Pope Francis Commission Women as Deacons
Pope Francis Commission Women as Deacons
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, described as one of the most compelling Christian witnesses of the 20th century, established centers and communities of service around the globe for the sick, the homeless, the dying, and the unwanted.
Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation, which in 2012 consisted of over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries.
Honored by universities and a Nobel Peace Prize, she said, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
And when people begged to travel to join her in her “wonderful work” in Calcutta, she told them sternly, “Find your own Calcutta!”
When Dorothy Day died(1980) at the age of 83, she was described as “the most influential and significant figure in the history of the American Catholic Church.”
Recently a group of Catholic journalists and theologians nominated her as the most important Catholic lay person of the century.
Ms Day was the co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement.
She represented a new kind of political holiness – a way of serving Christ both through prayer and care for the poor.
Ms Day focused on solidarity with the poor in their struggle for justice.
She combined a traditional piety and radical social positions around pacificism, civil rights and what she called “the mystery of the poor.” “They are Jesus,” she said, “and what you do to them, you do to Him.”
Finally! In the Sunday New York times Magazine – a true radical
and at the Reflections on Womens Rights
New York Times:
Vatican Reprimands a Group of U.S. Nuns and Plans Changes
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
The Vatican has appointed an American bishop to rein in the largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns in the United States, saying that an investigation found that the group had “serious doctrinal problems.”
The Vatican’s assessment, issued on Wednesday, said that members of the group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood, and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”
The sisters were also reprimanded for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” During the debate over the health care overhaul in 2010, American bishops came out in opposition to the health plan, but dozens of sisters, many of whom belong to the Leadership Conference, signed a statement supporting it — support that provided crucial cover for the Obama administration in the battle over health care.
The conference is an umbrella organization of women’s religious communities, and claims 1,500 members who represent 80 percent of the Catholic sisters in the United States. It was formed in 1956 at the Vatican’s request, and answers to the Vatican, said Sister Annmarie Sanders, the group’s communications director.
The L. C. W. R. report also described the conditions contributing to the alienation of women from church and society and their consequent need of reconciliation with both groups. Let me outline briefly some of the alienating factors described in the report:
1. Patriarchy has been a prime concept for the perception and organization of reality. Patriarchy as a worldview of its very nature assumes the alienation of women. It places the male in the center of reality and makes the masculine normative.
2. Women have been excluded or minimized in liturgical worship. The exclusion and/or negation of women in liturgy is one of the most demoralizing experiences for women in the church. If one is invisible in liturgy (especially in the Eucharist), one is quite literally displaced or alienated.
3. Through humor, ridicule or metaphor women have been depersonalized. The joke or humorous quip is a powerful tool of dismissal.
4. It is the experience of women that many clergy and hierarchy relate poorly to them.
5. Women are unable to participate fully in ministry. The concentration of women in stereotypical ministry roles opposes the full range of services.
6. Women are excluded from the structures and processes of church polity. Jurisdiction in the Catholic Church is reserved to the ordained. The exercise of power is, by policy, in the hands of men alone. That situation is of its nature unjust. It breeds disdain for women and their gifts and reinforces their invisibility.
7. Although official church positions on such matters as contraception, sterilization and abortion are not of concern to women only, the existential consequences of those positions bear more heavily on women.
8. Support for measures that would benefit women, such as the Equal Rights Amendment, child-care legislation and earnings-sharing legislation, is conspicuously lacking.
The L. C. W. R. report then lists some of the conditions that could bring about reconciliation. Among them are:
1. Women must make their own decisions and claim responsibility for their lives. The movement toward acknowledgment of one’s self as possessing inherent dignity and worth is a powerful factor in reconciliation.
2. New relationships with men must be established. When men acknowledge their complicity in the oppression of women and their own need for liberation and maturation, the process of their relationship to women is itself liberating.
3. Officials of the church must acknowledge that alienation exists. When the men who hold power in the church are willing to admit that the alienation of women is the result of concrete experiences, policies, attitudes and structures, that fact in itself will promote reconciliation.
4. Structural change must address alienating factors. Any structures that allow for the significant involvement of women in decision making at any level contribute to reconciliation because they go beyond the effects to the systemic causes of alienation.
5. The church as institution and its officials must be willing to grapple with painful, conflict-generating topics and situations. The church as institution is perceived as studiously avoiding certain subjects because they “have been settled” in perpetuity.
Cardinal Franc Rodé, head of the Vatican office overseeing religious orders, said he requested an apostolic visitation of women’s religious orders in the United States to help the sisters and to respond to concerns for their welfare.
“This apostolic visitation hopes to encourage vocations and assure a better future for women religious,” the cardinal said in a statement released Nov. 3 by the Vatican.
Cardinal Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said his statement was in response to “many news accounts” and inquiries about the visitation, which was announced in January.
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York posted an article on his blog Oct. 29 listing what he called examples of anti-Catholicism in The New York Times, including an Oct. 21 column regarding the apostolic visitation.
Calling the column by Maureen Dowd “intemperate and scurrilous,” Archbishop Dolan said the investigation of U.S. women religious “is well worth discussing and hardly exempt from legitimate questioning,” but he objected to the writer using “every anti-Catholic caricature possible” to illustrate her point that the nuns are being picked on by the Vatican.