An Anglican Perspective -- 3 articles:
40 years after the first Anglican ordination of women: achievements and challenges
Tali Folkinson | December 2, 2016
Four decades after the first women were ordained in the Anglican Church
of Canada, much progress remains to be made, say female priests who
profess to have struggled with everything from unequal pay to
inappropriate touching by some parishioners.
From November 28-December 1, 40 female priests from the Anglican Church
of Canada gathered at St. James Anglican Church for “Unmasking the
Feminine,” a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the ordination
of women in the church. For participants, the event seemed an occasion
both for celebrating the achievements made in advancing the rights of
women and being mindful of the challenges many say yet remain.
Rome has never
claimed that their own prohibition precludes that Christ can work
through ordained women in other traditions
Marie-Louise Ternier-Gommers |
November 16, 2016
of October was eventful on the global ecumenical front, in no small way
thanks to Pope Francis. A man of action, and cognizant of the power of
gesture and relationship, Francis spent October 2016 — inaugurating the
500th anniversary of the Reformation — in key encounters with leaders
from the Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, and the Lutheran
World Federation (LWF).
of Canterbury Justin Welby and LWF President Bishop Mounib Younan both
signed joint statements with Pope Francis; a joint statement with the
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill was signed earlier this year. Each
statement confesses the sins of conflict and strife over the past 500
years (1,000 years in case of the Orthodox), reaffirms Christ’s own
animating and salvific presence in one another’s traditions, and
commits its leaders and members to new paths of joint witness, prayer
and mission. Without glossing over disagreements still present, each
statement includes a clear commitment to address these differences by
“walking together” as one Body of Christ.
Question of women’s ‘ordination’ is still open in Catholic Church
Michael Jackson | December 7, 2016
Marie-Louise Ternier-Gommers [See article above.]
gives a thoughtful perspective on the question of the ordination of
women. She notes that in ecumenical dialogue Rome has acknowledged
“Christ’s saving action” in other ecclesial communities, including
those, such as my own Anglican tradition, which have women clergy.
However, Ms. Ternier-Gommers makes a blanket assertion that Pope
Francis has “reiterated the Roman Catholic ban on the ordination of
women.” In fact, Pope Francis, like his predecessors Popes John Paul II
and Benedict XVI, has ruled out ordination of women to the priesthood.
Like them, he has left open the question of female ordination to the
This position is consistent with that of the Orthodox and Oriental
churches, some of which have women deacons. Pope Francis has appointed
a commission to study the issue, among whose members is Phyllis Zagano,
an authority on the history and theology of female deacons. Until the
commission reports, and the pope comes to a decision, it is premature
to refer to a “ban on the ordination of women” in the Catholic Church.
Some Roman Catholic women who feel a call to the priesthood, like Ms.
Ternier-Gommers, have decided to seek ordination in the Anglican
communion and we trust that they will find a welcoming spiritual home
to nourish their vocation. Let us hope that one day other women may
fulfil their call to ministry in the Roman Catholic diaconate. —
Reprinted in full with the kind permission of the author:
Canon Michael Jackson, Regina
My Journey From Silence to Solidarity
book available for free as a pdf file downloaded here.
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.
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On Joining John the Baptist in Rebellion against the Religious Establishment (Advent Homily)
Readings for Second Sunday of Advent: IS 11: 1-10; PS 72: 1-2, 7-8, 12-13; ROM 15: 4-9; MT 3: 1-12
meaning of the Incarnation is this: In Jesus Christ, God hits the
streets. And preparing for that is the meaning of Advent.” (Jim Wallis.
“Advent in 2016: Not Normal, Not Now, Not to Come.”
A few days
ago I published a review of James Patterson’s novel, Woman of God. It’s
the story of Brigid Fitzgerald, a medical doctor who though female,
becomes a priest and candidate for the papacy.
her husband (also a dissident priest) decide to form their own Catholic
parish. They do so because of the studied irrelevance of the Catholic
Church to pressing problems of the real world. The two call their
congregation the “Jesus, Mary and Joseph (JMJ) Church.” They insist on
remaining Catholics not allowing their opponents to drum them out of
the church as just another break-away Protestant sect.
Church spreads rapidly, largely because it connects Jesus’ Gospel with
issues of peace and social justice. And though vilified by her local
bishop and physically threatened by right wing Catholics, Brigid
eventually becomes widely celebrated and is summoned to Rome not for
condemnation, but papal approval.
help thinking of Woman of God as I read today’s liturgy of the word
this Second Sunday of Advent. Like the JMJ Church, the first two
readings along with the responsorial psalm emphasize the connection
between faith and social justice.
today’s Gospel, the prophet, John the Baptist, like Brigid Fitzgerald,
initiates an alternative community of faith far from the temple in the
desert wilderness. John’s credibility leads “all Jerusalem and Judea”
to see him as a prophet. In fact, (as John Dominic Crossan has pointed
out) John becomes for the Jewish grassroots their de facto alternative
To see what
I mean, consider that first selection from the prophet Isaiah. It
directly links faith with justice for the poor, oppressed and
marginalized. In Isaiah’s day (like our own) they were typically
ignored. By way of contrast, Isaiah’s concept of justice consists
precisely in judging the poor and oppressed fairly and not according to
anti-poor prejudice – in Isaiah’s words, not by “appearance or
hearsay.” (A clearer statement against contemporary police and/or
government profiling can hardly be imagined.)
that, but according to the prophet, treating the poor justly is the key
to peace between humans and with nature. Centralizing their needs
rather than those of the rich produces a utopian wonderland where all
of us live in complete harmony with nature and with other human beings.
In Isaiah’s poetic reality, lions, lambs, and calves play together.
Leopards and goats, cows and bears, little babies and deadly snakes
experience no threat from each other. (This is the prophetic vision of
the relationship between humans and nature – not exploitation and
destruction, but harmony and mutual respect.)
surprising of all, even believers (Jews) and non-believers (gentiles)
are at peace. Today’s excerpt from Paul’s Letter to the Romans seconds
this point. He tells his correspondents to “welcome one another” –
including gentiles – i.e. those the Jewish community normally
considered enemies. (That would be like telling us today to welcome
Muslims as brothers and sisters whom God loves as much as any of us.)
responsorial psalm reinforces the idea of peace flowing from justice
meted out to the “least.” As Psalm 72 was sung, we all responded,
“Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.”
And again, the justice in question has the poor as its object. The
psalmist praises a God and a government (king) who “rescue the poor and
afflicted when they cry out” – who “save the lives of the poor.”
In his own
time, the lack of the justice celebrated in today’s first three
readings infuriates Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist. His disgust forces
him out of the temple and into the desert. It has him excoriating the
religious leaders of his day as a “brood of vipers.”
clothed as a prophet – in garments that absolutely repudiate the
“sacred garb” of his effete opponents – John lambasts the Scribal
Establishment which had normalized relationships with the brutal
occupation forces of Rome. As opposition high priest, John promises a
religious renewal that will lead to a new Exodus – this time from the
power of Rome and its religious collaborators.
I hope you
can see as I do the parallels between the context of John’s preaching
and our own. We live in a culture where those in charge contravene our
faith by openly slandering the poor and marginalized celebrated in
today’s readings as especially dear to God. I mean since November 8th,
all the levers of power (the presidency, the Supreme Court, the House
and Senate) find themselves in the hands of billionaires and their
friends – the 1% that the Occupy Movement identified so accurately five
years ago. Ironically that richest 1% has succeeded in scapegoating the
country’s poorest 1% (immigrants) as a major cause of our country’s
problems. Moreover, they equally vilify other poor and marginalized
people: the impoverished in general, brown and black-skinned people,
women, the LGBTQ community, environmentalists, protestors and anyone
who exposes the crimes of the billionaire class.
As a result,
we are about to enter a period of unprecedented national darkness that
promises to rival that of Germany, 1933-1945. For at least the next
four years our country will be controlled by an organization Noam
Chomsky calls “the most dangerous in the history of the world.”
dangerous than the Nazis? Yes, Chomsky insists. Hitler did not have the
power to destroy the planet by nuclear war. Hitler ruled Germany before
climate change threatened innumerable species, Mother Earth herself,
and continued human existence. And yet the entire Republican Party
denies that the problem even exists! Yes, it is the most dangerous
organization in the history of the world.
all of that, there’s not a peep about it from the pulpit. People keep
going to Mass as though the most important upcoming event is the
arrival of St. Nicholas at the parish potluck – or the Christmas bazaar.
So what should we do in the face of such disconnect?
How about following the example of John the Baptist, Brigid Fitzgerald and her husband?
This would entail:
that present forms of church are hopelessly disconnected from the
unprecedented tragedy and threat represented by the accession to power
of anti-poor climate change deniers.
Publicly moving out of our local church building.
Perhaps, opening a store front JMJ Catholic church on the Main Street Jim Wallis referred to in his article referenced above.
Inviting former Catholics, college students, and other disaffected church members to join.
Publishing the invitation in local newspapers.
Meeting in the store front for Eucharist each Sunday at the very times the local church celebrates Mass.
Empowering faithful women in the JMJ community to preach and celebrate the Eucharist.
the storefront on Wednesday evenings for prayer and to plan the week’s
acts of resistance to Trumpism in all of its manifestations.
Using those premises as a sanctuary for the bottom 1% threatened by ICE and police.
Objectors will say:
We have no authority to do this.
It’s better to continue our reform efforts from within.
This will only cause division in our church.
The status quo really doesn’t bother me, because I use the quiet provided by Sunday Mass to facilitate my own prayer life.
(If, like me, you’re of a certain age) I’m too old for such radical disruption of my life.
To such objections John the Baptist might reply:
“I had no
official authority to start my desert community of resistance and
reform. In fact, I was identified by the authorities as an enemy of the
state. Eventually they cut off my head. So don’t expect approval.”
within? “I gave up on that early on. So did my cousin, Jesus. Both of
us operated outside the temple system which we criticized harshly.”
our faith communities? “That didn’t bother me either. Can you get much
more divisive or polarizing than calling religious leaders a ‘brood of
into personal prayer? “The spiritual masters in my Essene community
convinced me that prayer and meditation are essential elements
undergirding prophetic action. However, pietism is useless unless it
leads to the kind of witness I gave and risk I took on the banks of the
“Again, my Essene mysticism would not permit me to identify with the
physical as if I were primarily a body with a soul. The truth is that
we are first of all ageless spirits who happen to inhabit temporary
bodies. The imperative for action is no less incumbent on older people
than on the young. Hell, the elders criticized me for being too young
to oppose them. I was barely 30 when they killed me.”
Jim Wallis has intimated, the specter of John the Baptist should haunt
us this second Sunday of Advent, and drive our faith communities onto
Main Street. These unprecedented times call for radical response
outside the sacred precincts and independent of the sleepwalkers
awaiting the arrival of St. Nicholas.
Reprinted in full with the kind permission of the author:
Mike Rivage-Seul, Berea, KY, Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies, Liberation theologian, Activist.
Doing an about face from the rat race
| December 7, 2016
Regina's Mary of Magdala Inclusive Catholic
Community sponsored a public
Advent Presentation and Discussion conducted by Craig Van Parys, local
Christian Ethics Teacher, Masters in Pastoral Studies, and Feminist
first session explored the socio-economic and psychological impacts of
the Christmas season, coupled with the current challenges of our
a brief overview was made of the socio-economic and political
background of the evangelist Luke's birth narrative, and an uncovering
of the subversive elements of Luke's birth stories as it applies to
third session explored what it means to practice Christmas resistance
within the socio-economic and political spheres as a Christian called
to discipleship, using Luke as our guide.+
Women deacons commission to meet in Rome
for first time next week
J. McElwee | Nov. 19, 2016 NCR
new Vatican commission studying the possibility of allowing women to
serve as deacons in the Catholic church will be meeting in Rome for the
first time as a full group Nov. 25-26. The
dates of the meeting, anticipated in recent months, was first reported
Saturday by the U.S. newspaper Newsday, which spoke to commission
member and NCR columnist Phyllis Zagano.
Francis' creation of the commission, formally known as the Study
Commission on the Women's Diaconate, has been seen as signaling an
historic openness to the possibility of ending the Catholic church's
practice of an all-male clergy.