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Roman Catholic Womenpriests: Here Comes Everybody, and More Female Bishop

“Bridget Mary’s Blog” is written by one of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests.  one of her reader readers has sent her a link to my earlier post on the womenpriests movement, which has prompted her to note that our subtitle here, “Here Comes Everybody”, could equally well be taken as a motto for the Womenpriests movement, and for a more general reflection on the nature of a Eucharistic ministry.  Reading her blog, I also saw a report on a news item that had slipped my notice – the ordination of four new female bishop in Sacramento, California:

New Bishop, Olivia Doko

“Here comes Everybody” could be the motto of the RCWP movement too!

In his book, the Future of Eucharist, Bernard Cooke observes that a new understanding of the resurrection in the Vatican ll church has broadened the church’s understanding of “real presence” and helped people to appreciate Christ’s dynamic presence in the believing community. According to Cooke, while individuals may have specific functions within the gathered assembly, the entire community performs the euharistic action (p. 32) If this is so, then the gathered assembly is the celebrant of Eucharist. It is the community that “does” the Eucharist, not the presider alone.
This is the reason that at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community’s liturgies, the gathered assembly extends hands in blessing and recites the words of consecration with the presiders, not the presiders alone. This is also the reason that we invite the community to participate in a “dialogue homily.” At our celebrations, our motto is “here comes’ everybody” and, of course, this means all are welcome to receive Eucharist at the banquet because Christ’s love embraces all.

Bridget Mary Meehan, RCWP

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20 Responses

  1. Life finds a way!

  2. How ironic I read this on the same day I read an article describing the Holy Father’s public audience on 3/10:

    (from Catholic Culture

    “The Pope’s address to the weekly audience continued the reflections on St. Bonaventure that he had begun the previous Wednesday. In this second talk, the Holy Father concentrated on St. Bonaventure’s response to Joachim of Fiore and the “spiritual” Franciscans, who had taught that a new phase of history was beginning, in which the Church hierarchy would disappear and the enlightened faithful would be guided only by the Holy Spirit.

    “St. Bonaventure opposed that error, the Pope observed, and in rebutting it he upheld the true teaching of St. Francis of Assisi. The faithful should not follow radical new teachings, but should recognize that “there is no other Gospel, no other Church to be awaited.” The Franciscans, St. Bonaventure insisted, should work within the structure of the hierarchical Church.

    “Genuine reform always follows the same pattern, working with the Church rather than seeking to replace it, the Pope said. But he pointed out that the temptation to conceive an entirely new institution endures today. Pope Benedict said:

    “Following Vatican Council II some people were convinced that all was new, that a new Church existed, that the pre-conciliar Church had come to an end and that there would be another, completely different Church, an anarchic utopia.”

    Today’s novelties are really just yesterday’s errors.

    • It really is ironic, isn’t it, Larry, when you consider the central role that women played in the community of the New Testament?

      It was his women followers who remained with Jesus through his crucifixion, while the men (except for John) fled. It was the women who brought Peter to the empty tomb, though as the gospel accounts began to be written, they tried to disguise that embarrassing fact.

      Women clearly gathered the community together in a number of New Testament churches and led the worship of those communities.

      As you say, today’s novelties–in today’s case, the decision of the church to strip women of all institutional power–are really just yesterday’s errors, echoes of similar ugly decisions in the past that depart from the norms established in the gospels and New Testament literature.

      What a church we’d be today if we took seriously Jesus’s shocking and rebellious decision, as a Jewish rabbi, to include women among his disciples and treat them as equals.

      • Absolutely correct, Bill. We also tend to forget that in addition to the twelve, who admittedly were all men, there were so many other disciples, including many women, who all took a major part in the work of ministry. By chance, I happen to have open in front of me a passage that quotes Luke 8: 1:3 “and the twelve were with him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, and Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others which ministered unto him of their substance.”
        Those who insist that Jesus chose only men conveniently forget these, and all the others quoted elsewhere.

        And LarryD, yes of course Benedict would prefer that we work for reform within the church rather than outside it. Well, he would, wouldn’t he? However, the only evidence we have fore the often repeated claim that we are bound to obey the bishops, is their own conclusions, from their reading of Scripture and their own predecessors. What do you expect him to do – suggest that we work to reduce his own power and control? His argument be a great deal convincing, if I saw any evidence that he and his colleagues were indeed attempting any serious reform, and not simply moving to block it at every opportunity.

      • No one’s denying the role women played in Jesus’ ministry. It’s obvious from the Scriptures that He treated the women of his day differently than the Scribes and Pharisees did – with respect and compassion, with genuine love. To assume that meant He intended them to become priests is pure conjecture. Equality is not sameness.

        Cute attempt to say that “stripping women of institutional power” is today’s novelty. If the goal of women’s ordination is to amass power, as you imply with that statement, then their objective is wrought with the worst of intentions. I know a lot of priests, and none of them have ever told me they became one for the power and the glory. Look at the history of the world, and see how many priests have been martyred in just the past 5 centuries – in Mexico, Spain, Germany, Russia, China, Korea, Japan, England. The “power grab” mentality just doesn’t make sense.

        These women simply want what they cannot have. Hey, I’d love to be the king of England, and just because I can go around and say that I’m the king of England, even though I would be sincere in my belief, does not make it so. So, just because these misguided women believe they’re confecting the Eucharist, at the end of the day, they’re not.

        What a church we’d be today if we took seriously Jesus’s shocking and rebellious decision, as a Jewish rabbi, to include women among his disciples and treat them as equals.

        St Catherine of Siena, St Teresa of Avila, St Therese of Lisieux and the countless other great female saints of the Church are quite possibly having a big belly laugh over such an absurd comment.

        • “To assume that meant He intended them to become priests is pure conjecture.” From that passage, perhaps – but it is equally conjecture that he wished to block them from exercising ministry. Look at other passages as well though, and you get a different picture. His entire ministry was one of inclusion. Putting things into historical context, it is also important to note that whereas the Jewis religion routinely excluded women from virtually all religious office, learning or even discussion, Jesus completely ignored these taboos, and freely engaged in theological discussion on different topics on numerous occasions. In a rigidly patriarchal society, he way ahead of the rest the community on treating women with respect, and as the equals of men. It is ludicrous that in the modern world, where the rest of society has moved so far in the direction of including women in all spheres, the Church should be less open to women’s inclusion than Christ himself.

          You don’t even have to go back to New Testament times: medieval abbesses had far greater authority and independence than women in religious life do today, sometimes even to the extent of having authority over local bishops, and taking part in their selection.

          It’s certainly not about “amassing power” for women – but putting right their historic exclusion from participation i power, which is not at all the same thing. I accept that most ordinary priests are not out in pursuit of power for themselves – but if you think the same thing applies to all in the higher ranks of the clergy, then you clearly have read very little in the way of Church history. The story of the papacy in particular, is a long sorry sage of constant political manoeuvring for power – battles between popes and kings; between popes and anti popes; between rival candidates jostling for succession; and between popes and their bishops over the balance of power.

  3. I just have one question. Is there an age requirement to your movement? I noticed that all in the picture are later middle-aged and seniors. Iam 30 but I do not see any young women.

    I must be honest, that I might agree with what you are doing but I dont see how I would be welcome. I would be uncomfortable living in an environment and being the only young person.

    Could someone please contact me and explain why it appears that your movement is not open to 30 year olds like myself.

    • Joy, I cannot answer this. As the person who placed the post, I must point out that this is not “my ” movement, nor that of the blog. I was simply cross-posting a piece from elsewhere, specifically “Bridget Mary’s Blog”. For a reliable answer to your question, I suggest that you cross there and put the question to her. Here, I must apologise for not placing a link in the post. Here it is: Bridget Mary’s Blog.

      I would be fairly certain that here are no age restrictions: I imagine the ages you see simply reflect the ages of the people they have been able to recruit.

  4. This is a lot more simple than you make it out to be (although LarryD does a good job expanding upon it). The Roman Catholic Church says that only men can be priests. As members of the Roman Catholic Church, you agree to be under Her authority. If you decide to break away from the authority of the Church, how are you any different than the Protestants?

    In addition, what makes a small group of renegade “women priests” think that they have some kind of better insight into the matter of who is ordained a priest? The Roman Catholic Church has 2000 years worth of history studying and praying about such matters; what do you have that backs up your belief? Because, you know, the Pope’s on our side. As is any real Catholic who understand what the Church is about.

    • Excuse me, but do NOT agree to be “under her authority”. I am Catholic by birth, baptism, education and association. I reject any suggestion that because I dissent in conscience (a right fully affirmed among others by Thomas Aquinas, Vatican II, and Joseph Ratzinger, anybody can tell me I am not Catholic. The only evidence we have that we are under the legislative authority of the church, is that which they proclaim in their own self- interest.

      I am not a Protestant, simply because I have not broken away, and stay inside. Yes, the church has 2000 years of prayer and study behind it, which is why I remain in the Church. However, 2000 years does not guarantee that they are always right, as is easily shown by the numerous matters on which they have historically found that they have changed their stance on so many matters. They have also not spent all those 2000 years in prayer and study – but also in power struggles, fathering children, burning those who disagreed with them, amassing wealth……..

      Try reading church and papal history, before suggesting that we must blindly obey them in all matters. And also read the church’s own teaching, on conscience, and on the differing orders of church teaching.

      • There’s this thought that runs through my mind when I see the word “conscience” get bandied about…I’m reminded of the immortal words of Inigo Montoya…

        “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

        • And quite clearly, Larry, I do not think “catholic” means what you think it means.

          • I’m sure we would each give a different definition. For myself, I try to think with the mind of the Church – CCC 830 and following. To think it means anything else wouldn’t be…Catholic.

          • And I think of the definition – universal – together with Christ’s teaching – inclusive.

            To start with the statements of those who have assumed power inside the church is to work with the definitions they have created in their own best interests.

          • “Universal” and “inclusive” are included in the Catechism, so perhaps we don’t differ all that much in the definition.

            To start with the statements of those who have assumed power inside the church is to work with the definitions they have created in their own best interests.

            I start with those statements, because the Church has the authority to define what ‘Catholic’ means.

            Perhaps you haven’t read the Catechism all that closely, given that the sections I mentioned are full of quotations from Lumen Gentium, scriptural passages, other encyclicals and teachings of saints and Fathers of the Church. Such things comprise the Sacred Tradition and Magisterium.

            If you’re merely relying on Christ’s teachings – the scriptural aspect – then you are indeed acting as a Protestant. Sola Scriptura and all that. And besides, Jesus isn’t quoted in the scriptures as having used the word.

            And if you disregard the Catechism, whether all or part, which is a summary of the universal teaching of the Catholic Church, then how that is that truly “universal”? Sounds more insular than all-inclusive.

  5. I have to say as a woman religious that I completely disagree with you. With all Christian love, I must say that I feel completely accepted and valued as a member of the Body of Christ, the Church, without demanding something that is not mine to take – namely, the priesthood. It is only offered to men. Period, end of story. I have such a difficult time hearing women assert their “rights” in this way. No one has a right to become a priest! It is a gift. A gift given to men, not to women.

    In faith, I believe that God promised that the Church would lead us correctly (the gates of hell shall not prevail against us). Even if I do not understand an issue in Church teaching, I listen because in I believe that God would never let HIS people be led astray. He loves us with such a desperate love. If He conquered death, would he really let the Church fall?

    If the Roman Catholic Church ever ordained women validly, I think I would be finished. I would leave. It would signify to me that the Church was no longer being true to herself and that Jesus must not be actually guiding it.

    I say this to let you know that not all women appreciate what you are doing for “women’s equality” within the Church. Some of us are grateful and happy for what God has given us. I love being a woman! I love being a Catholic woman! I love being a Catholic woman religious! I do not feel in any way less than a man because I cannot be a priest.

    Please accept the fact that God has given you a special vocation, a special identity as woman! Don’t try to be a man, rejoice in being a woman.

    Many prayers for you. God bless you and may you grow in your understanding of our holy Church!

    Sister Marie

    • Sister Marie , I am delighted that you feel welcome ad valued as a woman. Others do not.

      Where is must disagree with you, is in your claim ” God promised that the Church would lead us correctly”, with its implied assumption that where God leads, the Church will follow. History shows clearly how often the church has been wrong in the past: on the crusades, on slavery, on usury, on the condemnation of democracy, on the opposition to labour unions, and many others

  6. This is so sad its funny – a bunch of geriatric lesbian feminists who create their own version of a two thousand year old faith. What is worse still, is the pitiful amount of poor bemused ‘faithful’ who support them.

    Wake up people, smell the incense and get with the program before its too late and before youre all burning in your polyester vestments and tamborines with ol ‘Nick!

    An utter disgrace, please do realise despite how deulded youre minds may be that you will NEVER change what our Lord himself established – So repent of your sinful pride and vanity, humble yourselves before the Christ and his Vicar in Rome – while you still can!

    • You can make fun as much as you like, but in one respect at least, you are right – more than you realise.. You can NOT change what the Lord himself established – a church that is open and inclusive.

      In the context of His day, Jesus Christ was far more open and accepting of women in ministry than the religious “authorities.” The ban on women in ministry does not come from Christ, or even from Paul, but is from later, human, origin.

  7. Hi, I just thought I would post a comment and let you know your web site layout is really messed up on the Firefox browser. Seems to work ok on IE however. Anyways keep up the great work.

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