Saturday, March 8, 2014

Struggling With The Mission: Rev. Judy’s Homily For The First Sunday In Lent

Image
 We begin the Lenten Season this First Sunday by joining Jesus in the desert as he struggles against the “temptations” that could destroy the mission and ministry he is about to begin. There are prototypes here for all of the struggles in the desert that we too face. 
The readings for the day are beautiful in metaphor and meaning. They can be difficult to understand. They are not meant as literal historic or scientific happenings but are packed full of many essential meanings described in poetry, story, idiom, imagery and metaphor.  In the Genesis reading and the Gospel, temptation is faced. But, it is far too easy to say they are aboutdealing with temptation. They are about choice and discerning and accepting God’s work, mission, for us in building the kin-dom, the reign of God’s presence here on earth. The Gospel (Matthew 4:1-11) is about Jesus and his wrestling with how he would announce and bring about the kin-dom. They are about what we do with God’s affirmation and how hard it is to enact and live the Gospel once we understand it. They are about our own deserts and accepting our callings.
In the first reading, Genesis 2:7-9, 3:1-7 humanity is created by the very breath or spirit of God, and given all of creation to enjoy, work in and care for as well as the choice to do what is right or to choose the “wrong” path where evil is encountered. Wow! For me, this is a “selah” moment, a moment to pause and appreciate what God has done.
Yet, with this gift of choice we can choose good or evil for all of our days. The Epistle, Romans 5:12-19, contrasts Christ, who discerned and enacted God’s love and justice even when it cost everything he had, and Adam who all too easily chose what he knew to be wrong (and then blamed it on Eve who blamed it on the poor serpent). From Adam, in being human, we inherit a propensity for good and for evil, for sometimes making death- dealing instead of life giving choices while from Jesus we learn what life giving choices are and gain life now and forever.  Wow! Another “selah” moment, to pause and appreciate what God has done through Christ.
The Gospel story according to the writer of Matthew takes place right after Jesus’ baptism where Jesus experiences God’s loving affirmation in a way that is beyond words to tell. Jesus knows that he is chosen, affirmed and deeply loved by God. (Matt 3:17). “Then he was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted…” (Matt 4:1). In the Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures imagery and metaphor are dramatically used (Errico, Let There Be Light). The phrase “led by the Spirit” usually means “had a dream or vision”.  In Aramaic the word “tempted” means to be tried out, much like a new horse would be tried out. So Jesus is trying out his mission as the one who is chosen and, in essence, discerning what it will be and how he will enact it.  The imagery of the desert is appropriate for such discernment. I have been in the remaining desert area in Israel and it is endless sand, hills of sand and endless valleys and surfaces of sand.  There would be no temples or parapets to jump off of and certainly there would be nothing to eat-not even the cacti that exist in the American deserts. The word “devil” or “satan” in Aramaic is “deceiver” or “to lead astray” and it does not mean a supernatural being or force. Jesus prayed, reflected, wrestled and dreamed and wrestled again with deceptive notions of who he was and could be, of power and of mission.
In this trying period of discernment (the idiom 40 days is used much in the scriptures and means a period of trials) Jesus turned his back on doing tricks like turning stones into bread instead of the very hard work of ministering to the poor, the sick and the outcast in need of healing and inclusion. He also turned his back on religious power-he would not become the head of the established religion but he would question, clarify, and challenge what had become of the Law’s intent and the covenant between God and God’s people. When necessary he would take on the establishment and they would respond with a vengeance.  Similarly Jesus turned away from the appeal of becoming a political leader with “all the kingdoms” at his feet. The reign of God was not a material or political reign as much as some wanted this. Jesus would show us what the reign of God could be.  It would cost him his life. Jesus agonized and clarified what he was about and what his ministry and mission would be. In essence, in the desert experience Jesus agonized over accepting the cup long before he prayed tears like blood in the Garden of Gethsemane after the last supper. The poor and outcast would welcome him and love him, but we all know the end of the story. Jesus had to know that, unlike the tempting paths of personal, religious and political power, what he was about to do using the power and authority to change human lives would cost him everything. But he was ultimately not tempted to abort the mission God had given him. He would show us how to love, and enact inclusion and justice, no matter what it cost.  When Jesus finished this trying period of discernment in the desert, he began his ministry. He preached “turn your lives back to God”.  In Luke he defined his mission as “preaching the good news to the poor….” He healed the sick, welcomed the stranger, included women and foreigners and showed us how to live the Good News. Through him we are all grafted into the tree of life and we are asked to follow him,to DO what he did.
I think that all of us who want to follow Jesus have agonized at some time over this calling. I know I have. Each and every one of us who wants to follow Christ has a unique gift to give different from the others. But the common ground is putting those gifts at the service of God’s people and building the kin-dom.  I have served God’s people most of my life using my experiences and my training as a clinical social worker and teacher of social workers and pastors who wanted to serve and counsel the poor, the homeless, the outcast and those who faced the demons of mental illness, addictions and many aspects of physical and spiritual dying. Yet in the helping professions and in one’s every- day life one can legitimately take time off and time out. One can always take vacations and rest from this work or change jobs. But when one does it pastorally  and sacramentally another level of self- giving is involved. Like Jesus, all is given. Yes, Jesus wants us to go aside and rest for a while or we will truly burn out like falling stars. But we are the face of Christ to the world and only the grace of God enables that face to be smiling when we too are tired and overwhelmed at the constant need and the unending nature of injustice and pain before us. My particular call is to be a priest and pastor of the poor.  I became a priest not to wear robes and serve at a high altar, but to serve at the altar of broken lives, especially those broken by poverty and oppression in addition to life’s other blows. I wanted to open up the alabaster jars of sacraments and make them available to all.(Susan Ross elaborates on this task in her book Extravagant Affections: A Feminist Sacramental Theology).  I can never turn my back on this call and instead sometimes have to turn my back on the kinds of things Jesus was tempted with: human hungers, magic powers, and power in institutions religious or otherwise. I knew a little of how hard all of this is when I accepted ordination, but almost six years later I know it isonly by God’s grace, and not one’s own powers, that one can do it at all. Thank God for this grace.       
This is the first four stanzas from a poem that I wrote when I was in my desert discerning this call to priesthood and ministry:
I Accept The Cup
It is ringing in my heart-
Bob Marley say
“No woman, no cry,
Drinkin’ from the
Cup of pain and sorrow,
Love will heal it all”.

Yes, there is Love
And there is
Pain and sorrow.
To walk the road
Of Love and serve
You gotta take the cup.

I said, Lord, I know
That cup, don’t ask
Me to drink from it
Again, don’t show me                   
Their hurt and pain
And tell me they’re
Dyin on the street
Right here and now,
An don’t add to it
My sisters in hospice,
Don’t tell me to tend
Death again with you.
Give me some of that
Joy instead, don’t let
Me walk among the
Living dead.

And God said
They ain’t dead yet,
To walk my road and
Serve Love,
You gotta take the cup…”
After much trying discernment I did joyfully and willingly take the cup. I renew that vow every Sunday when I finish the cup. I love my people, our ministry and my life. But I know a little of what Jesus did in the desert. And so do you. May God guide you and love you in your desert times.

Love and Blessing,
Pastor Judy Lee
Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Commjunity
Fort Myers, Florida

Happy International Women's Day from the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests: Gospel Equality is our Passion!

Photo taken by Guilia Bianchi at June Ordination in Falls Church, 2013
www.arcwp.org


Friday, March 7, 2014

"We Will Sing and Not Be Silent" a Conference on Women, Faith Traditions and Leadership by Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP

Advocate for women priests Roy Bourgeois, with Victoria Rue. and RCWP, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP who co-presided at an inclusive , women priests-led liturgy at Conference. 
Left to right: Victoria Rue,  RCWP, Maysa Kergaye, Coordinator of the Islamic Speakers Bureau;Christine Gringeri, University of Utah,  Janice Sevre-Duszaynska, ARCWP,Margaret Toscano, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Languages and Literature at UU, who moderated the panel discussion.

We Will Sing and Not Be Silent” was the title of the event on Women, Faith Traditions, and Leadership” held on Saturday, March 1, 2014 in Salt Lake City Utah.  The symposium was sponsored by the University of Utah College of Social Work under the auspices of Christina Gringeri who has interviewed Roman Catholic Women Priests as part of a research project on our movement. The College of Humanities and the following departmental programs and others also provided funding for the event: International Studies, Religious Studies, and Languages and Literature.
RCWP priest and longtime friend, Victoria Rue of Oakland, and I began the day leading a morning liturgy at Jane’s House, an elegant mansion in SLC. People of all faiths gathered with us to celebrate the first Eucharist in Salt Lake City led by Roman Catholic Women Priests. 

Along with us were feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether and Roy Bourgeois who were housed with Victoria and me in Jane’s house as they were also invited to speak.

That afternoon we gathered at the Main Library Auditorium, which was part of an eclectic glass structure filled with activities, shops and stores. The event, which was free and open to the public, was well attended.
Keynote speaker, Rosemary Radford Ruether, began with her presentation entitled “Women’s History: the Struggle Against Exclusion.” Margaret Toscano, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Languages and Literature at UU moderated the multi-faith panel discussion focused on “Gender Equality and Faith Traditions: Issues of Justice.” Panelists were Chelsea Shields Strayer, Ph.D. Candidate, Boston University who is a leader in the Mormon Ordain Women movement; Maeera Shreiber, Ph.D., Associate Professor of English and Chair of UU Jewish Studies Initiative; Maysa Kergaye, Coordinator of the Islamic Speakers Bureau;
and Victoria Rue, M.Div., Ph.D., Roman Catholic Womenpriests. A screening of “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican” followed. Fr. Roy Bourgeois and I answered questions from participants.
Our sharing of women’s struggle for justice in our faith traditions offered insight and inspiration for all gathered, young and old.
Because of the storms my flight was delayed until Tuesday morning.
On Sunday I was invited to visit the Mormon Temple with Tara Romney Barber, Christina’s research assistant, and walk thru Canyon Creek with Christina. On Monday we drove through the mountains and visited the Cathedral of the Madeleine, the only cathedral in the U.S. dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene.



What an exquisite structure! Neo-Romanesque on the outside, it reminded me of churches I’ve visited in the U.S. and Europe. The inside was glorious especially the background painting behind the altar and the mural of Mary Magdalene at the tomb.
Mary Magdala, apostle to the apostles, chosen by the Risen Christ to proclaim the Resurrection, the central teaching of Christianity

The Stations of the Cross are extraordinary and not to be missed. They were painted in 1992- 3 by Sam Wilson, who was inspired by European painters, especially the Italian.


 Besides evoking the passion of the cross, each station presents animal, plant and religious symbols that provoke thought and make the experience even richer.  For me the cathedral evoked native -American colors like one finds in maize, the multicolored corn used for Autumn decorations, full of the Earth’s glory and delight.
My photos are in article but check out the following link compiled by the painter himself.



Human Rights Activist Medea Benjamin Brutally Attacked in Egypt/All are called to be Ambassadors of Peace and Justice/

http://www.codepink4peace.org/article.php?id=6653
- See more at: 
http://www.codepink4peace.org/article.php?id=6653#sthash.9d54Q7SV.dpuf
Bridget Mary's Response:
I called both numbers and neither responded. Let's contact our State Department and ask them to advance cause of human rights in Egypt for all. http://www.state.gov/ 
It is a tragedy that Medea Benjamin suffered such a brutal attack and that thousands of women endure this kind of treatment in our world today. Let us remember that God is always on the side of justice and peace, mutual respect and compassion, and do all we can to be ambassadors for Divine love in our world.
We can pray, express solidarity and let our government know that we support peace and justice, and the human rights of all people. We are all members of the family of God and deserve to be treated with respect. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rethinking Eucharist: and Communion: Placing Emphasis on the Presence of Christ in Community

"For the organization called church, this 'take and eat in my memory', in solidarity with those who suffer and those who seek peace and justice, has not been the same since the Roman Empire took possession of its rituals, its dogmas, its leadership and its memory." Phil Little

"In the early Christian community, the primary focus was the presence of Christ in the community not in the bread and wine alone.  "In early Christianity, emphasis was not placed on Christ's presence in the sacred elements but on the purpose of the transforming presence of Christ building up the community." Schillebeeckx 2005) In the Middle Ages the focus moved away from Christ's presence in the community to perceiving Christ's presence in the consecrated elements." Schillebeeckx also pointed out that the Church has disconnected the right to celebrate the Eucharist from the community of Christians by connecting it  to a magical power of a Bishop to ordain. "(Schillebeecks, 1981, in "Discussions in the New Cosmology: Christmas" by Richard Scaine in CORPUS Reports, p. 17.)

Today in our inclusive Catholic communities, our Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement are reclaiming the role of the community as the primary celebrant of Eucharist. At Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida,  we have ordained and non-ordained co-presiders and the entire community prays the Eucharistic Prayer as well as shares in a dialogue homily. So the Body of Christ is around the table and on the table and we have come full circle back to early church's emphasis of the Christ presence liberating, healing and empowering the community as we offer the gifts of our lives and service as sisters and brothers gathered around the Banquet Table of Boundless Love where all are fed and nourished at the family meal of Christ's extravagant love. www.marymotherofjesus.org
Liturgy on Sat. 4 PM at St. Andrew UCC at 6908 Beneva Rd. Sarasota, Florida. 
left to rightTeresa MacEachern and Bridget Mary Meehan co-preside at community celebration of Eucharist at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida


Hugs and Ashes on Ash Wednesday with the Good Shepherd Community and its Women Priests

http://judyabl.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/hugs-and-ashes-ash-wednesday-with-the-good-shepherd-community-and-its-women-priests/
Our community had two worship services today, actually one service and one Mass. The Mass was after the first service and attended by twenty-one people including families and the ashes were given after the homily followed by the Eucharist where Pastor Judy Beaumont presided and all consecrated and prayed the liturgy together.  After my part of the homily the people add their own insights. The raw sharing of what needed to be changed in lives followed. Anger at family members, hurt, resentment, selfishness and having no time for God or others needed to be changed during this Lenten season. One elder praised the young people who were there for coming and told them to hold their heads up high at school with the joy that they followed Christ.  I was deeply moved and blessed everyone there for their faithfulness in starting this Lenten journey together as a community and in the quality of care that is so evident among them. All present received ashes and participated in sharing and being the body of Christ.
The first service was attended by eighteen people most of whom were formerly homeless.  I will share the sermon that emerged from this gathering of God’s people.
The first thing we give on this day is hugs-hugs in response to their generous hugs and hugs requested by them. By the time the service begins all are feeling loved and welcomed. This, our usual Tuesday group, is a faithful and enthusiastic group that enjoy the informality and freedom of participating in the discussion of the day’s scriptures, in prayer and in sharing their own stories. They look forward to the hot lunch but often let it get cold as they become involved in discussion and prayer. They remain long afterward to enjoy the company of one another in their church living room.  Usually a few “new” people also attend. Today we had two new men join our circle. In between the two services I saw people in counselling and referrals and Pastor Judy B. saw them for concrete needs.  The mood is joyful and the talking and singing can be loud as feelings are expressed in tone and tempo.  Even the solemnity of Ash Wednesday could not temper the joy at being together once again.
This group knows suffering-the suffering of sleeping in the street or woods, the suffering of being hungry, the suffering of physical and mental illnesses that go untreated, the suffering of rejection and shunning, of people not seeing or looking away, and the suffering of losing family and friends to violence, to illness, to neglect.  Mortality awareness is every day. There is no need to remember it as if it is far away. A few also struggle with life consuming addictions or mental illnesses.  Evil touches their lives on both personal and social levels as the poor here in mostly right wing Florida have very little given to alleviate poverty and suffering. So when I explain the themes of Ash Wednesday and why we keep this ritual of the church for those that may not know there is immediate understanding.  The ashes are a sign of our turning around, of sorrow for those things that absorb us and keep us from right relationship with God and one another.  The ashes are also a sign that we were made from dust and will return to dust. I add that the dust could be stardust or earth dust but we are created by our loving God in God’s own way and we return to God when our days are done. A few laugh heartily at the idea of stardust, seeing it inferior to good old mother earth dust and clay, seeing it as a truly far away metaphor, not needing any scientific explanation to satisfy their longing for a God who loves them and accepts them as they are.  The God who is Love is very near to them-no metaphors are needed, euphemistic, ethereal or otherwise.  Lauretta said “I didn’t think I needed God until God was all I had. When no one else loved me, I knew God still loved me.”  She and Roger and Nate and Gary add that our ministry brought this love to them and now they make it their business to bring it to others.  I said that as I look around the room I see a room full of people caring for one another and that is what God asks of us as we follow Jesus to the events of Holy Week and Easter, as we live the Gospel, the Good News, with Jesus.
Phyllis, Dwayne and Mary laughed when we made the distinction between “giving up something” and giving our whole hearts to God reflecting on Joel 12: 12-18.  “No, God don’t want your bubble gum, or your cake, God wants your HEART! God ain’t no fool, and you can’t fool God!”  Phyllis emphasized that everybody was to be brought to God, even the babies and that’s something-the whole community needs to realize who God is and how we turn away from God to satisfy our selves alone. John repeated that it is God’s love that we turn away from and yet God welcomes us back. After the Epistle reading (2 Cor 5:20-6:2) there was a veritable chorus of “NOW is the acceptable time” to be reconciled to God.
Then we sang “Holy Ground” touching our hearts and pointing first to ourselves and then to our neighbors as holy ground before the reading of the Gospel. After the reading of the Gospel we discussed acts of charity and fasting and praying. Dwayne summed up: everything we do needs to be done for love. “Fasting” just means don’t pig out, don’t live to eat or drink or do anything, live to love God and each other. People discussed where they pray and how they pray.  Our volunteer cook of the day, Gini, prays as she walks and hears the birds and breathes God’s good air with the sun on her back. Lauretta prays by listening because otherwise she talks too much. Gary prays in his room where he is not distracted by anything.  Nate prays as he rides his bike. Phyllis then made the Gospel reading ((Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18) come alive. She began to smile and then laugh. She said that she just “got it” Jesus was really making jokes about the hypocrites who blew their horns to herald their own righteous actions.  She put those verses in her own words as Jesus might have said them with acting out the horn blowing, standing on the street corner, and making long faces and we were all laughing.
We then said Jesus’ prayer together holding hands and I blessed the ashes. I explained that there were two things that I could say as I made the sign of the cross on their heads with the ashes: the “dust to dust” saying or “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel”. The group was of one accord that the second one was the meaning they appreciated. Phyllis said, “ They say the other when they put you in the ground -when it is a funeral”. All agreed. I said I agreed and said that I intended to say the second-we are being invited to live, not to die.  We need to reconcile with God who loves us completely and wants life for us. We need to help each other to walk the walk.  All agreed and each one smiled as they received the ashes that reminded them of God’s love and desire for us to live fully now and forever.
How wise the people are, how easily they cut through to the essence of God’s love. I hope that you enjoy their sermon(s) as much as I did. And I hope that you will use this Lenten season to reflect on the ways you connect, disconnect and reconnect to our loving God and service to God’s people.
IMG_0129

Pastor Judy Lee
Pastor Judy Beaumont ,
Your Roman Catholic Women Priests and The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Will Pope Francis Finish Martin Luther's Reformation?

http://christiancatholicism.com/will-pope-francis-finish-martin-luthers-reformation/

Homily for Holy Spirit Catholic Community/First Sunday of Lent, by Rev. Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Temptations--we have all faced them, at every step of our lives. Turn
stones into bread? Sure: any time we have tried to use our power or
authority to take the easy way out instead of investing our time and
energy to do it the right way.

I knew a very rich man--a multi-millionaire--who gave lots of money to
charity--the easy way for him, and always with his name attached for
everyone to see how generous he was. Then he funded a student mission
trip to Haiti and decided to go along, and he discovered the
not-so-easy way--not just to give of his resources but to give of
himself. He ate with the poor, slept in the homes of the poor,
carried water for the poor, rebuilt the devastated homes of the poor.

Then there's the temptation to think that believing in God means
nothing bad will ever happen to us. That's true, of course--God lifts
us up and carries us, guards us and shields us--we are in God and God
is in us. But God does not suspend gravity when we stumble down the
side of a mountain, or hold back semi-trucks heading toward us on the
freeway. God does not start the rain when we pray for it--note
California--nor does God stop the snow when we pray for that--it's still
cold in Ohio.

I ran into a woman last week when I was buying ashes for Ash
Wednesday. We hadn't seen each other for a year, and she started out
telling me she still knows her name and still drives her car, but she
has the beginning of dementia and doesn't know how long she'll be able
to be on her own. She's looking at care facilities and making plans
to move before it gets beyond her to make those decisions. She's
putting her affairs in order while she can still think and remember
clearly. And all the while she was telling me this, she was smiling.
She's a woman of deep faith, and she trusts that God will be with her
and in her as she walks this path that she would not have chosen. She
sees it as the next way she'll be in God.

And then there's the temptation to worship that which is not
God--money, power, stuff. Matthew's Gospel shows Jesus tempted by
power--not a surprising temptation for a Jewish man living under
oppressive Roman rule. He recognizes the temptation for what it is
and rejects it. Isn't it always that way? We're not tempted by
things we don't care about; they have no value for us. But we are
attracted to things we care about, and we're tempted to take any
action--whether good or evil--to get them. So we fudge our resumé so
we can land a higher-paying job. We camouflage defects in our house
so we can sell it for more than it's worth. We sell our souls to the
devil.

This first Sunday of Lent gives us an opportunity to stand back and
take a look at ourselves. What do we serve? It's easy to tell by
looking at how we spend our time, but it's not something that can be
determined by watching how someone else spends time. Only in the
depths of one's spirit can it be told what a person is really doing.

That man puttering around in his garden--is he wasting time or giving
prayerful attention in gratitude to God for the land and its
fruitfulness? Or that man in smiling conversation with his former
employer--is he sharing good memories or fishing for information that
will allow him to take revenge for past hurts? Or that woman driving
that gas-guzzling SUV around town--is she wandering around to see what
she can see, or is she heading to Assumption Outreach Center to donate
a load of food and clothes?

This week, let's keep an eye on what we're really doing as we go about
our daily routine to see if we can spot our own temptations for what
they are. That way, we can learn more about ourselves and our
motivations and how we can turn them into actions that bring about the
reign of God, here and now.

--
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Mass at 2086 Brookdale (Interfaith Chapel):
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 9 a.m.
Mass at 3535 Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
www.holyspirittoledo.org

Rev. Bev Bingle, Pastor
419-727-1774
__._,_.___

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cardinal Kasper and Irish President Press Pope on Women's Roles/ A First Step but Women Priests are a Justice Issue

http://christiancatholicism.com/cardinal-kasper-irish-president-press-pope-on-womens-roles/
(From Christian Catholicism Blog by Jerry's Slevin' a retired Catholic and Harvard "schooled" international lawyer 
http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/inquiries-and-interviews/detail/articolo/curia-curia-curia-donne-women-mujeres-32413/
"Women’s role in the Church should be rethought and integrated into the Pope’s ideas for greater synodal dynamism and a missionary conversion”: women should be offered leadership roles within the pontifical councils and in the future Congregation for the Laity given how many bishops the Curia has. Temporary mandates should be introduced in the Curia to prevent careerism, calling priests who already have some pastoral experience. This was the crux of what Cardinal Walter Kasper said in a long interview with Stefania Falasca published in today’s issue of Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire.

“Up until now, women have generally only attended the synod as auditors, holding roles of little significance,” Kasper said.  “There are always two or three female auditors who speak at the end of the meetings when everyone has already spoken. I ask myself how it is possible to prepare two synods on the family without giving a role of primary importance to women? A family cannot exist without women. It makes no sense to speak about the family without listening to what they have to say. I think they need to be called and listen as of right now, as we enter the preparatory phase.”

The German cardinal who gave the opening speech at the recent Consistory on the family went on to say the following: “I think that women need to be present at every level and even given positions of full responsibility. The intuition which the female mind has to offer is a vital resource. A Church without women is a mutilated Church. There are so many of them actively involved in Church bodies. Can we imagine community, charity and cultural centres today with no women? Without them, parishes would close down tomorrow. Women are already ahead and out there in a Church like Francis’ that is “going out”.

 In his interview with Avvenire, Kasper recalled Francis’ words about the authority of  consecrated ministers is not to dominate but to serve the people of God and comes from the power of administering the sacrament of the Eucharist. Therefore, seeing the exercise of authority within the ordained ministry in terms of power is tantamount to clericalism. The reluctance of many presbyters – priests and bishops – to hand over positions of responsibility that do not require a person to be ordained, to lay people, is evidence of this. “In the Evangelii Gaudium, the Pope asks whether it is necessary for a priest to always be the leader. This actually leads to clerical immobility which sometimes shows a fear to give room to women and give them the voice they are entitled to in areas that require important decisions to be taken.”

The cardinal then dealt with the key issue of giving women a stronger presence in decision-making environments bearing in mind that “some roles in the Church require the exercise of jurisdictional power attached to the ordained ministry.” But not all government or administrative roles in the Church “imply jurisdictional power. Said roles could be entrusted to lay people and therefore to women as well. If this does not happen, there is no way to justify the exclusion of women from decision-making processes in the Church...”

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/give-women-more-influence-in-church-mcaleese-1.1708923
Mary McAleese:
"Meanwhile, rank-and-file Catholics must also be involved: “The absence of laity and in particular women from ecclesial decision-making and high- level spheres of influence is a line that cannot hold; in fact it is a line that is rapidly leaching trust and credibility.”
Pope Francis has “openly acknowledged” the problem that exists, but he has not yet put forward “any practical solutions”, said Mrs McAleese, who was a professor of law at Trinity College and who has been studying canon law in Dublin and Rome...."

Bridget Mary's Response:
In response to Cardinal Kasper:..."some roles in the Church require the exercise of jurisdictional power attached to the ordained ministry.”  If Pope Francis wants to reform clericalism, then he should change the canon law that reserves jurisdiction to ordained ministers. Open up all decision-making positions to  women and men, ordained and non-ordained. Cardinal Kasper is right on that women are out there serving the people of God in vibrant ministries in the local churches. Roman Catholic Women Priests are out there serving inclusive communities. Cardinal Kasper's recommendation is a small step in the right direction that Pope Francis can implement right now but, I'd like to see women in the top jobs leading the Vatican Curia including the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith! Now that would shake up the Old Boys' Club and open a path toward renewal in church governance.  Yes, Mary McAleese is correct, Pope Francis' credibility is on the line. I pray that Pope Francis will affirm gender equality in the church as the will of God in our times.   Bridget Mary Meehan,


"We Will Sing and Not be Silent: Women, Faith Traditions, and Leadership.”

Speakers:
Rosemary Ruether, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Roy Bourgeois and Victoria Rue
Here is the Salt Lake City Tribune’s article:

"Some Catholic Leaders Need to Follow Pope Francis' Lead"/National Catholic Reporter

http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/some-catholic-leaders-need-follow-pope-francis-lead

"Pope Francis is winning hearts and minds around the world for his emphasis on mercy, personal simplicity and vision for a church that is “bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets.” He rejects culture-war Christianity and aloof moralizing from the safety of the sanctuary. He warns that a fixation on “small-minded rules” can stand in the way of ministering to those on the margins. A look at at a few recent headlines shows that some Catholic leaders never got the memo from Pope Francis or tossed it in the trash.
A patient who suffered a heart attack at a Washington hospital recently told the Washington Post that a Catholic chaplain denied him last rites because he was gay. 
Earlier this year, a Catholic middle school in Montana fired an unmarried teacher after she became pregnant. The superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese defended the decision with a cold legalism that would have made those letter-of-the-law Pharisees Jesus called to task proud. 
Nothing sends a better “pro-life" message than kicking a vulnerable pregnant woman into unemployment, right? The Catholic superintendent must have missed that part in Pope Francis’s groundbreaking interview with a Jesuit journal where he said:

"If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing…Those who today always look for disciplinarian solutions, those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal ‘security,’ those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists­ —they have a static and inward-directed view of things. In this way, faith becomes an ideology among other ideologies..."