Saturday, November 7, 2015

"Lessons in Giving, Two Roman Catholic Women Priests Reflect on Widow's Mites"

https://judyabl.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/lessons-in-giving-two-roman-catholic-women-priests-reflect-on-widows-mites/

Mary Mother of Jesus Homily Starter and Liturgy for Nov. 7, 2015 with Co-Presiders Alicia Bartol Thomas and Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP

left to right, Alicia Bartol Thomas and Bridget Mary Meehan, co-oresuders after MMOJ liturgy at Pot Luck supper

MMOJ Homily Starter, Nov. 7th, 2015 by Bridget Mary Meehan

Is God tapping you on the shoulder and inviting you to generous giving?

God is really good at tapping on our shoulders and asking for more–even when we feel we are tapped out- out of money, out of food, out of compassion, out of energy and out of patience to respond.

And it is not always, the big stuff, like the generous widows faced in our scripture readings,  giving her last penny or loaf of bread! Sometimes it may even mean making a donation or signing a petition to help someone in need. Recently, I made a donation, and less than a week later I received a check with almost the same amount, a total suprise and reminder that God cannot be outdone in generosity!




In my life, God usually taps me on the shoulder in nitty, gritty stuff or in the events of our movement for justice and equality in the church. 

I sometimes joke that the Vatican is the gift that keeps on giving when they engage our movement with excommunications and punishments, but, sometimes, the truth is I could use a little break too!


After several days of exhilarating work for gender equality at the Parliament of World Religions and a beautiful ordination of a woman priest in Salt Lake City, I was looking forward to a quiet plane ride across the country. I usually pray the rosary and then dive into a good book! I enjoy reading mystery stories on long plane rides that feature  yummy deserts. On this trip I brought along Red Velvet Cupcake Murder. Even though I don’t bake, as those of you who know me are aware, I could burn water and that is hard to do! Last week, I made green mushy jello because I forgot that when I put in the fruit, you don't need to add cold water! I was on a health kick adding the fruit!


But, back to my story about the no fun, frivolous read on the flight home from Salt Lake City to Atlanta.

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests faced a major crisis with the excommunication and dismissal of our beloved Sister, Tish Rawles from her Religious Order.

Before the plane took off, Janice Sevre Duszynska, our ARCWP media representative, and I wrote down what we knew about Sister Tish’s story. However, we had a challenge. We were seated in middle seats across the aisle from each other and so communication was an issue.

 Perhaps, God tapped the woman sitting next to Janice on the shoulder, or maybe she could not stand any more cross talk or the shuffling of papers across the aisle, but she gave up her window seat to Janice so that we could sit next to each other! Blessed may she be for her kindness!


Although there were a few surprises for us as the Sister Tish story evolved, we are now in the midst of a major campaign  to gain public support for not only restoring Tish to her order, and rescinding the excommunication, but also,  stepping into the Holy Year of Mercy with a petition to Pope Francis to drop all excommunications against women priests and our supporters. In less than two weeks, we are approaching 5000 signatures.  http://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/petitions/pope-francis-reinstate-fired-nun


In the mundane and important events of our lives, God speaks through another person’s needs or our own needs. When we respond generously like the widows, God blesses us beyond our wildest dreams!

So let us take a quiet moment of meditation: (soft music)

Breathe in love and open yourself to Grace tapping you on the shoulder...

In the depths of your soul, you may hear the soft, still voice of God speaking to you asking something of you....

“Will you do this? Will you give of yourself generously?
Will you love ? Will you forgive ?
Will you keep on keeping on, knowing that I am with you no matter what happens?
Will you trust that God's grace is moving in this situation, and that will always be more than enough?

Like the widows, in the sacred texts today, God taps us on the shoulder -each of us in big ways and little ways –many-times- inviting us to be face of God in the world and pouring forth abundant, boundless love into our hearts! 

As Nadia Bolz-Weber says in her inspiring book, Pastrix, “God comes and gets us, taps us on the shoulder, and says, ‘Pay attention, this is for you. Dumb as we are, smart and faithful as we are, just as we are.’” (Pastrix, p.57.)

Like the poor widows, may our hearts take comfort , and hope in God whose love and grace is always more than enough for us to be the presence  of God in every relationship and situation.
So the question is, Is God tapping you on the shoulder today and asking you to generous giving?
( Sing: “Let your heart take comfort, all you who hope in God.” Monica Brown, Chant)

Dialogue Homily: Alicia Bartol Thomas, co-presider and community


Dialogue Homily: Alicia Bartol Thomas

Hymns for Nov. 7th, 2015
Opening: “We Gather Here to Celebrate” by Mindy Simmons
We gather here to celebrate    one God universal
We gather here to celebrate     the joy within
In unity we celebrate…. The beauty of diversity
Come and Join us in our fellowship……Welcome friends.
                                                   
Verse: You are my sisters, you are my brothers
In the one divine mind we are one with each other
So join with me, in unity….let us celebrate our diversity.
(Repeat Chorus)
Responsorial Psalm: Let your heart take comfort, all you who hope in God.”
By Monica Brown, Chant)

Communion: “Heart of the Mother”
I am one with the Heart of the Mother.
I am one with the Heart of love.
I am one with the Heart of the Father.
I am one with God.

Recessional Hymn:  #646 Navy Hymn, Veterans Day

LITURGY:
ARCWP-B&W.jpg


Liturgy: Celebrating New Life as Midwives of Grace

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GATHERING SONG AND GREETING
Presider:  In the name of God, Midwife of Grace, and of Jesus our brother, and of the Holy Spirit, our Liberator.  ALL:  Amen

Presider:  My sisters and brothers, God loves us infinitely and is with us always.  ALL:  and also with you.
PENITENTIAL RITE

Presider:  Let us pause now for reflection.  Place your hand over your heart and breathe in God’s passionate love for you…breathe out God’s, extravagant love for everyone….
Open yourself to Spirit energy empowering you…

Now let us praise God by singing Glory to God…

Song of Praise: Glory to God, glory. O praise Glory alleluia. 
Glory to God, glory. O praise the name of our God. (x2)
OPENING PRAYER
Presider: God of Love, Midwife of grace, we experience your grace drawing us to new life in the depths of our mystical souls and in our prophetic call .We rejoice with  our brother Jesus, through the power of your Spirit.  ALL: Amen. 

LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading
Responsorial Psalm
Second Reading
Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia
Gospel:
Reader:  The good news of Jesus, the Christ!
ALL:  Glory and praise to you, Jesus the Christ!
                           HOMILY

Profession of Faith:  ALL:  We believe in God who is compassion in our world. We believe in Jesus, whose death and resurrection reveals God’s infinite love. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of Wisdom Sophia, who energizes and guides us to live Christ’s presence. We believe in the communion of saints, our heavenly friends, who inspire us to live holy lives. We believe in the church as the people of God, living in faith, hope and love.

GENERAL INTERCESSIONS
Presider:  That we may bring new life into our world, we pray
Response: God of all, love through us
Presider:  That we may foster healing of our Earth, we pray.  R.  
Presider:  That the sick may be healed, we pray.  R.   
Presider:  That we may be forever one with our beloved dead in the communion of saints we pray. R.   (Other Intentions)

PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS
Presider:  Blessed are you, God of all life, through your goodness we have bread, wine, all creation, and our own lives to offer.  Through this sacred meal may we become your new creation.  (hold up bread and wine)
ALL:  Blessed be God forever.
(All come around the table to pray the Eucharistic Prayer, background music may be played) 

Presider:  God is with you, abounding in love
ALL:  and also with you. 
Presider:  Lift up your hearts in Christ who lives and loves , heals and empowers through you.
ALL:  We lift them up to God. 
Presider:  Let us give thanks to our God.
ALL:  It is right to give God thanks and praise.
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER
Voice One:  Life-giving Love, You call all persons to be friends of God. United with You, we are one with all beings in the community of creation as we celebrate the new life occurring in our expanding cosmos. We join the angels and saints as we sing:

ALL: Sung “We are holy, holy, holy, you are holy, holy, holy, I am holy, holy, holy” chant by Karen Drucker

Voice Two:  Gracious God, you set the banquet table and invite all to the feast that celebrates your dazzling love in the universe.  As midwives of grace we are Your hands, lifting up those who suffer, the vulnerable and neglected in our world today

Voice Three: We especially thank you, Holy One, for Jesus, the Compassion of God, who came to show us a new vision of community where every person is loved and all relate with mutual respect.

Voice Four:
Jesus threatened the religious and political leaders of his time and so they put him to death.  As God raised Jesus to new life, we trust that your promise of faithful love will be with us in our suffering and raise us up to fullness of life. 

All: (please all extend hands as we recite the consecration together)
Let your Spirit come upon these gifts as we pray:
On the night before he died, Jesus took bread into his hands and said:
This is my body, he said. Take and eat .
 Do this in in memory of me.

Pause

At the end of the meal Jesus took a cup of wine, raised it in thanksgiving to you, and said:
Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life in you. Do this in memory of me.

Presider:  Now then, let us proclaim the mystery of the Christ Presence made new again through you:  

ALLIn every creature that has ever breathed, Christ has lived; in every living being that has passed on before us, Christ has died;  in everything yet to be, Christ will come again! 

Voice Five:  .  We thank you for ordinary people in our lives who show us how to love tenderly and have revealed the heart of our God, especially  (pause to remember and name some of these holy women and men). 

Voice Six: And so, liberating God, Midwife of Grace, we hold our religious ministers and political leaders in the light of Christ Sophia, Holy Wisdom.  We pray for our pope and bishops, the young and the elders, and all God’s holy people.


Voice Seven:  We remember those who are sick and suffering.  May they be healed and comforted.  We remember Mary, mother of Jesus, Mary Magdala, Peter, Paul,  Junia, our patron saints.  We remember our loved ones and all those who have died, that they may experience the fullness of life in the embrace of our gracious God.

ALL:  Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, all praise and glory are yours, Holy God, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

THE PRAYER OF JESUS
ALL:  Our Father and Mother . . .

and forever.  Amen.

THE SIGN OF PEACE
Presider:  Let us pray for the peace of Christ in our world as we sing and hold hands in a community prayer for peace (Peace is flowing or other appropriate hymn)

 LITANY FOR THE BREAKING OF BREAD
ALL:  Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power, we will do so. Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice, we will do so. Loving God, You call us to live as Your presence in the world.  We will do so.

Presider:  Behold the Body of Christ.  All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love. 

ALL:  Jesus we are worthy to receive you and become you for others.  We are the Body of Christ. 

Presider:  Let us share the Body of Christ with the Body of Christ!  ALL:  Amen.

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
Presider:  Life-giving God, You come to birth each day in our universe through suffering death and new life. Your Spirit is moving in us as we love passionately, and extravagantly to bring  your shalom to everyone equally especially the marginalized.
ALL:  Amen

CONCLUDING RITE
Presider:  Our God is with you.
ALL:  and also with you. 

BLESSING
(everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing)
ALL:  Holy One, Midwife of Grace, we bless one another as we serve others with loving kindness .

DISMISSAL
Presider:   Go, bring forth life as midwives of grace in our world.  Let the service begin!  ALL:   Thanks be to God.

CONCLUDING HYMN

God, A Midwife: Psalm 22:9-10 “Yet You drew me out of the womb, you nestled me to my mother’s bosom; you cradled me in your lap from my birth; from my mother’s womb, you have been my God.”
                              Bridget Mary Meehan
Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests
http://bridgetmarys.blogspot.com/






"Irish priests' statement calls for free, open discussion of church's exclusion of women" Sarah Mac Donald | National Catholic Reporter, Nov. 6, 2015

http://ncronline.org/news/global/irish-priests-statement-calls-free-open-discussion-churchs-exclusion-women

"The group, which includes some members of the reformist Association of Catholic Priests, said it believes the example given by the church in discriminating against women "encourages and reinforces abuse and violence against women in many cultures and societies." 
They highlighted that surveys have shown that a great many people are in favor of full equality for women in the church and all aspects of ministry. They also warned that the current situation is very damaging, and alienates both women and men from the church because they are scandalized by the unwillingness of church leaders to open the debate.


Fr. Roy Donovan, a parish priest in the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, is one of the 12 who signed the petition. He criticized the "massive fear of women" in the church which he said seemed to be "almost irrational at some levels."
Most priests, bishops and cardinals and the pope are "kind of brainwashed into thousands of years of seeing everything through male eyes," Donovan commented.
The priest, who ministers in the parish of Caherconlish-Caherline, added, "I think the synod in Rome has shown up the huge injustice and prejudice towards women. Two hundred and seventy men and not one women voted on matters concerning the family."
He said the synod has created greater awareness among people about how unjust this is. "

Bridget Mary's Response:
My Irish priest brothers, thank you for speaking up for gender equality in our church.  You have named the issue well!  centuries of misogyny!
"massive fear of women", "almost irrational, seeing everything through male eyes"
I hope that your courageous statement encourages priests and bishops everywhere to stand up for justice and equality for women in the church. I hope the dike of resistance has broken!
Our Roman Catholic Women Priests Movement is bringing renewal and reform to our church, one inclusive, egalitarian community at a time.!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
www.arcwp.org


Friday, November 6, 2015

"WHY WOMEN WERE NOT AMONG THE TWELVE" an Alternative Perspective CLARE JULIAN CARBONE, ARCWP, Fall, 2015


ORDININATIO SACERDOTALIS and CANON LAW 1024
In his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis of 1994, Pope John Paul II declared conclusively, "that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women". This papal proclamation was primarily rooted in, “the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his apostles only from among men.” [1] (emphasis mine) This position which presupposes that only males can image Christ and therefore God, is also the basis for Canon Law 1024, which states that “only baptized males can be ordained”
IS IT TRUE?
Is it true that Jesus choose his apostles solely from among men?  Scripture itself refutes this argument and validates the presence of women apostles, as well as deacons and teachers during the early Church. There are for instance, cited in Paul’s letter to the Romans, references to the woman apostle Junia, noted as “outstanding”;  and to the woman deacon Phoebe, also commended by Paul.[2] Perhaps most notable is the calling of Mary Magdalene, who in the third century was named the “apostle to the apostles” by Bishop Hippolytus of Rome in recognition of her formal commission by the risen Christ to be the first witness and messenger of his resurrection.[3]  Her apostolic proclamation to Peter and the male disciples began the Church’s fundamental message of Easter. There is little doubt that the Church would have acknowledged such a calling as yet another affirmation of a “male only priesthood” if it had been Peter, and not Mary, who was so commissioned by Christ. 
In addition to these assertions, the fourth chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, addressed to the women and men of Ephesus, upon reflection clearly ensures that both males and females are called as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and teachers not by virtue of their gender but by the redemptive work of Christ and the affirmation of the Holy Spirit.[4] This position is reiterated in Paul’s letter to the Galatians (3:28-28) in which he reasserts that in Christ there is neither male nor female. Neither gender, nor culture, nor nationality, nor social status, Paul admonishes, has any bearing on one’s capacity to be in Christ and therefore image him.
We may conclude that by Christ’s own choosing and through the power of his Holy Spirit, women as well as men were called to positions of leadership in the early Christian church.
WHAT ABOUT THE TWELVE?
But what do we make of the twelve male apostles named in the Gospels which Jesus seems to have selected in a particular way? (Mt. 10:1ff; Mk 3:13-19)  Was Jesus’ intention to promote an exclusive male lineage of ministry? The validity of the Church’s official position forbidding women’s ordination stands or falls on the purpose for which Jesus chose these twelve men. In calling them to follow him, did Jesus have an entirely different agenda in mind than what the Church has for centuries predetermined?
Let us consider for a moment that Jesus selected these particular men not for the purpose of suggesting that only males could image God, but rather for the purpose of initiating among them a new paradigm of consciousness. This new paradigm of awareness would involve a deep revisioning of the fixed patriarchal structures of his day, entrenched in the minds of his male companions.  It would require as well an initiation of great focus and intensity.   In this regard, we may say that Jesus’ intention in choosing the twelve and in living in close proximity among them was to model for them throughout his ministry a new way of being male, and a more humane way of relating to others based not in dominating power, but in self knowledge, non-violence and mutual loving service. If such a dismantling of the patriarchal structures of power and domination was indeed a primary intention in calling these twelve men, did the women really need to be part of this group and its intended orientation? Most likely they did not.
We discover much support for this perspective as we consider the teaching opportunities Jesus engaged in with his twelve male companions.  Basic to their initiation was Jesus’ instruction to not “lord it over” others, but instead to consider themselves “slave and servant”.[5] Likewise, he admonished Peter to put down his sword[6] and rebuked James and John for their retaliatory intention to call down a divine fire of destruction after being rejected in a certain village. In the NASB translation, Jesus hints for them to instead discover within themselves their truer nature[7]. On several occasions such as the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and the storm at sea, Jesus allowed his male companions to face their own fears, limitations and vulnerabilities while simultaneously inviting them into an experience of true Divine power[8]. Likewise, Jesus often challenged their linear way of thinking and rigid interpretation of metaphor, inviting them through the use of parable to consider a more soulful way to perceive their existence and experiences.[9] Finally and quite pertinent to this study, Jesus modeled for the men a deep regard and reverence for the feminine gender.[10]
We may confidently conclude, in light of these and many other examples found in Scripture, that Jesus’ intent in choosing the twelve was to liberate them from a well entrenched patriarchal system based in domination and power. Women were generally not the culprits of this mind-set - indeed were often the victims of it, and therefore were not included in the calling of the original twelve and the particular initiation intended for them.
LESSONS FOR THE WOMEN
Differing from his approach to the males we may observe a variety of examples in which Jesus acted to affirm and empower the women he encountered.  He often encouraged them to trust their inner guidance and not be intimidated by power. We find a poignant example of this with the woman who entered the exclusive dinner party to anoint his feet with her love-filled tears and express to him her profound gratitude.[11] Could this not have been the women caught in the act of adultery who even at the risk of further powerful male criticism found her way to thank this most compassionate teacher who had restored her life?
We remember as well how Jesus championed Mary of Bethany who chose “the better part” of being present to him, heart to heart, soul to soul in that most endearing human encounter.[12]  He also defended her after she too anointed him at a dinner party and was sharply criticized by his apostles. This event is especially note worthy when one considers that similar anointings recorded in the Hebrew Scripture were often given by male prophets and high priests. Mary it seems stepped beyond accepted gender roles, and Jesus it would appear defended her right to do so.  Likewise, in varying ways, throughout the gospels we observe Jesus encouraging women to stand up straight[13], to persist in their intentions and to not be dissuaded by male criticism or the unjust mores of a male dominated religious establishment. Such was his intention it appears, when he harshly engaged the Syrophoenician woman to remain determined for her daughter’s healing, and when he publically affirmed the woman with the issue of blood who dared to touch his garment, defying the social and religious norms of her day. [14]  As Jesus publically championed these women, affirming their right to challenge the oppressive mores of their culture, he thereby modeled to the twelve a new way of regarding them and relating to them. In all his encounters with both males and females, the realization of their truest nature, would be Jesus’ enduring intention. 

IN CONCLUSION
As noted by former president, Jimmy Carter, in the introduction to his book, A Call to Action – Women, Religion, Violence and Power, aspects of discrimination, prejudice, violence, physical and mental abuse, poverty and disease, “fall disproportionately on women and girls”. The Roman Catholic Church has a moral obligation to address these imbalances and the devastating effects they ultimately have on the entire planet. By allowing the full inclusion of women’s gifts, presence and leadership, the R C Church can extend a powerful message to the world in correcting the atrocities borne to this day by the female gender.
Based on the points of this study, it is my firm belief that the argument used to deny women’s ordination is a wrongly deduced argument and invalid in its presupposition that only baptized males can be ordained (Canon Law 1024). Jesus very likely chose the twelve male apostles, as we have observed, not for the purpose of excluding women from imaging God, but rather to transform the male understanding of power.  In this regard, he modeled for the men a new way of being male, inviting them continually to embrace the role of servant hood, non-violence and gender equality; and he consistently championed the women to courageously follow their inner guidance. Ultimately Jesus’ intention was to liberate both men and women from the false power of patriarchy and into the true power of Love. Following the Resurrection both women and men were called by virtue of the Holy Spirit to image Christ in the enacting of this Love. 
We may rightly conclude from this study that the Church does indeed possess the Christ-given authority to confer priestly ordination on women. Moreover, in as much as the world looks to it for moral guidance, the Church also bears an urgent imperative in the name of Christ and humanity to do so.





[1] Mk.3: 13-19; Mt.10:1-4
[2] Romans 16:1,7
[3] Hippolytus first described Mary of Magdalene as the “apostle to the apostles” in his Commentary on the Song of Songs, 25.6-7. See also John Paul II, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, # 16 n. 38.)
[4] Ephesians 4:7-13; Acts 1:8
[5] Mt.20:25-28; Mk. 10:42-44
[6] Mt. 26:52
[7] Lk. 9:54-56 (NASB)
[8] For instance:  Mt. 17:14-20; Mt.14:22-33; Lk. 22:54-62
[9]For instance: Jn.4:32-38. Note also the many parables Jesus used to teach his disciples
[10] For instance:  Lk. 7:36-50; Jn.4:1ff;Jn:12:3-9
[11] Lk.7:36-50
[12]Jn.12:3; Lk. 10:39ff
[13] Lk. 13:10-16
[14]Mt.15:21-28; Lk.8:43-48; Lk. 13-10-17; Lk. 7:36ff; Jn. 4:1ff

Petition: Pope Francis-Reinstate Fired Nun Friday Update - Over 4,500, let's go for 5000 today!!/Hit Link!

We are Church Ireland: "Fully Supporting Appeal by 12 Priests" on Discussion of Full Equality of Women including Priesthood, Irish Priests Rock Vatican Boat!




‘We are Church Ireland‘ fully supports the recent appeal by 12 catholic priests for a full and open discussion of the equality of women in the Roman Catholic Church including the opening up of all ministries including priesthood to women.

‘We believe that this exclusion of women from ministry and governance in the Catholic Church is an injustice which we cannot collude with any longer and we call on all clergy and laity to fully support this principled stand‘ stated Brendan Butler, spokesperson, We are Church Ireland.

Brendan Butler, 

We are Church spokesperson. Mobile  086 4054984

Twelve Irish Catholic Priests Call for Open Discussion on Women Priests by Patsy McGarry, Irish Times

Bridget Mary's Response:  I am grateful to my brother priests for their courageous statement for the full equality of women in the church, including women priests! You have crossed the Rubicon and are rocking Peter's boat! Well done and many blessings, Your Irish Sister, Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org
"Twelve Catholic priests have issued a joint statement calling for open discussion on the need for equality for women in the church, including where priesthood is concerned.


(Former President of Ireland) "Mary McAleese, Leader of His Holiness’s Loyal Opposition" by John Cooney, Dublin, Ireland.


Bridget Mary's Response: Former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese challenges Pope Francis to practice what he preaches. Mary McAleese is right about the failure of Synod to include the voices and votes of women who have changed children's nappies!
The Family Synod excluded women in decision making. No votes on any issues were cast by women! 
Pope Francis should invite passionate feminists like Mary McAleese and representatives from all nations and movements including women priests  to a Synod for Gender Equality!
 Now this would be a holy shakeup for the Vatican!
Special thanks to John Cooney for the good news about Mary McAleese's advocacy for a more inclusive church!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org
sofiabmm@aol.com

"The Church of Rome is constituted under the rule of a monarchical papacy and prides itself on not being democratic. However, in the more relaxed reign of Pope Francis there is a mood for change seeking a heavy hitter to break down the portals of male clericalism. Enter former President Mary McAleese, the de facto Leader of His Holiness’s Loyal Opposition.
Since her liberation in 2011 from the Phoenix Park as First Citizen, Mary Mac moved to Rome to pursue theology studies at the Gregorian University which she had begun part-time during her Presidency at the Milltown Institute from which she obtained an M A. in Canon Law. This addition to her many civil law parchments resulted in her obtaining a Licentiate in Canon Law at the Greg the following year which became a bestseller in the religious books charts, Quo Vadis, Collegiality in the Code of Canon Law.
The surprise election at the conclave of March 2013 of Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio created expectations that McAleese would be appointed by Pope Francis to the Roman Curia. This did not materialise. Instead Francis has come under siege from a series of tirades from an increasingly radicalised McAleese on behalf of women and gays.
In rapid succession she scolded Il Papa for saying it was OK to slap children who misbehave, and claimed it was “completely bonkers” for the Pope to ask the advice of cardinals, archbishops and bishops who constitute his “old boys club” on family issues. This consultative body of prelates, known as a Synod, met both last year and again for three weeks last month.
McAleese made international headlines when she insisted there was “something profoundly wrong and skewed” about asking “150 male celibates” without adult experience of rearing children to review church teaching on family life; and when Rome sent a questionnaire to the Catholic faithful Mary sent her own single “serious question” to the Holy Father asking just how many of his advisers “have ever changed a baby’s nappy?”   
When the bishops – including Ireland’s two Martins, Eamon of Armagh and Diarmuid of Dublin - presented recommendations in a 66-page report on October 24, Mary gave an interview to her biographer, Patsy McGarry, which appeared in the Irish Times claiming that the Princes of the Church ‘produced nothing new’.
In issuing her unilateral judgement McAleese was correct in that the bishops, while wanting to provide pastoral care to gays and lesbians, refused to recognise gay unions as marriages, but she failed to acknowledge a win by Francis over his reactionary bishops by being given flexibility to issue a declaration next month allowing divorcees admission to Holy Communion, a move which will represent a major rebuff to journalist David Quinn, who warned in the Irish Catholic that such a move “would be anything but merciful.”
No doubt, McAleese’s intemperance of language will be attributed by critics to her son being bullied at school for being gay, but this underrates her belief that canon law obliges Catholics to speak out against church teaching on homosexuality as an “intrinsic disorder” which spreads homophobia.
Few bishops have the intellect to stop her rocking the barque of Peter. She is gaining further eminence in academia as a Professor at St Mary’s University in London, while completing a PhD for the Gregorian. And the Lady even found time to present an RTE programme on All Saints Day on the 1400th anniversary of St Columbanus.

Mary remains unrepentant. As she said in Sydney, trying to be heard by the Catholic hierarchy was comparable to shouting at children: "If I'm yelling it's because you didn't listen to me when I said it nicely.”