by Kathy Redig
In this Year of the Priest, ( June 2009-June 2010) proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI to uplift the Roman Catholic priesthood, Roman Catholic Womenpriests traveled this last week to Baltimore, Maryland to remind the U.S. Roman Catholic Bishops who were gathering there for their annual meeting, that we exist and as ordained women are already serving the People of God. The women also once again, as they have for years, asked the bishops to act justly, opening ordination to qualified and called women.
Roman Catholic Womenpriests are at the forefront of a model of service that offers Catholics a renewed priestly ministry in vibrant, grassroots communities where all are equal and all are welcome. Come and see for yourselves. Visit our website: “http://www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org/” “_blank” www.romancatholicwomenpriests.org. Ordained women are already ministering in over 22 states across this country: Roman Catholic Womenpriests preside at inclusive liturgies, offer sacramental services, serve the homeless, minister to the elderly and sick in nursing homes, serve as chaplains in prisons and hospitals and offer retreats and pastoral counseling. Here in the Winona community, Catholic people have the option of attending an inclusive parish, All Are One Roman Catholic church where everyone is welcome at the table and where the gifts of women are uplifted.
Roman Catholic Womenpriests are no longer asking for permission to be priests. Instead, we have taken back our rightful God-given place ministering to Catholics as inclusive and welcoming priests. Yes, we have challenged and broken the Church’s Canon Law 1024, an unjust law that discriminates against women. Despite what some bishops may lead the faithful to believe, our ordinations are valid because we are ordained in the line of unbroken apostolic succession within the Roman Catholic Church. The continued refusal to recognize women’s calls to priesthood is an issue of sexism, oppression and gender discrimination. We recognize and claim our right to full equality as members of the Church who are entitled to all seven sacraments. Like the women who have gone before us in American history who also spoke truth to power for the right to vote, for civil rights, for equal pay for equal work, for an end to violence against women, we too are speaking our truth to bishops because of our commitment to the inclusive Gospel message and model of Jesus.
As we watch the closure of parishes in a scandal-ridden Church with a shortage of priests, we stand ready to serve the people of God in those parishes. The U.S. Bishops—along with the Vatican, continue to ignore their own scholarship. The Pontifical Biblical Commission has concluded that there are no reasons found in Scripture stating why women cannot be priests. For the first 1200 years of the Church’s history, women were serving as deacons, priests and bishops. Archaeological evidence clearly supports this fact. The time for asking permission is over! The time for renewing our beloved Church is now!
We invite the U.S. Bishops to join us in a dialogue as agents of change in transforming the Roman Catholic Church.
The voice of the Catholic people----the sensus fidelium---has spoken. The Catholic people have accepted us as their priests and they continue to support us as we grow from the seven bold women first ordained on the Danube River in 2002 to over 100 worldwide. We are here to stay. We are not going away. In this year of the priest, let us join together to pray for vocations--for women and men to serve God’s people as priests.
Contact: Kathy Redig, Midwest Regional Administrator for Roman Catholic Womenpriests and pastor of All Are One Roman Catholic church for more information. “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com. 507-429-3616.