Over the Vatican: Funds needed to update important film
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Thank YOU and please forward to other communities. My community—Kelly Ann Brown Foundation—gave $2000 last week. Rally your communities and make it a fabulous fundraiser!
[Debra Hannula, Novato, California, is director of the Kelly Ann Brown Foundation.]
Shady Ladies: Fore-mothers of Jesus – and of us
We are all familiar with Ancestry.com advertising products to search our genealogical backgrounds. Much of that research truncates with a male ancestor because the female family name is omitted in the records that were kept. Generally, women are not the lineage bearer of the family name. To my amazement, when I was doing some personal family research a few years ago, I found that my maternal ancestry bears the name of a woman. Back in 1580 it appears that the daughter of a noble family in Prussia - Brames - married a hired hand. How that came about is a subject of speculation. He accepted to assume the Brames name which has been carried on to this day through their descendants.
As we enter the Advent season, we become re-acquainted with the lineage of Jesus – born of a woman, born under the law. The Gospel according to Luke and Matthew are the only two that give a genealogy. Written for different communities, they are quite different because they have very different intent. The genealogy in Luke introduces Jesus at the beginning of his public ministry (Ch. 3:23-38) Luke maintains a more universal and cosmic lineage for Jesus by connecting him beyond Abraham and Jewish limits and beyond Adam and human limits to conclude that Jesus is none other than the son of God.
According to Matthew, the genealogy of Jesus is at the beginning of the book (Ch. 1:1-17). He grounds the life, the very DNA of Jesus, in the history of the Jewish people. To show that Jesus is of the line of Judah and of David, the genealogy runs from Abraham, the first of the Patriarchs, to Joseph, who was of the house of David. It is a carefully crafted, poetic expression of Divine presence in the lives of the Jewish community. There are three groups of 14 generations to emphasize periods of Jewish history: 1. the period of the Patriarchs (Abraham to David), 2. the time of Royal rule (David to the Exile and end of the Davidic monarchy), and 3. from the Exile through Jewish history to the very first century until he gets to a man named Joseph. After all that effort, Matthew says that Joseph really doesn't have anything to do with it.
Mary’s lineage is not mentioned, although she is the human parent of Jesus. Interestingly, however, four fore-mothers of Jesus are named: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. By the standards of the day in which their stories are told, these four women where sexually tainted women. Bishop John Shelby Spong refers to them as the “shady ladies”. Lest we get hung up on the innuendo implied, let us remember that each one, in her own way, is a midwife of grace to future generations and is remembered throughout Jewish history. They resonate in Mary’s acclamation, “All generations shall call me blessed.”
These are legendary women. Each woman’s story reflects a crossroad and turning point in the history of Israel and God’s covenant people. In each story God intervenes on behalf of the woman and empowers her to step beyond the patriarchal structures on which she must depend. She takes action at the critical point which ensures that the promises of the covenant are fulfilled.
It is faith rather than bloodline that pulses deep in the vein through Matthew’s genealogy. The stories of these women are stories of ingenuity, audacity, courage and faith. These women were vital to the birthing of the “son of David” the “son of Abraham” and “Emmanuel, God-With-Us” into the world. Their stories confirmed that without the intervention of Israel's Lord God Almighty, the hoped-for appearance of Jesus the Messiah could not have been accomplished.
A brief look at each of these women, their particular significance in the genealogy of Jesus, and what they mean for us is warranted. I'll continue the story in my next message.
[These reflections are inspired by the writings of Helen Bruh Pearson, Mother Roots (Upper Room Books, 2002), John Shelby Spong, Born of a Virgin (Harper SanFrancisco, 1992), and Elizabeth Johnson, Truly Our Sister (Continnum, 2005).]
[Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK is bishop for RCWP Canada]
Ordaining married men before ordaining women as priests perpetuates injustice
Nora Bolcon, Special to The Review | December 1, 2019
Some individuals don't like the question of whether to allow for ordaining women as priests before ordaining married men. Neither does Future Church as a group, or US Association of Catholic Priests or Voice of the Faithful. I have written to all of these groups and it is clear that what they really care about is getting married men into the priesthood. Many of our priests who may no longer serve, due to marrying, are on these groups' memberships. All three of these groups don’t deny that the majority of the married priests who are pushing the ordination of married men do not support women priests at all. You get that clear answer only if you bluntly ask for it. I was told by a Director of US Association of Catholic Priests that barely 50% of their group actually support female permanent deacons. These groups are misleading, in this area, as they intentionally give the impression that they would definitely push for women to be priests right after married men get ordained and women are allowed to be deacons, but this is not their true agenda when you press them on the subject. This is not an assumption on my part. I have literally written all three groups and all three stated that they could only get their membership majority to support ordaining female deacons. They act like they seek equality in leadership and are very careful how they word their statements in order not to lose the following of their youth and more progressive supporters. It is not where their hearts really are.
[Nora Bolcon, Pawtucket, RI]
Cardinal Says Rethinking Human Sexuality Is Important Task for the Church
Robert Shine, newwaysministry.org | October 21, 2019
A top U.S. cardinal has said it is “important” and “incumbent” that the church rethink human sexuality in a process of dialogue.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark made his remarks during an America Media-sponsored event titled “Pope Francis and the Future of the American Church.” The event was a conversation between the cardinal and America’s editor-in-chief, Fr. Matt Malone, who asked about Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge?” comment.
Advent with Richard Rohr
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Explorations in Love Beyond Personal Bias: A Theology of Friendship
“One day he [Francis] was riding his horse near Assisi, when he met a leper. And, even though he usually shuddered at lepers, he made himself dismount, and gave him a coin, kissing his hand as he did so. After he accepted a kiss of peace from him, Francis remounted and continued on his way. He then began to consider himself less and less, until, by God’s grace, he came to complete victory over himself.
After a few days, he moved to a hospice of lepers, taking with him a large sum of money. Calling them all together, as he kissed the hand of each, he gave them alms. When he left there, what before had been bitter, that is, to see and touch lepers, was turned into sweetness."
This excerpt from the Life of St. Francis of Assisi is the inspiration for this paper. Our community, the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, has been called the poorest postal code in Canada and other unflattering names. One could say, our community is considered a leprosarium by the rest of the city and the country. Unfortunately, we may be guilty ourselves of treating other community members as if they were lepers. That said, this work first explores two types of violence, eurocentrism and lateral violence, and how this violence is expressed as bias on societal and local levels. Eurocentrism is normalized and expressed as bias, while lateral violence is often unnamed and ignored. I aim to construct a theology of friendship that can move us to love beyond our personal biases. It is important to say at the outset that although this paper is expressed from a Christian worldview, it is based on the premise that regardless of whether we have a religious affiliation or not, we are all the children of one Creator, or for those with a more scientific bent, we are all created from the cosmic dust of the Big Bang.
Read More of this seven page paper
[Victoria Marie is an activist and co-founder of the Vancouver Catholic Worker. Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Inclusive Catholic Community, she is an ordained priest with the Roman Catholic Woman Priests Canada.]
Tracy McNulty, Special to The Review | December 1, 2019
It was great to meet you all and just sorry time was too short to get to know each other better. CTA Rio Grande Valley, you did a terrific job changing our lives – we are all the richer for what you gave us. I am truly grateful.
Several of us were able to go to Brownsville and cross the bridge into Mexico. I think I am still digesting and processing what I saw. At the hotel, we split up into a couple groups to drive to Brownsville. It was about an hour away. Upon arrival, we parked and met up just a few feet from the border gate to cross into Mexico.
See More of this borderland experience (20 pages of photos with captions)
[Tracy McNulty, Mason, OH]
Our local chapter of CTA/RGV had a "Border Experience" the week end of November 15,16,17. 48 people from various parts of the U.S. and Canada made this experience. On Sunday 18 people who stayed over through the afternoon made a trip to the US border with Matamoros, Mexico. One of the participants put together this post of pictures and narrative (Editor's note: See article and link above).
"I had never visited this border crossing. The situation there now made a powerful impact on me. This post captures a bit of it. Because I now am confident in Spanish, I made contact with people from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala."
[David Jackson, Edinburg, TX]
Yesterday at Eastside United Church, Regina, the Mission topic was the situation at the US/Mexico border and the Christian response to such a situation. We saw a re-enacted video of an interview of young children (about 4, 5 or 6 years old) appearing alone in a courtroom before a questioning Judge. They were asked if they had a lawyer, but none even knew what a lawyer was. So most were deported. About half with a lawyer were admitted. Hopefully into the care of family members?
You are the only folks that I know who might have a clue what’s going on here. How many such legal entry points for incoming migrants are there and have you ever seen one or attended such a hearing? Our table group felt sad and unfinished with this situation. Please tell us what you know, having been geographically close to Mexico during the winter.
Thanks for any related information that you can provide to us. (Editor's note: See message and article above.)
[Jean MacKay, Regina, SK]
Students of Creighton U asking Creighton to divest from fossil fuels
MikeG Productions, www.youtube.com | October 28, 2019
We as students of Creighton University are calling upon our administration and board of directors to uphold our Jesuit values by divesting (and reinvesting) the over $60 million we have invested in direct extraction fossil fuel companies.
The moral argument for this action is clear. Anyone who accepts climate science can see the importance of creating incentives for the market to transition to renewable energy by socially conscious investing.
Read More and/or watch five minute video
Clearer Vatican II vision: The church exists for the sake of the Gospel, not itself
Paul Lakeland, ncronline.org | November 6, 2019
"People of God," "sensus fidelium," "signs of the times," these phrases and more are the slogans by which most of us know something, if anything, about the achievements of the Second Vatican Council. It is rare that those of us who are not professional theologians or ecclesiologists go deeper into the documents where these phrases first appear and especially into the background history out of which the documents themselves emerged.
With the appearance of Ormond Rush's new book, we no longer have an excuse for settling with a superficial grasp of the overall meaning of the council.
Read More of lengthy summary
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