Promoting a renewed ordained ministry in a renewed Roman Catholic Church

January 15, 2019

Whom shall we send? Lay Ecclesial Movements and Church Reform

Sheila Peiffer, | December 22, 2018

Publicity surrounding the Synod on Youth and Vocational Discernment this past October highlighted the very slight role that laity have in decision-making in the Church and the growing awareness that change is sorely needed. As part of the reaction, Massimo Faggioli, professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University, wrote an article in Commonweal discussing the challenge of representing the laity in the official “church”. 

Faggioli is an expert on the subject of lay ecclesial movements, having written a book on the “new” ecclesial movements (Sorting Out Catholicism) which I have not read. His professional knowledge of the culture of these entities makes it all the more interesting that he finds their ranks inadequate to represent the laity – and, in fact, comments that they may contain individuals more authoritarian and invested in clerical culture than bishops and cardinals. “…there is little point in replacing the old clericalism of the ordained with a new clericalism of lay men and women who have proven themselves as extra Catholic only by belonging to some favored group within the church,” he concludes.

So, who should be tapped as representatives of the laity if we should ever have the opportunity to send such to an official Vatican convening? 

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  • Whom shall we send? Lay Ecclesial Movements and Church Reform
  • Pédophilie dans l’Église Catholique
  • Les Femmes prêtres catholiques romaines (RCWP) du Canada joignent leurs voix à celle du Parvis de Québec
  • It was all about the money/property and the power derived from them
  • German cardinal urges change, 'review' of celibacy tradition
  • Give Us This Day short videos on the lives of Oscar Romero and Dorthy Day and Thérèse Martin
  • Regina Nicolosi (24 May 1942--19 December 2018); Priest (25 July 2005, Gananoque, ON); Bishop (19 April 2009 Santa Barbara, CA)
  • Condemned by the Vatican, women priests demand place at Catholic altar
  • The Dysfunctional Holy Family
  • Behind the New Integralism Is the Old Intransigentism
  • It is the Christmas season’s promise that those who stay and pray and fight will see it improbably reborn
  • Priesthood and Revolution -- Where Christianity and Marxism Part Ways
  • 10 Ways to Spot Spiritual Abuse
  • Featured Link
  • Tech Tip
  • RCWP Canada Bishop's Message
  • Shamed into Silence, Called Out to Proclaim
  • Comments to the Editor
  • Free access to on-line or pdf downloadable books and book-length articles
  • Francis Comic Strip
  • Comments to the Editor Form
  • Links to RCWP Canada website and other progressive websites and blogs

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RCWP Canada Bishop's Message

Over the past months I have been asked to speak about Roman Catholic Women Priest. People want to know who we are, what we are about and how I became a priest. In the next few issues of The Review I will address these questions by sharing some of the notes from a recent public presentation I made. As with any of my messages, I welcome your comments and questions.

Who are Roman Catholic Women Priests?

We are the legacy of women who have gone before us: the daring of Mary of Nazareth to say “yes” despite patriarchal rules; and the audacity of Mary of Magdala to overcome fear and go tell the brothers she had seen Christ risen, although as a woman she had no credibility. I will speak about... reclaiming the heritage of women's spiritual leadership.

Called by God, We are the cry for justice for those marginalized by the forces of patriarchal power. I will speak personal journey to ordained ministry.

We are “A new model of ordained ministry in a renewed Roman Catholic Church” This is our vision. I will speak about our spiritual migration from...staid traditionalism to Evolutionary Christianity.

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

Shamed into Silence, Called Out to Proclaim

Craig Van Parys, Special to The Review | January 15, 2019

[This 16-page essay is the basis of a public presentation given on November 14, 2019 at Regina, SK]


I am grateful to be with you today and honoured that Roman Catholic Women’s Priests Canada entrusted me with the other half of tonight’s presentation. I would like to introduce our topic by acknowledging three things:

First, I will not be discussing the third and often unacknowledged gender – transgender. That could be a whole presentation in and of itself.

Next, I would like to acknowledge several privileges I have as a male. Privileges are unearned advantages. Based on my biology, no one would question if I had an authentic calling to the priesthood. I do not have to fight or convince a matriarchy that I am a person, of equal worth and dignity to them. Other than in the RC Church, this happened in the Canadian state. Women were not actual persons in Canadian law until they fought for that change. They officially became persons in 1929. Welcome to the club. The second unearned advantage is that I have never felt compelled to work twice as hard in the church to prove I am just as good as Jane is. For any human to prove their worth in this way is demeaning. This appears to be a common experience for women however. To quote Charlotte Whitton, “Women have to work twice as hard as a man to prove she is half as good. Luckily, that is not too difficult.” Lastly, there is no dominant matriarchal culture outside the church to exhort me to live below my natural healthy body weight, get hair implants or to sell me self-hatred if I fail to live up to their standards of manhood. All of these privileges and many more give me a significant advantage. I have fewer concerns or unrealistic expectations to occupy my head-space. My cognitive functioning is not impaired nor overwhelmed with these concerns, so, I have more freedom to do and be, relatively unencumbered.

The last thing I would like to mention before I begin is the title of tonight’s presentation: Gender Justice in the Church. No, I’m not advocating that more women learn how to use a snow thrower. I see gender justice as a men’s issue more so than a women’s issue.

I’ll use the snow thrower as an analogy to explain: If your neighbour throws snow onto your driveway, and you attempt to address the problem, are you the issue, or is your neighbour? Will it be OK for you if your neighbour apologizes while they watch you shovel their snow from your driveway? If they offer you their shovel or snow thrower for you to remove the snow? What about if they turned it around on you and said that you’re the one with the problem, because you’re making it into an issue? Notice the snow removal problem has become your issue, or better yet, your fault. What would be just in this case? Shouldn’t we begin with your neighbour's actions?

When it comes to gender justice, where should we begin? Labelling gender justice as a women’s issue turns our attention to the wound, rather than its source. How denigrating to have your gender associated with an issue. It is like the Canadian state mislabelling their injustices upon the Indigenous as an “Indian problem.” We place responsibility for making it just on the wounded, as if the wound appeared out of nowhere. With this misplaced responsibility, patriarchy and its inherent privileges go unexamined. History proves that the initiation of meaningful social change begins with the oppressed, not the oppressor. But shouldn’t the amount of responsibility for a just church, a just world, be commensurate with the amount of power a culture gives a group? I, by virtue of my gender, should be the initiator, doing the legwork, the heavy lifting of a church or society’s consciousness when it comes to fighting for gender justice. Not the other gender. Therefore, I must speak. Dr. Martin Luther King once said that there comes a time when silence is betrayal. If I stay silent, then I betray both women and humanity, I betray truth, I betray justice, I betray equality, I betray right relationships, I betray my own integrity, and I betray my prophetic calling. I would like to ask forgiveness from Jane and all women who suffer from sexism for not speaking up and speaking out sooner. This concludes my three acknowledgements.

I had the privilege of learning some of Jane’s story at an undisclosed location – I’ll just say it rhymes with Jim Norton's. I sat listening to Jane, feeling honoured to be in such sacred space, as she shared her story. It was impactful. I was graced with her courageous vulnerability and Spirit-filled integrity, and I am again tonight. Her story is, quite sadly, all too common.

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[Craig Van Parys, Regina, SK is a teacher/feminist/

Does RCWP support the official church in areas such as LGBTQ?
I haven't read anything in The Review on that issue.


[Pearl Gregor, New Sarepta, AB]

Editor's Note:  After using the word "LGBTQ" in the search function in The Review, ten references to LGBTQ appear.  No, RCWP internationally, as far as I know, does not support the official Church in areas such as LGBTQ.  Neither does RCWP Canada.  Rather, our inclusive attitude extends to all marginalized people.

How sad. I did not know Bishop Regina Nicolosi, RCWP-USA, esteemed as I feel she surely was.  I did know and admired Sr Aldona with all my heart. I worked with her very briefly, and find it hard to believe she's gone.  She was, as ever, a beautiful soul and I can but pray for her along with Bishop Regina Nicolosi.

I pray for these true and dedicated members who dedicated their lives to gender equity and inclusion. May our beautiful God help to advance the concepts they, and we, hold so dear.

[Roberta Fuller, Bethany, ON]

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

Pope Francis:  Fraternal and Spontaneous
       by Antonio Spadaro

Seeking Refuge

Featured Link

Tech Tip

The Review looks good on a smart phone or a tablet.  Enlarge to one column to make it more easily readable.


Pédophilie dans l’Église Catholique

Le Parvis de Québec, | le 12 janvier 2019

Depuis quelques années, on entend parler de pédophilie chez un certain nombre de prêtres de l’Église Catholique dans plusieurs pays du monde. Le Pape François vient de convoquer les Présidents des Conférences épiscopales de tous les pays de la planète à une rencontre à Rome en février 2019. Il veut discuter avec eux de ce problème qui afflige tous les chrétiens du monde entier.

Le Parvis de Québec, en prévision de cette rencontre, a voulu envoyer un message clair au Président des Évêques Canadiens qui se rendra à Rome. Ce scandale de la pédophilie, qui nous affecte tous et qui ralentit la propagation du message du Christ, mérite que nous cherchions à convaincre nos évêques qu’il leur faut prendre des mesures nouvelles et dynamiques, et surtout convaincre les autorités de Rome de remettre en question certaines disciplines imposées aux prêtres en d’autres temps et qui n’ont pas nécessairement leur place en ce siècle qui est le nôtre.

Nous vous suggérons de lire la lettre, en annexe,  et nous suggérons à tous ceux qui sont d’accord avec nous, d’envoyer un  courriel au Secrétariat de la Conférence des Évêques Catholiques du Canada  Il s’agit de cliquer sur l’adresse :

Mgr Frank Leo, jr., C.S.S., Secrétaire général

Les Femmes prêtres catholiques romaines (RCWP) du Canada joignent leurs voix à celle du Parvis de Québec

Les Femmes prêtres catholiques romaines (RCWP) du Canada joignent leurs voix à celle du Parvis de Québec pour souhaiter que votre rencontre à Rome donne lieu à de vrais changements qui pourront freiner la vague de pédophilie qui sévit dans l'Église.  Comme le constate le Pape François, c'est le cléricalisme qui est à la source du problème, une autorité hiérarchique qui est devenue non seulement cléricaliste, mais pyramidale et dissociée de la vie réelle des baptisés et baptisées.
Deux changements que nous considérons comme incontournables sont l'admission des femmes aux structures et postes décisionnels dans l'Église et la fin du célibat obligatoire. Sans ces changements, qui entraînent l'écoute des deux oreilles de l'humanité, la voix des nombreuses victimes ne sera ni entendue, ni crue, et la justice envers elles ne sera pas faite.
[Pour le Cercle national de coordination de FPCR/RCWP,
Marie Bouclin, Sudbury, ON, évêque émérite]

It was all about the money/property and the power derived from them

Steven Lanoux, Special to The Review | January 15, 2019

The Church formally prohibited marriage by the clergy under Pope Gregory in the eleventh century.  21 years later Pope Urban II had the priests' wives sold into slavery and the children abandoned.  How's that for humane treatment?  Makes one wonder why he hated women so much.

It was all about the money/property and the power derived from them, of course, to prevent civil authorities from splitting Church property between a priest's heirs (male, of course) and it passing from Church control.  With no legitimate heir, uncontested legal ownership of the land remained with the Church along with rents and income from tenants.

(See an interesting synopsis posted by FutureChurch:  A Brief History of Celibacy in the Catholic Church)

[Steven Lanoux, Brownsville, TX, is a member of Call To Action Rio Grande Valley]

German cardinal urges change, 'review' of celibacy tradition

Catholic News Service, | January 4, 2019

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising called for change in long-standing church tradition as the German bishops' conference prepares for a workshop debate to "review" the issue of celibacy for priests.

In his homily at New Year's Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady in Munich, Cardinal Marx said the church must, "in light of the failure" surrounding the clergy sex abuse crisis, modify tradition in response to changing modern times.

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

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

Regina Nicolosi (24 May 1942--19 December 2018)
Priest (25 July 2005, Gananoque, ON)
Bishop (19 April 2009 Santa Barbara, CA)

Martha Sherman, Special to The Review | January 15, 2019

Entering the home of Regina and Charlie Nicolosi delighted the bibliophile in me, an RCWP candidate. The Danish Modern home contained more books that I had ever seen in a home. The cool, light surfaces displayed colorful, playful art, stained glass installations, statues of fertility goddesses, sculptures bought to support local artists. The hallway displayed many family photos both posed and spontaneous.

Regina loved her family and she loved learning. If you ever received a gift from Regina, it was most likely a book. Discussions with Regina were often political, though they also might be about bonobos or debating whether or not Neanderthals created art. She challenged people and systems, rarely accepting excuses. She believed we could and should do better.

I had the privilege of driving Regina to regional retreats before she moved to California. Regina was a role model who became a friend. Parkinson's disease took her from us much too soon. I remember her sadness when she stepped on the gas, rather than the brake when parking at the YMCA. It was a brand new VW and she now admitted she should no longer drive it. Her unsteadiness of foot, once hidden from the world and now so evident, did not defeat her. She kept exercising and doing therapy and travelling to her beloved home in Germany.

In March she sent me a photo taken after my diaconal ordination. In the photo, group of priests and friends sat in the motel lobby drinking wine. I playfully knelt before Regina and kissed her ring. The title of the email was 'True Devotion.' Regina never demanded blind obedience, rather she demanded a strong moral compass and an even stronger desire to speak truth. Regina, ever prophetic, challenged the Midwest Region to do more, to be more, to embrace the call of Sophia Wisdom.

I am confident the lilt of her accented English will resound in our minds for a time. The weight and warmth of the hands that rested on our heads and anointed our hands will be felt as we remember her. Each time we sip a glass of red wine we will say a hearty 'Prost' and continue the work Godde has begun in us.

[Martha Sherman, Washington, IA, is a Priest and President of Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc. Board of Directors Circle]

Condemned by the Vatican, women priests demand place at Catholic altar

Caitlin McGlade, | December 20, 2018

Women ordained as priests have been condemned by the Roman Catholic Church. But instead of just leaving the church, they say they want to change it.

They packed tightly in a circle in a Unitarian Church office in downtown Louisville, KY, warmed by space heaters and the glow from tea candles flickering on a table.

The men and women prayed for immigrants seeking asylum, for the homeless on Louisville's streets, for the people who feel they've been betrayed by organized religion.

About 15 turned out for this Mass on a cold November night. One said she came in secret, fearing other Catholics would punish her for attending.

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The Dysfunctional Holy Family

Mike Rivage-Seul, | December 29, 2018

On the feast of the Holy Family, we’re used to thinking of it as a cozy group of 3, Jesus, Mary and Joseph living in ideal circumstances, the way we picture them in our nativity crib scenes. Or we imagine Jesus’ early life as we find it depicted in medieval paintings of the carpenter Joseph’s workshop. There we often find a loving haloed and elderly foster-father instructing Jesus in his trade while Mary smiles in the background.

However, if we take seriously the “infancy narratives” coming from Matthew and Luke, we must draw the conclusion that Jesus’ home life was more complicated than that. You might even say that it was “troubled” right from the beginning.

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Behind the New Integralism Is the Old Intransigentism

Massimo Faggioli, | January 8, 2019

At the 1867 universal exposition in Paris, the Papal State chose to be represented by a catacomb. It was a time when the papacy, which had already lost the majority of the Papal State and would also lose Rome in 1870, was apocalyptic about the future of the church in the modern world. At the same time, the Catholic laity were entering a new age of mobilization and engagement with that same world, with the encouragement of the Catholic hierarchy, which knew it had lost much of its direct influence on modern society.

Today, during Pope Francis’s pontificate, we see something like the opposite situation: a pope who preaches “the joy of the Gospel” and has little time for nostalgia, and a rising cohort of Catholic intellectuals (a minority in the church, but especially active in the United States) who are looking forward to the nineteenth century.

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It is the Christmas season’s promise that those who stay and pray and fight will see it improbably reborn

Ross Douthat, | December 22, 2018

At Mass this Christmas Eve, many Catholics who have spent a year reading headlines about abusive priests, indifferent bishops, predatory cardinals and Vatican corruption will sit and hear the long roll of Jesus’s ancestors with which the Gospel of Matthew begins . . .  Matthew announced the birth of the son of God by linking him to a pack of egregious sinners.

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Priesthood and Revolution -- Where Christianity and Marxism Part Ways

Herbert McCabe, | December 18, 2018

We find among Catholics two opposing attitudes to the priesthood. There is the conservative view, which sees the Church as a kind of feudal society, in which each man has his proper status with corresponding “duties of his state.” On the other hand, there is the progressive view, which models the Church on the democratic society, in which citizens are not differentiated by their status but by their functions.

I think that both these views are mistaken, because both place the Christian ministry essentially within the Church; both hark back to the idea that the basic job of the priest is to celebrate Mass and otherwise minister to the faithful. In the decree on the priesthood of Vatican II, however, the position is quite otherwise: “Priests, as co-workers with their bishops, have as their primary duty the proclamation of the gospel of God to all men.”

It has to be admitted that the same document later on asserts that “Priests fulfill their chief duty in the mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice,” but that occurs in a section that seems plainly to have been inserted to satisfy those who wanted to safeguard the practice of daily Mass. The emphasis of the Vatican decree on the priesthood, like the one on bishops, is on the proclamation of the gospel to all, whether Christians or not.

As I see it, the basic error is to see the Church primarily as a community. The Church is not first of all a community; it is first of all a movement within the community of mankind.

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10 Ways to Spot Spiritual Abuse

Mary DeMuth, | June 27, 2017

The topic of spotting spiritual abuse has been ricocheting in my heart and head for many years. But recently, I’ve noticed a greater influx of reader email about this topic, so much so that I felt it would be wise to address it. Although I am thankful I haven’t had an extreme experience with spiritual abuse, I have had some incidences that have scarred me and made me leery of churches and ministries that bully.

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Francis, the comic strip                                                                                           Francis Comic Strip Archive                
by Pat Marrin | December 12, 2018
National Catholic Reporter
Used with permission

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