Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holy Spirit Sophia: Love Overflowing by Suzanne DeFroy, Applicant ARCWP In collaboration with Michele Birch-Conery, Bishop ARCWP and Barbara Billey, Priest ARCWP Windsor, ON, (10 Dec 2017)

         Members of our Heart of Compassion Faith Community attended a two-part, three-hour presentation on the ‘Sacrament of Holy Orders’ and ‘The Reasoning Behind Why the Church Does Not Ordain Women’.This was a real life ordeal by fire. 
         The speaker was a young priest who had been ordained five years earlier and was offering a series of presentations on Church doctrine and theology in his parish hall.  The talk about the Sacrament of Ordination was promoted in parish bulletins across the city and caught our attention.  A handout was prepared with excerpts from his lecture including references to historical doctrine and St. Paul’s letter found in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.After listening to Part I, we prayed for guidance and decided to attend Part II, which was held the following week. We prepared an invitation to hand out at the end of the lecture. Our message was a request to join us in a conversation on ’Our Faith, Our Future’ to be held on the same day and time the following week.   
         As we listened to the 1½ hour Part II lecture, it was apparent the organizers were not interested in a true open dialogue, nor were they willing to hear from supporters of the women priest movement. At the end of the presentation, our bishop Michele calmly and bravely turned to the audience, commending their willingness to explore the mysteries of our faith and for their steadfastness through all the changes in the Church since Vatican II.
         As soon as Michele Birch-Conery introduced herself as a bishop with the Association of Roman Catholic Priests she was heckled by a group of women, some of whom shouted "No you're not. No you're not." One woman crossed her hands over her eyes in a scissoring motion as if to exorcise an evil from her sight. Michele persevered and encouraged all of us to stay open to the Holy Spirit as together we evolve in our faith and in our Church. Many in the audience got up and left and the young priest later apologized for their behaviour. 
         Not being disillusioned, we handed out our invitation to the sixty people in attendance.  Some laughed as they read it before putting it down on a table, some shook their heads ‘no’ as if touching the paper would cause great misery and some politely tucked it in their hands and walked away. The senior pastor of the parish who was at the back of the hall, turned to me and said, “Well, I know who I am”.  His intonation inferred his legitimacy of being an ordained priest. To his credit, I witnessed him posting theinvitation on the church bulletin board. 
         We also sent the invitation by e-mail to approximately 75 people who are known to be supporters of the Roman Catholic priest movement.  In total, our outreach efforts were personally conveyed to more than 135 people, with hope that the message would be extended further.
         Our event took place last Friday, in the chapel at a senior citizen residence called Cardinal Place where we hold our liturgies.  At first, I was feeling disappointed as it was evident that all who were invited, did not come.  While I was setting up a power-point that was prepared collaboratively by our bishop, Michele Birch-Conery, priest, Barbara Billey and myself, two senior residents of Cardinal Place, named Simon and Colleen, joined our little group. Simon is a baptized Anglican of Armenian descent.  Colleen has Irish ancestry and is a baptized Roman Catholic, now divorced.  Both regularly attend Sunday mass held at Cardinal Place by a retired priest who lives at the residence. The following is a brief summary of how the Holy Spirit continued to move among us in a way that will forever be a touchstone memory for me.
         I worked the projector, not knowing what to expect but I was quickly put at ease as I watched our audience of two, Colleen and Simon, gaze at the first slide.  They both commented on the beauty and unique design of the image that is also found on the first page of our liturgy guide.  Difficult to capture in words, it is a cross that is intertwined in circles of various hues of yellow, green and blue.  Simon remarked on the unique design and shared that the symbolic crucifix brings comfort to him.  He is often drawn to stop by the chapel, knowing that his eyes will rest on the cross reminding him of Christ’s own suffering for our salvation.
         His deep faith and flexibility to see a different representation from the traditional crucifix was inspiring.  Slide 2 captures the ARCWP vision statement and logo.  Simon, who is hard of hearing, read the words out loud and this started a conversation of what it meant to be women priests in a Roman Catholic tradition.  Both our guests acknowledged the difficulties we face and saw our commitment as a calling. 
         When we had a chance to personally share our joys and sorrow in the women priest movement, Simon said, “You know who you are, just keep on going”.I laughed at the irony, recallingwhat the pastor had said to me the week before, “I know who I am”.  Here we were as bishop, priest and deacon applicant, with two marginalized senior citizens who were so open, sensitive and forward thinking. What a contrasting and healing experience compared to the rejection and utter dismissal of our calling the previous week.A smile spread across my face as I remembered a promise Jesus made long ago, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I will be there.” (c.f. Matthew 18:20)
         I moved on to Slide 3entitled, ‘Let us begin with prayer’.  We used Karen Drucker’s Blessing to the World (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5FGZsulkSk).  The words and images moved all five of us as both Simon and Colleen exclaimed, “Beautiful, just beautiful”.  The gentle silence led us into Slide 4, which was the scripture of John 4:4-26 about Jesus and the Samaritan woman.  Simon, slowly read the words being projected and where we placed a pause (…)he turned to us with eyebrows raised.  Micheleassumed the role of storyteller and began telling the rest of the story.  All of us were captivated by Michele's voice and gestures as she animated the Gospel.  When she was done, another door had opened and everyone added their own understanding including the significance of His acts of inclusion during that time in history and that it was a woman whom Jesus sent to spread the word thatHe, as Messiah, was in their town.  I was mesmerized as I listened to the unfolding of the Living Word come alive.
                  Slide 5 helped to continueour conversation with Teresa Avila’s reflection inDavid Ogden’s ‘Christ has no body now but yours’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoV6R6qk4vY.  Again, the images and music inspired deep reflection and sharing as we turned to two simple questions:
         What does faith mean to you?
         What are your longings and desires for our Church?

         The outpouring of emotions was very moving as we listened to the depth of Colleen'sand Simon’s faith through their personal stories.  Colleen’s story remains respectfully private but she said, “Faith is everything and you realize this more as you get older”.  Simon echoed her sentiments, adding that it is faith, not religion that gets him through each day.  He was willing to share his personal story about the cruel devastation his family experienced during the Turkish-Armenian war.  His grandfather, other family members and friends who lived in his village were cruelly slaughtered because they were Christians.  Tears rolled down his face as he recounted his memories while lifting his eyes to the cross at the altar and said, “He didn’t deserve it … and here I come and find peace knowing what they did to him was not right, but He did it for us”.Simon said that it is his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ that helps him overcome physical pain and forgives the mistakes and regrets of his life. 

         Slide 6 invited a conversation on what ‘change’ they would like to see in the Church.  Colleen was very detailed in her vision of being inclusive.  She made circular gestures with her hands as an expression of what it could be as opposed to the hierarchical structure, which she motioned as up and down. I was fascinated to watch her crippled body expressing her passion and the distinctions between faith and the institutional Church. The injustice within the Roman Catholic tradition is deep, the wounds of betrayal are many but the faithful carry on.  Tears rolled down her face as she described how reading the scriptures help her move through the physical pain she endures each day.  And joy spread across her face, her smile radiating beautifully as she expressed gratitude for all the acts of kindness she is receiving at this stage of her life.  Deep gratitude appeared as true happiness. 
         We closed with our own words of gratitude for their presence and for the powerful presence of the Spirit with us that evening.  We asked them to pray for us so we may stay strong on our ordained path and Colleen offered a passionate appeal to God to help us on our journey.  We sang ‘Prayer for Peace’ (David Haas) and the final image of our hands clasped one on top of the other still fills my heart.  Simon repeated his invitation to return, “We need to hear from you … share your understanding of the Bible with us.  I will spread the word you are coming”. We graciously accepted his willingness to ‘spread the word’ and two days later, we watched asfive more seniors joined our liturgy circle.
         Later, as we reflected on our experience, I imagined St. Bonaventure’s description of God’s love flowing as a water wheel.  As a deacon applicant I was able to understand what our Bishop Michele meant when she said that the Holy Spirit had laid a ‘justice walk’ before us.  In a pastoral role, our steps may have appeared small but I now realize the quiet energy of our presence spoke volumes.  Despite the agony we were feeling, we ‘showed up’ to listen respectfully to the current Church theology and hierarchical rationale on why women can't be priests.  Especially difficult was the young priest’s reference to our biological capacitybeing purposely designed for motherhood as our highest vocation, not priesthood.We were non-confrontational and did not openly criticize the young priest’s position.  As embodied symbols, we represented women priests who are here today, carrying forward the lineage of our ancestor women priests in the early Church.
         The contrast was astounding for in the humble setting of a seniors’ residence, we entered a place of acceptance.  Witnessing Simon’s and Colleen’s reception to our invitation was humbling and led us to deep inquiry, including questioning who we are intended to minister as ordained persons in the Roman Catholic Church.With the grace of Holy Spirit Sophia, I will continue to follow the wisdom I once heard, “Send out love; Send out love to all you meet.”

End Notes:
Confidentiality has been addressed by using pseudonyms for guests referred to as Colleen and Simon.  We are grateful for the ongoing supportive generosity and approval by the owner of Cardinal Place for providing the location for our presentation and liturgy.
About the authors:
The writers are members of ARCWP, Heart of Compassion Faith Community, Windsor, ON
Suzanne DeFroy, Ed.D., Deacon Applicant and course participant in PCS 101; Principal author as the above version was inspired from the submitted assignment in Session 5, ‘Remembering the Holy Spirit: Love Poured Out’
Michele Birch-Conery, Ph.D., Bishop ARCWP; retired professor of English Literature and Women's Studies
Barbara Billey, D.Min., Priest ARCWP; counselor and art therapist

The Amazing (Story) and Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe : A Symbol of Unity, Love and Justice


Monday, December 11, 2017

" (Bishop )Gumbleton on nuclear deterrence: US bishops should reassess peace pastoral" Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

GumbletonOne of the drafters of a landmark pastoral letter from the U.S. bishops that in 1983 offered a "strictly conditioned moral acceptance" of nuclear deterrence says it's time to reevaluate that document in light of Pope Francis' Nov. 10 statement that the "very possession" of nuclear weapons is to be "firmly condemned."
Retired Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who served on the committee led by the late Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin that wrote The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response, said the pope is "depending on people to follow up and to say, 'That means we have to start to disarm.' "
"The pope has said something that ... has put it back in the court of the local bishops' conferences," Gumbleton said in a Nov. 16 interview with NCR. "And the United States obviously, since we have the largest capability of nuclear destruction, we should be in the front row of those trying to change things."
"I feel certain, based on [the pope's] conviction that possession is wrong, he would want something like this spelled out: why it's wrong, what you must do to change it," Gumbleton said.
Gumbleton is among a number of Catholic disarmament advocates who see Francis' Nov. 10 statement, given as part of a talk to participants in a high-profile Vatican conference on nuclear weapons issues, as a development away from the church's prior acceptance of deterrence as a strategy.
Marie Dennis, the co-president of Catholic peace group Pax Christi International, wrote in an article for NCR on Nov. 21 that the pope's words "definitively brought the Catholic Church into full agreement" with a July U.N. treaty signed by 122 countries that calls for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.
Stephen Colecchi, director of the U.S. bishops' office of international justice and peace, said in an interview that Francis' statement has "tremendous implications" for nuclear policy. He called the pope's words part of a "trajectory" found in recent decades of the church's teaching, which has moved from what he called an "interim ethic of deterrence" to an "interim ethic of disarmament."
While previous popes have called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, they also granted conditional moral acceptance to nuclear deterrence, which arose after World War II when the United States and the Soviet Union stockpiled nuclear weapons in order to discourage either country from launching an atomic attack.
Pope John Paul II, for example, said in a message to the United Nations in June 1982 that deterrence could be judged "morally acceptable" as "a step on the way toward a progressive disarmament."
The U.S. bishops followed John Paul's lead in their pastoral letter, offering a "strictly conditioned moral acceptance of nuclear deterrence" but adding: "We cannot consider it adequate as a long-term basis for peace." 
Since 1983 when the letter was released, Gumbleton said, "We haven't made any steps toward progressive disarmament."
"We've gone the other direction, and yet the bishops, who published that statement in 1983, have not made any demands that that condition be met," he said. "And until we begin to do that, a statement that possession is not right I don't think carries any weight."
"I know that when we wrote the peace pastoral, we didn't expect and didn't demand that the United States unilaterally, immediately get rid of its nuclear weapons," said Gumbleton. "We said: engage in progressive disarmament. And for a while there was some effort. But that isn't going on anymore."
Colecchi said the U.S. bishops' teaching on deterrence has developed since the 1983 pastoral letter and that in more recent years the prelates have been calling on political and military leaders to "move beyond" deterrence.
"I think we've already moved beyond the literal teaching of the peace pastoral," he said, recalling a visit he made with then-Archbishop Edwin O'Brien to U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska, where the prelate used the "move beyond" language with military officials.
"This is all part of a trajectory," said Colecchi. "You cannot keep an interim ethic of deterrence indefinitely. It's supposed to be a step towards disarmament. That's what an interim ethic refers to."
"The teaching is now we have to move beyond deterrence," he said. "That's been clear in statements of the bishops' conference for years now."
Francis' Nov. 10 statement has also made an impact beyond the Catholic community. Arms control advocates say the pope's condemnation of the possession of nuclear weapons is something they can use in discussions with world and military leaders when making a moral argument for disarmament.
It's a "powerful tool," said Nickolas Roth, a research associate for the "Managing the Atom" project at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
"Certainly, to anyone in the military involved with nuclear weapons who sees the pope as a moral leader ... this could present a moral dilemma," said Roth, who was previously a policy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists and the program director for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
Robert G. Gard Jr., a retired lieutenant general in the U.S. Army who has focused on nuclear non-proliferation issues for decades, expressed skepticism about the practical impact the pope's statement would have on the nuclear powers but said it was "a strong moral position."
"The pope commands great moral authority and I think takes a position that strongly implies that we should be more actively pursuing ways to try to do away with these weapons," said Gard, a member of the advisory board of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.
Some advocates noted that the pope's position on the possession of nuclear arms follows up on a similar statement the Vatican's permanent representative to the U.N. offices in Geneva submitted to the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear War in December 2014.
While that statement did not denounce states that have nuclear weapons, it called their possession "morally problematic." It noted that the church had given a "provisional acceptance" to nuclear deterrence in the past, but said that acceptance was given insofar as deterrence was a step on the path to disarmament.
"This condition has not been fulfilled - far from it," said the statement. "In the absence of further progress toward complete disarmament, and without concrete steps toward a more secure and a more genuine peace, the nuclear weapon establishment has lost much of its legitimacy."
Roth pointed to the 2014 statement and said Francis' Nov. 10 speech "certainly advances the ideas that were originally in that document."
Gard said he did not think Francis had completely withdrawn the church's acceptance of the nuclear deterrence strategy but was trying to respond to the 122 countries that signed the U.N. treat to ban nuclear weapons.
"I don't think ... if you had a chance to cross-examine the pope that he would deny the necessity for and the validity of deterrence under the current situation," said the retired lieutenant general. "I don't believe that's necessarily inconsistent."
Gumbleton called the current strategy of deterrence a "situation of sin" because it involves the intention to use nuclear weapons, which kill indiscriminately. He said that during the process of drafting the 1983 pastoral letter the bishops spoke with then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger who "made it clear there is an intention to use [the weapons]."
"Once you realize that deterrence in itself includes the intention to use the weapon, then you have to say we can't do it," Gumbleton said.
"Now, does that mean get rid of every nuclear weapon today?" he asked. "Ideally, it would mean that. But we're living in a world where it has taken a long time to build up this arsenal, so it's going to take time to begin to dismantle on a common basis among the various countries who have the weapons."
"That's why we accepted what [John Paul II] said as the condition for maintaining deterrence: it has to be a step on the way toward progressive disarmament," Gumbleton explained.
"At the beginning, you could say there was some determination to fulfill the condition," said the bishop. "At least, I thought there was. But since then I've come to admit I was wrong."
"There wasn't a clear commitment, because any time we tried five or 10 years later to say are we living up to the condition we got nowhere," he said. "There was no real conviction that we have to live up to that condition."

Joshua J. McElwee is  
NCR's Vatican correspondent. His reporting and feature writing have earned numerous awards from the Catholic Press Association and the Religion Newswriters Association.

Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP Witnesses for Peace and Justice with CODE PINK today, See Prayer for the Innocents of Yemen

This afternoon 10 activists participated in a Peace Witness for the Yemeni People organized by CODEPINK Women for Peace.

In the Hart Building, we visited the offices of five Democratic senators who on June 13,  2017 voted to sell $510 of US-made military weapons to the Saudi Arabian dynasty. These five senators sabotaged the blocking of the weapons sale by four votes: Sen. Joe Manchin, WV, Sen. Claire McCaskill, MO, Sen. Joe Donnelly, IN, Sen. Mark Warner, VA, and Sen. Bill Nelson, FL.
As we entered each office wearing Santa hats, we sang "Stop selling arms to Saudis" to the tune of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" as well as two other annotated Christmas carols. We held pictures of starving and wounded infants. I was invited to read a Prayer in behalf of the Yemeni people suffering under mass bombing of civilian targets, cholera epidemic, and mass starvation, i.e. Genocide. We had substantive meetings with the legislative aides in four out of the five offices.

Holy One, Mother of Life, Creatrix of us all, we pray for The Innocents of Yemen. 
Their children are our children. Their people are our people.

We call upon You to grace this United States Senator. 

Touch his heart. Re-shape his thinking with your Holy Wisdom. 

Fill him with your compassion to Stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, to Stop the Genocide, to Stop the Slaughter of the Innocents, the little children and their parents, our Yemeni sisters and brothers. 

Breathe into this United States Senator a Life-giving Spirit to stand for Peace. Amen

Janice Sevre Duszynska,
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Janice Sevre Duszynska ARCWP, 3rd from left) with CODE PINK Witness today

Jack Meehan on Trumpet and Sax at American Legion Joined by Hank Oeser on Vibes in Sarasota,Florida, (sometime between 2004-2010) Video I Found in My Files, Posted to YouTube Today



I found these 3 sessions in my files and am sharing them with fans of Jack Meehan's music.
These were recorded sometime from 2008-2010 in Florida. Dad was in his 80's. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Pope Francis Calls for Abolition of Nuclear Arms, ICAN Formally Receives Nobel Peace Prize

"Responding to a request from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, this morning, Pope Francis reiterated his call to people everywhere “to work with determination to build a world without nuclear arms.”
He issued the call from his study-window in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace after praying the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square at midday on Sunday.
Francis began by recalling that “today the Nobel Prize for Peace will be awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Arms.” He went on to declare that “this recognition coincides with the United Nations Day for Human Rights and underlines the strong link between human rights and nuclear disarmament.”
“Indeed,” he said, “to commit oneself to safeguard the dignity of all persons, and especially of those who are the weakest and most disadvantaged, means to work with determination for the building of a world without nuclear arms.”
He concluded by praying that “God may give us the ability to collaborate together to build our common home” and, then drawing on his encyclical “Laudato Si’.” he said, “We have the freedom, the intelligence and the capacity to guide technology, to limit our power, in the service of peace and true progress.”
“We have the freedom, the intelligence and the capacity to guide technology, to limit our power, in the service of peace and true progress.”

His call came in response to a personal request made to him by Ms. Beatrice Fihn, the Swedish-born executive director ICAN, when she met him in the Vatican on Nov. 10. She spoke with him after he addressed a two-day symposium on nuclear disarmament organized by the Dicastery for the Promoting Integral Human Development, in which he categorically condemned not only “the threat of their use” but also “their very possession.”
Concluding the presentation speech at the award ceremony this morning, Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said that "through its inspiring and innovative support for the U.N. negotiations on a Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty, ICAN has played an important role in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress.”
She then gave a nod to the Vatican, saying, “In closing, I would like to quote His Holiness Pope Francis, who recently declared: “Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, create nothing but a false sense of security. They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family, which must rather be inspired by an ethics of solidarity.” The Norwegian Nobel Committee shares this view. Moreover, it is our firm conviction that ICAN, more than anyone else, has in the past year given the efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigour.”
After meeting the pope, Ms. Fihn spoke to America: “I am not a religious person and I am usually not very impressed with celebrities, but I was very taken with Pope Francis, and when he came into the room I was very moved by his presence. He was very warm when I greeted him, and I asked him to ask people to pray for the abolition of nuclear weapons on Dec. 10, international Human Rights Day, when we receive the Nobel Peace Prize.” Francis responded to her request with today’s statement.

Ms. Fihn also praised Pope Francis for his “very significant” statement condemning “the possession of nuclear arms” and told America, “he is giving moral leadership” in this field and “that is very important because what the world desperately needs now is moral leadership.” She emphasized that the movement to abolish nuclear weapons “is going to need the support of religious communities if we are going to be able to take this forward.” She believes there is “an opportunity” to do so now because of “the tensions between the United States and North Korea and the growing fear of a confrontation.”
Ms Fihn recalled that under Pope Francis, the Holy See “quickly ratified the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons” (that is, the first legally binding international agreement to comprehensively prohibit nuclear arms). That treat was approved at a United Nations conference on July 7, with 122 states voting in favor, but 69 (including all the states with nuclear arms) did not vote. ICAN led a worldwide campaign for the approval of this treaty, which led to its being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Today nine states possess such arms: the United States, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea. The United States and Russia together have 14,000 of the 15,000 nuclear weapons known to exist in the world, 2,000 of which “are still on high alert,” according to Mohamed El Baradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and one of the main speakers at the Vatican symposium.
Pope Francis and ICAN have now both proclaimed that it is high time to abolish nuclear arms from the planet, as the risk of their use is now greater than ever before. "