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Archives -- 2013

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Interviews with RCWP Canada priests, Marie Bouclin and Monica Kilburn-Smith.

Hillary Di Menna | December 17, 2013

Across Canada, dozens of nuns, women priests, worshippers, and one female bishop are part of a growing movement to pry the Catholic Church from its patriarchal roots. In its place, they’ll build the world’s most massive vehicle for social justice. Welcome to the fight for a pro-women, pro-gay, pro-liberal Church. This Magazine's article, includes interviews with RCWP Canada priests, Marie Bouclin and Monica Kilburn-Smith.

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Pope Francis will allow for the ordination of women step by step


It’s not all going to happen at once.  In terms of tone and emphasis, things are moving so rapidly with Pope Francis that it is hard to keep up.  With newsworthy statements, gestures and/or events every day, this superstar Pope continues to get headlines.

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Plenty for Canadians to like in Evangelii Gaudium

A copy of the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) by Pope Francis is seen during a news conference at the Vatican Nov. 26. In his first extensive piece of writing as Pope, Pope Francis lays out a vision of the Catholic Church dedicated to evangelization, with a focus on society’s poorest and most vulnerable, including the aged and unborn. Reaction has been positive from Canadians like Jesuit Father Bill Ryan and theologian Catherine Clifford. A copy of the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) by Pope Francis is seen during a news conference at the Vatican Nov. 26. In his first extensive piece of writing as Pope, Pope Francis lays out a vision of the Catholic Church dedicated to evangelization, with a focus on society’s poorest and most vulnerable, including the aged and unborn. Reaction has been positive from Canadians like Jesuit Father Bill Ryan and theologian Catherine Clifford.- CNS photo/Alessandro Bianchi, Reuters

The Church of Pope Francis’ dreams, a Church that is poor and for the poor, is becoming the dream of Canadians, many of whom, from all across the spectrum, have been left smiling by Pope Francis’ love letter to the Church on the new evangelization.

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Nelson Mandela: Inspiration for Church Reformers
Nelson Mandela embodied the power of the human spirit. For those of us in the church reform movement, Mandela was living proof that institutions can be changed and the world can be transformed.

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On lack of vocations, Francis' diagnosis comes up short

Jamie Manson  |  Dec. 5, 2013 Grace on the Margins

Like many who care passionately about a fully inclusive priesthood in the Catholic church, I read paragraph 104 of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium with deep sadness, though not surprise.

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The survey I wish the Vatican would have conducted... Emotional abuse of women in the Church
Questions From a Ewe Blog | Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pope Francis speaks of creating a “theology of women.”  I’m not sure what he’s done towards achieving that end other than saying he thinks it’s really important but he has at least said that.  Also under Francis’ leadership, the Vatican conducted a survey about marriage, divorce and birth control.  Since Francis repeatedly says women are a priority, and he seems all "into" surveys, I thought I could suggest another survey for the hierarchy. This survey would only be taken by women and it would be based upon the questions used to identify emotional abuse.

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Three letters to Pope Francis from a global community, including Canadian Catholics

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An Open Letter from the Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Renewal (ACCCR) to Pope Francis and the Synod Secretariat

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Pope: All, not some or most, are redeemed by Christ
Joshua J. McElwee  |  Dec. 12, 2013

Pope Francis has used his message for the annual World Day of Peace, released Thursday, to call for better treatment of the poor and suffering based on the Christian message that all people are brothers and sisters.

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We are at a crossroads for women in the church

Joan Chittister 
Dec. 11, 2013 From Where I Stand

In this column, Joan Chittister shares the remarks she made as part of the following panel.

The American Academy of Religion and its companion association, the Society of Biblical Literature, is known for gathering forward-thinking theologians across denominations for the sake of cross-pollinating the best of religious research and thinking. So it's not surprising that at this year's Nov. 22-24 conference in Baltimore that part of the conference agenda was a panel of speakers whose own interests might give us all a snapshot view of Pope Francis and the challenges he faces in dealing with various current questions.

The sweeping composition of the panel -- both lay and religious, Catholic and not, male and female -- highlighted specific issues facing the church and the early responses of this present pope to areas of ecumenism, liberation theology, tradition, spiritual formation and, in my own case, women's issues and religious life.

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Apostolic Exhortation

Of the Holy Father Francis
To the Bishops, Clergy, Consecrated Persons
and the Lay Faithful
On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today's World

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Homily for the Priestly Ordination of Catherine O’Connor

November 16, 2013

by Bishop Marie Bouclin


Jeremiah 1:4-9 (Jeremiah’s call);

Response Psalm 22;

I Corinthians 12: 4-11(the Spirit’s charisms for the church);

Luke 10:1-6 (the sending of the 72)

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The readings we have just heard are about call. God who calls us, the Spirit of God who empowers us with gifts for service, and Jesus us who sends us in God’s name as labourers to bring in a plentiful harvest.

I’m sure the word of God came to Cathy saying, “... I appointed you a prophet”. Those were daunting words for Jeremiah and so he feels inadequate and afraid. But like Jeremiah, Cathy must have also heard the reassuring words, “Be not afraid ... I am with you.”    

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Monica Kilburn-Smith, Calgary’s only woman priest,
welcomes an average
of 40 people to monthly mass. She says she has “a loving rage and a raging love for the church, and a deep caring for women.”

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She, with the Alabaster Jar
 by Victoria Marie, 29 November 2011

In Matthew and John and Mark

the 12 scold her about purse strings.

In Luke, the Pharisee remarks

she's a sinner, a cursed thing.


To all Jesus responds, she understands

what is to come and responds in a loving way.

You act as outwardly as propriety demands.

Your inward thoughts are cause for dismay.


Down through the ages, she'll be recalled,

though they try to smear and defame her.

What she has done will be remembered by all,

though they try to diminish and un-name her


What does it mean for women today?

We remained at the foot of the cross

Jesus chose women by whom to be anointed

For these things, they want to make us pay

They want to show us who is the boss

But it was the Magdalene, Jesus first appointed.


Just like Mary Magdalene, we have been sent

To spread the Word regardless of official consent

With the fire of love in our hearts to give, unsparing,

Bring love to the world by serving and caring,

at home, at work, in ceremony, in preaching,

Spread love and good news.  That's Jesus teaching.

Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie, RCWP Canada
Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community

Catholic ‘logic’ counts for naught when women hear God’s call to the priesthood

Prairie Messenger - February 6, 2013

By Jacklynne Guimond

In his World Day of Peace speech reported in the Jan. 2, PM Pope Benedict said “Attacks on human dignity and human rights, from abortion and euthanasia to limits on religious freedom . . . undermine efforts to bring peace to the world.”

Reiterating Catholic teaching about the sacredness of every human life, he explained those teachings as “logical, natural principles needed for a life marked by dignity and peaceful co-existence.” He goes on to say: “True peacemakers are those who love, defend, and promote human life in all its dimensions. Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life.”

Having just viewed: “PInk smoke over the Vatican” (available at www.Amazon.ca) for the third time certainly drew my attention to these papal words. This one-hour documentary is a “must see” for anyone interested in catholic justice in the church. It deals with the controversial subject of women priests.

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The Healing Power of Compassion

By Cindy Ricardo, LMHC, CIRTSelf-Care Topic Expert Contributor

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. -Dalai Lama

In life we encounter many different experiences. Some are joyful and uplifting, and others are painful and challenging. When we encounter joy, there is a yearning to have it last forever, but when there’s pain our first reaction is to avoid, ignore, or push it away. When we react to joy or pain with any form of resistance—clinging to joy, pushing away or ignoring pain—we suffer. What helps us walk through our suffering and the suffering of others is to become aware of when we are reacting to pain and learn to transform this reaction into a compassionate, caring response.

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Restored Rome catacomb frescoes add to debate on women priests

A fresco is pictured inside the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome November 19, 2013. REUTERS-Max Rossi

ROME (Reuters) - Proponents of a female priesthood say frescoes in the newly restored Catacombs of Priscilla prove there were women priests in early Christianity.

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Theologians call church sexual teachings incomprehensible,' ask for lay input

An international group of Catholic theologians are asking bishops globally to take seriously the expertise of laypeople in their preparations for the 2014 synod on the family.

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Open letter from Basque theologian José Arregi was published in Spanish on his blog on 11/6/2013

Dear Pope Francis:

As everything goes so fast today, the questionnaire on the family that you just sent to the Jose Arengibishops all over the world has already come into our hands — 38 very specific questions organized into 8 thematic blocks. We understand that we are not just the subjects, but also the ones to whom these questions that affect — and hurt — us, even more than the bishops, are addressed. Therefore we are allowing ourselves to answer them directly, because of the affection we have for you and the trust you inspire in us. Thank you, Pope Francis, for asking us about so many uncomfortable issues that have been, and still are, taboo. And thanks for listening to us, for receiving our voices speaking from the soul, with their certainties and doubts.

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Hierarchy's Mary is vastly different from ours

by Joan Chittister
From Where I Stand: Mary was a woman not intimidated into the Incarnation, not beholden to male answers, and not in doubt about her place in the church.

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Francis you need to call a special synod to study ordained ministry.

  Letter to Pope Francis regarding married and women priesthood . . .

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The latest from Pope Francis on women


I really like Pope Francis in so many ways. He seems personable, friendly, truly human, a man who experiences life with joy. I love his simpler lifestyle, his emphasis on the poor of the world and his preaching of social justice and peace as cornerstones of the Gospel message.

But when it comes to women, I want to cry. He just doesn't seem to get it. He tries to be nice, to be complimentary and understanding. But in almost every phrase, he seems to think of women as a different species of human.

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The indispensable contribution of women

 Women's ordination to the priesthood "is not open to discussion," Pope Francis writes, and this presents a great challenge for discovering what the possible role of women in leadership in the church is.

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I have great expectations for and from Francis, Bishop of Rome, and the Time Person of the year.

From Pope Francis, and the Vatican administration which he supervises, I expect a more humane – well a more Christian – style of leadership. My expectations are not limited just to Francis and his Vatican, however. 

I expect the rest of us in the church: lay men and women, ordained ministers, and bishops to ALSO implement a more caring and person-affirming leadership style.  If the entire community of faith – the entire church – doesn’t do this, the Person of the Year becomes just a pleasant and quickly-forgotten image.

The challenge for all of us then is to reject authoritarian management styles at all levels of our church life. We know of course that they do exist at all levels.

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An Open Letter from the Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Renewal (ACCCR) to Pope Francis and the Synod Secretariat

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Feminism and Religious Identities
By Ivone Gebara
Pat Reif Memorial Lecture delivered at Claremont College, March 2009

            In the tumult of feminist theories of the twentieth century most Christian women have abandoned their traditional prayers, devotions, and work at churches and now feel a great sense of emptiness regarding religious institutions. We are not what the institutions said about us, we do not recognize ourselves in the way institutional religions have taught us. We are not women to provide men's needs or be their helpers as our raison d'être. We have discovered more accurately that Christianity has been co-opted and that it sustains and legitimates the domination of women in the larger social cultural context.

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A Brief Overview of Womenpriests in the History of the Roman Catholic Church

Bridget Mary Meehan, Olivia Doko, and Victoria Rue

Within our faith tradition and Sacred Scripture we discover evidence of a history rich in
the call and participation of women in all dimensions of ministry: 24 examples are given in a 9 page pdf booklet.

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