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Francis, the comic strip                                                               by Pat Marrin | June 1, 2016
National Catholic Reporter
Used with permission

Women Priests Tell Pope Francis:   We Are Already Here

For immediate release | November 3, 2016

MEDIA CONTACT:  Martha Sherman,
Board President, Roman Catholic Women Priests-USA

Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, an organization of Roman Catholic women ordained as priests in apostolic succession, is disappointed by Pope Francis’ recent statements that supported the sexist ban on women in the Roman Catholic priesthood.

Two days ago, Pope Francis attended a celebration marking the anniversary of the Reformation. In the midst of Lutheran clergy, he heard the Gospel proclaimed by a female Lutheran archbishop and embraced her in a show of solidarity. Why, then, is the Pope so resistant to expressing solidarity with Roman Catholic women called to the priesthood?

The evidence is clear: there is no legitimate barrier to inclusive ordination in Scripture or Tradition. As our friends at the Women’s Ordination Conference reminded us in their statement, history, theology, and the People of God overwhelmingly support gender-inclusive priestly ministry.

 Furthermore, the Pope’s statement ignores a reality in the Roman Catholic Church: Roman Catholic women are already sharing their priestly gifts with diverse communities around the globe. In our own organization, hundreds of women and others unjustly excluded from priestly ministry are following their God-given calls to ordination through a new model of ordained ministry in a renewed Roman Catholic Church.

 “Pope Francis has called for Catholics to open wide the doors of our hearts, but he is also trying to close doors on gender justice” said Martha Sherman, RCWP Board Circle President. “As much as he may try, Catholic women are determined to keep the doors of Gospel equality open”.


Catholic Women Preach goes Live

Today, All Saints Day, catholicwomenpreach.org went live with three faith filled, challenging and inspiring reflections for the Advent Season from Sister Jamie T. Phelps, O.P, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, and Sister Barbara E. Reid, O.P.! And we're just getting started:   Kerry Robinson, Carolyn Woo, Nancy Pineda-Madrid, Marie Adele Dennis, Sr. Christine Schenk and Sr. Cathy Hilkert are coming up soon!

Be sure to visit Catholic Women Preach today to view both the videos and texts of these phenomenal women preachers!

Catholic Women Preach is an innovative project designed to address some of the most pressing challenges facing the Church today by responding to Pope Francis’ call for broader and more active engagement of the baptized in the preaching mission of the Church. This project is a deeply faithful, hopeful and joyful initiative intended to build up the Church.

CWP offers the theologically informed perspectives of Catholic women:

  • to serve as an inspirational, theologically based resource for ordained priests, deacons, catechists, and all involved in the ministry of the word in the Catholic Church
  •  to encourage Catholics, especially younger adult Catholics, with messages of hope that renew faith, strengthen us and encourage active engagement in the life of the Church for our work in the world
  • to provide a global platform for women’s voices and faith reflections so that the fullness of our Catholics giftedness can be accessed by all Catholics.


On women clergy, Pope Francis fears ‘disease’ of clericalism

John L. Allen Jr. | November 1, 2016

On the way back from Sweden, Pope Francis appeared to suggest that the Church's ban on women priests is "forever." What that doesn't address is where he may come down on women deacons, which seems harder to handicap -- but the right place to start is his aversion to clericalism.

I don’t know how to handicap where the pope will come down on the issue, but I do know where to begin in trying to describe how he’s likely to approach it: What he sees as the “disease” of clericalism, and the danger of clericalism setting the tone for discussions of women in the Church.

Read More

Call To Action Statement: Catholics are Ready for Women Priests

CTA | November 2, 2016

It is clear that Catholics across the United States support women priests. At the time of Pope Francis’ election, the Pew Research Center showed that six out of ten Catholics think the Pope should open ordination to women. Today, however, Pope Francis made it clear that he does not foresee women’s equality in the church.

“For a Pope who proclaims the need for mercy, Pope Francis is not being merciful to Catholic women,” said David Saavedra, Interim Co-Director of Call To Action. “The ban against ordination keeps women from having meaningful representation at the Vatican or in Catholic decision-making bodies across the globe. As a result, policy decisions are being made about women’s lives without any women at the table where those decisions are made.”

This was not always the case. History shows that women were ordained as deacons, priests, and bishops in the early centuries of the church.

“We are ready for women priests to be restored in the church,” noted Mr. Saavedra, “and are supporting women who are moving ahead with ministry or ordination without Vatican approval.  Catholics are working in movements like Call To Action to ensure that one day women and men will be able to equally minister alongside one another. This is what Jesus modeled and we hope the same for our church.”

Roy Bourgeois Responds to Pope Francis on Women Priests

Roy Bourgeiois | November 3, 2016

"Pope Francis, God created women and men of equal worth and dignity. How can men say that their call to be priests is authentic, but God's call to women is not?

Let's face it, Pope Francis the problem is not with God, but with an all male clerical culture that views women as lesser than men. Sexism, like racism and homophobia is a sin."

[Roy Bourgeois, is a priest who was dismissed from his religious order because of his support of women priests.

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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Pope Francis confirms finality of ban on ordaining women priests -- sort of

Joshua J. McElwee  |  Nov. 1, 2016

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM SWEDEN Pope Francis has said he thinks the Roman Catholic church's ban on priestly ordination for women will continue forever, saying his predecessor Pope John Paul II's declaration on the matter "goes in that direction."

Francis expressed his thoughts on the subject in response to a question Tuesday from a journalist aboard the papal flight back to Rome after a two-day visit to Sweden.

Read More...plus comments

Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community

Jane Kryzanowski | November 1, 2016

Recently the Regina house church reviewed developments in our community over the past year which included serious consideration of a name.  After much prayer and discernment, the name Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community was chosen. 

As a community, we honour Mary as:

  • one who received the healing touch of Jesus,
  • a faithful follower and supporter of his ministry,
  • a person loyal to Jesus even in his darkest hours of suffering and death,
  • a tomb watcher to whom the mystery of the resurrection was revealed,
  • the apostle to the apostles proclaiming Jesus risen,
  • a dearly beloved disciple, and
  • a leader in the early church.
She also bears the burden of being greatly misunderstood throughout much of church history and by many today.

We ask her inspiration and guidance as we journey in faithfulness to our call to proclaim by our words and actions the Good News Jesus preached and which she witnessed, the loving tenderness of God.  We also commit to telling herstory as we claim our story.

Rejoice with us in this development of our community!

Jane Kryzanowski, RCWP
Email:  photina61@gmail.com


Patriarchy Will Not Have the Last Word -- Press Release by Women's Ordination Conference

For Immediate Release: 1 November 2016

Contact:  Kate McElwee +1 607.725.1364

On the papal plane from Sweden to Rome, Pope Francis was asked by a journalist:

“Is it realistic to think that there might be women priests in the next few decades?” 

“On the Ordination of women in the Catholic church, the last word is clear,” Francis responded, before mentioning John Paul’s 1994 apostolic letter banning the practice, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. “It was given by St. John Paul II and this remains.”

“But really forever? Never?”

“If we read carefully the declaration made by St. John Paul II it goes in that direction.”

The Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC) is profoundly disappointed with Pope Francis’s reliance on his predecessors’ documents regarding the possibility of priestly ordination for women.

Several times Pope Francis has been asked by journalists aboard the papal plane regarding women’s priestly ordination.  The reason this question cannot be suppressed is because the exclusion of women defies the example of Jesus, who welcomed men and women equally. Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is an outdated, fallible and painful document created by his predecessors to diminish the leadership and vocations of women.

Instead of citing John Paul II, Pope Francis might have cited the Vatican’s own Pontifical Biblical Commission that concluded in 1976 that there is no valid scriptural or theological reason for denying ordination to women, or looked to archeology and historical documents that show women’s leadership in the early church. He could have looked to Jesus who welcomed women as his equal. Or he could look to the people of God who overwhelmingly support the ordination of women.

The Church cannot be afraid to examine customs when they no longer communicate or resonate with the Gospel. A Church that is not open to the gifts of half of its membership is unsustainable and out-of-touch with the needs of its people. “Never changing” is not only historically inaccurate but simply not an option when it comes to women’s equality.

The Women’s Ordination Conference and the majority of U.S. Catholics we represent do not accept “never ever” as an option. We will continue to work for the full equality of women in the Roman Catholic Church knowing that unjust laws are indefensible with a God that does not discriminate. Patriarchy will not have the last word.


'I want to see women priests in the Catholic Church', Lutheran Archbishop tells Pope Francis

Ilgin Karlidag | Oct 28, 2016

Pope Francis still has a lot of work to do on a range of moral issues despite encouraging comments from the Catholic Church head, leaders of Sweden's Lutherans say ahead of his visit to the country.

"It is clear that he has said and done things that have ignited much hope among many Catholics and even many people outside the Catholic Church," Sweden's first female Lutheran Archbishop, Antje Jackelén, told AFP.

Stockholm Bishop Eva Brunne hailed the Argentine pontiff as "a breath of fresh air". But the openly lesbian bishop added: "He has a lot to work on when it comes to gender issues, for example."

Francis kicks off a two-day visit to Sweden on Monday to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation – a highly symbolic trip, given that Martin Luther's dissenting movement launched centuries of bitter and often bloody divisions in Europe.

Sweden's branch of the Lutheran Church is amongst the most liberal in Christendom, and the pope's visit highlights deep splits between the Vatican and this gay-friendly constitutional monarchy, where same-sex marriage is allowed even for priests.

Read More

How to Be a Catholic and a Feminist

Jean E. Barker | Sep 28, 2016

Full of questions about her lifelong Catholic faith, journalist-turned-public-interest-lobbyist Celia Viggo Wexler decided to interview other women who have remained in the Church despite their disagreements with its official teachings. Her new book, Catholic Women Confront Their Church: Stories of Hurt and Hope (Rowman & Littlefield, Sept.), features nine activists, theologians, and other professional women who are engaging with the institutional church in multiple ways.

Conflicted about the Church’s refusal to respond to the concerns of Catholic women, and uncomfortable with the conservative Catholicism practiced in her parish, “I had come to a fork in the road in my own life,” Wexler told PW. “I did not know whether I could continue to be a practicing Catholic and a feminist.”

Read More

Francis proves Catholic church still needs a Reformation

Maureen Fiedler  |  Nov. 3, 2016 NCR Today

What a way to screw up a celebration of the Reformation! And prove that the Catholic church still needs one!

Pope Francis weighed in on the question of women priests ... suggesting that it will never happen. In so doing, he quoted his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who was implacably opposed.

Francis had stirred some hope among people (like myself) who favor the ordination of women when he started that commission to study the question of women deacons. But alas! He has now fallen for the party line. Maybe he was always in that camp, but he never said so before.

Read More

Why has the pope said no to women priests?

Delia Gallagher, CNNNovember 2, 2016

Pope Francis' resounding no to women becoming priests may come as a surprise considering the popular narrative of him as a reformer who seeks to bring change to the Roman Catholic Church.

Often seen as wanting to overturn the conservative thrust of recent pontificates, Francis has shown himself to be squarely on the side of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI when it comes to women's ordination.

Read More

FutureChurch Renews the Call for Dialogue and for a Long Overdue Round of Listening to Women in the Church

FutureChurch Press Statement             
November 4, 2016

In response to Pope Francis' recent remarks on women's ordination to the priesthood, FutureChurch renews our appeal for widespread dialogue on this challenging issue and for respectful listening to Catholic women in dioceses, parishes and communities.

Just one year ago, Pope Francis told an Italian church gathering that when delving into the problems facing the church, "Christian doctrine is not a closed system incapable of generating questions, doubts, interrogatives -- but is alive, knows being unsettled, enlivened."  He encouraged Catholics saying, "Dream of this church, believe in it, innovate it with freedom."

"Catholics worldwide have been encouraged by Pope Francis' call for open questioning and for fearless dialogue," said Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director of FutureChurch.  "One reason this particular dialogue concerning women's ordination continues to be important is that, under the current structure, ordination is central to decision making and governance."

"We need to enter into deep and respectful dialogue." said Russ Petrus, FutureChurch Program Director.  "We need to ask important questions about Pope Francis' identification of a Petrine dimension where bishops decide and a Marian dimension for 'the feminine dimension of the church' because it reinforces complementarity -- a patriarchal framework that perpetuates the assignment of roles based on gender impeding the Church's desire to create 'a more incisive presence' for women."

"There is no one solution for creating greater gender balance in our Church, yet it is clear that new doors need to be opened if we are to seriously engage Catholic women at the heart of our tradition and employ their wisdom, witness and faith in the ongoing development of that tradition," said Mary Louise Hartman, FutureChurch Trustee. "To ignore this task is to put our future at risk, something we know that is already occurring with the unprecedented loss of younger Catholic women and millennial Catholics, in general."

Pope Francis has engendered a new era of dialogue, listening and trust in the Holy Spirit that compels us to engage in the challenging conversations of our times bearing in mind the assurance he articulated last November when he said, "May it be a free church and open to the challenges of the present, never in defense for fear of losing something."


It’s Not a Complement:
The pitfalls of a gendered theology of church

Natalia Imperatori-Lee |  November 4, 2016

More troubling than the question of whether women can participate in the church’s sacramental ministry as priests is the infiltration of such a gendered ecclesiology into the highest echelons of the church’s hierarchy.

This language of Marian and Petrine dimensions has two primary sources. The notion of the church as Christ’s bride, of course, has scriptural roots: It comes from the Gospels and the Letters of St. Paul and is expanded upon in the Book of Revelation.

The association of that metaphor with Marian and Petrine dimensions of the church, however, comes from a theologian who was a favorite of both St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, a Swiss onetime Jesuit named Hans Urs von Balthasar. While he is well known for his contributions to theological aesthetics, many theologians take issue with the gendered language he uses to describe the church as a masculine/feminine complementary reality, where Mary and Jesus, or Mary and Peter, correspond to separate dimensions of the church.

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Francis, the comic strip                                                                                                           Francis Comic Strip Archive
by Pat Marrin | October 20, 2016
National Catholic Reporter
Used with permission

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