RE: 6/18/19 Commentary: “How much corruption can we tolerate in the church before we leave?” by Donald Cozzens
This question can be countered with a more positive one: How much prophetic energy can be imagined by the People of God in order to reform the Church?
Prophets of old were called out from their very ordinary lives to proclaim by their words and actions the fundamental change of heart that must occur in order to realize our Creator’s vision that all may be one. And that prophetic calling set them apart from the current structures of their times.
The Roman Catholic Women Priest Movement has envisioned such a kinship. We love the church and are energized to witness to the prophetic changes that are needed to reform the church. This is a proactive approach, one rooted in a distinct calling requiring courageous action, clear vision, and holy contemplation.
We embrace circular leadership where no one has power over another. All decide on issues and policies that affect the membership. Bishops are elected to perform a function, not to establish lordship. Member-led inclusive faith communities are formed where the ordained serve the People of God. All are welcome to the Eucharistic Table, extending the practice from the Early Church to the present day.
Our calling is to live what we profess and envision—to live what the Spirit has empowered us to become. It is prophetic. As of old, future generations will reap the rewards.
Mary Eileen Collingwood, ARCWP
From: The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Catholic Women Priests Offer Hope During the Sexual Abuse Crisis
February 6, 2019
As Pope Francis engages this February 21-24, 2019 in dealing with the sexual abuse crisis in the Church, we women priests continue to offer a renewed priestly ministry within a new structure of inclusive communities and a new way of being Church.
All are welcome to attend our worshiping communities and to receive Communion. Our new model of ministry can serve as a solution in dealing with the prevention of future sexual abuses. Women priests offer Roman Catholic worshiping communities that are led by the People of God.
We have over 15 years of experience offering a new kind of priesthood that is Roman Catholic, egalitarian, inclusive, evolving, and social justice driven. Our women-priest experiences offer meaningful inclusive liturgies (Masses) in small grassroots communities.
In addition, we preside at baptisms, weddings, and funeral ceremonies. We are engaged in raising social consciousness. We work with all those disenfranchised from the Roman Catholic Church, offering them faith communities, advocacy and spiritual direction.
To put it very simply, the sexual abuses that have taken place in the Roman Catholic Church and are still taking place would never have occurred to the degree they have if women had been involved in priestly ministry and equal leadership in the Church. It is long overdue that the male leadership of the Church acknowledge our wisdom as women priests who are already serving the People of God, and ask for our help to solve the mess into which they have gotten themselves.
Mary Eileen has provided the following response regarding the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s recent guideline on women seeking hysterectomies:
Once again, we confront the arrogance and self-righteousness of the patriarchal church’s position in this purported “ethical guideline” on boundary settings for hysterectomies!
It is entirely unbelievable to the feminine half of the human species that such a guideline could possibly be written without their consultation or consent. Yet sadly, this continues to be the modus operandi within the Roman Catholic hierarchical mindset.
Until churchmen experience an epiphany that opens their minds and hearts to inclusive and egalitarian regard for women, seeking their voice and experience of their feminine nature, being, and wisdom, I see nothing but a dead end on this worn out path these men continue to travel.
Mary Eileen Collingwood
Bishop, serving the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
August 22, 2018
Press Release: Response to the Recent Reports of Clergy Child Sex Abuse and Cover up in the RCC:
From: Mary Eileen Collingwood, ARCWP Bishop serving the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Women priests are needed as part of a systemic change in the Roman Catholic Church—building a structure that supports justice and equality.
Our voices need to be heard. We work within a model of circular governance as ordained members within our movement and within the liturgical communities we serve.
Catholics have deserved so much more for a long, long time! Following the prophetic witness of women priests, the church needs to form inclusive faith communities that thrive as all members are honored equally, treat others with compassion, and seek Gospel justice for all.
This crisis that has taken over the world stage is a clarion call for all Catholics to raise their hearts and voices in demanding new structures that place women and men in decision-making roles in our church. Those clerics that are responsible for covering up the sexual abuses of our children by the clergy, and those that engage in corroborative criminal behavior, must be removed now.
It is time for serious reform of these church structures that have protected bishops and the Vatican from accountability.
Accepting women priests and married men will counter the corrupt clerical model that has produced the present ecclesial environment which continues to tolerate cover-ups and pay-offs as the standard fare of conduct.
Pope Francis can name the cause of sexual abuse of children as coming from the evils of clericalism, but he falls short in dismantling that structure through a new model of priestly ministry that includes women.
A structure that includes women and men standing and working together as equals, seeking justice for all in a renewed model of priestly ministry will ultimately be the Church’s salvation.