Thursday, 24 August 2017


Yesterday a comment maker made an interesting reference to a Mass regarded as valid by the Catholic Church that does not contain the words of consecration.

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Liturgy of Addai and Mari
From Wikipedia.
The Liturgy of Addai and Mari is a Divine Liturgy belonging to the East Syrian Rite, which is in regular use, even if in different versions, in the Assyrian Church of the East and Ancient Church of the East, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Chaldean Catholic Church.
The anaphora or Eucharistic Prayer that is part of this liturgy is of particular interest, being one of the oldest in Christianity, possibly dating back to 3rd-century Edessa,[1] even if the outline of the current form can be traced as far back only as the time of the Patriarch Mar Isho-Yab III in the 7th century. This liturgy is traditionally attributed to Saint Addai (disciple of Saint Thomas the Apostle) and Saint Mari (a disciple of Saint Addai). In the form given in the oldest manuscripts, all of the High Middle Ages, this anaphora does not include the Words of Institution, a matter that raised ecumenical concerns
The Liturgy of Addai and Mari has been in continuous use in the Church of the East since at least the 7th century[1] Hymns by Saint Ephrem and others are often sung during the communion. A piece of dough from the eucharistic bread is saved from week to week, not as reserve sacrament but as leaven for the next week's bread. Authors from Theodore of Mopsuestia (c. 400) to Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII in the mid-20th century and Mar Aprem Mooken of India in the early 21st century have identified the Epiclesis, beginning with the words Neethi Mar Rukhada Kudisha... (May the Holy Spirit come...) as the high point of the Holy Qurbana.
In the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church this liturgy has three forms: a simplified form, a standard form for Sundays use, and a highly solemn form, known as the "Raza", used only on solemnities.[2] A reform of the Raza in order to return to the unadulterated and original form was issued in 1985,[3] followed in 1989 by a reform of the other two forms carried out with the same principles.[4]
A slight reform of the liturgy of Addai and Mari celebrated by the Chaldean Catholic Church came into effect on 6 January 2007, making uniform the many different uses of each parish and removing additions introduced over the centuries in imitation of the Roman rite. The main changes were: a return to the ancient arrangement of the interior of churches, restoration of the preparation of the bread and wine before the beginning of the service and removal of Filioque from the Creed.[5]
The prayers of the liturgy of Addai and Mari are of three types, according as they are recited by the celebrating priest or bishop:[6]
·         cushapa: personal prayers of the celebrant
·         gehanta or "inclinations": prayers said in low voice by the celebrant
·         qanona: conclusions of the gehanta conducted aloud
Absence of the Words of Institution
The Eucharistic Prayers (or Anaphoras) of all the present Christian Churches that believe in apostolic succession include the Words of Institution, and the relevant Institution narrative, with the sole exception of some versions of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari.
The oldest manuscript of this anaphora was published by W.F. Macomber in 1966[7] (known as Mar Eshaya text) and dates from about the 10th or 11th century. It does not include the Words of Institution, nor do other ancient manuscripts of later date. Mar Aprem Mookenof India indicates that many priests of the Assyrian Church of the East follow the old practice of not including the words of institution.[8]
Some scholars believe that the medieval manuscript represents the 4th-century tradition (or even earlier), while others believe that the Words of Institution were originally present and were later dropped, probably due to the liturgical reform of Mar Isho-Yab III in about AD 650.[9] The former include Macomber and Spinks, the latter H. Engerding and E. Mazza. B. Botte suggested that the Words of Institution were originally not written but recited from memory.[10]
Catholic Church's position
While the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches generally deny even the validity of the apostolic succession of the Church of the East, and thus the validity of its priesthood, the Catholic Church has always recognized its validity. Still some Catholics questioned the validity of the consecration in the absence of the Words of Institution because the Council of Florence had declared that the words (in Catholic theology, the "form") of the sacrament of the Eucharist are "the words of the Saviour with which he effected this sacrament",[11]words that the same council indicated as "This is my body" and "This is the chalice of my blood".[12]
Nevertheless, the Catholic Church never officially contested the validity of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari. In the closing decades of the 20th century, ecumenical rapprochement with the Assyrian Church of the East and the situation of the by then widely scattered Assyrian and Chaldean Christians who lacked a priest of their own Church made more acute the issue of the validity of the Eucharistic consecration of the form of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari that did not include the Words of Institution, as used by the Assyrian Christians, while the Eastern Catholic Churches that use the East Syrian Rite include in their versions of this liturgy the Institution narrative, with its Words of Institution. Accordingly, on 20 July 2001 the Holy See[13] declared that the Anaphora of Addai and Mari can be considered valid. Three reasons were given for this judgment. First, the Anaphora of Addai and Mari dates back to the early Church. Secondly, the Church of the East has otherwise preserved the orthodox faith in regard to the Eucharist and Holy Orders. And finally, though the Words of Institution are not spoken expressly, their meaning is present: "The words of Eucharistic Institution are indeed present in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, not in a coherent narrative way and ad litteram, but rather in a dispersed euchological way, that is, integrated in successive prayers of thanksgiving, praise and intercession".[14]
Traditionalist Catholic reaction[edit]
Some traditionalist Catholics[which?] denounced recognition of the form of the Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari in use in the Assyrian Church as valid. They argue that it completely overthrows the sacramental theology ratified by the Council of Trent:[18] according to their understanding, of the three elements necessary for a sacrament - the matter, the form, and the intention of the priest to do what the Church does - the form, which in this case is the words of institution, "For this is my Body" recited over the bread, and "For this is the cup of my Blood" over the wine, is wanting. They[19] reject the statement by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity that the words of the institution of the Eucharist are in fact present in a euchological and disseminated manner.

Vatican reportedly working on “Ecumenical Rite of Mass” for joint Worship with Protestants

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The times we live in are such that it is increasingly difficult to distinguish fact from fiction, truth from satire. A few days ago a rumor began to spread on the internet to the effect that the Vatican is working on drafting a new, ecumenical rite of “Mass”, one that can be attended by “Catholics” (i.e. Novus Ordos), Anglicans, and other Protestants, and that can also be concelebrated by “clergy” from these three groups. In other words, it would be a lowest-common denominator worship service that presents no doctrinal obstacle to Novus Ordos, Anglicans, or other Protestants (the Eastern Orthodox are conspicuously absent from this project).
This wouldn’t have to be terribly different from what the Vatican II Sect uses now (the 1969 Novus Ordo Missae or “New Mass” of “Pope” Paul VI). After all, the Novus Ordo “Mass” already fulfils these requirements in large part. As Cardinals Alfredo Ottaviani and Antonio Bacci, along with other Roman theologians, stated in their open letter to Paul VI:
…[T]he Novus Ordo Missae — considering the new elements widely susceptible to widely different interpretations which are implied or taken for granted — represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session 22 of the Council of Trent.
(Alfredo Ottaviani et al., Brief Critical Study of the New Order of Mass, Sep. 25, 1969)
But not only high-ranking Vatican prelates noticed the Protestantism of the New Mass. Even more importantly, the common folk in the pew did, too.
In any case, when we heard rumors that “Pope” Francis was looking to create another, even more “ecumenical” liturgical rite, we were skeptical at first and held off on reporting on it until we could get some sort of confirmation.
At this point, the matter has been reported by mainstream Vaticanist Marco Tosatti, albeit as a rumor. As the journalist himself says, however, “[M]y sources are usually good”, and he surely has no interest in hurting his own credibility.
Tosatti’s piece appeared on Mar. 1, 2017, and can be read in the original Italian here. An English translation of this article is provided here:
Ecumenical Mass, a work in progress? The consecration makes the Protestants uncomfortable. The ploy of silence…
[by] Marco Tosatti
These are only rumors, so we should only take them with a grain or even two or three of salt. But the mere fact that these allegations are circulating is a signal; and my sources are usually good.
We will write everything in the conditional. A mixed commission of Catholics, Lutherans, and Anglicans, bound to secrecy, is working on implementing a kind of rite of mass that can be attended by people from all three [of these] Christian denominations. There is no mention of the Orthodox. There is no written document yet, it’s all by verbal [i.e. oral] communication.
The hypothesis regards a first part with a “liturgy of the word”, which does not pose any problem; after the confession of sins, asking God for forgiveness, and reciting the Gloria, there would be the readings and the Gospel.
The commission is allegedly studying the problem of the Creed. Protestant churches prefer to pray the Apostles’ Creed, although they do recognize the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church alternates between them. So not even this point should be a major problem.
Even the presentation of the gifts, although it must be studied with care, does not appear to present a major obstacle to the project.
The central issue is that of the Eucharist. The Catholic understanding of the Eucharist is profoundly different from that of the Lutherans or of other Protestant denominations. And of course at this crucial moment, when for Catholics (but not for Protestants) transubstantiation takes place, the liturgy cannot be different for the various celebrants.
But how can a common liturgy be celebrated that clearly differs in the wording right at the most important point of the event?
One of the proposed possible solutions would be silence. It would mean that after the Sanctus, at the moment in which normally during the Mass the priest would say the words: “Father, you are holy indeed…” the different celebrants would keep silent, everyone mentally repeating “his own” formula.
The silence is broken in the congregation with the recitation of the Our Father. It is still not clear how the lines for Communion would be formed.
This is the information we got, and we pass it on. A partial confirmation that these works are in progress comes from an article by Luisella Scrosati in Bussola Quotidiana, in which she presents a stratagem “found” by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, then headed by Cardinal [Walter] Kasper. This stratagem acknowledged the validity of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari (eucharistic prayer of the Oriental Assyrian Church, aka the Nestorian Church). This is a prayer that does not contain any words of consecration, “except ‘in a dispersed euchological way’, i.e. not in an explicit way (‘This is my Body… This is the chalice of my Blood’), as a [Vatican] document from 2001 says [–link added by N.O.W.]. This could therefore be extremely useful as a justifying principle for a new eucharistic prayer without any words of consecration that could upset the Protestant brethren”. That liturgy was exclusive to the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church, in case there were pastoral problems. But just imagine if such a minor detail could turn out to have great significance in the present ecumenical climate. De minimis non curat praetor [“The chief magistrate does not concern himself with trifles”]…
(Marco Tosatti, “Messa Ecumenica, Lavori in Corso? La Consacrazione Imbarazza I Riformati. L’escamotage Del Silenzio…”Stilum Curiae, Mar. 1, 2017; translation by Novus Ordo Watch.)
For all those who now think, “There is no way this will ever happen!”, we would like to remind you that the man currently in charge of the Vatican II Sect is Jorge Bergoglio; and here is a comprehensive list of all the things you used to believe could never happen, that have since happened.
In light of this well-founded rumor, “Cardinal” Francesco Coccopalmerio’s recent remarks take on even greater significance: The Vatican “cardinal” has suggested that we stop thinking of sacraments so rigidly as only either valid or invalid. For the sake of ecumenism, he opined that we should start looking into sacraments perhaps having “imperfect” or “partial” validity….
By the way, regarding that heretical-schismatic “Mass” without a consecration, what Tosatti did not mention in his article is that the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, that consecration-less “Eucharistic prayer”, was confirmed as valid by “Cardinal” Joseph Ratzinger (who was then the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) and “Pope” John Paul II! Don’t you hate it when that happens?!
As the official Vatican document states:
…a long and careful study was undertaken of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, from a historical, liturgical and theological perspective, at the end of which the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith on January 17th, 2001 concluded that this Anaphora can be considered valid. H.H. Pope John Paul II has approved this decision.
But what do you know: After decades of frowning on the traditional Catholic practice of pronouncing the words of consecration in a low, almost-inaudible voice, the Vatican may just go back to promoting silence at the most important part of the liturgy — except, this time, at the expense of the very words of consecration! Minor detail!

Just wait till they draw the logical conclusion from having an ecumenical liturgy and come up with an interreligious worship service. After all, the groundwork has already been laid: As they freely admit, they do already worship the same god as the Muslims….

We are spending a second day thinking about Eucharist/Mass as it is so important to Christianity and Catholicism.

Todays's pieces highlight that the Eucharist has had a long history of change and development and is still evolving.

For instance the Eucharist of Addai and Mari - which is a very old Eucharist DOES NOT CONTAIN the words of CONSECRATION.

Rather the Consecration is implied in the whole of the Eucharistic Prayer.

And this is regarded by Rome etc as a VALID EUCHARIST.

And then we see that The Vatican is working on a valid Eucharist that Catholics and Protestants will celebrate together.

Those who claim that the Eucharist has never evolved are WRONG.

Those who claim that it will not evolve in the future are also WRONG.

Many people are simply resistant to change of any kind.

The world is constantly changing and so is religion and faith.

Thats why we need to hold onto THE BASICS and be open to THE ACCIDENTALS changing.

We need to hold on to the Baby and be prepared to change the water.


"He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."

MATTHEW 13: 52

Image result for "He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old."

Wednesday, 23 August 2017



The word "MASS" was NOT USED about the Eucharist during the first 300 years of Christianity.

Dominic Cassela writes:

It was a crisp Sunday morning as you slipped into your friend’s home through the  back door into their dining room (coenaculum). The dew is still fresh upon the olive branches. The house is full of men and women alike, all meeting in secret. The service begins. With the sun now starting to rise, a quiet hymn is sung in worship to Christ, as God. This, of course, was followed by a joint vow to not commit theft nor robbery nor adultery, not to break their word nor to refuse to give up a deposit. A slight pause separating the two services takes place, then a man goes to the head of the dining table. Bread is broken and wine poured into a chalice. Thanksgiving is made, and the congregation takes part in the consumption of the two species in remembrance of their God.
The year is 70 A.D. and this was how the early Catholics celebrated the Eucharist. This was the mass. Originally a seed that was given by Christ to the hearts and souls of the early Apostles and Disciples passed down and through the ages. The same seed took root and grew according to the Apostle who sowed it.
It becomes extremely clear to the historian that Liturgical practice varied greatly before and after the Edict of Milan in 313 AD. From the fourth century onwards we have very detailed information about liturgical disciplines. The Fathers such as St. Cyril of Jerusalem [d. 386], St. Athanasius [d. 373], St. Basil [d. 379], St. John Chrysostom [d. 407] give us elaborate descriptions of the various rites they celebrated. Both the Liturgy of St. Basil and Chrysosotom are still in use today in the many churches that make up the Byzantine Rite Catholic Churches since the Union of Uzhhorod (1646).  However, this is not to forget the Liturgy of St. James or the Thomastic rite liturgies that exist with the Syrian and Indian churches, and the Gallic and Celtic Rites that existed in Western Europe, alongside the Roman Rite.

Father Charles Dilke has written: HISTORY OF THE MASS EXPLAINED.

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Let us begin by trying to see what Mass would have been like the first time it was said in Rome. Later in time, some people, even Popes, would say that, for example, the Roman Canon (Canon No. l) was composed by St Peter himself and has never been subsequently changed. An examination of the available documents however shows clearly that this was not the case. The Roman Canon was probably composed in more or less its present form about 350 AD and after that some of what is now in the Canon, for example the commemoration of the Dead, had to wait several centuries before being inserted into the Canon of the Mass. 


It is clear that the Eucharist/Mass/Breaking of Bread began in a very simple way with the early Christians in Jerusalem.

It is also clear that the Doctrine of the Mass - and its practice has changed over the centuries in a process of DEVELOPMENT - right up to our own time when the Second Vatican Council changed the Mass into the vernacular after 400 years of Latin Mass.

In the last number of years Pope Benedict changed some of the wording of the Vernacular Mass.


Can I make it VERY CLEAR that I believe in the Roman Catholic understanding of the Mass.

I believe that under the form of bread and wine we receive the actual, true Body of Christ.

I believe that the substance of the bread disappears and becomes the REAL Body of Christ and that the substance of the wine disappears and becomes the REAL Blood of Christ.

In other words I believe in the Catholic teaching of THE REAL PRESENCE.

For that reason, I as a priest, take great care of the consecrated species and reserve anything left over in the Tabernacle.


Other churches and other Christians do not believe what we Catholics believe.

Some of them believe in a symbolic present of Jesus in the bread and wine.


However I believe that no one - including the Roman Catholic Church and The Vatican has the power to tell God how, when and where He becomes present.

In the Bible we are told that where two or three gather in the name of Christ He promises to be with them.

I believe that when the Anglicans, Methodists and Presbyterians have Communion Jesus becomes present.

I remain disturbed by the thoughts of the bread and wine used for the Eucharist is later thrown away in any form.

I also believe that if three lay people were stranded on a desert island and broke bread in memory of Jesus that He would be present with them.

You see the Eucharist is basically a MYSTERY.

We Christians believe in mysteries but we cannot always explain them.

Philosophers have tried in various ways to say what the Eucharist is.

They have succeeded or failed to greater or lesser degrees.

I as a Catholic celebrate Mass and I believe in the Real Presence.

But I cannot say that Jesus DOES NOT BECOME PRESENT to other Christians when they celebrate the Eucharist in different ways or have different beliefs about it.

Also, if I am at a Communion Service in any Church and am welcome to receive Communion I always do.

Monday, 21 August 2017


An Introduction To Feminist Theology

By Nicola Slee
 Nicola Slee
Feminist theology, or more properly, theologies, has emerged in modern times as a challenge to the male bias in religion and society as a whole. Although feminist theology has many significant roots in pre-modern history, it has only emerged as a fully conscious movement with its own literature, spokespersons, principles and methods in the past three or four decades. Influenced and empowered by the secular women's movement of the 1960s, the Civil Rights movement in the United States and liberation theology from Latin America, the first critical feminist theological work emerged from the States at the beginning of the sixties and from there spread to Europe and the rest of the globe. We should not assume that the foundations of feminist theology are exclusively white and western. As Kwok Pui-Lan points out, ‘the emergence of white feminist theology in the contemporary period… was embedded in the larger political, cultural, and social configurations of its time’ (Cambridge Companion to Feminist Theology, 2002, p. 26). At any rate, within a few decades, feminist theology has become a global movement situated in many settings, and drawing on many different political, philosophical and religious roots to express its concerns and convictions.
Key concepts and principles of feminist theology
There is no one feminism or feminist theology. Feminist theologians come from many different faith traditions, cultures, backgrounds and academic persuasions. Nevertheless, there are certain fundamental principles: broad, underlying convictions which most, if not all, feminists hold, and which underpin and shape feminist theology in its many different guises. All of these are the focus of much critical debate, but it is essential to have some grasp of them if you are to understand what feminism and feminist theology is about. 
The structural injustice of sexism
According to feminism, human community is characterised by a basic structural injustice, a distorted relationality between the sexes, such that men as a group have power over women as a group. This basic inequality has characterised all known history, is universal and is enshrined in language, culture, social relations, mythology and religion. The most fundamental feature of this distorted relationality is a pervasive dualism which makes a sharp distinction between perceived male and female roles, characteristics and areas of responsibility, valuing those identified with the male as inherently superior to those identified with the female.  For example, masculinity is identified with rationality, power and initiative, whereas femininity is identified with emotion and intuition, weakness and passivity. This dualism is established in the social relations assigned to men and women – men dominate in the public sphere, women in the private, for example – but is ratified at the level of mythology, ritual and theology. The patriarchal God upholds and is at the apex of this dualistic system. God is associated with the male and identified with masculine characteristics such as those already mentioned, and is cast over and against the female.  
A key consequence of sexism is androcentrism - the bias of society and culture towards the male, the assumption that the male is norm. Androcentrism functions at every level of human culture and society: in its history, traditions, language, arts, professions, and so on, all of which have been controlled and monopolised by men. A consequence of androcentrism is that women are systematically excluded and obliterated from historical traditions and contemporary thought-forms, and thus rendered invisible to themselves and others.
Sexism and androcentrism are twin features of patriarchy, a much-used concept in feminism which refers to the system of oppression, injustice and exploitation that operates between the sexes. Patriarchy (literally, the power of the fathers) refers to the social system in which sexism operates, a system which is organised entirely on the basis of male domination of women.
The grounding of theology in women's experience
All theology is done on the basis of experience, whether this is acknowledged or not. Most theology in the past has been done almost exclusively from the perspective of male experience; men have been those who have written, taught and preached about the meaning of faith, and women have been excluded from such offices and opportunities that would have allowed them to study the faith. Nevertheless, theology has been ‘gender-blind’: it did not recognise the partiality and bias of its pronouncements, but offered them as universally valid and applicable to all humanity. By insisting on doing theology from the perspective of women's experience, feminists are both calling attention to the androcentrism of previous theology and seeking to redress the imbalance of a religious tradition in which the dominant forms of thought and expression have been owned and controlled by men.  
In a much-quoted passage, Rosemary Radford Ruether expresses this principle as follows:
The critical principle of feminist theology is the promotion of the full humanity of women…. Theologically speaking, whatever diminishes or denies the full humanity of women must be presumed not to reflect the divine or an authentic relation to the divine, or to reflect the authentic nature of things, or to be the message or work of an authentic redeemer or a community of redemption. (Ruether, Sexism and God-Talk, 1983, pp. 18-19)
Listening and looking for difference
The need to extend the notion of 'women's experience' beyond simplistic assumptions of an undifferentiated unity of all women everywhere leads to the formulation of this principle. This has become a prominent commitment within recent feminist theory, rooted in the assumption that no matter how much like another human being one person may be, there is always difference present and there is always potential for these differences to change over time. What this means for feminist theology is well expressed by Linda Hogan:
 A theology based on women's experience and praxis must of necessity acknowledge and learn to value difference…. A theology based on an understanding of women's experience and praxis, which is sensitive to racial, class and sexual differences among women, must recognise women's 'different primary emergencies' (From Women’s Experience to Feminist Theology, 1995, p. 167).
In other words, feminist theology must beware of making any generalised statements about the meaning of God, the church or Bible for women, since any one woman will be speaking from one particular situation and vantage point, and cannot speak on behalf of all women.
Commitment to liberating and empowering women
Theology must not be isolated in the ivory tower of academia but must take root in the streets and the homes of ordinary women and men, and must be orientated to the transformation of society; and particularly to the liberation and empowerment of women.   Theology which has, in the past, fuelled and legitimised women's oppression must now become a tool and resource for women's empowerment. What makes theology feminist according to this principle is not merely the subject matter or content (i.e., theology about women) or the gender of the theologian (i.e., theology by women) but the commitment to doing theology with the specific goal of empowering and liberating women (i.e., theology for women).    

This is an edited extract of chapter 1 of Faith and Feminism: An Introduction to Christian Feminist Theology by Nicola Slee (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2003).  The book serves as a fuller introduction to feminist theology. This text is designed as a basic but reasonably thorough introduction.  See also Nicola’s reading list on the WATCH website:
Dr Nicola Slee is Director of Research at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham.  She is the author of numerous texts, including Praying Like a Woman (SPCK, 2004), Women’s Faith Development: Patterns and Processes (Ashgate, 2004), The Book of Mary (SPCK, 2009) and Seeking the Risen Christa (SPCK, 2011).  She is an honorary Vice-President of WATCH (Women and the Church), and an Anglican laywoman.

THE IRISH TIMES - 21.8.2017

Catholic Church shows signs of listening to growing calls for greater gender equality

Woman who feels calling to priesthood says daughter asks: ‘How can you follow such an institution?’

Dr Ann-Marie Desmond, from Timoleague, Co Cork: “I can’t see anything wrong with women celebrating the Eucharist.”

As the clamour demanding full equality for women in the Catholic Church grows ever louder indications are that it is beginning to make an impact at the very highest level.
Just this summer Sweden’s first Cardinal Anders Arborelius proposed that Pope Francis create a special advisory body of women similar to the College of Cardinals. Cardinal Arborelius was himself admitted to the college in Rome last June.
“It’s very important to find a broader way of involving women at various levels in the church. The role of women is very, very important in society, in economics, but in the church sometimes we are a bit behind,” he told media in Rome.
Similarly German cardinal Reinhard Marx, a member of the council of nine cardinals which advise Pope Francis, has called on the church to admit a greater percentage of women to its upper echelons.
“We would be mad not to use women’s talents. In fact, it would be downright foolish,” he said. The fact that only men can be ordained Catholic priests was “certainly not helping the church come across as a pioneer of equal rights”.
The church’s message must be inclusive, he continued, and “that is why I want to emphasise that positions of responsibility and executive positions in the church that are open to lay people must be shared by both men and women”.
Whereas admission toe quality in church administrationmight be welcomed by some women, their glaring absence from clergy, whether as deacons, priests, or bishops, remains for most the true indicator of their second-class status as members.
Last year Pope Francis set up a commission to look at the possibility of admitting women to the diaconate, which is now also reserved for men only. The commission is a welcome step where women are concerned, but just that.
Papal decision
In Ireland, the Association of Catholic Priests has called on all dioceses to hold off on the introduction of the permanent diaconate until this commission reports and Pope Francis makes a decision based on its findings.
“We believe that proceeding with the introduction of a male permanent diaconate at this time, and thereby adding another male clerical layer to ministry, is insensitive, disrespectful of women, and counterproductive at this present critical time,” it said last week in a statement.
It was commenting after Fr Roy Donovan objected to a decision by Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly in his archdiocese of Cashel and Emly to set up a body to look at introducing the male-only diaconate there.
“What are the implications of this when already there are so many women involved on the ground, in all kinds of ministries, without been given much status and power? Have they not also earned their place at the top table?” he asked.
Fr Donovan told The Irish Times the response to his stance had been “all very positive, including men as well”. In his own experience no parish in which he had served could have functioned without the work of women.
“It’s very difficult to get men involved, even in pastoral councils,” he said.
He recalled a recent US study that indicated that as many as 66 per cent of parish roles there were filled by women. “The church is only going to lose if women are excluded from the top table, especially when it comes to younger women.”
One woman who believes she has a vocation to the Catholic priesthood is Dr Ann-Marie Desmond (54) of Timoleague, Co Cork. A teacher of religion and history, with a PhD in education and degrees in theology and history, she is married with two grown-up daughters.
Devout family
Hers was a traditional Catholic upbringing in a devout family and with an aunt a nun. Even when her brother was an altar server she did not question why, then, she could not become one too. Girls are now allowed be altar servers, and in most parishes these days the altar servers are girls.
It was at third level education that Ms Desmond began to question things and later when, preparing for Masses, women like her “would organise everything, pick the readings etc., and a man [priest] would come in, take over, and celebrate it”. She has herself been a minister of the word and of the Eucharist.
Hers has remained “a very committed faith” but she had become “very anti the institution”, she said. This was not just because of its exclusion of women but also “of gay people, and people such as the divorced and remarried, from Communion. I would want a much more inclusive church,” she continued.
A lot of women like her retained “a deep faith but would no longer be followers of the Catholic Church”. She had explored other churches and admired in particular the inclusivity of Anglicanism in the form of the Church of Ireland, but “had stayed within [the Catholic Church] to speak out”.
The church needed priests, “a value-driven leadership”, she said but this should also include women. “I can’t see anything wrong with women celebrating the Eucharist,” she said. The reason Jesus did not include women among the apostles was because of the culture of his time when women remained in the home, she said.
“Many of the apostles were also married,” she pointed out, as an indicator of the inconsistency of the church’s position on priesthood which now demands its priests be celibate.
She welcomed, “very, very cautiously”, the Pope’s commission on women deacons as, possibly, “a gradual evolution towards priesthood”. It was “a step in the right direction”.
But she wonders about the church’s future where younger women are concerned. “How can you be a follower of such an institution?” one of her daughter’s asked recently, reflecting on its exclusion of women.


A good definition of theology would be:

the study of religious faith, practice, and experiencethe study of God and God's relation to the world

Feminist theology, therefore could be described as the study of religious faith, practice and experience of God in the context of the feminine and women.

God is neither male or female. He / She is male, female and a lot more - infinitely more.

In Jesus God became present in the world through a male.

In lesser ways - but ways that are also vital, God has become present to the world in men, women, animals, plants, trees, nature etc.

All that exists is a revelation of God who has created all that exists.

However, theology is the study of God by men and women.

Men and women, even and especially in the Bible, are often limited in their studies by various factors including cultural factors.

In the past Society - and the Church - was very male and patriarchal. 

To study God from a male-only perspective is to end up with a limited understanding of God.

I see Feminist Theology as an effort to rebalance the study of God taking on board the enormous importance and vital perspective of woman and the feminine.

Like in all theologies people can get it wrong and go to extremes. 

Balance, rational, openminded balance is so important.

Feminist Theology is a challenge to all of us to rebalance and recalibrate our study of God taking the feminine perspective full on board.

Theology is multi-faceted.

There is Dogmatic Theology, Moral Theology, Sacramental Theology, Liberation Theology, etc.

We need Feminist Theology to be allowed to take its properly deserved place in the Theology Pantheon. 



The Eucharist was moving, dignified, uplifting and we all left afterwards touched by God and his/her Holy Spirit.

 The Eucharistic text which Bridget and Mary Teresa used was the one used in their US communities by THE ASSOCIATION OF ROMAN CATHOLIC WOMEN PRIESTS and therefore it was different.

On paper it seemed strange but when it was celebrated - along with chosen readings and music - it was wonderful.

The Eucharist was attended by regular Oratory goers and by a number of other interested parties.

One man present was a Presbyterian man called Graham Saunderson who has a dedicated ministry to truck drivers and their families - called Glory Road Ministeries.

From left: Bishop Bridget, Mary Teresa, Joan and Graham Saunderson.
The main points that Bishop Bridget made in her homily was:

1. God's all-embracing love for all his children regardless of gender, race, denomination,  orientation etc.

2. That the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is NOT LEAVING the Church - but LEADING the Church.

3. She recalled Pope Francis' recent decision to set up a commission to study on Women Deacons.

Image result for pope francis with a woman

4. She told us of a long meeting two of her women priest colleagues had with one of Pope Francis' senior advisers in Rome and their later attendance at a papal Mass where they were given places of honour and received Holy Communion.


During the Eucharist we prayed especially for all the dead and injured in Barcelona and all their family and friends. 

I have agreed with the ordination of women for 20 years.

Yesterday's experience copper fastened me in the belief that not only is it right and that GOD WANTS IT





Rebel female bishop on Northern Ireland crusade to recruit women into Catholic priesthood.

By Suzanne Breen

August 21 2017

A female Catholic bishop excommunicated by the Vatican is in Northern Ireland on a recruitment drive to expand her movement of women priests.

Bridget Mary Meehan said five women who believe they have a vocation had come forward in the Republic and she hoped for a similar number on this side of the border.

"We have 250 women priests and 11 bishops but I'm the only Irish-born one and I would love to change that," she said. "I ordained a female priest in Scotland in 2009, which was very exciting, but my dream is to come home next year to ordain women in Ireland.

"I believe our movement is in harmony with everything Pope Francis stands for in wanting a more open and inclusive Church."

The women, who belong to the US-based Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP), are defying the Vatican's ban on female clergy.

Bishop Meehan stressed that although she had been excommunicated, she still saw herself as part of the mainstream Church.

"As an Irish Catholic, Catholicism is in my DNA," she said.

"This isn't about leaving the Church, it's about leading it. This is about moving the Church towards equality and justice and healing the wounds of centuries of sexism."

She yesterday said Mass at the Oratory, the church of  Bishop Pat Buckley in Larne. He branded opposition to women priests as "sexism dressed up with theology".

Born in Coolkerry, Co Laois, Meehan was ordained a priest in 2006 and a bishop three years later. The 69-year-old currently ministers in Florida.

Her family support her stance.

"My late father Jack Meehan was 82 when I was ordained. He was very proud of me. He had been a dance band leader in the 1940s and he played music at Masses which I celebrated," she said.

Bishop Meehan said being branded "a white witch" and facing other insults didn't bother her.

"I grew up in a conservative Catholic tradition so I see those criticisms as part of the journey we're all on," she said.

She rejected the Vatican's argument that women couldn't be priests because the 12 Apostles were male. "The risen Christ appeared first to Mary Magdalene, not to the Apostles, and called on her to announce the good news of Christianity. Mary Magdalene was the Apostle to the Apostles," she said.

The ARCWP has significantly expanded from 2002 when seven women were ordained priests on a ship on the River Danube.

The organisation insists its ordinations are valid because the male bishop ordaining the first female bishops has "apostolic succession within the Catholic Church".

Bishop Meehan was excommunicated in 2007, but insisted: "Our actions are justified because we are disobeying an unjust law. No one can cancel my baptism - it's equal to that of any bishop, cardinal or Pope."

Pope Francis has said the Church is unlikely to lift its ban on female priests but he has set up a commission to investigate whether women could be ordained as deacons, giving them the authority to marry couples and baptise babies, but not to celebrate Mass.

While Bishop Meehan sees him as "moving in the right direction", Bishop  Buckley is less optimistic. "Even if Francis wanted change, he is surrounded by a conservative cabal who will prevent it," he said.

"The battle for women priests will be far harder than that for married priests. Opposition isn't just in the Vatican, it's extensive at a grassroots level."

Bishop Meehan urged women who have a vocation to contact her at or

Belfast Telegraph