National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Sisters' Stories

In two worlds


ST. PAUL, MINN. -- The word “college” was nonexistent to Mysee Chang until her sophomore year of high school.

“I thought it was elementary, middle, high school and then I was done,” said Mysee Chang, who is from Corcoran, Minn. Listening to teachers and mentors as well as partaking in an all-female literature class encouraged her to research her college options.

Half the world's experience



Warning: The following ideas and images may be uncomfortable to imagine. (But they may still be good for us to read!)

References to women’s experience -- womb, pregnancy, labor, childbirth, nursing -- bring with them distinct images and memories from my own life, and my women friends and family feel the same. When, at two distinct gatherings of people wrestling with religious and spiritual issues, I heard others talking about these experiences in reference to religious experiences of God, it made the experience all the more amazing and extraordinary.

I grew up during a time when feminine experiences such as young girls’ menstrual cycles were hidden, even considered shameful. Menstruation was never talked about in public and was barely spoken about in many homes. Pregnancy was regarded as very special, but was somehow still an awkward subject. And nursing a baby, discouraged by many in the medical profession, was almost considered abnormal.

Ditzy chick lit for Christian chicks


By Linda P. Kozar and Danielle Woody
Published by Howard Books, $14.99

To speak of the ineffable God is to speak in figures. God is like ... God is like a mothering bird. God is like a good shepherd.

We do not mean that God is a robin or a nomad. We mean that these images are as close as halting human language will allow us to the One who is beyond words, beyond images, beyond our ability to know or to say.

But the analogies themselves must be sturdy enough to bear even the shadow of the divine, the merest whisper of the Spirit. The analogies should not be disposable nor should they be clumsy. The analogies may be strange. They may be shot through with pain, for the losses God allows, or ordains, that bring us, trembling, to our knees.

'Pink smoke' portrays growth of women's ordination movement


The Pope told the Scottish people in his homily at Bellahouston Park on Sept. 16, that "Just as the Eucharist makes the Church, so the priesthood is central to the life of the Church."

That same week, the Women's Ordination Conference (WOC) celebrated its 35th anniversary --- 35 years of witnessing to the Church that there is no need for ordinations to be declining worldwide because there is no shortage of vocations to the priesthood among women.

As part of its anniversary celebration in Chicago on Sept. 18, 2010, WOC had the first public showing of "Pink Smoke Over the Vatican," a one-hour documentary on the women priest movement made by Jules Hart for her company, Eyegoddess Films.

Hart, who is not Catholic, said she was moved to make this film after she met some of the women priests and their supporters because "it is not every day that you meet people who give up everything for what they believe in."

Webinar explores prenatal testing and abortion


WASHINGTON -- Most prenatal tests that show serious abnormalities in the child end up in an abortion, panelists on a national webinar said Oct. 5.

The panel, convened at the Catholic University of America in Washington, argued passionately for prenatal and perinatal support systems that would enable women to bring such children to term rather than aborting them.

“We are aware of statistics indicating that 90 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome will be aborted,” said Marie Hilliard, director of bioethics and public policy at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia and moderator of the panel.

“In England,” she added, “a study indicated 86 percent of those with neural tube defects such as spinal bifida will be aborted.”
Dr. John Bruchalski, an obstetrician-gynecologist and founder of the Tepeyac Family Center in Fairfax, Va., confirmed Hilliard’s observation that most unborn children receiving a prenatal diagnosis of a lethal or even nonlethal disability are aborted.

When good (bad) things happen



Anyone who has ministered to people who are suffering has probably encountered the anguished question: Why did God ... give this young mother terminal cancer? allow our child to be kidnapped and killed? inflict this hurricane upon an already earthquake-ravaged country? Conversely, there are those smug or masochistic or sadistic people who are sure they know exactly why God did something: God is punishing those perverts, God is testing my faith, God took your child to teach you detachment, and so on. This attribution of direct causality for mundane happenings to God can be a spontaneous reaction to bewilderment in the face of inexplicable evil and suffering, but it reflects bad theology and encourages worse spirituality. Before looking for traces of God’s influence in the present experience of the Vatican investigations of religious congregations and their leadership, it is well to unveil and repudiate any temptation to whitewash that experience under the rubric of “God’s will.”

We claim equal rights by using equal rites


A response

Rosemary Radford Ruether's recent article comparing the form of ordination used by Roman Catholic Womenpriests with that which was used by the Mary Magdala Apostle Catholic Community in San Diego, Calif., in July, was both scholarly and informative. However, because the article presented only part of the issue regarding our understanding of apostolic succession and the reason for our choice to use the Roman Catholic Rite of Ordination, we wish to develop the ideas further.

Wanted: women of spirit in our own time


The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is meeting in Dallas this week under scrutiny from Rome and with a cloud hanging over its head.

What shall we think about such a time as this when the women religious who have built, carried, led and staffed every work of the church from the earliest days of this nation to this present time of turbulence and transition are being accused of being unorthodox, unfaithful, and unfit to make adult decisions about what they need to hear and who they want to have say it?

The problem is that in the face of opposition they have also been unafraid.

Women priests offer differing approaches to valid ordination


In 2002 seven Roman Catholic women were ordained in Austria on the Danube River by an independent Catholic bishop, Romulo Antonio Braschi. Later unnamed Roman Catholic bishops ordained some of these women priests as bishops. These women bishops, in turn, have been ordaining other women deacons, priests and bishops. From this beginning there has developed a movement, Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP), which presently claims four women bishops and 45 women priests in the United States, as well as others in Europe and Canada. This movement has shaped a thoughtful ecclesiology defining itself both as in valid succession in the Roman Catholic tradition and also as a valid reform that is reclaiming the authentic discipleship of equals of the earliest church based on the redemptive mission of Christ.(1)



NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

September 12-25, 2014


Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.