Friday, September 4, 2015

U.S. Catholics Open to Non-Traditional Families Pew Research Center, September 2, 2015

45% of Americans Are Catholic or Connected to Catholicism
When Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. for the World Meeting of Families later this month, he will find a Catholic public that is remarkably accepting of a variety of non-traditional families, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that provides an in-depth look at American Catholics’ views on family life, sexuality and Catholic identity.
Nine-in-ten U.S. Catholics say a household headed by a married mother and father is an ideal situation for bringing up children. But the survey shows that large majorities think other kinds of families – those headed by parents who are single, divorced, unmarried or gay – are OK for raising children, too.

__._,_.___

A Weekend Retreat with Patricia Fresen October 2-4, 2015 in Cincinnati

Patricia Fresen

Authentically Jesus
Pondering the Best Known Sayings of Jesus
From the Original Aramaic

Patricia Fresen will lead this unique weekend retreat at Transfiguration Spirituality Center (TSC) 495 Albion Avenue, Village of Glendale, Cincinnati, OH 45246 (513) 771-2171 CTRetreats@gmail.com www.TSCRetreats.org


Overnight Guests ($225 private room) and Commuters ($150). Contact TSC to Sign Up Today –  $50 non-refundable deposit required for registration.  Scholarships available.


Article in Philadelphia Daily News on Sept 4, 2015 about the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests' Ordination of Bishops in Philadelphia when Pope Francis is in the United States, Bridget Mary Meehan , ARCWP

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150904_A_self-proclaimed_bishop_says_the_Catholic_Church_should_embrace_female_priests.html
Bridget Mary's Response:
I am not a self-proclaimed bishop, but a validly ordained bishop along with the other women bishops in our movement who are ordaining deacons, priests and bishops in apostolic succession. This is the reason that the institutional church takes us seriously. They recognize that we are prophetic and leading the way toward justice for women in the church, not only to ordination but to full equality in all ministries in every area of the church's life. 
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

Roman Catholic Women Priests have valid orders because our first women bishops were ordained by a anonymous Roman Catholic male bishop with apostolic succession and in communion with the pope. So all our ordinations are valid, but our orders violate church law.  We are disobeying an unjust law in order to change it in prophetic obedience to the Spirit.
This is the reason the institutional church has excommunicated us. 
In addition, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) is not a clerical model but is a renewed priestly in a community of equals.  I agree with Pope Francis that clericalism is a major problem in the Roman Catholic Church . This is the reason our the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests' vision and mission is developing communities of equals. In our liturgies, for example, the entire assembly prays the epiclesis and words of institution/consecration during the Eucharistic Prayer and usually include a dialogue homily.  Our governance model in ARCWP utilizes a discernment, prayerful approach in a circular model of decision-making. The bishop's main role is to ordain and is a member of the sacred circle with one vote in making decision. We are one with the people of God in co-celebrating sacraments in  inclusive discipleship of equals, grassroots communities. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org
  
Sept. 4th, 2015 Article on Philadelphia Daily News by Dana Diflippo
"TO EXCOMMUNICATED "Bishop" Bridget Mary Meehan, ordaining women as priests is a backed-by-the-Bible no-brainer.
Bible verses preaching gender equality abound, she said. Look at Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ."
So she'll be in the front rows when "Gender, Gospel and Global Justice" - a three-day international conference dedicated to female ordination and hosted by Women's Ordination Worldwide - kicks off in Philadelphia on Sept. 18.
And on Sept. 24, Meehan, a bishop with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests - a group rejected by the Roman Catholic Church - will personally ordain three women as bishops at Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat in Wallingford, Delaware County.
The Vatican has repeatedly rejected female ordination, excommunicating Meehan and women who have been ordained by groups such as hers.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, founded nearly 500 years ago to defend the church from heresy, has called female ordination an offense as grave as pedophilia. And despite Pope Francis' growing reputation as a progressive, he has not conceded an inch on female ordination, saying in 2013: "The church has spoken and says no. That door is closed."
But Meehan and her supporters say they are not thumbing their nose at the pope. She said Philadelphia - with the upcoming World Meeting of Families and papal visit - is the perfect place to focus attention on an injustice most Catholics want remedied. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. Catholics say the church should allow women to become priests, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study.
"I'm a big fan [of Pope Francis] because he is calling for justice for the poor, mistreated and marginalized," said Meehan, of Sarasota, Fla. "But he leaves women out. Women priests are the elephant in the church today."
While the church has trouble persuading men to join the priesthood, more women than ever are clamoring to become clergy, Meehan said.
"We are not leaving the church. We are leading the church into a new era of justice and equality," she said. "We see ourselves walking very much in the path of Rosa Parks and the suffragettes. We're calling on the church to make the connections between the discrimination against women in the church and abuse and injustice against women in the world."
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia did not respond to the Daily News' request for comment.
Rocco Palmo, a Catholicism chronicler who writes the popular "Whispers in the Loggia" blog, said Francis' stance on female ordination has more to do with his concern about clericalism - clergy believing themselves superior to others - than any personal or institutional sexism.
"Francis sees clericalism as one of the greatest destructive forces in the history of the church," Palmo said. "There's this belief that if you're not a priest, you don't matter."
Yet women have been indispensable in other church roles, Palmo added. The three most influential Catholic services - Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Health Association and the Catholic Charities USA - are headed by women, he said.
"And you can make the argument, and it'd be a very credible one, that the most significant, influential Catholic in this city is not a cleric or a man. It's Sister Mary Scullion, who has done more to reduce homelessness in Philadelphia than anyone and who is living her baptism to the fullest. I don't know what more priesthood would accomplish for her."
Since the first seven female "priests" were ordained in 2002 in Europe, more than 200 women now are ordained worldwide - including about 160 in the United States, Meehan said. None of them are recognized by the Vatican as priests or bishops.
The three women Meehan will ordain as bishops on Sept. 24 in Philly are the Revs. Mary E. Collingwood, of Hudson, Ohio; Michele Birch Conery, of Windsor, Canada; and Olga Lucia Alvarez, of Medellin, Colombia."


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Homily at Holy Spirit Catholic Community, 23rd Sun. OT, Sept. 6, 2015 by Beverly Bingle, RCWP

Catholic scripture scholar Raymond Brown observes
that today's gospel tells of an “unusual amount of contact”
between Jesus and the man he heals.
It's one of just two stories in Mark
where Jesus heals using physical techniques,
which did not appeal to later writers
who preferred showing Jesus healing with a word.
So Fr. Brown suggests that the story we hear today
developed in at least four stages.
First, there was the original exorcism performed by Jesus,
where the man's “tongue was released.”
The scholars of the Jesus Seminar agree
that Mark did not create the event,
that the healing of a deaf-mute very likely really happened,
coming out of the oral tradition
and gathering details as it was re-told.
Then the post-resurrection church in Palestine framed the event
in the words of promise in Isaiah 35’s Messianic prophecy,
which we heard in today's first reading:
"The eyes of the blind shall be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped."
After that the Hellenistic church,
telling the story in the context of their own time,
portrayed Jesus as a wonder-worker,
with emphasis on the physical means of healing
that was part of their cultural understanding.
Finally, Mark adds a new layer of meaning
by drawing a comparison between
the disciples' deafness to Jesus' message
and their inability to profess faith in him.
________________________________________
Are we, here in 2015 US of A, hearing this gospel in a fifth stage?
We are 50 years into the Vatican II renewal
with its emphasis on the preferential option for the poor,
and we see Jesus talking with, reaching out to,
actually touching, with healing love,
one of the poor, the outcast, the unclean of his time.
So today we understand
that we cannot claim to be followers of the Way of Jesus
without reaching out to the helpless, the oppressed, the poor.
____________________________________
As you know, I go to Claver House
for breakfast on weekday mornings,
and it's there that I see this gospel put into practice.
Just like in the gospel story,
I see people who can't hear, people who can't speak,
people wearing tattered clothes,
people who haven't had a shower in a while,
people with missing teeth, or no teeth at all.
More than that, I see lots of people reaching out.
Black and white and brown sit together and share a meal.
People from India talk to people from Indiana as equals.
When someone comes by for the first time,
at least three people will call out a “welcome”
and someone will get up and show them
where to get a tray and plate and silverware
and explain how to negotiate the food line and coffee pot. There's
talk about the weather and the news,
banter about the winners and losers in last night's games,
laughing at jokes and sharing worries.
____________________________________________
On top of that open welcome, I see compassion.
People who have nothing themselves
worry about each other.
When one of the regulars doesn't show up for a few days,
someone phones or drops by to make sure they're okay.
And I see prayer.
Each morning about 8:30 we pray the Our Father together.
But I notice Kenny, whose schedule gets him there
after the rest of us have prayed,
take off his hat, close his eyes, and bow his head,
and I see all the others at his table
wait in respectful silence while he prays.
____________________________________
And I see the volunteers,
not just Catholics
but Protestants and Muslims and Jews
and people without a religious tradition,
giving up a morning a week to slice and dice and serve,
to put together casseroles and soups and sandwiches,
to make toast and coffee and refill the sugar and creamer.
I see them taking a break now and then
to sit and chat with the guests.
I see them listening, talking, caring—
more than being friendly,
but being friends.
____________________________________
When I get there on Mondays,
the back seat of my car is packed to the roof
and the trunk is filled with donations
that you gave me over the weekend—
those containers and plastic bags,
pancake syrup and scouring powder,
clothes and shoes and laundry detergent,
jigsaws and stuffed animals for the kids.
Sometimes two or three of the men
have to come out to help haul everything in.
That's when I see you,
you faithful followers of the Way,
reaching out and healing,
just like Jesus teaches us to do.

--
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue (Washington Church)

www.holyspirittoledo.org

Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006
419-727-1774

Transgender Catholics Can't Be Godparents, Vatican Says, Women Priests Communities Welcome Transgender Godparents

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/09/transgender-catholics-cant-be-godparents-vatican-says/
Bridget Mary's Response:
 What the heck does one's sexuality have to do with one's ability to live one's faith fully and  be a loving, supportive godparent?  The Vatican statement below sounds like they are going back to the dark ages on the topic of sexuality. No surprise! By this negative judgment, the hierarchy is treating our Transgender sisters and brothers like they are second class members in the Body of Christ. How sad! In our inclusive communities, we welcome Transgender godparents. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org
http://transgenderlawcenter.org/programs
Vatican Statement: "Transgender status "reveals in a public way an attitude opposite to the moral imperative of solving the problem of sexual identity according to the truth of one's own sexuality," the Vatican said. "Therefore it is evident that this person does not possess the requirement of leading a life according to the faith and in the position of godfather and is therefore unable to be admitted to the position of godfather or godmother."

Pope Receives Bishop Jacques Gaillot–A French Bishop Who Blesses Gay Couples by Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

Pope Receives Bishop Jacques Gaillot–A French Bishop Who Blesses Gay Couples

Bishop Gaillot, who has the head of the northern French diocese of Evreux until being demoted by Pope John Paul II, spoke with Pope Francis about many marginalized groups.  According to Agence France Presse (AFP)he "defended the rights of homosexuals, divorced people and migrants."
According to the news report, Gaillot recounted his conversation with Pope Francis to the AFP reporter :
" 'I don't want to ask anything of you, I told the pope, but a whole people of the poor are happy that you are receiving me, and feel acknowledged too,' Gaillot said.
" 'I spoke to him about... the sick, the divorced, gay people. These people are counting on you.'
"The 79-year-old said he had told the pope how he had recently blessed a divorced couple as well as a homosexual couple, saying 'he listened, he is open to all those things. He said that to bless is to speak well of God to people.' "
And Pope Francis affirmed his ministry, according to the French bishop:
"Gaillot said he now devotes much of his time to helping and defending migrants and the pope, he said, told him 'continue, what you do (for the downtrodden) is good.' "
Since being deposed as Bishop of Evreux, Gaillot has remained active  by maintaining a website, Partenia.org, where he defended marginalized groups.  Partenia is the name of a now defunct ancient diocese which existed in the early centuries of Christianity in Algeria.  An Ouest-France  news report (with an English translation provided by a Bondings 2.0 reader) noted:
"Trying to convey something of the unprecedented nature of the situation and of pope Francis' sense of humour Gaillot said, 'the pope told me with a smile: I speak to the bishop of Partenia.' "
The same news report also pointed out:
"The meeting took place at Pope Francis' request, who left two messages on Gaillot's answering machine during the Summer, before writing to formally invite him to the Vatican."
Perhaps the most significant part of Gaillot's account of describing his blessing of gay couples to Pope Francis:
" 'I am in civil cloth and I just bless them. This is not a marriage, it is a blessing. We have the right to give the blessing of God, after all we also bless houses! The pope listened, he seemed open to all that. At that particular moment, he specifically said that to bless people also involves to speak well of God to those people,' said the French prelate."
The Wikipedia.org article on Gaillot described some of the actions which lead to his ouster over two decades ago, including the blessing of a gay couple:
"In 1988, during a closed-door session of the assembly in Lourdes, he advocated the ordination of married men to the priesthood. After the proceedings had finished Gaillot spoke to the press about the discussions held and also promoted his own viewpoints. By promoting a revision of clerical celibacy and the use of condoms, he caused considerable tension with the French bishops' conference, the situation being exacerbated by the fact that in speaking to the media about the session, Gaillot had violated convention regarding assembly conclaves. He later defended his previous actions, remarking that 'I never broke the vow of celibacy ... I only questioned it. But that's worse.' Also that year, Gaillot took the unprecedented step for a Roman Catholic bishop of blessing a homosexual union in a 'service of welcoming,' after the couple requested it in view of their imminent death from AIDS."
The Ouest-France news report described the very ordinary, humble and human way Gaillot's visit with Pope Francis occurred:
"Gaillot, 79, in a black suit but without any pectoral cross, said he was greatly surprised by how informally Francis received him in the Vatican: 'I was in one of the common room of St Martha's House (where the Pope resides), a door opened and the pope simply came in. The meeting was carried out as if I was family, without any protocol. He truly is a free man. At one point, he stood up and said: Do you have a photographer? As I had none and there was none around who was available, we took (a photo) with a cell phone....' "


--Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

On Feast of Phoebe, Deacon, Letter to Pope Francis Urging Restoration of Diaconate/Bridget Mary's Response: Affirm Women Priests' Movement as Leaders and Prophets today

Bridget Mary's Response:
The full equality of women in the church is the will of God.  Pope Francis should lift all excommuncations against women priests, our supporters and all Catholics who follow their consciences. 
 It is imperative that the entire church live the fullness of the priesthood of the baptized. Women priests are living a renewed priestly ministry in an inclusive church within an empowered community of equals.  
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

Letter to Pope Francis

Dear Bridget Mary

Below is the text of a letter which we have sent to the Pope asking him to reconsider the matter of the diaconate for women. To read the documentation and history of women's diaconate click here. There is also an opportunity to support this appeal and sign the letter!
 

,


Dear Pope Francis,
Respectfully we ask you restore to women the sacramental gift and grace of diaconal office in our Holy Catholic Church. How better may we embrace the Spirit of the age than by giving such freedom and dignity to women, for the good of all, in equality and fraternity?

Contemporary research shows that tens of thousands of women served as ordained deacons during the first millennium of the Church: in Italy, Gaul, Greece, Asia Minor, Palestine and Egypt. That they received a full diaconate ordination is clear, a ‘sacramental’ ordination in today’s theological language. Here is a prayer of 780AD:
Holy and Omnipotent Lord,
through the birth of your Only Son our God from a Virgin according to the flesh,
you have sanctified the female sex.
You grant not only to men, but also to women the grace and coming of the Holy Spirit.
Please, Lord, look on this your maidservant and dedicate her to the task of your diaconate, and pour out into her the rich and abundant giving of your Holy Spirit.
Codex Barberini Gr.336
Many documents confirm that these ordinations were by the imposition of the bishop’s hands and took place in the sanctuary during the Eucharistic Liturgy immediately after the Anaphora. Several of your predecessors authorised Sacramentaries containing ordination prayers for women deacons.

There should be no room in our Church today for the rationale which subverted female deacons in the Middle Ages: the phobia concerning menstruation and the conceit that women are innately inferior to men.

The need for the ministry of women deacons is plain in every country. May your hands be the first to restore the diaconal dignity to women.
With respect and love,

The Trustees, Patrons and Staff of the Wijngaards Institute


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Two Indian Sisters Sentenced To Be Gang Raped For Brother's Crime, Please Sign Petition

http://www.care2.com/causes/two-indian-sisters-sentenced-to-be-gang-raped-for-their-brothers-crime.html 
Both girls had fled the region already for fear of repercussions from their brother’s actions. Their family believes the girls may be murdered if they return to their village in the Baghpat district.

A disturbing report emerged from Amnesty International stating that an unelected, all-male council sentenced two girls to be gang-raped. Meenakshi Kumari, 23, and her 15-year-old sister were “sentenced” to rape after their brother eloped with a married woman. The “sentence” also requires the sisters to be paraded naked with blackened faces in front of the village.
As of this writing, more than 80,000 Care2 members have signed a petition demanding protection for the girls by the Principal Secretary of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Care2 is also calling for an investigation into the village council.
Both girls had fled the region already for fear of repercussions from their brother’s actions. Their family believes the girls may be murdered if they return to their village in the Baghpat district.


Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/two-indian-sisters-sentenced-to-be-gang-raped-for-their-brothers-crime.html#ixzz3kcOOulZy
Amnesty International UK describes a terrifying landscape of unauthorized “councils” ruling segments of India:
Unelected village councils such as this are widespread in parts of India. More often than not they are made up of older men from dominant castes, who prescribe rules for social behaviour and interaction in villages.
The supreme court of India has described them as ‘kangaroo courts’ and branded their decrees illegal, yet in some states they continue to operate – and their punishments are carried out.
Advocacy organizations are outraged by the continued existence of these sham courts that violate basic human rights through practices like “revenge rape.”
Last year, a 14-year-old was “sentenced” to rape by after her brother was accused of sexually assaulting a married women. The girl was raped in the woods by the woman’s husband. Village elders also ordered the rape of a 23-year-old woman last year, leaving her in critical condition after being attacked by 13 men.
A petition has been filed with India’s Supreme Court by Meenakshi Kumari to protect her and the unnamed younger sister.
Please take a moment to sign our petition standing with Meenakshi against rape and urging the Indian government to dismantle these barbaric, illegal councils seeking to oppress and exploit women within parts of the country.
If you feel strongly about an issue in your community or the world, start a Care2 petition today to get help from members around the globe.
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/two-indian-sisters-sentenced-to-be-gang-raped-for-their-brothers-crime.html#ixzz3kcNnn1lm

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Liturgy for Mary Mother of Jesus at Sun City Center, September 1, 2015 by Katy Zatsick, ARCWP

Mary Mother of Jesus at Sun City Center

September 1, 2015

Forgiveness, Forgiven-

Pathway to inner peace and freedom 



http://rejuvenatingwomen.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/forgiveness.jpg





All: In the name of our God, Creator of an imperfect world and evolutionary
humanity, our brother Jesus forgiving those who killed him, and Sofia Wisdom
gifting us with human consciousness and feelings. Amen



All: Opening Prayer:

"God of Evolution and Love, I know that my behavior, words or attitudes have
hurt myself and others.  I am truly sorry; I want to forgive myself and to
forgive others who have hurt me.  Help me avoid hurting myself and others
again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for the Love of me and all
of humanity for all time.  Jesus is alive and hears my prayers. I surrender
my life to God today.  May I continually deepen my relationship with you
from this day forward.  Please send your Holy Spirit to help me to hear you
in the quiet of my soul and to do Your will for the rest of my life. As
always, in Jesus' name I pray, Amen."



First Reading adapted from Pathway to Peace and Inner Freedom. Steps 8*

by Judith A Terrameo, OSF

Steps 8

Step 8 Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make
amends to them all.



Reader 1: Even though I may feel and think that my (behavior or words) did
not cause others pain and suffering I must remember that I do not live my
life in a vacuum.  My life is always "rubbing shoulders" with others: the
members of my family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and so to think that my
(behaviors) were void of relational damage is to live in denial. ...I am
told that the first part of Step 8 is about simply making a list (author's
emphasis) of those I harmed...some names are easy and reasonable, others not
so easy as I recall past hurts and angers wrought upon me.  So, the
resentments just well up within me.  I cannot hold onto these resentments
lest they corrupt the work...



Reader 2: The second part of Step 8 is to become willing (author's emphasis)
to make amends.  Realizing the struggle I am having with some of the names
on my list, I know that I need to turn to my (Loving God) for the grace to
do that which is beyond me: making amends to those who initially hurt me,
pushing my buttons and triggering irrational behavior on my part for
retribution's sake.  I must acknowledge the part I played and accept the
consequences.



Reader 3: These amends involve a process of forgiveness---forgiveness with
respect to those whom I have inflicted pain; which I have discovered helps
me in a process of self-forgiveness.  Forgiving myself, however, is more
difficult.  But I know that the God of my understanding wants me to be free
of guilt and shame that would continue if not let go of: and this is a
luxury that I cannot afford.                           

This is an inspired word    All: Thanks be to God



Psalm Response: 

All:  In Love mend my brokenness.

Look at my affliction and my trouble,

And mend all my brokenness....

May integrity and uprightness protect me,

For you are my only hope.  (Ps 25)

In Love mend my brokenness.



Help us o God of our Salvation,

For the sake of our glorious Name!

Deliver us! Atone for our sins

And rescue us for your Name's sake!

In Love mend my brokenness. (Ps 79)



Happiness comes from having your rebellion taken away,

From having our failure completely covered.

Happiness comes from YHWH not counting your mistakes,

From having nothing to hide. (Ps 32)

In Love mend my brokenness



Second Reading  adapted from Pathway to Peace and Inner Freedom. Steps 9,*

by Judith A Terrameo, OSF



Step 9

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so
would injure them or others.



Reader 1: I now undertake the action required of me in step 9---making
direct amends. (Author's emphasis) This is not something I can rush into.  I
need to spend time in thought and prayer, inviting my Higher Power to direct
the process... I need a trusted companion with whom I can also share,
someone who can assist me in this step by step journey, especially with
those difficult amends which I could easily rationalize away due to the hurt
done to me.



Reader 2: And so begins...there are a couple of people I know I will never
see again, but who deserve an amends because of the hurt I caused them.  I
write each of them a letter, in which I share as best I can what happened
and why.  I offer my amends for he hurt caused, seeking forgiveness.  The
letters are put into the mail without expectation (author's emphasis) of any
return correspondence.  



Reader 3: this is very important for me because I know that done with
expectation I will only set myself up for failure and for resentment.  I
make these amends for my personal healing.  How the other person responds is
not my concern. 



Reader 4: For others, I begin a process of face-to-face amends.  I set
appointments with some, others I call on the phone, some are immediate, and
others will take more time.  As I undertake the process, I begin to
experience a new-felt freedom because I know that I am redeeming myself of
past transgressions.



Reader 5: And there are still those who are no longer alive.  I sit and
write each of them a "no send" letter in which I share my amends and my
regrets that things could not have been different.  I read these letters to
my trusted companion so that I may face the consequences of my behavior and
own up to the fact that these amends involve changing the patterns of
behavior that caused the hurt in the first place.  I then burn these letters
in a ritual---so that the smoke of these amends, like incense, may reach
them in heaven.



Reader 6 As I go through the process of making these amends I feel the sense
of shame diminishing, I am able to let go of guilt, and I feel an increased
sense of self-esteem, self-respect and self-worth.  This is sheer gift from
my Higher Power, the by-product of taking seriously the humble work of
making amends.



All: The final amends that I make are to myself because through these
hurtful behaviors I estranged myself from significant people in my life,
alienated myself from relationship with my Higher Power, and lost the beauty
of my own soul.            This is an inspired word.  Thanks be to God



Gospel Reading:  A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 5: 17-26



Now it happened that Jesus was teaching one day, and Pharisees and teachers
of the Law, who had come from every village in Galilee, from Judea and from
Jerusalem, were sitting there.  And the power of the Spirit Sophia was there
so that Jesus should heal. Now some men appeared bringing on a bed a person
who was paralyzed whom they were trying to bring in and lay down in front of
Jesus.  But as they could find no way of getting through the crowd, they
went up onto the top of the house and lowered the paralyzed one down through
the tiles into the middle of gathering, in front of Jesus.



Seeing their faith, Jesus said, "My friend, your sins are forgiven you." The
scribes and the Pharisees began to think this over. "Who is this man,
talking blasphemy? Who but God alone can forgive sins? But Jesus, aware of
their thoughts, spoke his reply, "What are these thoughts you have in your
hearts? Which is it easier to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say
"Get up and walk?"  "But to prove to you that the Son of man has authority
on earth to forgive sins,'---Jesus said to the paralyzed one-'I order you:
get up, pick up your mat and go home."  And immediately before their eyes
the individual got up, picked up the mat and went home praising God. They
were all astounded and praised God and were filled with awe, saying, "We
have seen remarkable things today."

This is the Good News of our Brother Jesus.  All: Praise to you O Loving
God.



Dialog homily:

What is your experience of asking and receiving forgiveness?

Did you feel release from shame, guilt and gain freedom and peace?

When did you feel the need to make amends?

Has someone made amends to you? 



Prayers of the community

Response: All: God our forgiveness; hear our prayer.

Offertory:

Blessed are you, God of all creation, through your goodness we have this
bread to offer which earth has given and human hands have made.  This bread
is our faith community seeking forgiveness and making amends for hurts cause
others. 

This will become for us the bread of life.  All:  Blessed be God forever.



Blessed are you, God of all creation.  Through your goodness we have this
wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. This drink is our
desire to serve with Jesus in bringing a forgiveness and wholeness to all
whom we meet and to earth itself.  This wine and juice will become our
spiritual drink.  All:  Blessed be God forever.



My sisters and brothers let us pray together that our gifts may be
acceptable to God our Loving Creator.

All:  May God accept these gifts from our hands, for the praise and glory of
God's name, and our desire for forgiveness and reconciliation for all the
People of God.



Co-Presider:  Ever gentle God, We give you thanks for the blessing of
worshiping you as a community.  Accept our gifts and our worship.  By
offering ourselves may we be filled with your Spirit of consciousness and
compassion every minute, every day.  We ask this through Christ, our
brother.  All:  Amen.



Eucharistic Prayer from sheet

Our father/mother: sung

Sign of Peace: Let us share a hug of forgiveness amongst ourselves.



The bread is broken.

All: This is our Creator who prepared a banquet for his friends; who calls
each of us to a ministry of compassion to all whom we meet.  How blessed are
we who are called to the supper of Jesus.  May we be who we are--the Body of
Christ.  May we be what we eat--the Body of Christ. Amen

Passing the bread "We are the Body of Christ." Passing the wine "We are the
Blood of Christ"



Prayers of thanksgiving and final thoughts



Closing Prayer

We give thanks for Your love and forgiveness.  May we go forth to bring love
and care to all whom we meet.   We know that the joy and happiness is given
to us through you; Loving God of Evolution, creator and sustainer of all.
Amen



Blessing. Raise hands in mutual blessing

All: May our evolutionary God of wholeness bless all gathered here and all
those in our families and community.  We ask for a restful Labor Day for our
bodies and our minds.  We ask for God's Healing Presence this fall in the
name of our Creator, in the name of our Brother Jesus, and in the name of
God's Spirit Sofia as we minister to one another as the people of God. Amen




Co-Presiders: Let us go in the peace of Christ, let us rejoice and give
thanks to the God reconciliation and our God's presence in our lives.

All: Thanks be to God.





828.177505302402275/517621028390699/?type=1>


828.177505302402275/517621028390699/?type=1> Peaceful Warrior's photo.








-in-the-woods&large=1> Path In The Woods

Path In The Woods by George
  Hodan







Jesus Heals The Paralytic by Harold Copping






Reclaiming the Divine Feminine for Our Work of Compassion, Justice, Peace, and Sustainability: A Panel of Women Spiritual Leaders, Theologians and Pastors featured in Book: "She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World," by Rev. Dr. Jann Aldredge-Clanton, panel moderator


Join us for a panel presentation, interfaith ritual, & dialogue:Saturday, October 17, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; continental breakfast

Episcopal Church Center of Utah – Wasatch Retreat & Conference Center 75 South 200 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Reclaiming the Divine Feminine

for Our Work of Compassion, Justice, Peace, and Sustainability

Reclaiming the Divine Feminine in our religious traditions will empower our work together for com- passion, peace, justice, and sustainability. Including multicultural female divine names and images in our sacred rituals affirms the sacred value of females throughout the world who continue to suffer from violence and abuse. The earth, traditionally referred to as feminine, likewise suffers from exploitation and abuse. Rituals that include female images can make a powerful contribution to a more just world. A panel discussion will highlight ways that restoring female images of the Divine will contribute to healing our wounded world. The program will include an interfaith ritual,affirming the sacred value of all people and all creation. We will conclude with participants forming circles for dialogue.




Panelists: Featured in She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World, by Rev. Dr. Jann Aldredge-Clanton, panel moderator







Dr. Kendra Weddle Irons Religion Professor, Wesleyan University, Texas





Rev. Dr. Susan Newman Moore Associate Minister,

All Souls Church, Washington, DC







Rev. Stacy Boorn

Pastor, Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran, San Francisco, CA.





Rev. Dr. Isabel Docampo

Supervised Ministry Professor, Perkins School of Theology





Rev. Judith Liro,

Priest, St. Hildegard’s Community, Austin, TX







Dr. Chung Hyun Kyung Ecumenical Studies Professor Union Theological Seminary





Dr. Bridget Mary Meehan Bishop, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests







Ann Smith Director, Circle Connections







Musicians:

Devi Vaani, a trio of women

Kathleen Neville Fritz, Dionne Kohler & Alison Newvine),

who write and perform music in praise of the Divine Feminine

for ritual, empowerment and justice




"BOY OH BOY!" (A story about real modern-day mystics) By Terese Rigodanzo-Kasper ARCWP , August 29, 2015, A Story that Will Uplift You and Touch Your Soul



Terese Rigodanzo Kasper, ARCWP
Exactly six weeks from today I will be ordained a deacon with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. In anticipation of that a few weeks ago my Program Companion, Irene, and I decided we wanted to do something we hadn’t done before - meet in person. Each driving three hours we landed roughly in the middle at the mall in Fort Wayne, Indiana. What better spot for good conversation than to meet at the Food Court of Glenbrook Square. Over drinks and lunch we covered ground from A to Z with a lot of Ooohs, Awwhs and Ohs tossed in for good measure.

Somewhere around letter Q Irene’s focus shifted in the direction over my right shoulder. Turning to see what held her gaze, I saw a young Hispanic boy clearly in distress. His arms were raised, head bent and who we correctly identified as his mother was speaking to him directly and constantly with a look of concern etched on her otherwise peace-filled face. To see this boy vomit actually gave us relief that he wasn’t choking or in some other dire situation. In a moment Irene was on her feet and at his side offering whatever assistance might be needed. Her presence also brought comfort to those around him which by this time was a significant group of family, onlookers and staff.  A quick return to our table and back she was sharing a readily accepted drink from her cup.

A few minutes after Irene returned to our table so did this young boy along with his entourage. While Mom coached him in Spanish, he turned to both of us and in English said, “Thank you.” Then his story unfolded about how he has brain cancer, was poked here and cut there, even going so far as to show us his chemotherapy port. Today he was tired yet much conversation ensued.

Oh how engaging Irene can be with people. It didn’t take Kenneth long to share that he had seen God. Boy was he happy about that especially since God told him, “I will give you many angels to comfort and accompany you.” Young Kenneth easily and honestly relayed that he didn’t know how much time he might have left here on earth.  But it was OK because, “God is so pretty.” You might guess what Roman Catholic Woman Priest Irene asked him next. The answer was a resounding, adamant, “Male.” Yet even as I heard the answer Kenneth gave, I wondered if that was said from tradition, expectation or even a little uncertainly that maybe God could be female. I mean how many young boys would think any male was pretty? Oh, did I tell you he also saw Jesus?

Imagine our delight when young Kenneth said he wanted to pray for us. We bowed our heads as he took our hands. Oh that we understood Spanish. Oh that we wondered if it was indeed another tongue in which his prayers tumbled out of his mouth. We were touched, moved and then even amazed as he laid hands on both our heads. He ended by joining our hands while laying his on top. A powerful invocation in any language!

Once the praying was finished I turned to Kenneth’s mom and inquired, “Abrazo?” She nodded as she stepped into my arms. Little did I anticipate the extent of the comfort she needed nor even in her grief the comfort she gave.  The embrace was long and gentle and filled with blessings and bendiciones being exchanged, lifted heavenward. Then it was Irene and Mom’s turn; oh, what an encounter!

All the while we were surrounded by an assortment of beautiful wide-eyed sisters. Such quiet and peace in this large family I hadn’t truly experienced before. Even while my heart was moved to want to do something for them, Irene asked permission for us to purchase a new shirt for Kenneth. A genuine, “Are you cold in your wet shirt?” prompted Kenneth’s simple response to Irene, “Yes.” We were off and running and returned shortly with a fun, funky tee shirt accompanied by complementary headphones from Irene and a more conservative replacement school uniform shirt from me. A small bag of dark chocolates was added, a staple required by all moms.

It was time to say farewell to our newfound friends. This included meeting more of Kenneth’s seven brothers and sisters, a few cousins and a wave of his free arm from dad holding baby seated a few tables away. With hugs all around and appreciation expressed on all sides, we walked away wondering what Grace had just befallen us. Actually we didn’t wonder, we knew that boy oh boy we were in the right place at the right time today. We translated that message to include the bigger path we are on. As I anticipate my diaconate ordination, I am so sustained by my new dear friend, Irene, and hope never to forget las bendiciones from Kenneth, a gifted young boy.


Boy oh boy, if this isn’t a story about modern day mystics I don’t know what is!

Pope Francis Offers Mercy to Women Who Confess to Having Had an Abortion, Lifts Excommunication Against Male Ultra Conservative Priests/ Time to Lift Excommunication Against Women Priests and All who Follow their Consciences

http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/francis-announces-wide-indulgences-mercy-year-grants-lefebvrites-faculties#.VeWWTygXTAY.twitter
Pope Francis


Bridget Mary's Response: God's love and mercy is present every day in every occasion for all and works through all.. Pope Francis is reflecting a more compassionate response by recognizing the agony that women go through in making this painful  decision.  
However, if the church would change its teaching on contraception, many abortions could be avoided in the first place.
Pope Francis should ask forgiveness from women for centuries of sexism in the church that has contributed to abuse, violence and poverty of women worldwide. Pope Francis could issue a letter in this Year of Mercy asking for forgiveness for the centuries of patriarchy that have kept women subordinated and chart a new path toward gender equality that would include women priests and leaders in all areas of church ministry and governance. God's liberating love is rising up in our women priests' movement as we struggle against injustice and discrimination toward women in the Catholic Church. 
In addition, Pope Francis could broaden this Year of Mercy by offering amends by the hierarchy for the clericalism at the root of the sex abuse crisis. He could announce concrete steps to hold bishops accountable for the decades of cover-up of sexual abuse against children and young adults.
While ,I welcome  the lifting of excommunication against the ultra conservative Lefebvrites and the restoring of faculties to their priests, Pope Francis should also lift the excommunication of women priests and our supporters and all in the church who follow their consciences.


Nori Kieran-Meredith co-presiding with Dignity Priests in California
While I understand that  Pope Francis is reflecting a more compassionate approach to  the divorced and remarried and to  gays, lesbians and transgender, the main issue is that he is not changing toxic church teaching on these issues. 
In this Year of Mercy, what Catholics need Pope Francis to do is to share Christ's heart of love for all by creating a more inclusive church where all can follow their consciences without fear of punishment. This will mean changes in  church teaching in order to heal the wounds of rejection that all on the margins of the Catholic Church experience. Yes, all the baptized can give and receive mercy and compassion. In an adult church this is a two-way street.
 The Spirit of God moves in the people of God and they have spoken out in their struggle against injustice in the institutional church. . Some examples of reforms are obvious and mentioned above- the  bans on contraception , divorce and remarriage, gay, lesbian and transgender marriage and women priests.In conclusion, Pope Francis needs to embrace a broader agenda of mutual forgiveness and spiritual transformation that involves structural change and reforms in order to renew the church,  I give thanks for Pope Francis in beginning the dialogue to a more compassionate church. 
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org



"The pontiff has also said that he will allow all priests around the world to absolve women who confess to having had abortions, an ability normally reserved only to bishops. “I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision,” he added.
And in a striking move for church unity in expressing God's mercy, the pope has even granted priests of the schismatic and traditionalist Society of St. Pius X faculties to offer absolution of sins "validly and licitly" to those who approach them for confession. "

Monday, August 31, 2015

Homily for Dignity San Fernando Valley and Dignity Los Angeles.: "Right on Target" Mark 7:31-37, by Nori Kieran-Meredith, ARCWP

Nori Kieran-Meredith, ARCWP with local priests presiding at liturgy for Dignity 

             Every so often, we come up with a Scripture passage that needs to be reviewed line by line.  This is one such occasion.

            We begin with Jesus returning from Tyre and going towards the Sea of Galilee by way of Sidon.  This is the equivalent of starting in Portland, heading north to Seattle, and then dropping south to San Francisco.  That is a huge jaunt!  Scripture scholars estimate it took eight months.  Maybe Jesus just needed a whole lot of time with His disciples.

            In any case, a deaf man is brought to Jesus, one with a speech impediment.  We have to conclude that at some point this man could hear.  Otherwise, how would he be able to produce language displaying a speech impediment?  If he had never been able to hear, he would only produce garbled sounds.  A speech impediment implies some difficulty in understanding him, not a complete inability to speak.

            Scripture tells us that “they” are begging Jesus to heal the deaf man.  So we have more than one person speaking on behalf of the man.  It’s a fair assumption that he is totally puzzled about what’s happening, and so he may have been trying to speak, too.  No wonder Jesus takes him aside.  Jesus probably can’t hear Himself think.  Not to mention that it’s a kind thing to do.  Communication is going to be tough enough with someone who is incapable of hearing, and so Jesus is likely fabricating sign language on the spot.

            He put His fingers in the man’s ears.  We have a Scripture passage from 2nd Isaiah that reads, “The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.”  (Isaiah 35:5-6)  Jesus must be interpreting this literally, resting his hands on the man’s face. [demonstrate]  Then Jesus spits in His hands, moistens His fingers with His saliva, and touches the man’s tongue.  Now the man knows for sure what’s happening; this is standard procedure in those days for healing deafness and speech impediments.  The man’s focus on Jesus is intense, pleading, and Jesus’ efforts mirror that.  Jesus looks up to heaven – not hard to figure out what that means – and then He sighs.  Scripture scholars throughout the ages have offered dozens of interpretations of the meaning of that sigh.  But they are rather problematic.  Whenever Jesus has healed in the past, it’s just been a straightforward process.  So many of the interpreters find something theatrical in that sigh, but that just doesn’t suit Jesus’ style. 

            Perhaps we need another verb.  A second viable translation is “groan.”  To my ear, “groan” has something to do with a physical response, while “sigh” relates to the emotions.  Perhaps Jesus is finding this cure particularly demanding.  Maybe He groans because He is fighting to maintain the intensity of His healing touch.  He digs in His heels, as it were, as the healing drains Him of energy.  And maybe that “Ephphatha” is a cry to God for help in fully opening the man to healing.

            In any case, though, the man is healed, and Jesus enjoins those nearby to silence.  Fat chance.  The crowd no doubt hears the “Ephphatha,” even if they don’t see the cure, and they know exactly Who it came from.  And so word spreads like wildfire.  Which is aggravating, from Jesus’ standpoint.  He does not want to be deluged with people needing healing; that’s not the point of His ministry.  Rather, God is among the people!  Salvation is on its way.  That’s Jesus’ message.  And now people are going to get sidetracked with the miraculous.  Aarrrrggghhh.

            On the positive front, this is one of the most intimate scenes we have in Jesus’ life.  I’ll bet it’s one that He remembers vividly.  There is a powerful human connection between Him and the man He healed.  And they must have had so much fun talking to one another afterwards!  Can’t you just see the man talking nineteen to the dozen, and Jesus with a smile a mile wide?

            But what’s this got to do with you and me?

            That’s a tough question.  It took me a week to come up with something.  The obvious answer is that Jesus’ touch is healing, life-giving, and comforting.  And that’s still the truth today.  Except after a year out of work, it doesn’t feel like that to me.

            Let’s try another tack.  Perhaps the meaning is that Jesus’ healing is a process.  He’s not just flipping a switch on and off in our lives.  Jesus’ healing today is a matter of increments.  It often occurs in steps.  Just as His healing of this deaf man may have taken some time, it may be the case with His healing now.  Day after day, the Divine Physician assesses our spiritual life and supplies little bits of healing here and there, little fine-tuned adjustments.  Assuming our cooperation, every day we’ll find ourselves a little stronger, a little more understanding, a little more patient.  It happens so seamlessly that we’re scarcely aware of it.  We may not be headed where we want, but we surely are headed where He wants.  One thing I know is that after this year out of work, I’m more comfortable with ambiguity than I was before.  I can handle the uncertainty now far better than I could six months ago.  I can feel the intensity of Jesus’ gaze.  Who can resist that?  I melt every time, agreeing that we can do my life His way, even though I would vastly prefer it my way.  Somehow, all of this is a healing process which has something to do with an inner recalibration. It may not be my ears that are being unstopped, but something inside is gradually yielding to the Divine and for a reason.  I don’t know where all this is headed, but it is heading somewhere, and it’s bringing healing in its wake.  And so yes, Jesus is still healing today.

            The challenge for us is to cooperate, no matter what.  It’s particularly hard when we don’t understand what’s happening.  Trust is hard.  We need to recall that everything our God has done in the past has had meaning, and that today is no different.  You and I may be flying blind, but we are only the co-pilots.  The One at the controls knows exactly what He’s doing, and He’s right on target.  We need to believe that.  Amen?  Amen.  

           


"Des Moines Catholic Workers Support Women's Ordination and Open Communion" They Welcome Dialogue with Bishop Pates

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, ARCWP Presided at Catholic Eucharist 
Aug. 2015 Statement by the Des Moines Catholic Worker in Support of
Women’s Ordination and Open Communion
http://dmcatholicworker.org/post/127178057027/aug-2015-statement-by-the-des-moines-catholic

DMCW Contacts:
Julie Brown
515 330 2172
Frank Cordaro
515 282 4781 / c 515 490 249
DMCW http://dmcatholicworker.org


For several years, the celebration of Catholic Mass at the Des Moines
Catholic Worker has been a point of controversy with Bishop Pates and
others representing the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Des
Moines.

Most recently, in May of this year, Bishop Pates wrote us a letter
stating that the “privilege” of having Mass at the Des Moines Catholic
Worker has been “revoked.” The reason for this is that, in December
2014, Reverend Janice Sevre-Duszynska, who is a woman priest,
celebrated a Roman Catholic Mass at the Des Moines Catholic Worker. It
is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church that women may
not be priests.

In 2010, Bishop Pates also expressed concerns about the celebration of
Mass at the Des Moines Catholic Worker, chief among these being that
we invite everyone, including non-Catholics, to receive communion.

In response to the Bishop, we wish to let it be known that the Des
Moines Catholic Worker affirms the equality of all people, regardless
of gender, to be full members and disciples in any Church claiming to
follow Jesus; in the Roman Catholic Church this includes the
priesthood and other positions of leadership within the Church.

Likewise, we affirm that the Sacrament of Holy Communion should be
open to all who wish to participate, regardless of religious and
institutional affiliations. No one seeking reconciliation and love
should be denied the Eucharist. We believe that Jesus would not have
it otherwise.

We welcome dialogue about these issues. For those who may be
interested, we have included below links to the letters we received
from Bishop Pates in 2010 and 2015, and the 2010 letter from a
Catholic Worker intern that initiated our dialogue with the Bishop
about our celebration of Mass at the Des Moines Catholic Worker.


May 5, 2015 letter from Bishop Pates to the Des Moines Catholic Worker
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/33256149/DMCW/WEB/5%3A5%3A15%20Bp%20Pates.pdf

November 10, 2010 letter from Bishop Pates to the Des Moines Catholic Worker
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/33256149/DMCW/WEB/11%3A10%3A10%20Bp%20Pates.pdf

August 28, 2010 letter from CW Intern to Bishop Pates
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/33256149/DMCW/WEB/8%3A28%3A10%20Braydn%20Harsha.pdf

We also invite you to investigate the following links relevant to the
movement supporting women’s ordination in the Roman Catholic Church.

http://www.womensordination.org
http://www.womenpriests.org
http://romancatholicwomenpriests.org

----

Previous National CW Listserve postings regarding this issue :

News Release: Catholic Diocese of D.M. Statement revoking "privilege
of celebrating the Roman Catholic Mass" at C.W. House" p. 2 Catholic
Mirror, Aug. 2015
https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/Sy4Ar65IkcI

"No Mass for Catholic group after woman performs service" by Kim
Norvell, DM Reg., Aug. 25, 2015
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/B88Anzo86kA

D.M. Bishop "revokes Mass privilege" at DMCW - IA Public Radio -
Interview with Bishop Richard Pates - Bp. of DM Diocese and Rev.
Janice Sevre-Duszynska (6 min)
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/national-cw-e-mail-list/3SxqnmBgtqg


--

Sunday, August 30, 2015

"The Catholic Church Should Partner with Planned Parenthood to Reduce Abortions", National Catholic Reporter, , A Way Forward?


http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/catholic-church-should-partner-planned-parenthood-reduce-abortions
Bridget Mary's Response:This is a thought provoking article. The Catholic Church's prohibition on contraceptives plays a major role in abortions. I agree that this idea could be a win-win in reducing abortions, an idea that  everyone can support. Another reason, we need women priests is to change church teaching to allow effective family planning methods such as  contraceptives. An all male celibate hierarchy is out of touch on this issue. Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org

"Let's face it. It's time for the Catholic church and Planned Parenthood to try something dramatically different: to work closely together in order to reduce the number of abortions. It's time for a committee of national Catholic lay leaders and executives of Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to begin a sincere dialogue about creating a new way forward -- together.,,,
The U.S. bishops and their national staff are deeply and heavily invested in the view of Planned Parenthood as the evil opposition to a "pro-life" view of the world. Would the U.S. bishops as a whole be open to working with Planned Parenthood in a collegial, cooperative manner to reduce abortions? If Francis' wish for a poor church for the poor and one filled with mercy, the answer would be yes. However, it would take great courage and fortitude to pursue a national adoption strategy working hand-in-hand with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.
As we have seen during the past several years, contraception is very important to many bishops and they want nothing to do with it. Yet, Planned Parenthood, like most lay Catholics, has a different view of the value of contraception and it's a big part of Planned Parenthood's services.
Just this past month, the New York Times reported that dramatic success of the use of contraception in the reduction of teen pregnancies in Colorado. According to the Times:
Over the past six years, Colorado has conducted one of the largest experiments with long-actingbirth control. If teenagers and poor women were offered free intrauterine devices and implants that prevent pregnancy for years, state officials asked, would those women choose them?
They did in a big way, and the results were startling. The birthrate among teenagers across the state plunged by 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, while their rate of abortions fell by 42 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. There was a similar decline in births for another group particularly vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies: unmarried women under 25 who have not finished high school.
"Our demographer came into my office with a chart and said, 'Greta, look at this, we've never seen this before,' " said Greta Klingler, the family planning supervisor for the public health department. "The numbers were plummeting."
Would the U.S. bishops deny this vulnerable cohort free contraception knowing that an abortion is the highly expected result of an unplanned pregnancy?
Time to think big and with mercy
To date, the Catholic church is not thinking big enough in its attempts to reduce the number of abortions in the U.S. It never has, but that time has arrived.
Unless the Catholic church stands up and says unequivocally, "Let us work closely with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers and with every expectant mother who is considering an abortion and we will support all mothers who choose to keep their baby or accept every newborn child who was otherwise scheduled for an abortion but is delivered and given up for adoption, and we will work closely with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers and with the birth moms before, during and after the pregnancy," it's hard to take seriously the "commitment" the church has to reducing abortions.
The hardline protesters can still go praying their rosaries while holding their blood-stained placards in front of Planned Parenthood offices. Policy initiatives can still be pursued to reduce the number of abortions and to keep abortion available. And fundraising in support of the lobbyists fighting abortions will continue unabated, as will fundraising and lobbying efforts in support of the pro-choice advocates. All this is certain.
After 40 years of the same old hostile, screaming stand-off and in-your-face, finger-pointing between the anti-abortionists and pro-choice advocates, at what point do the futile anti-abortion tactics become morally complicit in each of the one million abortions performed each year? And when will Planned Parenthood's "pro-choice" mantra actually include enabling a pregnant woman to choose to keep her baby or choose to give the baby up for adoption?
In light of the intractable status quo, the real work of reducing abortions, a goal of both Democrats and Republicans, can only take place by a national Catholic lay-led and governed entity engaging the self-described compassionate Planned Parenthood -- and expectant mothers visiting Planned Parenthood offices -- in a way that builds up life and does not continue to tear it asunder.
Forty more years of doing the same thing is sheer insanity."
[Tom Gallagher is a regular contributor to the NCR and lead writer for the newspaper's Mission Management column.]