The Roman Catholic Church is caught up in ugly partisan politics as Donald Trump attempts to assert himself as the only Right To Life Candidate for the 2020 Presidency of the United States of America. To decide if this is true one needs to look into the Social Teachings of the Church. If one knows, believes,loves and follows the Catholic teachings on Social Justice, one knows that ALL of life is to be valued ,from the womb to the tomb and ALL instances in between. All life is God-given and worth living with all the quality of living needed to live. All immigrants and strangers are entitled to their right to life wherever they and their children can truly live and thrive. All who have mental or physical challenges, both abilities and “disabilities” are entitled to a right to the fullness of life. All- of any culture, race, social class, language, color or of any particular religion or other persuasion are entitled to life. All of either gender or both genders or transgenders are entitled to the fullness of life. All of any sexual orientation including those somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum are entitled to the fullness of life. All of any age, from pre-birth to death, the young and the old and the very old and those in between are entitled to the right to life. All human beings anywhere are entitled to respect, dignity, compassion, mercy and freedom from armed conflicts and war-all deserve LIFE.
This includes (in no particular order as all are important) challenging archaic death penalties or state appointed murder as a solution to even the most horrendous crimes. The death-penalty is a right to life issue. Compassionate treatment of all immigrants is a right to life issue. Nuclear disarmament and PEACE are right to life issues . Access to food and water and compassionate care for all is a right to life issue. This includes full access to an income, food and shelter,education and health care both preventive and remediative for ALL. This also includes attention to the ecological perspective for both humans and animals, for the rain forests and all of the environment, and all living things. Love and care for God’s Creation is a right to life response. Cruelty or disregard for any living being (human or animal of any type) is the opposite of the right to live within Catholic Social Justice teachings. Believing in the right to life includes not “bad-mouthing” and ghettoizing any individual or group of people. Valuing and championing all of these rights to life are, arguably,the most important rules we live by-the essence of the Golden Rule- LOVE your neighbor as yourself- emphasized by Jesus and an essential part of all the world’s major religions. If we love all of our neighbors- no exceptions– we make very different policies and programs and uphold actions that uphold the right to life of all-not only the unborn and not only those like ourselves.
Here is the link to an excellent article by Tom Roberts of NCR Online on this topic of the right to life and the way the Church is being used and manipulated in ugly partisanship. I thank Ellen McNally President of our SW Florida CTA-Call To Action- group for sharing this article.
Let us open our eyes and see what is happening and act accordingly to support the universal right to life of all beings.
Love and blessings,
Rev. Dr Judy Lee,RCWP,DMin,DSW,MS
Pastor The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers, Florida
The Courage to Love and Serve-The Life Story of Rev. Judith Ann Beaumont – A Roman Catholic Woman Priest And A Saint For Our Times is HERE
“She Followed Her Conscience in Prophetic Obedience–and Disobedience!
This is the exciting and sometimes surprising life of Rev. Judy Beaumont: Benedictine Sister, Peace activist, “Jailbird”,prison reformer,justice seeker and provider of new life for the homeless and those at the margins and me, blessed to be her partner in life and ministry It is autobiographical as it contains her own writings and words as well as mine. It is authentic and faithful to her life of love, compassion and prophetic obedience. Be inspired and carry it on!”
Thus reads the back cover of this book by Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, yours truly.
This link should take you to a Review by Dr. Bridget Mary Meehan and a link to the book.
It is available NOW at Amazon.com and by tomorrow the Kindle Direct Publication e- copy will be available too- also Amazon.com. I do hope you will read it and be inspired to continue your own acts of love, conscience and compassion.
Thank you for your consideration. And I would love your feedback.
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP
Pastor Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community , Fort Myers, Florida
And Good Shepherd Ministries
As we celebrate Advent,a most joyful time of hope and expectation as we await the newness of the incarnation of Christ once again in our lives at Christmas, it is energizing to receive encouraging news. It is good that during this time we who await good news on the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church, and we who have already been ordained as Roman Catholic women Priests through the RCWP, Roman Catholic WomenPriests Movement, receive news of both action and progress. the following articles affirm hope for the future and evidence of our
positive existence even now.
The first article is about Amazon Synod leader, German Bishop Josef Overbeck who discusses positive views on the Ordination of women and also on the just treatment of gays in the church’s views and in the church itself. This is the link:
The second article is about Rev. Barbara Beadles,RCWP, a member of the Eastern Region of Roman catholic WomenPriests. She is welcomed by many as she serves a home Mass. This is the link:
Enjoy these hopeful pieces of news as you await the birth of Jesus and the renewal of our faith at Christmas.
Members of the Eastern Region of Roman Catholic Women Priests
This is our Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community celebrating a House Mass,
A Blessed Advent to ALL,
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP
Many struggle with the traditional church these days. Attendance is markedly down in the Roman Catholic Church in the USA and Ireland and in all of the major Christian denominations in the USA as well. Some of the key issues are issues of injustice- the sex abuse scandal especially in the Roman Catholic Church where until Pope Francis recent strong stands massive abuse was hidden and the offenders passed along from community to community; the denial of complete acceptance to the LGBTQ community in Catholicism and recently in the major decision by the Methodist Church where 53 percent of the clergy voted not to give full access and acceptance to the LGBTQ community members and to clergy who are in that community and the denial of ordination and clergy membership to women in Roman Catholicism and some of the other Christian denominations.
In a world already full of injustice, conflict and violence the church should stand , as Jesus most certainly did, for the acceptance and inclusion of all, including the outcast and the stranger. Thereby it should attract a variety of members, young as well as old, and of all social classes, races, cultures and orientations and identifications. On Ash Wednesday (this year Weds. March 6th) we are told to “turn away from sin and believe the Gospel”. ( I actually say “turn away from sin and believe and live the Gospel”. In the passage from the book of Joel (2:12) we are asked to return to God with all our hearts. The 40 days of lent are then an opportunity to take stock of ourselves, move away from preoccupations with self and give ourselves away to the poor, to those who are mourning and those in need of healing and to all those who need a word and act of love and compassion. That is we are to return to “increasing Christ within us” “living Jesus” (as the Salesians say). As part of this many need to take stock of how they feel about the traditional church and its subtle and not so subtle decisions to become an exclusive group. If we are to include all who are excluded as Jesus did, where and how can we best do that.
Some have decided to do that by leaving the RC church per se becoming a part of independent Catholic churches, or joining other Christian denominations,and some continue under the Roman Catholic rubric, following the best of the traditions and yet breaking the man-made laws that exclude. Roman Catholic WomenPriests are in this latter category. We like to say we are not leaving the church but are risking criticism and, yes, ostracism, to lead the church in a new era of true Christ-like inclusion at the Table and at the altar. Whatever you discover this Lent about the direction of your journey to the cross and to the resurrection,it is important to join with other believers as you journey for it is the community that brings the living Christ in our midst and forms the mystical body of Christ that lives and gives hope to our lives.
Here is a link to a NCRonline article written by NCR Staff (National Catholic Reporter) where several people including some women Roman Catholic priests give their thoughts on leaving the church. Leaving or leading- it is up to you to be Church. Blessings to you as you walk this Lenten journey.
Love and blessings,
Rev. Dr. Judith Lee, RCWP
Pastor and Director Good Shepherd Ministries of SW Florida and
The Good Shepherd Inclusive Catholic Community, Fort Myers, Fl
On Saturday February 23rd The New York Times Opinion page had this excellent opinion by Alice McDermott, author, novelist and essayist: Why the Priesthood Needs Women.
Of course, I am in total agreement with Ms. McDermott but want to point out to Ms. McDermott and readers that we are already here since 2002 when highly prepared Roman Catholic women were ordained on the Danube river and in 2003 a bishop who is still fully in communion with the RC Church ordained women bishops- for the sake of the church- who have passed down the line of Peter validly although illicitly through the Roman Catholic WomenPriest Movement. This Bishop’s name name will only be revealed upon his death although our bishops know it and have met him. Perhaps the women priests of RCWP International (and ARCWP) are not mentioned as we have broken canon law stating that only men can be ordained. But as St. Augustine noted an unjust law needs to be broken. And it has been so that now there are over 265 ordained RC women in the priesthood throughout the world. Thanks be to God for this start , not only at justice but at creating a priesthood of women and men who live out their Holy Orders in shepherding the people of God, especially those who are sometimes left out by the institutional church- the divorced, the LGBTQ community, and many others on the margins who have not been welcomed to the table of Jesus by the traditional RC church which, a table he has spread for all.
Today, 2/2/2019 Rev. Dianne Willman, Roman Catholic Woman Priest has sent us a link to the youtube video of the highlights of her January 19th Ordination-you might want to get closer to the experience by viewing it. We thank Rev. Dianne and send blessings to her as she begins her priestly ministry in J’Burg ,South Africa.
On Saturday January 20th, 2019 Dianne Willman was ordained the first Roman Catholic Women Priest in Johannesburg, South Africa. She joins Mary Bernadette Ryan, RCWP and Elizabeth Ann Ralston, RCWP and Bishop Patricia Fresen, RCWP, all native South Africans, in the priesthood in South Africa, and over 265 ordained RC women world-wide. We published news of this Ordination on 1/21 and now will share pictures and more information from this amazing holy event.
This is the entrance to the Mass of Holy Orders, Bishop Patricia Fresen Presider and primary celebrant.
This is the moment Bishop Fresen begins the most holy moment of the laying on of hands.
Members of the clergy and those present are also invited to either extend hands or come forward and lay hands on the newly blessed priest.
Rabbi Julia Margolis, the first woman Jewish Rabbi in South Africa was also invited to participate in the ceremony. She wrote a beautiful letter of blessing and welcome of Dianne to the clergy and affirming inter- religious collaboration and support. Rabbi Margolis is the Chairperson of the South African Centre for Religious Equality and Diversity. Rabbi Sa’ar Shaked, Chair of the Rabbinic Council also wrote her a beautiful letter of blessing.
Also present at this historic Ordination was Fr. Roy Bourgeois, a former Maryknoll priest who had his faculties taken away by the Church and also removal from his beloved Maryknoll Community because of his outspoken support of women priests. His attendance along with Bishop Patricia Fresen’s return to South Africa after living in Germany for many years after she lost the support of her lifelong Dominican Community gave palpable and poignant reality to the risks women and men take to obey God’s call to obey conscience in the matter of women priests in the Roman Catholic Church. Rev. Caryl Conroy Johnson of Pennsylvania, an Eastern Region RCWP Priest and International Program Coordinator for RCWP, and Rev. Diane Dougherty, ARCWP of Georgia were also present to celebrate this joyful Ordination.
Once again we give our blessings and hearty congratulations to rev. Dianne willman, RCWP.
Thanks be to God!
Rev. Dr. Judy Lee, RCWP
Pastor Good Shepherd Ministries of SWFL