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Vol.36, No. 2 â€˘ A Bi-monthly Newsletter of the CORPUS Community
MARCH / APRIL
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EDITOR David A. Gawlik COPY AND STORY EDITOR Joanne Foeller CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Russ Ditzel, Ray Grosswirth, William Manseau, Allen Moore, Stu O’ Brien, Anthony Padovano, Linda Pinto, Richard & Mary Scaine, and Regina Schulte GRAPHIC DESIGN Kelli Stohlmeyer • kel-i design PRINTER Ken Cook Co.
FROM THE EDITOR
D AVID G AWLIK
DATA BASE COORDINATORS Linda Pinto MAIL SERVICE Carrie Schwai Publisher’ s Mail Service CORPUS REPORTS is a bi–monthly publication of CORPUS. CORPUS is a faith community affirming
an inclusive priesthood rooted in a reformed and renewed Church. It provides not only a ministry of service which is open to the diverse ways people are authentically called by God, but seeks also sacramental ecumenical collaboration. The community and ministry are defined not only in traditional and canonical categories but in terms of the needs which require autonomy and pastoral service. CORPUS is defined by the Roman Catholic tradition and also by the charisms and conscience decisions which the Spirit inspires. DUE DATE FOR MAY/JUNE 2010 ISSUE IS APRIL 25TH does not pay for contributions, but wishes to be a forum for exchange of pertinent ideas, information, inclusive ministry, and insight. Address all letters and articles for publication to:
David A. Gawlik 5526 West Elmhurst Drive Mequon, WI 53092–2010 414.531.0503…voice firstname.lastname@example.org…email HOW TO GET THE NEWSLETTER Membership in the CORPUS community entitles you to receive the bi–monthly newsletter. Individual membership is $85.00 for one year. Membership is renewed each June. Opinions of individuals published in CORPUS REPORTS do not necessarily reflect the position of the Board.
In 1997 I met Marcia Kaminki at CTA-Milwaukee. I asked her to ruminate on the presentation. Enclosed is her journal entry regarding her article. from 1997. “Different events of the past days are bringing my life ‘into focus. Too tired, I was, to write last night because I had written for much of yesterday. The article ended up as a mini summary of me and the church reform conference I attended last weekend, Call to Action. My choice of seating at the conference put me across the isle from an editor who asked if I would write my Call to Action story. I did and delivered it today. I knew there would be no renumeration for this work and I didn’t expect it. But when I got done writing yesterday, I thought it would be nice to just get one dollar for my effort. For if it got published, I could frame the first dollar of my own work. I needed air and then took a brief walk around the block. When I returned, and I still find it hard to believe, there on my lawn lay one dollar. And I do plan to frame it. (Her photo and frame is show above) Dear God, Thank you for showing me where I am through where I’ve been. Her entry reminded me in a serious way to say - thank you to so many authors that graced our pages over the last 15 years. We have not paid a dollar per article - not even a penny. Please know I so appreciate all your time and talent. Namasté - David
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The Future of Faith By Harvey Cox • Reviewed by Regina Schulte
Discussion in the New Cosmology: The Four C’S of the Great Story By Richard Scaine
Brothers by Choice and by Chance On the 50th Anniversary of My Ordination by Anthony T. Padovano
Roman Catholic Women Priests Major Breakthrough in Sarasota by Lee Ann Breyer
Also Inside: Member Services....................................................13
Jesus on Celibacy ...................................................32
Parliament of World Religions..........................15
Charter for Compassion......................................19
From the President’s Desk..................................36
SOS for Today’s Church........................................41
Year of Married Catholic Priest.........................39
Roy Bourgeois..........................................................46 MARCH/APRIL 2010 CORPUS REPORTS 3
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THE FUTURE OF FAITH Harvey Cox Harper One (Harper Collins) Publishers, 2009 245 pages, Hardcover, $24.99.
R EVIEWED BY A, R EGINA S CHULTE , M.A., P H .D. RSCHULTE 3@ WI . RR . COM .
t’s a genuine delight to see that theologian Harvey Cox has reemerged on the broad publishing scene after such a long hiatus. This new offering is intended to be the mate of his seminal work, The Secular City (1965)—a book that caused many of us to “put our seatbacks into the upright position.” He sees the two as matching bookends representing his multi-decade career at Harvard Divinity School. Publication of The Future of Faith coincides with his new status: “Professor Emeritus.”
fronts us as mortal beings, but “we sense and cope with it in quite disparate ways.” The “complex codifications” of responses significantly differ from one religion to another, he says.
Not that Cox went dormant for fortyfour years. He continued to teach, enriched his experiences by traveling the globe, both studied and taught a broad variety of religious/spiritual traditions, participated in ecumenical and social justice projects, and authored numerous works treating of more confined topics. Hence, his view of “the often confusing religious turmoil going on around us today” comes from “hands on,” cultureimmersion experiences and wellmatured vision.
Cox rejects the oft-heard statement that, beneath the surface all religions are the same. It is true that all religious people are responding to the mystery that confronts us as mortal beings, but “we sense and cope with it in quite disparate ways.” The “complex codifications” of responses significantly differ from one religion to another.
Cox rejects the oft-heard statement that, beneath the surface all religions are the same. It is true that all religious people are responding to the mystery that con-
One of the contemporary characteristics of religion (one that surely points to the future) is that “the borders are porous;” there is much borrowing among diverse religions. Cox states that, despite these “crossing overs,” we cannot fully escape from the tradition that first formed our
consciousness. It gets under our skin; we carry it in our corpuscles. Even if we reject it, we do so only from within its own frames of reference. “A Christian atheist is different from a Buddhist atheist.” Cox shares a personal insight: “My participation in my own, my experiencing one
faith tradition ‘from the inside,’ deepens my understanding of the others,” he says. “ When I recite a verse from the Qur’an, sit in Buddhist meditation, or chant a Hindu mantra, I do so as one steeped in a tradition different from those.” To give readers a good grasp of the “Future,” Cox first reviews where religion—most specifically Christianity— has been. Consequently, he deconstructs church history, separating out the events, movements, tipping points, and
trends as if they were a set of Lego blocks. Each has its place in the very orderly schema from which he works. Deceptively simple and lucid, this is a masterful work, devoid of theologicalese and lightened with his refreshing sense of
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THE FUTURE OF FAITH humor. It is a very user-friendly book that would nicely serve discussion groups. Cox joins interesting and insightful autobiographical material that winds like a vine around the tree of church history. Born into a Baptist family, he notes how his personal faith evolved along with the growing spiritual hunger evident in today’s shift of religious awareness. By allowing his readers to share some evolutionary events in his spiritual journey he gives the text a comfortable personal touch. First on his agenda is a need to separate the concept of “Faith” from that of “Belief.” Often confused as synonyms for the same reality, there is a critical difference between them. Faith, he says, is “about deep-seated confidence.” It has to do with ultimate concern; it is in and from the heart. Faith is trust in and commitment to something vital for the way a person lives. Belief is more like opinion. Its concern has to do with propositions—mental endorsements. It is in and from the intellect. Perhaps one might describe belief as (usually) one layer and faith as multilayered. Tracing the phenomenon of faith from the awakening of a sense of awe as response to life and nature, Cox says that primitive humans began to recognize mystery within those realities. Their dealing with mystery gave birth to faith. “Faith, although it is evoked by the mystery that surrounds us, is not the mystery itself. It is a basic posture toward the mystery, and it comes in an infinite variety of forms.”
Introductory thought such as the above serves as an atrium for the body of this material which is based upon the division of Christian history into three major historical phases. Each contains descriptions of the evolution and changes occurring in its era. The first two phases are divided according to the aforesaid distinction between faith and belief. In the third phase, just beginning, Christianity is embracing the spirit of its origins. This does not mean “coming full circle” and duplicating it, but returning in the way of a coil. “We cannot and should not try to reinstall the first Age of Faith. We live in a different world,” says Cox.
“orthodoxy” existed—no doctrines, therefore, no heretics. n THE AGE OF BELIEF began with the sweeping change of political climate wrought by Constantine’s takeover of the Church. Instead of living in the faith, people were led to believe statements about it. This era saw a tectonic shift from biblical faith to doctrinal belief. Cox places its beginning in the 4th century, and its end in the 20th. Given its long time frame, many significant events occurred within this phase. It was characterized by a transition from emphasis on “the Way” of living that Jesus taught, to a narrower focus on and dissection of his person. Cox spells out the reasons
The age of belief began with the sweeping change of political climate wrought by Constantine’s takeover of the Church. Instead of living in the faith, people were led to believe statements about it. This era saw a tectonic shift from biblical faith to doctrinal belief. n THE AGE OF FAITH is comprised of the first three centuries of Christianity. During this time, there was much diversity in what the followers of Jesus understood about their identity with his memory and mission. Uniformity in that regard was not important; in fact, we now know there was great diversity. Energy and focus were dedicated to following “the Way” of Jesus, as it was understood from the memories of his teaching and his life. No such thing as
why Constantine found it to be advantageous for his purposes: he needed law and order; uniformity was a way to achieve it. For this reason, he was complicit in the formulating of mandated doctrines, creeds, “orthodoxy,” heresy, and what eventually became canon law. During this era, adhering to “correct doctrine,” (at least intellectually), and being willing to witness to belief in all the formulations of the creeds, was taught as the sine qua non for salvation of one’s soul.
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THE FUTURE OF FAITH Catechisms were created, as was a new class of people: “heretics.” In the earlier centuries of this phase, bishops were not at all reluctant to slaughter or burn at the stake those courageous or naïve enough to dissent. (Cox rightly grants that “The Age of Belief” was also, for significant numbers of people, a spiritually vital ‘age of faith’ as well.”) n THE AGE OF THE SPIRIT. Today, the author sees Christianity as entering into the beginning of a “post-Constantian” era. Though not yet given an official name, he prefers to think of it as “The Age of the Spirit.” Of these times, he writes: “Despite dire forecasts of its decline, Christianity is growing faster than it ever has before, but mainly outside the West and in movements that accent spiritual experience, discipleship, and hope; pay scant attention to creeds; and flourish without hierarchies.” Doctrines, creeds and such, are fast losing relevancy and the energy to transfuse. They do not adequately interpret the mystery that confronts us. “Christians on five continents are shaking off the residues of the second phase (the Age of Belief) and negotiating a bumpy transition into a fresh era…. “ Following his delineation of the three ages, Cox deftly filets the hierarchy’s “stock in trade”: apostolic succession and authority. The idea of what came to be called “apostolic authority” did not originate with the apostles. It is a fiction invented by subsequent generations much later and then read back into the earlier history. Not only did the winning contenders among the many first “Christianities” write the history; they also tried to
destroy any evidence to the contrary. We now know that “this whole winners’ version is not only wildly inaccurate, but demonstrably dangerous.” Regarding “early Christianity”, there was not just a single model; there were many. The “official” one that eventually emerged was only one among the many that thrived in the earliest years. “[When] historians and biblical scholars began to have coffee together…both had to cope with the new evidence from Nag Hammadi.” Recent research reveals a multifaceted early Christianity but one with a strong sense of unity among the diverse communities. There was nothing inevitable or preordained about which version, if any, would predominate. This suggests that there is nothing fated about how
And the best way to understand the succeeding generation of Christian leaders is to notice how they reversed course and gradually came to admire and emulate that empire. As the empire became nominally Christianized, the church also became imperialized, blurring the essence of Christianity almost beyond recognition. Cox maintains that the separation we make today between ‘religion’ and ‘politics’ is a modern conceit….In first century Palestine, religion was political and politics were religious.” In his treatment of the Bible, Cox notes that the “literalization of the symbolic” occurred during the Age of Belief when metaphorical stories were interpreted as historical accounts of real events. We are currently dealing with some of the
As the empire became nominally Christianized, the church also became imperialized, blurring the essence of Christianity almost beyond recognition. Cox maintains that the separation we make today between ‘religion’ and ‘politics’ is a modern conceit….In first century Palestine, religion was political and politics were religious.” Christianity could develop in the third millenium.
unhappy consequences of such a distortion of the creation stories in Genesis.
An essential key to comprehending the earliest Christians, including those who wrote the New Testament, is to see their movement as a self-conscious alternative to the empire that tyrannized them.
It shouldn’t be surprising that Cox, being an American Baptist, drifts a bit into a sidebar of pastoral advice when treating of the Bible: people should use it as a source of personal inspiration; i.e.,
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THE FUTURE OF FAITH apart from both literalism and stringent biblical exegesis. “If war is too important to be left to the generals, the Bible is far too important to be left to either the academic critics or the Bible thumpers.”
trines with implicit norms devised by the group.” By and large, CORPUS readers will probably not find this work to be totally new thought for them. Its value may well lie in the configuration with which Cox has arranged the facts: “where we’ve been, where we are now, how we got here, and where we are going.” REPORTS
In the second half of the last century, a “people’s history” began to emerge. This was an awakening to the fact that what is usually termed “history” actually concerns itself with only the elites and leaders, not with the vast majority of ordinary people. In its “history” 95% of those who actually constituted the Christian movement, have been left out. Archaeology and historical research are now providing much broader profiles of the first Christian communities. The last chapters of this book are something of a world tour with glimpses of happenings not only in Christianity (liberation theology, inculturation in Asia and Latin America, faith-based small communities, etc.) but also throughout all world religions. Christians are once again minorities and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. (In the first centuries, Christianity was not yet western; today it is no longer western.) Pentecostalism (not to be confused with fundamentalism) is the fastest growing form of Christian religion. Fundamentalism is
dying—as Cox believes it should, even though he feels sorry for its adherents. There is a spectacular growth of megachurches underway. Cox attributes this phenomenon to the fact that “they are honeycombs of small groups, hundreds of them, for study, prayer, and action.” The appeal of small communities to seekers is “redefining the sacred… by replacing explicit creeds and doc-
Noted expert on religions, Karen Armstrong, describes this as “a timely and prophetic book.” It is prophetic according to both the biblical and the common (but less correct) usage of that term. Biblical: exposing the mistakes of the past and calling for a return to the original spirit. Common: foretelling what we should expect in the future. In the biblical prophetic mode, Cox clearly elucidates the missteps of the past; but he does so in a professional way. This is not the work of a disaffected Catholic, but of a gentleman scholar. It is candid but not contentious, an explanation not a polemic. In writing it, Harvey Cox has demonstrated his admirable teaching skills. If this is a “going away” present for his devotees, it is a fine gift, indeed. Reviewed for CORPUS REPORTS by A. Regina Schulte, M.A., Ph.D.
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DISCUSSIONS ON THE NEW COSMOLOGY: THE FOUR C’S OF THE GREAT STORY — COSMOLOGY (EVOLUTION), CREATIVITY, CHAOS AND COMPASSION
Written By Richard Scaine Richard Scaine taught at Seton Hall University and Prep School and New York Theological Seminary, from which he received a doctorate in 1977. He taught in the doctoral program at New York Theological for eighteen years, now retired. Dr. Scaine holds three master degrees: in Early Childhood Education, Psychology and Religion, and Theology. He received the Jungian Guild for Spiritual Guidance diploma in 1980 and is certified as an American Montessori Teacher. He was recently installed as a member of the pastoral team of the Inclusive Community in Nutley, N.J., a ministry he shares with his wife Mary. Dick & Mary’s email address is email@example.com
he “Great Story” (Berry, 1999) rests on four interdependent C’s—Cosmology, Creativity, Chaos, and Compassion. This Great Story, a unique blessing from the scientific community, is the grand narrative of an evolving universe with breathtaking creativity. The Great Story evolves with each new scientific discovery. So too, our religious consciousness evolves, as does our awareness of the universe and therefore, of the creative Lifeforce. Our species today might very well be experiencing a collective “dark night of the soul.” This is a very rich and fertile place to be, provided we don’t run from it. The great Muslim Sufi prophet Hafis declared that such times are when God holds us upside down and shakes the nonsense out. Mystics tell us not to run because this is an opportunity for Renaissance, for newness, because the emptying has begun, as the Buddhist Pema Chadron explains in her book, When Things Fall Apart. A Renaissance is spiri-
tual, and it is in the Spirit that the joyous rebirth takes place. Thoughts for this essay emerge primarily from a dialogue with the writings, tapes, and participatory workshops with both Matthew Fox and Diarmuid O’Murchu.
Spirituality is one’s recognition of the universe as a living presence of good, truth, beauty, peace, power, and love (Ernest Holmes, Church of Religious Science). Sadly, the last few hundred years in the West have closed down this aspect of the universe, largely due to a rationalistic scientific methodology that insisted that it worked like a machine, which in turn, demonized mysticism (immanence) and prompted undue emphasis on an overhead, judgmental, intervening God (transcendence). The result: too much institutional religion and too little spirituality, in the West. In fact, this
We have been gifted by science itself, which has moved from a mechanistic model of the universe to an organic one. This means we are all kin (one family), since we all have an organic ancestral inheritance, emanating from star stuff
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THE FOUR’S OF THE GREAT STORY scientific methodology tended to hold mysticism up to ridicule (Fox, 1995; O’Murchu, 1997). In the New Cosmology (Great Story), the universe matters. Universe is another word for creation. As a species, our only hope at sustainability is to recover our capacity for the whole, i.e., our own relationship to the universe (creation). At this time in history, we have been gifted by science itself, which has moved from a mechanistic model of the universe to an organic one. This means we are all kin (one family), since we all have an organic ancestral inheritance, emanating from star stuff (O’Murchu, 2008; Fox, 1998). Cosmology gives us a perspective, a context, which is essential to moving beyond our tiny ethnic, nationalistic, even religious boxes and to reconnecting to the womb of the self-giving universe (cosmos). Until we do this, we are quite capable of violence to ourselves, nature, and certainly to our children, because we are not inviting them into the vastness and immensity of new and imaginative possibilities that the evolutionary universe provides. So, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the universities insisted that our imaginations are capax universi, capable of the universe (Fox, 1980 and 2000). Today we ask what is our culture turning us out to be capable of, with its accents on unbridled consumerism, often vacuous T.V. and encouragement of conformity? Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, tells us everyone is born with seeds of violence in them and seeds of peace. But we have to water the seeds of peace. Presenting a cosmology that views creation itself as our home and nearest relative is a way of watering seeds of peace. Anything else is watering seeds of violence (Thich Nhat Hanh, 1987). Our relationship to the universe is about relating to all creation. George Tinker in Sojourners Magazine teaches us that the popular Native American prayer—”Matakuye Oyasin” or “For All My
Relations”—exhibits a characteristically Native American religious concern for achieving proper relations (“respect” and “reciprocity”) with all living things, all life, all creatures, all creation and the Creator—all relations. (Sojourners, January 1991). The Bhagavad Gita (Hindu) announces that the Lord dwells in the heart of all creatures and whirls them around in the wheel of time. The Creator is active; there is energy at work. The immensity of creation helps grow our souls (Fox, 2000). Black Elk insists the heart is a sanctuary, at the center of which is a space where the Great Spirit dwells; “The first peace, which is the most important peace, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the Universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the Universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, the Holy One, and that the center is really everywhere. It is within each of us; This is the real peace and the others are but reflections.” (Fox, 2000). Peace is at stake here. We will not be a peaceful species without living in our true home which is not just our family, tribe, city, country, or even our planet. It is the home which is the universe. So, the first element of an authentic spirituality for this Third Millennium is a recovery of the sense of the universe as sacred creation. It is a universal teaching among all the spiritual traditions. Yet, the modern era, in great measure, has subscribed to the philosophy of Francis Bacon who uttered that we shall torture Mother Earth until she reveals her secrets. We do so at our peril. How uncreative! (Fox, 1998; O’Murchu, 2000)
Thich Nhat Hanh, tells us everyone is born with seeds of violence in them and seeds of peace. But we have to water the seeds of peace. Presenting a cosmology that views creation itself as our home and nearest relative is a way of watering seeds of peace. Anything else is watering seeds of violence.
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THE FOUR’S OF THE GREAT STORY CREATIVITY
Any theology which treats the Bible as the “salvation history” of humans alone is an intolerable reductionism especially since there has been “creation history,” i.e., revelation of God, for 14 billion years before anyone needed to be “saved.” Starting with Jesus diminishes 14 billion years of precious breathtaking creativity and generosity by our self-giving universe (O’Murchu, 2008). Eastern Christianity finds redemption in theosis, in divinizing the universe (Greek, Russian Orthodox). To tend to creation is to tend to God. Not to do so holds us back from ecological sustainability. Every creature is a word of God and a book about God (Meister Eckhart). Revelation comes in two volumes: the Bible and Nature (Thomas Aquinas). Nature is just as holy and filled with the divine word as are the scriptures in a book, for any premodern thinker (O’Murchu, 2002). To think and pray from the neck up is not sufficient. The soul is not restricted to the left side of the brain. Emphasis on “clear and distinct ideas,” to the detriment of the lower chakras, needs reconsideration. One doesn’t dance, which connects us to the energy of the earth, out of the left brain. One dances to reconnect to the holiness and the rhythm of the earth, which flows from the bottom up. Knowledge alone is dangerous; it can be used as a weapon because it is power. The Celtic tradition insists that we never give a gun to a young man who has not first learned to dance; i.e., felt and respected the rhythms of the earth (Fox, 2002). We need Wisdom schools, not mere information centers. Universities must once again become places where we go to find our place in the universe, not merely job skills (Fox and Sheldrake, 1996). Information would then be at the service of Wisdom. Wisdom rules over the sciences and the arts in the
medieval university. Wisdom holds the cosmos together with creativity. There is Wisdom in all creative works (Hildegard of Bingen). Today Wisdom has been all but banished from our universities. A patriarchal consciousness eliminates Wisdom for she is feminine. She is eliminated because she cares about cosmology, and cosmology, in the patriarchal consciousness, has been reduced to a machine, with an overhead male clockwinder. The Wisdom tradition, which is Jesus’ tradition, is nature-centered, saturated with creativity, birthing, and nourishment. It is abundant life, rather than guilt and fear (Fox, 2006). CHAOS
The Renaissance beginning in the 12th century succeeded not only because it came from the bottom up, but also because it was a real shift in consciousness, a spiritual shift by young people, mostly serfs. The sign of the religious shift was the cathedra. Cathedra literally means throne. It is a throne where the Goddess sits. The biggest shift from Feudal to Gothic was the shift from patriarchy to the emergence of the Goddess (Fox, Chartres Lectures, DVD). Otto Rank (d. 1939), the great depth psychologist who worked with artists in Paris, insisted that if you want to get to the “soul” of a culture, go to its architecture. The Feudal era is captured by the Romanesque style, with its impenetrably thick walls and tiny windows, water buffers and soldiers. Romanesque is an unbalanced masculine. And the task of the Feudal soldier in the Western consciousness is to kill the dragon, i.e., the feminine. Hidden behind the mythic language of the Middle Ages is the effort to submerge and even kill the dragon who is the femi-
We need Wisdom schools, not mere information centers. Universities must once again become places where we go to find our place in the universe, not merely job skills. Information would then be at the service of Wisdom. Wisdom rules over the sciences and the arts in the medieval university. Wisdom holds the cosmos together with creativity. There is Wisdom in all creative works.
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THE FOUR’S OF THE GREAT STORY nine Goddess of chaos. Stories abound, starting around 4500 BC (Patriarchal Era) of killing the dragon, i.e., the feminine. Previous to this, during the Goddess era, she was well integrated into the culture, as well as into one’s own life. One danced with the dragon rather than try to eliminate her. A patriarchal era, however, is anti-goddess, anti-feminine, anti-earth in its spirituality and with its exploitation of the earth (Fox, Chartres Lectures, DVD). For many centuries, the churches have tried to control chaos and called it orthodoxy; then science took over from the church in the seventeenth century and called it objective science. Scientific rationalism, however, stumbled in the 1960’s when the computer taught us that chaos is intrinsic to everything natural. For example, witness the chaos of childbirth, yet be amazed at the outcome. Childbirth is both chaotic and creative. The idea of the Goddess of chaos probably emerges from the practice of midwifery. Fundamentalism is about controlling chaos at all costs. The alternative is to trust chaos, the feminine, nature, and therefore trust creativity. Creativity emerges from the wild, from the chaotic. Creativity brings light and space to our senses and to our hearts, opening us to a brilliant display of color and immensity of space to allow the soul to shift from defense and fear (Patriarchal Romanesque) to new possibilities and hope (Feminine Gothic). In a 150-year period, 80 cathedrals were built in France, everyone dedicated to Notre Dame, to Mary, to the Goddess, to the creative chaos, to the coalescence of creative, birthing and nourishing energies so long submerged, i.e., the feminine. The Goddess (Mary) came roaring into the 12th century filled with energy and new possibilities (Renaissance).
In the 12th century, when these European cathedrals were built, the cathedral was viewed as a cosmic center, an intersection of coalescing energies; it invited people’s spirits to come alive, It is here that the Goddess sits on her throne ruling the cosmos with justice and compassion for the poor, not for the lord running the manor. Mary is so attractive in the 12th-century Renaissance because she represented the outcast, the poor, the serfs, the women, the young. She offered challenge and hope in the midst of change and creativity (Fox, Chartres Lectures, DVD). So too, she is emerging now, to do the same. The key to a Third Millennium Renaissance is that the Goddess with Wisdom (feminine) is coming back, and she is righteously angry. If Catholics are enamored by Peter (“upon this rock…”) and Protestants by Paul (Romans), perhaps we need now also trust the Marys of the New Testament, who represent the coalescence of new energies for a new church and a new world (Fox, 2005). COMPASSION
What today’s cosmology (science) is saying is that creativity is the signature of the universe; it is at the heart of all history and evolutionary processes. We humans are born from this ancestral inheritance of creativity. But it is also why we are dangerous. Our creativity must be channeled or directed toward compassion. Creativity is meant to bring balance where imbalance reigns. Another word for this is justice or sustainability. What is just is sustainable; what is unjust is destructive. We need to be awakened to this divine gift of creativity inherited from the universe out of which we are born, and to steer this gift in a direction which is truly life-giving.
A Third Millennium spirituality, then, recognizes that we emerge from and are nourished by the womb of the universe, that it is our home and to it we are destined to return. The root of the word for compassion (womb), the alternative word for God in the Jewish Scriptures, suggests that our ancestral inheritance is not “from above” but from the earth (universe) and that it deserves the care and prophetic concern we impart to our own mother
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THE FOUR’S OF THE GREAT STORY A Third Millennium spirituality, then, recognizes that we emerge from and are nourished by the womb of the universe, that it is our home and to it we are destined to return (Fox, 2002). The root of the word for compassion (womb), the alternative word for God in the Jewish Scriptures, suggests that our ancestral inheritance is not “from above” but from the earth (universe) and that it deserves the care and prophetic concern we impart to our own mother (Fox, 1979; O’Murchu, 2008).
Fox, Matthew and Rupert Sheldrake. Natural Grace. N.Y.: Doubleday Image Book, 1996.
———. Evolutionary Faith. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 2002.
Berry, Thomas. The Great Work: Our Way into the Future. New York: Bell Tower (Random House), 1999.
———. Reclaiming Spirituality. New York: Crossroad, 1997.
Cleary, William. Prayers to and Evolutionary God. Woodstock, Vermont: SkyLight Paths Pub., 2004.
Nhat Hanh, Thich. Being Peace. Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 1987, 1996. O’Murchu, Diarmuid. Ancestral Grace: Meeting God in Our Human Story. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 2008.
———. Religion in Exile: A Spiritual Homecoming. New York: Crossroad, 2000. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
Fox, Matthew. A.W.E. (Ancestor, Wisdom, Education) Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human. Kelowna, BC, Canada: Copper House Pub., 2006. ———. Chartres Lectures: The 12th Century Renaissance and the 21st Century Renaissance. www.matthewfox.org
1. What did you find most liberating in this chapter? Most challenging? Most insightful? Most disturbing? Please provide reasons.
2. What signs do you observe that we are now entering a new Renaissance/Reformation?
———. The Coming the Cosmic Christ. San Francisco: Harper, 1998.
3. What does it mean that our imaginations are “capax universi,” i.e., capable of the universe?
———. Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet. New York: Tarcher/Penquin, 2002. ———. A New Reformation. Oakland, Calif.: Wisdom Univ. Press, 2005.
4. What is lost with the passing of native peoples, their religions, their cultures? Include harmony or peace, and the sacredness of creation in your discussion.
5. Respond to the statement: We need Wisdom schools, not ———. One River, Many Wells. New York: Tarcher/Putnam (Penguin Group), 2000.
more information centers; information should be at the service of Wisdom.
———. Passion for Creation. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions International, 1980, 2000.
6. What connections can be made between patriarchy and
———. A Spirituality Named Compassion. San Francisco, Calif.: Harper and Row, Pub., 1979. ———. Wrestling with the Prophets. New Tarcher/Putnam (Penguin Group), 2003 (orig. 1995).
7. In what ways is creativity called the signature of the universe? What human faculty is primarily used for creativity? In what ways are we the “image of God”?
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SECURE WEB SITE
We also appreciate the many essays that CORPUS members, Hank Mattimore,
In order to have the most secure web site for conferences, renewals and donations, CORPUS has gone to PayPal. When you use our online services you will notice that your information is directed to PayPal, a site used by many vendors and non-profits. We thank Joe Cece, web master, and Marcia Stephens, membership renewal, for their extra work to make this happen. If you have any problems, please let me know. MEMBERS’ INPUT
We welcome your input. Letters or emails may be sent to the CORPUS President, Bill Manseau, or to David Gawlik, editor of CORPUS REPORTS. Your personal thoughts and comments may be added directly to the many discussions found in the CORPUS FORUM on our web site. Please encourage our contributors to the web site and CORPUS REPORTS. They welcome feedback and would love to hear from you. Would you like to write an article for CORPUS REPORTS or any of our electronic newsletters? Now that many of us are retired, we have the time to write an article and/or do a book review and submit it for possible publication in CORPUS REPORTS or on our web site. We are very appreciative and thankful for our many members who have taken the time to contribute to our publication in the past.
Robert Kippley and Dan O’Rourke have sent us. They are posted monthly on our web site home page. THANKS
Thanks to all who recently responded to our appeal and our renewal requests. Your contributions will help to keep the CORPUS mission energized as we move towards an inclusive priesthood. Also, thanks to many members throughout the country who have sent memorial information to me for inclusion in our online REMEMBERING OUR BROTHERS & SISTERS. I am depending on you to send me the obituaries and death notices that appear in your local newspapers.
By Stuart O’Brien DON’T FORGET OUR ONLINE SERVICES AT WWW.CORPUS.ORG • VISIT MEMBER SERVICES • READ DAILY CATHOLIC NEWS BRIEFS IN THE CORPUS FORUM
• CHECK THE CORPUS CALENDAR FOR EVENTS IN YOUR AREA
• READ ARTICLES ABOUT REFORM
AND AN INCLUSIVE PRIESTHOOD
Don’t forget to check the CORPUS FORUM on our website. The site has a plethora of articles taken from leading periodicals about various aspects of the reform movement and inclusive priesthood. It is updated each day with important information that you need from a wide variety of resources that will keep you abreast on what is happening in the Church. Also, it is a special place to exchange ideas with others who are working for an inclusive priesthood. Besides reform articles, there are many of the best Catholic news services that may be of interest to you. There is also a chance to reply and comment on anything that you read. Check it out. Continued on age 14
IN THE CORPUS FORUM
• BUY A BOOK DIRECTLY FROM THE ONLINE BOOKSTORE
• REGISTER FOR CONFERENCE •
ACCESS JOHN XXIII COMMUNITY
JOIN A CURRENT DISCUSSION ON THE CORPUS FORUM
CHECK THE CORPUS CALENDAR FOR EVENTSIN YOUR AREA
MAKE A PRAYER REQUEST IN PRAYER SPACE
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WARNING. It is a password-protected site. Please write down your user name and password for future reference. At some point when you return, you will be asked for it.
home page is entitled Married Priests’ Web Sites. This also is constantly updated, adding new sites. To add your web site, or to update a change in the site, please contact me.
CORPUS LEGACY PROJECT
PLAN TO JOIN US!
Please consider submitting your unique journey/story for our Legacy Project. It can be as short or as long as you wish. You can use any vehicle, audio, written, or visual. We have many who have already submitted their legacies to be included in the archives of the University of Notre Dame for the future generations to read and study. I urge all to consider their stories for the archives. Anyone wishing more information should contact me and/or visit the Legacy Project in member services on our web page.
We hope that you will join us in Dallas, Texas for 2010 FCM/CORPUS Joint Conference, In Search of Freedom, June 25-27. Featured presenters are: Roy Bourgeois, Jan Phillips, and Anthony Padovano. This year offers a special opportunity for FCM and CORPUS to meet and share together. Information and registration forms can be found in CORPUS REPORTS and on our web site. PRAYER SPACE
Ministries Directories on our home page offer viewers a resource for finding a married priest and/or celebrant for a liturgical service and/or a small faith community. The web site is directly linked to the Federation of Christian Ministries, C.I.T.I./. Rentapriest, Ecumenical Catholic Communion, and Women’s Ordination Conference directories. Many viewers express a need to find a celebrant for a particular liturgical function, or are asked to help others find a married priest, or a small faith community in which to worship. Links are constantly updated with new names and areas served. Another section in Resources and Links on the
Prayer Space is located on our home page in the drop-down box where you can place an intention that we will remember in our daily prayers. Also there are resources there to cultivate your prayer life. We ask all members to make an effort to visit the site, read, and pray for the intentions. Member Services :::: Director, Stuart O’Brien 114 Sunset Drive Raynham, MA 02767 508.822.6710 Fax: 508.822.6710 *51
IN SEARCH OF FREEDOM JOINT FCM & CORPUS CONFERENCE June 25, 26, 27, 2010 American Airline Conference and Training Center ::::: Fort Worth, TX : FEATURING
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT
Roy Bourgeois Anthony Padovano Jan Phillips
Allen or Sylvia Moore :::: 928.282.4122 Nick or Mary De Los Reyes :::: 562.547.0910
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The Parliament of World Religions: Melbourne, Australia, December 3-9, 2009
By Anthony T. Padovano
n the eighteenth century, the United States gave the world a daring example of a new form of government: democratic and constitutional, with a Bill of Rights and a separation of church and state. In the twentieth century, the United States was a principal influence in the creation of a world government through the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. One of these rights declared religious freedom a universal value. Between these two novel and remarkable events, Americans, in the nineteenth century, attempted something extraordinary with religion. The eighteenth-century separation of religion from government freed the American imagination to think new ways about religious institutions. In 1893, in Chicago, a Parliament of World Religions came into being. The first world assembly of religions called for dialogue among the religions and the right of all religions to exist without interference from government or from other religions. The event was so radical and startling that there was not another Parliament until 1993, a century later.
It is not wise to underestimate the influence of religious systems on the political and cultural life of a nation or of the global community. The Parliament recognizes this reality and seeks to bring religious dialogue to bear on creating a world of compassion and justice, with peace among the nations through dialogue between the religions. In 1993, the second session of the Parliament met, again in Chicago. The focal point of this assembly was the adoption of a Global Ethic. Years of labor and discussion determined that all religions and all people of good will agreed on five major moral values. The first of these was the fundamental ethic which created the context for all moral behavior. It stated that we must not do to others what we would not want done to ourselves. Four concrete moral principles flowed from this and all religions proclaimed them: n It is wrong to murder or to do violence to another.
P LEASE GO TO HTTP :// WWW. ABC . NET. AU / COM PASS / S 2738842 . HTM TO VIEW THE DISCUSSION . A NTHONY IS QUOTED ON PAGE 18 ; HOWEVER THE ENTIRE DISCUSSION IS WELL WORTH YOUR TIME â€” PROVIDED YOU HAVE BROAD BAND.
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The Parliament of World Religions n It is wrong to steal or do violence to another’s property. n It is wrong to lie and destroy the truth on which human communication and solidarity depend. n It is wrong to use sexuality irresponsibly and to violate the power we have to create life and to reinforce substantial commitments. I started to attend Parliaments in 1999. A decision had been made in 1993 to meet on the eve of the third millennium. Cape Town, South Africa, was chosen as the first site outside the United States. Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, and the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi were keynote speakers. Mandela cancelled a visit to the White House to be with us, because, as he said, without the beneficent effects of religion, apartheid would still be in place in South Africa. He wanted to address the Parliament in testimony of that fact and in gratitude for it. He noted also that religion and missionary schools shaped his development as a person. The Dalai Lama was a major force in resurrecting the Parliament in 1993 and in endorsing the Global Ethic. Mahatma Gandhi’s granddaughter was convinced that Gandhi would have endorsed a Parliament whose major goals were so consistent with his vision for humanity. After 1999, the decision was made to meet every five years and in different parts of the world. The 2004 Barcelona meeting, with more than 8000 participants, dramatized through the arts, especially sacred music and dance, how religion at its best inspires people to become creative. The evening of song and dance before one of the architectural marvels of the world, the Sagrada Famiglia, was an event that no one who was part of it will ever forget. The 2009 assembly in Melbourne was attentive to two new ventures. Led by the great scholar and visionary, Karen Armstrong, it endorsed a “Charter of Compassion” in which leading political and religious figures agreed that compassion is the most valuable result of all our political and religious endeavors. A second document, “Ethical Principles and the Global Economy” took into account not only the world financial crisis but also the movement to create a comprehensive economic order and the effects of all this on the daily lives and moral dilemmas of people. These new initiatives were carefully calibrated with the Global Ethic and, indeed, were seen as extensions of it and consequences from it.
There have been four parliaments in the last sixteen years and an ease has developed in the way the major themes are explored. There is a strong sense that religions recognize the value of cooperation most readily when addressing poverty, hunger, homelessness, violence, economic exploitation and abuse of people. By far, the most difficult issue, however, is revision and reform of the belief systems and ideologies which claim one religion is sovereign and has an absolute claim on the truth. This is not an easy rite of passage because there is value in the distinctiveness of each individual tradition. This value demands more than indifference, easy negotiation and readiness to compromise. Maintaining distinctiveness while encouraging inclusivity is a challenge. If the challenge is met, each tradition benefits from aspects of the truth the alternative system developed, aspects that perhaps were non-existent or only vaguely perceived without the alternative influence. This takes time and patience since religions think in terms of centuries and millenia. Apart from considerable informal dialogue, my major work with the Parliament in Melbourne took two forms, each connected with the other. I was invited by the Parliament to address one of the rare plenary sessions of the Parliament. This session would be one of the major events of the entire Parliament. A key theme of the Parliament was understanding the culture and religious values of indigenous people, with a focus on the aboriginal communities of Australia. I and my associates on the panel were encouraged to come two days early and to spend time at ULURU with its indigenous people. ULURU (Ayers Rock) is seen world-wide as the major icon for indigenous religion. The Parliament was eager to give the panel a prominent place during the meeting and to have the hour program telecast by ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ABC in Australia is akin to PBS in the United States. The panel would be telecast on December 13 throughout Australia and across Asia. The panelists included: n Rabbi Michael Melchior, a member of the Israeli Knesset and cabinet member of the Israeli government
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The Parliament of World Religions n Melissa Brickell, representative from Australia’s aboriginal community n Dr. Suhair Hassan Al Qurashi, the president of a woman’s college in Saudi Arabia and a leader of reform n Timothy Costello, CEO of World Vision, Australia n Katherine Marshall, a member of World Bank The discussion was chaired by one of the major television anchors in Australia. The network will send me a copy of the program in the near future.
n n n n
Time Taverne (Australian Reforming Catholics—ARC) John Buggy (ARC) Margaret Knowlden (ARC) Paul Collins (Catholics for Ministry)
The consensus throughout the Parliament of Religions and the Catholic reform movement is that an irreversible tide of renewal has reached the shores of our era. The future is bright enough to dispel the shadows and darkness which, from time to time, seem more substantial than they are. I addressed groups in Sydney and Melbourne, making time for them by leaving the Parliament work as often as I could safely do so. These organizations and their representatives included:
In less formal work, I was active promoting the “Charter of Compassion (Please see page 19)”, “Ethical Principles and the Global Economy”, and, of course, the Global Ethic. I took this occasion to work diligently with all the reform groups in Australia. I addressed them on the nature of CORPUS, on women’s ordinations in the United States, on behalf of the International Movement for the Renewal of Catholic Ministry and, quite earnestly, in encouraging them to endorse the American Catholic Council and to attend the 2011 Detroit meeting. I addressed groups in Sydney and Melbourne, making time for them by leaving the Parliament work as often as I could safely do so. These organizations and their representatives included: n Bernice Moore (WATAC—Women and the Australian Church) n Father Peter Maher (Pastor of Newtown—Sydney Archdiocese) n Barry Morris (parishioner, Newtown) n Father Claude Mostowik, MSC (Justice and peace Convener for the Missionaries Of the Sacred Heart) n Carole Wilson (Catalyst for Renewal) n Jan Brady (Catalyst for Renewal) n Joelle Battestini (Ordination of Catholic Women—OCW) n Marilyn Hatton (OCW)
n Bernice Moore (WATAC— Women and the Australian Church) n Father Peter Maher (Pastor of Newtown —Sydney Archdiocese) n Barry Morris (parishioner, Newtown) n Father Calude Mostowik, MSC (Justice and peace Convener for the Missionaries Of the Sacred Heart) n Carole Wilson (Catalyst for Renewal) n Jan Brady (Catalyst for Renewal) n Joelle Battestini (Ordination of Catholic Women—OCW) n Marilyn Hatton (OCW) n Time Taverne (Australian Reforming Catholics—ARC) n John Buggy (ARC) n Margaret Knowlden (ARC) n Paul Collins (Catholics for Ministry) The consensus throughout the Parliament of Religions and the Catholic reform movement is that an irreversible tide of renewal has reached the shores of our era. The future is bright enough to dispel the shadows and darkness which, from time to time, seem more substantial than they are.
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The Parliament of World Religions - Excerpts from Anthony “I think that the world religious scene is tremendously important because there is no human depth without diversity, and if we are going to be called by God one by one, we’re going to be called differently, as well as even in community, we’re going to be called differently, and so that diversity is extremely important and when that diversity is respected, it seems to me at the very heart of nonviolence. Respect for the different other is the very essence of what it means to destroy violence, so for the viewpoint of the magnitude of God, from the viewpoint of a non-violent world in a world rich in diversity and substance, I think the kind of dialogue we’re trying to have here is absolutely imperative.”
I’m very sympathetic to that idea. I think that if you look at history in the long run, we keep thinking that the end time has come, and, of course, it keeps going on. And I agree with this, your comment, that the whole idea of young people transcending boundaries, which is so critically important, so for most young people, it doesn’t matter all that much if there’s an interracial marriage or a same sex marriage or if people are able to find some kind of decency and love in whatever the new arrangement is, they tend to be far less judgmental that we. Now, you do get these small groups that you did mention, as in Paris, you’ll get …”
“I’d like to say a word if I might about the Dawkins thing and come right into that, if that’s not out of order. I don’t think atheism and I’ll get to the indoctrination which will deal with this question, is ever a problem for religion. It’s created by the failure of religion, and actually it purifies religion because very frequently it shakes it free of a lot of the religious nonsense that can go unchallenged as a religion is trying to proclaim its more substantive message. If the truth is larger than we are and religions keep thinking at times the truth is smaller than the religious system, if the truth is larger than us, then there’s no fear for criticism because the truth will always prevail. It has an intrinsic powerful dynamic, so when we get to the question that is more specific here, of what do you do with the individual religious school, the only way of becoming universal is becoming profoundly individualistic. And if you’re individualistic at a deep enough level, then all of a sudden, you connect with everything. So to try to create a very bland, neutral environment in which there is no real diversity, you wind up with profound superficiality. The key thing … let me put it in this way. I have never respected women any more than I do now, and I don’t want to be a woman. I like being a man. So the idea that you allow the other, so to speak, to develop his or her otherness, is in no way a threat to the essential way that you’re trying to define yourself, and I think that’s where the mistake is.?
“I would like to say they were never people of faith. If you’re a person of faith, you can’t possibly move into those kinds of fears and obsessions. You start to use religion as the weapon that enables you to attack and assault the other. I think the correlative, the analogy of marriage. If a man loves his wife, he could never lift his hand against her. If he begins to batter her, or he begins to use offensive language against her, there wasn’t any love. There wasn’t any marriage. And I think the same thing here is true with faith. Every violence, and the crusades were unbelievable violent. There were times when the Jews were violent. We all have our history of tremendous aberration and destructiveness, but that was never the history of faith. When there’s faith, the violence stops.”
“I think the problem is that we have to be sympathetic to this dimension of it. The unfamiliar is always unsettling, so this is something you’re not used to, and therefore, we’ve got to realize there’s going to be some difficulty with people making the adjustment. The interesting thing is, however, as the unfamiliar is met, the things that are valuable come to the surface. In the United States, in our own history, the idea was once the non-English speaking immigrants come in, it’s all over. Then, all right, well, we
“I would like to see religions by and large emphasize not so much the truth that they think they’re going to proclaim, but the kinds of fears that exist in the hearts of the people that they’re dealing with, and I think the two greatest fears that terrify all of us are number one, my pain doesn’t matter to anyone, and so my embarrassment, my awkwardness, my wounds, my fallibilities, don’t matter very much. So the answer to that is compassion. Quickly, the second element, very quickly, is the second great fear is my life doesn’t matter. And respect, which is the second great thing beside compassion, is the way in which I say to someone else, your life made a difference, and I’m grateful for it.”
Please paste this URL address in your browser to view the entire discussion http://www.abc.net.au/compass/s2738842.htm
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Charter for Compassion
CHARTER FOR COMPASSION WAS CREATED BY KAREN ARMSTRONG IN MARCH OF 2008 AT TED http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/karen_armstrong_ma kes_her_ted_prize_wish_the_charter_for_compassion.html. She also appeared on Bill Moyers and this interview can be seen at http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/03132009/watch.html The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honor the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect. It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion. We therefore call upon all men and women—to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion—to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate—to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures—to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity—to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
P LEASE PASTE THIS URL
IN YOUR BROWSER TO VIEW THE MIS -
SION AND VISION OF THE CHARTER . HTTP :// WWW. YOUTUBE . COM / WATCH ? V = WKTLW CPD D 94& FEA TURE = PLAYER _ EMBEDDED
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
ROBERT WRIGHT: THE
EVOLUTION OF COMPASSION
http://charterforcompassion.org/learn/talks/robertwright Robert Wright uses evolutionary biology and game theory to explain why we appreciate the Golden Rule (“Do unto others...”), why we sometimes ignore it and why there’s hope that, in the near future, we might all have the compassion to follow it.
TENZIN ROBERT THURMAN: EXPANDING YOUR CIRCLE OF COMPASSION http://charterforcompassion.org/learn/talks/tenzinrobert-thurman It’s hard to always show compassion—even to the people we love, but Robert Thurman asks that we develop compassion for our enemies. He prescribes a seven-step meditation exercise to extend compassion beyond our inner circle.
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Brothers by Choice and By Chance On the 50th Anniversary of My Ordination
ot unlike Gaul, the celebration of our fiftieth ordination anniversary was divided into three parts. The veni, vidi, vinci of another era became for me veni, vidi, vixi, with a hint of ad multos annos, vivas. Indeed, we have lived for many years that somehow seem too few because there is so much life in them and so much promise that even 75 years cannot take its measure. There are graced moments and privileged seasons in life. The time of our youth, ardent dreams and sacred calling have borne the fruit of our maturity. The memory of this led to our remarkable meetings. We seldom before spoke to one another so openly and so well as we did on the fiftieth anniversary of that ordination which brought us together and kept us connected. Allow me to explore with you, my friends, the three aspects of my experience of this event, seeking to keep in focus all of us. There was an American phase, a personal phase, and a Roman phase, all of them Catholic. THE AMERICAN PHASE
We start with St. Louis, the American phase. Seventeen of the 33 living members of our class met from October 5-7, 2009. We are Americans who have learned to unite the North American title of our College and the Vatican City part of our address.
You will not all agree with me, but I see in America a culture of enormous depth and magnitude. Never unmindful of our sins (Catholics see to that), always embarrassed and distraught by what we once did to African Americans and native Americans, to the victims of our belligerence and of our head-long rush into greed, aware of this, refusing to trivialize it or excuse it, I feel strongly nonetheless, that something happened on these shores and across this continent that has made the world a better place for humanity at large and, also, for the Catholic Church. We became the first national democracy in history at a time when that idea was considered reckless and doomed to an early demise. We crafted historyâ€™s first written constitution, now even better than it was in 1789. We became the first nation to separate Church and State and the worldâ€™s first universal nation. Everyone is here, even those who fought one another for centuries. Here they stopped fighting and lived side by side. We should not have had one civil war but at least fifty. Multi-party democracies do not wage war on one another and they do not have severe famines, because their governments are accountable and can be replaced. Famines do not come from a lack of resources but from unaccountability. One day, when the entire world is a political democracy, we may bring war to near extinction and eliminate malnourishment. We met in St. Louis as Americans. We are instinctively democratic, neurologically opposed to class division, secular enough to allow the sacred a place where it can be cre-
Written By Anthony T. Padovano
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Brothers by Choice and By Chance ative. Jacques Maritain observes that no nation that has reached industrial development is more religious than the United States, a nation founded ironically as a secular enterprise. We met with full acceptance as equals, those in clerical standing and those dispensed from it, bishops and priests, ordained married classmates and their brave wives who trusted us to honor them. We accepted the different journeys we took, the decisions we made, the Spirit that was alive in us and brought us to respect the sacred character of the lives we led and the dreams we still had for a future God never denies us.
My wife at my side in North American Chapel was a special grace. She reached me the way no other human being has and she made me a better priest, a more authentic disciple of Christ by the grace of her love and the glory of her life. She is part of all our lives because you and I are brother priests in the same family of faith. Some of the women religious in Theresa’s community saw things this way and greeted me as their brother-inlaw because I married their sister. Flannery O’Connor observed that all that rises must converge. Our differences are so superficial.
On American soil, redolent with what is best in our culture, we came together for a few days and told one another how rich life is and how gratifying it was to be together. We have fewer years before us than we have already lived, but we have lasted and loved and discovered different ways to be faithful and committed and enduring.
I felt Christmas strongly on this trip. Indeed “Tu Scende dalle Stelle”; the world alone did not make him. Christ is luminous. It is all so beautiful that it breaks your heart and, like Eucharistic bread, the broken pieces create a deeper communion with life.
THE PERSONAL PHASE The second phase was personal. I came to Rome from December 18-29, as you know, to be there on our ordination anniversary, December 20. The experience was luminous and indelible. On December 20, 2009, I brought my wife and my sister and two of my four children into the Chapel of the Choir (St. Peter’s Basilica) where I celebrated my first Mass fifty years ago. They took the same place my deceased parents and grandmother occupied. This time the Mass was in English, the liturgy was reformed and the presider faced the community. The very thought of such a celebration was remote in December of l959 and yet it all belonged together because the unifying factor was Christ, the anchor and the shepherd of our lives. At North American, in the later afternoon, at the Scoglio di Frisio, at the Catacombs of Priscilla (my second Mass), and St. Paul Outside the Walls (my third Mass), at the Hotel Mediterranio (first Mass breakfast), I walked the path of my first week as a priest with all of you as companions, sensing that everything about my life as a priest was intact and that our bond together had not been broken. The priesthood reached our hearts at a depth no institutional decree could annul. Christ did not function institutionally as a priest in Israel; it was all in his heart and his spirit and his behavior with people. We think differently about Church and Scripture and Liturgy and life than we did fifty years ago, but not differently about whether Christ is still center and whether we are brothers.
My wife at my side in North American Chapel was a special grace. She reached me the way no other human being has and she made me a better priest, a more authentic disciple of Christ by the grace of her love and the glory of her life. She is part of all our lives because you and I are brother priests in the same family of faith. Some of the women religious in Theresa’s community saw things this way and greeted me as their brotherin-law because I married their sister. THE ROMAN PHASE The third and final phase took place in Rome. Ten of us met there from January 8 to January 14, 2010. This was the 150th anniversary of the founding of the college. Nine of the ten had been in St. Louis. Cumulatively, 18 of the 33 living members of
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Brothers by Choice and By Chance our class of 51 made one or the other reunion (more than half, 54 %; a remarkable number considering age, health, finances and schedule conflicts). As you recall, we are roughly one third deceased, one third resigned, one third canonical. In Rome, the sense of things was different. This was not so much American or personal. It was Roman, in a positive manner. To be frank, when I saw the Reunion Itinerary, with presiders whose views of Church and even of Christ are, in most cases, so different from mine, I was discouraged. They had every right to be there and to preside but so did those who see Vatican II in another manner and who have invested their lives in the struggle to make the Church a more liberated community. Balance, inclusivity, and diversity bring us truths we miss without them. I said to Theresa before I left that I was going because this anniversary belongs to all of us at North American and not just to presiders. I wanted to take from each day all that was good in it, with no ultimate fear that there would not be good there or that it would not prevail in the long run. And, of course, I was going to be with my class and my friends. The deepest joy was meeting one another. Fifty years seemed a short time because we met on a profound level when we were young and we supported one another in our ideals. Those ideals and ideas took unexpected directions over the years. They had to, because fifty years ago we saw life, the Church and ourselves less comprehensively than we do now. Despite the years and the sometimes radical change, there was continuity and connection. We were a band of brothers who believed in Christ and priesthood and our calling to both. We are still there. We were Americans who sensed what it was to be American differently because we were in a foreign country. The American flag flying from the College on American holidays was an emotional experience for us. We missed our country and were proud of the nation we came from in ways we had not realized until we were far from home. We were convinced that God had called us, and our friendships resonated with this mission and calling. We became Roman and Catholic through a profound encounter with the history and tradition of the oldest and largest institution in the world. Now Rome was also home.
We put America and ourselves in a new perspective as we studied at the Gregorian University and in the academy of the city of Rome itself, its streets and churches and monuments from antiquity and, beyond Rome, through the rest of Italy and Europe. In Rome, a half-century later, we felt great joy in being with those we trusted most during our years of training, those who knew us and cared about us differently and uniquely. As some of the most reactionary church administrators presided at liturgy, I was taken with how well Vatican II held. Despite their disenchantment and reservations about the Council, they celebrated in a manner once considered thoroughly unacceptable. The liturgies were in English, concelebrated, facing the community, with the simple rituals of liturgical reform (not the baroque rubrics of another time), with communion in the hand and acceptance of everyone
The deepest joy was meeting one another. Fifty years seemed a short time because we met on a profound level when we were young and we supported one another in our ideals. Those ideals and ideas took unexpected directions over the years. They had to, because fifty years ago we saw life, the Church and ourselves less comprehensively than we do now. Despite the years and the sometimes radical change, there was continuity and connection. We were a band of brothers who believed in Christ and priesthood and our calling to both. We are still there.
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Brothers by Choice and By Chance there. Married priests participated and received communion from those opposed to a married priesthood. The wives of priests were an honored part of the assembly and sacramentally connected with it. There were no homilies that called into question any of the great themes of Vatican II, no discordant notes. Indeed, meeting a number of cardinals and archbishops afterward we felt nothing but acceptance, not the slightest hint of estrangement. We married priests were proud of and bonded with the bishops in our class and our celibate, canonical priest brothers who have labored long and generously on behalf of Godâ€™s People and have made the Church better for all of us. Our hearts were touched and ached for some of our married priest brothers who were treated dishonorably by narrow and cruel clerics and for those canonical priests who were rejected when they sought to implement Vatican II for the sake of the communities they served. The Council, I believe, has prevailed in all its essentials. Even the reactionaries we encountered during our days in Rome are compelled to speak in the language of Vatican II about ecumenism and conscience, the value of the modern world, liturgy, and the focus on Scripture. When adversaries feel obliged to speak the language of their opponents, they have lost a crucial advantage. We went to the Dodici and St. Peterâ€™s, to North American and the Casa, to the Villa Santa Caterina and St. Mary Major, to the Greg and the sites in Rome we know so well. We gathered as a class time and again, at our own table, for festive meals and quiet, moving conversations. It was marvelous, miraculous in its own way, majestic. Those of you not in Rome or, earlier, in St. Louis were in our recollections, in our laughter and our stories. We remembered you not only when we prayed, but also when we broke bread and spoke your names. There were sad moments. Peter Kearney, uncertain if he would be accepted or his beautiful wife Claire honored. They came and delighted everyone, no exception. Tony Massimini writing, nonsentimentally, about how some in the Church broke his heart and, worse, the very spirit of his dear friend Bill Leahy. I held Bill in my arms as he was dying and thanked him for his priesthood and his friendship. I rejoiced for him that Christ would know how to receive him even though some in Christâ€™s Church did not and would not do this. I spoke to him of his goodness and the difference he made in my life. Ad multos annos, Bill, vivas.
We sang Ad multos annos as Pope Benedict greeted us in a private audience. He shook hands with all of us and seemed immensely happy to be with us. He likes Americans. Arrivaderci Well, my friends, this letter has all the pretensions of an epistle, reaching for a wisdom it never achieves. I felt a record of what happened over the last few months was in order. There are times, in the words of the playwright Arthur Miller, when attention must be paid. There you have it. The best gift we give is to share what matters most to us in life with friends who care. We offer a treasure in the fragile vessels of our lives, sometimes uncertain if it is proper or if it will be received or if it is worthy of those to whom we bring it. On a deep level I believe that all of this could not be mine unless it was also yours. I love you and I thank you. May God bless us to our dying day and bring us home from the remarkably diverse roads we walked. Without God and without one another, none of it makes sense. Ad multos annos! Vivas! Vivas! Vivas!
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Clergy Night 4th Degree Knights of Columbus in the Milwaukee/Waukesha area's Annual Clergy Night.
hree events in life bring about tremendous change and emotion in our lives.
n The birth of a child n Celebrating love by marriage n The death of a loved one. I would like to spend tonight speaking about the loss of a loved one. Much has been written about the grief process, with formulae about the steps to be taken and what to expect. But frankly there are no formulas. Every person deals with the loss in his or her own individual way and at their own pace. There is a tremendous overload, both physical and emotional, as well as sheer fatigue. For some, death was sudden, and that’s painful. For others death comes after prolonged illness, and that’s a relief knowing your loved one will suffer no more. But death is always more painful when it comes one generation too soon, the death of a spouse or a child are particularly hard to deal with.
In my own life, I became more active in many ways. I traveled. I spent a week with old friends in New Orleans the week before Mardi Gras, before things got really crazy. I drove to the East Coast, stopping along the way to visit a mountain town in Virginia which I visited in 1968 to start a used clothing store for a mission church…it’s still in existence. I went to a wedding in Denver, made a wrong turn and ended up in Los Angeles. I spent a week in Ireland and two weeks in Scotland. I finally had time to do some writing …with several books published. One of them I am most proud of is the subject of this talk, You’re Not The One Who Died. I got into teaching a course for seniors in writing their stories; several of these students had their works published. I developed new hobbies, got involved in volunteering, particularly with the Food for the Hungry program which distributes food to some 700 food pantries and meal programs in the area.
Written By John Schmitz T HE 4 TH DEGREE K NIGHTS OF C OLUMBUS INVITE ALL THE PRIESTS AND DEACONS FROM THE M ILWAUKEE METRO AREA . ATTENDANCE IS USU ALLY ABOUT 100. J OHN HAS BEEN ACTIVE WITH THE K NIGHTS OF C OLUMBUS FOR ABOUT THE PAST 18 YEARS AND SERVED AS THEIR
G RAND K NIGHT IN W EST A LLIS
FOR TWO YEARS , EDITED THEIR MONTHLY NEWSLETTER CALLED THE ACTION , WAS A “ DISTRICT DEPUTY ” IN CHARGE OF SIX AREA C OUNCILS
I have a new special woman in my life, and new family members in Nebraska—her daughter, son-in-law, two neat grandchildren, 10 goats, 36 chickens, 2 turkeys, 4 geese, and 17 cats on a little farm.
FOR A YEAR , AND CURRENTLY PRESI DENT OF THE
W EST A LLIS K NIGHTS
BUILDING FACILITY CORPORATION .
H E IS ALSO PRESIDENT OF FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY, INC . A GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS WHO GATHER LEFT
Now the funeral is over. The last of family and guests have departed, and you find yourself alone. The flowers from the funeral home have wilted and are thrown out. You write thank you notes. Now you’re suddenly alone. Invitations from friends have dwindled. The friends you had, when you were a couple, drift away. Those of your spouse are gone. Things have changed. We must change to deal with them.
Sure there are groups that meet to deal with grief, but quite often they turn out to be “pity parties.” Sooner or later we have to get on with life …a new life. This is particularly true when one comes to understand there’s no one to depend on any more. It is also a time when we are most vulnerable, and there are those who will take advantage of you. From home improvement people, lawyers, investment advisers, insurance salesmen—the
OVER BAKERY FROM ABOUT 100 OUT LET STORES , SUPERMARKETS , BAK ERIES , BAGEL SHOPS ETC . AND DIS TRIBUTES IF TO ABOUT
PROGRAMS , FOOD PANTRIES , AND OTHER SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAMS IN SOUTHEAST
W ISCONSIN , FEEDING
PROBABLY WELL OVER 100,000 PEO PLE ON A REGULAR BASIS .
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Clergy Night vultures are circling. Our advice has always been: do not make quick decisions, and keep your family in the loop during the process. Don’t be pressured to make quick decisions that you’ll regret tomorrow. Sometimes people try to live in the past, hanging on to some thread of life before the death of a loved one. I remember helping clean out the apartment of a man after his funeral. His wife died five years before, and still placed under the corner of their bed was her pair of black heels, where she’d left them five years before. All her clothes were still in the closet and dresser. One common thread among those who have lost a loved one is the challenge to their religious beliefs. We haven’t done a very good job in this area. Though we have made some improvements, there is a great deal we haven’t even begun to understand. Some of us remember the old Requiem Mass, based on the Dies Irae, that old medieval poem that was bad theology, filled with guilt and depicting a vengeful God. There were those years in purgatory (Limbo was eliminated by Papal decree some years ago.) Did you ever notice that Hell is always for the other guy? Those who have the worst time dealing with the loss of a loved one are those who bear a heavy burden of guilt…unresolved problems, neglect, things we wish we could have done differently. I sometimes wonder about the practice of offering Mass for the deceased…often years after their death. Was it a throwback to the indulgences that spawned Luther’s revolution, or a means to supplement the meager income of our priests? If we celebrate, should it not be to honor a life rather than foster a continuation of guilt and divine retribution? Today we have made some changes in how we say farewell to our loved ones. We try to remember the good things, to celebrate the life we shared, and hopefully the wonderful memories that have made our lives better for having shared a part of it with that person. But now things have changed. There is a great challenge to our traditional faith. God is no longer the Old Man, a Jew, and a Bird. That doesn’t make it any more. Our prayers were not answered. We’ve moved beyond the prayers that are mostly Adult letters to Santa, but find ourselves depressed by the loneliness we experi-
ence when we pray. The miracles did not occur no matter how many of us prayed or how fervent and correct the words we uttered. We wonder, why did God do this to me? Gradually our concept of God changes from that Old Man with the beard who lives above the clouds and micromanages everything in our lives and notices our every thought and deed. We know that the God of our past does not exist, but we’re not sure what that entity we call God actually is. We cannot define God; we can only experience some sense of transcendence, wonder and awe. When we talk about God, we are really talking about our human perception of God, and that is always changing. Finding love again is a blessing in the lives of many of us. Not love on the rebound, or someone to fill a need, but finding someone to share the remaining years of our lives, to share the fullness of our being, to help us live a new life with new interests, new challenges, new accomplishments; not a replacement, but someone whose love must be nurtured and shared. Miss Piggy, in her Guide to Love and Lif,e gives advice in three words. Circulate, circulate, circulate! This can be difficult since we haven’t dated for many years, and things have changed. There are risks. What will my family think? Will they accept this new person in my life? Children find it difficult to accept someone else in the life of mom or dad. It’s a new life and new expe-
In the busy days of the clergy these days, the funeral of a parishioner is often pushed to the back of the agenda. I often see the service conducted by a deacon or lay person because no priest was available on that day. Maybe it was his day off. Yet there are few things as vital to our spiritual community as a fitting farewell to our loved ones. A well prepared eulogy is important. We’ve heard some of the best and the worst.
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Clergy Night rience, and it requires tolerance, understanding and patience, and sometimes simply minding one’s own business. But how do you do that? And when you bring someone new into your life, you have to be open and willing to change. Getting rid of the “ghosts” in your life is an important step—those knick knacks gathering dust on every shelf in your home, the junk collected in the basement in hopes of using it some day. We called the process “ussifying.” Dumping the baggage, and getting on with life. In the busy days of the clergy these days, the funeral of a parishioner is often pushed to the back of the agenda. I often see the service conducted by a deacon or lay person because no priest was available on that day. Maybe it was his day off. Yet there are few things as vital to our spiritual community as a fitting farewell to our loved ones. A well prepared eulogy is important. We’ve heard some of the best and the worst. I can give a couple examples. Nels was not the brightest star in the constellation. He had a drinking problem most of his life. He was not a good father, nor a loving husband. The priest in his eulogy went on about what a wonderful man Nels was, what a loving husband and father…and on and on. The widow had had enough of it, and poked her daughter and said loud enough to be heard a few pews behind her, “Jennie, check in that casket and see if that’s Pa in there.” I remember another funeral where the priest talked about Al and his wife, Veronica, being reunited in heaven and what a joy it must be. The problem was that Veronica died some 15 years before and Al remarried, and his second wife put up with years of his serious illness, much of it mental. The priest never mentioned a word of sympathy to her. I was surprised that she didn’t simply get up and walk out.
In reality, that’s just the beginning of what we need to do to serve those left behind. We see long lines at the funeral parlor, single file, giving a handshake or a hug to the grieving family members, taking a quick look at the body in the casket, perhaps looking at the ribbons on the flower arrangements. Maybe we attended the funeral Mass, perhaps joined the motorcade through town to the cemetery…and think it’s over. We’ve done our duty. Yet, the need of those left behind is just beginning. The need for friendship, love, advice, and understanding continue, and so should our mission. We might add another beatitude to our Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are they who bring comfort to those who mourn, for they shall help a friend or relative to continue to live a productive and happy life. a Bird ?
JOHN HAS WRITTEN SEVERAL BOOKS:
More Then Brick and Stone. A history of St. Mary's Parish in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. A Funny Thing Happened on My Way Out of Church, Caritas Communications. An autobiography.
Jo Ann, in Search of NED , Caritas Communications. His wife's battle with Ovarian Cancer.
You're Not the One Who Died, Caritas Communications. A guide to getting on with life after the loss of a loved one Cooking with John & Nancy - Old family recipes from
It takes some work to do a fitting eulogy, but it is important. It should be personal, and at times that’s hard to do. I guess it will be hard for someone to say nice things about me when that time comes. But now we’ve had the Mass, we’ve ridden in the procession to the cemetery, said some prayers and sprinkled some holy water over the casket before it was lowered into the ground or sealed away in a mausoleum…and we think it’s over.
John's and Nancy's families He is am currently working on Stories of a Boy Growing Up On a Farm in Wisconsin - written for a ten year old lad in Nebraska He is also gathering poetry that he have written over the years and would like to compile those.
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The Year of the Married Priest “It took a ten-year-old kid to help me to “get” what being a priest is all about.”
o tell you the truth I was nothing like Bing Crosby in the Bells of St. Mary’s—the good priest who could coach eighth grade basketball, train the altar boys, have an occasional beer with the Holy Name guys, and smile benignly at everybody after the nine o’clock Mass on Sunday. No, I was a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate who spent my first six years as a priest working in Japan. I taught English conversation in Japanese high schools, which we considered at the time to be a form of “pre-evangelization” while we prayed for the Japanese to convert to the true faith. I spent my next three years as the “honky priest” in a mostly black, depressed area of St. Petersburg, Florida. So I was never a typical parish priest. In Florida, I was an activist, starting two group homes for troubled boys and a day care center for disadvantaged children. I marched for racial justice shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and started an inter-racial summer camp for kids called Camp Unitas. I was totally immersed in service to my community, practicing the preferential option for the poor, which the Oblates had long espoused. And yet, there was something missing. I felt a restlessness; maybe “incompleteness” is the word. Despite having dozens of friends and admirers I felt alone. I wanted intimacy with a woman. I wanted to have a family of my own. So, at the age of thirty-six, I doffed my Roman collar and started a new life. Within a few months I met the woman who was to be my wife and the mother of my children. Falling in love for the first time in my mid-thirties was pretty heady stuff. I had a lot to learn about love and women and relationships, things I had never been taught in the seminary or the priesthood. Sometimes I have nightmares thinking back to the advice I gave in the confessional to the married people I counseled. Pardon my bluntness, but I didn’t know shit about real life. Leaving the celibate priesthood meant meeting the challenge of entering into an intimate relationship with another human being and of making a life-long commitment to one another. It meant meeting the awesome responsibility of bringing children into the world, working with your partner to raise them to be loving human beings. Entering into a fully committed marital relation-
ship turns a boy into a man. Ask any man when he really began to grow up. He will answer, “when I married” or “when I first held my son or daughter in my arms.” Still, some things did not change that much. Despite the radical change of life style, going from a celibate to a married man, I gravitated to the kind of human service work I had been doing as a priest. I became director of a human service agency and later got a job providing services to frail elderly. At various times in my life I have been a senior center director and manager of a countywide Alzheimer’s agency. I have worked with developmentally disabled young adults, and with a program providing services for people living with AIDS. I’ve been a Big Brother for boys who needed a mentor and led workshops on writing a spiritual will for hospice patients. In other words I have continued to be a priest without the collar. Now in my autumn years, I find myself jumping head first into a totally different way of life. When my wife passed away four years ago, I read about an intergenerational village that was being built in my home town. I jumped at the chance to volunteer despite the misgivings of my friends. “Hank, I know
At the age of thirty-six, I doffed my Roman collar and started a new life. Within a few months I met the woman who was to be my wife and the mother of my children. Falling in love for the first time in my mid-thirties was pretty heady stuff. I had a lot to learn about love and women and relationships, things I had never been taught in the seminary or the priesthood. Sometimes I have nightmares thinking back to the advice I gave in the confessional to the married people I counseled.
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The Year of the Married Priest you like kids but LIVING on site with them? I recall saying to my daughter, a close friend “The kids will either keep me young or send me to an early grave.” Well, four years later, I am more alive than I have ever been. I am a surrogate grandpa for 24 abused and neglected kids at a place called the Children’s Village in Santa Rosa, CA. I live on-site in a small apartment, as a full time volunteer, being a grandpa to a bunch of beautiful kids who have had some pretty major trauma in their young lives. As I write, I can see from my apartment window two of the older boys tossing a football. Alice and Sandy are playing jump rope. Six-year-old Alex, with considerable pride in his newfound skill, is riding his bike solo for the first time. Living as I do as a grandpa I’ve come to know these kids, not as foster kids but by their names. I am amazed at how well this generational mix is working. The kids accept us old folks seamlessly into their young lives. As for me, life has changed dramatically. Living so close to these kids has enlarged my heart and stretched me in more ways than I thought possible. In the past weeks I found myself listening to the sounds of rap and R&B music, learning to like Justin Timberlake’s songs, giving “the talk” to a 13-year-old boy, watching at least a million soccer games, figuring out how to download music from my computer and how to instant message on my cell phone. You might say I have been dragged out of my comfort zone into a new world. I laugh a lot, like when Tony asked his house parent to “tuck him in like a burrito” at night or when little Mikey asked me “Does God have a telephone number?” I also cry a lot, especially when Andy’s mom misses still another visit or when I see first hand the fear and loss of innocence in the eyes of a kid that has been sexually abused. Our experiences as grandparents bring us close to our village kids. We become trusted older friends who they can talk to. Our gift is the time we are able to give them. They come to us just to “hang out” or have some “me and you time.” The kids, in turn, have taught me invaluable lessons about God and life. Here, in this unlikely place, almost fifty years after my ordination to the priesthood, I am finally learning what it is to be
a priest. The kids have taught me…Just the other day, a tenyear-old boy, at the Children’s Village where I live, knocked on my apartment door asking to talk to me. “Sure Jake, come on in,” I said. “Do you want a soda or something?” “No, I’m good,” he replied. So we sat down, or rather I sat down. Jake was much more comfortable jumping off and on the beanbag between sentences. I won’t go into the issues that weighed on the young kid’s mind. Suffice it to say he had experienced the kind of abuse—physical, sexual and emotional—that would move a robot to tears. I listened. Boy, did I listen. Then I started to offer what I hoped would be words of wisdom, but Jake interrupted me. “That’s okay, Grandpa Hank, I just needed to have someone to listen. I’ve been trying to get someone to hear me but they’re all too busy.” Just like that, Jake brought our little session to a close. I guess ten minutes of sharing feelings is a lot to ask of a ten-year-old boy. He got his soda and potato chips and as he was leaving, I said to him, “Jake, you know that I love you, right?” He broke into a laugh. “Grandpa Hank, I know. You told me that 100 times already.” He laughed again. “You don’t have to keep saying it, you know. I get it.” It took a ten-year-old kid to help me to get what being a priest is all about. My vocation is to love others and continue to love them until they “get it.” Being a priest is not about running a parish or preaching a sermon or leading a liturgy; it’s all about love.
I laugh a lot, like when Tony asked his house parent to “tuck him in like a burrito” at night or when little Mikey asked me “Does God have a telephone number?” I also cry a lot, especially when Andy’s mom misses still another visit or when I see first hand the fear and loss of innocence in the eyes of a kid that has been sexually abused.
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The Year of the Married Priest within us and letting that God-love so capture our hearts that it overflows on the people we know.
But doing good stuff is not what a priest is about. It’s all about recognizing the God within us and letting that God-love so capture our hearts that it overflows on the people we know. I haven’t always realized this. I have been “doing stuff” all my life, good stuff. You know what I mean? In the trade, we call it “ministry.” I have already listed the good stuff I have done. Damn, my resume would make any “do-gooder” proud. But doing good stuff is not what a priest is about. Not really. You think I would have learned that from John Milton’s poem “On His Blindness.” You remember the words. “God doth not need either man’s work or his gifts…They also serve who only stand and wait.” (I make bold to add “and love.”) It’s all about recognizing the God
Hank Mattimore is a former Oblate of Mary Immaculate and the author of The Priest Who Couldn’t Cheat, Life’s a Growin’Thing, and the soon to be published Grandpa To a Children’s Village. He has two children, two biological grandchildren and twenty-four foster grandchildren. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at his blogsite yagrowsoryadies.blogharbor.com
Hank Mattimore Kawana Terrace Road Apt E Santa Rosa, CA 95404 email@example.com http://yagrowsoryadies.blogharbor.com
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Jesus on Celibacy by Hugh Leahy
ne day long ago in Galilee, Simon Peter—who was never the brightest of Jesus’ apostles—sent his brother and fellow fisherman Andrew to Jesus for advice. Andrew, it turns out, was no more of a deep thinker than was Peter, though good with words. “Get it off your chest,” Peter said to Andrew. Andrew had just told Peter of a great new idea of his and felt hesitant to broach the theoretical subject with their gifted rabbinic teacher and leader. The subject was celibacy. He encountered Jesus alone by the campfire one night. After a friendly introductory greeting, he soon found himself describing in detail his hopes that those who would guide the new beloved worldwide community Jesus sometimes spoke of should have to first take a vow of lifelong celibacy, and then be able to live that commitment honestly. “We leaders wouldn’t need women companions,” Andrew said. “Or sex or feminized sentimentalities or children around our feet. We’d be tough-minded theologians and students of religious history, not inclined to fall into the mistakes that religions enthusiasts have always made. We’d build our leadership authority on the insights of all of us early disciples and on the solid Scriptures, trusting that if this is to be God’s church, the Holy Spirit would not allow us to lose our way or depend on contemporary religious experiences not built
on the old proven doctrine. With celibate vows, we would not have divided hearts.” Here Jesus wanted to get a word in, but Andrew went on a bit. “We unmarried, celibate leaders will give our hearts completely to God, and not need to waste energy cooking food for a family or listening to uninformed input from back-talking youth or from impractical mystical types. Without sex to seduce and misguide us, we will set a new high standard for purity and virtue.” “Hold on now, Andrew,” Jesus finally said. “What would you think of your plan for celibacy if you were told of its negative side?” Andrew blinked a few times and asked: “Negative side?” “We know a tree by its fruit,” Jesus said. “Here’s a secret, Andrew. An angel from the future visited me in a dream, believe it or not, to help plan this new Israel, this Church. In the fourth century of the future the church will actually begin to honor your idea, celibacy, and then gradually impose it on most leaders. The end result of celibacy will be worse than ambiguous; it will be poisonous. A tree with poisonous fruit is itself a poisonous tree. In the next 20 centuries, the angel has informed me—along with some positive results by monastics—also a mountain of shame, cruelty, hypocrisy and violence will result, the major fruit of the tree of celibacy. “Celibacy isn’t the cause; it creates a bad atmosphere. By about the year 2000 for
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Jesus on Celibacy instance,” Jesus went on, “the leadership of what was supposed to be a communion of spiritualities and energy for full humanity, love, and cooperative wisdom had finally accumulated an unmistakable record of atrocities against children heretofore unknown to the human race. The priests of your church built on celibacy and privilege had become—alas, right in the middle of a community of holy men of God—some of the worst and most heartless of humans. Even in monasteries where beauty, community, and melodic prayer were achieved, there was a constant negative side: sexual attacks on young novices, traumatic abuse of children, and sinful coverup by complicitous bishops.” “Think about it, Andrew. This celibate leadership plan of yours instantly diminishes and puts down the ordinary path of ecstatic love and fruitfulness (so highly praised in the Torah) to second place, and gives unwarranted authority to men who find sexuality too un-holy a way of life. Celibates will dress up in costumes of superiority, call themselves by names implying virtue and power—your eminence, your holiness, your excellency, your grace— while the real men and women of holiness and grace are keeping quiet and feeling inferior. You see, Andrew, what is worst, according to the angel,” Jesus went on, “little ones are sexually exploited by isolated leaders who in thousands of cruel events molest children sexually, and destroy the world of the holy for those young people who often never get their beautiful innocence back.” “Let me explain,” Jesus went on. “Where do kids learn of the holy? Firstly from the kisses and songs of their beloved mothers and fathers, and through their joy in closeness and communication skin to skin. Parents will naturally bring their kids to worship events where the children are often entrusted to the care of these celibate church leaders, transferring all their holy at-home experiences to the church scene. And then—it really happened all through the centuries but in more than 5000 proven cases in the
20th century, these priests in their depravity, heartlessness and brutality tore from many of the children’s hearts all that sweet sense of holiness in the world around them.” “The criminal testimony in the dream,” Jesus continued, “is nearly beyond belief: sexual abuse of youngsters is a grotesque event where nothing remains sacred or untouchable: and this sometimes occurs daily, or weekly, for years and years. Thousands of such grotesque episodes occur (100,000-plus in one country in just 50 years), and disclosure by the child to parents and other adults is often forbidden by the priest perpetrator under threat of eternal hellfire, for telling secrets about a ‘holy’ priest of God. In the dream, Andrew, the tears of children dampen the bedtime pillows, nightmares come almost every sleep time, and the child’s entire unfolding life can be disfigured of its promise into traumatic mind states: deep self-doubt, suicidal guilt and confusion, for the holy may be defiled forever, the damage often permanent.” “In the end words failed the angel, Andrew,” Jesus concluded. “Even in my own heart, when thinking of this kind of thing, violent thoughts arose spontaneously, and I uttered my most violent involuntary feeling, that any perpetrator like that, who would hurt the little ones, would have a millstone tied to his neck and be thrown into the depths of the sea. I do not mean it literally, but I do not take it back either, Andrew: for sexual abuse of a child or young adult is the absolute depth of evil in the world and visits it on mere children who have no defenses.” The discussion was obviously over. Jesus, Andrew reported later, turned away and hid his face in his hands, covered the
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Written By WEORC WEORC BEGAN AS AN ASSOCIATION OF PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS WOMEN AND MEN WHO HAVE MOVED FROM FULL TIME MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH TO OTHER WORK. THEY ACT AS A NETWORK TO ASSIST OTHERS MAKING A SIMILAR TRANSITION. CURRENTLY WE SUPPORT A MORE INCLUSIVE CHURCH. WEORC IS THE OLD ENGLISH FORM OF THE WORD “WORK.” CORPUS HONORS AND CELEBRATES
MISSION AND VISION.
n Christmas day over Detroit, a Nigerian suicide bomber’s attempt to blow up a commercial jetliner was foiled because of his own ineptitude coupled with the decisive action of his fellow passengers. Whatever the challenges or foibles of the security officials on the ground, these ordinary travelers recognized the danger in the air and responded immediately and vigorously, thus saving their lives, as well as possible victims of falling debris. Something similar seems to be happening in the Catholic church as some hyper-conservative bishops, priests and laity attempt to blow up Vatican II Catholicism by their attempts to “reform the reform” as they call it. However, many Catholics are no longer willing to act as compliant sheep being led to an ideological slaughter. The old idea that “Father, or Bishop, or Pope knows best” has been profoundly eroded by the hierarchy’s miserable performance in the clergy sex abuse scandals here in America and around the world, most recently in Ireland. Just as airline security is too serious to be left to authorities alone, so too one’s authentic relationship with God is too important to be left to the ebb and flow of ecclesiastical politics on all levels. Last year the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reported that 10% of Americans are now former Catholics, a figure which would be even larger were it not for the influx of new immigrants. Many Catholics struggle to find ways to continue to practice their faith despite the deficiencies of their official leaders. So, while we celebrate the
decisive action of those passengers on Christmas day over Detroit, let us also recognize these examples of decisive action by ordinary Catholics in their parishes and local communities. n After the pastor of a university parish was transferred before his time, a new priest arrived with instructions to straighten things out. Initially, the people tried to work with him, but after reaching an impasse, they deluged the diocese with complaints. He left, acknowledging that he was “a square peg in a round hole.” Fortunately, his successor is now doing a superb job, but who knows what might have happened if the authorities had not relented. n When the well loved pastor of a suburban church retired, parish leaders met with his successor, whose priorities didn’t coincide with the mixture of excellent liturgy, music and social justice which had characterized their community. The people pushed back, and the new priest quickly opted to decline the assignment. The next appointee stayed a year, but eventually concluded that he’d be more comfortable elsewhere. The third try produced a priest who is on the same page as the parish, and all is well. (Similar scenarios have occurred in a number of other places during times of transition when new pastors have been assigned who disregarded the history and dynamics of vital and vigorous parishes. Sadly, the newcomer doesn’t always step aside.)
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WEORC n An urban parish planned to produce a play written by a widely respected parishioner. It wrestled with the religious, political, personal and familial dimensions of abortion. Word got to the bishop who forbade the performance. Hearing about the controversy, a nearby Lutheran church offered its sanctuary as an alternative site. The resulting publicity insured both large audiences and insightful discussions after each performance. (Similar scenarios have occurred in other parts of the nation when bishops forbade certain speakers to use parish property. In those cases also the subsequent publicity resulted in much larger crowds at the alternative locations.) n When a pastor surprised his flock with an announcement that he had decided to close the parish school, people began to look into his handling of church finances. After discovering many irregularities, they went to the bishop who was unresponsive. They then contacted civil authorities, who initiated a thorough investigation. As a result the priest was tried, convicted and incarcerated. A new pastor worked with the people to insure the continuation of the school. (Again, unfortunately, this is not a unique story in recent years.) n Five years ago, proponents of women’s ordination would write letters to the hierarchy, hold meetings, or conduct silent protests at ordination ceremonies. Today, we see an increasing number of underground ordinations of women priests. Internationally, there is an online seminary system to prepare future candidates. Many women strive to follow the example of the early Christians described in Acts 2:46 who continued to meet in the Jerusalem temple, while also gathering for the breaking of the bread in their homes. They keep one foot in their old religious practices in their parishes, and another in their new feminine liturgies in homes and apartments. As one woman put it, “I’ll be dead a century or two before the hierarchy moves ahead on this, so I’d better do it myself. I’m sure our gracious God understands.” n In Rochester, New York, a dying inner-city parish was invigorated by a dynamic young pastor who focused on liturgy, homilies, lay leadership, women in ministerial roles, and outreach to alienated people, especially gays and divorced Catholics. Prompted by the Vatican, the local bishop eventually replaced the pastor with a man who was supposed to shape things up. After a stormy period, the people invited their former pastor to
return. The bishop resisted this, so the bulk of the parishioners voted to start an independent parish, which now meets in a large basilica owned by a music institute. It is thriving with additional outreach programs in third world countries. (Similar independent parishes have been founded in two Minnesota parishes where progressive pastors have retired, and were replaced by men who had no tolerance for the parish dynamics.) n A missionary priest in Latin America makes a monthlong circuit of the villages in his immense parish. Because he can’t celebrate Mass more often than once a month in most places, he has trained lay catechists and women religious to conduct Sunday Communion services in his stead. These are often very powerful spiritual experiences for the people. He knew they were effectively nourishing people’s hunger for God, when one old man told him, “I love it when you come to our village, Father, but I must confess that I enjoy Sister’s Mass even more than the ones you say.” Stories such as these are likely to multiply in the future for a number of reasons. First, the Catholic faith is deeply imbedded in people, while the credibility of the hierarchy has seriously eroded. Second, the shortage of priests seems to be intensifying, while official strategies to deal with it seem to be ineffective. Third, while there are many wonderful young priests, there are also large numbers of the so-called JPII variety who are rigid, legalistic and judgmental. Fourth, the Pope has recently appointed Archbishop Raymond Burke, formerly of St. Louis and notable for declaring people unfit to receive Communion, as a new member of the Vatican Congregation which recommends new bishops. He joins Cardinal Law, formerly of Boston and pedophilia fame, and the very conservative Cardinal Stafford, formerly of Denver, as the American representatives. Thus, we can expect future bishops in their image and likeness. The bottom line is that decisive action on the part of both passengers and parishioners is likely to be the “modus operandi” of the future. So be prepared.
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From the President’s Desk
Written By William J. Manseau WILLIAM IS OUR
CORPUS P RESIDENT
n the previous issue of CORPUS REPORTS , David Gawlik announced his intention to leave his role as editor of CORPUS REPORTS and that the May-June 2010 issue would be his last in that capacity. For fifteen years David Gawlik has held aloft CORPUS REPORTS as a sort of illuminating torch which has manifested to the world our hopes and dreams and has documented our efforts to act on the grace we have received to be witnesses of Vatican II and new pioneers to a priesthood exercised by men and women, married and single. These have been years of much growth and many transitions. The CORPUS Collegial Board and indeed the whole CORPUS community have gained much from David’s leadership and vision. We have entered into discernment with David about the future in response to his resignation. We want to continue following the paths which he has begun. We realize that might take several expressions and that it will take some time and effort. David has agreed to be part of that directional discernment and decision process for the next twelve months. We will be reaching out to our ministry partners concerning the possibilities for publishing collaborations. We invite our members to be part of the discernment process; if you or someone you know has an interest in serving as editor and has the qualifications which are evidenced by the very quality of CORPUS REPORTS please let us hear from you. There has also been expressed a desire to have a New Ministries Journal which could take corpus reports to the next level, as David has expressed, by incorporating publications of our ministry partners. We might decide to continue
CORPUS REPORTS as is if that is feasible or
we might decide to publish it in a modified form along with a jointly sponsored New Ministries Journal, either once a year or semi annually or quarterly. Let us hear your preferences. Printing and mailing costs continue to escalate. More and more organizations are moving into the digital age. Let us hear your wisdom. The CORPUS Collegial Board members, including David Gawlik, have agreed to explore several possibilities and to give ourselves twelve months to accomplish a transition in editorial leadership and possibly new publishing expressions. We hope to have your participation in this process. As we go to press I have just learned that the Association of Professional Chaplains has granted board certification to a chaplain endorsed by the Federation of Christian Ministries. This is an historic event as it marks a coming of age for FCM in the world of professional ministry. FCM is a member of the Association of Religious Endorsing Bodies, where it is accepted and respected as a peer by other national denominations and faith groups. CORPUS is represented on FCM’s Committee for Specialized Ministries which oversees the ministries of chaplaincy, pastoral counseling, and clinical pastoral education. This gives entré to professional training venues and access to CORPUS members to the professional exercise of these ministries in settings which require faith group endorsement. We congratulate FCM on this achievement and look forward to our CORPUS members utilizing this resource for their own ministries. As always, my ear is open to you.
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:::: Companion on the Journey
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love to interact with people and have a passion for detail. Familiarity with Microsoft WORD, EXCEL or their MAC equivalent helpful. Step-by-step training will be my pleasure.
IN SEARCH OF FREEDOM
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Jan is the author of The Art of Original Thinking-The Making of a Thought Leader, winner of the 2007 Allbooks Review Editors Choice Award, finalist in ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award, and finalist for USABookNews.com's Best Books Award. She is also author of Marry Your Muse(winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award), Divining the Body ,(Spirituality and Health's Best Spiritual Books for 2006 Award) God Is at Eye Level-Photography as a Healing Art, A Waist is a Terrible Thing to Mind, and Making Peace-One Woman's Journey Around the World. Sounds True Audio has produced her Marry Your Muse workshop and she has released a CD of her own original music.
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Womenpriests Make Major Breakthrough in Sarasota BY CAROL ANN BREYER ELLENTON, FLORIDA Carol Ann Breyer currently lives in Ellenton, Florida, where she is involved in environmental education as a certified Master Gardener and issues of peace and justice as an active member of Pax Christi Florida, that she headed from 2005-2008. Since 2006, when she attended the ordination of seven female candidates in Pittsburgh, she has been involved with the Roman Catholic Womenprirests Her interest in inclusive priesthood may be attributed to membership on the national Board of CORPUS from 1992 to 2000. Two factors affecting her support of women priests are her long-standing association with Bridget Mary Meehan which dates back to the participation of both in the Federation of Christian Ministries, and her geographical proximity to Sarasota where Bridget Mary serves as bishop of a growing congregation. Her husband, Lee Breyer, continues his sacramental ministry, and was named a priest partner of the inclusive community of Mary, Mother of Jesus.
he Roman Catholic Womenpriests are making it happen. Since the ordination of seven women on the famous three rivers of Pittsburgh in 2006, the momentum of the movement has surged forward with the foundation of house churches, outreach ministries, and the consecration of bishops eager to ordain candidates-in-waiting whose numbers continue to grow. Florida now has four women priests on the state’s west coast where Bridget Mary Meehan, one of the Pittsburgh ordinands, now presides as the local bishop. “Bishops in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests model perform an important dual function: First, ordaining qualified candidates as deacons, priests, and bishops in a renewed priestly ministry, and second, communicating and living our vision of partnership and equality in the local community,” she states. The ceremony that created American bishops last April was led by Bishops Patricia Fresen, Ida Raming, and Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, who were in the original group of women ordained in 2003. At that time, the ordination was conducted by a
legitimately functioning Roman Catholic bishop in Europe who believes that women deserve to be part of the apostolic succession. For fear of reprisal, the identity of that bishop will be revealed only after his death. Prior to becoming a bishop, Bridget Mary Meehan following her own ordination founded a small community of Catholic worshipers who gathered regularly in the mobile home in Sarasota that she shares each winter with her father. Several months later, her congregation outgrew two home settings, and began hosting weekly Masses in the borrowed space of a nearby United Church of Christ. Last January, this setting was used to host the ordination of two women to the Diaconate, and one month later, to ordain the two deacons to full priesthood and another woman to the Diaconate. That occasion drew over 200 persons who crowded into the church for a three-hour ceremony complete with liturgical dance and Mass celebrated by twelve co-celebrants, including John O’Callaghan, husband of newly ordained, Dena. Ordinarily, the Saturday Vigil Mass is attended by about 50 congregants. With the publicity that surrounded the ordination event, an upward bump of attendees is likely to occur. Interestingly enough ,enough, the threat of ex-communication issued by Bishop Frank Dewane of the Diocese of Venice (in Florida) had little impact on those who attended the ordination. Despite the animosity extended by the Roman Church, each time the womenpriest congregation addresses the commemorative prayer for the bishop, “Frank” is mentioned by name. Even though the bulk of obedient Catholics took seriously the local bishop’s warning, their absence did not affect the turnout of .those who support the womenpriest movement at the ordinations. In forming the community of Mary, Mother of Jesus, at St. Andrew UCC, Bishop Bridget Mary took a thoughtful course of action by implementing the inclusivity basic to the gospel that underlies both the liturgy and activity of the church. The words of the hymn “All Are Welcome” are taken literally and sung frequently to open Eucharistic gatherings. The language used in
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Womenpriests Make Major Breakthrough in Sarasota the words and music of the Mass is consistently inclusive and directed always to Father/Mother God.
Church work in the sacristies, .kitchens, and offices of rectories throughout the country.
Throughout the liturgy, there is a continuing effort to involve members of the congregation in homilies that are open to the comments and observations of all attendees after the initial theme is introduced. The entire congregation joins in reciting words of the Canon; and Masses end often with healing services for those in physical or emotional pain. Social justice issues are discussed openly as extensions of personal spirituality. Recently, the relatively small group of worshipers responded to an altar-led plea and contributed generously to a hospital in Haiti linked closely to the United States through the parish twinning program.
The recent attempted probe of the Vatican into the work and commitment of Catholic religious women is an affront to those women whose sweat equity has staffed educational institutions from K through Ph.D., opened hospitals that function in major cities and rural counties, and maintained social service centers for homeless children and adults as well as the working poor. The solidarity with which religious women met the challenge of Rome is indicative of the quality and stamina of their dedicated lives.
Gone are the trappings of ecclesiastical power. No mitre is worn, no crozier is carried, and no special canonical candles are lighted in deference to a bishopâ€™s station. Rather, the entire service is conducted with such simplicity and grace that members of the congregation often gather around the altar during the solemn parts of the liturgy. But undoubtedly the wisest decision Bishop Bridget Mary made early on has been to invite married priests, like Lee Breyer and Michel Rigdon, to serve as priest partners in her ministry by cocelebrating at each liturgy, and generally assisting with the needs of the entire congregation. And it is working. Perhaps the years that she headed the national Federation of Christian Ministries (FCM) emphasized to her the value of the resource that was lost to the institution by its shunning of priests who marry. Like many of her counterparts, Bishop Bridget Mary recognized the sexism in the hierarchyâ€™s unwillingness to acknowledge married priests while, at the same time, shielding pedophile priests from accountability for their actions..actions. Evidently priests who marry are relegated to the lowest rung of Church consideration. This was well demonstrated by the tolerant Pope John Paul II who met personally with Fidel Castro of Cuba, but refused to meet with Roman Catholic priests who unfortunately had broken the clerical code by of all thingsâ€”marrying a woman! Yet women have formed the bedrock of Church strength for centuries. In spite of their gender inequality, women continue to populate parishes by a huge female majority, and carry the burden of
As a former nun, Bishop Bridget Mary recognizes the strength inherent in Catholic nuns, both current and former, who comprise a large share of the applicants and supporters of the Womenpriest movement. Hers is a marketing model to rival Madison Avenue in its appeal to those whose contributions to the institutional Church are undervalued or even rejected. What may make the RC Womenpriest Movement successful in the long run are the vast numbers of disenfranchised Catholics. , who, for a multitude of reasons. , have severed their affiliation with the official church, but who just might respond now to a new vibrant religious community.. Although married priests tried for decades to serve again in the vocation to which they were called years before, they have had little success in their periodic efforts to cultivate and sustain new congregations. Instead, most of the sacramental ministries were undertaken by individuals through organizations such as Celibacy is the Issue which that recognizes the validity of original ordinations. It is no secret that some earlier activities of Women Church activists suffered from a matriarchal approach that could be regarded merely as a replacement for patriarchy. There remains some danger that an unchecked prejudice against males may hinder the overall appeal of the Womenpriest movement. However, if female bishops continue to function with the insistence on inclusivity exemplified by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan and the Mary, Mother of Jesus community, the future of the Church looks promising indeed.
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S.O.S. for Today’s Church Letter to Pope Benedict XVI by Rev. Henri Boulad, S.J. Graz Translated from the French by Richard Cross
we must wonder who can take up the work. More and more European parishes are actually being taken up by Asian and African priests.
Dear Holy Father,
am addressing you directly because my heart bleeds at the sight of the abyss into which our Church is sinking today. Please excuse my frankness that is filial and dictated both by the “freedom of the children of God” to which St. Paul has called us as well as by my passionate love for the Church. Perhaps you will excuse the alarmist tone of this letter, for I believe that it is already the eleventh hour and that confronting the present situation must not be further delayed.
Many priests are leaving the priesthood. The small number of those who still continue their ministry and who are well past the retirement age have to serve multiple parishes in an expeditious and administrative manner. Many of them, both in Europe as well as in the Third World, live in concubinage—in full view and knowledge of their parishioners who often approve them, and their bishop who can do nothing about it given the shortage of priests.
n The language of the Church is out of date, anachronistic, boring, repetitious, and totally unsuited to our age. It is not at all a matter of I do not say all of this out of vanity, Holy going with the flow or of accommoFather, but to tell you simply that my dation, because the message of the proposals are founded on a real knowlGospel ought to be presented edge of the universal Church and its situncooked and to the point. What is uation today in 2009. needed rather is to move to that new “evangelization” to which John Paul The Purpose of This Letter W ILL WE REMAIN PRISONERS OF THE PAST FOREVER ? II called us. Contrary to what many W ILL WE KNOW HOW TO INVENT THE FUTURE ? people think, it consists in not I come now to the purpose of this letter repeating toothless old stuff, but in which I will try to be as (a) brief (as possible, as) and as clear rather in innovating and (the) inventing a new language and objective as possible. First of all, a list of a certain number that recasts the faith in a pertinent and meaningful way for of realities—by no means exclusive. men and women of today. n
Religious practice is in constant decline. The churches of Europe and Canada are only frequented by an increasing number of aging people who will soon be gone. There will be nothing left to do but close churches or transform them into museums, mosques, club houses or municipal libraries— something that is already under way. What surprises me is that many churches are already in the process of renovation and modernization at great expense in order to attract the faithful. But it is not such things that will stop the exodus.
n None of this can happen without an in-depth renewal of theology and catechesis that has to be rethought and reformulated from top to bottom. A priest and German religious I recently met told me that the word “mystical” was not mentioned once in the New Catechism. I was flabbergasted. It is clear that our faith is very cerebral, abstract, and dogmatic. It speaks little to the heart or the body.
n As a result, a great number of Christians are turning to n
Seminaries and novitiates are emptying at the same rate and vocations are in freefall. The future is rather somber and
the religions of Asia, to sects, to New Age, to evangelical churches, occultism, and more. Why be surprised? They
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S.O.S. for Today’s Church are seeking elsewhere the nourishment that they don’t find with us, for they have the impression that we are giving them stones instead of bread. The Christian faith that once gave meaning to people’s lives has become for them today an enigma, the leftovers of a dead past.
n In the matter of morality and ethics, the injunctions of the Magisterium, repeated ad nauseam on marriage, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, clerical celibacy, divorce and remarriage, etc. touch nobody and only engender weariness and indifference. All these moral and pastoral problems deserve more than preemptory declarations. They deserve an approach that is pastoral, sociological, psychological, and humane in a way more in keeping with the Gospel.
n The Catholic Church, which has been the great European educator for centuries, seems to have forgotten that this same Europe has grown up. Adult Europe today refuses to be treated like a child. The paternalistic style of a Mater et Magistra Church is definitely off the mark and no longer fits the bill today. Our Christian people have learned to think for themselves and are not about to swallow whatever comes along. n The nations once most Catholic—France, “the eldest daughter of the Church,” or ultra-Catholic French Canada— have made a 180- degree turn toward atheism, anti-clericalism, agnosticism, and indifference. For a number of other European countries the process is on-going. One notices that the more a people have been nurtured and mothered by the Church, the greater is the reaction against her. n Dialog with other churches and religions is today in a disquieting decline. The remarkable advances realized over the past half century seem at this time compromised. Faced with this rather overwhelming situation the Church’s reaction is twofold.
• It tends to minimize the gravity of the reality and consoles itself by considering a certain renewal taking place
in its most traditional wing as well as in the Third World.
• It invokes confidence in the Lord who has sustained the Church throughout twenty centuries and who will be able to help it overcome this new crisis as He has done in ages past. Doesn’t the Church have His promises for eternal life? My response to this It is not by collecting shards under the buttresses of the past that one will resolve the problems of today and tomorrow. The apparent vitality of the Church in the Third World is deceptive. In all likelihood these new churches will sooner or later pass through the same crises as old Christian Europe. The road to modernity cannot be by-passed and it is precisely because the Church has forgotten this that we have such a crisis today. Vatican II tried to make up for the four centuries it had lost, but today one has the impression that the Church is in the process of once more closing the doors that had been opened and is tempted to turn back to Trent and Vatican I rather than Vatican II. We should recall the injunction repeated several times by Pope John-Paul II: “There is no alternative to Vatican II.” How long are we going to engage in the politics of the ostrich and bury our heads in the sand? How long will we refuse to look things in the face? How long will we keep trying to salvage the façade at any price—a façade that deceives no one today? How long will we continue to cringe and take aim at any criticism rather than seeing in it a chance for renewal? How long are we going to put off till doomsday a reformation that is imperative and has been avoided far too long?
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S.O.S. for Today’s Church It is in resolutely looking to the future and not the past that the Church will accomplish her mission of being a “light to the world, salt of the earth, leaven to the dough.” What we see today unfortunately is that the Church is dragging behind our times, after having led the world for centuries. I must repeat what I said at the opening of this letter: It is the eleventh hour! fünf vor zwölf! History is not waiting, certainly not in our era when time is galloping at an ever rapid pace. When people notice something wrong or dysfunctional in any commercial enterprise they immediately question what’s happening, call in the experts, make corrections, and mobilize all their forces to address the crisis. Why can’t the Church do the same thing? Why not mobilize all her living forces for a radical aggiornamento? Why? Could it be just sluggishness, cowardice, pride, lack of imagination and creativity, culpable passivity—all in the hope that the Lord will take care of things and that the Church well knows about such things, from its past? Christ warned us in the Gospel: “The children of darkness are much more adept in managing their affairs than the children of light.” What then must be done?
The Church today has an urgent and demanding need for the three-fold reform.
n A theological and catechetical reform to rethink the faith and reformulate it in a coherent manner for our contemporaries. A faith that no longer means anything, that does not give meaning to human existence, is simply an ornament, a useless superstructure that falls under its own weight. This is the case today.
n A pastoral reform that rethinks from top to bottom the structures inherited from the past. (see my suggestions in this matter).
A spiritual reform to give new life to the mystical dimension, and a rethinking of the sacraments in view of giving them an existential dimension, and anchoring them to new life. I would have much to say on this. The Church of today is too formal, too formalistic. One has the impression that the institution stifles charisma and what ultimately counts is external stability, superficial respectability—a kind of façade. Don’t we risk seeing ourselves one day treated as “whitened sepulchers” by Jesus?
Conclusion To conclude, I suggest the calling together, at a universal level, of a general synod in which all Christians participate—Catholics and others—to examine, in all frankness and clarity, the points made here as well as all else that would be proposed. Such a synod, which would last three years, would culminate in a general assembly (let’s avoid the term “council’) that would bring together the results of this synod and draw some conclusions. Finally, Most Holy Father, asking you to forgive my frankness and audacity and begging your paternal blessing, allow me. Allow me to say that I lived these days I live in your presence, thanks to your remarkable book, Jesus of Nazareth, which is the object of my spiritual reading and daily meditation. Sincerely yours in the Lord, P. Henri Boulad, S.J.
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S.O.S. for Today’s Church ADDENDUM
APPEAL TO MATURE AND PROVEN MEN
Rethinking the Church’s Pastoral Approach in Today’s World
n Make an appeal to mature and proven men (viri probati) to take over these individual communities and give a resident pastor the title of bishop of this new ensemble of parishes. In each group of homes or neighborhood the Church would single out a serious Christian, having proven himself—preferably a retired person in good health, with a decent pension and sufficient leisure time for him to assume the pastoral charge of his community. In these days when we see that people are living longer and retire earlier it would not be hard to find such a person. His human, theological, and spiritual formation would be completed through intensive courses for a period of six months. This would also be a period of probation. Once completed, the person would be ordained.
n R ESTRUCTURING THE PARISH Before being a Christian community, the parish, first of all, ought to be a human community; that is, an organic entity that exemplifies a certain number of social relationships as in a large family. This large family once was “the village” where everyone knew everyone else and where the pastor knew everyone personally, his or her past and present history. The pastor then lived the way Jesus described the Good Shepherd: “I know mine and mine know me.” This is possible in a grouping of a hundred people or at best a hundred families. Beyond such a number there is no longer community, but an anonymous group that defies unity and structure. The parish ceases to be a large family and the pastor can no longer be someone who “knows each one of this flock by name.” He becomes an administrator who manages this gathering by the computer, by numbers and statistics with an Internet program. Or he concentrates on a small number of persons to the detriment of the rest. Our country parishes of former days have changed in their dimension, becoming mega-churches with thousands of faithful. To insist on maintaining the present structure that is inherited from the past is an absurdity. I believe a parish of ten thousand inhabitants ought to be divided into a hundred mini parishes in order to become communities at a human level. I can already hear the objection: but where are you going to find a hundred priests to serve these new communities when we are having all the trouble in the world to recruit just one priest for the actual parishes? The reply is simple, so very simple.
Having accepted such a proposition, he would obviously consult with his wife who in turn would become his right arm and indispensable collaborator in running the parish. The role of this pastor would consist in getting to know each of the families and each individual personally. This is done by home visitation, celebrating anniversaries, different get-togethers, meetings for reflection, and all this through his own initiative and the suggestions of his parishioners. There would be Eucharistic celebrations in the home as needed, and on Sundays people would gather in a large hall for mass followed by an agape of refreshments. This priest would be responsible for everyone in his parish—believers and non-believers. Without imposing anything it would be up to him to find the right formula to put everyone at ease. Thus there would be parishes of variable sizes. This is a challenge that would demand of the pastor tact, a right approach, discretion, flexibility, and creativity
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S.O.S. for Today’s Church GIVEN SUCH A PERSPECTIVE
A FINAL POINT
n Married men would be ordained, just as is the case in the Eastern churches, Orthodox and Uniate, and as has been the case for centuries in the rest of Christianity. The practice of celibacy has always been reserved to individuals—monks and religious—who freely chose this lifestyle that presupposes a supportive community. It is from these that one would choose the bishops.
Aside from the geographic parishes I have described, one would also envision parishes that are socially selective; that do not depend so much on where one lives as on one’s profession or sphere of interests. Such parishes would be created according to the needs and function of the existing groups of people.
But to impose celibacy on all priests without distinction under the pretext that this constitutes for some a valuable and viable path is tempting God. The consequence of this is that there are an impressive number of priests living in concubinage both in Europe and the rest of the world. Is it not unreasonable to demand that a man, who does not have the calling to celibacy, live year after year in isolation, alone within the walls of his rectory? Didn’t God Himself say in the opening pages of the Bible: “It s is not good for man to live alone”? The stubbornness of the Western Church in this matter is beyond explanation and is in contradiction with the ancient tradition of the Church. It is about time that the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church stop its fidgeting and open the door to a married priesthood in consort with an optional celibate priesthood. Given the perspective of this pastoral reorganization that I propose,
n A vocation would be less a calling by God than a direct call by the Church to an individual. A person would be completely free to accept or refuse this call. Having said this, one must not exclude a direct call; from God to the soul.
The idea here is to start with a group that is already established and help it pass from a naturally human community to a Christian community. The Christian element should not be superimposed on the already existing community but act as a leaven in the dough to animate it from within. In conclusion, I would say that the Spirit today calls us to reflect, to invent and innovate: to come out of our preconceived notions and our set categories; to risk a new pastoral approach that responds to the needs of our day. No more timidity, no more caution, no more hesitation. “Fear not” said John-Paul II; “Fear not” says the Lord throughout the Bible. We must once again find the creativity and boldness of Saint Paul. Will we remain prisoners of the past forever? Will we know how to invent the future?
P. H ENRI B OULAD, S.J. HENRIBOULAD @ YAHOO. COM J ESUIT R ESIDENCE 298, P ORT-S AÏD S TREET —C LEOPATRA —A LEXANDRIA —E GYPT G RAZ T EL : + 20.3.5423553 HENRIBOULADONLINE @ GMAIL . COM WWW. YOUTUBE . COM /H ENRI B OULAD O NLINE
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IN SEARCH OF FREEDOM CORPUS and FCM are excited about the three keynote presen-
ters at their joint conference, which will take place on the weekend of June 25-27, 2010 at the American Airlines Conference and Training Center in Fort Worth/Dallas, Texas. We are eagerly looking forward not only to the presentation that Fr. Roy Bourgeois will give, but to the opportunity to spend time with him throughout the conference. Roy has been called “a prophet for our times,” a title he richly deserves. I had the pleasure of hearing Roy speak on January 28th during one of the stops of his “Shatter the Stained Glass Ceiling Tour.” Aside from his many years of dedicated work, what impressed me most is the sense of peace, humility, and joy that he exudes even as he stands up against the injustices of America’s military industrial complex and the Vatican’s sexist oppression of women. Roy began his “Stained Glass Ceiling “presentation by apologizing to all the women present for taking so long to break his silence on the prohibition against women’s ordination in the Catholic Church. He explained that he has been a priest for 38 years, but it was not until the summer of 2008 that he took a public stand. For the previous 20 years, he had been protesting against the School of the Americas (SOA) at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
United Nations Truth Commission revealed that those responsible for the deaths of Romero, the Churchwomen, the Jesuits, and the two women were trained at the School of the Americas. Back in the United States, Roy organized a group of ten to begin protesting for the close of the SOA. In the twenty years of protests, the group of ten has grown to an annual protest of tens of thousands. Roy’s work was recognized with the Pax Christi USA Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace Award in 1997, the Thomas Merton Award in 2005, and a nomination for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Over the years, many of the protesters have “crossed the line,” trespassing on Federal property in civil disobedience and have been sentenced to jail. Roy himself has totaled about four years in jail. One of the women who spent time in jail with him felt called to the priesthood, and after suitable training, presented herself for ordination in August 2008. She invited Roy to speak at her ordination. After prayer and discernment, and the recognition that the prohibition on women’s ordination in the Catholic Church is based on the sin of sexism, and is a grave injustice against women, the Church, and God, Roy decided that he needed to be present at his friend’s ordination.
During the Vietnam era, Roy spent four years in the Navy and received a ROY BOURGEOIS Purple Heart. He felt a call to priesthood and joined Maryknoll. Assigned to Bolivia after ordination, The Vatican promptly told Roy that he must recant and threathe lived in the slums of La Paz for five years and learned from the ened excommunication if he did not. On November 7, 2008, poor a new model of Church: a circle of equals rather than hierRoy wrote a letter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the archical, rooted in Liberation Theology, in which people Faith stating his position and prophetically challenged the deprived of basic necessities due to the greed of the economic Vatican. To date, he has received no response. elite find their dignity in a loving God. Arrested and exiled back to the U.S.A., Roy volunteered for El Salvador after Bishop Romero At the conclusion of Roy’s presentation, I thanked him for was assassinated. He was astonished to learn that the U.S. govagreeing to speak at the CORPUS/FCM conference. He said ernment was deeply involved in supporting the Salvadorian govthat he has been aware of the long-time work of both organizaernment to the tune of one million per day. He knew the four tions and he is delighted at the opportunity to be with us. At the Churchwomen who were raped and killed. Two were Maryknoll end of our conversation, he said the following words, which I’d Sisters and two were lay volunteers. Sometime after the six like to extend to you from him: “See you in Texas.” Jesuits, their housekeeper, and her daughter were murdered, the
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THE CORPUS DIRECTORY CORPUS President William J. Manseau 12 Catherwood Road Tewksbury, MA 01876-2620 Home ........................978.851.5547 Fax.............................603.821.6142 Email.......firstname.lastname@example.org CORPUS Treasurers Allen and Sylvia Moore 2380 Mule Deer Road Sedona, AZ 86336 Office ........................928.282.4122 Email...email@example.com CORPUS Secretary Linda Pinto 187 Eastwood Drive Shohola, PA 18458 Home ........................570.296.5326 Fax.............................973.729.2750 Email ................firstname.lastname@example.org
STAFF MEMBERS CORPUS REPORTS David A. Gawlik 5526 West Elmhurst Drive Mequon, WI 53092 Office ........................414.531.0503 Email............email@example.com CORPUS Member Services Stuart F. Oâ€™Brien 114 Sunset Drive Raynham, MA 02767 Home ........................508.822.6710 Fax ......................508.822.6710 *51 Email ............firstname.lastname@example.org CORPUS Ambassador Anthony T. Padovano 9 Millstone Drive Morris Plains, NJ 07950 Home ........................973.539.8732 Office ........................201.684.7430 Fax.............................973.292.2335 Email ......email@example.com
ADVISORY BOARD Pattie Bastian :: 253.759.8696 firstname.lastname@example.org Russel Ditzel :: 908.638.4640 email@example.com Allen Moore :: 928.282.4122 firstname.lastname@example.org Anthony T. Padovano :: 973.539.8732 email@example.com
ANCELARY STAFF CORPUS Webmaster Joseph M. Cece :: 973.837.8876 firstname.lastname@example.org CORPUS Media Liaison Raymond A. Grosswirth :: 585.334.7120 email@example.com CORPUS Conference Coordinators Allen and Sylvia Moore :: 928.282.4122 firstname.lastname@example.org CORPUS Data Management Linda Pinto :: 570.296.5326 email@example.com CORPUS John XXIII Community Dick and Mary Scaine :: 973.759.0472 firstname.lastname@example.org
Send Subscriptions and Membership Renewals to: CORPUS P.O. Box 170830 Whitefish Bay, WI 53217-0829 Office..............................262.238.5349 Fax...................................262.238.5358 Email..........email@example.com Send Change of Address to: CORPUS Secretary Linda Pinto :: 570.296.5326 firstname.lastname@example.org
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NONPROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE
PAID MILWAUKEE, WI PERMIT NO. 627
Editorial Office 5526 West Elmhurst Drive Mequon, WI 53092. U.S.A. ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED
IN SEARCH OF FREEDOM 2010 FCM/CORPUS JOINT CONFERENCE June 25, 26, 27 – 2010 American Airlines Conference and Training Center Fort Worth/Dallas, Texas
Speakers Anthony Padovano :::: Roy Bourgeois :::: Jan Phillips Homilists :::: Michaelita & Thomas Quinn
PLUS Saturday Evening Entertainment And Reception Put this event on your calendar now and start saving your pennies. We have kept our fees at the same price for five years straight but must raise them a bit this year. But our fees are still lower than most similar conferences: Here’s what you get: • Free shuttle service to and from conference center. • Private bathroom with each bedroom • Two nights in restful surroundings • Superb and renowned speakers
• Free snacks, coffee, beverage service all day long • Five delicious meals • Great variety of food • Pool, health club
Special feature is the opportunity for FCM and CORPUS to meet and share together For further information: Allen and Sylvia Moore :::: 928.282.4122 :::: email@example.com Nick and Mary De Los Reyes :::: 562.547.0910 :::: firstname.lastname@example.org