Deceember 15, 2018 ______________________________________________________________________________________

During Advent we are reminded that Jesus will come at the end of time. But Jesus is also coming today, right now

Michael Sean Winters, | December 3, 2018

Here is the thing, and it is the thing that I think Pope Francis is trying to tell us, the central theme of his pontificate actually and, in a different way, the central focus of Pope Benedict XVI's pontificate as well. In faith, we believe Jesus came to redeem the world, once and for all, some 2,000 years ago. In faith, we believe that Jesus will come at the end of time to judge the living and the dead. We affirm these beliefs in the Nicene Creed every Sunday.

But Jesus is also coming today, right now, whenever we are confronted with human need, whenever we contemplate the reserved Eucharist, whenever we partake of the sacraments, whenever we acknowledge our own sins, whenever we seize the opportunity to act kindly or to forgive.

This Advent, in contemplating the first and the second comings, perhaps our goal should be to focus on all the millions and billions of comings between the two, to see Jesus alive, here and now, still and always a savior, our savior, the savior of the world.

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  • During Advent we are reminded that Jesus will come at the end of time. But Jesus is also coming today, right now
  • No church lasts if it loses its integrity and forgets its mission of inclusivity and love
  • Advent Song - by Kim Redigan
  • Where did your Christ come from? . . . From God and a woman!  Man had nothing to do with Him." -- Sojourner Truth
  • Beware of ideological efforts to reinvent a mythical medieval Church
  • Canadian church starts using new French translation of Our Father
  • Why not have a woman run a diocese?
  • Women's voices in the abuse crisis
  • Kraków’s historic Christmas cribs make UNESCO list
  • The complex history of the Huron Carol
  • Give Us This Day short videos on the lives of Oscar Romero and Dorthy Day and Thérèse Martin
  • RCWP Canada Bishop's Message
  • Comments to the Editor
  • Free access to on-line or pdf downloadable books and book-length articles
  • Featured Link
  • Tech Tip
  • Francis Comic
  • Links to RCWP Canada website and other progressive websites and blogs

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RCWP Canada Bishop's Message

Greetings and Blessings of Advent and a new liturgical year!

This year we break open anew the Gospel of Luke. His first stories are stories of annunciation. God's messenger bringing unexpected news of Divine intervention into the personal lives of Zachariah and Elizabeth and of Mary, not to mention Joseph and her parents. But this is not just news for them, it is for all people. These stories are prophetic announcements of the news of the dawning of the Sun of Justice bringing healing and hope in a world of desperation and despair.

Written in the time after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (70 CE), life was very difficult for the people. Most were poor, even destitute, while a few are rich, primarily because of their greed and taking advantage of others. Luke writes with anticipation that Jesus will come again, and soon! Thus the need to be awake! and aware of what is going on. In all the mess of life, there is a promise of a new tomorrow, hope for creativity out of chaos. And isn't that where we find ourselves today? Wars and rumours of war, death and destruction, fear and hate abound. Pope Francis recently said, “We are not living in an era of change, but a change of era.” It is not hopelessness that he sees; he sees hope and possibility for a new tomorrow. God is a God of surprises if we allow ourselves to be awake and aware, as the Gospel challenges us, if we can see more deeply into the of potential before us.

While we delight in the nativity pageants featuring our children and grandchildren, Advent is so much more than a sentimental waiting for the birth of the baby Jesus. Our Advent plea, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come!” is meant to focus our attention and anticipation on the adult Christ, a Christ consciousness that challenges us to empty ourselves, to lose ourselves, to surrender to the God of all. This holy longing perceives that all of Christian history is lived out of a kind of deliberate emptiness, a surrender to barrenness like childless Elizabeth which leaves life wide open to grace and to a future created by God rather than ourselves.

Advent is, in its deepest meaning, a call to full consciousness and a forewarning about the high price of such consciousness. Our work for justice and peace: reaching out to refugees of war, engaging in reconciliation with our indigenous sisters and brothers, raising our environmental consciousness as we walk these days focused on consumerism, and living gender justice in the church now, are practical ways we bring the true meaning of Advent into our lives. Like Mary, who dared to say “Yes” to the invitation to be the Christ bearer despite patriarchal rules that could have seen her stoned to death because her pregnancy before marriage would dishonour Joseph, we take a leap of faith into the kind of freedom and surrender that is rightly called the virtue of hope.

We trust that Christ will come again, just as Jesus has come into our past. This is not idle “wishing” of the “All I Want for Christmas” kind. It is rooted in inspiration we have received from the life of Jesus that calls us to radical discipleship. We dare to dream dreams and live visions of a world of justice and peace, mercy and love. Thus, our stories, too, become prophetic announcements of the news of the dawning of the Sun of Justice bringing healing and hope in this change of era. “Come Lord Jesus” is not a cry of desperation but an assured shout of cosmic hope.


[Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK, is bishop for RCWP Canada.]

Another wonderfully informative Review! I especially appreciated Marie Bouclin's article. Her brief highlights from the Parliament of World Religions covered a lot and gave the reader a taste of being there in some way. I also appreciated "When Our Hearts Echo Holy Wisdom". A new perspective for me as I have never really thought a lot about Holy Wisdom.

Thanks to all who contributed to The Review.

[Judith Pellerin, Regina, SK]

Thank you so much for your excellent and devoted work. It acted as à tonic during these grim hospital days.

[Linda Spear, Sutton, QC]

Thank you very much for the link to Kristen Padilla's article, 'Mothers of the Reformation.' I have read a great deal about the Reformation period but have heard little or nothing about these three courageous women.


Love getting The Review each month. Thanks for your good work. 

[Cathy Moen, Lethbridge, AB]

Thank you! I am delighted to receive this newsletter. Is it anywhere in actual print?

[Pearl Gregor, New Sarepta, AB]

Editor's Note:  The Review is not available in print on paper.  Is there a need or a desire out there for anyone?

Free access to on-line or pdf downloadable books and book-length articles:

195 Reasons Why Women Should Be Ordained
       by Editor, RCWP Canada Monthly Review
Women Priests -- Answering the Call
      by Catherine Cavanaugh

Gaudete et Exsultate
     by Pope Francis

Why Women Should Be Priests
     by Roy Bourgeois

Women Priests - A Catholic Commentary on the Vatican Declaration
      edited by Leonard Swidler and Arlene Swidler

Dancing My Life, Dancing My God 

      by Judith Pellerin

Binding The Strong Man, Ched Myers’ extraordinary political reading of Mark’s Gospel

Digging out the Roots of Spiritual Abuse
by Craig Van Parys

An Empire of Misogyny?
by Tina Beattie

No church lasts if it loses its integrity and forgets its mission of inclusivity and love

Mary Eileen Collingwood, Special to The Review | December 5, 2019

I couldn't NOT respond to the article in the NCR column penned by Melinda Henneberger that came through my inbox this morning.  Her title is "Why I left the church, and what I'm hearing about it".  I decided that my voice needed to be part of what she "is hearing"!  I include my response below:

"I, too, realized I had to leave the institutional Roman Catholic Church.  After a young priest I graduated with from the diocesan seminary stood before those gathered for Sunday liturgy, proclaiming that women attempting ordination in the church committed as grave a sin as those ordained men who sexually abused children, I stood up and walked out, never to return.

"Since then, I stand in prophetic witness as a Roman Catholic woman priest, now serving as bishop to ordain those women and men who believe they, too, are called to step away from the man-made canon law that forbids such an action.  It is a new frontier that is not for the faint of heart.  I believe the RCC must change, and I am blessed that the Spirit has guided me on this journey of reformation in the church for future generations.  An unlikely prophet to be sure, but there has been no other kind in the history of our faith.

"No church lasts if it loses its integrity and forgets its mission of inclusivity and love.  Women are realizing their call to raise their voices and offer their lives in truth and holiness through ordained ministry in the Roman Catholic tradition.

"My prayer is that the institutional church rediscovers its purpose and mission of living and proclaiming that all are equal and one in Christ Jesus, left on the roadside so long ago as it embraced a caste system in its governance and subjugation of women.  Now is the time to reclaim that purpose for which Jesus laid down his own life and asked us to do the same.  Women's voices will not be silenced!"

[Mary Eileen Collingwood?, Cleveland, OH is a Bishop of Association of Roman Catholic Priests]

Advent Song - by Kim Redigan

this advent i need a woman’s space.
a dark space.
a silent space.
somehow i’ve got to find my way
back to the womb of my own life.

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Where did your Christ come from? . . . From God and a woman!  Man had nothing to do with Him." -- Sojourner Truth

Steven Lanoux, Special to The Review | December 15, 2018

Perhaps our all-male clerics (thus mandated by themselves, of course) are exhibiting a massive inferiority complex since there is nothing in the Gospels that mandates one gender (or identity).

Whether they like it or not, civilization has progressed over the last two thousand years.  The male-centric model no longer works in most societies.  An increased awareness of equality of creation and capabilities is nicely balanced with a decreased tolerance of the violations of the God-given rights afforded to more than half of our population.

Women selected males that were bigger, stronger, faster so they could hunt better, till the fields longer, and protect them and the babies from predators.  That enabled dominance and a long cultural evolution to our present state.

Does physical prowess define superiority?  Let's restate that: is the bully better than the bullied?

Guys, get over it already.

The good news is that females are nicer, so when they take over, they will treat us better than we have treated them.

[Steven Lanoux, Brownsville, TX, is a member of Call To Action - Rio Grande Valley which won the 2018 National Leadership Award at the CTA Conference in San Antonio, TX]

Beware of ideological efforts to reinvent a mythical medieval Church

Massimo Faggioli, | December 4, 2018

There is also an intellectual crisis concerning models from the past that the Catholic Church should ponder when thinking about its future.
The shocking testimony that a former nun from Germany recently offered when she accused an official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of making sexual advances on her during confession is a page straight out of the Middle Ages.The crime of sollicitatio ad turpia (indecent proposals taking place during confession) was well-known in the medieval Church. But neo-traditionalists and neo-medievalist Catholic intellectuals who extol this particular period of history do not often talk about its sordid aspects such as this.

The reason is clear. Their goal is to retrieve a medieval version of Christianity (of Catholicism in particular) that is pre-modern and anti-modern, as a remedy to the present state of affairs.

In this agenda, the complexity of the past is deliberately ignored. Catholics should be aware that this is just the latest attempt to revive the myth of medieval Christendom, which is continually repurposed in light of the emergencies of the day.

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Canadian church starts using new French translation of Our Father

Philippe Vaillancourt, Catholic News Service | November 29, 2018

French-speaking Canadians will begin using a new translation of the Our Father Dec. 2.

The passage "lead us not into temptation" — that formerly read "do not subject us to temptation" in French — is changed for "do not let us enter into temptation." The change brings the phrasing closer to its Greek origins and also bears witness to a theological evolution.

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Why not have a woman run a diocese?

Phyllis Zagano, | Nov 22, 2018

There's been a lot of talk about women in church leadership. Any cynic will remind you not much has happened. Even so, the pope has made it clear he wants to have women where they can make a difference.

The members of the recent Synod of Bishops agreed: "An area of particular importance ... is the presence of women in ecclesial bodies at all levels, even in positions of responsibility, and the participation of women in ecclesial decision-making processes, respecting the role of the ordained ministry."

What to do?

How about putting women in charge of a few dioceses?

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Women's voices in the abuse crisis

Voices of Faith, | December 5, 2018

Survivors and experts working to end clergy abuse gathered in Rome last week to hear testimonies and discuss solutions ahead of the February 2019 Presidents of Bishops Conferences meeting. Powerful individual stories were shared by Barbara Dorris, Rocio Figueroa and Doris Wagner, who all had personal experiences of abuse by Church leaders.

Robert Mickens, Editor of La Croix International, moderated a robust panel discussion which brought to light solutions for real and tangible change including addressing root issues such as clericalism, church power structures and the culture of silence that allows abuse to flourish.

Read More and view photos and 5 videos from the event

Kraków’s historic Christmas cribs make UNESCO list

Joanna Jasinska, | November 30, 2018
UNESCO has announced that the traditional Kraków nativity cribs will be included in the intangible cultural heritage list. The colourful depictions of the birth of Jesus surrounded by the city’s landmarks will be the first Polish addition to the list.

Read More and view photos

The complex history of the Huron Carol

Will Pearson and Mugoli Samba, | December 2018

A product of 17th-century Jesuit missionaries, the popular hymn was written to introduce the Wendat people to Christianity. The Observer explores its troubled origins and continued use today.

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Give Us This Day short videos on the lives of Oscar Romero and Dorthy Day and Thérèse Martin

Francis of Assisi        Therese of Lisieux          Oscar Romero             Dorothy Day

Give Us This Day and The Sheen Center For Thought & Culture come together to tell the story of ordinary men and women whose extraordinary lives inspire the moral imagination and give witness to the myriad ways of holiness.

The text for these short videos is taken from Blessed Among Us by Robert Ellsberg and drawn from the acclaimed column of the same name in Give Us This Day.

Watch videos

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