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* Roberta Fuller is not your average Roman Catholic priest

* Catholic Women Preach:  PENTECOST

* Feminist activism is not an inherently western thing

* Woman priest says that the Great Commission of the Gospel includes cracking the hard shell of patriarcy

* 195 Reasons why women should be ordained

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Archdiocese of Regina Theologians give balanced view of feminine and masculine images for God

Editor, RCWP Canada Website | June 19, 2017

In a fast paced, lively, even jocular podcast, two archdiocesan theologians drew on scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church to give a positive and balaced view of  the use of feminine and masculine images for God.  The only caution was to beware of the use of language in a political fashion to argue against another point of view. 

If anything, the one weakness of the presentation was that the presenters appeared to say it was okay to use both feminine and masculine images in private prayer, but they avoided any mention of a need for reforming the exclusive language used in public worship.  The "new" translation for the Mass comes to mind.

The podcast's theme was initiated by inquiries related to the appropriateness of the images for God as portayed in the movie, The Shack.  Theologians Brett Salkeld and Eric Gurash concluded that it was okay to portray God in both feminine and masculine images, keeping in mind that God is neither a woman nor a man, but that humans have a need to express their ideas about how they relate to God, even if these images are always inadeqate.

Listen to the podcast by clicking here.





    Comments to the Editor

I recently attended a baptism, you know, where the Holy Trinity is prominent in the liturgy.

The best way I’ve found to understand the mystery of the Trinity is to use the term “relationship”. To me that’s what the Trinity is – relationship. This way of "seeing" the Trinity is more spiritual than the traditional anthropocentric of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

When you think about it, there cannot be a relationship unless there is an “other” or “others”. Further thinking about it we notice that the universe is relational – everything is related and everything affects everything else. If we use DNA to express how similar or related we are, then we and a tiny worm are 70% related. (Next time you go fishing, be gentle, you may be putting a distant cousin on the hook).

Try this: Instead of putting your head down in profound prayer to Jesus after receiving communion, look at the face of each returning communicant. And in your heart say, “You are my sister; you are my brother." True, when I look at some faces, I find it difficult to say it. But I really enjoy looking at the little kids as they skip, don’t walk. And when you look at them, they look back at you.That’s Trinity dwelling right among us, not in some distant ‘heaven’. Beautiful!

Emil Kutarna, Regina, SK






Continuing Features:


With appologies to Martin Luther

Click here for book-length pdf copy





       Series on Critical Thinking






Statement of RCWP Canada National Leadership Circle to Pope Francis' "Never, never . . . In that direction" assertion


Sara Butler, MSBT / Robert J. Egan, SJ Debate on the Ordination of Women



Women Priests -- Answering the Call

 

See preface from the book by Catherine Cavanagh -- click here

Editor's note:  The author has given permission to download for free the complete 48 page booklet and read on your computer or e-reader


Click here for pdf format of Women Priests -- Following the Call



My Journey From Silence to Solidarity


This book available for free as a pdf file downloaded here.



COMMISSION WATCH

On May 12, 2016 Pope Francis  announced that he will create a commission to study the possibility of restoring the tradition of ordaining women deacons in the Catholic Church.

Follow this special section to stay up to date and get insights and commentary on developments from many news sources.



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Roberta Fuller is not your average Roman Catholic priest -- newly formed faith community in Pickering, ON

Nancy Fornasiero, Toronto Globe and Mail | June 2, 2017

Rev. Fuller, pastor of a newly formed faith community in Pickering, has been revising, refining and rehearsing the homily for this weekend’s inaugural mass at St. Mary of Magdalene the First Apostle Catholic Faith Community.

Inspiration came from Scripture (Acts 2:17-18): “God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. … Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”

The passage connects the theme of Pentecost – a feast day celebrated in all Christian churches this weekend – to gender equality and inclusivity, issues close to Rev. Fuller’s heart.

But Rev. Fuller is no ordinary Catholic priest prepping to preach to his flock; rather this is Rev. Roberta Fuller, an ordained Roman Catholic Woman Priest (RCWP). The petite septuagenarian and retired high-school teacher is regarded by some as a courageous spiritual leader and by others as a disrespectful dissident.

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Catholic Women Preach:

PENTECOST


Lisa Sowle Cahill, Catholic Women Preach online | June 4, 2017

Today we are celebrating Pentecost, the feast of the Holy Spirit.

It can be hard to image the Holy Spirit!  Scripture gives us many images.

The Holy Spirit is the dove who descended on Jesus at his baptism, showing the presence of God’s love.  The Holy Spirit is a flame of fire who takes away fear and gives us courage.    The Holy Spirit is a rush of wind showing God’s power to really give us the new life promised.    In John’s Gospel, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to be our comforter in moments of despair—to be our advocate when we have lost our way. 

I am in the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, near the Boston College campus--because I want to share with you two stained glass windows that speak eloquently about the Holy Spirit.

Above the altar, we have the image of the suffering Jesus on the cross—who was raised by God on Easter, as signified by the white cloth.  Look at the window above the cross—we see the Holy Spirit represented as a dove.  The Holy Spirit is near the cross all the time, even when we cannot see the visible sign of the resurrection.  The Holy Spirit comes to us in the midst of suffering, pain, loss, and fear!

Now look at the window depicting the last station of the cross.  This is one event with the cross, and the Holy Spirit present there too.

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The notion that feminist activism is an inherently western thing — an inappropriate behaviour that white women engage in — ignores the fact that women of colour have a rich history in resisting oppressive systems

Hana Shafi, United Church Observer online | June 2017

I stood among a sea of pink pussy hats. There were families marching. Elderly women with signs saying they had been protesting since the 1960s. Young women in groups with their girlfriends. Teens. Even men expressing solidarity. This was the Women’s March in Toronto in January, part of a worldwide movement of women’s marches. In Toronto, the estimated turnout was 60,000 people. Globally, the movement attracted millions of women in over 70 countries who were effectively telling the world we would not be silenced, we would not tolerate oppression, we would not accept a bigoted, racist, misogynistic president of the United States. But one thing must be noted: in this wave of pink, the faces were mostly white.

“How do we reconcile the imperfections of feminism with all the good it can do?” asks Roxane Gay in her New York Times bestseller Bad Feminist. While the book was published in 2014, Gay’s commentary is perhaps even more relevant today. The lack of diversity at the Toronto Women’s March reflects a larger problem with mainstream feminism: white women tend to dominate the conversation, leaving little space for those whose identities and experiences differ from their own. As we strive to build a movement that is radically diverse and inclusive, voices like Gay’s are helping to point the way.


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Woman priest says that the Great Commission of the Gospel includes cracking the hard shell of patriarcy

Homily for Trinity Sunday

Linda Spear, Special to the RCWP Canada Website | May 28, 2017
 
"Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you." (Mt. 28, 16-20)
 
It is fitting, then that our Gospel reading is the Great Commission. This is neither the time nor the place to enter into a scholarly discussion of whether this passage, this command of Jesus, was added much later. What we do know is that, in the Christian Scriptures, we have a record of the beliefs of the early Christians. We also have the witness of the Scriptures and of early Christian writings as to how those early believers lived out this commission, even to the shedding of their blood.
 
The first part of the Great Commission tells us to spread the Good News and to baptize, to bring everyone into union with Jesus.

What is this Good News? Jesus himself told us when he read the passage from Isaiah in the synagogue in his home town, Nazareth. (Luke 4:18)
 
            The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
            For the Spirit has anointed me
            To bring the good news to the afflicted.
            and to the broken-hearted.
            The Spirit has sent me to proclaim liberty to the
            captives,
            Sight to the blind,
            To let the oppressed go free
            To proclaim a year of favour from our God. (Isaiah
            61:12)
 
We know how well the message went over with the home town crowd. They ran to grab him and would have thrown him over a cliff if they had been able.
 
John the Baptist, already in prison for calling out Herod for marrying his sister-in-law, sends his disciples to check out Jesus’ credentials. In response to their question as to whether he is the One for whom they are waiting, Jesus replies:
          
"Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see again, the lame walk, those suffering from virulent skin diseases are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the good news is proclaimed to the poor; and blessed is anyone who does not find me a cause for falling."  (Luke 7:20-21)
 
These are some of the signs that the reign of God is among us. Jesus’ parables often have as their point a message of justice for the poor and a warning to those who have more than enough and who do not share. We have the story of Dives and Lazarus, the tale of the man whose barns are too small for his harvest who plans, unwittingly on his death bed, to build bigger barns. In real life there is the story of the rich young man who went away sad, and the widow’s mite. The Gospels are full of the call to equality, to sharing, and to treating each of God’s little ones with care and compassion. We are told that even giving a cup of cold water to someone in Jesus’ name will have its reward.
 
Jesus, like a good teacher, a good leader, taught by his example. He told us to love everyone, whether good or evil, like our Father, who makes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on the just and the unjust alike. Jesus was a servant leader, washing the feet of his disciples and telling them to do likewise. He was a humble leader, telling us that if we would be great, we must seek that last place. 
 
Jesus challenged the leaders of Israel who did the opposite, saying: "They (the Pharisees) tie up heavy burdens and lay them on people’s shoulders, But will they lift a finger to move them? Not they." (Mt. 23:4) He has similar words for the lawyers: "Alas for you lawyers as well, because you load on people burdens that are unendurable, burdens that you yourselves do not touch with your fingertips." (Luke 11:46)
 
I wonder if we can see similar situations in our society, in our government, in our church? If the tax department makes a mistake, well, it’s nothing serious. But just let one of us little people make an innocent mistake on a tax return and suddenly we find the whole weight of government being brought to bear against us. Our society tolerates institutional crooks, bankers who steal people’s money, but let one of us make a mistake in dealing with a mortgage or a car loan and we end up paying through the nose.
 
As for the Church, and I know you’re all waiting for this one, we have only to think of all the teachings on sexual ethics. What about the encouragement to people to have full burials because cremation, with the ashes scattered, doesn’t give the mourners a place to go to visit the deceased. (Never mind the understanding that the deceased are in a different dimension, in eternity, free from the limitations of time and space. And don’t get me started about the Stagliano Cemetery in Genoa where, unless you have lots of money, your remains are dug up and buried in a common pit after ten years.) I wonder if the people who draft these laws have ever had to negotiate with a funeral home over a burial where you may be guilted into paying far more than you can afford for a loved one’s funeral.)
 
Finally, of course, is the teaching and Canon 1024 which states that women may not receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Some of us may think an ordained ministry is not necessary. But as long as the Church has an ordained ministry, this failure to include women in it sends a message loud and clear: Women are inferior to men. And this message is heard, in some parts of the world, by men in patriarchal societies, because it gives them the license to exploit women. Of course, the teaching against birth control, recently reiterated in the Philippines, a very poor country, effectively keeps women and their societies in poverty. In addition the prohibition against condoms sentences women and innocent babies to die in great numbers from AIDS. (One African bishop is said to have remarked: Babies don’t get AIDS.)
 
So this Jesus whom we all profess to follow, let himself be handed over to death by a friend while protecting his followers. He forgave those who were crucifying him and welcomed the repentant thief into paradise. He forgave Peter, giving him a chance to repair his threefold denial with a threefold profession of his love. He is the God of second chances, nay, of seven times seventy chances. In the footsteps of Jesus, Paul tells us, “Bless your persecutors, never curse them, bless them.
 
The second part of the commission deserves greater attention. Jesus wants us to do everything that he has commanded. What has he commanded? What is the passion of God and what is the character of this God who sent his Son into the world to teach us? The character of God is love, overflowing, poured out upon all creation, keeping everything that is in being, loving every nano particle that exists, let alone the little sparrow that falls to the ground. And God’s passion is for justice, that every one of the creatures has what it needs, that no one is in want, that no one goes hungry while others have more than enough.
 
We are all here because we have heard the call for justice. We know that the oppression of women affects not only women themselves but their children and their societies. It has been amply demonstrated that where women can control their fertility, can control their finances, can be educated, their societies are lifted up with them.
 
Many authors and speakers have shown the hypocrisy of a society and a Church that speaks out for equality but does not give women an equal place in decision-making and ministry. Why are women still under represented in business circles, in government and in the churches? Even in some churches that ordain women, there are some congregations that do not want a woman priest or minister. We still live, even in Canada in this day and age, in a misogynistic society. Why, in the Catholic Church, are women priests condemned equally with pedophiles? Why are they excommunicated when, to the best of my knowledge, pedophile priests are not? Truly, there is much work to be done.
 
Now is not the time to lower our arms raised in prayer for our suffering sisters and brothers. Now is not the time to be invisible. We are not to put our light under a bushel basket. The support of various women's movements is necessary to crack the hard shell of patriarchy.
 
In a paraphrase of an early Canadian feminist: Never give in, never give up. Never explain, never apologize, just get the thing done.

Or, as we say in Québec, Lache pas!


[Linda Spear an ordained priest, member of RCWP Canada, ministers in Sutton, QC.]




Francis, the comic strip                                                                                                           Francis Comic Strip Archive
by Pat Marrin | June 1, 2017
National Catholic Reporter

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