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Part of the great spiritual migration that focuses on the power of love and relationships, rather than rules and regulations to realize our potential

  July 15, 2019  
What is the path to true dialogue about gender in the Church?

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Daniel P. Horan, ncronline.org | June 26, 2019

The recent document on "gender theory" issued by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education bears an encouraging subtitle that calls for "dialogue." But the ostensible call is inconsistent with the tone and content of the body of the text itself. Titled " 'Male and Female He Created Them': Toward a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education," the educational document at once claims a good-faith interest in conversation, while portending a dismissive monologue instead.

You can't have it both ways.

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  • What is the path to true dialogue about gender in the Church?
  • Authoring Self: A Journey through Dreams to the Feminine
  • Trans-Mountain Lament
  • Women and the Diaconate -- A Debate That Won’t Go Away
  • Mary and Early Christian Women - Hidden Leadership
  • RCWP Canada Bishop's Message:  The gift of Mary to Jesus, the gift of women to the church is balancing the creative energy God offers humanity
  • Comments to the Editor
  • Jesus’ Extraordinary Treatment of Women
  • Vatican’s ‘Dumbed Down Version of an Old Argument’ on Gender Can’t Stop Changes in Catholicism
  • International Association of Women Ministers celebrates 100 years
  • Francis Comics
  • Comments to the Editor Form
  • RCWP Canada Website Links
  • Related Links

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RCWP Canada Bishop's Message

The gift of Mary to Jesus, the gift of women to the church is balancing the creative energy God offers humanity

July 22nd is the feast of Mary Magdalene.  It has taken the canonical church a long time to recognize Mary as the First Apostle, and Apostle to the Apostles.  The label of repentant sinner (prostitute) ascribed to her by Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great) in 591 was not easily put aside.  Further, it was only three years ago (22 June, 2016) that her feast was place on par with the liturgical celebrations of the male apostles as a major feast.

The contribution of feminine scholarship to understanding who this woman is and her role in the life of Jesus cannot be underestimated.  To name just a few: Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza, In Memory of Her (New York, NY: Crossroads Publishing, 1984); Karen King, The Gospel of Mary of Magdala (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge Press, 2003); Esther de Boor, Mary Magdalene: Beyond the Myth (Harrisburgh, PA, Trinity Press Intl, 1997): J. D. Quillan, The Gospel of the Beloved Companion (Ariege, France, Editions Athara 2010); Margaret Starbird, Woman with the Alabaster Jar (Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Co., 1993):  Cynthia Bourgeault, The Meaning of Mary Magdalene (Boulder, CO: Shambala Publications, Inc., 2010).  With the wealth of wisdom in this scholarship, it is no wonder that women who are called to ministry by Christ look to Mary as a model.  They see in her an understanding of the message of Jesus on a level much deeper than many of the male disciples. 

One of the lessons we can learn from Mary Magdalene is the power of conscious love and holistic intimate relationships.  In her relationship with Jesus, through an experience of respect and honour, mutuality and belonging, Mary's inner beauty is revealed as she moves from fragmentation - represented by the seven demons - to wholeness or singleness marked by integrity and integration.  She was able to leave behind what weighed her down and move to a liberating and abundant sense of belonging and of being loved.  “Her sins were forgiven because she loved much” (Lk 7,47) She “got” what Jesus was teaching, and she was sent as an apostle as the outcome of this.  She could carry the message. 

With the reciprocity of their love, Mary offered Jesus freedom from his early self-identification with the Nazirite role, which was one of self-denial, repression and renunciation as the spiritual path. As a fully human person, as well as divine, the experience of respect and honour, mutuality and belonging allowed Jesus to trust his heart and to know self-giving from abundance and love as the way to integrated wholeness. Thus, he was able to grow into the fullness of his humanity. 

Integrated wholeness of masculine and feminine energy and power is greatly needed in our time both in church and in society.  Systems of patriarchy promote male dominance and the belittlement of women. It manifests itself in sexual assault, domestic violence, economic exploitation and the entitlement of clericalism.  There is a great need for women to be valued as equal to men in their inherent dignity as persons created equally in the image of the Divine Creator.  From that foundation a society and church can be built that is just and equitable, where all share in the fullness of life. 

The gift of Mary to Jesus, the gift of women to the church is balancing the creative energy God offers humanity.  As we celebrate her feast, let us free the feminine wing of the Spirit so that the crippled bird can soar and bless all creation with wholeness and holiness.

+ Jane

[Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK is bishop for RCWP Canada]

Yes, please do add me to your alert. 

I often think of the RC women priests when I write about the early Christian women priests. I realized my research supported RC women priests, as well as other women clergy. In some early Christian communities it was the norm for women to preach, baptize, and officiate at the offering table. I have deep respect for women today who followed the spirit to become priests and then were illicitly ejected from their church home. They have courage.

Best wishes,
[Ally Kateusz, Rickmansworth, London, UK, is author of "Mary and Early Christian Women, Hidden Leadership".  See below for more information on this book and author.]

Do the homilies of Pope Francis at Santa Marta in L'Ossrvatore Romano, only appear months after they are preached?
[David Jackson, Edinburg, TX]

Editor's note:  Vatican media appears to have stopped publishing Pope Francis' homilies given at Santa Maria.  The link "Homilies" below has been directed to the Pope's homilies given during more formal occasions.

Cathy Genge's remarks to the CWL made my heart sing. My prayer is that every member of the CWL across Canada will sit up and take notice. And if they are looking for ways to "become the change they seek", they can ponder the suggestions Steven Lanoux makes, taking Vikki Marie as their guide. Blessings on these prophetic  voices!
[+ Marie Bouclin, Sudbury, ON, RCWP Canada, Bishop Emerita]

I hope Emil Kutarna's article will be sent to Pope Francis.
[Judith Pellerin, Regina, SK]

Great job on the article, Bill. Thank you for your commitment to creating it and for your enthusiasm about the United Church connections with Saint Brigid of Kildare Catholic Community and RCWP Canada -- which I share!

It has been a good and long association, and RCWP Canada has been so grateful over the years for the hospitality we've received from the United Church.
Thank you for sending it to The Review and to the Saint Brigid of Kildare Catholic Community Newsletter for publication. I know many people will enjoying reading it.

You capture the flavour of groundedness and communitarian spirit we all share, and which makes small faith communities 'run' and thrive.

Thanks also for including mention of Wayne Holst, who has also been a long time supporter of ours.
Yeah for connections and bridges, of which you are one of our main builders.
[Monica  Kilburn-Smith,  Calgary, AB, RCWP Canada Priest]

Thanks for using some of my stuff.  Also, for sending The Review along every month.  I do enjoy reading it – even though I may be grumpy sometimes in my comments on certain subjects.
[Nora Bolcon, Pawtucket, R.I.]

Jesus’ Extraordinary Treatment of Women

Barbara Leonhard, franciscanmedia.org | --

“I don’t think there is a place for me at the table,” a young woman told me a number of years ago. She was talking about how she felt in her Church.

Her comment has haunted me. The image I have of Jesus from the Gospels is of one who went out of his way to welcome women at the table and in his ministry. Read against the backdrop of first-century, Middle Eastern, Judaic culture, Jesus’ words and actions are strikingly inclusive.

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Vatican’s ‘Dumbed Down Version of an Old Argument’ on Gender Can’t Stop Changes in Catholicism

Mary Hunt, rewire.news | June 25, 2019

The past two popes insist, against mounting evidence, that the gender binary, male and female, is given in nature and blessed by God. God, a male after all, created them Male and Female. The Genesis account inconveniently leaves out the detail about the blue and pink blankets and onesies.

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Celebrate the Feast of Mary Magdalene with Women's Ordination Worldwide

Authoring Self: A Journey through Dreams to the Feminine

Book backgrounder for Book II in the Trilogy of Memoir by Pearl Gregor

Book cover photo

This is a highly provocative and original book about rebirthing the feminine soul through dreams, meditation, prayer and reflection. It is a combination of the experiential and theoretical rooted in both psychological and mythological research while firmly anchored deeply within one woman’s transformational journey. This book is filled with some of the many questions asked by a midlife woman in her search to recover her Self.

How much is Pearl willing to sacrifice in her search to find and heal the inner obstacles to woman’s psychological freedom? For it is said that entry into the underworld, the transformational journey of a soul, demands a very steep price. Learning to work with images, using active imagination and the principles of transpersonal psychology, Pearl grapples with the use of inclusive language, learning that she has grown up steeped in patriarchal religion, language and imagery. She learns she has been betrayed by her own life. Reading extensively only to find that the early church fathers consider women “flawed men,” “evil” and “responsible for the downfall of humanity,” Pearl struggles with the deepest feminist issues. Under the tutelage of wise teachers and many books, she finds that she can stand and speak without anger or tears in the face of the authority of man. She must heal her own molten inner rage.

Images of ancient patriarchal authorities from the textbooks of her many years of education appear in her dreams. She is faced with the fact that her own psyche has been colonized by the patriarchy centuries out of mind! Now, she must learn about the Truth from within her Self rather than the Truth of Authority. Dreams abound with multiple images from the depth of both her personal unconscious and the even deeper collective unconscious. When leaving New York, one of her guides says clearly, “Pearl, you must deal with your issues of church.” Suddenly, her dream world is flooded by images of ancient goddess religions, the dance of the feminine, the ring and the cosmic egg symbolic of wholeness. Some images, such as the yellow wallpaper, feel like direct comments from psyche on the gaslighting faced by women within patriarchal structures that rely on power, violence and beliefs in woman as “less than.” Progressing through many dreams highlighting the structure of her psyche and aspects of transpersonal psychology, Pearl works to integrate the spiritual and the transcendent aspects of her experience.

This is the story of the greening of the soul in the language of Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich and other ancient women mystics. The images are nurturing, frightening and deeply transformative. In her story, Pearl confronts the depths of oppression in a patriarchal church, government and social institutions. This work will appeal to those honest enough to seek to come to terms with their own complicity in the silencing of the Feminine in Western culture. This memoir brings to the surface the rage, anger and ugliness of her own inner world. It is the thesis of this memoir that relationships must come to honour the deep mutuality possible in the depths of the fully awakened person. Authoring Self beckons us to embrace the coming of the Cosmic Mary, the Cosmic Christ Consciousness. This is more than mere words. This is a life in practice. This work honours the beauty and the blackness, the good and the ugly.

[Authoring Self: A Journey through Dreams to the Feminine is book two in the trilogy of Dreams Along the Way. The author, Pearl Gregor, New Sarepta, AB, is a frequent contributor to The Review.  She discovers the toxicity of old, ancient traditions, and calling on every fibre of possible courage, continues her relentless journey.  Click here for an excerpt from Authoring Self and more information about the author.]

Trans-Mountain Lament

unsplash/Mike Benna photo     

Victoria Marie, Special to The Review | June 13, 2019

The State says they want to make things right with First Nations
Yet their actions lead to more and more desolation
Reconciliation’s just a word to those who hold power
As policies continue to make relationships sour

Many will suffer harm from the Trans Mountain endeavour
Burnaby Mountain folks’ lives will be changed forever
Air, flora, fauna and waters, all will be tainted
Devastated, so ravenous king mammon is sated

My heart bleeds for the Eagle parent pair
Nest closed off to boost stock price per share
Gone will be the sight of foraging mountain deer
Where will they go, when the trees disappear

Tears for the Orca disoriented by high decibel sounds
As the Trans-Mountain piledriver pounds and pounds
Plastic fencing pinned down in the sea with rocks
The intent, returning salmon spawning to block

Nature’s destruction, no concern to some humans
Whose aim is to extract and move diluted bitumen.
Like prophets of old, some spoke up without fear
acted against this destruction, voices loud and clear

Mammon’s minions destroy God’s gifts with impunity
Jail, fines were the reward of the prophetic community
Undeterred, these warriors pray and plan their next shifts
Nothing will stop them from protecting God’s bounteous gifts

It’s not Earth protectors who are sowing extinction’s seed
It’ll be wrought by Trans Mountain and minions unbridled greed
In defense of creation, today’s prophets shout out this cry
“Leave it in the ground or annihilation is nigh”

[Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie is co-founder of the Vancouver Catholic Worker, on unceded Coast Salish Territory. She is a priest, member of Roman Catholic Women Priests Canada, spiritual director, and pastor of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Inclusive Catholic Community. This poem used with the author's permission.]
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Women and the Diaconate -- A Debate That Won’t Go Away

Massimo Faggioli, commonwealmagazine.org | June 10, 2019

On May 10 Pope Francis had a long session of questions and answers in the Vatican with the 850-women strong International Union of Superiors General (UISG) gathered for their twenty-first plenary assembly. It was an important moment in the history of the ministry of women in the Catholic Church. The meeting took place three years after the previous meeting of May 12, 2016, which resulted in Francis’s decision to create a study commission on the women’s diaconate, announced on August 2016. Last May, in front of the assembly of superiors general, Francis announced that the result of the study commission was inconclusive, as there was still no consensus among the members about the nature of the women’s diaconate in the early church. The pope gave the outgoing president of UISG, Sr. Carmen Sammut, a copy of the commission’s report, which has yet to be published.

This is just the latest chapter in a story that begins in Francis’s pontificate with the bishops’ synod in October 2015, when Canadian bishop and former president of the Canadian bishops’ conference, Paul Durocher, proposed the ordination of women as deacons. It’s now almost four years later, and the issue won’t go away.

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Mary and Early Christian Women
Hidden Leadership

Publisher's Introduction

                                                                       Book cover photo

This book is open access under a CC BY-NC-ND license, which means it is free of cost to download the electronic version.

This book reveals exciting early Christian evidence that Mary was remembered as a powerful role model for women leaders—women apostles, baptizers, and presiders at the ritual meal.  Early Christian art portrays Mary and other women clergy serving as deacon, presbyter/priest, and bishop. In addition, the two oldest surviving artifacts to depict people at an altar table inside a real church depict women and men in a gender-parallel liturgy inside two of the most important churches in Christendom—Old Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the second Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. Dr. Kateusz’s research brings to light centuries of censorship, both ancient and modern, and debunks the modern imagination that from the beginning only men were apostles and clergy.

Access this ebook for free at:

Hardcover ($31.00) at:

International Association of Women Ministers celebrates 100 years

Editor, Special to The Review | July 15, 2019

IAWM's 100th Anniversary Assembly is in Pittsburgh, PA July 21st to 24th.

IAWM promotes, encourages and celebrates women in ministry. As women called by God to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, united in IAWM, their mission is to:
  • Support and develop relationships with women in ministry around the world.
  • Provide a forum in which women ministers from all races, nations, and cultures can come together.
  • Advocate for ordination of women.
  • Encourage women who are preparing for Christian ministry.
  • Preserve and honor the heritage of women in ministry.
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Featured Link

These excellent homilies will appear in the RCWP Canada website, linked by "Homilies" below.  Tipically they will be posted a week in advance of the Sunday.

Francis, the comic strip                                                                                           Francis Comic Strip Archive                
by Pat Marrin | June 25, 2019
National Catholic Reporter
Used with permission

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