Promoting a renewed ordained ministry in a renewed Roman Catholic Church

March 1, 2019
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‘It Is Not a Closet. It Is a Cage.’ Gay Catholic Priests Speak Out

Elizabeth Dias, nytimes.com | February 17, 2019

The crisis over sexuality in the Catholic Church goes beyond abuse. It goes to the heart of the priesthood, into a closet that is trapping thousands of men.
. . .

The closet of the Roman Catholic Church hinges on an impossible contradiction. For years, church leaders have driven gay congregants away in shame and insisted that “homosexual tendencies” are “disordered.” And yet, thousands of the church’s priests are gay.

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Contents

  • ‘It Is Not a Closet. It Is a Cage.’ Gay Catholic Priests Speak Out
  • It is time to completely debunk a number of ideas that float around about the “sin” of homosexuality
  • New Authoritarians Are Waging War on Women
  • Creative Reimagining Needed to Resolve the Crisis in the Church
  • Prohibition on women priests could bring about 'slow death' of church
  • The Pope Video
  • This is not a real church
  • Ceremony to acknowledge and honour Elders
  • Puanani Lalakea of Honolulu Ordained a Priest for RCWP-USA Western Region which includes Hawai'i
  • Pope offers 21 proposals to fight abuse at start of summit
  • Visitor Countries to The Review this week
  • Featured Link
  • Tech Tip
  • Archives temporarly suspended
  • RCWP Canada Bishop's Message
  • Dignity of Catholic Women – Perspective through A Muslim Woman’s Eyes
  • Comments to the Editor
  • Francis Comic Strip
  • Form for Comments to the Editor
  • Links to RCWP Canada website and other progressive websites and blogs



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RCWP Canada Bishop's Message

Exploring the meaning of Mary Magdalene

This winter I am taking an on-line course from the Center of Action and Contemplation on Mary Magdalene led by wisdom scholar, Cynthia Bourgeault.  Through years of study and practice in contemplative prayer, Bourgeault has come to know a depth of spiritual wisdom and insight into the meaning of Mary Magdalene in her day and for us today.


With the canonical gospels in one hand and the wisdom writings of the Nag Hammadi and the Gospel of Mary in the other she peels back layer upon layer of suppression, distortion and misunderstanding of Mary Magdalene, not just as “Apostle to the Apostles” but the deep river of conscious love that flowed between Mary Magdalene and Jesus that brought her to stand at the cross, remain in vigil at the tomb, and be the one to witness the resurrection.

She shows how systems and attitudes of patriarchy, sexism and misogyny have been at work from the early days of Christianity to create a “master story” that eroded the place of women in the mission and ministry of Jesus.   Contemporary biblical, archeological and historical scholarship, especially that undertaken by those who adopt a feminist hermeneutic, are revealing much of what has been hidden as evidenced by the expansive end-notes for each chapter of her book, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the woman at the Heart of Christianity, which we are using as a resource.

As she breaks open for us the story of early Christianity that has marginalized Mary and other women in the gospels a Path of Conscious Love is revealed – like putting together pieces of a puzzle.  The relationship between Jesus and Mary of Magdalene is the story of the soul drawn into a sacred oneness – the feminine and the masculine made whole. In her considerations, Bourgeault dares ask the question: “Was the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene one of voluntary celibacy or Eucharistic sexuality?  This is an eye-popping question!  How could one even think that Jesus wasn't celibate? That has been the premise of Christianity from its earliest days.

Bourgeault was introduced to the startling term of Eucharistic sex by an Australian priest and filmmaker, Michael Bernard Kelly. She writes, “Once I got over my initial shock, I realized he had hit the nail on the head. ‘Eucharistic sex’ basically equates to: ‘This is my body, given for you.’  Along a Fifth Way path, sexual expression is characterized by two overarching qualities: total transparency and total self-outpouring” (143). 

It is hard to think about Jesus being anything but celibate.  The ingrained thinking is that had he known erotic love, Jesus could not possibly have also been the full embodiment of divine love and would been disqualified as the divine redeemer.  Bourgeault points out that the celibacy of Jesus is not a tenant of faith, although we tend to think so, but rather an assumption superimposed over the centuries (86). Celibacy's evolution during the early centuries of Christianity corresponded with the movement of leadership from charismatic elders to the threefold sacramental ministry (bishop, priest, deacon).  By this time women had already come to be viewed negatively and increasingly both Jesus and the apostles came to be seen as the prototype of a celibate priesthood.  This idea became a justification for a male, celibate, priestly theology which gained credibility as this view was passed from generation to generation by the male, celibate, priests and became the tradition of the church. 

Bourgeault explores what she calls “Myths of Celibacy” as a superior way to holiness.  Then, Weaving threads of singleness (unitive being), kenosis (self-emptying), and abundance, into a “wedding garment” (125), Bourgeault reveals the path of conscious, “substituted love” (148) as the most inclusive of all spiritual paths leading to ultimate oneness with the Divine.  These elements can be experienced in both a genuine celibate life and a committed marriage relationship.  At the heart of mysticism, the feminine and the masculine come together in an alignment and a purity of heart that allows for unitive consciousness whereby one “sees” God.

 She offers that this is a path of “mystical marriage” which Jesus and Mary Magdalene knew, in which two souls experience in their relationship total transparency and total self-outpouring which nourishes one another and propels each of them hastening their personal spiritual journey. Human love is not inherently different than divine love.  In describing “Conscious Love,” Bourgeault uses the term “Love” to emphasize the life-affirming and implicitly relational nature of the path, and the word “conscious” make clear that the touchstone here is transformation, not simply romance.  Conscious love is “love in the service of inner transformation – or if your prefer, “inner transformation in the service of love.” This is exactly what Jesus is about. (112)

Allowing ourselves to consider various possibilities regarding Jesus and Mary Magdalene, we can come to know the Path of Conscious Love as the true nature of their relationship.  This also opens for us new ways of seeing our personal relationships as means of growing into the fulness of divine love.  Bourgeault quotes John Welwood (Journey of the Heart, 13): “Embracing relationship as a path also gives us practice: learning to use each difficulty along the way as an opportunity to go further, to connect more deeply, not just with a partner, but with our own aliveness as well.”

I find Bourgeault work intriguing. It will take me a lot more time to contemplate what she says.   Following are some resources for your own exploration, if you wish.  They give you direct access to some of her writings and presentations.

 
Article in parabola.org: The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

Article in contemplative.org: Cosmic Intimacy

Youtube video: Meaning of Mary Magdalene
 
Youtube video: Way of the Heart

Latest articles at cynthiabourgeault.org

Cynthia Bourgeault, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity (Shambhala: 2010)

John Welwood, Journey of the Heart: The Path of Conscious Love (Shambhala: 1990)


+ Jane

[Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK, is bishop for RCWP Canada\




Dignity of Catholic Women – Perspective through A Muslim Woman’s Eyes

Glenn Zimmer, OMI, omilacombe.ca | March 1, 2019


                                                       OMI Lacombe Canada

With the recent historic visit of Pope Francis to the United Arab Emirates, and his express intention to forge more unity between Islam and Christianity, I read with particular interest an article in The Globe and Mail.

The recent op-ed, published during the last week of January in The Globe, focused on the rights and dignity of women (or lack of) within much of the Muslim world.  The article was written by Sheema Khan, who is a monthly writer about issues pertaining to Islam and Muslims,  and reflected on the courage of Rahaf Mohammed.  Rahaf, escaping Saudi Arabia, was detained in Thailand on January 5, and soon after given asylum in Canada.

Several lines in the article particularly struck me. Ms. Khan writes:

“(Saudi Arabia’s) uber-patriarchy treats women as minors from cradle to grave – and brooks no dissent from women.”

“I was reminded of my own personal journey when I, too, almost left the faith because of the way I was treated as a Muslim woman – by other Muslims, in the name of Islam.”

“I was told that a good Muslim woman shouldn’t study for a PhD and that men were superior.  The deficient nature of women was occasionally mentioned by some male students ….”

“At one point, I told myself that if my faith stipulates that, as a woman, I am inherently inferior, have no right to use my mind to study the world and am second-class to all men because of the nature of my creation, then I want no part of it.  Deep inside I knew God was fair;  the Islam shared by students was anything but.”

“As I absorbed the message of the Koran, I found inherent peace, with the affirmation that my creation was a blessing with purpose and meaning … no one was inferior – or superior – simply by the way she was created.  I came to learn that many beliefs and practices by Muslims regarding women were completely contrary to teachings found in the Koran and the example of the life of the Prophet Mohammed.”

“ … I have come to learn of a strong patriarchal strain – sometimes bordering on misogynistic – within Muslim practice.  I have seen it in community institutions here where women’s voices are marginalized  … It has been painful to know that centuries of Islamic scholarship have affirmed the inherent superiority of men over women  … a family, a community, a system that condemns them as inherently deficient at worst and second-class at best.”

I read the article a second time, with the question:  what might Francis, and all of us deeply committed to the Catholic Church, learn about ourselves from Khan’s troubling experiences? Might this conversation be a significant part of the larger quest for deepened unity?  Are numerous Catholic women and men perhaps speaking the same message in very similar words as this Muslim woman?

A few examples of changing the word “Muslim” to “Catholic”:

“Catholicism’s  uber-patriarchy treats women as minors ….”

“ …. I, too, almost left the faith because of the way I was treated as a Catholic woman – by other Catholics, in the name of Catholicism.”

“The  deficient nature of women was occasionally mentioned by some male Catholics ..”

“As I absorbed the message of the Gospel, I found inherent peace … no one was inferior – or superior – …   I came to learn that many beliefs and practices by Catholics regarding women were completely contrary to teachings found in the Gospel and the example of the life of Jesus Christ.”

“ … I have come to learn of a strong patriarchal strain – sometimes bordering on misogynistic – within Catholic practice.  I have seen it in community institutions where women’s voices are marginalized  … It has been painful to know that centuries of Catholic  scholarship have affirmed the inherent superiority of men over women  … a family, a community, a system that condemns (women) as inherently deficient at worst and second-class at best.”

By more deeply engaging some of the lived experience of our Muslim sisters, might we see ourselves much more clearly?  What might Pope Francis and Catholicism in general learn about ourselves from an encounter (a favorite word of Francis) with the lived experience of perhaps many Muslim women today?

Sheema Khan’s article concludes:  “Let’s marshal our collective resources to fight for basic human dignity.”

[Glenn Zimmer, OMI, Fort Qu'Appelle, SK, is director of Qu'Appelle House of Prayer, and a frequent contributor to Reflecting Faith publication of OMI Lacombe Canada.  Article and photo used with permission.]


It is time to completely debunk a number of ideas that float around about the “sin” of homosexuality

Pearl Gregor, Special to The Review | March 1, 2019

Are you concerned with loving our neighbor as ourselves?
Are you seeking and search The Christ Consciousness?
Are you Aware? Awake? Watching the Emergence of the Feminine in Turbulent Times?
 It is time.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Untie the Strong Woman: Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Love for the Wild Soul, says we were made for times such as these. 

It is time to completely debunk a number of ideas that float around about the “sin” of homosexuality.

This past December 2018, the public press in Alberta reported offensive, bigoted and harmful comments made by Father J. Lavigne, Vicar of Education in the Archdiocese of Calgary.  Oddly enough, it also was in Calgary that the last Canadian man was jailed for homosexuality as criminal behavior.

Many Canadians seem ignorant of the fact that 1969 Legislation decriminalized homosexuality.  The Vatican, the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church remains opposed. Many Catholics, both those in the pew and those who have left it, are not. Perhaps 50 years is not enough to unlearn old beliefs? No. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, entrenched those rights ever more deeply.

The position of the Vicar of Education for Calgary diocese is rooted in literal fundamentalism.

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New Authoritarians Are Waging War on Women

Peter Beinart, theatlantic.com | January/February 2019

Donald Trump’s ideological cousins around the world, Brazil, the Philippines, Hungary, Poland, want to reverse the feminist gains of recent decades.

When americans look abroad these days, they see Donald Trumps everywhere: In Brazil, whose new president, Jair Bolsonaro, endorses torture, threatens to pull out of the Paris climate-change agreement, and suggests that his country was better off under military rule. In the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte has overseen the extrajudicial killing of thousands of alleged drug dealers and threatened to impose martial law nationwide. In Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has quashed the free press, enriched his cronies, and stoked fear and hatred of refugees. In Poland, whose Law and Justice Party has undermined the independence of the supreme court. Even in Italy, whose leaders demonize immigrants, bash the European Union, and pal around with Steve Bannon.
. . .

But besides their hostility to liberal democracy, the right-wing autocrats taking power across the world share one big thing, which often goes unrecognized in the U.S.: They all want to subordinate women.

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Creative Reimagining Needed to Resolve the Crisis in the Church

Catherine Clifford, go_rebuild_my_house | February 7, 2019

The present crisis in the church has been a long time in the making and no one should be so naïve as to think that it will find a quick resolution. Pope Francis and his spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., have signaled in recent days that we ought to temper our expectations for the upcoming meeting of the heads of the episcopal conferences from around the world in Rome. Austen Ivereigh, the biographer and astute observer of Pope Francis and his pontificate, suggests that we should not look for institutional reform, but for Francis to continue his efforts to reform the culture, in particular the culture of clericalism at the root of the shocking failure of pastoral leadership that continues to reverberate around the world (“From Evasion to Conversion,” Commonweal - January 30, 2019).


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Prohibition on women priests could bring about 'slow death' of church

Sarah Mac Donald, thetablet.co.uk | February 12, 2019

An Irish government minister has warned that Catholicism’s prohibition on women priests is “brazen discrimination” and could bring about the Church’s “slow death”.

In an address titled, ‘A Community of Faith: Why the Catholic Church should open all ministries to women’, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan said the role of women in the priesthood is still considered a taboo topic at the highest levels of Catholic Church. “What is the Church afraid of?” she asked.

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The Pope Video


Apostleship of Prayer, thepopevideo.org | February 7, 2019

Pope Francis: "There are issues where you are morally obligated to take a side, such as human trafficking. You cannot be neutral. If you don’t take a stand against it, if you don’t do something to fight it, you’re contributing to the continued existence of this tremendous injustice. Open your eyes to reality. Open your heart to the victims."

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This is not a real church

Tony Payne, gotherefor.com | January 15, 2018

Some years ago, an elderly relative visited our church. She was a churchgoer herself—of a rather traditional kind. Afterwards, I asked her whether she had enjoyed church that morning—at which point, she looked straight at me and said with characteristic bluntness, “This is not a real church”.

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Ceremony to acknowledge and honour Elders

Editor, Special to The Review | March 1, 2019


Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community Society photo

Prior to becoming an RCWP Canada priest, Vikki Marie attended the Ministry Training Program (MTP) of the Center for Sacred Studies, a project of the Council of the Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.  The aim of the program was to familiarize its participants with Indigenous ways of prayer from around the world and to form participants into ministers of walking prayer.  

"One of the rites of passage that we lost is the passage into Elderhood," stated Vikki Marie.  "Yesterday (February 9, 2019), women from my cohort of the MTP program held a ceremony to acknowledge and honour two Elders."

The two Elders are Rev. Rachel Dyck and Rev. Dr. Vikki Marie.

The ceremony made clear that there is a longing for Elders from every nation, culture, and among all ages.  The Elder, it was pointed out, has honed skills of deep listening, creating and holding sacred space, maintaining neutrality, and detaching from outcomes precisely because they have, countless times, lived, lost, and succeeded. They see their time best spent in service to those people, projects and organizations they have deepest connections with and fostering strengthened community life within them.

On a table in the background, were set items brought from personal home altars that represent the people who helped form the Elders, the ones who helped them to become the people they are today.

Rachel and Vikki are now alumni of the Minster of Walking Prayer program of the Center for Sacred Studies and serve their respective communities with joy. The current Elders' Circle of the Center for Sacred Studies feel it is time tor these two to join the Circle and to be seen and acknowledged as Elders by the communities they love and serve.

The ceremony was hosted by the Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community Society, Vancouver and the Longhouse Ministry.




Puanani Lalakea of Honolulu Ordained a Priest for RCWP-USA Western Region which includes Hawai'i

Editor, Special to The Review | February 23, 2019

Today, Puanani Lalakea of Honolulu was ordained a priest for RCWP-USA Western Region.  The ordaining bishops, Suzanne Thiel and Jane Via conducted the liturgy of ordination in Portland, Oregon.

Puanani was born and raised in Hawai’i and is the proud mother of four adult children whom she raised in Portland, Oregon. In 2016, Puanani received her Master of Divinity from Marylhurst University. She has worked as a pastry chef, a domestic violence advocate, an intern pastor and a Chaplain.

Puanani recently returned home to her roots in Hawai’i where she works as a Chaplain in Honolulu and is enjoying reconnecting with the culture and traditions of her childhood.

Puanani’s faith is her compass and her Hawaiian heritage is her touchstone. She believes we are each the physical embodiment of Divine creation and lives in the spirit of aloha.




Pope offers 21 proposals to fight abuse at start of summit

Voice of the Faithful, votf.org | February 21, 2019

Francis offered a path of reform going forward, handing out a 21-point set of proposals for the church to consider including some that would require changes to canon law.

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My problem with the National Catholic Reporter book review, IN THE CLOSET OF THE VATICAN: POWER, HOMOSEXUALITY, HYPOCRISY by Frédéric Martel, is that there is precious little data to support the allegations and conclusions. That makes for a weak case, relegating it to the category of sensationalism, a.k.a. The National Enquirer.  Is it capitalizing on homophobia in society and among Catholics?  It it tabloid writing that makes a profit off pain and sin?  Or is it accurate but seriously flawed?  Rushing to press without the sociological research is irresponsible and diminishes the credibility of the book.

My point is that the reader has to be cautious in seeking root causes.  The size of the bureaucracy and its age imply that causality will be obscure, complex, and difficult to establish.  Not to mention intentionally obstructed.

[Steven Lanoux, Brownsville, TX]



When Laura Balcon writes (in The Review, Feb, 15) about “groups out there pushing gender segregation through optional celibacy and refusing to stand up equally for women to be ordained priests,” I must admit I have not heard of any such groups.

As a married priest I belong to Corpus Canada, an association of married priests and their wives, promoting optional celibacy in the Catholic Church. From its very beginning, Corpus Canada stood for ordaining women. If you go to the Corpus Canada Journal you will find the Canadian ordained women listed in every issue.
 
RCWP Canada, along with promoting the ordination of women, also ordains men, married or single. There are presently a number men within the organization.
 
[Emil Kutarna, Regina, SK]



May I express my admiration for the wonderful letter you wrote.  I particularly liked the way you characterized clericalism as being “more akin to a secular pyramidal corporation rather than a college of Apostles whose mission is to teach, govern and sanctify through sacrament and example the whole People of God”.
 
I also thought that the idea that ‘the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is a primary carrier of the global virus of misogyny . . . and the cure for that virus is equality”.
 
Brilliant!
 
It makes all the difficulties of ordaining you, truly worthwhile!
 
[Emil Kutarna, Regina, SK]





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Francis, the comic strip                                                                                           Francis Comic Strip Archive                
by Pat Marrin | February 14, 2019
National Catholic Reporter
Used with permission
                                                                                                       








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