News and Press Releases

Statement on Care of Creation

21 September 2019

We, the undersigned Roman Catholic Women Bishops of North America, express our support for international efforts to care for creation, to protect the environment and reduce the causes of climate change.

  •  We support the youth of the world like Greta Thunberg who are speaking out, challenging our leaders to take seriously the science of climate change and to take action now for the sake of the future.
  • We support the United Nations in calling leaders of nations to adopt concrete and realistic action plans that will reduce carbon emissions over the next decade and for the future.
  • We support Pope Francis in his call to protect the Amazon region as one of the great lungs of the planet and to address the needs of the indigenous people who are most severely affected by those who promote the exploitation of the natural resources of the region.

We call on all people of good will to learn about the environmental crisis we face and to adopt as a spiritual practice some effort to reduce one’s personal carbon footprint as part of a global effort to care for our common home.

 

In Christ,

+Jane Kryzanowski, Bishop, RCWP Canada – Regina, Saskatchewan photina61@gmail.com

+Suzanne Thiel, Bishop, RCWP-USA Western Region – Portland, Oregon

+Nancy L. Meyer, Bishop, RCWP-USA Mid-West Region – Brownsburg, Indiana

+Jane Via, Bishop, RCWP-USA Western Region – San Diego, California

+Jean Marchant, Bishop, RCWP–USA Eastern Region – Framingham, Massachusetts

+Andrea M. Johnson, Bishop Emerita, RCWP-USA Eastern Region – Annapolis, Maryland

+Merlene Olivia Doko, Bishop Emerita – RCWP-USA

+Sibyl Dana Reynolds, Bishop Emerita – RCWP-USA

+Joan M. Houk, Bishop retired, RCWP-USA – South Bend, Indiana

+Marie Evans Bouclin, Bishop Emerita – RCWP Canada – Sudbury, Ontario

 

Background

Throughout the world communities of faith observe the Season of Creation annually from Sept. 1 to October 6. This observance originated in 1989 when the Patriarch of Constantinople, Demitrios I, decreed the first day of September as a day of special reverence and prayer for the Safeguarding of Creation. In 2008 the World Council of Churches began promoting The Season of Creation and since then it has expanded throughout the world. In 2015 Pope Francis issued the Encyclical Letter,

Laudato Si, which has drawn even more attention to care for creation and earth as our common home.

Youth around the world, through Global Climate Strikes inspired by Greta Thunberg of Sweden, are adding energy to the Season of Creation by drawing attention to the urgency to listen to the science of climate change and to urge civic leaders to take action now for the sake of the future of our planet and all creatures.

Greta Thunberg brings this sense of urgency to the UN Climate Action Summit, September 23, 2019. UN Secretary-General António Guterres is calling on all leaders to come with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.

The Vatican Synod on the Amazon being held October 6-26, 2019 in Rome draws special attention to the moral responsibility of the church to protect the Amazon region as one of the great lungs of the planet and to address the needs of the indigenous people who are most severely affected by those who promote the exploitation of the natural resources of the region.

Call to Action

We call on all people of good will to learn about the environmental crisis we face and to adopt as a spiritual practice some effort to reduce one’s carbon footprint:

  • Refuse – make the choice not to generate waste in the first place
  • Reduce – make decisions that decrease the amount of waste produced
  • Reuse/repair – expand the shelf-lives of products; repair and reuse items
  • Replace – next time consider the recycled and green option
  • Recycle – reclaim the raw materials

Letter from RCWP Bishops Regarding the Sex Abuse Scandals

25 January 2019

To Members of the Planning Committee for the Clerical Sex Abuse Conference called by Pope Francis:

Reverend Hans Zollner, Germany
Cardinal Blase Cupich, Chicago, U.S.A.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Mumbai, India
Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna, Malta

The ongoing worldwide scandal of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up dramatically affects all of God’s people. Sexual abuse of any kind is a crime which must be reported and dealt with by civil authorities so that justice can truly be served.  Healing the spiritual wounds suffered by victims of abuse requires that Church authorities listen with the heart of Christ if the Church is to heal this wound to the Body of Christ.  Pope Francis has responded by convening a meeting of the heads of bishops’ national conferences in February. You are tasked with preparing for this meeting. We hope you will consider the following observations and recommendations.

Pope Francis has stated, “To say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to all forms of clericalism.” (Letter to the People of God, par. 2.4)  We agree that clericalism is a key issue because it maintains the Church’s clergy/lay structure, which is seriously flawed since it reserves decision-making to a small minority of unmarried men.  Unfortunately, they are more akin to a secular pyramidal corporation rather than a college of Apostles whose mission is to teach, govern and sanctify through sacrament and example, the whole People of God.  Real change against abuse must start with essential change to the Church’s clergy/lay structure.  Two changes we consider essential to restore the credibility of the teaching authority of the Church are the inclusion of women in all ministries of the Church and the end to mandatory celibacy.

We speak as women who love the Church and have accepted, in prophetic obedience to the Holy Spirit, to exercise a leadership of service within Catholic faith communities, tending the broken souls of those wounded by the Church.  We minister to victims of clergy sexual harassment, exploitation and assault, and to their families. We also journey with offending priests to help them find forgiveness and healing.

The absence of women in positions of ecclesial authority denies the Church the wisdom and insight women bring to the processes of discernment and decision making.  Patriarchal gender stereotyping silences the voice of half of humanity. Women know from experience that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is a primary carrier of the global toxic virus of misogyny and the violence it engenders. The cure for that virus is equality: the inclusion of women in all ministries of the Church so that men and women are equal partners in gathering and shepherding God’s people.

Further, if the Church would recognize the dual call to priesthood as well as marriage, the insights of family life would enrich the ministry of its priests as it does with its deacons. An end to mandatory celibacy would afford priests and bishops the emotional support and stability of family life (see Gen 2:18; I Tim 3:2-5) and would provide a role model for parishioners. This is not to say that we do not honor the charism of celibacy in those who receive it.

The members (women and men) of the international Roman Catholic Women Priests movement join their voices with all who hope that your meeting in Rome will produce the real changes necessary to restructure Church governance.  A conversion from clericalism and entitlement to service is imperative in order to heal the grave wounds to the Body of Christ and move the Church into the 21st century.

We earnestly pray that the Spirit will guide your deliberations and your decision making, to bring the Church out of the darkness into Christ’s light, “for the Holy Spirit Itself is a burning and shining serenity, which cannot be nullified, and which enkindles ardent virtue so as to put all darkness to light” (St. Hildegard of Bingen).

Respectfully,

Roman Catholic Women Priests:

+Marie Evans Bouclin, (Sudbury, ON, Bishop Emerita, RCWP Canada)
+Merlene Olivia Doko, (Pismo Beach, CA, Bishop Emerita, RCWP USA)
+Patricia Fresen, (Capetown, RCWP South Africa)
+Joan M. Clark Houk, (South Bend, IN, RCWP-USA, Great Waters Region)
+Andrea Michele Johnson, (Annapolis, MD, RCWP USA, Eastern Region)
+Jane Kryzanowski, (Regina, SK, RCWP, Canada)
+Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, (Pettenbach, RCWP Austria/ Europe)
+Nancy Louise Meyer, (Indianapolis, IN, RCWP USA, Midwest Region)
+Ida Raming, (Stuttgart, RCWP Germany)
+Sibyl Dana Reynolds, (Pebble Beach, CA, Bishop Emerita, RCWP USA)
+Suzanne Avison Thiel, (Portland, OR, RCWP USA, Western Region)
+Jane Via, (San Diego, CA, RCWP USA, Western Region)

On behalf of the members of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests:

+Olga Lucia Alvarez (Colômbia, S.A., ARCWP)
+Michele Birch-Conery (Windsor, ON, ARCWP)
+Mary Eileen Collingwood (Hudson, OH, ARCWP)
+Bridget Mary Meehan (Sarasota, FL, ARCWP)

Contacts:

Jane Kryzanowski
photina61@gmail.com
306-737-2927

Bridget Mary Meehan
sofiabmm@aol.com
703-505-0004

enclosed: A Litany for Renewal


A LITANY FOR RENEWAL

Compassionate Holy One…

In our season of brokenness, you call us to walk a higher road:

— As we follow the Way of Jesus, guide us as a community of equals, to build a reconciled and renewed Church for today’s world.

In our season of brokenness, we seek healing for ourselves and those who cross our paths:

— As we follow the Way of Jesus, may we embody his teachings of merciful and unconditional love, forgiveness, and inclusivity.

In our season of brokenness, the fervent needs of our brothers and sisters are before us:

—As we follow the Way of Jesus, open our hearts and eyes to fully witness the depths of human suffering. Inspire our courage and fuel our spirits with the grace of acceptance to embrace diversity, use our voices for the voiceless, and speak truth to power.

In our season of brokenness, nature and all life upon this earth are in grave jeopardy:

— As we follow the Way of Jesus, we pray for your people, especially those in power,  to cherish our natural resources and watch over your creatures. Help us to value and care for the vast interconnectedness and myriad threads within the fabric of your Creation.

Compassionate Holy One…

As we follow the Way of Jesus, make us hope-bringers, truth-tellers, and messengers of Peace.  Unite our hearts through our prayers, heal our brokenness, and inspire the co-creation of a vibrantly re-imagined and welcoming Church. Together, let us envision a blessed season of radiant wholeness…ablaze with Christ’s Love.

ROMAN CATHOLIC WOMEN PRIESTS

Africa      Asia      Europe      North America     South America

 

May 18, 2016
His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

Dear Pope Francis, our Brother in Christ,

In this Year of Mercy, we write to express our concern about the exclusion of women from ordained ministry in the Roman Catholic Church and the effects this has on the Body of Christ.

We are Roman Catholic priests, deacons, and bishops who are ordained in apostolic succession.  In 2002, our movement began when seven women were ordained on the Danube River.  Our international movement includes women who are qualified theologians and pastoral ministers.  Some were active witnesses of Vatican Council II and wrote petitions to the Council for admission of women to the diaconate and priesthood (see Gertrud Heinzelmann, ed., Wir schweigen nicht laenger! – We Won’t Keep Silence Any Longer! Women Speak Out to Vatican Council II, Interfeminas-Verlag, Zuerich, 1964, pp. 61-76).  Under the leadership of prominent scholars, they provided substantive theological research concerning the exclusion of women from the priesthood. Our engagement in the struggle for women’s ordination has been constant for more than fifty years.  Our scholarly research demonstrates that the exclusion of women from ordination is based on culturally conditioned, long-lasting discrimination, documented in many sources from church history and Sacred Tradition.  This discriminating practice continues in our Church today.

Nonetheless, God is freely calling women to priestly ministry, and we firmly believe that no one can limit the call of God (see 1 Cor.12:11). Church law (CIC c. 1024: Sacram ordinationem valide recipit solus vir baptizatus) is a formulation of man-made doctrine and structures, as is Church doctrine (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994)).  In 1976, the Vatican’s own Pontifical Biblical Commission found that there is no scriptural basis for prohibiting women’s ordination, yet this determination was never published. Why is it possible for man-made doctrine to override research that concerns the well-being of our Church and the will of God?

In this Year of Mercy, our hope is that you will initiate an open conversation with us to explore our lived reality and ideals of reform that promote justice for women in our Church.  We appeal to you, Pope Francis, to enter into dialogue with us concerning the future of priestly ministry in the Roman Catholic Church – a future that will include women as priests and will foster right relationships among the whole people of God.  We make this appeal in the spirit of your homily announcing the Year of Mercy: “No one can be excluded from the mercy of God; everyone knows the way to access it, and the Church is the house that welcomes all and refuses no one.  Its doors remain wide open.”

Mindful of our call to priesthood, we are following our consciences and acting according to our dignity as free human beings, made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27), baptized into Christ, and clothed with Christ (Gal. 3:27).  We act on the principle that “We must obey God rather than men.(Acts 5:29).  Our movement is growing rapidly, and we now have two hundred twenty-five members witnessing to and serving the people of God in twelve countries on five continents.  We are educators, lawyers, healthcare professionals, musicians, spiritual directors, authors, chaplains, counselors, and pastoral leaders. We minister with people who desire spiritual growth in a community of acceptance.  Our ministry is centered in Christ’s boundless love for all our sisters and brothers. We advocate for social justice through outreach to the poor, homeless, abused and imprisoned, the aged, the addicted, the victims of sex-trade and rape, and those who are marginalized and abandoned physically or spiritually. We find that people who are joining our communities of faith hunger for the spirit of inclusiveness and compassion that undergirds their new spiritual home.

Pope Francis, in recent months you have traveled the road from condemnation to conversation with the Society of Pius X, who denied the tenets of Vatican Council II. Their schismatic status was overturned by lifting their penalty of excommunication.  So, too, can excommunication be lifted from Roman Catholic Women Priests who invoke primacy of conscience in answering the Spirit’s call to ordained ministry in our Church.

We call you to action with your own words: “Who are we to close doors that the Holy Spirit wants to open?”    

In this spirit, initiate dialogue with us during this Holy Year of Mercy, and remove all ecclesiastical punishments, including excommunication, against our members and supporters; 

In this spirit, open wide the arms of the Church because we answer God’s call in prophetic obedience to the Spirit;

In this spirit, remove the barriers which separate us in our efforts to serve the people of God as ordained ministers;

In this spirit, illuminate the sacramentality of the Church that belongs to all the people of God through ordained ministers who reflect the whole Body of Christ.

Thank you for your attention to this appeal.

In the Spirit of Jesus, we are:

 

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Dorothy M. Shugrue
10901 Santa Margherita Lane, #102
Bonita Springs, FL 34135 USA
1-203-535-5444 (c)
1-239-444-0218 (h)
dottyshugrue@yahoo.com

Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA

Jennifer O’Malley
1057 E. Appleton St., #1
Long Beach, CA 90802 USA
310-408-9122 (c)
jomalley72@gmail.com

 Contributing Members: 

Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumen, Colombia

Barbara J. Billey, Canada

Michele Birch-Conery, Canada

Mary Bergan Blanchard, USA

Marie E. Bouclin, Canada

Silvia Brandon-Perez, USA

Mary Eileen Collingwood, USA

Olivia Doko, USA

Joan C. Houk, USA

Alice M. Iaquinta, USA

Andrea M. Johnson, USA

Caryl Johnson, USA

Nori Kieran-Meredith, USA

Jane Kryzanowski, Canada

Puanani Lalakea, USA

Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Austria

Bridget Mary Meehan, USA

Ida Raming, Germany

Sibyl Dana Reynolds, USA

Kathleen Gibbons Schuck, USA

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, USA

Suzanne Avison Thiel, USA

 

News Articles: 2015 – 2016

Conference Shines Spotlight on Women Ordained As Priests

ABC News

Friday, September 18, 2015
Watch video from ABC News and read accompanying article at:

http://6abc.com/religion/conference-shines-spotlight-on-women-ordained-as-priests/991237/

Meet The Women Priests Who Are Defying The Catholic Church

Meet The Women Priests Who Are Defying The Catholic Church

7 Arrested After Group Seeking Ordination of Female Priests Protests Pope Francis in Washington

7 Arrested After Group Seeking Ordination of Female Priests Protests Pope Francis in Washington

Source: Newsweek

By Polly Mosendz

 

Women Battle to Become Roman Catholic Priests

Women Battle to Become Roman Catholic Priests

Source: Al Jazeera America News Daily

September 7, 2015

Three women are ordained as Catholic deacons in Santa Cruz, California

Watch video at:

http://america.aljazeera.com/watch/shows/live-news/2015/9/women-battle-to-become-female-priests.html

Catholic Women Priests Fight for Inclusion -- For All

Catholic Women Priests Fight for Inclusion — For All

Source: NJ.com

By: Di Ionno

Read article at:

https://www.nj.com/news/2015/05/catholic_women_priests_fight_for_inclusion_–_for.html

  

For current news and articles related to the women’s ordination movement and renewal of the Catholic Church, please visit our Facebook, Twitter and Bridget Mary’s Blog. Bridget Mary’s Blog and the Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests operate independently of Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc. This third party blog is for informational purposes only. For semi-monthly news relating to the RCWP in Canada see RCWP Canada’s publication, The Review, at rcwpcanada.x10.mx

This website was created and is maintained by Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc. (RCWP-USA, Inc.), a California 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, as an educational and informational service to the public. RCWP-USA, Inc. promotes and supports the ordination of women and men in a renewed priestly ministry in the Roman Catholic Church. This website provides information about RCWP worldwide, with special focus on RCWP in the USA. Every ministry convened by a RCWP member operates separately and independently from Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc. RCWP-USA, Inc. disclaims any responsibility for the operation of these ministries. The biographical information and descriptions of the ministries are for informational purposes only. This website also contains links to third party sites. Such links do not constitute or imply an endorsement and/or sponsorship by RCWP-USA, Inc. RCWP-USA, Inc. is not responsible for such third party websites and is not liable for the contents therein.