Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Be not afraid

Some have emailed me asking if I was alright since I have not posted for a while. To tell you the truth I have been a little depressed for a period of time. I had such high hopes to be living under a President Kerry, a Catholic after my own heart. The joy I felt at hearing the first exit polls only to be crushed as state after state fell into the red zone. This was bad enough and I tried to cheer myself up by remembering this is only a four year term and thinking about the possiblilty of a President Hillary Clinton who though is not Catholic is very close to me spiritually.

With the death of John Paul II again my hopes for the next head of the church were raised. Not to speak ill of the dead, but I thought his papacy was initially promising but overall disappointing. Sister Susannah Malarkey sums up what I feel.
Well, he was socially progressive, and doctrinally conservative. Those of us who believe in the development of doctrine and the idea that even disciplinary laws of the church are made by humans believe that they can be unmade by humans. I think the pope just held the line -- perhaps feeling that the church was losing its moorings in this liberalism that he saw particularly in the developed countries -- in the United States, especially. He needed to sort of dig in his heels, which is what he did. Now, I think it's time to take a new look at some of these issues. Take the celibacy of priests, for instance. There is nothing in scripture to support that idea. The same is true for [the church's stand on] gay marriage. I think these decisions need to be looked at each time we have a cultural shift like this -- to see what fits and what doesn't fit.

What sorts of issues do you think might change?

Well, I think it's possible in the next 20 years that we'll have married priests. I think gay marriage is a cultural phenomenon that within 25 years will probably be recognized [by the church] as a legitimate union of love between two people. I don't see it ever becoming recognized as marriage per se, but [it it may be recognized] as a partnership of love -- and a legitimate one.

What about women priests? Do you think that will happen anytime soon?

No, I don't. Women in the church already have quite an effect, but as far as having any kind of position of real influence in the workings of the church, they simply don't. And if you watch these parades of priests, bishops and cardinals all coming down to carry the pope's body, and to officiate at his funeral, you don't see a single woman there. I think this is very offensive. Jesus treated women as equals, but if Jesus were on Earth, walking through this crowd of men, would he even recognize his gospel here?

Even though I kind of felt that I was setting my self up for disappointment I was hoping that the Cardinal-electors would truly listen to the Holy Spirit and choose a
a more progressive Cardinal. They unfortunately did not listen for guidance and a need for a healer and reconciler and I am not alone in my opinion.
  • The election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope comes as an enormous disappointment for all those who hoped for a reformist and pastoral Pope. -- Hans Küng
  • A spokeswoman for the Ordination of Catholic Women said the cardinals' choice would keep the religion locked in conservatism.

    "We were hoping for a pope who was listening to the hard issues and a pope ready to offer dialogue and with Ratzinger, unless a miracle happens, that will not be the case," Associate convener Joelle Battestini said.
  • Dr Collins was investigated for heresy between 1998 and 2001 following the publication of his book, Papal Power, which was critical of the centralisation of the church.

    "When it was announced ... I have to admit to a tinge of disappointment," Dr Collins said.

  • It would be hard to over-state the radicalism of this decision. It's not simply a continuation of John Paul II. It's a full-scale attack on the reformist wing of the church. The swiftness of the decision and the polarizing nature of this selection foretell a coming civil war within Catholicism. The space for dissidence, previously tiny, is now extinct. And the attack on individual political freedom is just beginning. --Andrew Sullivan
  • "They elected another Pope. It’s Ratzinger - the Goebbels of the Vatican. Un...believable, even for an organization as self-destructively oblivious as this one. Well, for Catholics and the dwindling number of Westerners who still take Catholicism seriously, it’s time to kiss the Dark Ages hello again...The medieval wing of an organization that just barely got over Galileo has now claimed the right to declare itself “infallible” (the irony of which they never seem to get). If you thought John Paul II was bad, wait till you get a load of Pope Torquemada Jr."
  • The Rev. Al Moser struck a similar note at Newman Hall near UC Berkeley. He acknowledged many parishioners in the famously liberal city reacted negatively to the selection of the new pope, but told them they have a responsibility to pray for him nonetheless.

    "We are equal before God, so we have a responsibility, certainly to pray, certainly to love," he told the group. "We are not apart. We are part of the church.

    "We are one family. We are together. We ask the Lord to send our spirits to Benedict XVI. We grow together in God's love."

    Parishioners reacted favorably to the message, but still expressed some regret over the choice of a pope who isn't likely to move the church in the direction they'd like him to -- including toward allowing priests to marry and women to be ordained. Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, served Pope John Paul II beginning in 1981 as head of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In that position, he has disciplined church dissidents and upheld church policy against attempts by liberals for reforms.

    "A lot of us were hoping for someone more liberal," said Diane Dietrich, a Riverside resident vacationing in San Francisco. She said she is especially dismayed that priests cannot marry, considering she knows three ex-priests who left their positions to wed.

  • Isn't it strange that in a matter of hours our faith has been transported back to the Counter-Reformation? The Torquemadas have no problem getting canonized now...
  • One of the Brazilian Church’s most radical social activists, Bishop Tomás Balduino OP, Bishop Emeritus of Goiás and president of the rural pastoral commission (CPT), was not optimistic: he said the choice of the new Pope would mean greater rigidity on doctrinal matters, and would lead to even greater centralisation. “You don’t have to be a prophet to see how things will be,” he said. “He will continue and deepen the line taken by his predecessor.”
  • "Catholics for a Free Choice is deeply concerned that the election of Cardinal Josef Ratzinger as pope is a strong indication of continued dissension within the church. The cardinal’s historic role as a disciplinarian means the tradition of the punitive father is maintained within the Roman Catholic church."
  • "The white smoke yesterday signaled that the Vatican thinks what it needs to bring it into modernity is the oldest pope since the 18th century: Joseph Ratzinger, a 78-year-old hidebound archconservative who ran the office that used to be called the Inquisition and who once belonged to Hitler Youth. For American Catholics - especially women and Democratic pro-choice Catholic pols - the cafeteria is officially closed." --Maureen Dowd
Even in this time of profound sorrow it is good to remember that we are not alone! That we still exist and our opinions have not yet been trampled down and that we can continue to dialogue to bring about positive change in the church. This is a teaching moment for us and a sign for use to revitalize our efforts. For once I disagree with Ms. Dowd that the cafeteria is closed. Those of us who believe in change for the church are the same today as we were yesterday and we are not going away.
(AP) A nun who was ordered by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to stop ministering to gays and lesbians called his election to pope "devastating" for those who believe the Catholic Church needs to be more tolerant on social issues such as homosexuality.

Sister Jeannine Gramick said the choice of Ratzinger, who as the Vatican's guardian of doctrine silenced her and Father Robert Nugent in a 1999 order, will likely prevent the church from "moving into the 21st century and out of the Middle Ages."

"It does not bode well for people who are concerned for lesbian and gay people in the church," she said.

Gramick and Nugent founded the Mount Rainier-based New Ways Ministry in 1977. The pair ministered to gays and lesbians, held retreats, published writings on homosexuality and the church, and traveled the nation to hold workshops.

The Vatican, which disapproves of homosexuality and gay marriage, investigated the ministry for years through its Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, a body headed by Ratzinger.

A 1999 opinion signed by Ratzinger said Gramick and Nugent's teachings were "erroneous and dangerous" and that they "caused confusion among the Roman Catholic people." Both were ordered to end their ministry. Nugent conceded but
Gramick chose to continue speaking out, eventually leaving her religious order.
Sister Gramick's example is just so praiseworthy and it inspires me so. That she has not bowed down under the heavy hand of persecution. That the inquisition headed by then-cardinal Ratzinger did not deter her from her vision. She did not knuckle down under the weight of an unfeeling male hierarchy but instead bravely fights on! Her example renews me We are not alone and I will leave you with some food for thought by theologian Maria Pilar Aquino.

...Globally, she said, "many people saw the hierarchical church of the past quarter-century and more as an institution, an absolutist monarchy, that lacked transparency as it operated among others nations in the halls and meeting rooms of the United Nations and elsewhere exerting what influence it could through its Department of State.

Large numbers of Catholic scholars and intellectuals, she said, show a clear "rejection of the outdated, imposed, and one-sided thought patterns of the Roman Curia and the Vatican as a whole. We feminist Catholic theologians profoundly disagree with the intractable position of official Roman Catholicism regarding reproductive rights and women's human rights," she said.

Today, instead, the Roman Catholic church is to me a site of struggle," she said. "This church will survive as a whole only if it has the vision and the strength to become a discipleship of equals as a whole. The major concern of the Roman Catholic church should not be that of exalting and glorifying any pope's figure, but that of radically transforming the structure of the papacy and the relationship of the Vatican State to the world. Only by doing that can the church demonstrate that it continues being faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Welcoming Canada

I found this article here and while they tried to paint this in a negative light, I saw it as nothing but positive.

The Canadian Religious Conference (CRC), the organization that oversees and directs orders of nuns and brothers in Canada, has released its annual list of priorities for 2004.

...The list includes two general goals to which the organization "recommits" itself: "To speak with a common voice on social and ecclesial issues of justice, peace and the integrity of Creation at the regional, national and international levels; to provide support and formation for leaders of religious congregations and to facilitate communication among them."

...The second set of priorities included speaking out, in conjunction with other organizations of religious "against violence of all kinds, especially the trafficking in women and children."

I would much rather here about the integrity of Creation than those whiners who always complain about women's choice issues.

Here is an example of the type of whining I am talking about.

...Hilary White, a Catholic writer and researcher living in Toronto said that she tried for years to find a faithful Catholic religious women's community. "There are only a very small number of religious orders in this country that could be called recognizably Catholic. A good litmus test is whether they are interested in pro-life activities and very few of them are anything but openly hostile. Most of today's nuns' interpretation of social justice means supporting the pro-abortion March for Women. I've heard it from their own mouths that they wouldn't discourage a woman from having an abortion, that that wouldn't be the 'Christian' thing to do."

Fr. Jim Whalen of Priests for Life Canada said "There really isn't the kind of support that we wish. Some individual sisters are doing pro-life work but are not often supported by their communities. It's a bad situation that isn't being addressed in the Canadian Church."

Get use to it. The Church is progressing beyond the state o moral edicts to be accepted by all but instead to a warm community embrace that affirms an individual conscience and does not try to hijack it. Of course if your conscience does not affirm a women's right to choose than you should do some deeper thinking.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Let them have it sister!

Sometimes I force myself to read blogs from those conservative minded Catholics. We are all so welcoming here in our worship space that it is easy to forget about those paleo-Catholics. It is good to be reminded that all has not changed to the good from the Spirit of Vatican II. That if we are not careful we could slip back into the unenlightened dark ages. On one of those conservative Catholic news blogs I ran across this comment.

Regarding the recent actions of Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs, I have one question that, try as I may, I can’t seem to answer?

Where does the Pope find these guys?

Sheridan’s actions boogle the mind and surely must test the faith of his 120,000 church members much more than they do mine, but I have to tell you, it is getting a little scary out here.

What are we to expect next?

The rack?

Fingernails being pulled out?

Wholesale burnings at the stake?

I would like to ask Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, one of the few voices of reason to expound on this subject lately, how Sheridan will be able to tell the sheep from the goats when they present themselves at the communion rail?

Will they have halos and horns, respectively?

It appears that the bishops’ idea of their June meeting being one of prayerful reflection and retreat is quickly evaporating.

Must be all that fire and brimstone.

To save themselves from utter perdition, I recommend that Bishop Wilton Gregory, as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issue a gag order, effective immediately, in the name of the entire membership of the USCCB, to be binding under pain of mortal sin - dare we mention excommunication - until the bishops’ meeting is called to order in Denver on June 14.

Here, here!

Sister M. Immaculata Dunn

Unfortunately her email was not listed so I could not thank her for such an inspired comment. What a scary thought of bishop's actually expecting their form of male-hierarchical orthodoxy among the faithful. That they would deny communion to people who believe in the woman's right to choose. Our Church has finally started to open up and be more inclusive and these Bishops would spoil our party.

Here is the Bishop's letter. He dares to steal our word "affirm" and then uses it to praise other bishops who would deny Communion to those of us who are the real faithful.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Setting us back

This story about Sister Maximillian is just so sad. We have worked so hard to dispatch the habit and to be able to wear clothes to blend into normal society. To walk down the street without people fussing over you or having any kinds of expectations for your behavior. Our strategy to blend into the world has worked so well that many nuns left those confining convents and became part of the secular world.

"It’s a privilege to wear it, really," says the sister of her vestments. "You wear it and you say so much, without saying anything."

What absurd nonsense. In the 1960s we reformed religious life and religious clothing. Since then neither theology or clothing have been confining. How will she ever be a serious runner in that outfit. What if her feet get tangled up in that rosary. That veil certainly can't be aerodynamic. A Nike sports bra and a pair of shorts would be much better. If you want to be more traditional, well you can pin some reminder from your religious order on it.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Womanist Theology

This article is very interesting. A convert to the faith has combined liberation theology and feminism and her experiences to create Womanist Theology. Diana L. Hayes was a lawyer in New York and is now a theologian at Georgetown.

Q How does womanist theology deal with Mary, Mary Magdalene and Eve?

A: They're all given a very different perspective on how they can be seen. There's that dualism of a whore or virgin that sadly still exists. Either role is not one a woman would want. Who are the models for average, normal women who get married and have children or who chose not to marry; for women who cannot strive for the perfection of the humble Mary, who never quarreled or fussed or had a bad day in her life? That's impossible; she was human.

Mary Magdalene was the first to receive the gospel. Somehow, that doesn't get talked about. [Pope] John Paul has called her the apostles' apostle. What would happen if these women were lifted up as different models, as challenging, revolutionary women? There are so many stories in the Old Testament and the New Testament that show women as prophets and judges. Let's read the whole Bible, so you can have some sort of dialog.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Right On Sister!

Llen Ryan of Marietta, Ga., washes a man's feet outside the Cathedral of Christ the King, Thursday, April 8, 2004, in Atlanta. A group of people gathered outside the church to pray and wash each other's feet in protest of Archbishop John Donoghue's ban on Atlanta's Roman Catholic churches from including women in Holy Thursday's foot-washing rite. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Maundy Thursday

I just got back from Holy Thursday Mass and I am so mad I can hardly think. I have heard of liturgical abuses yet I thought I would never have to see one. This was even worse it was liturgical gender abuse. It came to the time for the foot washing and up come twelve men. At first I thought that my eyes deceived me and what I was witnessing couldn't be happening, that maybe there would also be twelve women joining them. I looked again and sure enough it was twelve men and nothing but men.

My femininity cried out from the core at this shocking slight handed down to half of the human race. Now I know that the actual rubrics call for only men and that this ceremony is supposed to be representational of the Apostles and the institution of the priesthood. But I thought we were long past blindly following documents from across the Tiber. We know better and besides we have been doing a foot washing that displayed the proper numerical and gender equality for years and no one has stopped us.

The fact is women should be ordained and softening peoples reaction to this through as much gender inclusion in the Mass helps our cause. To relinquish even a little of this gender inclusiveness sends us back to the days of misogynists galore. We now have a gestalt in Apostolic tradition and the spirit is letting us know that it is finally the time for women to join their brothers in the ministerial priesthood. Priests and Priestesses co-celebrating together. Protestant denominations have already responded to the call. We need a modern St. Paul or actually Paula to go to the pope (Peter) and oppose him to his face until he relents in his sarcedotal gender exclusion.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Welcoming Communities

Here is a community that could become a teaching moment for all of us

To enhance the life of the St.F.X. community

through a welcoming Martha presence

conducive to the development of persons.

Wellspring offers an oasis experience to students, staff and faculty who come for quiet reflection and study, to eat lunch, to make and meet friends. All events and activities held at Wellspring are in light of its mission to serve the Xaverian family in the Martha tradition of hospitality to all.

I love just using the initials for your order's founder, St. F.X. Their retreat center also seems open to all spirituality and those on a God path. They have a retreat in Muslim prayer and this interesting topic.

The Universe Story

A six-session study exploring material that bridges the gap between ecology and Christian spirituality, using the book Earthspirit: Nurturing an Ecological Christianity, by Michael Dowd.

Michael Dowd is endorsed by Universalists and pastors a liberal Protestant church, so you know his ideas will fit right in to a Catholic retreat center.

This picture looks very welcoming to me.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Progressive works of mercy

My Sisters and I were doing some spring cleaning as is our habit (sorry habit jokes die hard even though we have long since given them up) and going through some storage we found some old prayer books. We sat around reading from them and had a good laugh at all the "boys in Rome" had previously tried to play upon us. We came upon the "The Spiritual Works of Mercy" which some of us still remembered from school as we were growing up. They were hopelessly outdated, yet some still had some vapor of practically attached to them.

Admonish the sinner - What a harsh judgmental phrase that betrays a lack of compassion, understanding and intelligence. This implies an us against them mentality separating out the human race between those who have the divine christ-child within and those who do not.

Instruct the ignorant - As a community we have attempted to do this. We have found that there are many in great need of being instructed by us. We have even ordered subscriptions to the Crisis, Wanderer, National Catholic Register and other periodicals and have spilled much ink writing letters to them instructing them in the correct viewpoint. Yet they have been hard-headed and resistant to our message.

Counsel the doubtful - To doubt is to be truly human. To cease to doubt is to become a fanatic and a rigorist. This very spiritual work tries to imply that there are some absolutes that you should not be doubtful of. To not be doubtful is to accept a hard-wired orthodoxy without deviation as your spirit might move you.

Bear wrongs patiently - There is some merit to this one and the practice of it can lead to a intellectual strengthening. We can despair in that the institutional church has still not allowed our inner feminine priesthood to come out into the light of the sanctuary. That women's rights are still seen by the church as women's wrongs. That the church is still more concerned about what goes on in the bedrooms compared to what goes on in the boardrooms. If we bear these injustices patiently we will show them true progressive witness.

Comfort the sorrowful - This is tied to the last spiritual work. Many of these hierarchical injustices can drive us to sorrow. We must nurture those who have experienced such actions against them and comfort them in the knowledge that progress conquers all.

Forgive all injuries - We must forgive one another. We celebrate the diversity of God's people and work to further an appreciation of our differences. Genders, races, classes, and religions must live in mutual respect if society is to flourish, unless of course they are conservatives.

Pray for the living and the dead - This very statement has the taint of the medieval theological construct of purgatory in it. That we are not already perfect and deserving of God's infinite love. Would God as a loving mother deny us the opportunity to be at her side upon bodily death. This whole construct was just an excuse for opportunistic males to get some extra money and influence selling indulgences.

To ensure that future generations of or community might not be contaminated with such theological drivel we organized a book "warming" with marshmallows and progressive holy ghost stories in order to rid themselves of the "offensive spirit" contained within.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Maverick Medium

WAYNE, N.J. -- The Rev. Janet Nohavec, wearing a long purple velvet dress and a strand of pearls, is doing what she does every Sunday.

During the Journey Within Spiritualists' National Union Church's weekly service, the former Sister of Charity demonstrates her power as a medium, after three decades of hiding it.

After prayers, hymns and a homily, the demonstration begins. Nohavec picks a woman out of the crowd of 45. Nohavec tells her the name Jim or James is important to her and that someone close to her died in a car or motorcycle accident. The woman tells the congregation that her nephew James died in a car accident; that very day was the anniversary of his death.

Gasps and whispers ripple through the congregation, which meets in a wedding chapel at a catering hall. Nohavec later explains the interaction between her and the recipients of her messages. "I need their participation to validate [the message]," Nohavec, 47, says in her office at The Angel Within, her metaphysical gift shop in Wayne. "If the message is going really well and the recipients are in the right place, I'm not going to get many no's."

... "The . . . goal is to have an alternative place for people to worship who are not fitting into traditional religions," says Nohavec. (article)

What I do not understand is why Rev. Janet Nohavec thought it necessary to leaver her order. Maybe the Sisters of Charity are not as future oriented as my own order. We would have no intrinsic difficulties with a spiritual alignment such as hers. All directed paths of a spiritual nature have their end in a god/deity/imagination flux.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Sister Christer

I found this blog by someone who I believe is a kindred sister, Sister Christer. She is a Dominican Sister of San Rafael, Ca. Don't be put off by the picture of what might at first glance look like her praying the rosary, it is actually a picture of her knitting. Even though this activity is a traditional and normally oppressive feminine stereotype; she seems to have integrated it well into her peace and justice undertakings.

My friend, Chad, says I should get a t-shirt that says, I Knit and I Vote. Hee. Peace and knitting seem to me to go hand in hand (or is that needle in hand?) Recently I caught a story on PRI about the knitters in San Francisco who didn't feel comfortable stopping traffic, so they sat down on the sidewalk and knitted for peace (link)

She also seems to have all the right links except for a couple of strange exceptions. She must have thought the title for Relapsed Catholic was someone of our mindset instead of that venomous Canadian women. At least the link to the Corner is not that right-wing NRO vestige but a wonderful progressive site instead.

Sister Christer posts reflections from a book by Robert Ellsberg. This book has the old-school saints but includes true Saints like Simone Weil and Van Gogh. From her side bar links I found this excellent review of this referenced book, All Saints : Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time

Reviewer: Jennifer Gagliardi (gagliajn@netcom.com) from San Jose, CA USA
I have always been attracted to books of "lives of the saints" but have always been disappointed by the author's "collection". Often the "saint" makes the collection because they were undeniably orthodox or their passion was plastered over to make them presentable. The collections were eurocentric, patriarchal, & pious reflecting a narrow, self-satisfied god. Ellsberg's "All Asaints" is happily all-inclusive, revealing the myriad facets of God, the Lover of Creation. The sole standard which the author seems to use is how the individual manifested his/her relationship with God by pursuing agape between desperate communities via prayer, mysticism, ecumenism, interfaith dialogue, social justice, political empowerment, education, gender equity, environmentalism, healthcare, journalism, communication, and good ol'-fashion "Speaking to the Truth". Ellsberg's "all saints" are people of passion & compassion--flesh & blood & spirit. The book is intelligently written, with suggestions for further reading. I unreservedly recommend this book. Seldom has a book so resonated with me--I read it before my evening devotions & it draws me into the heart of prayer. Kudos!

I am stunned by the ephemeral and intellectual beauty of this review and can admit to feeling envy for not writing it myself. I have printed this review out to laminate and meditate on the wonder at all of these deep and progressive thoughts contained in such a picayune paragraph.

In that same link section title Brain Food she lists at the top Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code"

Lighthouse to Wayfarers

Now married and no longer a priest, Woolever remains a communicant at St. Andrew, which bolsters his faith as a community activist. The parish has become a comfortable space for former nuns and priests, including Bill Cuddy, director of the Jail Ministry.

"As a lighthouse to spiritual wayfarers, our parish has tithed on a relatively meager income for almost 40 years to support the works of mercy," Woolever reflects now. "It has sustained a sister community relationship in a Third World country {Nicaragua}, offered liturgical space to a gay-lesbian community, inviting them to integrate to the degree they feel comfortable, worked for peace in the face of war-making, and stepped forward to urge a moratorium on the death penalty. By this we have set an example that other parishes are beginning to follow, as the clergy shortage deepens. While the composition of the parish has changed significantly over the years, the essential spirit and mission have remained. Holding to this vision should be a cause for celebration."

..."St. Andrew became a progressive parish," McSweeny notes, "and began to draw from all over Onondaga County and now includes a couple of families from Madison County."

According to St. Andrew's pastor the Rev. James Mathews, who also pastors St. Lucy's parish, the 250-family congregation is drawn by the progressive spirit. "That's why they assemble," he says. According to Mathews, that spirit is the legacy of Father Joe Kane, now retired at 80, "who was open to so many things. He would welcome new ideas and different ways of thinking about things."

The first lay homily in 1966 set a precedent that continues today. During petitions, two prayers offered, one for a woman's right to choose and one for the unborn on the same day underscores the uniqueness at St. Andrew, where a call for action-group lobbies for reforms within the church.

"We take care of each other," McSweeny says, "and then we move out into the community to take care of others." (Source)

This parish really sounds like it has a welcoming worship environment. I endorse the fact that they have dropped following documents from Rome as liturgical law and instead re-visioned them as guidelines instead. Allowing homilies to be more inclusive and not just the domain of the priest-conductor. Offering prayers for the unborn and for choice is the very model of the clear thinking and open-mindedness of the modern progressive church. I truly encourage "different ways of thinking about things" just as long as they are not those harmful traditional ideas. But since they have "offered liturgical space to a gay-lesbian community" I do not worry that such will happen there.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Change of Heart

I have had a change of heart with regards to commenting. I saw the hypocrisy of my desiring equality and at the same time to deny others the rights to interface in my mission sphere. So I will keep an open mind to any comments and will ask the feminine wisdom of Sophia to inspire my commenters.


BOTHELL, Wash. (AP) - A minister being tried by the United Methodist Church for being a lesbian said Thursday that her case could be a turning point for the church.

As she entered a church in this Seattle suburb for the start of the second day of her trial, the Rev. Karen Dammann said she feels no animosity toward her church or her jury of fellow pastors, who will determine whether she should continue her ministry.

"I don't take it personally. It's the process winding its way to a conclusion," she said.

I know how she feels. The 1960s were such a time of hope in the church where we expected the Holy Spirit to blow a wind of fresh air to wipe out the stodginess of traditional viewpoints. On my way into religious life I was told that soon we would finally eliminate institutional church sexism that placed a stained glass ceiling on women. That any day, finally the right to the priesthood would be accessible to all regardless of gender. We were assured that Vatican II would finally strike a blow for equality.

This hope for the time being has been crushed. As succeeding popes continue to oppress the divine feminine and to carry on its misandrist theology. Maybe the next pope will finally be the one to bring equality to the altar.

At least the Methodists accepted the democracy of the laity and finally allowed women priests. So just hang in there Rev. Karen Dammann. Your oppressed sisters are with you in spirit. I believe that once the Methodists abandoned the stifling weight of tradition on women priests it will not be too much longer before they do the same with sexuality.

Rev. Mary Biko has such a nice right to it. Hopefully I will live to see it happen.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

The Passion of the Christ Review

I was chosen by my community to be the guinea pig to go and see Mel Gibson's the Passion of the Christ to determine if it might possibly have any redeeming value.

It was no surprise to me that it did not. Not only does it cast the devil in the shape of a women it goes downhill from there.

Pilate's wife is shown in the role of giving towels to Mary. Could they not have dignified her with some other task? Why the action of a servant instead of the power-feminism and the influence she had over her husband? Then Mary is seen wiping up the blood of Jesus after the scourging. Again casting women in a reactive role and doing only menial tasks as a servant would do. This is just plan feminine stereotyping.

All the violence and blood was just extreme and pornographic. I know we have a crucifix somewhere in our faith community and it certainly didn't look like that. Nice clean porcelain with a couple minor blood streaks is much more accurate.

Trying to show us that the weight of human sins required such a horrible execution is just so judgmental.

Seeing Mary and Mary Magdalene at the Cross with the Apostle John only reminded me of the narrow-mindedness of the church. Two out of three were women at the cross yet we are barred by a male dominated hierarchy from the priesthood. Is this equality? Is this what Jesus truly wanted. But we have always been treated as such by the male church. When Mary Magdalene reported to the Apostles on Easter that Jesus had risen, did they believe her. When a women in a priestly role anointed the foot of Jesus all the males complained about this action. But Jesus said he wanted it to be remembered for all time. He wanted us to remember that women could anoint also in their feminine priesthood.

Stay away from this film if you want to retain your faith.

Commonweal comes through

Rachelle Linner a writer at Commonweal has done an article on St. Blogs Church subtitled "America’s most vibrant parish?" Finally a view of common sense view I can agree with on the weblogs that pass themselves off as Catholic thought.

St. Blog’s, with some exceptions, tilts decidedly to the conservative side of the Catholic culture wars. The tenor of a site can frequently be ascertained from its title or tag line—The Fifth Column (“Orthodox Catholic commentary on current events”), Magisterial Fidelity, Against the Grain (authored by the man who maintains the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club). One gets a quick sense of a blog’s politics from the organizations its author provides links to. This is not unlike checking out the publication rack in the back of a church; regrettably, in this electronic parish rack, Commonweal is less visible than Crisis and First Things.

....Curiously, women religious are absent from St. Blog’s. An absence explained by the conservative bent of many blogs, or just a function of statistics?

Obviously she was not able to find my weblog. This is understandable since this fascist conservative blogs have not been enlightened enough to link to me. They have a lack of understanding of true social justice and they are not egalitarian enough to place me on their blogrolls. Are they afraid that people subjected to the truth of the progressives in the Catholic Church's point of view might cause their readership to abandon them for more fruitful shores.

The traditionalist blogs are one response to the weakening of Christian certainty—in this case, a negative response—one that often displays a judgmental attitude and a corrosive cynicism about the “secular” world. There are other ways to respond to the erosion of certainty. It could be an invitation for growth in faith, a need to rely on the fruits of the Holy Spirit (especially charity and patience), and a relaxed awareness that it’s not our responsibility to separate the wheat from the tares.

I could not have said it better. Thank you Ms. Linner.

Preparation for Lent

In the tradition of the church during the time of Lent the Gloria, Alleluia and the Te Deum are not said.

Since we never do these in our faith community anyway, this was not much of a penitential act.

One of our sisters jokingly said that we should give up saying "affirming" during Lent. This would be a very harsh penitential act. But if this will help us to be better sisters in the pursuit of ecological stewardship and social justice then this would be a very affirming act. Oh, I guess this penance will be harder than I thought.

Friday, February 20, 2004


Unfortunately the prospective postulant did not turn out to be at all what we hoped. The interview went badly.

It started out with her making the statement "I am loyal to the Magisterium of the Church" as if she expected that we would want her to even say such a thing. We let this go by at first as possible interview jitters. Later she said that she looked forward to long hours of prayer in front of abortion clinics. We told her that she must be mistaken. She obviously must have meant in front of military bases or at the locus-of-evil the US Army School of Americas (SOA). She did not even seem to be enthused at the idea of throwing her own blood on missiles at a silo.

Quite a disappointment. We tried to disabuse her of her errors and lack of prudence in the selection of topics for religious idealism. She seemed suffer from a need to have her desires for order and authority activated by a hierarchical Church and the belief an unalterable moral truths. She was very firm in these errors and surprisingly we were not able to affirm her but had to send her packing. Very traumatic for our faith community.

I am tempted to ask God why he has not sent us vocations. That he has continues to make pre-Vatican II style communities grow but us who truly understand God he has sent naught. Is this our trial in the wilderness. Have we not been affirming to the degree that we should have. Have we not praised God in our annual Earth Day Masses to a competent degree? Have we not strived for social justice and nurturing relationships to the exclusion of any reward? We must have been found lacking, but we will not despair and trust more in Gods' will.

We have displayed ourselves as the very modern of communities. Our philosophy could not cause any disagreement among the campuses or the philosophy department. Our web sites show us as the caring community we are. So if we do not receive any vocations it surely couldn't be anything we are doing. God must be testing our obedience to his progressive way. To see if we might not affirm him in the end if we did not persevere.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Great News

Our faith community surprisingly has suffered from a dearth of vocations to the religious life. Our Christianity should not be offensive to anybody of the modern persuasion. We are life-affirming to all and are not judgmental on anything they might done previously to entering our order. Even a previous tendency toward conservatism and old-church modal thinking could receive a dispensation from us if it was truly no longer affirmed.

Today we received a letter from somebody desiring to "Come and see" our faith community. This is great news though the novice-master has long since died. It has been so long that we have not even come up with a new term to replace the ancient terminology of novice-master. I might suggest novice-affirmer at the next chapter to replace this outdated term.

We are all waiting in joyful anticipation for the arrival of this prospective new member of our faith community.

Saturday, February 14, 2004


Some have emailed me asking why I do not have comments on my site.

There are various reasons for this being the case. For one thing I don't like the judgmental and non-affirming saint logo-type that appears in the name of the dominant commenting software Halo-Scan. What about commenter's that don't have a positive halo-image of themselves?

Second, I have a Type 9 Enneagram personality "The Peacemaker" Commenter's of other Enneagram personality types might not be as receptive and affirming of my belief and faith system.

Third, I have multiple PhDs and most of my commenter's do not. Those that also have multiple PhDs will only affirm my conclusions and might upset my humility balance. So it is better that I do not have comments.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Words to reflect

I found these thought provoking words by Sister Rita Larivee of the National Catholic Reporter.

Second-tier thinking must move us from relativism to holism, from pluralism to integralism. Differences and pluralities must be integrated into interdependent and natural flows. Egalitarianism must be complemented with natural degrees of ranking and excellence. Knowledge and competency must exceed power and status. A new spirituality must emerge that integrates within itself the "meshwork" of all of existence.

These words really nuance the reflective view of my self-paradigm and are very soul nurturing. These thoughts are really what was intended for religious life actuation.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Still alone

I had thought that I might have found a comrade when I found The Theoscope, a blog by a woman preparing for the religious life. Unfortunately not only does she have a quote of the pope at the top but even a rather triumphal picture of him. In a post she even makes fun of communities with a "more enlightened mindset." She speaks negatively of those like use who have eschewed the habit, as if the habit has helped anyone toward inclusiveness or impacted their worship-spaces positively.

These conservative Catholic women bloggers makes me wonder about the difference between narrativity and sexual identity.

I must continue in this sphere of influence to positively create change in the mindset of this blog-community. Please pray that they may re-imagine a world of a more ecological and justice inclinded nature.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

First Entry

Hi I am Sister Mary Biko and this is my first entry into the world of the electronic parish. In my research on the existence of Catholics participating in the community of amateur writers in what is known collectively as the blogosphere, I have found some surprising results. The term blog is a shortening of the term web log and is the main term employed for these electronic diaries or what is also known as personal publishing. In the dialectic of language employed by self-identified Catholics I found a common element of pre-Vatican II church idealism. I had no idea that people such as these still existed.

I belong to an order of sisters called The Sisters of Divine Progressiveness. God is Progress. The history of the world from the first word God spoke to now is the progress of inventive community imaging their future. I live in a vibrant faith community of forty-five sister between the ages of fifty and eighty-five, which is more vibrant now that most members have left for the secular world or have fallen into the trap of regressive traditionalism.

Being among so many that thought correctly as I do, I was unprepared for this entity known as St. Blogs. The dominance of conservative and male hierarchal dominated thought was a paradigm and mirror of ages past. This is to be expected of Neanderthal males longing for an age of male power, but surprisingly this trend exists also in blogs by women. These women seem outwardly intelligent yet they proudly identify themselves as stay-at-home mothers. Even the professionals among them seem to parrot the most mindless of submissiveness to the Vatican. Sarcasm is not a family value.

I realized that this was a teaching moment and that God was calling me into the world to show his light. The conservative point of view of these blogs was oppressive and I could hardly breathe as I found that almost all of them taught an alien theology that was antithetical to the theology that had so warmed our faith community.

I used an internet search engine tool known as Google to confirm my suspicions. Very rarely were the phrases ecological stewardship or social justice used. This reminded me of one of the Psalms.

Too long have I had my dwelling
among those who hate peace.
I am for peace;
but when I speak,
they are for war!

I will try to add the voice of enlightenment and reason to this virtual parish community.