill the gap in parish staffing, women can expect nothing more than the usual auxiliary positions accompanied by a pat on the head.
[Concerned Catholic, Ottawa, ON]
RE "Shady Ladies: Jane took me back to my own look into my family history and it led me to call my writing "Restless Men, Valiant Women". Truly I wished that I could learn more about those women because they were much more than just the bearers of the next generation of men. Despite the lack of respect they seemingly had to live under, my female ancestors were the ones who held their families together and surely were the ones who held the family's faith together. As an elder now of my family, I thank and bless them.
[Gene Swain, Calgary, AB]
I appreciated Roberta's review of Melinda Gates' book. Roberta captured the spirit - and her personal touch of encountering someone who had worked with Melinda helped to emphasize the importance of the work that is being done.
[R. Roth, Calgary, AB]
Thank you for your informative newsletter twice a month and for all your editing work! Love the Messages from the Bishop. I always scroll first to read Jane’s inspiring message!
[Catherine Barnsley, Fort Qu'Appelle, SK]
North American women bishops' group criticizes priorities of US bishops
Jesse Remedios, ncronline.org | Decenber 10, 2019
In a November 25th statement, Roman Catholic Women Bishops criticized the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for citing abortion as the "preeminent priority" for Catholic citizens to consider heading into the 2020 election.
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No More Lying About Mary
unsplash.com photoNancy Rockwell, patheos.com | December 3, 2015
It’s Advent, and the same old lies about Mary are slipping over pulpits and out of parish letters, Christmas cards, public prayers, TV holiday movies, and late night comics’ jokes.
The subjugation of Mary, the maligning of her as meek, mild, and mindless, has been harmful to millions of women over many centuries.
Hiding within the wonder of Christmas are a thousand years of doctrinal female subjugation, doctrines that, like tinsel, are dripped all over the season of Christmas. In the midst of the celebration of Wonderful Life, these malicious ideas keep women from feeling empowered, invited to be strong, and urged by God to imagine new ways to live, as Mary of Nazareth did, who mothered God’s redemption of the human world.
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