Massive Women's March Pushes Back Against Injustice

Washington Post and Canadian Press | January 21, 2017

Millions of women gathered in Washington and cities around the country Saturday to mount a roaring rejoinder to the inauguration of Donald Trump one day earlier. The historic protests of a new president packed cities large and small – from Los Angeles and Boston to Stanley, Idaho and Lander, Wyoming. In Chicago, the demonstration was overwhelmed its own size, forcing officials to curtail its planned march.

In Washington, there was confusion about whether the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators jamming the National Mall had grown too large to formally march to the White House.

Janaye Ingram, who is charge of logistics for the Women’s March, went to the microphone Saturday afternoon to announce that the actual marching would still happen – just not using the original route.

“We are marching, and we are using Constitution Avenue,” she told the massive gathering. And the Women’s March twitter account declared: “We are marching! We are marching straight ahead toward the Washington monument to the ellipse! #WomensMarch”.

The Washington organizers, who originally sought a permit for a gathering of 200,000, said Saturday that as many as a half million people participated, dwarfing Friday’s inaugural crowd.

Hundreds of Canadian women who carted signs and flags to the U.S. capital for the massive rally for women’s rights were greeted with cheers and shouts of gratitude by Americans supporting the march.

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Click here for other marches around the world

Click here for NCRonline video

Bishops: No need to be afraid of married priests or of Francis
Brian Eyre | January 19, 2017

Dear Irish Bishops gathered in Rome for your Ad Limina visit. I am writing this letter to you from Recife, Brazil. I am an Irish Catholic priest. I came to Brazil as a missionary priest in 1967, worked in four different parishes as a celibate priest then in 1983 I asked for and was granted a dispensation to marry. I married a lovely Brazilian woman, her name is Marta; we have two children, a married daughter of 32 years and a single son of 29 years.

From the day that I got married I have never stopped doing missionary work with the poor. I did this as a celibate priest for 17 years and I have continued to do so as a married priest for the past 34 years.

I have been able to reconcile being married, having a secular job and finding time for missionary work. This is due to my wife as she gives me great support in my pastoral work . Together we do a lot of pastoral work and I can honestly say that if today I am still faithful to my missionary priestly vocation it is thanks to her. In my case the argument that a woman will turn a priest away from his vocation does not apply; if anything, she is the one that has helped me keep alive the flame of my priesthood all these years.

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    Comments to the Editor

During my studies of the Bible I came across the following and It brought to mind the arguments of the Church's objections to women priests.

This could be used in your answer to those who oppose your movement.

Jesus And the Traditions of The Elders

(Matthew 15:1-12)

Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if a man says to his father and mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ 6 he is not to ‘honor his father’ with it. Thus, you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.

7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men’.”

12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you not know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” 13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”


A concerned Catholic, New Brunswick

I watched ordination and interviews on
CBC TV.  It was very beautifully done and the hymn was uplifting.  Best wishes to all of you as you quietly carry on in your mission.

A concerned Catholic, British Columbia

Just watched The National. Thank you for openly being a champion for all Roman Catholic women.

A concerned Catholic, Alberta

Interesting that CBC in starting this new series to help mark the 150th birthday of Canada begins with this topic.  That in itself is a comment. 

What especially came through for me, in well-done, composed, clear, direct interviews is the authenticity in hearing and responding to a personal, genuine calling - all at a time in your lives (including Roy) when you might want just to take it easy!  All of you are in your elder, wisdom years.  The maturity of your lives speaks to the genuineness of what you are doing and saying. 

The intensity of the pain for all of you personally, and so many more -- this alone may well be the single biggest factor in eventually bringing about a change of heart and policy.  Such pain is a death that is paschal to the core, not terminal.  I don't know if women being ordained priests in the RC church will in itself advance a major historical change.  I am much more certain that the suffering and authenticity of so many will eventually bring about this major, major change. 

I especially could see that in Fr. Rosica's struggle when he was interviewed.  He both portrayed an official church that is less than credible, and his own discomfort with that church in this matter (and likely others).  He is one of the many male priests whom Roy mentioned who cannot speak their truth in this matter, lest they too get the letter from Rome.

There so much more to ponder, stimulated by the entire interview.

A Concerned Catholic, Saskatchewan

Our little town of Sutton had a spontaneous march at10AM today in solidarity with marches taking place all over the world, but especially in DC. We were between 80 and 100, not bad for a last minute effort. So many of us felt that we had to do something. Given that Sutton's population is 4000 permanent resident (8000 counting part-timers).

It's not a bad turnout. We were English and French, elderly, young, men, women and children and dogs. There were some speeches and then we walked in an orderly fashion up and down the Main Street. (We're Canadian, eh!) Cars honked and we got lots of thumbs-up. We're a ski resort and the tourists were happy to have chance to demonstrate.

Trump is succeeding in uniting people-against him. The enemy of my enemy is my friend!

Please feel free to share this.

Linda Spear, RCWP Canada East priest

Continuing Features:

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.


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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'I have to do this': Why some Catholic women are defying Church rules and becoming priests

CBC-TV National Documentary

Article and Video

Nick Purdon and Leonardo Palleja, January 11, 2017

The curtains are drawn as Marie Bouclin transforms the wooden coffee table in her modest living room in Sudbury, Ont., into an altar, lighting candles and filling a chalice with red wine.

A dozen of her parishioners sit in a semicircle around her. One woman is so worried she might be identified, she asks CBC to blur her face in any photos.

Bouclin, one of only two Canadian bishops in a small movement of Roman Catholic women being ordained outside the official Church, leads the room in a service that goes against 2,000 years of Catholic tradition and doctrine.

"In the early Church, people gathered in their homes," Bouclin says. "Who can say that what we're doing is not valid? Sometimes, we have to obey God and not men. And as much as some Catholics don't want to hear this, the Pope is not God."

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Video of Documentary:  Click here

Mulling the practical pros and cons of married priests

There are plenty of historical and theological arguments for and against married priests, but few stop to consider the practical pros and cons. Yet Catholicism already has married priests, and here one of them shares his experience.
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CBC Radio Sudbury interview with Bishop Marie Bouclin

CBC Sudbury Radio, January 12, 2017

The priest is a lot like any religious leader in the Catholic church. The only difference is she's a woman. Marie Bouclin of Sudbury, ON spoke on radio to a genuinely interested and engaged CBC interviewer, inviting of her personal story.  She was able to present the wider contemporary and historical context of the RCWP Canada movement.

Click here to listen to the radio interview.

Does Catholic Church praise for Mary Magdalene show progress towards women priests?

Trevor Timpson | January 12. 2017
The emotional scene in John's Gospel in which Jesus calls to the grieving Mary Magdalene by name and she tries to touch him has inspired many artists.

The gospels depict Mary Magdalene as one of Jesus' closest companions. Her emotional encounter with the risen Jesus and her supposed sinful past have fascinated Christians for centuries.
The latest of many films about her is released shortly. Its heroine, played by Rooney Mara, is billed as a young woman who joins "a radical new social movement" and "must confront the reality of Jesus' destiny and her own place within it".

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church has enhanced the saint's status. Last year her Saint's Day (22 July) was promoted to a Feast, equal to those of most of the male Disciples.  Explaining the decision, Archbishop Arthur Roche pointed out that she had long been known as "apostle to the apostles, as she announces to the apostles what they in turn will announce to all the world."

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German priests: open the priesthood to women, make priestly celibacy voluntary

Christa Pongratz-Lippitt  |  Jan. 13, 2017

In an open letter on the state of the church and priestly ministry in Germany, a group of 11 German priests from the Cologne archdiocese have urged the church to open the priesthood to both men and women and to make priestly celibacy voluntary.

They underline seven essential points for the future of the church, including the following:

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Synod on Youth, Faith, and Vocational Discernment

Catholic Church Reform Int'l | January 15, 2017

To young people, their parents, grandparents, and friends:
If you have moved on from the Church believing it to be outdated and out of touch with your needs, you have an unprecedented opportunity to turn this around. We have just sent out this press release and invite you to join in the movement for all people of all ages - and especially the younger generation - to speak up for the good of our church.

To remain silent is to be complicit with whatever wrongs you see in Church teachings.To ignore the positions of the church that differ from your beliefs is to be complicit. To live your lives as if the church doesn't concern you is to be complicit.

Pope Francis has opened the door and sent a letter to young people inviting you to speak up so that he can "listen to your voice, your sensitivities and your faith; even your doubts and your criticism." All of this will culminate  at the Synod on Youth, Faith, and Vocational Discernment
 scheduled for October 2018 where young people will be invited to participate.

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Catholic Action vs. Neo-Conservatism: An Invitation to an Alternative Weekly Mass in a small Christian community

Mike Rivage-Seul, January 11, 2017

As indicated in earlier postings the ascension of Donald Trump and his group of billionaire confidants to national leadership calls people of faith in general and Catholics in particular to adopt extraordinary and vigorous responses to the grave threat their ascent signifies.

This posting represents one such response. Its call is especially urgent in the light of the fact that the Trump administration and Republicans in general embody what Noam Chomsky has termed “the most dangerous organization in the history of the world.” Their unanimous climate-change denial accords them the title. In fact, they not only deny the human causality of climate chaos, they plan to proceed full speed ahead with the practices (oil and gas drilling and fracking) that our planet’s finest minds identify as its causes. The Republicans (with the Democrats not far behind) are leading us all like lemmings to the precipice of planetary destruction and the end of human life as we know it.

This is no exaggeration.  As Pope Francis has written so eloquently:

"Doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain. We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes, such as those which even now periodically occur in different areas of the world. The effects of the present imbalance can only be reduced by our decisive action here and now. We need to reflect on our accountability before those who will have to endure the dire consequences." (Laudato Si' 161).

It is clear that despite Francis’ strong words, “decisive action” in the face of Trumpism’s climate-change denial and other destructive policies has no chance of issuing from the diocesan Catholic Church nor from our local Catholic community in Berea. So the invitation here is to Catholics and other people of faith to create an alternative (or, if you will, a complementary) community of faith to celebrate a house-church Mass each week. Its liturgy will be characterized by sharp awareness of the unique political context we are now entering. Each will be followed by discussions planning direct action against Trumpism in all of its forms.[2]

The Mass will be simple and prayerful. It will take place on Saturday evenings in a home (Peggy’s and mine to begin with). Together we will sing some inspiring songs, reflect on the week’s liturgical readings in the light of the Church’s rich social justice tradition, and break bread eucharistically before sharing a pot-luck supper. Each meeting will incorporate planning for specific acts of resistance.

The first convening of this alternative community will take place on Saturday, January 21st, the day after Mr. Trump’s inauguration which is scheduled for January 20th. Here are the details:

Berea’s Weekly Alternative Home-Church Mass

Place: 404 Jackson St.

Time: 5:00-7:00

The Mass:

Welcome (5:00)
Singing, opening prayers, & Liturgy of the Word (5:00-5:45)
Eucharist (around the dining room table) & Pot Luck (5:45-6:45)
Planning the week’s direct action (6:45-7:00)
7:00 (promptly): Dismissal
Beginnings, no doubt, will be small and modest. But we should not be discouraged. Ideas about how to proceed more inspiringly will surely develop as all group members share their suggestions.

[1] Starting next Tuesday, I will start a 4-part series here explaining the history and theology behind home liturgies including an explanation of current theologies of the Eucharist and “Real Presence.”

[2] For those who remember: The faith community envisioned here might be thought of as a more spiritually-focused Berea Inter-Faith Task Force for Peace.

Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog | January 11, 2017 at 1:32 PM
(Permission received to print the above article in its entirety.)

Downtown Eastside Vancouver Ecumenical Prayer Service held for Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Editor | January 23, 2017

Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie of Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community and a member of RCWP Canada based a prayer service for Christian unity on the material from the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement (Graymoor, Garrison, NY).

Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community the 2017 Week of Christian Unity Ecumenical Prayer Service on January 21st included Fr. Garry Laboucane of St. Paul's Roman Catholic parish the host for the celebration, Pat McSherry, Heather and Brian of St. James Anglican Church, Rev. Barry Morris of the Longhouse United Church all who conducted liturgical roles, and members of Jacob's Well, Vineyard, Servants and Servant Partners.  Sarah Bjorknas of Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community was the music technician.

Francis, the comic strip                                                                                                           Francis Comic Strip Archive
by Pat Marrin | January 19, 2017
National Catholic Reporter

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