On the Home Page -- September, 2017 I

* Fifth Anniversary Reflection

* Why is Canadian Catholicism So Muted?

* Mary Magdalene and the Women Disciples in the Gospel of Luke

* Mandatory celibacy at the heart of what's wrong

* Pope invokes ‘magisterial authority’ to declare liturgy changes ‘irreversible’

* Does Christianity have a Wonder Woman

* Catholics need to give women priests a chance

* Michael Crosby, reformer in boardrooms and basilicas, dies at 77

* 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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Installation as Pastor

Installation of Pastor Roberta Fuller will be celebrated at St. Mary Magdalene, The First Apostle, Catholic Faith Community, 1066 Dunbarton Road, Pickering, ON, at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, September 16, 2017.  Bishop Marie Bouclin will preside. All are welcome!  

Contact: therealrobertaf@gmail.com

Why is Canadian Catholicism So Muted?

Michael W. Higgins, Commonweal | August 16, 2017

. . . For Catholicism, however, the last fifty years have mostly been ones of severe institutional decline. In 1967, for instance, the highly regarded cardinal archbishop of Montreal, Paul-Émile Léger, head of the pre-eminent archdiocese in the country, resigned to assume a new ministry as a missionary to the lepers of Cameroon. In 2017, the cardinal archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Christopher Collins, head of the today’s pre-eminent archdiocese in the country, is committed to the restoration of the ancien regime in Catholic ecclesial life. These fifty years have seen the disappearance of Catholic institutions from hitherto deeply Catholic Quebec (New France has opted to follow Old France in its slavish adherence to the 1905 doctrine of laïcité—with its rigorous exclusion of religion from the political world), the rise and fall of national leadership in Catholic social teaching by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the marginalization of the Catholic voice in the political arena, and the collapse of interest in Catholic affairs in the secular media. Further, there’s the precipitous drop in religious practice among Catholics, the aging of religious personnel, the clustering of parishes, the selling of churches, the enduring stain of clerical sex abuse, and the aftershocks of the Residential Schools crisis (a cultural genocide stemming from the late nineteenth-century policy of “assimilating” indigenous children by removing them from their homes and housing them in institutions run by the United, the Presbyterian, the Anglican, and the Roman Catholic churches).

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Michael W. Higgins is Distinguished Professor of Catholic Thought, Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, past president of two Canadian Catholic universities, and co-author of the forthcoming Impressively Free: Henri Nouwen as Model for a Renewed Priesthood.

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.

Follow this special section to stay up to date and get insights and commentary on developments from many news sources.

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Fifth Anniversary Reflection

Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie, RCWP Canada West | August 28, 2017

They say a priest has a miraculous power
to turn bread and wind into Jesus
But the miracle is to cultivate
the seed of Jesus within, that feeds us.
It's been five years
since my ordination.
Have I served well, progressed
or rested in stagnation?
Have I preached well,
broken open the Word
encouraged others,
listened, truly heard.
Provided space for others
to share their talents,
steered folks towards
inner/outer balance?
Do I hear their woes,
share in the lament,
as well as the joys
Divine Mystery has sent?
Have I shown by my own actions
that everything is sacred,
by loving Creator, my neighbour
and all God created.
Have I shown, like faith,
love is a verb?
Faith without love, love without action,
is empty, absurd.
Even if I've answered
these questions well
these are things at which
a priest can never excel.
Like everyone else, a priest
will never reach perfection.
Like everyone else, a priest
grows with self-examination, reflection.
Ministers must aim
for wholeness, ever reaching.
It in striving and living,
a pastor's true teaching.
Celebrations, lamentations,
all part of the story
as a community strives for wholeness,
seeks to behold God's glory.
In the end it's not perfection
in ministry, our test.
It's open hearts, open minds,
trying always to give our best.

Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie was ordained a priest on July 29, 2012.  She serves Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community.  Mass is celebrated every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month at 3 p.m.  Liturgies are held at The Listening Post, 382 Main St., Vancouver, BC

Mary Magdalene and the Women Disciples in the Gospel of Luke

Barbara Reid, O.P., Boston College presentation | July 21, 2017

   . . . What the Gospels actually say about Mary Magdalene is finally starting to become better known. But if you ask most Christians, “Who was Mary Magdalene,” what are they going to tell you? Yeah, that she was a repentant prostitute, or maybe they’ll tell you she was the one who wept over Jesus’s feet and dried them with her hair, or maybe they’ll tell you that she was the woman who was caught in adultery and was about to be stoned before Jesus intervened. But in the Gospels, none of those
things are said of Mary Magdalene. Nowhere is there even a reference to her having been a sinner, much less a prostitute. The confusion between these other women and Mary of Magdala was reinforced by Pope Gregory the Great, who conflated all of them in his Easter homily in 591.

Christian artists have also confused the various stories, which has helped to reinforce false images of Mary Magdalene. Paintings such as that of Titian depict Mary as morosely repentant, half-clothed. I’m unclear about what the state of undress has to do with repentance. [laughter] Or they even depict her as naked, as in this painting by Quentin Metsys that juxtaposes so-called penitent Mary Magdalene with a different legionary, Mary of Egypt, who went to the desert to repent and whose hair covered
her after her clothes deteriorated. For some reason, there’s a greater fascination with the story of a sinner who repents dramatically than with the story of a woman who became Apostle to the Apostles.

Read More (13 page transcript) or Watch (video of the presentation)

Barbara Reid, O.P. is general editor of The Wisdom Commentary, which features authors from diverse religious, racial, and cultural backgrounds.  The first three of what will ultimately be a 58-volume series of feminist biblical commentary, delving into every book of the Bible, were published by Liturgical Press.

Mandatory celibacy at the heart of what's wrong

James Carroll, National Catholic Reporter | June 9, 2010
Like all Catholics, I gratefully depend on the faithful ministry of the many good priests who serve the church. Yet I offer a broad critique of something central to their lives and identities -- the rule of celibacy. Many priests will recognize the truth of what I describe. I write from inside the question, having lived as a celibate seminarian and priest for more than a decade when I was young. In the Bing Crosby glory days, celibacy was essential to the mystique that set priests apart from other clergy, the Roman collar an “Open sesame!” to respect and status. From a secular perspective, the celibate man or, in the case of nuns, woman made an impression simply by sexual unavailability. But from a religious perspective, the impact came from celibacy’s character as an all-or-nothing bet on the existence of God. The Catholic clergy lived in absolutism, which carried a magnetic pull.

The magnet is dead. Celibacy cuts to the heart of what is wrong in the church today. Despite denials from Rome, there will be no halting, much less recovering from, the mass destruction caused by the priest sex abuse scandal without reforms centered on the abandonment of celibacy as a near-universal prerequisite for ordination to the Latin-rite priesthood.

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Pope invokes ‘magisterial authority’ to declare liturgy changes ‘irreversible’

Inés San Martín, Crux | August 24, 2017

Addressing a group of liturgical experts on Thursday, Pope Francis said that after the teaching of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and a long path of experience, “We can affirm with certainty and magisterial authority that the liturgical reform is irreversible.”

The declaration came in a speech on Thursday to Italy’s “Center of Liturgical Action,” which sponsors an annual National Liturgical Week.
By “liturgical reform,” Pope Francis meant the changes in Catholic rituals and modes of worship which followed from Vatican II, the most immediately visible elements of which included Mass facing the congregation, the use of vernacular languages, and a stronger emphasis on the “full, conscious and active” participation of the people.

Read More

Does Christianity have a Wonder Woman?

Jennifer Mertens, National Catholic Reporter | Aug 10, 2017

I've watched "Wonder Woman" three times now in theaters and still can't get enough. Returning home, I eagerly research trailer clips, cast interviews and box office statistics — totally fascinated by a movie that reflects something I've never quite seen, and a message I can't fully describe.

I'm not the person you would expect to write a column about this character or movie, Wonder Woman. I can't pretend to be a comic book fan or superhero guru. My husband spent weeks just trying to convince me to see the movie for the first time. At that point, my knowledge of Wonder Woman was limited to the Wonder Woman T-shirts that some colleagues and I once wore for Halloween — and which I now regret giving away!

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As one of millions who have been introduced (or reintroduced) to Wonder Woman as a contemporary cultural icon, I have been surprised by my own hunger for her story, and by the extent to which this hunger is evidently shared around the world, by women and girls, and also men and boys.

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Catholics need to give women priests a chance

Jim Ketchum, Times Herald | Aug. 11, 2017

Roman Catholic clergy remains an all-male club. But if you need someone to officiate at a wedding, apparently a nun will do just fine.

That happened in July in Quebec, where Sister Pierette Thiffault officiated at a wedding in Lorraineville after her local bishop obtained the Vatican’s permission, according to a story in America magazine and reported online by The Huffington Post.

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Michael Crosby, reformer in boardrooms and basilicas, dies at 77

Brian Roewe, National Catholic Reporter | Aug 9, 2017

Capuchin Fr. Michael Crosby, author of 19 books and advocate for church reform and corporate responsibility, died Aug. 5, at the age of 77.

In his five-plus decades as a Capuchin friar, Fr. Michael Crosby talked and walked the language of conversion wherever he went, whether within the Catholic Church, the corridors of American industry or individuals' spiritual lives.

Read More

Francis, the comic strip                                                                                                           Francis Comic Strip Archive
by Pat Marrin | September 12, 2017
National Catholic Reporter

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