Thursday, May 15, 2014

What Hath Dog Wrought?Women Priests Crashing Pope Francis' Party/ Great article on Bishop Patricia Fresen's Lecture

http://www.independent.com/news/2014/may/15/what-hath-dog-wrought

Roman Catholic Women Priests and 16 other Organizations Join a Coalition Calling for Papal Apology to U.S.Sisters

http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/coalition-calls-papal-apology-us-sisters
www.arcwp.org

Barbara Marx Hubbard Responds to Vatican - Cardinal Mueller's Criticism of LCWR/Nuns on "Conscious Evolution" / Fasten your Seatbelts, we are taking off!

http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/marx-hubbard-response-cardinal-m-ller


..."Now, meeting with so many women religious through LCWR, I see conscious evolution in action. They have been evolving the church and the world for hundreds of years through deep gospel living, a mystical presencing, faithfulness in serving unmet needs, solidarity with Earth, building community as "whole-makers," risk-taking for the sake of the mission, genius for cooperative self-governance and decision making, and above all bringing love and hope for the future into the lives of millions. For me, the most vital source of meaning of conscious evolution is the Catholic understanding of God and Christ as the source of evolution, as its driving force as well as its direction. As Ilia Delio puts it, we experience in evolution the Emergent Christ and God Ahead... In this view, evolution itself becomes a spiritually motivated labor of love toward a Christ-inspired world, leading toward life ever-evolving beyond this current stage of Homo sapiens sapiens...The key question in our time is, I believe, conscious evolution -- that is, how to evolve consciously as a new whole planetary system. What is required now is many convenings of disciplines, faiths, and understandings to gain for the very first time, a sense of shared human responsibility for the destiny of Earth Life. Our new crises and opportunities require all of us to ask ourselves these questions: What is my unique contribution to the conscious evolution of humanity? What is my greater life purpose? What can I do, small or large to contribute toward a positive future for all? What are the purposes of the heart of Christ?"
[Barbara Marx Hubbard is president of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution.]
Bridget Mary's Response:
Once again the Vatican is the gift that keeps on giving.  I never heard the term "conscious evolution" before this latest dustup with Cardinal Mueller and his condemnation of it in the recent  dialogue with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Now I have a new list of books to read  and I suspect many others will be reading all about conscious evolution too. This is truly a blessing. Thank you, Cardinal Mueller. Who said that the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,  the CDF (also known as the modern day Inquisition  and scourge of contemporary theologians and women priests supporters,)cannot move the church forward ? 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Final Reminder: Deadline for Discover Mystical Ireland Journey with Bridget Mary Meehan is May 21st,2014

http://bridgetmarys.blogspot.com/2014/03/discover-mystical-ireland-with-bridget.html
Contact Anna Conway at annaconway@cruiseplanners.com
941-870-0691



Listen to Lecture by Bishop Patricia Fresen, "Missing: women in priestly service in the Catholic Church. Will the next ten years bring about change?"

http://beatitudes-sb.org/

Roman Catholic Women Priests Say they Are Defying the Church to Answer a Call from God

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2014/05/13/group-called-roman-catholic-women-priests-say-they-are-defying-the-church-to-answer-a-call-from-god/

..."It’s a sexist law created by some humans and the call of God trumps that,” Jennifer O’Malley said. O’Malley, a self-proclaimed Catholic priest, holds prayer in a tiny Episcopalian Chapel in Long Beach. “It’s important that everyone participates in the liturgy and everyone has a role,” she said about her small gatherings where everyone sits in a circle...According to Gary Macy, a renowned author on the subject, women were ordained up until the 12th century, but only as leaders in the community.“What you got was a job within the community, and any job you got went through an ordination ceremony,” she said.The definition of ordination changed in the 13th century when the Church made it official barring women from receiving the holy sacrament, according to Macy..."

"How Jackie Bouvier almost married an Irish lawyer" By John Cooney, in Dublin, Ireland


"Jacqueline Bouvier, whose cultural upbringing was French, fell in love with Ireland years before she met and fell in love with John F. Kennedy, the rising star of America's most famous Irish-American family, according to further revelations in the archive of the late Fr Joseph Leonard, a Vincentian priest based in Ireland.

The 21 year old wealthy American student first came to Dublin in August 1950 from Paris where she had completed studies at the prestigious Sorbonne University. She was accompanied by her step-brother Hugh "Yusha" Auchinloss, and they contacted Fr Leonard, a family friend, at All Hallows College in Drumcondra, north Dublin.

Aged 73 and living in semi-retirement, Fr Leonard, who was a widely travelled former World War One chaplain and bon viveur, struck up an immediate and unlikely friendship with the vivacious but self-conscious American woman who confided that she was looking for a husband.

Virtually acting as her chaperone, Fr Leonard brought Jackie to the Dublin Horse Show, the Abbey Theatre and Jammet's Restaurant which was the best place for gourmets to dine, so renowned was it for its French haute cuisine and Dublin Bay oysters. Jackie also shopped for world famous Waterford Glass.

Through the U.S. embassy, she met the then Prime Minister, John A. Costello, who was also a close friend of Fr Leonard.
"Miss Bouvier who was full of youthful vivacity and charm, delighted with everything she found din Ireland. and expressed the hope of coming frequently again," Costello recorded.

In late August Jackie travelled to Scotland, from where she sent her first letter to Fr Leonard confessing that she was already "miserable at leaving Ireland" and was "homesick for it"

It would appear that Jackie had developed a strong crush for Declan Costello, the prime minister's 24 year old son. Fr Leonard had suggested that Declan, who later became Attorney General in a Government headed by Liam Cosgrave from 1973-1977, would make a "suitable" husband.

Declan "sounds like absolute heaven", Jackie chirped to Fr Leonard.

Cupid, however, was to steer Jackie into the arms of Bostonian John FitzGerald Kennedy, whom she married on September 12, 1953 in St. Mary's Church, Newport, Rhode Island, at a Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Boston, (later Cardinal) Richard Cushing.
      
For their wedding anniversary, Jackie and Jack, visited Ireland in 1955, staying in "a great suite of luxurious pink rooms" in the Shelbourne Hotel.

Prime Minister Costello was abroad but delegated his son Declan to host a dinner for the American visitors.

By now, Declan was happily married to Joan Fitzsimons.

However, Jackie noted a sexual chemistry that attracted her lustful husband to Joan - and herself to the cultured Declan.

"That night we dined at Jammet's and our happy marriage was nearly rent asunder because Jack was enchanted by Joan and I was enchanted with you - but somehow we patched it all up at the movies."   

At Fr Leonard's request, Senator and Mrs Kennedy visited All Hallows where Jack addressed the students of the Irish missionary order.

Writing to Fr Leonard after their return to America, Jackie wrote: "You will never know how much our visit meant to both of us - of all the places we've ever been together that was - always will be - the best.
"And why? All because of one person whom there is no one else like on this earth - you."

Jackie went on to says that the Irish visit was "a fairytale visit that was too perfect to be real  - to walk back across the green (St Stephen's Green)with you, and to throw coins into the fountain so that we would be sure to return to Dublin."

As Michael Parsons wrote in The Irish Times, "They never did together.""

JOHN COONEY, a former Religious Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times and the Irish Independent, is the author of John Charles McQuaid, Ruler of Catholic Ireland, published by O'Brien Press, Dublin, and Syracuse University, New York.   

Florida Couple Fined $746 for Crime of Feeding Homeless People By Scott Keyes

"After feeding the hungry in a Daytona Beach park every weekend for more than a year, it’s just as easy to imagine Chico and Debbie Jimenez given a ticker-tape parade as what they actually got: a slew of citations and a permanent ban from the park.
Chico and Debbie Jimenez, a husband and wife team, aren’t handing out food in the Florida heat every Wednesday because of a court order or for a paycheck. They do it because they believe helping the poor is their religious duty. The pair run a Christian outreach group, Spreading the Word Without Saying a Word Ministry, that gives food to the needy every week, pointing to Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me...”

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Time to face facts: Pope Francis agrees with the doctrinal assessment of LCWR by Jamie Manson | May. 13, 2014

"Pope Francis and the women of LCWR share a deeply sacramental understanding of their calling to serve those on the margins of our world. They agree that it is in ministering to the poor, the sick, and the vulnerable that they touch the wounded body of Christ."
..."Where they seem to disagree sharply, however, is in their understanding of religious life as a prophetic life form. When women religious touch the wounded body of Christ in their work, it breaks open their hearts in a way that compels them to ask deeper theological questions. It gives them the eyes to read the signs of the times and recognize the prophets in their midst. It gives them the courage ask bold new spiritual questions.Like most popes before him, Francis sees the church as a prophetic voice to the outside world but is far less enthusiastic about the prophetic voices that cry out for justice inside the church. As he told the International Union of Superiors General last May, women religious should put themselves "in an attitude of adoration and service" and find their "filial expression in fidelity to the magisterium." It is an "absurd dichotomy," he said, to think "of following Jesus outside of the church, of loving Jesus without loving the church."Pope Francis believes women religious should continue to do the work of the church while remaining obedient to the voice of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. Women religious, on the other hand, believe their work and their faith demand that they remain radically obedient first and foremost to the voice of God.
What may appear to be a conflict over feminism, culture wars and conscious evolution is, ultimately, a cosmic struggle over whose voice the sisters choose to follow."

"The Hidden Religious Angst of Jackie Kennedy" by John Cooney, Dublin, Ireland


Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy became "bitter" towards God after the combined trauma of the death of her two day-old son Patrick and the assassination in Dallas of her husband President John F. Kennedy, both in 1963, she revealed to an Irish priest in correspondence which is to go for sale by auction in Dublin next month.

The first Lady's letters to Vincentian priest, Fr Joseph Leonard were discovered only weeks ago in the archive of the Irish missionary order whose All Hallows College is situated at Drumcondra on Dublin's northside.

In a four page special supplement in its May 13th edition The Irish Times newspaper hailed as a world scope the previously unknown correspondence which it received from Sheppard's Irish Auction House in Durrow, Co Laois. It is expected to be sold on June 10 for about 1 million euro.

Describing the letters as "extraordinary" and as having "the quality of a personal diary", the newspaper's deputy editor, Denis Staunton, wrote that "they may help to rescue Jacqueline Kennedy's memory from the myth that surrounds it as they reveal in her own words how she experienced some of the most important events of her life."

The letters span 14 years from 1950 when she first met Fr Leonard in Dublin to 1964, thirty years before her death in 1994.

"They are, in effect, her autobiography for the year 1950-64," said Philip Sheppard.

Jacqueline's crisis of faith and her struggle to make her peace with a cruel deity and stave off personal despair are highlighted in two letters from 1964.

In early 1964 she confided to Fr Leonard: "I am so bitter against God."

And in a follow-up letter, her last to the Irish cleric who died that same year she confided: "I feel more cruelly every day what I have lost - I always would have rather lost my life than lost Jack."

Jackie's disillusionment with God and the mystery of human suffering are in marked contrast to her stoic response to the birth in 1956 of a stillborn daughter whom she baptised Arabella when JFK was philandering with a less than bright blonde on a rich friend's yacht in the Mediterranean.

"Don't think I would ever be bitter to God," she told Fr. Leonard, observing that she could "see so many good things that come out of this - how sadness shared brings married people closer together."

A feature of the correspondence is the pre-tragedy piety of the wealthy Washington socialite and the elderly Irish priest living in a monastery 3,000 miles away in Dublin.

Much of the correspondence relates to the exchange of pious books on the lives of saints.

But there are also revealing admission of her loneliness and her hurt at the infidelities of her hyper-sexed husband. 

"It's so good in a way to write all this down and get it off your chest - because I never do really talk about it with anyone - but poor you has to read it."

* JOHN COONEY is a former Religious Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times and the Irish Independent. He is the biographer of John Charles McQuaid, Ruler of Catholic Ireland, published by O'Brien Press Dublin and Syracuse University New York.      
      

Monday, May 12, 2014

Roman Catholic Women Priests Start New Inclusive Catholic Community in Toronto, Canada

https://www.facebook.com/RCWPToronto
Welcome to RCWP Toronto page. Our inaugural Mass will be held on Sunday, June 1, 2014, at 2pm, at Emmanuel-Howard Park United Church in West Toronto.  We are an open and inclusive church, where all are welcome.

Bishop Patricia Fresen to Speak About Women in the Church-The Next Ten Years

http://www.noozhawk.com/noozhawk/print/bishop_patricia_fresen_to_speak_women_in_the_church_20140512
..."Fresen is an ordained priest and bishop in the international movement known as Roman Catholic Womenpriests. She will give a short history of the RCWP community, the controversy surrounding the beginnings of the movement, and how the women priests’ movement has continued to grow from seven women in 2002 to 180 women worldwide today. She will discuss the issues of equality, the stance of Pope Francis and alienation due to scandals...."

"Honey I Shrunk the Church, the Vatican Manages Sexual Abuse, Canonization and the Nuns" by Dr. Mary Hunt

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/sexandgender/7860/honey__i_shrunk_the_church__the_vatican_manages_sexual_abuse__canonization_and_the_nuns/
Bridget Mary's Response: Once again, Mary Hunt speaks truth to power in her brilliant analysis.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests to Ordain Six Women in Cleveland on May 24th – 20 years after John Paul II’s “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” Banning Women's Ordination


On May 22, 1994, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter, “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” (“Priestly Ordination”) which reserved priesthood in the Catholic Church to men only.
"This teaching that 'women are not fully in the likeness of Jesus' -- qualifying, as it does, as a theological explanation -- is utterly and demonstrably heretical,” said Augustinian theologian John Shea in  his 2nd letter to U.S. bishops.
In his recent book, A Call to Action:  Women, Religion, Violence and Power, President Jimmy Carter, who supports women’s ordination and women’s equality in all religions, finds it “ironic” that women are welcomed into many professions “but are deprived of the right to serve Jesus Christ in positions of leadership” as they did in the early Christian churches.
Despite 20 years of blatant discrimination of women and denial of women’s basic human rights as spiritual equals before God, women priests are serving in priestly ministry. With almost 200 Roman Catholic Women Priests, a renewed priestly ministry is flowering in 10 countries. Catholic worldwide are ready for a new model of church led by women and men.

Release date:  May 12, 2014
Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska, D.Min. (media) 859-684-4247, rhythmsofthedance@gmail.com
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, 703-505-0004, sofiabmm@aol.com

On Saturday, May 24, 2014, at 1p.m. four women will be ordained priests and two women will be ordained deacons in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. The presiding bishop will be Bridget Mary Meehan of Sarasota, FL. The ceremony will take place at Brecksville United Church of Christ, 23 Public Square, Brecksville, OH 44141. All are welcome. The balcony will be reserved as a photo-free zone. A reception will follow the ceremony in the church hall.
Media are invited to schedule interviews during the time leading up to the ordination and at 11 a.m. on May 24th at the church. Respectful filming/photo-taking during the ceremony is acceptable.
The ordinands are theologically prepared and have many years of experience in ministry.
To Be Ordained Priests:   
Mary Bergan Blanchard of Albuquerque, NM marybblanchard@hotmail.com 505-857-9288, is a widow, mother, grandmother, teacher, writer and licensed counselor. Twenty of the 37 years she spent teaching were with the marginalized and the Early Childhood disadvantaged. After retiring in New Mexico, she served as a Mental Health Counselor in a Roman Catholic Church for 20 years.
“Until the Church recognizes that women are equal to men by allowing them to participate in the sacramental life of the Church, all women will remain second class citizens, subjects in a patriarchal society…a dark world indeed. Jesus has called us to be the Light of the World. I am becoming a priest because I believe it’s time to flick the switch.”
Mary Collingwood of Boston Heights, OH mecreg6@yahoo.com 216-408-4657, is a wife, mother and grandmother who, with her advanced degree in theology, has served for 40 years in church ministry and taught theology on the high school and college levels. In the parish she was Director of Religious Education, Coordinator for Marriage Preparation and Pastoral Minister. On the diocesan level she was an administrator and served on various boards and councils, an activist for church reform.
“Women are being called by the Holy Spirit to image the Divine Feminine through ordained priestly ministry thereby restoring the wholeness of God’s presence in our Church. Personally, this entails ordination and embracing circle leadership as an egalitarian model of decision-making within Roman Catholic communities. It is truly right and just for me to live this Spirit-led change in solidarity with the People of God by serving communities of faith while supporting my sisters in ordained ministry.”
Irene C. Scaramazza of Columbus, OH revdrirene@yahoo.com 614-357-0626, has advanced degrees in theology, pastoral counseling and family therapy. She is currently working as a hospice chaplain having completed her Provisional Board Chaplaincy Certification.
“I am being ordained a priest because God continues to call me to deeper union with Godself. That union is lived out in service to others. For me, ministry has always involved an immersing of myself in the life of the people I have been sent to serve and together discovering our Living God.”
Marianne Therese Smyth of Silver Spring, MD mysmyth@comcast.net 240-444-0781, has worked nearly 35 years in Montgomery County Public Schools and 25 years as a para-educator with special needs students. She completed a theological certificate program and serves the Living Water Inclusive Community in Catonsville, MD and has a Masters of Education in counseling.
“I am becoming a priest because God asked. God’s inclusive love cannot be expressed or shared from a strictly male point of view. That was not the message of Jesus. My love is hospice ministry and I will be expanding into bereavement work and healing modalities such as Reiki.”
To Be Ordained Deacons: 
Barbara Billey of Windsor, Ontario, Canada bbilley@jet2.net 519-735-3943, has been married for 32 years and has extensive experience in a variety of professional and volunteer capacities from wellness educator and health care administrator to retreat facilitator and dancer. She is currently a counselor and art therapist. She is engaged in theological study and has a particular interest in women’s spirituality and a passion for integrating sacred arts in liturgy. 
Susan Marie Guzik of Eastlake, OH msguzik@aol.com 440-477-5962, is a widow, mother and grandmother. After her theological studies, she received certification as a Lay Ecclesial Minister in the Diocese of Cleveland. She has volunteered in the Diocese as a pastoral minister and has been an active pastoral leader in her parish. For the past 15 years she has been part of the leadership team in the Stephen Ministry program at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Willowick, OH and for the past seven years served as their Director/Advisor.

Interview with Marie Colllins, A Sexual Abuse Survivor Appointed to Vatican Commission

http://www.npr.org/2014/05/11/311412142/a-voice-for-abuse-survivors-within-the-catholic-church
"...I want to see change, I'm hopeful for change, and that's why 
I'm in the commission," she says.
Collins says she knows there are those that think this is simply 
public relations "window dressing" and that no survivor 
should be taking part. 
She says she understands that, but feels this is a unique 
opportunity for critics of the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.
"I still think it is very important for a survivor to take the 
opportunity to go in there and say all of those things from the inside."

Women, Religion, Violence and Power

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/2014/05/09/may-9-2014-women-religion-violence-power/23004/

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What Happened to Mother God?/ Happy Mother's Day!

http://www.catholica.com.au/gc3/jc4/157_jc_110514.php

"With Malice Toward Nuns" by Maureen Dowd/New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/11/opinion/sunday/dowd-with-malice-toward-nuns.html?_r=0
..."Vallely said that the pope was allowing the liberal German Cardinal Walter Kasper to make speeches on changing the rules to allow divorced Catholics to take Communion at the same time he’s allowing conservatives to oppose the same thing. He chose a liberal pope for sainthood to balance the conservative, pedophile-shielding pope.
“The thing he really hates is the way the papacy used to work like a medieval monarchy,” Vallely said. “He wants the church to reach decisions slowly, by conversations within the church. He wants to hear all the different voices. He’s letting a thousand flowers bloom.”
Or not. Women, gays and dissident Catholics who had fresh hope are going to have to face the reality that while this pope is a huge improvement on the last, the intolerance is still there.
We are still going to be discriminated against, but with a smile instead of a frown. Maybe a frown is more honest."
Bridget Mary's Response:
 Pope Francis should reign in the CDF, specifically the Cardinal Mueller whose his oppressive tactics reflect a modern day Inquisition! Mueller's attack on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is another example of patriarchy run amok in the institutional church. Catholics are fed up with sexism in our church. While Cardinal Kasper supports feminist theologians and the U.S. nuns group, Cardinal Mueller condemns both. Which way, dear Francis are you going here? We are getting mixed signals.  It is my prayer and hope that you clearly affirm the full equality of women in the church, take positive steps to appoint women in top leadership roles in the Vatican and open a path of dialogue with Roman Catholic Women Priests and our supporters.
A first step  of good will would be the removal of the extreme punishment of excommunication. Pedophiles have not been excommunicated, why are women serving God's people in a renewed priestly ministry? May we see a new face of Christ's inclusive love in your papacy, Pope Francis! Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

"SAINTS, SINNERS AND REFORMERS" BY JOHN COONEY

 Just as happens in movie films, canonisations produce a word picture of a new
 saint with a slogan worthy of Hollywood. In his homily on Sunday April 27 at
 the twin ceremony canonising Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, Pope Francis I
 described them, respectively, as 'the pope of exquisite openness¹ and 'the
 pope of the family.¹ The common bond shared by the rugged peasant-diplomat
 from Bergamo, Angelo Roncalli, and the ubiquitous Slav crowd-puller from
 Poland, Karol Wojtyla, was how as towering figures of the twentieth century
they addressed 'courageously¹ the issues  of the day which confronted their
 pontificates.
 This double-billing, however, could not conceal the political dimension that
 united them in acclaimed sanctity. ­John XXIII, the Pope who opened the
 windows of Tridentine Catholicism to change and reform, and John Paul II who
 with authoritarian firmness pursued a restoration policy which was continued
 by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, who as pope emeritus had a place of
 honour at the unique ceremony of the four popes.
 Recognised already as a super-star of the contemporary world, the first
 Argentine to occupy the petrine throne enhanced his phenomenal personal
 popularity since his election almost 14 months ago by signalling to the
world's 1.2 billion Catholics that the broad church which he envisions has an
 inclusive place for two such contrasting leaders. Their joint canonisation was
 a significant expression of synthesis representing how Francis sees in the
 different roles of both men a fundamental unity of purpose and shared values
 consistent with his own calls for a transparent church embracing simplicity,
 poverty and evangelical missionary fervour.
 'They were priests, bishops and popes of the 20th century,¹ Francis told the
 estimated 800,000 pilgrims mostly from Poland as well as the many more viewers
who watched the proceedings on television. 'They lived through the tragic
 events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God
 was more powerful; faith was more powerful.'
 Journalist Jim Yardley, In the International Herald Tribune, noted that the
 canonisation ceremony offered Francis  'a stage to underscore his world agenda
 of trying to bring together different Catholic factions as he prepares for two
major meetings in which prelates are expected to address some of the most
 contentious social issues facing the church.¹ This was a reference to next
 October's Extraordinary Synod on the family which aims to reach conclusions at
 a second assembly next year, and the Council of Eight Cardinals charged with
 reform of the Roman Curia. 1. John Cooney, Francis¹s Ecumenical Project ­
 collegial papal reform, Doctrine and Life, May-June, 2013.
 In the days leading up to the ceremony Vatican officials sought to supercede
 the political sub-text with a religious message, namely, that by canonising
 the pope of change and the pope of restoration together the liberal and
conservative constituencies within the church would work together more
 harmoniously in future.  This is a goal easier expounded than achieved, as I
 observed at the Friday April 24 midday press briefing in the Salla Stampa on
 the Via della Concilizione, where Fathers Federico Lombardi, Francis Rostica
 and Manuel Dorantes beamed like anchor men on a celebrity television show at
 which the guest speaker, Dr Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the former Vatican
 spokesman and member of Opus Dei, regaled journalists at length with fond,
 sometimes funny and insightful stories of what it was like working with JP2.
 It took almost an hour and a half of beatific memories before journalists were
 invited to ask questions. This brought the conference back to earth as several
 relevant ones were fired about the tardiness of Pope John Paul II in tackling
 the clerical paedophile scandals and his personal patronage and protection of
 the disgraced late Fr Marcial Maciel, the Mexican founder of the Legionaries
of Christ.  In unison the Vatican apologists insisted that Pope John Paul, by
 then struggling with the infirmities of age, authorised the inquiry which
 under Pope Benedict led to Maciel's being disgraced and confined to a
 monastery.  Navarro-Valls revealed how he raised the question of Maciel¹s
 standing with Pope Benedict on his first day as pope and of how the former
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who had led the investigation as Prefect of the
 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had decided to handle the matter
 head on. Just as it seemed that the earlier jollity might vanish in further
questioning about the untimeliness of canonising John Paul, a reliable Italian
 journalist prompted Navarro-Valls to recall at what moment did he realise he
> was working for a saint!
> While recognising the santo subito acclaim of the crowd when John Paul died in
 April 2005 ­ and of how Francis decided on his own authority as current pope to canonise John XXIII on the basis of one miracle only ­I found myself less
engaged in the canonisation process than I had been at the conclave of March
 2013 which elected Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. 2. Doctrine and
 Life, April 2013.
Our contemporary understanding of a saint is that of a person whose lifestyle
 is inspired by a lifetime of virtue, ethics, compassion, solidarity and
 community. In spite of the jubilant wandering  gruppo after gruppo of Poles
 who took over Rome¹s shrines, streets and trattoria, I felt strong
 reservations about Wojtyla¹s canonisation. A church historian told me of how
 as late as 2003 he attended a meeting of newly ordained priests at which John

 Paul specifically urged them to model their priesthood on Maciel.  An Anglican theologian who is 'an honorary Jesuit, Noel Coghlan, contends that JP2's confrontations with those whose views he
 found difficult to accept ­ such as Hans Kung, Edward Schillebeeckx and the
 Jesuits under Pedro Arrupe  - raises grave questions about his role as a model
 of a way of life.
 During my six day stay in Rome I re-read an interview which I did back in 1992
 with Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens, then 87, at his convent retirement home in
 the Brussels suburb of Stuyvenburgh ahead of the English language publication
 by Veritas of his book, Memories and Hopes. Referring to a book, Making
 Saints, by Kenneth L. Woodward  which highlighted John Paul's 'factory¹
 approach to canonisations, Suenens said that in in his own lifetime he had met
 six or seven persons who everyone knew were saints. He mentioned Mother Teresa
 of Calcutta, Archbishop Dom Helder Camara of Recife and the Founder of the
 Legion of Mary, Frank Duff. It remains a matter of curiosity to me that the
 Belgian primate did not include his hero John XXIII and that a precondition of
 the interview was that I 'leave alone¹ matters of controversy surrounding John
 Paul¹s pontificate.  3. John Cooney, Cardinal Suenens Remembers, Doctrine and
 Life, April 1992.
 Said Cardinal Suenens: 'But I say to everyone: "Be a saint but do not try to
 be canonised." We should revise completely the procedures for canonisation.¹
 Despite these niggling doubts that Francis was making his first mistake with
the twin canonisation, and recalling the many extraordinary people including my
parents May Clark and Francis Cooney who are among Cardinal Suenens¹s uncanonised saints,  I nonetheless felt an exhilaration that I was attending the church's solemn conferral of
 sainthood on two popes I had seen ­ John XXIII in audience in 1962 ahead of
 the opening of the Second Vatican Council and being introduced to John Paul by
 the late Cardinal Tomas O'Fiaich and Jim Cantwell at the Pontifical Irish
 College in January 1980 just months after his visit to Ireland.
 Such was were the numbers of pious Poles in Rome that on the big day I could
 not get through the barriers closing off St Peter¹s Square and had to find a
 spot in a ristorante on the Piazza Risorgimento where for a five euro cafĂ©
 Americano (double the usual price) I was able to follow the ceremony on
television. While I might have watched the ceremony more
comfortably and concisely on SKY television at home in Dublin, I had come to
 Rome with the added intention of gauging the reformist mood in Rome in the
 run-up to October's Synod. In the days after the canonisations, there were
 meetings of three important bodies established by Pope Francis: the Council of
 Cardinals (plus Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin) which is mapping
 out an overhaul of the Roman Curia  under the chairmanship of Cardinal Oscar
 Rodriguez Madriaga, who appeared to be enjoying his new found celebrity satus
 and was to be seen conversing with well wishers without his canonical gear in
 the Borgo Pio; the Council for the Economy which under Australian Cardinal
George Pell is mandated by Francis to come up with economic policies that will
 introduce best financial practices for the Holy See; and, particularly the> Commission for the Protection of Minors chaired by Boston Cardinal Sean
O'Malley, on which Irish woman Marie Collins serves.
At the end of the commission's initial three day meeting, Cardinal O'Malley
said it would recommend the adoption by Francis of concrete rules to hold
 bishops accountable if they fail to report suspected cases of child abuse. Some new names will be to the commission which will be addressed by Francis at its next meeting.
Despite O'Malley's bravado which runs contrary to the declared position of the Italian ERpiscopal Conference, I detected a lot of uncertainty in the Vatican corridors of power about what new dispensation might emerge from all the groups.   > That Francis will have to move quickly and resolutely was hinted at by
 Archbishop George Ganswein, now head of the papal household and former
 personal secretary to Pope Benedict, who recently told German television that
 Francis is 'not everyone¹s darling¹. 4. The Tablet, p. 33, April 20, 2014.
 As if on cue to remind liberati that the old guard has not gone away, Cardinal
 Mueller, the German head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, was
 still bent on correcting 'radical feminist¹ tendancies among American nuns.
 (Mueller¹s scolding tone belies hopes of a more humane treatment by the
 doctrinal congregation with the welcome news of the lifting of sanctions on
silenced Irish Marist priest, Fr Sean Fagan.)
 Speaking to Religion News Service, Cardinal Walter Kasper, 'the pope¹s
 theologian¹ sidestepped Mueller by observing that fresh criticism of American
 nuns was typical of 'the narrower¹ view that of officials of the Roman Curia
tend to take. More scathingly on her website the County Laois-born Bishop
 Bridget Mary Meehan of the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement, cited the
 old Irish song,  'Will they ever learn, no they will never learn... ' adding:
Cardinal Mueller is taking the Leadership Conference of Women Religious
 to task for failing to get permission from the Vatican for their  speakers and awards. They
 decided to give Sister Elizabeth Johnson, a prominent feminist theologian, the 2014 Outstanding
 Leadership Award. Imagine, that in this day and age, nuns do not want to ask Vatican permission
 to run their own agenda. Father, may we please, pretty please invite ---------
 as a speaker?¹  5.`Bridget Mary's Blog, May 5, 2014.
 This kind of crude censorship recalls for me how back in 1967 as secretary of the
 Catholic  Society at Glasgow University I was required by Archbishop James
 Donald Scanlan to submit for his approval a draft list of prospective
 speakers, a practice which was ended in 1968, the year of student revolutions
 throughout Europe.
 According to the Archbishop of Dublin and former Vatican diplomat, Diarmuid Martin, the ordination of women is 'not on the table at the moment¹, though he noted that Brazilian
 Bishop Erwin Krautler  has been reported as saying that Francis is open to
 ordaining married male men, viri probati. 6. The Tablet, Martin open to
 married priests, April 26, 2014. And in their response to a Vatican survey ahead of the October Synod, Archbishop Martin and the Irish Episcopal Conference have acknowledged that the church¹s teaching on marriage and family life is disconnected from the real life experience of many Irish
 Catholics. Many respondents expressed 'particular difficulties¹ with the
 teachings on extra-marital sex and cohabitation by unmarried couples, divorce
 and remarriage, family planning, assisted human reproduction and
 homosexuality. 7. Sarah MacDonald, Church teaching out of sync with Irish
 life, survey finds, The Tablet, March 22, 2014.
Furthermore, Ireland's Prime Minister, Enda Kenny,who attended the canonisation ceremony and issued Francis with an invitation to visit Ireland, went out of his way to heal recent rows with the Holy See by asserting that with the advent of Francis a situation now existed where the Irish church
wants to deal with the scandals of the past 'in an upfront and open way¹. ­The
 the Irish embassy to the Holy See is reopening under diplomat Emma Madigan ­
 8. Paddy Agnew and Patsy McGarry, Church-State bond stronger, says Kenny, The
 Irish Times, Monday April 28, 2014.
In spite of these optimistic noises from the upper echelons of church and state in Ireland, the reality is that for at least the past two decades opinion polls have shown consistently that the majority of Irish Catholics want women priests. 
The time has arrived for a full public to ensure that women are not the losers in future reforms in Ireland and they are admitted to the altars and pulpits as priests.

John Cooney is a former Religious Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times
 and the Irish Independent. He is the biographer of John Charles McQuaid, Ruler of Catholic Ireland.