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Francis, the comic strip                                                               by Pat Marrin | June 1, 2016
National Catholic Reporter
Used with permission

A woman — and also a Roman Catholic priest

WILL CHABUN | September 16, 2016

Jane Kryzanowski remembers the day she got The Call.

It was 2011 and a female Catholic bishop — yes, there are such people — was in Regina for a workshop, describing her own spiritual journey — and something started “burning” in Kryzanowski‘s soul.

She felt “a real resonance” as the bishop talked.

The bishop noticed something and later asked Kryzanowski, “Are you the one I’ll be coming back to ordain?”

It was, Kryzanowski recalled, “like being struck by lightning.”

Tremors and shivers and “I think I broke into tears.”

After much thought, she began checking how to become a woman priest, trained but not recognized by what she calls the “institutional” or “traditional” Catholic church.

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Entrenched sexism and complacency in the church’s senior management

WILL CHABUN | September 16, 2016

Roy Bourgeois considered himself a good soldier.

He’d done a military tour of duty in Vietnam, then — his idealism awakened — became a Roman Catholic priest in the Maryknoll Order, specialists in foreign missions.

But as time went by, he became more and more disenchanted — first, with American political and military intervention everywhere, but particularly in Central America. There, the U.S. government trained counter-revolutionary forces through the U.S. Army’s “Schools of the Americas” military counterinsurgency centre — even as local right-wing militias killed peasants, priests and even Bishop Oscar Romero.

Bourgeois also became increasingly uncomfortable with the Roman Catholic Church’s own attitudes toward LGBT people and the ordination of women.

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New Canadian archbishop: A church in dialogue doesn't just mean 'yelling louder'

Joshua J. McElwee  |  Aug. 30, 2016

The Catholic church will only be able to create changes in wider society if it engages in dialogue with those outside the faith community by "deeply listening" to them on tough issues, says a new archbishop in Canada's Saskatchewan province.
Archbishop-designate Donald Bolen, who Pope Francis appointed earlier this summer to lead the Canadian archdiocese of Regina just north of the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota, said the church cannot expect to be heard just by speaking more loudly.

"When we're dealing with really difficult and challenging questions we need to be faithful to church teaching, faithful to the kerygma, the revelation we're given, but we need to bring that into dialogue if we want to be taken seriously and if we want to have an influence on the world," said Bolen, speaking in an NCR interview Thursday.

"It's not by yelling louder," said the archbishop. "It's by engaging in articulate conversation and challenging positions."

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Women Priests -- Answering the Call


See preface from the book by Catherine Cavanagh -- click here

Editor's note:  The author has given permission to download for free the complete 48 page booklet and read on your computer or e-reader

Click here for pdf format of Women Priests -- Following the Call


On May 12, 2016 Pope Francis  announced that he will create a commission to study the possibility of restoring the tradition of ordaining women deacons in the Catholic Church.

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

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         Regina Conference  
focuses on journey from silence to solidarity
Special to the RCWP Canada website | September 20, 2016

A devote Catholic from Louisiana for the first time made a connection between spirituality and social justice when he met a Canadian priest in Viet Nam.  Roy Bourgeois served his country's military and even was awarded a purple heart, but found his calling to the priesthood under the influence of Father Lucien Olivier of Quebec who operated an orphanage for children who had lost their parents in the war.

Only after three years in the seminary did Father Bourgeois join a protest declaring that the U.S. was wrong to continue the war in Viet Nam.  It was during his first assignment to Bolivia as a Maryknoll Missionary that the poor became his teachers and he realized his solidarity with them.  After five years Father Bourgeois was kicked out of Bolivia after being arrested for protesting the treatment of the poor.

Conditions in South and Central America became more oppressive and brutal during Father Bourgeois' tour of duty there.  Archbishop Oscar Romero, five Jesuits and two of their co-workers in El Salvador, as well as several priests in other countries, not to mention countless campesinos died at the hands of the military government.  Before he was slain while celebrating Mass, Archbishop Romero declared, “Thou shall not kill – Soldiers, disobey your officers who say 'kill'!”

Back in the U.S., Father Bourgeois continued to protest injustice.  This time it was the organization of frequent rallies at Fort Benning, Georgia, where protestors played recordings of Archbishop Romero's voice to South American soldiers who were being trained at the U.S. facility.  Over the years, 60,000 soldiers were trained there.  By contrast, year after year, the protest rallies, now called School of the Americas Watch, grew from ten protestors to 20,000.  As a result of the rallies and petitions to the respective governments, five South American countries withdrew their trainees from these facilities.

The SOA Watch continues until today.  In addition, protestors of injustice have turned their focus to the U.S – Mexico border to stand in solidarity and assist immigrants and refugees.

An injustice closer to home is forbidding the ordination of women

Special to the RCWP Canada website | September 20, 2016

After four years in and out of prison for protesting U.S. militarism, with lots of support from his Maryknoll Missionary community and bishops of many countries, the support came to an abrupt end.  Father Roy Bourgeois began to speak about injustice to women.

At a Regina public lecture attended by 56 people on justice in society and in the Roman Catholic Church, Father Bourgeois asked, “Who are we priests and bishops to say our call to the priesthood is authentic and women’s call is not?”  Quoting Joan Chittister, he asked how it was that God who created the universe is not powerful enough to call women to be priests.  In an all male clerical culture women are lesser.  Father Bourgeois insisted that you cannot address this issue until you address the issue of power.

Roy Bourgeois came to a point, he said, when I couldn't be silent.  He recalled an incident where he took advantage of his appearance on Vatican Radio.  He was invited by Vatican Radio to speak on the School of the Americas Watch and American foreign policy.  Five minutes before his allotted time was up, Father Bourgeois was able to declare, “An injustice closer to home is forbidding the ordination of women.  There will never be justice in our Church until women are ordained.”  Father Bourgeois said he was very much at peace after this incident at Vatican Radio, and it was not “a big deal” for Vatican officials until he preached a homily at a woman's ordination at Lexington, KY.

Eventually, over a three year period, Father Bourgeois was summoned several times by his religious superiors to explain himself.  He welcomed dialogue over the matter of women's ordination, but was repeatedly told that Pope John Paul II clarified the Church's position on the matter and that there was to be “no talking about it”.  The ban on discussing the ordination of women had the opposite effect.  The matter was being discussed widely.  Survey figures in the press reported 70% of lay faithful being in favour of the ordination of women.  Arguing from the sacredness of conscience and from the reality that his religious superiors were asking him to lie, Father Bourgeois stated that he could not obey an unjust law.  This resulted in his expulsion from his Maryknoll Mission family, and his “reduction to the lay state”.

The issue of the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church, Father Bourgeois told the accepting conference participants, I began to relate to the issue of racism.  Promoting and being in solidarity over such issues causes sadness and pain, but joy can return.  His main regret is that he didn't do this earlier. 

Concluding remarks during the evening conference presentation:  Our God is calling us back from our silence.  We need each other (community).  Sometimes we feel compelled to step out and make a statement.  It's painful to stay in our Church, but we are the Church and are called to walk in solidarity with others.  Change comes from the bottom up.  Oppressors will not willingly give up their power.  We must demand it in a non-violent way.

"Justice with a capital J is subversive."

"Injustices are not of God."

"As with racism, 'equal but separate' is a lie."

"We are capable of change."

"Prayer without action doesn't accomplish very much."

"Our silence is justifying the injustice."

"Regarding women's ordination, in 20 years we are going to look like a bunch of fools."  -- Andrew Britz

"What makes you think it will take so long?" -- Anonymous

"I'm sick and tired of giving priests, bishops and cardinals a pass."  -- Roy Bourgeois

"If I would leave them alone, they will keep on doing what they're doing."

"Giving women only some authority is like telling Rosa Parks that now you may sit in the middle of the bus."

Francis, the comic strip                                                                                                           Francis Comic Strip Archive
by Pat Marrin | September 8, 2016
National Catholic Reporter
Used with permission

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