On the Home Page -- October, 2017
  • Water and Bread are symbols of Baptism and Eucharist: The signs of incorporation into the community of believers and the bread by which they are nourished
  • October 1st Catholics around the world will honor the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church, and for many, the patron saint of women's ordination.
  • A prophet is one who keeps God free for people and who keeps people free for God
  • Ordain married men
  • NCR Editorial: Fling open door for women
  • Dismantling the Patriarchal Gender Binary in Society
  • Priest archetype is simply this: A midwife of grace
  • Envisioning the Church Women Want
  • 95 percent of church-going women report they have never heard a sermon on domestic violence preached from the pulpit of their church
  • Pope Francis decentralizes most authority for liturgical translations to local bishops;  Instruction major reversal of worship congregation's original postconciliar translation rules
  • Catholic women's history in Catholic women's hands
  • Catholic Church’s idea of gender equality may be too little, too late
  • Comments to the Editor
  • New way to donate to RCWP Canada -- via PayPal
  • 195 Reasons why women should be ordained
  • Continuing Features
  • Francis, the comic strip
  • Top and bottom of the page menu

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Pope Francis decentralizes most authority for liturgical translations to local bishops
Instruction major reversal of worship congregation's original postconciliar translation rules

Joshua J. McElwee, NCR | Sep 9, 2017

Pope Francis has decentralized authority over how the texts used in the Catholic Church's liturgies are translated from Latin into local languages, moving most responsibility for the matter from the Vatican to national bishops' conferences.

In a motu proprio issued Sept. 9, the pontiff says he is making a change to the church's Code of Canon Law so that the Second Vatican Council's call to make the liturgy more understandable to people is "more clearly reaffirmed and put into practice."

The motu proprio, given the title Magnum Principium, modifies two clauses of Canon 838. The rewritten clauses say simply that the Vatican is to "recognize" adaptations of Latin liturgical texts approved by national bishops' conferences.

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Catholic women's history in Catholic women's hands

Mary E. Hunt People, NCR | Sep 20, 2017

Catholic women's history fades as fast as we make it because few people write about it. Donna Quinn in Chicago Catholic Women: Its Role in Founding the Catholic Women's Movement and Marian Ronan and Mary O'Brien in Women of Vision: Sixteen Founders of the International Grail Movement reverse the tide in volumes that provide rich data for future scholars to analyze. They provide details of people, places, events and trends that shape an ever so slightly more inclusive, if still quite exclusive, church.

Chicago Catholic Women spent 25 years, from 1974 to 1999, being a vibrant source of action and inspiration on issues related to women's equality and anti-racism. The group was source of exasperation and challenge for kyriarchal clerics who cowered in the face of strong women. In the early years, bishops still met and spoke with Catholic feminists, a practice that has long since gone out of vogue as the men became increasingly terrified and embarrassed by the reactions to their outrageous oppression of women.

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Catholic Church’s idea of gender equality may be too little, too late

Patsy McGarry, Irish Times | Aug 21, 2017
As the clamour demanding full equality for women in the Catholic Church grows ever louder indications are that it is beginning to make an impact at the very highest level.

Just this summer Sweden’s first Cardinal Anders Arborelius proposed that Pope Francis create a special advisory body of women similar to the College of Cardinals. Cardinal Arborelius was himself admitted to the college in Rome last June.

“It’s very important to find a broader way of involving women at various levels in the church. The role of women is very, very important in society, in economics, but in the church sometimes we are a bit behind,” he told media in Rome.

Similarly German cardinal Reinhard Marx, a member of the council of nine cardinals which advise Pope Francis, has called on the church to admit a greater percentage of women to its upper echelons.

“We would be mad not to use women’s talents. In fact, it would be downright foolish,” he said. The fact that only men can be ordained Catholic priests was “certainly not helping the church come across as a pioneer of equal rights”.

The church’s message must be inclusive, he continued, and “that is why I want to emphasise that positions of responsibility and executive positions in the church that are open to lay people must be shared by both men and women”.

Whereas admission to equality in church administration might be welcomed by some women, their glaring absence from clergy, whether as deacons, priests, or bishops, remains for most the true indicator of their second-class status as members.

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    Comments to the Editor

I am most encouraged to read the article Pope Francis decentralizes most authority for liturgical translations to local bishops. I wonder what the CCCB response will be. I have been unable to attend mass very often since the changes and English translation of the Roman Missal several years ago.

I find it offensive and heretical when at the introduction of the Mass  the priest says, "The Lord be with you" and we are to respond "And with your spirit". I thought we stopped splitting our physical humanity from our spirituality long ago, and this just seems so counter to that.  This is but one example of some of the language changes that I find offensive and, truth be told, somewhat meaningless in the context of the time in which we live.

I loved the language of the liturgy before the recent changes; it was more loving and real in terms of the time we live in and the lives we live. I am hopeful that the CCCB will get right on this and review the changes that were made with a resulting appropriate outcome for the people of God.

Kathy Cameron, Regina, SK

[A version of this message was sent to the CCCB]

I've printed off the article about the Pope's "magisterial authority" re "irreversible" liturgical changes in order to ponder the difference between the current RC Liturgy and our never-ever-changing Orthodox one (except when it comes to reverting to gender-exclusive language in new English translations). It is to weep.

Myrna Kostash, Edmonton, AB, is an ObOSB of St Peter's Abbey in Muenster, Saskatchewan.

Continuing Features:

With appologies to Martin Luther

Click here for book-length pdf copy of 195 Reasons

       Series on Critical Thinking

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.

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Water and Bread are symbols of Baptism and Eucharist: The signs of incorporation into the community of believers and the bread by which they are nourished

Jane Kryzanowski | September 22, 2017

The Gospel story about Jesus walking on water from Matthew 14, 22-33, is one with which we are all familiar.  We all know the jokes about Jesus knowing where the stones were to get to the boat.  Peter didn't have a clue about that.

To obtain a deeper understanding of the message in that Gospel story we do well to ask: Who is the audience the Gospel writer we know as 'Matthew' is writing for around 90 C.E.?  They are a tattered remnant of mostly Jewish converts struggling to hang on, to be 'faithful' or loyal to Jesus' message, the Jesus Way.  They have been persecuted on every side: by the Romans who are ruling them – the temple has long been destroyed, Peter and Paul have been crucified; fellow Jews consider them fools and are ostracizing them, and even community strife and personal struggles assail them.  No wonder they could be considered as being of “little faith.”  The questions is how to survive in such a hostile world, If there is such a way.

As we know, the parables and stories of the Bible are not necessarily “true stories”.  They are, nonetheless, stories that tell truth when we go beneath the surface.  Through symbolism, allegory and metaphor we can learn so much more than what we hear. 

John Shelby Spong (Biblical Literalism, A Gentile Heresy) posits that the Gospel of Matthew uses the structure of the Jewish Liturgical Year for his teaching because it was an understandable framework for his community who were mostly Jews.  In the time between the Jewish festivals of Sukkoth (Harvest) and Hanukkah (Light) the Torah read in the Synagogue was from the book of Exodus relating accounts of escape from Egypt, the years of wandering in the wilderness and the discontent of the people because of a lack of food and water.  Through Moses' intercession, they read, the Red Sea split in two, providing safe passage from slavery in Egypt.  In the wilderness, through Moses' intercession, God provided manna and quail for food, and water from the rock.

In the Gospel story, the disciples were sent out to sea to cross to the other side while Jesus dismisses the crowd and then goes up the mountain to pray.  Meanwhile, a storm comes up that threatens the disciples' survival until Jesus comes walking on the water to meet them.  Spong sees a parallel story in the feeding of the five thousand men, plus women and children, to the Jewish wilderness story.  Both the feeding of the multitudes and the command over the water are meant to show Matthew's community that Jesus is the new Moses who delivers God's people and feeds them.  Under Moses' guidance, the Hebrew people crossed to the other side of the Red Sea and crossed the wilderness to the Land of Promise.  These are richly symbolic stories that Matthew's audience would understand.  Matthew is reassuring his struggling community that Jesus is their advocate with God and companion on their journey from fear of persecution, and encouraging them to go on to serve those on the outside.  Jesus takes time for prayer to regroup and reenergize himself for his mission. 

A passage from 1 Kings 19, resonates with this theme.  Elijah is trying to escape the persecution of Jezebel and after a long wilderness journey, during which he had been strengthened by food from God under the broom tree.  He eventually arrives and Mout Horeb and seeks refuge in a cliff crevice.  “Why are you here?” God asks.  Then God proceeds to reveal the Divine self, not in tornado or hurricane or wild fire, but a gentle breeze and calls him back to his mission.  Again God asks, “Why are you here?”  The time of refuge on the mountain was the the necessary retreat to be able to return to the prophetic mission given by God to Elijah.

In Romans 9, 1-5, Paul laments that some of the Jewish people have not recognized or accepted Jesus as the Messiah.  Paul would give his life if it meant that they would come to know Jesus and accept his way.  Paul's mission is challenging but he is strongly committed to it.

There are multiple messages from these three scripture passages:
Elijah was trying to escape persecution and seeks refuge in a cliff crevice.  God calls him back to his mission.
Matthew's community is struggling and fearful of persecution.  In the Gospel, the disciples were struggling.  They are being sent to Gentile territory.  Their boat was in danger.  They were filled with fear.  They did not recognize the presence. 
Prayer is foundation of mission.  Jesus, like Elijah sought to be alone and encounter God. So must we take time and listen for the silence where God makes the God-self known to us.
For our mission: Where are we called to go?  What is our mission?  How do we deal with our fears and anxieties?
Our journey is one of faithfulness, more than faith; trusting in the person of Jesus more than the idea of him. 

We can be reassured that God is with us wherever we are.  We do not need to fear the hardships of life.  Paul reminds us that we are people of covenant with God.  God's gentle voice calls us as it did Elijah, God's hand is there to save us as Jesus was there for Peter.  Water and Bread - Baptism and Eucharist, are provided for our sustenance.  Our journey with Jesus will eventually bring us to the other side – whatever our trial may be.  We need not fear even in our times of darkness and turblence but refocus our vision and become aware of the Divine presence with us.  Our doubts, our ifs – if it is you – will be relieved and we can return to the mission entrusted to us.

[Jane Kryzanowski is servant leader of Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic Community, Regina]

October 1st Catholics around the world will honor the feast day of St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church, and for many, the patron saint of women's ordination.

St. Therese's fierce sense of faith, vocation, and her powerful "Little Way" both inspire and challenge us to call for true equality in our Church so that all who are called to serve in ordained ministries may answer wholeheartedly, knowing their gifts will be welcomed and celebrated.

We believe true transformation in our Church will come from empowered Catholics on the ground: the (not so) "Little Flowers" of the grassroots. To honor St. Therese and all women called to ordained ministry please join us in taking action this October 1st:
  • Drop or hold a banner: Print our custom banner or make your own signs and join members around the world in witnessing for women's ordination in the Catholic Church.Click here
  • Plant Little Flowers: St. Therese's symbol of a white rose is a perfect opportunity to hand out (paper, real, synthetic) flowers outside Mass. Or send flowers of support to a woman you know called to priesthood.
  • Funny Money: drop an "Equal Justice Reserve Note" in the collection basket to inform the institutional Church that you are withholding your funds until women have equal rites and rights. Click here
  • Pray: Use or adapt our prayer for St. Therese of Lisieux at home or in your community.

Prayer for the Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, our patron saint of women’s ordination

Holy One, Source of all that has been, all that is, and all that will be, we call upon Your name today, on the Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, our patron saint of women’s ordination, to pray for all your people. Bless all those whom you call to priestly service – women and men of all races and ethnicities, married and single, heterosexual and homosexual – those for whom St. Therese’s words ring true: “I feel in me the vocation of PRIEST. With what love, O Jesus, I would carry you in my hands when, at my voice, You would come down from heaven. And with what love would I give you to souls!”

Rekindle in our souls the strength, courage and compassionate love of Jesus. Bless us that we might pursue the work of justice as our heart’s desire. We offer our lives to you.

We thank you, Blessed One, for accepting us — strong and weak, firm and faltering, wise and foolish. Guide and teach us to serve through both love and service in the reformation and resurrection of the Catholic Church we love. Lead us in the path you envision for us, to minister through education and advocacy so that all those you call to priestly ministry may respond and serve your people as you have chosen.

Beloved and Holy God, thank you for St. Therese’s strength and love. May we honor her and you through our prayers and our love as we move forward to work for church renewal. Empower us with new life, a life of service to the People of God. We entrust ourselves and our church to your love as we enroll others, by making them feel touched, moved and inspired. We make this prayer in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Blessed be. Amen.

A prophet is one who keeps God free for people and who keeps people free for God

Richard Rohr, CACSeptember 13, 2017

A prophet is one who keeps God free for people and who keeps people free for God. Both of these are much needed and vital tasks. God has been imprisoned and made inaccessible, and far too many people have been shamed and taught guilt to keep us clergy in business. Our job became “sin management.” Sadly the laity bought into this negative story line. That is what happens when priests are not informed by prophets.

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Ordain married men

Peter Feuerherd, NCR | Sep 7, 2017

Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese wrote in March that Pope Francis was ready to reconsider obligatory priestly celibacy. Reese wrote the pope was only waiting to be asked by bishops.

"If the people of God want married priests, they need to let their bishops know. The pope is waiting for the bishops to ask," wrote Reese.

NCR reader James Stubenrauch took up Reese's challenge. And he brought along 52 other friends who reside with him at Dominican Village, a retirement community on the grounds of the Dominican Sisters Motherhouse here on Long Island.

A petition composed by Stubenrauch asked Rockville Centre Bishop John Barres, the local ordinary, for the church to "move without delay" in allowing ordination of married men to the priesthood and asked Barres to "make every effort to advance this important proposal."

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NCR Editorial: Fling open door for women

NCR Editorial Staff | Sep 6, 2017

Irish parish priest Fr. Roy Donovan picks up on the door image to describe the state of the church: The grain stores are full of food but locked away behind "guarded" doors while the people outside starve. We have the solutions. The grain is there but the people are not fed. We are starving people of the richness and nourishment that women can bring. We prefer an exclusive priesthood which is dying out due to a lack of numbers. Women will not harm the church and yet we are unwilling to let them in. Why are men not willing to share the priesthood? Why do men believe women are not worthy of this?
. . .
By contrast, Tina Beattie pointed out, with regards to the ordination of women, Francis says, "The church has spoken and says no. … That door is closed."

That "no" is not acceptable to Donovan, to Women's Ordination Worldwide, and to countless hosts of other faithful Catholics. They are standing at the door, rapping, waiting to take possession of their church, praying for an angel to break the locks and fling open that door.

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Dismantling the Patriarchal Gender Binary in Society

Luis T. Gutierrez, Mother Pelican | September 21, 2017

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Priest archetype is simply this: A midwife of grace

Matthew Fox, John Shelby Spong website | August 24, 2017

My definition of the priest archetype is simply this: A midwife of grace. For me this works, it honors many versions of ministry and priesthood at the same time that it also opens up many interesting possibilities for the new generation who are listening deeply (at least many are) for their calling, their vocation, “How can I best serve this wounded and rapidly endangered world?” This in a time of climate change, out of control reptilian brain, war-mongering budgets and threats, patriarchy in backlash, obscene gaps between haves and have nots and all the rest.

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Envisioning the Church Women Want

Editor, RCWP Canada Website | September 21, 2017

In her book Abounding in Kindness, Elizabeth Johnson writes about Coming in from the Cold; Women Envision the Church.

In the introduction to Chapter 18, she relates this story:  At one point in her life, the Caribbean American poet Audre Lorde switched from wearing eyeglasses to using contact lenses. Her poem reflecting on the experience has a poignant closing line. Once she lived behind thick walls of glass without much peripheral vision. Now her eyes are more exposed, risky, open: “I see much/ better now/ and my eyes hurt.”

Metaphorically speaking, multitudes of women in the church have traded in their eyeglasses for contact lenses. They see much better now where problems in the church's teaching and praxis regarding women lie, and their eyes hurt. They don't stop there, however, but also see what the church could be in a more just time to come. After first identifying what gives women the right to dream in this way, this article (Chapter 18) highlights three sets of ambiguities that bedevil teaching about women's equality in the following of Christ. Grasping the measure of these equivocations makes it clear that envisioning the church women want is a courageous work of hope.

Chapter 18 is in Johnson, Elizabeth A.. Abounding In Kindness: Writings for the People of God (p. 231). Orbis Books, Print Edition or Kindle Edition.

Chapter 18 also forms the basis of the following 54-minute YouTube video, a lecture by Elizabeth Johnson, Envisioning the Church Women Want

95 percent of church-going women report they have never heard a sermon on domestic violence preached from the pulpit of their church

Sojourners Magazine | September 23, 2017

This Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October) we are partnering with We Will Speak Out for Speak Out Sabbath 2017. One in three women experience intimate partner violence in their lives, yet 95 percent of church-going women report they have never heard a sermon on abuse preached from the pulpit of their church. From October 13th to 15th, we are inviting faith leaders from every tradition to commit to speaking out against this violence from within the walls of their houses of worship.

Urge the leadership of your house of worship to participate in Speak Out Sabbath.

Houses of worship should be places of refuge for survivors of violence. But how can the survivors know they are safe if their faith leaders never denounce the violence from the pulpit or open their office doors for healing pastoral care? An overwhelming majority of the faith leaders (74 percent) underestimate the level of sexual and domestic violence experienced within their congregations, leading to infrequent discussions of the issue from the pulpit as well as a lack of appropriate support for victims. Let’s put an end to that this October.

Ask your pastor, imam, rabbi, or other faith leader to speak out for survivors this Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

We know people of faith believe in the sacred worth of women—let's make that extra clear this October.

Invite the leader of your house of worship to take a stand for survivors of violence.

Francis, the comic strip                                                                                                           Francis Comic Strip Archive
by Pat Marrin | Septembe 28, 2017
National Catholic Reporter

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