‘This call comes from God’

— Rev. Mary Keldermans to be ordained as bishop in September

Keldermans is the pastor of Holy Family Inclusive Catholic Church, 2939 Stanton Street, though services have been online only since the pandemic.

By Steven Spearie

The COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on the Reverend Mary Keldermans’ ordination as a bishop in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA movement.

Now the installation is moving forward at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre on September 4.

Keldermans, who worked for several Springfield Roman Catholic parishes and received an award from the Springfield diocese for her service to the church before being excommunicated for her ordination to the priesthood in 2014, will have some special guests on hand for the ceremony.

Bishop Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Dagmar Braun Celeste, two of the “Danube Seven” who were ordained priests on a boat in the Danube River in 2002, have made commitments to being in Springfield.

Celeste is the ex-wife of former Ohio governor Richard Celeste. She lives in Lakewood, Ohio.

Eight bishops from Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA (RCWP) will take part in Keldermans’ ordination, including her predecessor, Bishop Joan Houk of South Bend, Indiana, who retired in December 2018.

Keldermans, 64, was elected by the 24 women priests of the nine-state Great Waters Region in October 2019, and her bishop’s ordination was set for April 25, 2020 before the pandemic halted it.

Keldermans recently said she was “humbled” Mayr-Lumetzberger of Austria and Celeste were attending.

“It means that our movement is continuing, that there is a whole web of support,” Keldermans added. “It’s also life-giving, that we’re here to stay.”

While Keldermans contended she “lined up with 2,000 years of saints and sinners” in the Catholic church, she is riled about who the church deems “worthy to join” and who can receive the sacraments.

Keldermans’ ordination in 2014 incurred a public excommunication from Springfield Catholic Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. The Vatican, which doesn’t allow ordained female clergy, labels RCWP as “schismatic.”

A spokesman for the diocese didn’t return a message from The State Journal-Register Sunday.

“You cannot defend something like that,” Keldermans countered, “because the call to priesthood, the call to ministry comes from God, and it comes from the people who you minister with. That’s how it was in the early house churches, but (women leaders) got erased from history. We’re here, and we’re saying this call comes from God.

“You don’t turn your life upside down like (I did) without it being deep, deep in your soul that you feel God talking, that you feel God calling. There’s no man on earth that is going to tell me God didn’t call me for this. This priest part of me, this is what I’ve always done. This is how I’ve always talked, so people have gotten used to me.”

RCWP is not, Keldermans said, “a women’s movement. It’s a reform movement in the church.”

At the ordination, Keldermans will be presented a crozier Houk’s husband, John Houk, hand-made from wood.

“I told (Houk) that I will pass it down (to my successor),” Keldermans said. “That way her fingerprints will always be on the Great Rivers Region.”

Complete Article HERE!

Stop suppressing Catholics, outspoken nun tells Australian church leaders

Sister Joan Chittister, a well-known American nun, feminist and scholar.

By Farrah Tomazin

An outspoken US nun who was recently embroiled in a censorship row with Melbourne’s Archbishop has warned Australia’s Catholic Church it faces an inevitable decline unless it stops suppressing rank-and-file members pushing for reform.

The nation’s bishops are under pressure to overhaul the church after years of sex scandals and internal unrest, and one of America’s most prominent Benedictine nuns, Sister Joan Chittister, has now renewed calls for women to be ordained and for laypeople to be given more power over their parishes, declaring that the church needs to “grow up” if it wants to thrive.

Such reforms were meant to be thrashed out at the most significant conference Australian Catholic bishops have held in 80 years, the Plenary Council, which is scheduled to take place in October.

However, working documents prepared for the event have prompted concerns that some of the more contentious issues on the agenda could be cast aside or not addressed properly by the bishops, despite past assurances that “everything is on the table”.

“Everyone knows that the church in Australia needs a major overhaul of its governance, culture and structures, but instead of setting out a clear, concise and coherent blueprint for reform, this document is a ground plan for inertia,” said Catholics for Renewal president Peter Wilkinson. “It is very disappointing.”

Sister Joan, who this month headlined an event by the Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald she shared concerns that “suppression by the bishops” would impede much-needed improvements. This, she warned, would prompt more members to abandon their parishes.

“There are one of two ways that this can end. The bishops can embrace the concerns and the need for resolution or they continue to ignore the laity – at which point the church will some day wake up in the morning and find out that the church is in fact gone.”

In a speech to a 3000-strong audience this month, Sister Joan added: “Catholicism must grow up, beyond the parochial to the global, beyond one system and one tradition to a broader way of looking at life … Why not married priests, women priests, or women cardinals?”

Sister Joan is a writer, feminist and theologian who has spent 50 years advocating for social justice and church reform. However, the prominent US nun found herself at the centre of an Australian censorship saga two years ago, when she was disendorsed from speaking at a Catholic education conference soon after Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli learnt of plans to include her.

Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli

The snub prompted a fierce backlash from rank-and-file Catholics, but the Archdiocese initially sought to dismiss the matter as a misunderstanding, saying the Archbishop had simply requested “that more names aligned to the themes of a national Catholic education conference be considered”.

Sister Joan disagreed, describing the episode as an “insult” to the Catholic education system.

“Of course it was censorship; there wasn’t any doubt about that,” she said this week. “Nobody has a right to tell anybody else what to think. That is not helpful to any organisation – state or church. You’re only burning it down from the bottom up if you do that.”

Sister Joan’s appearance in Australia comes at a critical moment for the church ahead of October’s Plenary Council. Expectations were high in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse, which found the hierarchical nature of the church, coupled with its lack of governance, had created “a culture of deferential obedience” in which the protection of paedophile priests was left unchallenged.

However, rank-and-file Catholics have become increasingly concerned about the church’s will to change. Such fears were compounded in March when a working document prepared for the Plenary Council did not give enough credence to critical issues that members have been seeking to address.

Peter Johnstone, the head of the Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, urged Australia’s bishops to use the Plenary Council to genuinely tackle the “existential crisis” the church faces.

Complete Article HERE!

Rebel priests defy Vatican, vow to bless same-sex couples

Father Helmut Schueller

By

A dissident band of Roman Catholic priests leading a disobedience campaign against the Vatican said on Tuesday they would carry on blessing same-sex couples in defiance of Church orders.

The Vatican said on Monday that priests cannot bless same-sex unions and that such blessings are not valid, in a ruling that disappointed gay Catholics who had hoped their Church was becoming more welcoming under Pope Francis.

In some countries, parishes and ministers have begun blessing same-sex unions in lieu of marriage, and there have been calls for bishops to institutionalise de facto such blessings. Conservatives in the 1.3 billion-member Roman Catholic Church have expressed alarm over such practices.

“We members of the Parish Priests Initiative are deeply appalled by the new Roman decree that seeks to prohibit the blessing of same-sex loving couples. This is a relapse into times that we had hoped to have overcome with Pope Francis,” the Austrian-based group said in a statement.

“We will — in solidarity with so many — not reject any loving couple in the future who ask to celebrate God’s blessing, which they experience every day, also in a worship service.”

The Parish Priests Initiative led by Father Helmut Schueller has long been a thorn in the side of the Vatican. The group wants Church rules changed so that priests can marry and women can become priests.

It has said it will break Church rules by giving communion to Protestants and divorced Catholics who remarry.

Founded in 2006 by nine priests, the initiative says it now has around 350 members from the ranks of the official Church and more than 3,000 lay supporters.

The Vatican in 2012 cracked down on Schueller, stripping him of the right to use the title monsignor and saying he was also no longer a “Chaplain of His Holiness”.

Schueller, a former deputy to Vienna archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, had been given the honorary title in his capacity as head of the Austrian branch of the Catholic charity group Caritas.

Complete Article HERE!

Bishops condemned for losing women in translation

Many parishioners across all Catholic churches are women. This picture is from the ordination last September to the Episcopate of Martin Hayes as Bishop of Kilmore at the Cathedral of St Patrick and St Felim, Cavan.

by Sarah Mac Donald

A co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland has criticised the bishops of England and Wales for their lack of consultation in opting for the Catholic Edition of the gender-exclusive English Standard Version (ESV) translation of the Bible for use in a new version of the lectionary.

Fr Brendan Hoban, a retired parish priest in Co. Mayo, noted that the ESV refers to men and women as “men” and translates humanity as “man”. Other translations, such as the Revised New Jerusalem Bible, prefer inclusive language.

Accusing the 22 bishops of England and Wales of “a conspicuously bad decision”, he alleged there had been no consultation with priests, Religious or laity, biblical scholars or liturgical experts.

In a statement on 22 January, the bishops of England and Wales said the ESV was chosen because it is seen as fulfilling the qualities the Church seeks for “accuracy of translation which conveys the meaning of the biblical authors” as well as for the “dignity and accessibility of language needed for a worthy proclamation of the Word of God”.

The Bishops of Scotland announced in July 2020 that they had also chosen the English Standard Version – Catholic Edition for the lectionary.

Writing in his column in the Western People, Fr Hoban noted that traditionally the Catholic Churches of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland cooperate over the publication of liturgical books and their revised editions for financial and other reasons.

He asked if the Irish bishops would now accept the “unilateral England (and Wales) decision”, or would they “follow again the dismal, dangerous example of their colleagues on the other side of the Irish sea?”

Fr Hoban wrote: “Will they compound a problem being visited on the Catholics of England and Wales by regularly and ritually insulting women as they listen to the Word of God being read at Mass – giving them another reason to cut their links with an institution that insists on patronising and disrespecting them to the point of misogyny?”

He added that if the Irish bishops do this, the recent words of the newly installed Archbishop of Dublin on leadership would be meaningless.

Fr Hoban was referring to Archbishop Dermot Farrell’s homily at his installation earlier this month, where he said: “Leadership in the Church is not about telling people what to do; rather it is about promoting co- responsibility and overcoming the mindset which runs the risk of relegating the baptised to a subordinate role, effectively keeping them on the edges of church life.”

According to Fr Hoban, the decision to adopt the ESV translation for the lectionary is “a watershed moment when women may eventually decide that no matter what the Catholic Church says, disrespect for women is sewn into its institutional seams”.

Complete Article HERE!