National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Sisters' Stories

'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)

Speak up for our women religious


U.S. women religious, whose leaders meet in Dallas next month, find themselves in a terrible position. On one hand, they can defend their approach to religious life. Through decades of prayer and work together, they have discerned that approach, articulated in their Vatican-approved charters, as God's call. The process has drawn them deeply into social apostolates through which they have become a powerful representation of Catholic life throughout U.S. culture and the wider world.

Archbishop Wuerl: 'New Vatican norm means no disrespect for women'

The Vatican's decision to declare the attempted ordination of women a major church crime reflects "the seriousness with which it holds offenses against the sacrament of holy orders" and is not a sign of disrespect toward women, Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington said July 15.

The archbishop, who chairs the U.S. bishops' Committee on Doctrine, spoke at a news briefing in the headquarters of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops hours after the Vatican issued new norms for handling priestly sex abuse cases and updated its list of the "more grave crimes" against church law, including for the first time the "attempted sacred ordination of a woman."

In such an act, the Vatican said, the cleric and the woman involved are automatically excommunicated, and the cleric can also be dismissed from the priesthood.

Noting that women hold a variety of church leadership positions in parishes and dioceses, Archbishop Wuerl said, "The church's gratitude toward women cannot be stated strongly enough."

"Women offer unique insight, creative abilities and unstinting generosity at the very heart of the Catholic Church," he said.

Anglicans expect exodus to Catholic church

LONDON -- The largest Anglo-Catholic group in the Church of England is expecting an exodus of thousands of Anglicans to Catholicism after a decision to ordain women as bishops without sufficient concessions to traditionalists.

The Church of England's General Synod on Saturday (July 10) rejected a compromise proposal by its top two bishops that would have allowed individual congregations to “opt out” of having women bishops. The vote came after nearly 12 hours of debate.

The move was an embarrassing setback for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and his chief deputy, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, who had hoped to head off a defection of traditionalists over the issue of women bishops.

The rejection of the two archbishops' plan effectively leaves the church on the same path to the eventual consecration of women bishops -- but not until 2014 as “the earliest possible time.”


Friends of NCR 300x80 web ad.jpg

NCR Email Alerts