Virginia Saldanha – WomenPriests infiltrates the Indian Church: Catherine of Siena Virtual College
INDIAN RADICAL FEMINIST “THEOLOGIAN” VIRGINIA SALDANHA
NOTE: MY COMMENTS ARE, AS ALWAYS, IN GREEN COLOR THROUGHOUT THIS REPORT.
Virginia Saldanha has only completed “certificate courses in theology for the laity” and that qualification appears sufficient for the Indian church to acclaim her as a theologian who even lectures bishops!
On the basis of those “certificate courses” and with the blessings of some bishops, she has helped other feminist nun-theologians organize women theologians into an Asian Women Theologians’ Forum.
Ecclesia of Women in Asia [EWA]
— of which she is in the vanguard — is the forum of Asian Women Theologians. She is one of two Indian lay women in the leadership; the other is Astrid Lobo Gajiwala.
Virginia Saldanha‘s background in parish and diocesan catechetics and other activities led her from the Women’s desk of the archdiocese to the Executive Secretary-ship of the Commission for Women in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India [CBCI] and to the same chair at the Office of Laity, Family and Women’s Desk of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences [FABC].
By her own admission, she was “drawn to liberation theology” during her theological studies. She also immersed herself in the “theological writings of well-known feminist theologians“, to quote her.
In and through her own and reproduced articles and blogs in EWA, she promotes leading dissenters against the teachings of the Catholic Church, excommunicated or castigated priests,
women whose “theology is incompatible with the Catholic Faith“, women who are pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia, pro-artificial birth control, pro-sex education, pro-homosexuality and lesbianism, and most of all who advocate a radical feminist theology, especially of course the ordination of women as priests.
She has a problem with what she perceives as “the deification of priests” in the Catholic Church.
She is also an activist for the use of inclusive language — a radical feminist characteristic — in the liturgy as well as in the Bible, what they euphemistically term, “a
new reading of the Scriptures“.
She rejects the new, revised liturgy of the Mass, defiantly saying, among other things, “I do not believe that Christ died just for the many, but for all. I also will not use the word “consubstantial”…
I will continue to do what I believe to be right and true,” but approves of liturgies that are blatant aberrations and abuses.
The bishops elevated her to influential positions and can now do little or nothing. A Bombay priest writes to me that she is a “Frankenstein monster” created by the bishops and remains to haunt them even after she quit her executive positions in the hierarchy. Despite having accepted and held influential and rewarding [for the promotion and development of her own agendas and contacts] posts in the hierarchy for over two decades, probably the highest held by any Indian lay woman till date, “hierarchy” has now become for her, as for all feminists, a four-letter word because “[t]he establishment of the hierarchy gives priests power and legitimacy to dominate and control the Church, and by virtue of the exclusion of women from the hierarchy, this power is used over them“, http://www.ucanews.com/2011/09/28/old-heirarchies-inhibit-the-asian-church/.
Read the detailed report VIRGINIA SALDANHA-ECCLESIA OF WOMEN IN ASIA AND CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE-FEMINIST THEOLOGY AND THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN PRIESTS at: http://ephesians-511.net/docs/VIRGINIA_SALDANHA-ECCLESIA_OF_WOMEN_IN_ASIA_AND_CATHERINE_OF_SIENA_VIRTUAL_COLLEGE-FEMINIST_THEOLOGY_AND_THE_ORDINATION_OF_WOMEN_PRIESTS.doc. 1.
News of her activities and that of her feminist sisters-in-arms is regularly reported in Asia’s largest Catholic news agency, UCAN, [I easily located at least forty stories on the Internet] and in the liberal National Catholic Reporter [over a dozen]. None of these stories are critical of her — or their — positions or demands; instead they project the feminist agenda in a favourable light. Many of them indicate that she has plenty of grouses against the Church, its teachings and positions on critical issues of faith and doctrine.
Still, UCAN eulogises her as an “advocate for women’s rights”, see
Virginia Saldanha is on the Board of Directors of UCAN! That explains a lot!!
She is hostile to the exhortations to evangelize of the post-synodal Document Ecclesia in Asia, and a sympathizer of the seditious Catholic Ashrams movement.
Virginia Saldanha is the face and strident voice of the radical feminist lobby in the Indian Church.
After wading through all their concerns about gender violence, exploitation of women, empowerment of women, discrimination against women, “space for Catholic women to have their voices heard, thoughts and reflections articulated” [a favourite refrain], the use of gender-sensitive language, the “‘searching’ and ‘finding’ of women’s identity“, the bottom line is this: they all want women to be ordained as priests.
When the smoke screen of various peripheral demands is dispelled by a little research and investigation, the ultimate “women’s rights” that they are concerned about is for women to be ordained.
That, Rome has repeated over and over again, is something that is impossible, unthinkable, and wrong to even bring up for discussion if one is Catholic. See pages 28 ff.
Virginia Saldanha has alleged on her own blog, in a UCAN article as well as in the bulletin of the Conference of Religious, India [CRI] that a particular source had informed her that a bishop had fathered a son by a nun who then, as a single unwed mother, had to leave her congregation and take up a job as a cook to support the two of them. See my report “VIRGINIA SALDANHA-BISHOP FATHERS CHILD BY NUN” at
One has to keep in mind that UCAN and CRIB are popular, though liberal, Catholic agencies whose news reports are read by the bishops. Is it not strange that no inquiry was instituted, no denial issued, or the story was not pulled over the period of 21 months that intervened before a Mumbai blog posted it?
I recently found that the same story was also run in the left-wing National Catholic Reporter that also favours women’s ordination. ncronline has even published — don’t ask me how they got it — the “Bishop Fathers Child by Nun” story, posted in NCR March 20, 2012, see http://ncronline.org/news/women/voice-women.
When the exact same story was copied in the Mumbai blog run by some Catholic lay persons, she sent them a letter threatening to “take action” against them. Next, she recanted on who the source of the information was. Initially, she had named her fellow feminist Astrid Lobo Gajiwala — on whose Church-related activities and errors this ministry is in the process of completing a separate report — as her source. Now she named a Mumbai gentleman as the source. He is a writer of international repute and spotless integrity. We wrote to him and asked him for his comment. He replied, labeling Virginia Saldanha‘s allegation as “a blatant lie”.
Having consolidated her position at the CBCI and FABC levels, Virginia Saldanha is now actively involved in promoting the radical feminist agendas and ideologies through at least two agencies, if one excludes the Theologians’ Forums and the Catholic media. The first is the Ecclesia of Women in Asia [EWA].
Ecclesia of Women in Asia [EWA]
has had five Asian conferences from inception till date. In my detailed report [see the link on page 1], I have documented enough of their anti-Catholic deliberations, activities, liturgies and statements for the bishops to be able to come down heavily and firmly on them and restrain their “ecclesia” — if they have the mind and courage to. EWA “liturgies” appear to be horrible aberrations of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
As for their discussions on women’s sexuality, vaginas and orgasms, and not excluding an unprintable four-letter word relating to the female genitalia, the less said by me, the better. Read the report.
Ecclesia of Women in Asia [EWA], the forum of
Asian Women Theologians, is to meet in India in August 2013. It will be their sixth Asian conference since the first one in 2002.
The venue has not yet been decided.
Will the Indian Bishops’ Conferences do what is necessary based on the damning evidences — especially of their main agenda,
— which have been thoroughly documented in my above referred report?
Virginia Saldanha‘s new activity is as the Indian contact person for the U.S.-based Catherine of Siena Virtual College which will conduct “gender studies” through an eight-week long online seminar for a small fee. Imagine the curriculum. Most EWA blogs and articles cite radical feminists, dissenters, WomenPriests theologians and New Agers. The current President of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College is herself a researcher and avid fan of world number 1 New Ager Pierre Teilhard de Chardin‘s spirituality.
“Gender studies” is a euphemism; Catherine of Siena Virtual College is a front for ex-priest John Wijngaards‘ international movement for women priests. Through Virginia Saldanha, the WomenPriests movement has infiltrated the Indian Church. Now that Virginia Saldanha is recruiting for Catherine of Siena Virtual College, there is a real and present danger to the Indian Church. It has already become affiliated with several seminaries, philosophates and theologates. Will the bishops of India do something about it?
Some preliminary information
A. Virginia Saldanha, Web Coordinator, Ecclesia of Women in Asia, B/4, Pearl Queen, North Avenue, Santa Cruz, Mumbai – 400 054, India. Tel: 26490161, Mobile: 9819626197 email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ecclesia of Women in Asia [EWA] is the forum of Asian Women Theologians.
The usage of “womyn” is tied to radical feminism. I have not been able to find out as to when Virginia Saldanha exactly began to use the “womyn” email id. If the bishops would check up their records and find out, it would give an indication of the approximate time around which Virginia Saldanha committed herself to radical feminism.
The author’s email ID reveals more about the author than what is written here. “womynvs” evidently refers to “womyn” followed by the author’s initials. For the uninformed, the word “womyn” is tied to the concept of radical feminism, the kind which will not tolerate the spelling “woman” because it has “man” in it. The earliest use of the term “womyn”, according to the Wikipedia essay, is attested in the Oxford English Dictionary as being the name of a 1975 “womyn’s festival” mentioned in a lesbian publication. It is absolutely essential to discern the rising strains of militant feminism within the Church from the real sociological/gender issues. Bishops beware!
B. At her blog http://ecclesiaofwomen.ning.com/profile/VirginiaSaldanha
says that she has done “Certificate courses in Theology for the Laity offered by the Diocesan Seminary of the Archdiocese of Bombay.”
UCAN upgrades this to a Diploma! See
INDEX OF CONTENTS
SYNOPSIS AND INDEX 1-2, 3
Some preliminary information on Virginia Saldanha 3
The only agenda of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College is the ordination of women as priests
Women’s ordination-proponent Virginia Saldanha makes it to the Cover Story of The New Leader
What is real “empowerment of women”? Women’s ordination! 5
Virginia Saldanha promotes the Catherine of Siena Virtual College 5-7
The staff of Catherine of Siena Virtual College; Virginia Saldanha is the Registrar 7-11
Some more information on Virginia Saldanha 11-16, 72
Catherine of Siena Virtual College and WomenPriests are one and the same 16-25, 58-66
Another women’s ordination group finds
Catherine of Siena Virtual College useful 25
An appeal to the bishops 26, 69
Radical feminism and New Age, in brief 26; 64
The Vatican rules out the ordination of women as deacons 27
News reports, chronologically – No ordination of women: Rome 28-33, 35, 36
The Ordination of Women to the Catholic Priesthood, article by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. 33-35
Woman Renounces Her Claim to Be a Deacon – Says She “Made a Mistake”; Asks Forgiveness
MumbaiLaity: Catherine of Siena Virtual College-Is it Catholic? By Croydon D’Souza, and responses
Update, April 4, 2012 41-48
Exploiting the CBCI’s Gender Policy to further their pro-women’s ordination agenda 41-48
It includes promoting the online formation programmes of the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College 42, 45
Update, April 5, 2012 48-51
Christ College, Christ University and Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram [DVK] in Bangalore, Fr Agnel College of Arts and Commerce, Goa, and their affiliation with womenpriests/Catherine of Siena Virtual College 49-51
Update, April 10, 2012 51-69
Bishop Bosco Penha’s association with the leaders of the Indian womenpriests movement 51-57
Why the name “Catherine of Siena”? 57
Womenpriests, Catherine of Siena Virtual College and Ecclesia of Women in Asia are one and the same 58-66
Article: The Feminist Front in the War on the Church
Update, April 11, 2012
70; Update, April 21, 2012 71-73
Bishop Agnelo Gracias, the feminist theologians and Virginia Saldanha 71,
MumbaiLaity: More blogs on the Virginia Saldanha/Catherine of Siena Virtual College issue
WOMENPRIESTS.ORG – THE MOVEMENT FOR THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN – AND THE CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE ARE ONE AND THE SAME!
AND VIRGINIA SALDANHA IS THEIR INDIAN CONTACT!!!!!!!!!!!
The only agenda of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College is the ordination of women as priests.
“Please, support our campaign for women priests.”
[Above I have copied the masthead for WomenPriests.] On the same page, you will find this ad:
In their forthcoming “Spring Term” programme commencing April 9, 2012, one of the topics is the Indian Catholic Church’s Gender Policy. What other reason is it included if not for these dissenting feminists to strategise how they could exploit it to further their cause, the ordination of women in the Indian church? See womenpriests blog, page 5.
Still, The New Leader, a Catholic fortnightly, in its March 1-15, 2012 issue, publishes an article, “Role and Challenges of Women by Virginia Saldanha“, four pages, Cover Feature, with the blurb saying, “Virginia Saldanha is currently involved in promoting ‘gender awareness’ online at the Catherine of Siena Virtual College.”
It cannot be long before The Examiner and other Catholic media ignorantly follow suit.
The New Leader, March 1-15, 2012
Role and Challenges of Women by Virginia Saldanha, four pages, Cover Feature, EXTRACT:
…Women’s participation in Catholic Church leadership remains severely curtailed… Jesus gave equal importance to women’s role in his ministry… Religious women have foregone marriage to dedicate their lives to the evangelizing mission of the Church*. But yet they are not given leadership roles, they are put back into the role of “mothers” and domesticated to be servants of men in the Church… The right of women to express themselves theologically and spiritually is curtailed because of the fear that women raise questions that could be a threat to male superiority and privilege… One woman said to me, “I have not seen a single happily married couple to believe that marriage is meant for me.” … Religious conservatives necessarily look upon women’s demand for equality as being against the will of God… Raising awareness is imperative to make all recognize that women share equal rights, status and dignity with man and are equally capable of being in leadership. Biology cannot be the determining factor for leadership. Women have to claim their space in all spheres to make equality a reality. Women need to bond together to support and work towards change in their reality. Sensitive and supportive men have given a boost to the activism of women towards change**. Enlarging this circle of men will speed up the process of change… When the Church follows Jesus’ example, only then will change take place in its structures to include women as equal partners***. 4.
1. Women’s ordination-proponent Virginia Saldanha makes it to the Cover Story of The New Leader [NL].
It goes to show either how miserably ignorant our Catholic media is, or just how liberal they are.
The article is a very toned down, mild and acceptable form of feminism, prepare for the consumption of the ignorant Catholic prelate’s palate, with just the almost unnoticeable hint that women can do everything that men do, including be cultic priests; very much unlike the heavier and more direct stuff on the EWA blogs.
The NL blurb says, “Ms. Virginia Saldanha is currently involved in promoting ‘gender awareness’ online at the Catherine of Siena Virtual College. She gives talks and writes articles to raise awareness on women’s issues. She is a member of women’s groups like Ecclesia of Women in Asia, Indian Women Theologians’ Forum and Satyashodak.”
Do they know anything about what the “Catherine of Siena Virtual College“, the EWA and the IWTF are really all about, and about her being a leading spokeswoman in the feminists’ campaign for women’s ordination? No. They would find my detailed report on Virginia Saldanha helpful; on the other hand this report should do.
2. *This from a woman who rejects the Church’s exhortation in Ecclesia in Asia to evangelise, and falsely prophesied violent reactions against the Church from Hindu fundamentalists.
3. **In India this would be the top brass of the CRI, see page 56 of the detailed report on Virginia Saldanha, the brief list of priests on page 52 of that report, many more liberal priest-theologians who are presently not ready to reveal themselves, and possibly several bishops.
4. ***When will women be fully “equal partners”? Ask any feminist; the answer would be when they can celebrate Holy Mass, which logically means that they will not be “equal partners” till they are ordained.
Re: News central, etc., items of interest… 15/02/2008
CBCI’s 28th GBM to Mull Over: Empowerment of Women in the Church and Society.
NEW DELHI, FEB. 08, 2008, 16.00 Hrs (CBCI News)
The 28th General Body Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), which is scheduled to be held at the Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, from February 13-20, will reflect on: ‘Empowerment of Women in the Church and Society.’
The following is the full text of the press statement presented by the Secretary General Archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes at a press conference held at the CBCI Centre, this afternoon at 2.30 PM…
28th General Body Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) […]
COMMENT By Guest:
I read this news with great interest and had to laugh out loud when I got to the end. Not a single item or topic or ‘useful insight’ was mentioned which would throw a light on what the church actually would do to help the empowerment of women, but a long long list of names and titles of male ecclesiastical leaders. In short, déjà vu. I am sorry if I appear unconvinced, but this is precisely the top heavy way of ‘dealing’ with women which has got us nowhere.
An insincere attempt to give an “appearance” of caring about women when instead it is a hollow grab for publicity by the male ecclesials — The male clerics get their names in the paper. Under a headline “empowerment of women”. Oh reeeeally. Isn’t that special? A publicity grab and smoke screen made by these Cardinals to show “they are doing something” for the “women”. Not fooled by this. How conveeeenient of these Cardinals to get together for their party of real female exclusion from the holy orders.
What is the church in India going to do to help the women widows who are mistreated or abused women of domestic violence or women who work in horrible conditions for very low pay? What about letting women exercise their spiritual empowerment and let women be co-workers in the church itself as priests and deacons like men are allowed to do? Are these Cardinals going to discuss and work at Ordaining Women as Catholic Deacons and Priests in their own Church? That is empowerment of women.
What is real “empowerment of women“? Women’s ordination!
The feminists really want, as I keep repeating, only ONE single thing in the name of “empowerment of women“: WomenPriests!
Here they mock the meeting of the CBCI. What does Virginia Saldanha, who has been all along an INTEGRAL PART OF IT, have to say? Openly, nothing. She works from the dark confines of the Trojan horses of the Ecclesia of Women in Asia, the Asian Women Theologians’ Forum, etc., and now under cover of the newly-introduced Catherine of Siena Virtual College. Womenpriests is VERY, VERY interested in India!
Virginia Saldanha stands EXPOSED!
CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE
A. ONE OF THE EWA BLOGS Will Women Priests Change the Church? AND
VIRGINIA SALDANHA‘S RESPONSE
Posted by Virginia Saldanha on February 10, 2011
My email is
and my phone is 314 3781080.
By September 9 I am finishing my Residency for the Clinical Pastoral Education. I would like to ask EWA* if there is a job opening in the organization? A part time one may be ok. I can do some WEB maintenance, grant writing, pastoral assistantship.
BTW, I just attended a conference on
Catholics in Washington DC last July and stayed at the New Ways Ministry center with Jeanine Grammick***. Erlinda
Hi! Erlinda, I am working on something positive to bring about change – education for women and men on the Web which is a free space to think, analyse and express oneself. Visit the website at
1. *Ecclesia for Women in Asia
2. **LGBTQ: Lesbians Gays Bisexuals Transgenders Queers
3. ***Sr. Jeanine Grammick believes that “homosexual identity is not a sickness but an alternative sexual orientation“. In 1999, the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, CDF, under the present Pope Benedict XVI investigated and disciplined her for her teachings about gays and lesbians and her activities at her “New Ways Ministry” . See also http://credo.stormloader.com/Morals/spreadho.htm by James Likoudis.
4. WomenPriests and its founder John Wijngaards are open to queers and the like — there is no moral judgement on them — and therefore, too, their Catherine of Siena Virtual College, which is what its
being a “free space to think, analyse and express oneself“
means. The EWA blogs in the detailed report give us an excellent perspective of that.
Dear Nyguyen [sic] A Quan****,
Greetings! I read your paper with interest. Are you interested in exploring this topic further? Then perhaps you can do an online course at the Catherine of Siena Virtual College. Go to the website and check out the courses on Women Ministries in the Church. The website is www.catherinecollege.net, click on the Academic courses and you can see the different courses offered.
You can get a scholarship as well if you are interested. Courses are 5 to 8 weeks long and begin in January, April, July and October each year. Let me know. Warmly, Virginia
ADVERTISING FOR THE CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE BY VIRGINIA SALDANHA
C. From: Virginia Saldanha
To: Sent: March 2012
Subject: Be part of the change you would like to see in women’s reality.
I appreciate that all of you are supportive of issues concerning women. We would all like to see an end to violence against women, sexual harassment of women on the streets, workplace, public and private spaces. But the bottom line is how do we change attitudes to make the paradigm shift in bringing about change.
The CBCI brought out a gender policy that threatens to stay a dead letter, as very few have taken the initiative to read and implement it. It is left up to the women who have little or no power in the Church to act, to garner resources, etc. Again, it is an issue of coming up against attitudes.
The most common attitude is “Yes I support women’s empowerment and I am against violence to women. And yes I am all for women going ahead with programmes to do this”. But in reality very few men really support women in action. All programmes for women’s day are attended by women only, as if the women only can bring about change that is needed. What is lacking is a change in our own mindsets. Yes, we are all products of a patriarchal society/Church. We have deeply ingrained attitudes about what is takes to be male and female.
I invite you to look at these attitudes and challenge yourself to make a change. I invite you to take the course “Patriarchies of the Past, Masculinities for the Future”. It is a course offered by Catherine of Siena Virtual College. It requires you to register, read the lessons, answer the questions online and then participate in a chatroom where you will meet men and women from different parts of the world. There you can share your views, make comments and discuss your ideas in a safe environment of privacy and respect. It is an 8 week course requiring you to spend 2 – 3 hours a week at your convenience to read the lesson. But dedicated time for the chatroom of 90 mins.
Courses begin on 9th April 2012.
Those who want to get to know the Gender Policy of the Catholic Church in India and do what you can to implement it, please take the online seminar on the Gender Policy which will run for 5 weeks. Or refer it to others who should be having knowledge of this.
We have very reasonable rates for meeting our expenses of running these courses. You pay according to your means, beginning with Rs. 200 for students, Rs. 500 for religious. And freeships for those who say they cannot afford even that. I can send you our schedule of fees according to your afforability if you ask. The important thing is we are committed to bring about change for and with women. 6.
Women are also welcome to do the course, so that they can help men change, especially in the socialization of the young.
Please do go to our website to know more about what we do www.catherinecollege.net.
Please do write back to me if you are interested in taking a course at email@example.com.
Be part of the change you want to see!
Thank you! With best wishes, Virginia
In Mumbai: Mobile: 91-9819626197 Landline: 91-22-26490161
D. Some correspondence with the Catherine of Siena Virtual College.
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2012 5:21 AM To:
Subject: Course detail
I am a resident of Mumbai, India and was interested in doing your courses. However, before I do so and encourage others to, I would be grateful if you could please answer the following:-
(1) Is the institution Roman Catholic?
(2) Has it been approved by either Vatican or any related institutions?
(3) Are the courses in strict compliance with the teachings of the magisterium?
Awaiting eagerly on your reply to the same and will enroll for your courses as soon as I receive them.
From: dean firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 10:23 PM Subject: RE: Course detail To:
Thank you for your inquiry. We are an academic college
teaching women and gender studies. We are not a theological institute. All the best, Deborah Rose-Milavec
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 4:37 PM
Subject: Catherine of Siena Virtual College
Before I join up:
You have given a Mumbai contact in your advertisement, but is your college affiliated with any foreign institute?
How i.e. on what basis will the evaluation of the student and her performance be done by your college and will you provide a certificate to those who complete the course?
Will there be contact classes in Mumbai?
From: dean email@example.com
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2012 11:19:22 -0400
Subject: FW: Catherine of Siena Virtual College To:
Thank you for your inquiry. Our Registrar passed this on to me to answer your questions about student evaluations. If you wish to sign up for a class, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To answer your questions:
We are a non-profit academic college offering women’s and gender studies online. Our main office is located in Cincinnati, Ohio USA and we have staff that work in various parts of the world, thus the contact you saw in Mumbai. We are not currently affiliated with any other institution but are working on an accreditation path with a university in the UK.
Our courses are evaluated according to college standards. Participation and writing form the core of our evaluation process and students who complete the course successfully are awarded a Certificate of Completion.
There are no contact classes in Mumbai at the present time, but students from Mumbai can take our courses online. It is a lovely chance to meet students from around the world.
Have you had a chance to visit our website at www.catherinecollege.net?
Thanks again and let me know if you have further questions. Deborah Rose-Milavec
Virginia Saldanha is the Registrar of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College.
Deborah Rose-Milavec is the Dean of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College.
E1. STAFF AT CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE
Doreen Wyatt CSOE MTh – Course Tutor
Patricia Pinsent BSc MA PhD – Academic Coordinator
Deborah Rose-Milavec MA Theology and Aaron Rose-Milavec STB (Fribourg) ThD (Berkeley) – Joint Vice-Presidents
Ursula King – President
Ursula King is
“a world expert in feminism and gender studies“.
Ursula King is President of
Catherine of Siena Virtual College
See http://www.catherinecollege.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=60 for her complete C.V.] She is also an avid student of leading New Ager Pierre Teilhard de Chardin‘s works.
Among her numerous publications, we find:
Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,
Christ in All Things: Exploring Spirituality with Teilhard de Chardin,
The Spirit of One Earth: Reflections on Teilhard de Chardin and Global Spirituality,
Towards a New Mysticism. Teilhard de Chardin and Eastern Religions, etc.
Ursula King gave the public address ‘The Fire of Consciousness: The Rise of Self-Reflection’
during the celebration of ‘The Epic of the Universe’ commemorating the 50th anniversary of Teilhard de Chardin’s death in New York at the Cathedral of St John the Divine*, New York, 2005
Ursula King was the keynote speaker at the International Conference on
‘Teilhard de Chardin’s Significance for a Planetary Ethics and Creation Spiritualities’, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines, 2006.
President, Teilhard Centre, London, 1992-1995.
Ursula King delivered the Sir George Trevelyan Lecture in London, 2002.
Sir George Trevelyan, died 1996, was one of the “founding fathers of the New Age“.
Ursula King is also a leader in the WomenPriests network.
1. Teilhard de Chardin is ranked as the world’s leading New Ager as per the February 3, 2003, Vatican Document on the New Age. The President of Catherine of Siena Virtual College has a fascination for him.
2 *Cathedral of St John the Divine and radical feminism
2.1 Since Protestantism had no valued roles to assign to the feminine, as modern secular culture has moved increasingly toward demands for “justice” for women — and away from the roles of wifehood and motherhood — the only apparent solution was to embrace the principle of androgyny. In fact, the attempt has been made to abandon gender identity as having any theological significance at all. Thus, even the traditional Christian sense that we are all feminine souls in the presence of a Divine Husband has almost completely disappeared from Protestantism.
Today, mainstream Protestant women preach and are ordained to the ministry; they hold positions of church leadership. Today only rarely do Protestant women promise to obey their husbands in their marriage vows. Men and women are indeed understood to be, ontologically, alike. And it is hard to believe that the Fatherhood of God, or the Sonship of Christ, or the “-us” endings to Sanctus Spiritus will long survive the modern attack on gender in the Protestant denominations. The Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City has a large crucifix with “Christa” on it over the altar. The Holy Spirit is increasingly replaced by the female “Sapientia.”
God and Gender by Evelyn Birge Vitz,
http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/guests/evelynbirgevitz/godandgender.asp. This article originally appeared in the September 1995 issue of Crisis Magazine (insidecatholic.com).
2.2 See The New Age Movement in the Episcopal Church
by Lee Penn http://fatima.freehosting.net/Articles/Art7.htm.
This story describes New Age activity within the Episcopal Church… It covers the Rev. James Parks Morton and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine…
Ursula King, President of
Catherine of Siena Virtual College, is heavily tainted by New Age.
E2. MORE STAFF AT CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE
Catherine of Siena Virtual College -Empowering Women in Faith and Ministry
We are at present building up courses for a full-fledged internet University College. It will offer students the ability to follow courses on topics related to women and women’s ministries that are not available in their local university.
Some Sample Courses that will be offered
Female Ministry, Priesthood
and Children’s Literature
Inevitably, since women have not been admitted to the ordained ministry in any Christian church until relatively recently, and are still denied ordination in some bodies, especially the Roman Catholic Church, it is not possible to find literature, for children or for adults, which portrays women in this kind of role.
Nevertheless, if the role of the priest is seen as making Christ present in the world, mediating God to others and ‘standing for’ Christ, by actions such as nurturing, teaching scripture, tradition and the Christian life, then female characters in literature have undoubtedly had a priestly and ministerial role. In this course, a wide range of literature, either written for children or often presented to them in school, will be examined, both to examine the portrayal of the role of the ordained male priests and to establish the ways in which female ministry in effect fulfils priestly functions. A number of questions are inevitably raised during this analysis, in particular in relation to the way in which children’s literature helps determine the perceptions of young readers.
Rosemary Radford Ruether*,
Christology in Feminist and International Perspectives
The course moves through five modules:
Christology in contemporary critical perspectives: Europe and North America
U.S. North American Feminist Perspectives 8.
Latin American Liberation and Feminist Perspectives
African Feminist Perspectives
Feminist Christologies from Asia
The ministry of women according to Sacred Scripture
The course aims at providing an introduction to the main topics of discussion concerning Sacred Scripture and the ministry of women. The traditional arguments drawn from Scripture to exclude women from the ordained ministries are assessed regarding their biblical validity. Positive scriptural indications that favour the inclusion of women in the ministries are explored. Underpinning the course is a professional grasp of the correct rules of scriptural interpretation.
Other courses are in preparation.
How will we function?
We have been in touch with on-line universities, both academic ones attached to lecture-hall universities and online-only universities. Learning from them, our present plans are as follows:
1. We first need to build up a credible syllabus with courses designed by professional virtual ‘staff’.
2. Students will pay to enrol. However, we envisage a two-tier system:
(a) self-improvement students who pay only a little. We are thinking of housewives, parish activists, retired people etc. who want the knowledge, but are not interested in the academic credits.
(b) Academic students who pay more, who receive opportunities of ‘tuition’ (by correspondence), whose work will be assessed and who will receive credits on completing the course(s).
3. ‘Staff’ do not get paid for designing the courses and providing lesson material that is available online. However, staff would get paid, per student and per course, for tuition and online assessment.
4. During the first two to three years we will build up a credible syllabus. We will open courses to students as soon as a number are functional.
5. Once we have gained some experience, we will approach colleges and universities here in the UK to explore accreditation, and its conditions. In theory, we could also affiliate ourselves to universities in other countries.
Meet the team working at this site, http://www.womenpriests.org/contact.asp.
1. Catherine of Siena Virtual College is at womenpriests.org!
2. *Rosemary Radford Ruether: dissenter, pro-women’s ordination. See also page 26.
ROSEMARY RADFORD RUETHER UNMASKED
Rosemary Radford Ruether is continually referred to as a “theologian” in the United States, a “feminist theologian,” and recognized as a Catholic. She spoke at the first meeting of the Women’s Ordination Conference, and since 1985 has been a member of the board of directors of the pro-abortion feminist organization Catholics for A Free Choice (CFFC). But the Catholic pretensions of CFFC are a hoax. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on 4 November 1993 denying that CFFC was Catholic. The feminist “theology” she represents is rooted in false principles contrary to any semblance of Catholic doctrine.
2.2 In the list of those who are militating for Artificial Birth Control/Sex Education:
Rosemary Radford Ruether promotes Catholics for Contraception, population control.
In the list of those who teach Theology Incompatible with the Catholic Faith:
Rosemary Radford Ruether promotes eco-feminist theology.
In the list of those who are Public Supporters of Dissident Organizations
Rosemary Radford Ruether is the founder of Call to Action.
**John Wijngaards: Ex-priest Wijngaards is the founding force and brains behind both WomenPriests and Catherine of Siena Virtual College.
3.1 Fr. John Wijngaards MHM, according to http://www.womenpriests.org/wijngaards/life.asp,
was a lecturer at St. John’s Major Seminary in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh from 1963-1976. He was “a member of the Intellectual Sub-Committee of the Commissio Technica of the Seminary Commission of the CBCI” and “contributed directly to the guidelines for priestly formation in India which are now binding on major Seminaries in India.” John Wijngaards obtained an indult, left the priesthood “on account of a serious conflict of conscience over the ordination of women” [http://www.womenpriests.org/wijngaards/press2.asp] and got married to Jackie Clackson. He is the founder of “www.womenpriests.org
which has grown out to be the largest professionally guided internet library on the ordination of women“.
3.2 The liberal women’s ordination-supporting National Catholic Reporter enthusiastically published this article within hours of the formation of www.womenpriests.org:
Resigned priest creates www.womenpriests.org – John Wijngaards – Brief Article
By John L. Allen, Jr. National Catholic Reporter May 28, 1999
A well-known Dutch theologian who resigned his priesthood in protest of Ad Tuendam Fidem, last year’s papal document tightening church rules on dissent, launched a Web site May 28 intended to be the leading international collection of resources in support of women’s ordination.
John Wijngaards’ site may be found at
In 1977 Wijngaards (pronounced Wine guards) wrote the book Did Christ Rule Out Women Priests? in response to Inter Insigniores, a papal document that reasserted the ban on women priests. After Ad Tuendam Fidem, and especially a commentary by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger that asserted the teaching on women priests is infallible, Wijngaards said he felt compelled to resign.
“I saw Rome tightening its grip on theologians, I saw colleagues being forced to swear oath to things they don’t believe in and I decided enough is enough,” he said. “I couldn’t represent an institution that was telling people they couldn’t be part of the church if they believed in ordaining women.”
Wijngaards said, however, that he remains a committed Roman Catholic despite his resignation from the active priesthood.
Wijngaards, 63, was born in Indonesia to Dutch parents. His family spent time in a Japanese prison camp during World War II and was later repatriated to the Netherlands. Wijngaards became a priest with the Mill Hill Fathers in 1959 and obtained a doctorate in scripture.
From 1964 to 1976, he was in India teaching and publishing. In 1976 he was elected as the Mill Hill vicar general in London. Today he runs Housetop*, a London center that produces catechetical material and conducts programs on adult faith formation for parishes and dioceses in England. *See pages 59 ff.
Wijngaards told NCR that in creating his Web site he is working with academics, feminist groups and Catholic activists from around the world.
“I aim at making this the fairest, most complete, most detailed, academically tested and interactive site on the ordination of women,” Wijngaards said. “The chief scriptural argument for the ordination of women is the fact that in baptism both men and women are incorporated into Christ’s priesthood and both have the potency to be called to Holy Orders,” he said.
“From tradition, there is the historical fact that women have served as deacons in sacramentally valid ways. On the Web site are ordination rituals from the fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries which make this abundantly clear,” he said.
“The church has already given women a share in Holy Orders, so the argument that it has no power to do so fails.”
Wijngaards said he is optimistic about the prospects for change. “From what I know of conversations among bishops, theologians and others — even though they won’t talk openly — I think there is a groundswell of knowledge that the church is wrong in this area,” he said. “I’m not sure that the present management in Rome even represents the views of everyone in the curia.”
He said that while he understands the frustration of those who leave the church in despair of change, he believes in fighting from the inside. “The long-term good of getting the Catholic church to accept the ordination of women is far more important than trying to safeguard one’s own individual vocation,” he said.
Wijngaards sees the Internet as a tool for pushing change. “It does justice to the sensus fidelium as a source for understanding the church’s tradition and its scripture,” he said. “It’s a way for the faithful to articulate and share their understanding, and there’s no doubt it will accelerate the pressure for reform.”
3.3 The Feminist Threat to the Church – part VIII by Patricia Phillips
In the last article on radical feminism, we saw that the dissenting group Catholic Women’s Network
has changed its name to Women Word Spirit.
In the September 2006 issue of Network, this group that allegedly “acknowledges and accepts the authentic teaching of the Church”:-
■On page 7:- identifies its links to, and membership of, various dissenting groups, when it states: “Women Word Spirit, the voice of catholic women’s network Annual Report”. In section 4: “Links in the UK and Europe”. Among dissenting links listed are: “European Network – Church on the Move. CWN is a member together with other UK groups such as Catholics for a Changing Church, Catholic Women’s Ordination, We Are Church, St. Joan’s Alliance.” The section also states:- “Other groups on whose activities we report include the RC Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Living Spirituality Network, Catholics for a Free Choice, Catholic Women’s Ordination and Women’s Ordination Worldwide, We Are Church, Catholics for a Changing Church, CAFOD and other social groups”. It goes without saying that all reports given by CWN/WWS on the activities of these groups are entirely favourable.
■On page 13:- heard at its “Core” meeting on July 10th 2006, how John Wijngaards’ Catherine of Siena Virtual College had difficulties with officialdom which considered the notion of ’empowerment’ for women not to be a charitable cause (this ‘virtual college’ is pro-womenpriests propaganda. See http://www.womenpriests.org/net/instit.asp)
3.4 A RESPONSE FROM JOHN WIJNGAARDS TO THIS MINISTRY
Dear Sir, […] While I was going through your womenpriests.org I traced out a college “Catherine of Siena Virtual College” http://www.womenpriests.org/net/college.asp. Can you please provide me the details of such courses?
Sent: Sunday, April 1, 2012 11:27 PM Subject: RE: Clarification required
Thanks for your message.
Catherine of Siena College is a wonderful college, unique in its kind. We are proud of it! […] John
Catherine of Siena Virtual College and WomenPriests are one and the same.
E3. OTHER STAFF AT CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE
Registrar – Virginia Saldanha, BA, Certificate in Theology (Goregaon)
Virginia Saldanha has a lifetime of experience in working for the cause of women. She has worked for the rights of women in civil society and in the Church for most of her life. She was appointed as Secretary of the Archdiocesan Women’s Desk from August 1993 – April 2000 and was a member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council for the term beginning 1996 -2000.
She was appointed the Associate Secretary of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), Office of Laity Women’s Desk from January 1996. In this capacity she organized International Meetings on Women for Bishops to develop a sensitivity to women’s issues in the Church in Asia. She was appointed as Consultor in the CBCI Commission for Laity in 1994-1998 and elected as Consultor to the CBCI Women’s Commission in 1995 – 1998. She was elected to the Executive Council of Pax Christi International from 1997-2004 where she attended many international meetings on Social, Political and Economic issues, including a session of the UNHRC at Geneva and meetings of UNESCO in Paris. She was appointed as Executive Secretary of the CBCI Commission for Women from 1998-2004. And in January 2000, she was appointed as Executive Secretary of the FABC Office of Laity and Family.
Virginia Saldanha is on the staff of Catherine of Siena Virtual College which is womenpriests.org.
F. IN THE CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE BLOG [AND ALSO IN THE EWA BLOG]
Posted by Virginia Saldanha in
Virginia Saldanha speaks out in the NCR – Interview by Denis Coday of the National Catholic Reporter
October 21, 2011
When I studied theology I was drawn to liberation theology*…
I then joined a women’s reflection group called Satyashodak (Search for Truth). We studied theological writings of well-known feminist theologians and discussed women’s role and status in church and society. When the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India held consultations to start a Commission for Women, our group was involved in the organization of the consultations. Our auxiliary bishop in Bombay then asked one of us to volunteer to work as secretary of the Diocesan Women’s Desk. All the women in the group refused as the bishop said he could not offer a salary at that moment. I decided to volunteer because I felt that if this opportunity was passed up, we may never get the Women’s Desk. This was in 1992. The post continues to be worked by women volunteers.
In 1994 I was selected to go to the first Asian Laity Meeting sponsored by the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences in Seoul [South Korea]. After this meeting in 1995 I was asked if I would take charge of the Women’s Desk in the Asian bishops’ Office of Laity, which was to be started then. I took charge of the FABC Women’s Desk in 1996.
In 1998 I received a telephone call early one morning from my local bishop who informed me that I was appointed as executive secretary of the [Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India] Women’s Desk**. I said I already had two responsibilities and could not take on the third. But he insisted and promised that this was a stopgap arrangement; he would try and find someone else within the next six months. The six months turned to six years. I worked three jobs and received an honorarium only from the FABC Women’s Desk of $2,000 a year… 11.
Looking back at all the work I have done in various capacities in the church, I’d say that the bishops saw me as a “loyal daughter” and perhaps safe to be in these positions. But I turned out to be a dark horse for them***…
I had proposed that the Women’s Desk hold a meeting for dialogue between women theologians and bishops. After that, I felt my work moving downhill. I think that the bishops felt threatened by such a proposal. For five years I worked to make such a meeting a reality. Several names of women theologians I wished to work with were turned down as unacceptable. Finally I was told to write to the bishops’ conferences to get them to nominate women theologians. After I did this I got the go-ahead.
The FABC Office of Theological Concerns agreed to partner with me. The Office of Theological Concerns chose dates for the meeting to facilitate its members’ attending. But when the meeting actually took place, just one bishop and one woman theologian, both of whom were scheduled speakers, turned up. The executive secretary himself and every other member found excuses not to attend. I had expected 40 bishops and finally had to work hard to get just 10. That experience finally made me realize that it was not worth continuing to work in the church structure for women. This was in 2008. By the end of the year I was told that my term was up and I should submit names of possible successors. I was happy to go.
I thought that the purpose of having a Women’s Desk in a bishops’ structure would be to help the bishops understand the problems of women so that they can carry out their pastoral ministry to women better.
But since the bishops felt they had to tell me what to do and how to do it, I felt it is no use wasting my time in the structure.
In the earlier years however, I did meet with a lot of success. The women’s movement in the church in Asia was launched and grew fast. It will continue to grow even at the margins because there is a lot of awareness about women’s rights and status***. END
Dennis Coday is NCR**** managing editor. His e-mail address is
1. *Virginia Saldanha‘s theological formation and spirituality are influenced by liberation theology.
Benedict XVI cautions against dangers of Marxist liberation theology
Vatican City, Dec 7, 2009 / 11:42 am (CNA)- In a meeting with a group of Brazilian bishops on Saturday, the Holy Father warned of the dangers of Marxist liberation theology and noted its grave consequences for ecclesial communities…
2. **Virginia Saldanha is wooed by the bishops. By her own account, she did not seek the CBCI post. It was conferred on her.
3. ***Virginia Saldanha becomes the bane of the bishops both at the national level and the Asian level. At first, things go well for her, but when some bishops encounter her underlying radical feminism and there are problems, she decides that it is better to quit and do her own thing with other like-minded women.
She says that she “turned out to be a dark horse” for the bishops. She used the wrong idiom. A “dark horse” conveys a positive image and is an unexpected winner in a race. I would rather call her a “Trojan horse” in the Indian church. But, maybe she is correct despite her linguistic error because the bishops provided her with national and international platforms which she ultimately used to extend her influence and agendas.
Recently, a priest wrote to me [like all other letters in my reports, this is unsolicited and 100% genuine]:
Rev. Father To:
Sent: Friday, March 09, 2012 11:38 PM Subject: Re: FOR THE LAITYTUDE
[…] In fact Astrid Lobo Gajiwala and Virginia Saldanha are Frankenstein monsters created by the Bishops […] and now they are there to devour them and the church…
4. ****The National Catholic Reporter [NCR] is a liberal, dissenting [anti-Rome] magazine which supports the writings of leading feminists and anti-lifers, see http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/dissent/disspeop.htm.
G. Toward the future Church
Posted by Virginia Saldanha in
April 25, 2011
I had a very interesting Easter service here in Belgium at my daughter’s parish. It lasted only an hour – compared to the long services we have in India! It had everything – blessing of the fire, water and the sprinkling – with the readings – minus the sermon, the litany and all unnecessary things that were OK in the past centuries. The people who attended the service were given candles and the liturgy while entering the Church and an Easter egg after the service!
What was striking was the inclusive language
and a woman who was suitably vested assisting the priest.
My daughter refers to her as the pastor of the parish as she runs the parish. The PP is over 80 yrs old. The woman performs baptisms, funerals, marriages etc. The priest celebrates Mass and enters only for essential moments like the consecration. At the Easter service he did the blessings.
The people here accept the leadership of the woman as they do not want imported priests. They prefer to have someone from their own community and culture. I see this truly as the Church in the 21st century. 12.
There is another Catholic community in this area which has a male and female as co-celebrants of the Eucharist. Many people who are disillusioned with the traditional Church have joined to create this community. There are religious women, priests and others who serve in the Church who are members of this Community. I attended their Sunday Eucharist once last year. My daughter was called to give the homily one day during lent as she works on poverty alleviation policy with international governments.
These are examples of a “Future Church” which gives me much hope. The traditional Church is destroying itself, but the faith of people which is very much alive will survive in these new ways. But it requires a thinking people with courage to name the truth.
Warmly, Virginia Saldanha
“Future Church” ideological insemination is what Catherine of Siena Virtual College can expect to receive.
Virginia Saldanha indicts herself here, as much as she does in many of her blog postings and articles.
At the short version Easter Eucharistic service in her daughter’s progressive “Future Church”
in Belgium, she is actually relieved that “the sermon, the litany and all unnecessary things that were OK in the past centuries” were omitted.
The liturgy of the service used inclusive language, not the rubrics of the Roman Missal which does not use any inclusive language. She exults in that, and in the “woman … pastor” who virtually runs the parish.
From her account, one finds it difficult to know if the “Mass” is celebrated by the aged parish-priest — who “enters only for essential moments like the consecration” — or by his woman assistant who is the “pastor” of the parish. Was it a licit/legitimate, valid Mass at all?
If there is doubt about that for some lack of detail, there is certainly no doubt that the other Community service that she records having attended is no Catholic Holy Mass by any stretch of imagination.
She describes it as a “Catholic community” which it is NOT. It is a rebel, breakaway church — whose members are “people who are disillusioned with the traditional Church” — that is doing its own thing.
What she proudly calls a “Sunday Eucharist” was an aberration, what with “female … co-celebrants of the Eucharist” and lay persons like her daughter being permitted to deliver “the homily“.
What was Virginia Saldanha doing there, giving the farce her approval by her presence and silence? Is she not aware that her Sunday Mass obligation was not fulfilled? As such, it is a mortal sin.
Has she confessed the sin? I may be excused for wondering — and doubting — whether feminists like her believe in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, especially since they would have to confess to a priest, a man.
Virginia Saldanha, by virtue of her background, is a person who should be knowing the correct teachings of the Church and playing a prophetic role in combating error, not fostering it.
Does she reflect the current trends in theological thought and spirituality of top level people in the CBCI and the FABC who are actually engaged — as she is — in teaching, lecturing and conducting seminars in seminaries and for bishops? If no, then why haven’t the bishops admonished or restrained her, or banned her from continuing to use Church forums to poison other Catholics?
Is there something that she knows, a secret knowledge that makes them fear her? [“VIRGINIA SALDANHA-BISHOP FATHERS CHILD BY NUN“, http://ephesians-511.net/docs/VIRGINIA_SALDANHA-BISHOP_FATHERS_CHILD_BY_NUN.doc]
In my detailed report VIRGINIA SALDANHA-ECCLESIA OF WOMEN IN ASIA AND CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE-FEMINIST THEOLOGY AND THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN PRIESTS at: http://ephesians-511.net/docs/VIRGINIA_SALDANHA-ECCLESIA_OF_WOMEN_IN_ASIA_AND_CATHERINE_OF_SIENA_VIRTUAL_COLLEGE-FEMINIST_THEOLOGY_AND_THE_ORDINATION_OF_WOMEN_PRIESTS.doc,
I have reproduced an abundance of evidence of her anti-Catholic agendas. All of it is copied by me from the print or Internet media. In some of the stories, bishops were present to hear her speak. Surely all the bishops are not blind or deaf or cowardly, even if some of them are!
Virginia Saldanha is militating for an Indian “Future Church”, one where women will be ordained priests.
The Catherine of Siena Internet Virtual College of which she is the Registrar, is a vehicle for it.
H. Re: Attention! Petition to Pope and other News 20/09/2007
Leonie also shared an update about Catherine of Siena Internet Virtual College. She writes:
The Virtual College
An exciting development Catherine of Sienna [sic] Internet College is up and running. The first ten women have enrolled to test its courses. The courses’ specifically feminine perspective will deepen students’ knowledge of the Gospel and of Christian ministry and help them prepare for leadership in the Christian Church. Students will have access to the best international scholarship and be able to gain academic credits.
However, the interactive courses will take account of the way women learn so that the knowledge acquired will be deep and personal. The courses will have special value for women who are unable to attend an academic institution, enabling them not to learn alone but with the active help and companionship of other women.
Have a look at the college site http://www.catherinecollege.net/moodle/
I. Catherine of Siena Virtual College
We are looking for a new Chief Executive Officer
Housetop Care Limited, a Registered Charity, supports two major projects at present:
1. Catherine of Siena Virtual College
2. The campaign for the Ordination of Women in the Roman Catholic Church
We conduct our projects mainly through the Internet: www.catherineofsiena.net
(= Catherine of Siena Virtual College) & www.womenpriests.org (20 languages, half a million visitors a year) with its auxiliary websites.
I will say a brief word about each.
Our campaign for women in church leadership aims at genuine reform from within the Catholic Church. We run our campaign mainly through the internet. www.womenpriests.org presents thousands of high-quality documents in 20 languages. It welcomes half a million visitors a year. Additional services are provided through sites such as: www.equalrightsforwomen.org, www.ministryforwomen.org, www.thebodyissacred.org and www.mysteryandbeyond.org.
Catherine of Siena Virtual College is in its opening stages. Eventually it will offer a selection of gender studies that will enable women to assume key leadership responsibilities in their own countries, and will encourage men to respect the equality, rights and charisms of women. See www.catherineofsiena.net and www.catherinecollege.net.
Our work is carried forward by a committed and competent network of women and men who consist of academic advisers, translators and other volunteers in many countries. Our central office in Rickmansworth boasts one full-time office administrator and a core team of local helpers. So far I have been guiding the overall operation as general director but – frankly – I am getting old and I do not want to put the whole operation at risk if anything were to happen to me. So we are looking for a successor. […]
Desirable qualities that will enhance your being accepted
■You are a Roman Catholic. Since one of our main projects concerns the Roman Catholic Church, familiarity with that Church makes it easier to lay the contacts and make the connections that will be required. However, we realise that you may be disenchanted from the official Church for various reasons without that stopping you from being a Catholic.
■You are theologically qualified. Academic qualification is a must. Having also studied theology will enable you to enter more fully into some of the debate relating to women serving as priests. But the required knowledge can also be acquired in other ways. […]
How you can submit your application
Write a letter or email to me with your CV and bio-data at the following address:
John Wijngaards, Housetop*, 111A High Street, Rickmansworth, HERTS WD3 1AN, UK
J. Promoting the value of the girl child
UCAN: Asia’s Most Trusted Independent Catholic News Source
Promoting the value of the girl child by Virginia Saldanha
April 11, 2011
Change is vital if India is to reduce gender divide and allow women a role in society and the Church
A pregnant Catholic woman came to tell me her Catholic husband warned that if she produced a girl child he would shove it back into her uterus! Does his attitude surprise us in the Christian community which is known to have a better girl/boy child sex ratio (CSR) in India? The deeply embedded bias against the girl child is a reality across our country and seeps into the Christian mindset as well.
With the recent release of the provisional data of the 2011 census we think back to 2001 when the CSR registered a decline and raised alarm in government and civil society. Government vowed to work to change this reality and religious leaders pledged their support as well.
But 2011 shows that perhaps nothing – or not enough – has been done because the CSR is down to an alarming 914/1000 girl/boys with metro cities registering figures much lower than the rural areas. What is interesting is that the general literacy rates have risen. 14.
The gender literacy ratio shows a perceptible increase in female literacy. But we just do not seem to let go of our bias against the girl child. Why?
Tradition-bound families are so conscious of their name and fame, that they are unwilling to go against the tide to take a stand in favour of the girl child. So they continue to believe that the son is required to take care of them in old age, the son has to perform their last rites (Hindus), the son can achieve high status and position at work and in society and bring accolades to the family. A girl will be someone’s daughter-in-law probably with a lot of problems that bring more pain than gain to the family. There is no getting away from this reality. So even if literacy and wealth have increased in the Indian population, the girl child remains a casualty.
You can still witness mourning at the birth of a girl and rejoicing at the birth of a boy. Many think that bringing up a girl is like “watering a plant in your neighbour’s garden”. A girl is a burden, she has to be nurtured with care so that she will fetch a suitable husband preferably above her station in life; her virginity has to be preserved – and in these promiscuous times it is difficult. How do parents juggle a good education and keep boy friends at bay? Then when she marries she carries away a substantial part of family wealth as a dowry.
The Catholic Church spends a lot of resources and energy in hammering the anti-abortion message. The government claims it is getting stricter in the implementation of the law against sex determination tests during pregnancy. While our orphanages continue to swell with girls the CSR continues to decline.
What we have all failed to realize is that as long as people do not change their attitude towards the girl child and women in general, nothing will change. People have decided that the girl is a burden and they will do everything and anything- use their education and wealth – to eliminate this burden. This is quite easy in our country, ridden as it is with corruption.
A change of attitude can only come with multi-pronged efforts using advertising, education and positive image-building measures. Aggressive advertising using different media can reach people far and wide.
The introduction of gender studies in education curricula, awareness programs conducted at health centres, and for parents through the Parent Teacher Associations and other bodies, are necessary.
Increasing opportunities for women to occupy leadership positions, positive images of woman coming through films, theatre and literature are important to penetrate mindsets to help people realize that the girl child can be an asset and not a liability.
The Catholic Church in India has the best opportunity to introduce awareness programmes through the wide network of parishes and educational institutions. But we have to lead by example.
The general attitude towards women in the Church gives women the strong message that they are indeed second class. Women have no voice or decision making in the Church. A bishop summed it up best when, during a tea break of an awareness session on the girl child, he said to me privately: “The situation of the girl child will change only when she can become a bishop!”
Awake, my brothers and sisters in the Church, here is an opportunity to give India the true image of the girl child whom we believe is made in the image and likeness of God. She must be allowed to live life in abundance.
Let us lead by example – by using every avenue available to change attitudes and demonstrate that we value women enough to give them responsibility and leadership in the Church because we believe this to be the true message of Jesus.
Virginia Saldanha is the former executive secretary of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences Office of Laity with responsibility for the Women’s Desk. A freelance writer, she has a diploma in Theology for Laity from the Bombay Diocesan Seminary and is a woman activist working in India.
1. UCAN upgrades Virginia Saldanha‘s certificate in theology, see pages 1, 3 and 11, to a Diploma! Why not? She is on its Board of Directors and that should count for something!!
2. The UCAN article, with a photograph, is reproduced in WomenPriests.org [with a second photograph!] Why? The story is written by their Catherine of Siena Virtual College Registrar, Virginia Saldanha.
3. WomenPriests.org describes UCAN as “Asia’s Most Trusted Independent Catholic News Source“. Not anymore. I read UCAN on a daily basis, and I for one don’t trust them, especially if WomenPriests do. Not since the liberal Fr. Michael Kelly SJ took charge September 18, 2008
anyway. The proof of that is in many of the UCAN stories that I have reproduced in my various reports and articles with my comments.
4. “A bishop summed it up best when, during a tea break of an awareness session on the girl child, he said to me privately: “The situation of the girl child will change only when she can become a bishop!””
Possibly only Virginia Saldanha and her feminist colleagues understand how female foeticide will cease or “the situation of the girl child” will improve when women are made bishops. See also page 20.
Well, Virginia, I have news for you. Another BISHOP has called your bluff:
On International Women’s Day (March 8) and prior to that, we have been hearing about the campaign carried out, even by well-meaning people, various women’s organisations, Catholic schools and NGOs, to save the girl child. This campaign in India is a farce.
In India, abortion is made legal. Against this background, the campaign for saving the girl child implies that you can kill the male child but not the girl child. It is sheer nonsense and illogical to hope that when we allow the male child to be killed, the people who are used to spilling the blood of the male child will stop spilling the blood of the female child, no matter for what reasons. 15.
I propose that we give a second thought and have a public debate to find out whether we have done the right thing by legalizing abortion in India.
+Bishop Edwin Colaco, Aurangabad.
Source: The Examiner, March 17, 2012
The bishop rightly says that a major way to improve the lot of the girl child is to campaign against abortion instead of militating for the ordination of women as priests and bishops, which is an exercise in futility!!
Miscellaneous information: Catherine of Siena Virtual College and WomenPriests are one and the same
K. Larger source http://www.ministryforwomen.org/index.asp
“Our goal is to empower the women
of today* to exercise their agency and to assume positions of leadership in society and religion.”
President Ursula King
*We have read WomenPriests on page 5, “Ordaining Women as Catholic Deacons and Priests in their own Church. That is empowerment of women.“
St Catherine of Siena Network
Through our work we have, in the course of the past few years, built up a large network of people whom we have dealings with through the internet.
Hundreds help us through their contributions in various ways. Many thousands interact with us through the use of our material.
At present about 600,000 persons visit our five websites every year, with numbers steadily increasing. They read millions of our documents. The contents of these documents find their way into TV and radio reports, newspaper articles and special-interest bulletins.
Websites in 11 languages
Catherine of Siena Virtual College and womenpriests are one and the same.
The Catherine of Siena Institute
Aims and Objectives
The Catherine of Siena Institute promotes the rightful position of women in Society and Church.
We do this by
-spreading correct information
-unmasking rationalisations and religious legitimations that justify prejudice
-sympathetic communication with people within the thought patterns they understand
-supporting individuals and groups who wrestle with the effects of discrimination
-promoting academic research regarding women and church
Dismantling the cycle of prejudice
For more than 1500 years, Church leaders legitimised slavery as an institution actually willed by God. As late as in 1866 the Holy Office, precursor of the present Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated in a decree signed by Pope Pius IX that “slaves can be sold, bought, exchanged or given by divine law”. Reasons were given from scripture, tradition and the magisterium! Bishops, theologians and Catholic abolitionists who protested were branded as dissenters and even heretics. Now the Church admits, in the words of the Second Vatican Council, that “every form of slavery is contrary to God’s intent”.
The exclusion of women from the ordained ministries is a similar age-old prejudice, legitimised by Church authority and rationalised in medieval theology. We have to break the vicious cycle by exposing the roots of the prejudice and the mistaken judgments of Church leaders.
The St. Catherine of Siena Network focuses especially on promoting the rightful position for women within the context of religion, religious institutions and Churches.
1. We aim to implement the vision of the Second Vatican Council (1963-1965), which set out a new path for the Roman Catholic Church. The Council recognised that the women of our time demand full equality ‘in law and in fact’, and it approved of this demand. (Gaudium et Spes § 9 & 26).
2. Prejudice and discrimination against women has also left its scars on other Christian Churches. We aim at supporting all efforts to eradicate such discrimination and to ensure that women can take their rightful place in all responsibilities, offices and ministries according to the full extent of their Christian dignity and calling. 16.
3. We aim to achieve our objectives by an efficient use of the modern means of communication, by writing, publishing, producing and preparing, or supervising the writing, publication, production or preparation of literary works, audio visuals and media presentations that will promote the recognition of women’s rights.
In particular, we will support projects that reach out to a wide spectrum of people by means of the Internet.
4. Through the information we provide we hope to exert a positive influence on all decision makers in the Christian Churches, and specifically in the Roman Catholic Church, such as: bishops, priests, members of religious orders and institutes, lay leaders in parishes and institutions.
5. The information provided by us in favour of women’s rights will be targeted in a special way at all individuals and institutions that play a key role in the formation of public opinion: journalists, editors, radio and TV presenters, research personal in production companies, writers and producers.
6. We will aim at making important texts available, at no cost to them, to both staff and students of the major educational institutions. These will include colleges, high schools, adult formation institutes, seminaries, novitiates and on-line universities.
We believe in God for whom love is truly the highest priority, who expects the Church to be a community of care and mutual concern, brothers and sisters among whom leaders are servants and to whom power means comfort and healing.
We believe in God who does not exact cruel sacrifices from us, but heroic deeds of love as Jesus showed us, deeds of generosity, a God who wants us to respect and love ourselves while giving and sharing of our best for the sake of others.
We believe in God who expects us to be creative and free, who wants us to express our opinions honestly, to fight with all our heart and mind for truth and justice rather than blindly obey commands, to trustingly challenge those in authority when they make mistakes.
We are convinced that God revealed Good News, a breathtaking inspiration that gives meaning to our lives, an ideal against which we measure ourselves and our community of faith, a source of hope that makes us happy and proud to be followers of Christ.
Catherine of Siena Virtual College and WomenPriests are one and the same.
Message from Deborah Rose-Milavec
(Deborah and Aaron Rose-Milavec have set up a ‘daughter’ office for our campaign in the USA)
I would like to share a little of my story. As a child, I possessed a simple unquestioning love for my Church. I often attended daily mass and loved to be with our priest Fr. Joseph.
As a teenager, I had my first crisis of faith. I became aware that the people who prayed in church on Sundays went out and cheated their neighbours on Monday.
At twenty-eight, having put my four daughters to bed, I experienced God’s presence so deeply I thought my heart would explode with joy and I knew God was real.
I discovered, with great joy, the social justice teachings of the Church. I also learned that the Church had begun a dialogue about the role of women in the Church and how that discussion had been shut down by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I became angry, but I learned to use that energy constructively to speak out.
One Sunday our parish priest preached to the men in the congregation about vocations to the priesthood. I spoke to the priest after Mass and asked how I could teach my children to expect full equality and dignity in the world and not to expect it from my Church?
We must continue to listen to the call of the Holy Spirit to work for change.
Deborah Rose-Milavec writing here in WomenPriests is Vice-President of
Catherine of Siena Virtual College.
An interview with Dr. Aaron Rose-Milavec
Q: Isn’t online learning a lonely enterprise?
A: Well, to begin with, students who arrive in our virtual classrooms immediately discover that they are never alone. Using simple rituals, each student introduces herself/himself and then gets to interact with the others who have already introduced themselves. Right from the very beginning, therefore, the participants begin bonding with each other and preparing themselves to take part in a learning circle.
Q: Ah, I see, even though your participants never meet each other face to face, they do, nonetheless, strongly engage each other in collaborative learning.
A: Exactly. Online, however, the possibilities of collaborative learning exceed those found within the live classroom. When you arrive for your online class, you are accepted on the basis of your own story and your own skills. You may be exceedingly attractive or very plain. You may be rich or very poor. You may be graceful or painfully awkward. Online, however, these things simply don’t get in the way of internet exchanges in the way that they do in real life exchanges. And another thing. The anonymity of the internet enables women who might normally be too afraid to speak out in a classroom discussion to present themselves quite forcefully and quite sophisticatedly within an internet forum.
Going further, Catherine College firmly believes that any classroom that has only one teacher is impoverished. In the best of classrooms, everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn, including the professor. The most critical role that the professor plays is often to make a safe place in her classroom wherein women can find their true voices and to express themselves freely. The bonding that takes place in the virtual classroom must accordingly be joined with a shared sense of respect and mystery in the face of co-learners struggling to become their authentic selves even when they have for so long been beaten down and forced to adapt roles that conceal their true voices.
Q: Do you imply that learning at Catherine College can allow students to recover lost parts of themselves?
A: In my own practice as a teacher, I have always noted that deep learning is always accompanied with a transformation of self that is liberating, healing, and empowering. This is where the traditional classrooms so miserably fail. So much attention is given to mastering a subject in a prescribed manner that there is no time or place to acknowledge the personal joys and frustrations, insights and healing that necessarily accompanies deep learning. And this is true whether one is studying physics or philosophy, literature or women’s studies. But already, I am gratified to say, the students in our pilot classes have again and again said to us that we are doing something very important, very healing, and very academic—all at the same time.
Q: Does all this apply to your Virtual College?
A: Well, let’s look at our course, Women Writing, Lives Changing. Here is a sample of what three participants were saying:
Our class was so great–we have come so far, trusting one another with our words and trusting the process. I loved it! It was very meaningful; in fact, I will remember this month of sessions for decades to come.
I am reflecting and feeling empowered that there is a place for me and for my contributions in this world. . . . And to the other women in this class — you are valuable and you matter, too. I treasure the sharing that you have done and look forward to upcoming sessions.
I loved this session. I loved being accountable and not being able to run away and hide — knowing that I needed to put my best foot forward and write and post and share.
In addition to combining soul-searching with skill building, our students find that our international and intercultural atmosphere is also a real plus. When someone from Indiana shares insights with someone from India or someone from Spain shares the difficulties found within her own culture, this is a stretch and an inspiration for all concerned. At times it is positively exhilarating to have a learning partner who lives half-way around the world!
Q: Do things sometimes go wrong for your participants?
A: Indeed they do. Our typical course has eight Lessons. Each Lesson requires each participant to spend three hours each week reading, posting, and offering feedback at times of her/his choosing. Successful students tell me that they schedule in advance two 90-minute or three 60-minute periods for working on each new Lesson. A few participants, however, never get a grip on their use of time and, as a result, they show up in the chatroom having only completed a fraction of each Lesson. Thus, they always feel that they are falling behind and have little to contribute to the chatroom discussions that rounds out each Lesson. Near the end of the course, they get discouraged by how far they have fallen behind, and they drop out of the course entirely. In sum, online learning is more engaging and interactive than face to face learning, that’s for sure. But online learning also requires more self-discipline.
Please join us and discover these things for yourself!
Catherine of Siena Virtual College – where even the students are teachers!
Aaron Rose-Milavec’s wife Deborah Rose-Milavec is Vice-President
of Catherine of Siena Virtual College.
M. Re: the view from the Greek Orthodox Church – 30/08/2008 by Sophie/RE: Announcements – 30/08/2008
Saint Catherine of Siena Virtual College is looking for a few brave women!
“Yes, we are looking for a few brave women!”
Are you a go-getter, prepared to face new challenges?
Do you relish learning in the company of trusted women?
Are you able to reflect on your own experience and to advise others based on your personal experiences?
Two brand new online courses are opening:
Women’s Ministries according to the Christian Scriptures
by Dr. John Wijngaards
The Prophetic Spirituality of Justice
by Prof. Mary Grey
We are looking for “a few brave women” who will test-drive one of our two brand-new courses (listed on the left) and to offer us feedback along the way. You will be learning in a
that fosters collaborative learning within a multi-cultural environment. You will also get a look behind the scenes as technicians and educators work side-by-side to produce a flawless and stimulating learning environment. You will save over $200 in tuition (our gift to you for your feedback and guidance).
If you are persuaded that you are ready for this mission, then please tell us so in an email. Also tell us about yourself:
1. Which course have you selected? What brings you to be interested in this course at this time in your life?
2. How much time would you be able to devote to this course each week beginning on 07 September 2008?
4. Please list the courses (academic or otherwise) that you have taken in feminist studies and in religious studies. List them in order of their contribution to your personal growth and development.
5. Would you be able to contribute €35 (US$50 or equivalent) in exchange for taking this course? If not, what could you contribute? Reduced to $20 for USA. All fees waived for “brave women” living outside the USA.
Looking forward to being of help to you,
Deborah & Aaron Rose-Milavec
Joint Vice Presidents
Saint Catherine of Siena Virtual College …
Catherine of Siena Virtual College and WomenPriests are one and the same.
N. Appeal by our Trustees
It is obvious to any one who cares to study the facts that the Catholic Church, as it is governed today, needs urgent reforms. I invite you on behalf of our team to join us as our partners to realise that dream.
The admission of women to holy orders is a pressing issue. Contrary to what traditional theology, defended by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, would have us believe, there are no valid arguments to exclude women. Our website explains to you the reasons why this is so.
In fact, there are many reasons why women can and should perform the priestly ministries. Women receive the same baptism as men and so are anointed to Christ’s general priesthood as men are – which opens the way to holy orders.
Christ empowered women as much as men to preside at the Eucharist when he said: “Do this in commemoration of me!”
Many Catholic women all over the world feel called to the priesthood. It is a sign of the Spirit moving the Church.
Gallup polls show that most Catholics know intuitively that it is not God who first calls women to ministry and then bars them from receiving the sacramental grace they would need to bring that call to full fruition. This knowledge springs from their sensus catholicus.
Until the ninth century women served in holy orders, as sacramentally ordained deacons. Their ordination was identical to that of male deacons in all essentials.
In the future Catholic Church women will serve as priests, bishops and even as popes. I am absolutely sure of it. But such a momentous change will not come about without us, as responsible and committed Catholics, playing our part.
We need to exercise our duty of raising a respectful but firm voice of protest. Vatican II made provisions for it.
“All the faithful, both clerical and lay, should be accorded a lawful freedom of inquiry and of thought, and the freedom to express their minds humbly and courageously about those matters in which they enjoy competence.” (Gaudium et Spes no. 62)
The Second Vatican Council also recognised the crucial role played by public opinion in today’s society.
“Public opinion exercises enormous influence in our day over the lives, private or public, of all citizens, no matter what their walk in life. It is therefore necessary that all members of society meet the demands of justice and charity in this domain. They should help, through the means of social communication, in the formation and diffusion of sound public opinion.”
Inter Mirifica, no. 8
Our web site
Our team has begun a successful campaign of awareness through the internet. We provide copious essays and articles through this web site. We give the arguments for and against. We provide that information in fifteen languages, to reach as many sections of our large Catholic community as possible. Please, do not just stand on the sidelines. Join us. Be our partner. Support us financially. We cannot succeed without your help.
1a* Nuns attack Vatican on
Equating ordination with child abuse ‘a violation of dignity,’ say Indian nuns. July 23, 2010 By Ritu Sharma, New Delhi
Women Religious in India have slammed a recent Vatican document**
equating women’s ordination with sexual abuse of children, calling it “derogatory” and “shocking.” 19.
“I am shocked at this statement. It is painful, absurd and a violation of the dignity of women,” said Sister Mary Scaria of Delhi archdiocese’s commission for justice and peace.
The Vatican on July 15 issued new rules to deal with abusive priests. It said priests who molest the mentally ill or use child pornography are in the same category as pedophile priests. The new rules codify canonical procedures to deal with the issue, lengthening the “statute of limitations” for charges to be brought against transgressors.
The document however categorized women’s ordination among the “most serious crimes,” along with pedophilia. It set out the same procedures to investigate and deal with women’s ordination.
It’s “nothing but an expression of male chauvinism” in the Church, Sister Scaria said.
“If God created men and women in his own image, then who are we to discriminate on the role in which to serve Him?”
It’s “shocking” to call a woman’s right to serve and lead in worship
“a grave sin” equaling it to child pornography, she said.
Nazareth Sister Shalini D’Souza said the Vatican document is “derogatory.” “I would like to see women ordained,” she said. The role of women in the Church is very limited. It should “include women in more significant roles” and allow them “to lead the liturgy,” she said.
If women were ordained, Sister Scaria said, incidents of child abuse in the Church will decline***. Gender restrictions help “cover up exploitation of children and women by priests,” she added.
***See page 15
OUT OF 14 EXISTING COMMENTS ON THE ABOVE UCAN ARTICLE, 8 WERE FOR
I REPRODUCE TWO OF THEM:
i. I congratulate the sisters for speaking up against what they see as derogatory and unjust in the Church-
ii. I agree with you Virginia. It is time the Vatican opened its eyes to the realities of life rather than being blinded by outdated prejudice-
2.1 *Jackie Clackson:
Virginia Saldanha’s comment is seconded by Jackie Clackson of the dissident WomenPriests movement which is banned by the Church!
It is apparent that Jackie Clackson of WomenPriests knows Virginia Saldanha on a personal basis.
2.2 *http://www.womenpriests.org/care/jackie.asp informs us that Jackie Clackson is a “Former member of the Catholic Board of Women, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Member of St. Joan’s Alliance, Catholic Women’s Ordination, Catholic Women’s Network.”
As in the case of Virginia Saldanha who was a powerful entity in the Indian and Asian Bishops’ Conferences, Jackie Clackson was a high-ranking executive in the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, a fact that she, like Virginia Saldanha, flaunts in the faces of the same bishops who appointed and encouraged them to become the threats they now pose.
2.3 *Jackie Clackson
studied theology in INDIA! She did a “Certificate of Theology at the Sudeep Institute, Bangalore.” After that, she worked in Catholic schools in the state of Andhra Pradesh as assistant headmistress and later as headmistress for 15 years from 1965-1980. I could access no information on whether she was a religious sister [nun] or not. I think she was.
She was a contemporary of Fr. John Wijngaards MH, founder of WomenPriests who, according to http://www.womenpriests.org/wijngaards/life.asp
was a lecturer at St. John’s Major Seminary in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh from 1963-1976. For more, see page 9. Jackie Clackson married ex-priest John Wijngaards.
O. Join our campaign! Please, help us make women priests a reality in the Catholic Church!
Our website presenting more than 4000 documents is being built up through the help of volunteers. But we have to maintain an office with up-to-date facilities to do our work effectively.
For our campaign to succeed, we have to move mountains of prejudice. The authorities in Rome are so opposed to the idea that they are trying to close any discussion on the ordination of women. Bishops are told they may not support anyone who favours women priests. Theologians are required to swear allegiance to all papal teaching, which now includes the ban on women priests. Unless we shout from the rooftops, nothing is going to change! Our website needs to be professional, visible, outspoken, and easily accessible to all. All that costs money.
By becoming a Friend you swell our ranks. We can keep you informed. We also ask our Friends to give us a donation of at least £ 5 ($ 8 or € 8) a month or £ 60 as the total for a year (= $ 96, € 96). You may not personally, for lack of time or circumstance, be able to research, translate, scan, proofread, put htm-links and work in our office. Your donation makes it possible for others to do the work. PLEASE, join! If you are a U.S resident you can give donations that are tax deductible.
If you are a U.S resident you can give donations that are tax deductible.
Sponsors are individuals or institutions that support us with a larger annual grant every year. Sponsors are essential partners in our work. They give us stability. If a sponsorship lies within your means, PLEASE, contact us!
Your vision for the Church, your ideals and struggle will continue after your death if you leave us a bequest in your Will! Ask for our info pack!
We can help you honour a loved person by publishing a memorial page about him or her.
Campaign for the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church
This website is run by Housetop* Care Limited, a Charity registered in England and Wales under the working name Campaign for the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church. Registration number 1053251.
To see all the activities of Housetop Care Limited see our main charity website Housetop Care
*See pages 59 ff.
The registered office is Housetop, 111A High Street, Rickmansworth, HERTS WD3 1AN, UK. Tel. 0044-1923-779446.
Our Trustees are Anne Miller, Jacqueline Clackson, Ben Clackson, Brian Gallagher, Colm Holmes, Barbara Paskins and John Wijngaards. We have prominent Patrons from the UK, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and the USA.
“What I tell you in the dark, repeat in broad daylight. What you have heard (from me) in private, proclaim from the housetops!” Matthew 10, 27
Appeal by our Trustees
In the future Catholic Church women will serve as priests, bishops and even as popes. We are absolutely sure of it. But such a momentous change will not come about without us, as responsible and committed Catholics, playing our part.
We need to exercise our duty of raising a respectful but firm voice of protest. Vatican II made provisions for it. “All the faithful, both clerical and lay, should be accorded a lawful freedom of inquiry and of thought, and the freedom to express their minds humbly and courageously about those matters in which they enjoy competence.” (Gaudium et Spes no. 62)
Please, do not just stand on the sidelines. Join us. Be our partner. Support us financially. We cannot do without your help.
Welcome to the largest and most comprehensive international website on women and sacred ministry!
Larger Source http://www.ministryforwomen.org/index.asp:
We are faithful Catholics who show why the exclusion of women from priesthood is wrong.
We raise awareness and facilitate informed discussion about women’s ordination. We promote the ordination of women as part of the life-giving mission Christ intended for his Church. We work for reform from the centre of the Church and within the parameters of canon law.
We do not promote illegal ordinations. Our reasons are explained here.
Housetop Center for Women’s Ministries USA
Housetop Center for Women’s Ministries is a non-profit educational corporation (#1748475) in the State of Ohio, USA.
“Our mission is to maintain a website that offers information, discussion, and services that keep alive the ongoing discernment relative to the talents, spiritual gifts, and ministries that currently exist and/or that urgently need to be made available to and on behalf of women, more especially, women within the Roman Catholic Church. The website currently offers free access to an extensive library of books, articles, and official documents in English and other foreign languages that are relevant to the issue of women’s ordination at all level of official ecclesiastic ministry. This site also offers online discussions, blogs, testimonials, pictures, art, reflections, reports of events, and support groups. These activities will be modified and expanded as our volunteers, our resources, and the expressed needs of our women participants evolve. The initial website is located at www.womenpriests.org.”
“We also support the work of St Catherine of Siena Virtual College.”
The Trustees are:
Deborah Rose-Milavec MA Theology
Sharon Caldwell 21.
About the history of our Institute
Origins of the
St Catherine of Siena Institute
We started as Housetop, an international centre for faith formation that was founded in 1983 in the archdiocese of Westminster. The name ‘Housetop’ derives from Christ’s injunction that his good news should be proclaimed “from the housetops”.
Housetop is a Charity, registered in England and Wales as Housetop Care Limited (no. 1053251). It became known for its video courses. The Seven Circles of Prayer, which is still widely used in schools and parishes throughout the UK, won awards ‘for creative excellence’ (USA) and as ‘best catechetical video’ (OCIC).
Our Walking on Water series of video courses has been adapted by catechetical centres in all continents in 14 languages.
In 1995 we launched How to Make Sense of God. The course book received a prize from the Catholic Press Association (USA). The accompanying film Journey to the Centre of Love
was honoured with the Grand Prix award of the International Catholic Film Festival (1995).
We believe in adult faith formation, that is: we treat believers as adults. We respect people’s doubts, their search and individual pace. We realise the importance of every person’s own experiences. We encourage people to think for themselves so that their commitment of faith will be deep and lasting. Christ wants free, happy, knowing disciples.
We continue our ‘proclaiming from the housetops’ through our website: Mystery and Beyond..
New focus on the ordination of women
Our Housetop team has been conscious of the theological reasons for ordaining women from the start. In 1977 our Director, John Wijngaards, wrote Did Christ Rule Out Women Priests?
(McCrimmons), which was published in many countries. The matter came to a head in 1998 when the Vatican declared that the exclusion of women from the ordained ministries was definitive and should no longer be discussed.
This clashed with all we know from scripture, tradition and theology. It provoked a response in conscience.
“All the faithful, both clerical and lay, should be accorded a lawful freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought and freedom of expression” Gaudium et Spes, no 62.
We launched our
campaign for the ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church.
Its success and the need of securing its future led to the founding of our St. Catherine of Siena Institute.
Please, contact me and other members of the core team here.
Our Council of Academic Advisors includes ten scholars specialised in Sacred Scripture, dogmatic theology, church history, patristics and other branches of theology. They hail from universities and colleges in seven countries. They give their advice free of cost.
Overall aims and objectives
1. Our website http://www.womenpriests.org will present documentation relevant to the ordination of women in the Catholic Church.
2. The site will maintain the highest academic standards in all its material, while displaying acute pastoral sensitivity at the same time.
3. This site aims at building up a complete academic archive of study and research pertaining to the ordination of women, accessible to all via the Internet.
4. Both the introductory texts and the supporting documents will conform to international standards of scientific honesty and professional publication.
5. Advice shall be sought from experts competent in specialist fields such as: scripture, tradition, patristics, church history, the magisterium, the psychology of gender, and various branches of theology.
6. A fair representation will be given of academic views that oppose the ordination of women.
7. Regarding articles and books published on this website, the authors themselves are responsible for the opinions expressed in such publications.
8. Though English will be used as our basic language of communication, material will gradually be presented on our website in the major international languages available on the Internet.
9. Our website supports fearless criticism of opinions defended by Church authorities whenever such criticism rests on competent theological knowledge and is inspired by loyalty to truth and to the ultimate good of the Church.
10. Where academic conclusions differ from the position currently held by the Catholic Church’s central teaching authority, the need of reform and review shall be urged without undermining the important role of that authority itself.
11. The academic conclusions arrived at will be presented to the wider audience of non-professionals in a form of presentation understandable to all.
12. Our web site will, to the extent this is possible, try to meet the pastoral needs of specific groups, such as confused clergy and laity, alienated women, harassed theologians and teachers, Catholic women who are called to the priesthood.
13. With regard to such specific pastoral needs the advice of competent persons will be sought.
will reflect love and respect for our Catholic faith, for the Church, Tradition, Church unity, other Christian Churches and the spiritual welfare of all believers.
Who or what is HOUSETOP
is a Catholic Centre for Faith Formation, based in London. *See pages 59 ff.
With our many international partners, we produced video courses and television programmes that can be used throughout the world.
Our specialization has been responsible co-production.
Our Housetop team consists of women and men who have worked in Africa, Asia and Europe as professional communicators. Our Director is John Wijngaards, a journalist, scriptwriter and theologian whose publications are well known.
Our video courses deal with crucial issues: Scripture in life, images of God, present-day spirituality.
In all our courses we aim at providing reliable information and at helping people grow in faith as adults.
We have pioneered a successful new format of video courses. The method we use combines solid instruction in course books with powerful stories on video and step-by-step session outlines in guides.
Our productions attain the highest professional standard. We have won six awards at international film and video festivals.
Our name “Housetop” derives from Christ’s words in Matthew 10, 27: “Proclaim from your housetop what I tell you face to face”. Housetop’s vision combines Christian commitment to a wholehearted acceptance of our new technological world.
Recently, Housetop has come under the umbrella of
the St Catherine of Siena Institute.
Members of St. Catherine of Siena Network
Becoming a member of
St. Catherine of Siena Network could not be easier! Just complete this mail form and click the submit-button. We will reply to you as soon as possible.
St Catherine of Siena network
St Catherine of Siena is a network of thousands of people spread around the world. We are a network of volunteers.
Please, join us!
We focus especially on ensuring that women receive their rightful position in society and Church.
We pursue this within our general aims of deepening belief in God and discerning the true meaning of the Gospel, and promoting lasting reforms in the Roman Catholic Church according to the vision of the Second Vatican Council.
If you have time, energy, knowledge or a skill, please, help us as a volunteer in one of our projects.
The St Catherine of Siena Institute
Our St Catherine of Siena Institute is a network of thousands of people spread around the world. It is a network of volunteers.
Our present central office is located in Rickmansworth (North London, UK). We may move our headquarters to nearby Chesham if we get the opportunity.
Like any other organization we have our structures, with legal, practical and academic subdivisions.
But we prefer to look at our structures in terms of people, all of whom contribute to our projects as members of a world-wide team.
Our ‘structures’ are themselves only a small percentage of our true wider network, our international family, which includes all the thousands upon thousands of people who avail themselves of our services.
Location of our central administration
At present we rent a small office at 111A High Street, Rickmansworth, which is part of greater London.
The office occupies two floors over an Espresso Bar.
Our total floor space is 45.5 sq. meters (= 491 sq. ft). It contains the following rooms: one small, parlour/meeting room with a kitchenette in the corner; two medium-sized office rooms with space for 6 desks in all; a smaller two-desk office room; a toilet.
Our facilities are basic, but they allow up to eight of us to work there on computers at the same time.
It is the nerve centre of our administration and international network.
Our annual running costs [Example taken from Jan – Dec 2004]
Since we depend on public support for our work,
we publish here a typical account of our day-to-day expenses. It will give you an idea of why we need financial support.
Annual audit of accounts
Postage, telephone & stationery
Travel refunds for voluntary staff
Depreciation of equipment
Books, magazines & subscriptions
Coventry office refund
Total Running Costs in 2004
Our building blocks are people
Yes, all of us are volunteers. Only one person receives a (small) salary: our full-time office administrator. Our collaborators contribute, each in their own way, by giving us their time, skill and expertise without expecting payment in return – because they believe in our cause. Among them we find professors, researchers, translators, leaders in commerce and industry, religious, clergy, teachers, and so on. It is not possible to make an accurate financial estimate of their contribution. It would be a considerable amount.
But all these contributions would not serve their purpose without the services of our central office. That is where all strands meet. That is where our research projects are coordinated, where documents are processed for insertion into the various language sections on our website. Communication in all our languages and personal responses are directed from that centre. Our core team is the hub around which everything turns.
By helping us put our central office on a secure footing you support the voluntary work of our whole international network.
As you have seen, our annual running expenses are not very large. They amount to + £ 50,000 [= $ 80,000] a year. But we need this income to survive. Therefore we urge you to support our international effort
by becoming a ‘friend’, by giving us a donation
by leaving us a legacy.
WomenPriests is soliciting donations here for the Catherine of Siena Virtual College. They are the same.
Both aim to “make women priests a reality in the Catholic Church“, see page 20.
P. Write to members of our core team
John Wijngaards: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
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A Word in Your Ear Holy Father
The Tablet September 18, 2010 http://www.thetablet.co.uk/article/15268
If you had the opportunity of a one-to-one with Benedict XVI, what would you discuss with him? Theologians Mary Grey, Lisa Isherwood and Ursula King*
would use the opportunity to address the Pope directly to press the case for women’s ordination.
It does not need spelling out how painful these days are for women in the Catholic Church. On the one hand, revelations about sex-abuse scandals and the fall out from the announcement that ordaining women was to be counted among majora delicta (major sins/crimes) still reverberates; on the other hand we watch the Anglican synod voting to ordain women as bishops. Not only that: those of us who supported the campaign for women priests in the Church of England in the 1980s, and rejoiced at the Synod’s vote on 11 November 1992, have watched numbers of ordained Church of England women priests mature into positions of authority and make enormous contributions to church life in many directions.
We take heart that, despite official humiliating opposition, our movements have not stood still since 1992. As well as the official campaigning through various groups, women are active as theologians, spiritual counsellors and retreat leaders, as well as in certain clearly specified – but limited – pastoral roles.
It is also true that many people in the Church, men as well as women, clergy as well as laity, are in solidarity about the discrimination against women and especially over the ban of silence regarding discussion or meaningful dialogue on the issue. It is the latter that brings such a sense of despair and removes any glimmer of hope. It seems that secular society has far more respect for the human rights of women – of course this is not universal – than does the Catholic Church. Nor can anyone imagine what the psychic wounding over the centuries has meant for the spiritual journeys of women. The mystery is, given the level of wounding, not why to leave the church, but why to stay?
But there are enough beacon lights in this darkness to convince us to hang on. For one thing, the people who continue to inspire us – for example, the liberation theologians – still walk in faith despite continuing Vatican criticism and restrictions. There are Christian communities in Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq, who try to keep the light of faith alive in the midst of persecution, and who need our solidarity simply to survive. There are the saints – like Catherine of Siena and Francis of Assisi – who challenged the structures of the Church successfully. There are theologians – now dead – the precursors of Vatican II, who were discredited in their lifetime, but now turn out to be prophets of their age – like Yves Congar, Henri de Lubac, and more recently, Edward Schillebeeckx**.
But in fact no one believed that it would be that easy to topple patriarchy, a system reigning triumphant for nearly 3,000 years. It was obvious that the very enormity of the task would be a catalyst for retrenchment on a massive scale, which we note has come to pass. And it is not only women who suffer and feel a deep shame at a clericalised, top-down system that has lost touch with the grass roots: the heart and soul of the Church is wounded. It has frequently been women in the past, like Julian of Norwich, who tried to fight corruption with her mysticism of love. And she, who tells us to keep faith in the ongoing redeeming love of Christ, for, in the end, all will be well.
Professor Mary Grey*** teaches at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, London. Professor Lisa Isherwood is based at the University of Winchester and Ursula King is Emeritus Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Bristol.
1. *Ursula King, heavily tainted by New Age, is President of
Catherine of Siena Virtual College [see pp. 7, 8]
2. **Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx, a theologian condemned by the Vatican, proposes a “transignification” whereby the “sign” of the bread and wine are changed into the “sign” of Jesus Christ. This heresy is specifically condemned in the Pope Paul VI Eucharistic Encyclical Mysterium Fidei. Source: http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/dissent/disspeop.htm.
3. ***Catherine of Siena Educational Trust
Catherine of Siena Educational Trust has the following objectives:
■ The promotion of equality between women and men by raising awareness and educating the public in issues relating to discrimination against women.
■ The advancement of the education of women by supporting the Catherine of Siena Virtual College and other means as determined by the trustees, particularly but not exclusively via the internet.
The Trustees are:
Prof. Dr. Mary Grey
Mrs. Joanna Dixon MA
Dr. Patricia Pinsent
Dr. John Wijngaards
Yet again, we see that the Catherine of Siena Virtual College and ex-priest John Wijngaards‘ movement WomenPriests are one and the same.
Another pro-women’s ordination group, CWO, finds Catherine of Siena Virtual College courses useful
Catherine of Sienna [sic]
Virtual College There are many courses which may be of interest to CWO members – scholarships are available. For more details http://www.catherineofsiena.net/prospects/default.asp.
Recommended web site:
www.womenpriests.org. You can sign up for their regular newsletter. 25.
BISHOPS OF INDIA, DO YOU HAVE THE WILL AND THE COURAGE TO BAN THE WOMEN-PRIEST ACTIVITIES OF VIRGINIA SALDANHA, THE ECCLESIA OF WOMEN IN ASIA, AND THE CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE, AND THE PUBLICITY GIVEN THEM IN CATHOLIC MEDIA?
OR DO WE WANT TO SEE THIS HAPPEN IN OUR CHURCH?
In my fourth and final detailed report in this series [this is the second], the proposed title for which is “The Indian
Church’s leading feminist theologians and their supporters among the religious and priests“, I will draw out the connections between leading western ‘Catholic’ pro-women’s ordination feminists, mostly nuns and ex-nuns, and their support for LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] sex without and within the church, and their leading role in eco-feminist spirituality which is New Age.
A brief example:
Rosemary Radford Ruether* is a Catholic feminist theologian who is openly lesbian. She developed a liturgy for the “covenanting” of lesbian couples. Ruether’s books include “Gaia & God: An Eco-feminist Theology of Earth Healing” and “Religious Feminism and the Future of the Planet: A Christian-Buddhist Conversation”.
The February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the New Age:
#2.3.2 The essential matrix of New Age thinking
A prominent component of [Theosophical Society founder] Mrs. Blavatsky’s writings was the emancipation of women, which involved an attack on the “male” God of Judaism, of Christianity and of Islam. She urged people to return to the mother-goddess of Hinduism and to the practice of feminine virtues. This continued under the guidance of Annie Besant, who was in the vanguard of the feminist movement. Wicca and “women’s spirituality” carry on this struggle against “patriarchal” Christianity today.
#7.2 Wicca: an old English term for witches that has been given to a neo-pagan revival of some elements of ritual magic. It was invented in England in 1939 by Gerald Gardner, who based it on some scholarly texts, according to which medieval European witchcraft was an ancient nature religion persecuted by Christians. Called “the Craft”, it grew rapidly in the 1960s in the United States, where it encountered “women’s spirituality”.
The Vatican rules out Ordination of Women as Deacons
September 19, 2001 The Vatican has ruled out the ordination of women as deacons on the grounds that there is no “solid doctrinal foundation” for it. “Since Church law does not envisage the possibility of such an ordination, it is not licit to enact initiatives which, in some way, aim to prepare candidates for the order of deaconate,” a Vatican notification says.
The Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and for Clergy jointly issued the document Sept. 17. Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger, Jorge Medina Estevez, and Dario Castrillon Hoyos, prefects of the respective congregations, signed the document.
In the notification, approved by Pope John Paul II Sept. 14, the cardinals say their congregations had received “indications from several countries of courses that are being planned, or underway, which directly or indirectly are aimed at the diaconal ordination of women.” Women have been following such courses in some countries, including Austria and the Netherlands, and the Vatican action aimed to cut this process in the bud to prevent false hopes and expectations, Church sources said.
The notification instructs bishops worldwide that “it is not licit” to start initiatives that aim to prepare women for ordination as deacons, because in doing so, “hopes are born which lack a solid doctrinal foundation and which could generate pastoral disorientation.”
The cardinals said the authentic promotion of women in the Church, in conformity with the Church’s constant magisterium, opens other ample prospects of service and collaboration.
They ask individual bishops “to explain this to their faithful people” and to “apply diligently” the notification’s directives.
The notification came as a surprise to some Church observers in Rome as the International Theological Commission has been studying this very question of women deacons and was expected to make its position known later this year. However, they noted that Cardinal Ratzinger heads the commission and would be clearly aware what its conclusion is likely to be.
Others classified the language of the notification as “quite soft” compared to the definitive statement of the pope in his 1994 apostolic letter “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” on reserving priestly ordination to men alone. The pope ruled then that the Church does not have the authority to ordain women as priests, and excluded the possibility of doing so in the future.
Some theologians said the notification appears to be less definitive in its wording than the pope’s 1994 apostolic letter. It does not say that the Church has no authority to ordain women as deacons, and it does not say this could never happen, they noted.
Cardinal Responds to Questions on Liturgy
Adoremus Bulletin Online Edition – Vol. IX, No. 7: October 2003
Wide-ranging questions on the Liturgy were answered by Cardinal Francis Arinze at a conference in July sponsored by the Apostolate for Family Consecration.
Will Catholic universities here in the United States ultimately be given the ultimatum that they must start sound Catholic teaching?
[Laughing] There is no need for a new law because that law is already there. So there is no need for a new law that they should teach Catholic teaching. It’s normal. So there is no need for a fresh law. It would be good, however, that parents, if you think that those — some university is not teaching Catholic doctrine, the parents should not be silent. Because you send your children and you pay.
Well, what was your reaction at Georgetown?
(In May, the cardinal gave a commencement address at Georgetown University that was followed by protests of some faculty and students. Ed.)
I gave my talk — only three pages of ordinary Catholic doctrine. [Applause]
In the history of the Church, were there ever women priests? Women can’t be made priests, at any time; even the pope can’t do that, can he?
No, the pope issued a document about seven years ago* saying that the Church has no power to ordain women priests. There were never women priests in the Church. If Christ would have wanted women to be priests, His Blessed Mother surely should have been number one.
By Hilary White ROME, February 5, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) Some religious orders in the U.S. and most western countries are in a state of “modern crisis” because the members of the order have embraced “secular culture” and abandoned traditional religious practices, the head of the Vatican’s office for religious life has said.
But, said the cardinal, the religious life in the Catholic Church should be presenting an alternative to the “dominant culture,” “which is a culture of death, of violence and of abuse,” rather than mirroring it.
Cardinal Franc Rodé, the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, which is undertaking a review (known as a “visitation”) of the active religious life for women in the U.S., was speaking to a conference on religious life sponsored by the Archdiocese of Naples on Wednesday. 27.
He said, “The crisis experienced by certain religious communities, especially in Western Europe and North America, reflects the more profound crisis of European and American society. All this has dried up the sources that for centuries have nourished consecrated and missionary life in the church.”
“The secularized culture has penetrated into the minds and hearts of some consecrated persons and some communities, where it is seen as an opening to modernity and a way of approaching the contemporary world,” the cardinal added.
In November last year, Cardinal Rodé forthrightly said that
it is feminism that has created the crisis in the religious orders. In an interview with Vatican Radio, he said he had been “alerted” by an unnamed representative of the Church in the U.S., “to some irregularities or deficiencies” in the way the religious sisters were living.
“Above all, you could speak of a certain secularist mentality that has spread among these religious families, perhaps even a certain ‘feminist’ spirit,”
the cardinal said.
Late last year, the increasingly loud complaints about the ongoing visitation from a small number of American communities prompted several public comments from the cardinal defending the Vatican’s decision to investigate the sisters’ lives. For some years now, Rodé has called on the sisters to refocus their communities on the “founding charisms” or original purpose of their orders.
The deterioration since the 1960s into radical feminism and leftist politics of most of the religious orders in the U.S., especially those of women, has not gone unnoticed in Rome. In 2008 at a meeting of religious men and women in Boston, Cardinal Rodé said that today there are some in religious life “who have chosen paths that have carried them away from communion with Christ in the Catholic Church, even though they have decided to physically ‘be’ in the Church.”
This assertion was bolstered in 2007 at a meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a keynote speaker, Dominican Sister Laurie Brink, said that the more liberal congregations of sisters were leaving behind “institutional religion” and “moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus.” What she called a “sojourning” order “is no longer ecclesiastical,” she said. “Religious titles, institutional limitations, ecclesiastical authorities no longer fit this congregation, which in most respects is Post-Christian.”
These statements were cited by the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) when it launched a doctrinal investigation into the beliefs and teachings of orders that are members of LCWR. The Apostolic Visitation being conducted by the Congregation for Religious is separate from the CDF investigation, but the latter has been excoriated as an “inquisition” by the same religious orders that have objected to the Visitation.
NEWS REPORTS, CHRONOLOGICALLY – NO ORDINATION OF WOMEN: ROME
Benedict XVI: The Pope and His Agenda
by Sandro Magister ROMA, April 20, 2005
John Paul II placed a total ban on
women priests, which is also valid for future popes.
He formulated it with the words of infallible proclamations, “ex cathedra.” But leaving holy orders aside, the room in the Church for women is wide open, in theory. In practice, we’ll see. In Beijing, at the international conference on women held by the United Nations in 1995, the head of the Vatican delegation was an American woman, Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard University. The same has happened since then also. The new pope is awaited on this proving ground, and he will be judged by a very demanding public opinion.
Pope Favors Greater Role for Women, But Not Priesthood – Reiterates Church Teaching on the Sacrament
VATICAN CITY, March 6, 2006 (Zenit.org) Benedict XVI says it is appropriate to consider if women may be given more responsibilities in the Catholic Church, though this cannot include the priesthood. The Pope made his comments on the topic last Thursday when he met with the parish priests of Rome. The Holy Father made a clear distinction between the idea of giving women more responsibilities and the question of women priests. He mentioned Pope John Paul II’s teaching in the apostolic letter “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis,” which states “that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women.”
Benedict XVI addressed the argument in response to Father Marco Valentini, a parish vicar of St. Jerome of Corviale, who asked the question based on the experience of a mother of a family and of some women religious committed to the recovery of priests in crisis. The Pontiff’s response that day was given wide coverage by international news agencies, though the written text of the conversation had not been published. Now it has been made available by the Vatican press office. Father Valentini asked: “Why not allow women to take part in the governance of the Church? In fact, their point of view on decisions that must be made is different from the masculine.”
In his reply, Benedict XVI began by stating that priests have the experience of “women believers who help us on our journey,” which is one reason why “the Church has a great debt of gratitude to women.” In fact, the Pontiff clarified, “women do much, I would dare to say, for the governance of the Church, beginning with the sisters of the great Fathers of the Church, such as St. Ambrose, to the great women of the Middle Ages — St. Hildegard, St. Catherine of Siena — and later St. Teresa of Avila up to Mother Teresa.” “I would say that this charismatic aspect is distinguished of course from the ministerial sector, in the proper sense of the word, but it is an authentic and profound participation in the governance of the Church,” the Holy Father indicated. 28.
“How could the governance of the Church be imagined without this contribution, which at times is very visible, as when St. Hildegard criticized the bishops, or when St. Bridget and St. Catherine of Siena admonished the popes and succeeded in making them return to Rome?” he asked. This contribution “is always a determinant factor, without which the Church cannot live,” the Pope replied. However, Benedict XVI allowed the voice of priests to be heard who said “we also want to see women more visibly, in a ministerial manner, in the governance of the Church.” The Pope clarified that the “priestly ministry is reserved by the Lord, as we know, to men.” In short, he responded that “the sacrament governs the Church.” According to the Bishop of Rome, the “decisive” point of the issue is this: “It is not man who does something, but the fact that the priest, faithful to his mission, governs, as — through the sacrament — it is Christ himself who governs, whether through the Eucharist or through the other sacraments, so that it is always Christ who presides. “However, it is right to ask if also in the ministerial service — though on this question sacrament and charism make up the only path on which the Church can tread — it is possible to offer more space, more positions of responsibility to women.”
Interview with Benedict XVI (Part 2)
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, August 17, 2006 (Zenit.org) Here is the second part of the transcription of the interview that Benedict XVI gave, in German, to TV channels ARD and ZDF, television service Deutsche Welle, and Vatican Radio.
The interview took place Aug. 5 at the summer papal residence of Castel Gandolfo and was broadcast last Sunday. Part 1 appeared in the news service dated Wednesday.
Q: Holy Father, women are very active in many different areas of the Catholic Church. Shouldn’t their contribution become more clearly visible, even in positions of higher responsibility in the Church?
Benedict XVI: We reflect a lot about this subject, of course. As you know, we believe that our faith and the constitution of the college of the apostles obliges us and doesn’t allow us to confer priestly ordination on women.
But we shouldn’t think either that the only role one can have in the Church is that of being a priest. There are lots of tasks and functions in the history of the Church. Starting with the sisters of the Fathers of the Church, up to the Middle Ages when great women played fundamental roles, up until modern times.
Think about Hildegard of Bingen who protested strongly before the bishops and the pope; of Catherine of Siena and Brigit of Sweden. In our own time, too, women, and we with them, must look for their right place, so to speak.
Today they are very present in the departments of the Holy See. But there’s a juridical problem: According to canon law the power to take legally binding decisions is limited to sacred orders.
So there are limitations from this point of view but I believe that women themselves, with their energy and strength, with their superiority, with what I’d call their “spiritual power,” will know how to make their own space. And we will have to try and listen to God so as not to stand in their way but, on the contrary, to rejoice when the female element achieves the fully effective place in the Church best suited to her, starting with the Mother of God and with Mary Magdalen.
Scholar: Ordaining Women Is Disrespectful – Says Promotion of Female Priests Overemphasizes Masculinity
ROME, May 4, 2007 (Zenit.org) Those who want to ordain women to the priesthood manifest a failure to recognize the dignity of women, said an expert in moral theology and women’s issues.
Pia de Solenni asserted this during her April 27 conference at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.
De Solenni won the Pontifical Prize of the Academies in 2001, receiving an award from John Paul II for her doctoral thesis on St. Thomas Aquinas. She is the director of Life and Women’s Issues at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.
At the conference, de Solenni used St. Thomas’ arguments to analyze the issue of the ordination of women to the priesthood in light of the natural complementarity between the sexes.
St. Thomas taught that woman was not created from man’s head in order to rule over him, nor from his foot to be ruled by him, but from his side in order to rule with him, she explained.
The 1994 Vatican document “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” concentrates on three basic points, de Solenni explained: “Christ, in ordaining only men, acted freely without constraints by cultural norms; non-admission to the priesthood is not a sign of lesser dignity; the Church does not have the faculty to ordain women.”
De Solenni illustrated the first point saying that many claim Christ ordained only men because of the cultural norms of his day. Since the role of women has changed, some say the Church should also adapt and allow women to be ordained to the priesthood, she said.
De Solenni contended, however, that the Gospels show how Christ often broke with the cultural norms of his day: In fact, it was to the Samaritan woman at the well that he revealed himself clearly as the Messiah — to her as to no other, she said.
“Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” points out that the non-admission of women to the priesthood does not signify a lesser dignity. The entire history of the Church, said de Solenni, “witnesses to the presence and active participation of women.”
“It was the consent, understanding and devotion of a woman that brought the Church to us,” and the fact that the Virgin Mary was not chosen by her son to be a priest “indicates that the sacrament does not discriminate on the basis of dignity or merit,” de Solenni explained. De Solenni reiterated a point from “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” which says the question of women’s vocations should not be confined to ordination. “Woman will never be the bridegroom, in any form. The temptation to force upon women a masculine paradigm arises from our confused notions of power and authority which, in turn, devalue her vocation as a bride, clearly illustrated by Mary,” de Solenni said. Ordaining a woman, she said, “would be, in essence, to show complete disregard for the reality she is as a woman, as a bride.” 29.
De Solenni asserted: “The promotion of ordaining women to the priesthood is a sign of misunderstanding and even disrespect for the dignity of woman.” The fact that “the significance of the feminine identity is so largely misunderstood or even disregarded, indicates that our very notion of Church is in peril, has lost personality. She has become an ‘it,’ a mere institution, rather than a living being,” de Solenni added.
The discussion of ordaining women to the priesthood has been a sort of “overemphasis of the masculine,” she said.
“No doubt,” continued de Solenni, “women need a voice in the Church, but it must be an authentic voice and not their voice made to sound like a man’s.” Women, she stated, have a unique role in the Church and in society and that role should not be forced into masculine paradigms. “To do so,” she said, “runs the risk of losing what is truly feminine — not the femininity of fashion, but the varied femininity of women saints, whose personalities and strengths span just as far as those of men saints … if not more.”
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith General Decree regarding the crime of attempting sacred ordination of a woman
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to protect the nature and validity of the sacrament of holy orders, in virtue of the special faculty conferred to it by the supreme authority of the Church (see canon 30, Canon Law), in the Ordinary Session of December 19, 2007, has decreed:
Remaining firm on what has been established by canon 1378 of the Canon Law, both he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, and the woman who has attempted to receive the said sacrament, incurs in latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.
If he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman or if the woman who has attempted to receive holy orders, is a member of the faithful subject to the Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Churches, remaining firm on what has been established by canon 1443 of the same Code, they will be punished with major excommunication, whose remission remains reserved to the Apostolic See (see canon 1423, Canon Law of the Eastern Churches).
The current decree will come into immediate force from the moment of publication in the ‘Osservatore Romano’ and is absolute and universal.
William Cardinal Levada, Prefect
Angelo Amato, S.D.B. Titular Archbishop of Sila, Secretary
Vatican Decree on the “Ordination” of Women
VATICAN CITY, May 30, 2008 (Zenit.org)
Here is the general decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the automatic excommunication for the attempted ordination of women, published in today’s print edition of L’Osservatore Romano.
On the Delict of Attempted Sacred Ordination of a Woman
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in virtue of the special faculty granted to it by the Supreme Authority of the Church (cf. Can. 30, Code of Canon Law), in order to safeguard the nature and validity of the sacrament of Holy Orders, decreed, in the Ordinary Session of December 19, 2007:
In accordance with what is disposed by Can. 1378 of the Code of Canon Law, he who shall have attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, as well as the woman who may have attempted to receive Holy Orders, incurs in a latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.
If he who shall have attempted to confer Holy Orders on a woman or if the woman who shall have attempted to received Holy Orders is a faithful bound to the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches, he is to be punished with the major excommunication, whose remission remains reserved to the Apostolic See, in accordance with can. 1443 of the same Code (cf. can. 1423, Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches).
The present decree enters in force immediately after its publication in L’Osservatore Romano.
William Cardinal Levada, Prefect
Angelo Amato, sdb. Titular Archbishop of Sila, Secretary
Vatican Reaffirms: Women’s Ordination Invalid – Decree Says Offense Incurs Automatic Excommunication
The Vatican’s doctrinal congregation has decisively decreed that the ordination of women is invalid.
The general decree “On the Delict of Attempted Sacred Ordination of a Woman” was published today on the front page of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper. It states that the decree “comes into force immediately.” The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith states in the brief text that it is acting to protect “the nature and validity of the sacrament of holy orders.” The texts affirms that “he who shall have attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, as well as the woman who may have attempted to receive Holy Orders, incurs in a ‘latae sententiae’ excommunication,” that is, an automatic excommunication. The decree is signed by the dicastery’s prefect, Cardinal William Levada, and the secretary of the Vatican congregation, Archbishop Angelo Amato. 30.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Archbishop Amato said the reason for the text is the existence of instances of so-called ordinations of women in some regions of the world. In addition, it constitutes “an instrument of help for bishops, in order to ensure a uniform answer in the whole Church.” He added that the decree underlines that the ordination of a woman to the priesthood is invalid or null, and that “only baptized men can by ordained validly.” The Church reaffirms this exclusivity for a “unique fundamental reason,” the archbishop explained. “The Church does not feel authorized to change the will of its founder, Jesus Christ.”
The decree, which also mentions the same penalty applies to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, said that “The ancient Eastern Churches and the Orthodox Churches observe the same discipline of the Catholic Church.”
In regard to the automatic excommunication, the prelate clarified that the excommunicated person is barred “from taking part in any way as minister in the celebration of the sacrifice of the Eucharist or in any other ceremony of public worship,” from “celebrating sacraments or sacramentals and from receiving the sacraments,” as well as from “exercising functions in offices or ministries or ecclesiastical endeavors no matter what they are” or from “acts of governance.” He added that the “excommunication is a medicinal punishment,” as “it calls to repentance, conversion and reparation for the sin.”
Excommunication “is lifted when the persons concerned show sincere repentance and commit themselves to follow the correct doctrine and discipline of the Church,” concluded archbishop Amato.
In 1994 Pope John Paul II issued the apostolic letter “On Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone,” in which he stated that the priesthood “has in the Catholic Church from the beginning always been reserved to men alone. This tradition has also been faithfully maintained by the Oriental Churches.” He added, “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” Ordinatio Sacerdotalis 4
Pope Warns World’s Priests against “Heresy”
By Hilary White VATICAN CITY, June 11, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com)
Sin, satanic influence and the toleration of heresy lie at the root of the priestly sexual abuse scandals, Pope Benedict XVI said today. Precisely because it is an institution erected by God to make himself sacramentally “present to all men and women,” the devil is interested in destroying the priesthood, he said.
Referring to the line in Psalm 22 (“Your rod and your staff – they comfort me”), Benedict became explicit about the need for the “rod” of discipline to correct errors in the Church. “The Church too must use the shepherd’s rod,” he said, “the rod with which he protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray. Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented.”
Pope Benedict spoke today to 15,000 priests at the closing Mass of the Vatican’s Year for Priests at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The priesthood, Pope Benedict said, is not “pleasing to the ‘enemy,'” (the devil). “He would have rather preferred to see it disappear, so that God would ultimately be driven out of the world. And so it happened that, in this very year of joy for the sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light – particularly the abuse of the little ones, in which the priesthood, whose task is to manifest God’s concern for our good, turns into its very opposite.”
With evident personal sadness, the pope again extended his apology to the victims of sexual abuse, saying, “We too insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved.”
This was followed by a promise to “do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again” by more scrutiny and better formation of those who apply for the priesthood.
Statistics on the abuse scandals have found that the abuse cases are overwhelmingly homosexual in nature and occurred between the 1960s and 1980s, at time in which psychological and theological trends were against excluding men with homosexual inclinations from the priesthood.
Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger, was clear with a 2005 document issued from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office that had oversight on the abuse scandals around the world, that men with such inclinations should not be admitted to seminaries.
Benedict also made more subtle references to the movement from the Church’s extreme left wing to open the priesthood to women and to married men. Among the opening lines of his homily, Pope Benedict laid out the nature of the priesthood, saying it is not a matter of mere functionality but a sacramental reality derived from Christ himself. “The priest is not a mere office-holder,” he said, “like those which every society needs in order to carry out certain functions.”
Video clip from Rome Reports http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ_588cHu50
Vatican Declares Ordination of Women a Crime against Faith
© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. Magazine July 15, 2010
The Vatican declared “attempted ordination” of women to be one of the Catholic Church’s gravest crimes this morning, asserting that it is a “crime against the faith” under their new disciplinary rules, according to Agence France-Presse.
Under the new rules, attempted ordination of women is in the same category as clerical sex abuse of minors, heresy and schism. The new rules state that those who attempt to ordain women and women who seek ordination will automatically be excommunicated. 31.
Since the Church does not accept women as priests, the outcome of such ceremonies will not be recognized by the Church, according to the Guardian.
This move, which appears to permanently bar women from Catholic priesthood, comes shortly after the Church of England took its first steps towards the ordination of female bishops, and may be seen as another attempt by the Catholic Church to sway traditionalist Anglicans to convert to Catholicism.
The Vatican also updated the Church’s sexual abuse guidelines in response to clerical sex abuse scandals. These new internal rules make it easier to discipline priests who sexually abuse minors and the mentally handicapped, by doubling the statute of limitations from 10 to 20 years after the victims 18th birthday, according to the New York Times. The new rules make no mention of the need for bishops to report clerical sex abuse to police, provide no sanctions for bishops who cover up for abusers and do not include any “one-strike and you’re out” policy for pedophile priests as demanded by some victims, according to the Associated Press.
Ordination of women a ‘crime against the faith’
Vatican Agence France-Presse
First Posted 07:53:00 07/16/2010
VATICAN CITY — The ordination of women as Roman Catholic priests is a “crime against the faith,” the Vatican said Thursday as it issued a raft of new disciplinary rules.
Cases of “attempted ordination of women” will henceforth be handled by the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), a Vatican statement said.
The new rules put attempts at the ordination of women among the “most serious crimes,” along with pedophilia.
They update a 2007 CDF decree according to which those who attempt to ordain women — and the women concerned — are subject to automatic excommunication.
The US-based Women’s Ordination Conference, an advocacy group, dismissed the decision as “medieval at best” and a “scare tactic.” The update was prompted by “fear of our growing numbers,” the group said in a statement. “The Vatican is using this attempt to extinguish the widespread call for women’s equality in the Church,” it added.
The Vatican on Thursday also issued new rules on the handling of sex abuse cases. It ordered quicker investigations of pedophile priests and extended the statute of limitations by 10 years to 20 years after the victim’s 18th birthday.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi underscored how the ordination of women is “a crime against sacraments,” while pedophilia should be considered a “crime against morals.”
In May, an Austrian Catholic bishop said the Church should rethink ordaining women in the wake of the widespread pedophilia scandal.
Eight Roman Catholic activists staged a demonstration in favor of women’s ordination in St Peter’s Square in June. They asked Pope Benedict XVI to open the ranks of priests to women to renew the Church and solve a chronic shortage of priests around the world.
The Pope on the Pope. A Preview
By Sandro Magister ROME, November 22, 2010 – The anticipated book-length interview of Benedict XVI, “Light of the World,” will be in bookstores on the five continents, in various languages, beginning on Tuesday, November 23…
Peter Seewald, the interviewer, recorded the interview in a series of six meetings with Benedict XVI, lasting one hour each, last summer in Castel Gandolfo.
Seewald presented an outline to the pope in advance, but the conversation took place freely, and Benedict XVI did not dodge any of the questions. The pope made only small stylistic corrections to the final transcript, in German.
The following are the passages previewed by “L’Osservatore Romano.” The titles of the paragraphs are also from the Vatican newspaper… … …
The formulation of John Paul II is very important: “The Church does not have in any way the faculty to confer priestly ordination on women.”
It is not a matter of not wanting, but of not being able. The Lord has given a form to the Church with the Twelve and then with their succession, with the bishops and the presbyters (the priests). We were not the ones who created this form of the Church, but rather its essentiality comes from him. Following it is an act of obedience and in the contemporary situation perhaps one of the most burdensome acts of obedience. But precisely this is important, that the Church show that it is not an arbitrary regime. We cannot do what we want. There is instead the Lord’s will for us, to which we adhere, even if this is wearisome and difficult in the culture and civilization of today. Besides, the functions entrusted to women in the Church are so great and significant that one cannot speak of discrimination. This would be the case if the priesthood were a sort of dominion, while on the contrary it must be complete service. If one looks at the history of the Church, one realizes that the significance of women – from Mary to Monica all the way to Mother Teresa – is so eminent that in many ways women define the face of the Church more than men do.
The book: Benedict XVI, “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times”, Ignatius Press, 2010. 32.
Pope says ordaining women is not the church’s choice to make
By Rita Fitch
VATICAN CITY (Catholic News Service) November 29, 2010
In his latest book, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed that the church has “no authority” to ordain women as priests and rejected the idea that the rule was formed only because the church originated in a patriarchal society. The pope said that man did not produce the form of the church, and does not have the power to change it. Christ gave the form of the priesthood when he chose his male Apostles, he said in the book-interview, “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times.”
“The church has ‘no authority’ to ordain women. The point is not that we are saying we don’t want to, but that we can’t,” he said. This requires obedience by Catholics today, he added.
“This obedience may be arduous in today’s situation, but it is important precisely for the church to show that we are not a regime based on arbitrary rule. We cannot do what we want,” the pope said.
In the book, the pope responded to the argument that ordination was restricted to men only because priestesses would have been unthinkable 2,000 years ago.
“That is nonsense, since the world was full of priestesses at the time,” the pope answered. “All religions had their priestesses, and the astonishing thing was actually that they were absent from the community of Jesus Christ.”
The pope said there can be no question of discrimination in the church because women perform so many meaningful functions. “Women have so eminent a significance that in many respects they shape the image of the church more than men do,” he said, noting famous religious figures such as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
The Ordination of Women to the Catholic Priesthood
By Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Presented at the Canon Law Convention, Worcester, MA., May 2, 1974
I wish to address myself to the subject of the ordination of women to the Catholic priesthood. My reason for making the subject so specific is to cut through so much of the ambiguity that surrounds the question.
Notice, this is not merely the ordination of women, which is common practice in many Protestant denominations. It is not merely the elevation of women to the ministry, which is quite consistent with Catholic Faith and practice. It is the ordination of women in the Catholic Church to apostolic succession in the presbyterate and (logically) the episcopate, deriving from Christ’s ordination of the twelve apostles on Holy Thursday night, and conferring on them and their successors the threefold Messianic power of administering all the sacraments, notably the Eucharist, of ruling the people of God in His name, and of authoritatively teaching them His message of salvation.
In order to capsulize as much content as possible into a small span of time, let me divide what I plan to say into three parts and give each part a title—together with an explanatory subtitle.
-Sociological Phenomenon, which answers to the question, “Why has the issue arisen in the first place?”
-Theological Speculation, which will briefly review the question, “What are they saying in favor of ordination?”
-Doctrinal Principle, which responds to the question of “How should the proposal to ordain women be evaluated on the premises of Catholic doctrine?”
Why has the question of the possible ordination of women to the priesthood become so prominent? The reason is a cluster of reasons, but they are all primarily sociological.
They can be synthesized in two cameo pictures, which compare the women of yesterday (then) and women of today (now). In former days, so the sociologists explain, women lived in a sort of immutable destiny, in the framework of an idealized pattern set by men which remained invariable. She was supposed to be docile, faithful, resigned, hard-working—but all within well-defined limits and sheltered from the drafts and winds of the outside world.
But now a new type has been born—modern woman. She does not passively accept her fate—she takes charge of it. Much of the credit for this welcome change, Cardinal Suenens believes, can be given to Marxism, and specifically to Lenin.
According to Suenens, “Lenin was able to write, ‘The experience of all movements of liberation proves that the success of a revolution depends upon the degree of participation by women’.” Catholics are reminded by Suenens, “This is a phrase not to be forgotten. Christianity is the greatest and most radical revolution in all history.”
We may, therefore, say that the sociological roots at the basis of the current drive for the ordination of women are bifocal. One root is the recognized and unstartling fact that women in all parts of the world are coming more and more into their own, to find their places alongside of men in business, in the professions, in education and the sciences.
Another root is not so much factual as ideological. It argues from a massive discrimination of women by men, and urges women to revolt against the discrimination. Spearheaded by women, so the ideology states, such drastic changes will be introduced into society as only the vision of an egalitarian community of partners—instead of competitors—can produce.
Not surprisingly, the sociological undercurrent does not receive much attention. Most of the literature on the subject is called theological. In the more than one hundred hours of reading and research that went into the writing of this paper, practically every book, or monograph, or article consciously studied the question from biblical, patristic, conciliar and canonical—in a word from what might be broadly termed a theological perspective.
Yet, while allowing the adjective “theological,” I would say it is essentially speculation. By this I mean reflection by sincere and well-intentioned writers who analyze a topic—here the ordination of women—subjectively without the date of objective revelation.
What they have to say is often worth reading. It is fascinating literature in the futuribles of the Catholic religion. It seeks to explore what might have been or could possibly be, but without building on the revealed premises of Christianity.
Let me give a sample listing of some of the arguments of theological speculation favoring the ordination of women.
1. In Christ there is neither Greek nor Jew, neither male nor female. All are alike objects of the divine mercy. Consequently women have as much right as men to a full participation of the hierarchy, which includes priesthood and the episcopacy.
2. Catholic Christianity has become wedded to the Aristotelian theory of man’s superiority to woman. Once it is disengaged from these Aristotelian categories, the Church will be ready to ordain women who are not inferior to men.
3. Eastern asceticism has also influenced the Church’s present attitude toward a severe separation of the sexes, except in marriage. But as we change this ideal of an angelic, sexless life, new spiritual relationships between men and women in the priesthood are available. Men priests and women priests will cooperate in a beautiful harmony of great ecclesial potentialities.
4. Having received the message of freedom from the Savior, the Church has progressively abandoned the principle of Christian freedom in its application to the life of women within its own ranks and concerns, and in areas that could conceivably have escaped secular prejudice and social pressure. Instead it adopted the principle of harmony with secular society. Once the Church is emancipated from this dependence on the secular model of state or culture, it will be ready to open the doors to the ordination of women.
5. Deaconesses are clearly referred to in the New Testament. In addition to the more explicit references to Priscilla, Lydia and Phoebe, it is not unlikely that the women who followed Jesus may well have been deaconesses, and that the seventy (or seventy-two) disciples may well have included women. While the precise nature of women’s deaconate is unclear, there is enough data to suggest that after nineteen centuries what had been deacons in apostolic times might well become priests in our day.
6. Mary, too, must be seen as not only a symbol of motherhood but of discipleship. As Mariology develops, it is not unlikely that the role of Mary will come to be seen as not only maternal but priestly, and women will be able to imitate the Mother of Christ as also a priest of Christ.
7. No doubt some of St. Paul’s statements about women in the Church are difficult. But modern exegesis is showing that Paul did not teach what he is charged with teaching: men’s rights to dominate women and women’s required passivity. Rather Paul stresses the complementary character of the Christian man and woman in Christ. As Pauline studies open still further horizons, the way will be paved for women’s ordination to the priesthood.
8. There is no clear New Testament reference to a professional body of Christian priests, whether male or female. It is Tradition, not Scripture, which endows bishops and presbyters with a priestly character. The epistle to the Hebrews revolutionizes the priestly concept. No longer—as among the Jews—is priesthood fleshly. Thus any restriction of the Christian priesthood to the fleshly, i.e., to male and not female, is to contradict this basic teaching of the Hebrews. The Catholic Church has mistakenly taken a fleshly approach to the priesthood, and only now shows promise of being liberated from its own preconceptions.
9. The ecumenical movement, vis-à-vis Protestantism, would be immensely enhanced if the Catholic Church followed the pattern set by the Churches of the Reformation in ordaining both men and women to the ministry.
10. The pastoral needs of our day call for an ever deeper and more official involvement of women in the life and work of the Church. These needs will not be adequately met until women receive priestly ordination. They must have jurisdiction which is inherent in sacred Orders and not merely what some ancient abbesses enjoyed as special privileges, or what superiors of women’s religious communities possess today.
So much for theological speculation, which is profoundly erudite, often done with consummate scholarship, and, with rare exception, exempt from emotionalism.
We now come to the third part of our analysis, the doctrinal principles. There are two ways that these principles can be handled. One is to evaluate on doctrinal grounds the arguments offered for the ordination of women to see how sound they really are. This is possible and needs to be done. May I suggest a few approaches?
1. Any ambiguity on the nature of the priesthood in the Catholic Church is sure to lead into doctrinal error. To so stress the ministerial or service function as to minimize the cultic and ritual is to reduce the priesthood to a functional ministry. I remember serving as consultant to a theological commission of the American Baptist Convention, which was studying the advisability of discontinuing all ordinations in that denomination. My advice to the convention was to retain ordination, even though no sacrament was believed to be conferred and no sacred powers to be received. But that is not the faith of historic Catholicism.
Most proponents of ordination of women in the Catholic Church concentrate on the ministerial or pastoral benefits to be derived. They are remarkably silent about the advantages of a woman (and not only a man) pronouncing the words of consecration or the formula of absolution!
2. Any implication that the Catholic priesthood is a later development of the Church by the Church, and not a sacrament of Christ instituted by Christ, is an invitation to doctrinal chaos. If, contrary to the explicit teaching of the magisterium, it was not Christ but the Church which established what we call the priesthood, then the ordination of women is a minor issue and almost of trivial consequence. In that case, the Church could not only ordain women, but could redefine ordination to exclude the power of offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice, of transmuting bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood and, in fact, could, if it wanted to, discontinue ordination altogether.
On a more positive level, however, our doctrinal principles tell us some sobering facts that reduce the ordination of women to what it really is—fervent speculation and zealous, but unfounded, anticipation.
The plain fact of salvation history is the selectivity of Christ and the early Church. It is known Christ did not hesitate to contravene the Law and sociological customs of His times. Yet He selected only men as His apostles, on whom He conferred the priestly powers at the Last Supper.
From the beginning, and all through its history, the Catholic Church has done the same. The unbroken practiced Tradition of the Church has excluded women from the Episcopal and priestly office. Theologians and canonists, building on the teaching of the Fathers, have been unanimous in considering this exclusion absolute and of divine origin.
We therefore conclude that this constant tradition and practice is of divine law, and is of such a nature as to constitute a clear teaching of the infallible ordinary magisterium of the Church. Though not formally defined, it is irreversible Catholic doctrine.
From another perspective, suppose we took the opposite position, advocated by proponents of women’s ordination. If the choice of men by Christ and by the Church has really been only time-conditioned and changeable, then indeed very unpleasant consequences could be drawn.
This attempted solution proceeds from the idea that Jesus, if He had lived in another time and in another land, could have also chosen women. This theory thus grants that there could be another time (or place) in which women could be completely appropriate for the fullness of the hierarchical and sacerdotal office.
But then what follows? It follows that the Catholic Church and its supposedly divine office of mediation of grace stand fixed in a social ethos—that of the first century—which stands diametrically opposed to the ethos of the century in which the Church now lives.
Grant this hypothesis and no single teaching of the Christ or the apostolic Church remains normative for all times. Instead of transcending time, Christianity would become the slave of time. The Beatitudes and the whole Sermon on the Mount, the precept of monogamy and the prohibition of adultery would become—as not a few are now urging—moral archaisms that had meaning and relevance in former days but are no longer meaningful and certainly not mandatory in our day.
If someone objects that the ordination of men by Christ and the early Church was simply a contingent fact; that it could have been otherwise, I grant the observation. But since when are Christians to stand in judgment on why God did what He did, like become man, when the world could have (absolutely speaking) been redeemed without the Incarnation; or why God does what He does, like nourish us with His own Body and Blood when our spiritual life could (absolutely speaking) be sustained by other means if He had so chosen?
One of the great blessings I see coming from the present discussion about the ordination of women is our deeper realization of God’s wisdom in providing for a variety of ways He can be loved, and a bewildering diversity of ministries by which He can be served.
It is for us to stand in awe, and not in judgment, on the ways of God who chose a woman and not a man by whom to enter the world. If this was selectivity, and it was, it was not discrimination. God never does things without good reasons, even when these reasons escape or elude us who—would you believe—sometimes want to instruct God.
(Title Page: The Ordination of Women to the Catholic Priesthood by Rev. John A. Hardon, S. J. Jesuit School of Theology of Chicago)
Imprimatur: +Humberto Cardinal Medeiros Archbishop of Boston March 6, 1975
What is it about a woman that prevents her ordination? In my discussions with proponents of women’s ordination it seems that all facts about history, custom, tradition, and apostolic authority take a backseat to this question.
The reason that women are not to be ordained is because they are not men. Sounds politically incorrect, doesn’t it? But the fact is that God created men to be men and women to be women. When God chose to incarnate, he did not just choose to become a human being; he chose to become a man. Just as he chose to incarnate into a specific time, place, people, family, and woman, so he chose to become a specific human being, the man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). Thus, those human beings who serve as priests in the person of Christ are men and not women.
This shocking particularity of God is not limited to choosing men to become priests. To demonstrate this to proponents of women’s ordination, you might turn the question around and ask them what it is about men that makes them unfit to bear children. Surely a man is just as physically strong as a woman and psychologically and emotionally capable of the demands of giving birth. Surely he is not inferior to a woman. Isn’t it unfair to men that only women can have babies? 35.
This line of logic descends into absurdity, because women having children is a natural fact of life, something easily seen and understood. To shake one’s fist at the heavens and demand equal rights for men to give birth is to rail against the natural order. At that point you can establish that men being priests is a supernatural fact of life, and to object to it is to object to the supernatural order. The fact that the supernatural order cannot be seen and is not as easily understood as the natural order does not mean that the supernatural order does not exist. – Michelle Arnold
If a sacrament is an outward sign of grace, then why is the process of being ordained a sacrament for a priest but not a sacrament when women become nuns? How is this fair?
A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ. Jesus determines what a sacrament is and who will receive it. As for the priesthood, it is not comparable to religious life. In fact it’s not comparable to any other thing on the earth. It is a share in Christ’s priesthood which he himself established. No one is worthy of it. A Catholic priest actually ministers in the person of Christ. That Jesus ordained only men would be unfair if all human beings had a right to such an honor. The fact is, we don’t.
Religious life, on the other hand, is a way of living that is based on the evangelical counsels that Jesus preached. The vows of religious life represent the totality of human existence. We are all called to be chaste (both married and single), we are all called to obey lawful authority, and we are all called to be poor in spirit. Religious life accentuates these by going a step farther, thereby drawing attention to them. It acts as a beacon, reminding people that we all owe God the oblation of all that we are. Religious life is opened to men and women alike. – Fr Vincent Serpa
Why can’t women be ordained priests within the Catholic Church?
The Church does not have the authority to ordain women. In his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Pope John Paul II declared “that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women” (4).
Some of the reasons cited include:
The example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his apostles only from among men
The constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men
The Church’s living teaching authority has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God’s plan for his Church. – Jim Blackburn
Deacons cannot celebrate Mass, so why can’t women be ordained to the diaconate?
Women cannot be ordained deacons because deacons receive the sacrament of holy orders, which women cannot validly receive. Deacons receive this sacrament in a lesser degree than priests or bishops, but they do receive it, so potential candidates must be capable of receiving it. Deacons do not preside at Mass but they do read the Gospel and are allowed to preach at Mass, functions that are considered in a certain sense to be apostolic. Because deacons share in the apostolic ministry, it is fitting that they be men as were the apostles Jesus chose.
Why is it that the Church does not accept female priests or female altar servers? Andy
Answer: Bp Camillo Ballin, Kuwait
Your question is very interesting and I thank you for having raised it. In the present times we are suffering due to the lack of priests, and many question us as to why we don’t accept women to be priests like the other churches who have female priests. The Catholic Church follows the teachings of Jesus and we cannot change the fundamental choices He made. For example, Jesus chose bread and wine for the Eucharist. We cannot replace these with other elements. It would be easier for us to replace wine with something else, especially in some countries where wine is forbidden. But we cannot change this because the choice of bread and wine for the Eucharist has been made by Jesus Christ Himself who wanted to continue and fulfill the Paschal Sacrifice of the Old Testament. The same goes for the priesthood. Jesus chose only men to be His Apostles. He did not select any women. This does not mean that women have no role in the Church, but the role of priests is only for men. As for altar servers, little girls can be altar servers but grown up girls or women are not appropriate to become altar servers for obvious reasons that you will understand without any explanation from me.
[Konkani Catholics yahoo groups digest no. 1670 dated October 22, 2008]
I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis 4) – Pope John Paul II.
Woman Renounces Her Claim to Be a Deacon – Says She “Made a Mistake”; Asks Forgiveness
SAN DIEGO, California, February 24, 2011 (Zenit.org) A woman who claimed to be a Catholic deacon has renounced her “ordination” and is affirming her fidelity to the Church’s teaching on the impossibility of women’s ordination. 36.
Norma Jean Coon,
formerly a member of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization, posted a message Feb. 8 on the Internet in which she “confess(es) to the authority of the Holy Father on these issues of ordination and recognize(s) that Christ founded the ordination only for men.”
Coon, who has been married for 47 years and is the mother of five, participated in a ceremony in Santa Barbara attempting her ordination July 22, 2007.
Roman Catholic Womenpriests was established in Europe and began claiming to ordain women in the United States in 2006. The summer of Coon’s ceremony, there were similar events in Portland, New York, Minneapolis and Toronto. Today, the group claims around eight bishops worldwide, and more than 80 priests and deacons.
Coon said that she “withdrew from the program within two weeks of the ceremony because I realized that I had made a mistake in studying for the priesthood.”
She added, “I confess to the truth of Pope John Paul II’s apostolic letter ‘Ordinatio Sacerdotalis’.”
In her statement, Coon formally relinquishes connection to Roman Catholic Womenpriests and disclaims “the alleged ordination publicly with apologies to those whose lives I have offended or scandalized by my actions.”
Her statement concludes with a prayer: “Holy God, I ask your blessings on my bishop and my pastor and priests in Rome who have assisted me in the process of being reinstated into the Roman Catholic Church. […] Forgive me my Beloved Jesus and Mother Mary for pursuing my own will in this matter of ordination. […] [W]e pray for more priests to serve in our Church and for vocations to enrich our Church in the United States.
“Forgive us for failing in obedience and enrich us in your holy love, I pray through Jesus and Mary. Fiat.”
On the Net: Coon’s full statement: http://normajeancoon.com
Church Welcomes Back Woman Who Attempted Ordination
SAN DIEGO, California, April 3, 2011 (Zenit.org) A woman who claimed to be a Catholic deacon and then renounced her “ordination” is returning to the full practice of the Catholic faith after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith lifted any canonical sanctions she incurred.
Norma Jean Coon, formerly a member of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization, posted a message Feb. 8 on the Internet to renounce her “ordination.”
An update to that message now affirms that the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has lifted any canonical sanctions that I incurred by attempting ordination as a deacon. A letter from Bishop Robert Brom [of San Diego] states that I may now return to the full practice of our Catholic faith.”
Coon, who has been married for 47 years and is the mother of five, participated in a ceremony in Santa Barbara attempting her ordination July 22, 2007.
Roman Catholic Womenpriests was established in Europe and began claiming to ordain women in the United States in 2006. The summer of Coon’s ceremony, there were similar events in Portland, New York, Minneapolis and Toronto. Today, the group claims around eight bishops worldwide, and more than 80 priests and deacons.
Coon’s statement says she has been “very touched at the remarkable support” and affirmed her gratitude for “all those who have prayed for me and for my family.”
Perhaps Virginia Saldanha
should go down on her knees and repeat the prayer made by
Norma Jean Coon
Women priests demonstrate profound faithfulness to God by Jamie L Manson, February 15, 2011
COMMENT Submitted by Sirach on February 25, 2011:
Perhaps you missed the story of Norma Jean Coon who recently publically renounced her association with this group of loons. Her public confession is as follows:
“I wish to renounce the alleged ordination and publicly state that I did not act as a deacon as a part of this group except on two occasions, when I read the gospel once at mass and distributed communion once at this same mass. I withdrew from the program within two weeks of the ceremony because I realized that I had made a mistake in studying for the priesthood. I confess to the truth of Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. I confess the authority of the Holy Father on these issues of ordination and recognize that Christ founded the ordination only for men. “Formally, I relinquish all connection to the program of Roman Catholic Women Priests and I disclaim the alleged ordination publicly with apologies to those whose lives I have offended or scandalized by my actions. I ask God’s blessings upon each of these folks and their families.” (Norma Jean Coon, RN, MFCC, PhD., San Diego, California)
Her interesting prayer follows:
“Holy God, I ask your blessings on my Bishop and my pastor and priests in Rome who have assisted me in the process of being re-instated into the Roman Catholic Church and I forsake all connection with the Roman Catholic Women Priests program via Internet or otherwise.
“I thank you for the efforts of my family in my behalf and ask for Jesus’ Light and Love to pour over my husband of 47 years and my five children. 37.
“Forgive me my Beloved Jesus and Mother Mary for pursuing my own will in this matter of ordination and as I consecrate myself to your Divine Will through the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I ask you to pour out Light and Love upon any who have placed themselves outside of your Love and Light Bless us, O Lord, for these thy gifts and place us in the Heart of the Father, as we pray for more priests to serve in our church and for vocations to enrich our Church in the United States. Forgive us for failing in obedience and enrich us in your Holy Love, I pray through Jesus and Mary. Fiat+”
This mature and educated woman seems to have figured it out all on her own …maybe they are just a fraud after all … must be really embarrassing to find out you’ve been had.
COMMENT Submitted by Anonymous on February 27, 2011.
And just recently Norma Jean Coon renounces here “Womyn Priest” role and returns to the Church. She denounces her behavior and decision. She returns to the Tridentine Mass and prays and asks for forgiveness for her decision to try to become ordained through mock ordination against the Magisterium and Catholic Church. Perhaps her renunciation and story are being downplayed for a particular reason. But the fact remains. She has stated it was wrong. Whatever did and did not happen in ancient biblical times will be hard to prove, and it really doesn’t matter. The Church has evolved and traditions and rituals established. I wonder if those stating that there is evidence of women Priests in some artwork somewhere also will be taking up Aramaic which was spoken at the time as well? It is ancient and worthy of preservation, no? John Paul II has stated that women can never be ordained Priests quite unequivocally. There are many places in the Church for women. We have a nun shortage and neat crisis. The Lord is calling out through this crisis. Why do women ignore this role and option? Because they don’t like it? But it is there, open, and in need. People advocating women Priests are trying to turn the Church upside down. For every person that they feel they are helping there are probably thousands that feel they are being confused and NOT helped at all by their brazen attempts to upset centuries of Tradition and disrespect for the Magisterium. They are selfish in the most ignorant way. I do not agree with all the Church teaches but I will spend my life trying to. And as the decades pass I see more and more the wisdom and that I am wrong. So I try to amend however I can.
Indian theologian calls for new paradigm
‘We are called to a deeper spirituality, which liberates us from the slavery of our occupation’
By Thomas C. Fox October 17, 2009
Speaking before an international gathering of women religious leaders here, Indian theologian, Assumption Sister Rekha M. Chennattu called for a radically new religious paradigm… Her remarks were delivered at AMOR XV, a gathering which has drawn together women religious leaders from throughout East Asia and Oceania. […]
TWO SELECTED COMMENTS
Sister’s call for a new paradigm would have rung bells in 1948. Today, she’s just parroting tired, old 1970’s feminism.
That the Canaanite woman taught Jesus something that he didn’t know is also a tired, 70’s feminist cliché. In fact, Jesus used her perfectly reasonable objections to teach the disciples a much needed lesson.
The radical front of religious life in the west is located among the thriving congregations of sisters like the Nashville Dominicans. Where there is life, there is the Spirit. […]
I hear two strains as well. One: faithful to tradition, Christ-centered, spiritually extroverted and introverted, and willing to hear differences. The other:
worshipful of change for change’s sake, Earth-centered, spiritually narcissistic, and dogmatic with demands. The first is firmly rooted in the grand history of the Church. The second is mired in the culture of the 70’s. Yea, I see why we have so much trouble. Fr. Philip, OP October 25, 2009
WELL SAID, FR. PHILIP, OP!!!
I THINK IT IS HIGH TIME THAT ROME APPOINTED A COMMISSION TO CHECK OUT THE WOMEN’S RELIGIOUS ORDERS IN INDIA. IF THIS IS ONE RESULT OF A NUN BECOMING A THEOLOGIAN, IMAGINE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN ONCE THESE FEMINISTS ARE ORDAINED DEACONS AND PRIESTS [GOD FORBID].
MICHAEL PRABHU, CATHOLIC APOLOGIST, CHENNAI, INDIA March 25, 2010
APRIL 2, 2012 UPDATE TO THIS REPORT
Catherine of Siena Virtual college- Is it Catholic?
There have been emails doing the rounds which introduce the ‘Catherine of Siena Virtual College’, where one can attend online courses on gender studies.
What’s in a name?
What attracted me in the beginning was the name of Catherine of Siena, who as a saint, along with St Teresa of Avila, is one of my favorite mystics and models in the contemplative way of life.
However, what put me off is that it was named Catherine of Siena, without giving her the prefix she rightly deserves. Moreover, St Catherine being declared as the ‘Doctor of the Church’ deserves a lot more respect.
My school was ‘St Josephs High School’ and not ‘Joseph’s High School’ and so is the famous college named ‘St Andrews High School’ and not ‘Andrews’s High school’. I am sure the Indian counterparts of this virtual college will with all due respect add the prefix of ‘Mahatma’ when referring to Gandhi and not mention him as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
Before digressing, I was attracted by the name of Catherine of Siena. She was a saint, a great woman, who endured plenty of hardships for the love of Christ. She is assumed to have died at the same age as our Lord Himself. And there are many great things that can be attributed to this model woman. But one of her accomplishment that I would like to highlight is that she has been declared a ‘Doctor of the Church’.
So who is a ‘Doctor of the church’? ‘In the Catholic Church, this title is given to a saint from whose writings the whole Church is said to have derived great advantage and to whom “eminent learning” and “great sanctity” have been attributed by a proclamation of a Pope or an ecumenical council. This honor is given rarely, and only after canonization.’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_of_the_Church). One of the prerequisites of canonization is that the person must have followed and preached sound theology. (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02364b.htm)
So bearing this in mind, I progressed to checking the website for this college (http://www.catherinecollege.net/).
Let’s ask them
What I found was that it propagated gender equity and studies in women empowerment. I found that unnecessary for me, but I thought for a while, and considering their supposed patron saint, it would be good to find out if they had any basis in catholic theology. And so I sent out a mail which reads as follows:-
From: Croydon D’souza email@example.com Date: Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 2:51 PM Subject: Course detail To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Sir/ Mam,
I am a resident of Mumbai, India and was interested in doing your courses. However, before I do so and encourage others to, I would be grateful if you could please answer the following:-
(1) Is the institution Roman Catholic?
(2) Has it been approved by either Vatican or any related institutions?
(3) Are the courses in strict compliance with the teachings of the magisterium?
Awaiting eagerly your reply to the same and will enroll for your courses as soon as I receive them.
And in turn I received a reply as follows:
Dear Mr. D’souza,
Thank you for your inquiry.
We are an academic college teaching women and gender studies. We are not a theological institute.
All the best,
Anyone will agree with me that an institute of repute and clean hands will not brush aside some of the pertinent questions put to them.
The above response was sufficient enough for me to not pursue any courses with them as I was interested in only that which had the approval of the official church.
Bad friends spoil good morals
This did not end here, my suspicions of the college were further confirmed when I carried another investigation and it led me to this site: http://www.womenpriests.org/default.asp . As a theologian friend of mine affirmed it; it is a site of the HERETICS.
Now for the benefit of those who don’t know; women’s ordination to the priesthood is a complete and definite NO- NO as per the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. The Catholic Church has issued a definitive statement on this subject which rules out further debate on this subject in any form. I urge the readers to click on the following link so that they may learn for themselves and understand on their own: – 39.
So when I did visit this site and followed the tabs as follows: – Navigate → Links→ Gender Studies→ and what do you have here, Catherine of Siena virtual college. So this college is affiliated to a site that is undoubtedly propagating the heresy of women priests. Also to add further, I found that the Indian promoter of this college has contributed to this site too: http://www.womenpriests.org/classic4/promoting-the-value-of-the-girl-child.asp .
Now, going back to my first description of the Saint, Catherine of Siena, as being somebody who upheld the sound doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church and hence her canonization. And here we have a college apparently named after her, and seems to be doing just the opposite.
If that was the case then I can’t understand why they did not name this institute after some secular personality or feminist or after Karl Marx the first of those who sowed the vicious seed of gender equity.
May I draw your attention to the recent catholic Document ‘Theology Today: Perspective ,Principles and Criteria’
While the document seeks to explain that theology should be based in scripture, In point 14, there is an important assertion that reads as follows:
14. ‘False prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions’ (2Pet 2:1). The New Testament shows abundantly that, from the very beginnings of the Church, certain people have proposed a ‘heretical’ interpretation of the faith held in common, an interpretation opposed to the Apostolic Tradition) ……Heresy thus not only distorts the Gospel, it also damages ecclesial communion. ‘Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same’. Those guilty of such obstinacy against the teaching of the Church substitute their own judgment for obedience to the word of God (the formal motive of faith), the fides qua. Heresy serves as a reminder that the communion of the Church can only be secured on the basis of the Catholic faith in its integrity, and prompts the Church to an ever-deeper search for truth in communion.
CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE – EMPOWERING WOMEN IN FAITH AND MINISTRY
What a HUMBUG!!!!!!
My further research led me to this link: – http://www.womenpriests.org/net/nl/internet.asp which had the same title as above. And though it may seem an ‘Empowering’ statement, I was not sure of its intentions.
To break it up, ‘Empowering women in faith’, which faith???? When I visited the link of COSV college (http://www.catherinecollege.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51&Itemid=53 ), under their tab; ‘About our College’ → ‘History’→, I found they had this to say about a book written by the first president of their college (quote): “It weaves into an interconnected whole ideas from many different religious and ethnic traditions – Hindu, Sufi, Islamic, Korean, Jewish, Yoruba – and many different theological traditions – liberation and feminist theology and eco-theology. Her work in Liberation Theology is underpinned by a long involvement in the desert state of Rajasthan, as co-founder of the charity, Wells for India” (unquote)
After reading the above, do I need to give any more clarification to the so called ‘FAITH’ which they claim to promote?
So my question remains: Which faith does this college intends to empower women in?
The second point ‘Empowering women in ministry’, is
which and what ministry?
On the homepage of the website for COSV college, they introduce some of the courses offered such as ,’ Violence against women’ Global realities and responses’ , ‘Women writing’ , Changing lives: Ecology, women and the future of the earth’; ‘ The sexual abuse of women in the catholic church’.
On further probe on these issues covered by the courses, I found that there is no reference to Vatican, or scripture, or Catholic Tradition in their theologizing to indicate in any way that these are Catholic issues. They may seem to be ministries that interest secular organizations or NGOs, but definitely not the Catholic Church. So eventually, which ministry will the takers of this course be empowered for? Definitely not a catholic ministry!!
And if it is not catholic, then it is better practiced outside the bounds of the church.
Moreover, my pursuit of this noxious issue has made me understand that those who are active contributors and promoting this institution and their courses, are by default, people who are militating for the ‘Ordination of Women’. These in turn are bent on the destruction of the sacred institution of the Catholic Church which is founded on infallible scripture, doctrine and tradition (Dei Verbum).
Let’s go home
This is the very church that our Lord has instituted under the authority of St Peter and the very church which has fostered and acknowledged the men and women, both martyrs and confessors, who have given their lives in order to learn and uphold the teachings of this faith
It is a travesty of justice and betrayal of the Lord and his Church, when one outwardly claims to be a catholic and feeds at the table of the Lord as Judas did, and then goes about proclaiming the equity of gender based ideologies rooted in Marxist, Liberationist, Relativistic and Universalist ideologies rather than the sound doctrine of Christ.
May the Lord have mercy on the many women and religious men and women who may have fallen prey by the devious cunningness of such heretics.
APRIL 4, 2012, UPDATE
1. Posted by Susan, April 2, 2012
Catherine of Sienna Virtual College is not a College but a social network (Catherine of Sienna Network) to execute hidden planning and attack Roman Catholic Church on Ordination of Priest.
2. Posted by Francis Lobo, April 3, 2012
Catherine of Sienna Virtual College (CoSVC) is nothing but right wing of women priests movement for campaigning women priests in the Catholic Church through the internet world.
From the above link it is clear that CoSVC is linked with Housetop which is founded by John Wijngaards, a former Catholic priest, Liberal theologian and a founder of women priests movement.
They need a CEO for campaigning for the Ordination of Women in the Roman Catholic Church and for CoSVC and the CEO should be women. They conduct their projects mainly through the Internet that is through Catherine of Siena Virtual College and women priests movement websites. CoSVC also promotes other women priest ordination movements
John Wijngaards is a Manager, Director of Catherine of Siena network, who is also founder of women priest movement, and Housetop. This is nothing but “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Vatican should take action on this before it is too late.
3. Posted by Sunil, April 3, 2012
If you dig, I am sure you can find big fishes supporting Catherine of Siena Virtual College movements.
4. Posted by Francis Lobo, April 4, 2012
Women priest organization already invaded the Indian Church through Catherine of Siena Virtual College. Attack is already begun. Bishops as well as Laity wake up. They are associated with Indian Seminaries\Colleges and Universities. How Catherine of Siena Virtual College (CoSVC) got entry to India? Who is the Indian point of Contact?
They are associated with
1) Christ University, Bangalore, India 2) Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore, India 3) Fr. Agnel College of Arts and Commerce, Goa, India
4) Payap University, McGilvary College of Divinity, Chiang Mai, Thailand. They are also currently exploring accreditation through various universities in the UK.
was formerly Christ College (Autonomous) affiliated to Bangalore University. Established in 1969, with a view to blend sacred and secular education, by the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), the first indigenous religious congregation of India, in 2004, UGC has conferred Autonomy to Christ College. Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (DVK) is a Pontifical Athenaeum for higher learning and formation, established by the Congregation for Catholic Education, Vatican, as an independent institute, empowered to grant degrees, including Licentiate and Doctorate in Philosophy and Theology, Licentiate in Oriental Canon Law and Master’s in Formative Spirituality and Counselling. Fr. Agnel College of Arts and Commerce was established in June 1991 by Xaverian [sic] Educational Society, Pilar, belonging to the Society of the Missionaries of the St. Francis Xavier, which is commonly known as the Society of Pilar…
2. Look at this:
Catherine of Siena Virtual College
share the same URL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3. The problem and the accompanying danger to the Catholic Church in India is far more serious and immediate than I thought it was.
The following is from a Jesuit monthly, Jivan, known for its liberalism and overt promotion of New Age. Expect a separate report from me on Jivan.
The way men treat women in the Church:
Gender Relations: Reflections and recommendations
JIVAN, News and Views of Jesuits in India, January 2012, Pages 16 and 17:
Excerpts from the Statement issued after a National Consultation on “Gender Relations in the Church: A Call to
Wholeness and Equal Discipleship” on 13-15 August 2011 in Mumbai. Forty-three women and men active in Church ministry attended the Consultation organised jointly by Streevani [see page 43 ff. 52], Satyashodhak, Indian Women’s Theological Forum and Montfort Social Institute:
There is an urgent need for the Church to be self-critical and to reclaim the servant leadership model mandated by Jesus through the washing of the feet in the Eucharistic ritual. Such servant leadership is centrifugal in nature and recognizes only brothers and sisters or friends. It empowers everyone to be a leader, including women, who sadly are forbidden to have their feet washed on Maundy Thursday. It is not based on the worldly principles of higher or lower, autocracy or democracy, patriarchy or kyriarchy, exclusion or inclusion but on the divine principle of charism given to a person to offer kenotic or self-emptying service for the sake of the kingdom. All are called equally to such leadership (Acts 2:16-18), and to whom it should be given cannot be pre-determined by any social system without infringing on the right to deny leadership in the Church to one who has the charism to be a leader simply because she is born a woman.
By depriving women of leadership positions the hierarchical structure of the Church creates in women’s psyche the characteristics of subordination, passivity, servitude, dependency, unquestioning obedience and vulnerability. This is compounded by the arrogation of power down the centuries which has created in the male psyche the belief in its innate superiority, wisdom and decision-making capability while engendering in the female psyche a belief in its inferiority, ‘foolishness’ and indecisiveness.
The starting point of a gender sensitive approach is a questioning of the accepted beliefs and practices related to gender stereotyping, with a view to laying bare the ideology of male domination ingrained therein.
Since equal partnership in a male-dominated, hierarchical structure is not possible, women have to negotiate partnership in the Church.
As long as the Church remains fundamentally unequal, changes can be initiated by de-linking ordination and governance and vesting the people of God, called together by Christ, with administrative and juridical powers by virtue of their baptism (1Cor 3-13).
Additionally, the early tradition of women deacons in the Church can be restored. Since “Sacred Orders” includes diaconal ordination, women could then be included in decision-making.
To work towards a Church that reflects more truthfully the mind of Christ, where women and men work together, without gender or ministry dictated hierarchies, towards the building of the Reign of God, we propose:
1. A progressive deconstruction of existing hierarchical structures to form more inclusive and participative ones in keeping with the prophetic spirit of Jesus. This can be achieved by demythologising and demystifying concepts like the priesthood and hierarchy, encouraging the belief that ‘we are the church’, and formation at different levels for equal discipleship.
Strategies for implementation could include:
§ Modules on gender relations for seminarians and trainees at all levels in the Church.
§ Broad-based theological formation of the faithful that covers human rights issues and social responsibility, by faculty that includes the non-ordained.
§ Transforming/reforming existing theological formation by appointing and affirming faculty that is critical, liberative and prophetic.
§ Promoting online formation programmes such as the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College Courses […]
Women in the Church are doubly vulnerable, when faced with an all-male hierarchy of power. There is potential for emotional and sexual exploitation with no efficient forum for redressal. Approaching civil courts is often resisted because of a sense of betrayal of the Church and difficulty in proving allegations.
There is an urgent need to demythologise male privilege and power, especially in the priesthood, which leave women powerless. The absence of a language to name violence and abuse has silenced women. They are left with a sense of guilt to suffer the burden of the “sin”.
To ensure a swifter mechanism of redress for victims of sexual abuse as well as to create awareness of the severity of the problem we advocate:
1. A Code of Conduct for Church personnel to be drawn up, circulated and implemented.
2. The institution of independent, woman-headed and women-centric investigating and grievance redressal commissions/committees similar to those mandated by the government (e.g. Vishakha guidelines), in all parishes/dioceses to enable victims to seek justice. A CBCI Commission to oversee these. […]
Sent by Astrid L. Gajiwala
1. This record of the proceedings of the “National Consultation on “Gender Relations in the Church: A Call to
Wholeness and Equal Discipleship” on 13-15 August 2011 in Mumbai” was submitted to JIVAN by Astrid Lobo Gajiwala [a separate detailed report on her activities follows shortly], a sister-disciple of Virginia Saldanha, both of whom are members of the three organizations “Streevani, Satyashodhak, Indian Women’s Theological Forum” that jointly organized the Consultation.
The Ecclesia of Women in Asia [EWA]
wing of the Indian Women’s Theological Forum is further represented at the Consultation by both Astrid Lobo Gajiwala and Virginia Saldanha, and by a few other EWA religious sisters [nuns]. So it is clear as to who was setting the agenda at the Consultation: radical feminists. 42.
2. A fourth group at the Consultation was the “Montfort Social Institute“. I intend to include them in yet another separate detailed report on the pro-women’s ordination feminist lobby in the Indian Church, but a few words here are now necessary. Several Montfort religious brothers, the Brothers of St. Gabriel [SG], including those in the senior-most hierarchy of the Conference of Religious, India [CRI], are close associates and strong supporters of the feminist-theologians.
Hence, their unholy alliance to exploit the CBCI Gender Policy is not entirely surprising and unexpected.
3. A reading of the above extract from the Consultation will not set off any alarm bells in the mind of a casual reader. But, seen in the context of this and my other related reports, the picture is crystal clear.
Concentrate your reading on the lines that I have highlighted in red color in Astrid Lobo Gajiwala‘s submission, “The way men treat women in the Church“.
The goals of achieving foot-washing of women at the Eucharistic service on Maundy Thursday and the Ordination of women as Deacons, if achieved, are only rungs on the ladder that ends at Women Priests.
This suggestion is sly and cunning: “Additionally, the early tradition of women deacons in the Church can be restored. Since “Sacred Orders” includes diaconal ordination, women could then be included in decision-making.”
Since “Sacred Orders” are reserved for males, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala and her cohorts are thankfully excluded. As theologians, they should know that, or are they intentionally challenging the writ of Holy Church?
4. These people realize that they have to disseminate their heretical ideologies more widely in the Church in order to have a louder chorus of demands for women’s ordination, which is what has already happened in the West. Hence many of their “recommendations” especially that of poisoning the minds of seminarians.
Remember, when you read “gender relations”, “redressal of sexual abuse by priests”, etc. in their writings, think beyond them to their goal: “women’s ordination”. I have shown this, from their own blogs and articles, to be a fact. Their movement is an assault on the male priesthood instituted by Jesus Christ.
5. Last but not least, one strategy to be implemented is: “Promoting online formation programmes such as the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College Courses“. Catherine of Siena Virtual College as
we have seen is the same as the banned organization WomenPriests.
Bishop Agnelo Gracias of Bombay archdiocese was present at the above Consultation.
Also see page 71. Examine these two Streevani reports:
Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church [http://catholicethics.com/]
Streevani Conference Report
National Consultation on “Gender Relations in the Church: A call to wholeness & Equal Discipleship”.
Mumbai – August, 13–15, 2011
The Consultation was a follow up of the consultation organized by Streevani exactly a year ago, prompted by two important contemporary events in the Church:
1) The publication of The Gender Policy of the Catholic Church in India, by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (2010).
2) The unprecedented crisis in the universal Church triggered by revelations in the public domain of cases of pedophilia and sex abuse.
This Consultation jointly organized by Streevani (Voice of Women), Satyashodak, Montfort Social Institute and Indian Women Theologians’ Forum was held at Anugraha, Holy Spirit Hospital Compound, Mahakali Caves Road, Mumbai, from 13–15August 2011. The Theme was “Gender Relations in the Church: A call to wholeness & Equal Discipleship”.
The participants were of a fair representation of the different sectors of the church. There were 42 in all, of whom 29 were women and 13 men. Among these participants there were persons who are in leadership positions in the church such as Bishop Agnelo Gracias,
Auxiliary Bishop of the Bombay Archdiocese,
Bro. K.M. Joseph SG., the President of the National CRI, Sr. Helen Saldhana [sic], Secretary, Women’s Commission, Provincial Superiors, Theologians, Formators, Grass Roots Activists, Feminist thinkers, People involved in education, Health care, Media, Psychologists, Lawyers and a host of other professionals.
Bro. Varghese Theckanath S.G, in the context of situating the Consultation and its Dynamics explained the four-fold purpose:
1. To understand sexual abuse from a legal perspective
2. To study sexual abuse in the church from a morality and psycho-sexual paradigm
3. To analyze the structural implications for the church in creating a more just gender relations
4. To formulate recommendations for the different sectors of the Church in negotiating wholeness and equal discipleship.
Inaugural messages were given by Rt. Rev. Agnelo Gracias and Bro. Joseph. K.M, the President of National CRI, and Sr. Pauline Pereira, the Assistant Superior General of the Missionary Sisters of the Servants of the Holy Spirit, Rome.
Dr. Joseph M.T. SVD, while situating the theme of the consultation “Gender Relations in the Church: A call to wholeness & Equal Discipleship”, explained that as committed members of the Catholic Church in India, as women and men disciples of Jesus, the onus is on us today to engage in the following: 43.
a) Familiarize with the new frontiers of Gender equality and justice carved out in the civic sphere.
b) To look at the deeply entrenched ideas and practices in the church today.
c) To have the courage to face with an outstanding sense of honesty and integrity the cases of abuses of power by men.
d) Explore the ways in which the maximum of equal discipleship can become a reality, etc.
Eminent resource persons helped the participants to deepen their knowledge on the following topics:
1. Dr. Tony Da Silva, SJ, dwelt on the topic “Understanding Sexuality, intimacy and Human relationship in Consecrated life”.
2. Advocate Flavia Agnes explained the Indian law.
3. Dr Shaji George Kochuthara CMI presented the paper on Official Response to the sexual abuse scandal in the Church: A critical appreciation and analysis.
4. Ms Virginia Saldhana spoke on Sexual abuses as a crime: Global perspectives.
5. Dr. Shalini Mulackal, PBVM presented her paper on understanding the Morality of Sexual Abuse.
6. Dr. Jacob Parappally MSFS explained The Theological basis of Hierarchical structures in the Church – Implications for Gender Relations.
7. Dr. Rosamma John ICM spoke on the Psychology of Hierarchical structures in the Church – Implications for Gender Relations.
8. Dr. Julian Saldanha SJ moderated the panel on Negotiating Partnership in the Church. The members of the Panel were the following:
1. Dr Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, Scientist & Feminist Writer.
2. Sr Jyoti Pinto BS, (Former Mother General of Bethany Sisters)
3. Dr Paul Raj SG, Provincial Superior.
4. Mr Joseanthony Joseph, Married Theologian.
Is Bishop Agnelo Gracias not aware of the WomenPriests agenda of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College and its Indian promoters Virginia Saldanha and Astrid Lobo Gajiwala?
Read the Statement
National Consultation on GENDER RELATIONS IN THE CHURCH: A CALL TO WHOLENESS AND EQUAL DISCIPLESHIP Mumbai – August, 13 – 15, 2011
1.1. As a follow-up of the commitment made at the 1st Consultation on Gender Relations in the Church “to wipe away every tear (Rev 21:4) and bring healing and wholeness,” forty-three women and men active in Church ministry gathered at the 2nd Consultation organised jointly by Streevani, Satyashodhak, Indian Women’s Theological Forum and Montfort Social Institute, to reflect on “Gender Relations in the Church: A Call to Wholeness and Equal Discipleship.“
1.2. This Consultation sought to deepen the discussions begun at the 1st Consultation which focused on the Gender Policy of the Catholic Church of India and the need for a policy to address sexual abuse in the Church in India. Thus it examined the structural implications for the Church in promoting gender just relations, the moral and legal consequences of sexual abuse, and the psycho-sexual paradigm that supports clergy sexual misconduct.
2. Reflections on Structures in the Church for Equal Partnership
2.1. We began by acknowledging that leadership in the Church is divinely instituted and vested with authority that is exercised as servant leadership in the community of brothers and sisters. However, we also realized that in keeping with the self-understanding of the Church that it is a continuation of the Old Testament community of faith, namely, Israel, the structure of the early Church was modelled after the prevalent patriarchal and hierarchical structure that privileged men over women, children, strangers, and slaves.
2.2. This was counter to Jesus’ own practice that was a continuation of the prophetic tradition which stood against substituting cult or power structures, whether religious or secular, for ordering right relationship with God and among human beings. “But it shall not be so among you” (Mk 10:43) is not an advice but a command equally valid as “love one another” and “go out to the whole world proclaiming the good news” (Mt 28:18). Not surprisingly, the word hierarchy is not found in the New Testament.
2.3. We further acknowledged that a proper theological understanding of the leadership structure in the Church dictates that it should be a re-affirmation of the equality of all humans because they are created in the image and likeness of God, the Absolute communion of equals in whom there is no higher or lower.
2.4. Given this context, the hierarchical structure of the Church can be justified only if it is understood in terms of self-emptying, servant-leadership of the people of God (Mt 20:25-28). Wrongly understood it becomes a social order of increasing access to, and exercise of power, giving priests legitimacy to dominate and control, especially women, who are excluded from its ranks. Discrimination and subjugation are constitutive of such a hierarchy, making it one of the major challenges to equal discipleship in the Church.
2.5. There is an urgent need for the Church to be self-critical and to reclaim the servant leadership model mandated by Jesus through the washing of the feet in the Eucharistic ritual. Such servant leadership is centrifugal in nature and recognizes only brothers and sisters or friends. 44.
It empowers everyone to be a leader, including women, who sadly are forbidden to have their feet washed on Maundy Thursday. It is not based on the worldly principles of higher or lower, autocracy or democracy, patriarchy or kyriarchy, exclusion or inclusion but on the divine principle of charism given to a person to offer kenotic or self-emptying service for the sake of the kingdom. All are called equally to such leadership (Acts 2:16-18), and to whom it should be given cannot be pre-determined by any social system without infringing on the right of God to be God. No one has the right to deny leadership in the Church to one who has the charism to be a leader simply because she is born a woman.
2.6. By depriving women of leadership positions the hierarchical structure of the Church creates in women’s psyche the characteristics of subordination, passivity, servitude, dependency, unquestioning obedience and vulnerability. This is compounded by the arrogation of power down the centuries which has created in the male psyche the belief in its innate superiority, wisdom and decision-making capability while engendering in the female psyche a belief in its inferiority, ‘foolishness’ and indecisiveness.
2.7. The starting point of a gender-sensitive approach is a questioning of the accepted beliefs and practices related to gender stereotyping, with a view to laying bare the ideology of male domination ingrained therein.
2.8. Also imperative is a sincere introspection on the concepts of power and hierarchy in the Church and secular society. Awareness of internal conditioning is a prerequisite to change. Education – both religious and secular – of women and men to overcome generations of power imbalance is crucial. The need to recognise that both women and men are victims of this imbalance and both need to change is crucial for true partnership to evolve.
2.9. Since equal partnership in a male-dominated, hierarchical structure is not possible, women have to negotiate partnership in the Church. Negotiation however, can only be from a position of strength which comes from theological knowledge, high self-esteem and independence from the Church. Thus there is an urgent need for the non-ordained, especially women religious, to empower themselves with theology so that they can critique, question and redefine their place in the Church. The need to break the myth that ordination makes one superior and advantaged is a vital aspect of this process.
2.10. As long as the Church remains fundamentally unequal, changes can be initiated by de-linking ordination and governance and vesting the people of God, called together by Christ, with administrative and juridical powers by virtue of their baptism (1Cor 3-13).
Additionally, the early tradition of women deacons in the Church can be restored. Since “Sacred Orders” includes diaconal ordination, women could then be included in decision-making.
To work towards a Church that reflects more truthfully the mind of Christ, where women and men work together, without gender or ministry dictated hierarchies, towards the building of the Reign of God, we propose:
1. A progressive deconstruction of existing hierarchical structures to form more inclusive and participative ones in keeping with the prophetic spirit of Jesus. This can be achieved by demythologising and demystifying concepts like the priesthood and hierarchy, encouraging the belief that ‘we are the church’, and formation at different levels for equal discipleship.
Strategies for implementation could include:
· Modules on gender relations for seminarians and trainees at all levels in the Church.
· Broad-based theological formation of the faithful that covers human rights issues and social responsibility, by faculty that includes the non-ordained.
· Transforming/reforming existing theological formation by appointing and affirming faculty that is critical, liberative and prophetic.
· Promoting online formation programmes such as the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College Courses
· Continual and ongoing formation.
· Formation for priests and religious that is integrated with society to make it socially relevant and responsible.
· Fostering leadership in the Church and society at the grassroots levels through appropriate formation.
2. Formation of Advocacy or Task groups
Think-tanks of different types (amorphous, parish based, religious, interest groups, etc.) to share ideas, spread awareness and network.
· Counter-movements through a federation of like-minded groups.
3. Using media and technology to create awareness and advocate for changes in existing structures.
4. Broadening the understanding of Church and mission by engaging in civic and social issues as part of our Christian calling to bring about the Reign of God.
4. Reflections on Sexual Abuse
4.1. The starting point for our reflections on sexual abuse in the Church was the understanding of human sexuality, intimacy and relationships within the context of consecrated and priestly life. A positive, developmental perspective of the human person formed the basis of our discussion, and the potential for danger to and difficulty in remaining true to our calling to fidelity, that is inherent in our sexual nature, was highlighted. Consequently it was stressed that within consecrated and priestly life proper boundary markers must be laid out in relationships to provide a helpful road map in navigating the inevitable emotional ups and downs.
4.2. The strong link between intimacy and identity was emphasised. Since intimacy is relational, we can only relate well to the other if we first know who we are. 45.
Within consecrated and priestly life this would entail recognising and owning multiple identities such as one’s genital (male/female) identity, gender identity (masculinity/femininity) and religious sex role identity (Brother/Sister/Priest).
4.3. Culture and religion play important roles in shaping identity. Seminary/religious formation tends to give those being formed readymade identities which may not always be appropriate for the different stages of religious life or to the particular individual, resulting in internal conflict and distorted religious sex role identities. This coupled with the way authority is exercised in the Church leads to an imbalance of power that allows the possibility of sexual abuse.
4.4. Women in the Church are doubly vulnerable, when faced with an all-male hierarchy of power. There is potential for emotional and sexual exploitation with no efficient forum for redressal. Approaching civil courts is often resisted because of a sense of betrayal of the Church and difficulty in proving allegations.
4.5. Despite the Church’s mandate to be prophetic, it is civil law that has led the way in recognising and creating mechanisms to redress the abuse of women. In doing so it has challenged the Church to fulfil its own call to “act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly before God” (Micah 6:8).
4.6. The media glare, on the horror of clerical paedophilia while it brought many issues to the fore, left the sexual abuse of women out of public consciousness. Often, such abuse is overlooked because it purportedly entails consensual sex between adults. This approach fails to consider the unequal power equation that renders the woman’s consent invalid. This sinister blend of sexuality and power traps women in a web woven by the imposed belief that the same religious structures that exploit them can resolve issues of violence against them. Predator priests have cleverly spiritualised abuse of their victims leaving them feeling confused, condemned, betrayed and in a crisis of faith.
4.7. Often the Church remains silent on issues concerning women and leaves women with no recourse but to bear the crime stoically or seek legal relief. While there has been recognition of the problem by the hierarchy, the response has been largely defensive, safeguarding the reputation and interests of the institution. There is little consciousness of the responsibility of abetting a crime and sin. The lack of accountability with regard to action for justice, the tendency to place the clergy outside the ethical and legal frameworks that govern professionals in society, the hiding of a crime with the cloak of sin that demands only forgiveness instead of lawful retribution, and the evasion of responsibility towards the victim has left the faithful disillusioned and angry with Church authorities.
4.8. Although the responsibility of those who are personally involved cannot be ignored, what has become increasingly clear is the failure of the system and structure of the Church to ensure ethical behaviour and response. Clericalism, the hierarchical structure and the assumption of ‘divine’ power are at the root of the problem and must be deconstructed. 95.
4.9. The criminal nature of sexual abuse needs to be acknowledged and addressed in addition to its sinfulness. Women victims must be advised and helped to pursue criminal and civil remedies. Women and men must be formed into believing that they are not betraying the Church by doing so. They must be taught to believe that they actually have a Christian duty to do so and that failure to do so is a serious sin and will eventually harm the credibility of the church.
4.10. Informal interviews have shown that entrants to clerical and religious life can also be sexual abuse survivors, and studies in psychology have shown that these run the risk of becoming abusers themselves.
4.11. Victims of sexual abuse harbour anger, depression, shame and guilt that frequently last a lifetime and prevent normal human relationships. This lasting impact points to the grave sin and crime of sexual abuse. If the perpetrator is a priest it amounts to a double betrayal, as a trusted religious leader becomes the predator, destroying the victim’s God-given dignity and freedom as well as belief in God.
4.12. There is an urgent need to demythologise male privilege and power, especially in the priesthood, which leave women powerless. The absence of a language to name violence and abuse has silenced women. They are left with a sense of guilt to suffer the burden of the “sin”.
To ensure a swifter mechanism of redress for victims of sexual abuse as well as to create awareness of the severity of the problem we advocate:
1. A Code of Conduct for Church personnel to be drawn up, circulated and implemented.
2. The institution of independent, woman-headed and women-centric investigating and grievance redressal commissions/committees similar to those mandated by the government (e.g. Vishakha guidelines), in all parishes/dioceses to enable victims to seek justice. A CBCI Commission to oversee these.
3. Youth to be made aware of the code of conduct for Church personnel and the measures to be taken to protect oneself from possible sexual abuse in the Church. Easy access to professional help to be provided to youth struggling with clergy sexual abuse.
4. Formation programmes for women and men in parishes, through the CBCI Commission for Women, Justice and Peace Commission, and Family Commission, to create awareness of the Code of Conduct and the need to guard against abuse.
5. Relevant formation and training programmes in formation houses of men and women that provide opportunities for healing and holistic development of the human person.
6. Networking of various Church-based and secular groups involved with women’s issues to provide fora for counselling, support to claim redress in the Church, advocacy and legal aid.
7. The setting up of fora comprising committed Christian activists who will follow-up cases of sexual abuse and, if all remedies fail, initiate civil suits and public protests.
6. Our Commitment
In the light of our deliberations and recommendations, we felt an urgent need to:
1. Strengthen the prophetic spirit in ourselves. 46.
2. Explore how the New Way of Being Church (FABC PA V, Bandung 1990), which the CBCI and most dioceses have adopted as their pastoral priority, can help facilitate partnership and
change the hierarchical structures in the Church.
3. Use media and new technology to network and explore ways in which equal discipleship can become a reality.
4. Promote the education of the non-ordained including women religious, in theology and philosophy.
5. Create spaces and opportunities for critique of the ways in which power is exercised and misused in the Church, and priesthood and hierarchy in the Church are mythologised.
6. Build advocacy groups for renewal of victims, and redressal of grievances related to gender justice, violence against women and sexual abuse.
7. Make formation of seminarians and religious more holistic and grounded in “the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the (women and) men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted” (Gaudium et Spes, 1).
8. Ongoing formation in gender sensitivity for those already ordained and professed, to address issues of gender justice and clergy sexual abuse.
This Consultation was meant to be productive not just polemic. It brought together those who love the Church and wish to see it grow and prosper in the image of Jesus Christ in whom all are equal in dignity, respect and responsibility (Gal 3:28). It focused on the structures that need to be deconstructed for equal discipleship to become a reality in the church. At the same time it examined a serious problem in the Church today, one that has assumed critical dimensions: clergy sexual abuse. It looked at these issues with a critical mind but also with a warm heart, tracing their roots and suggesting alternatives for change.
We believe that the Spirit of God, that Spirit of wisdom and love, can animate all of us to rekindle in the Church the mission of Jesus who came that women and men, the ordained and non-ordained, the mighty and the lowly, all may have life, life in all its fullness (John 10:10).
“Gender Relations in the Church: A call to Integrity and Justice”, August 15, 2010, Pune initiated by Streevani.
A co-responsible & participatory church which functions as a communion of communities (small Christian communities).
See MY COMMENTS on page 42 and 43; ditto here, plus additional comments on 6a. below.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ON 6a., the known participants of the Consultation
1. As pointed out by me on different occasions in this report, the Conference of Religious, India or CRI, is presently dominated by the Montfort brothers, the Brothers of St. Gabriel who use the suffix SG. Prominent among them are Bro. Mani Mekkunnel, present national secretary of the
Conference of Religious India, Bro. K.M. Joseph,
the current president of the CRI, and Bro. Varghese Theckanath, former president of the CRI.
Including Bro. Paul Raj, THERE ARE THREE MONTFORT BROTHERS AT THIS CONSULTATION!!!!
They are all sympathizers and ardent supporters of the feminist lobby. Their statements will be analysed in an upcoming article in this series. But, read a small example here;
In my report THEOLOGIANS LAMBAST THE FEBRUARY 3, 2003 VATICAN DOCUMENT ON ‘NEW AGE’, http://ephesians-511.net/docs/THEOLOGIANS_LAMBAST_THE_VATICAN_DOCUMENT_ON_THE_NEW_AGE.doc,
commenting on Bro. Theckanath‘s call to the church to “End ‘Double Speak’ On Gender Justice” adding that “The Catholic Church remains “one of the most patriarchal of institutions”,” I had warned, and that was back in June 2011, long before I contemplated writing this report:
THE READER MUST ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND THAT
– THE FIGHT AGAINST “GENDER DISCRIMINATION” AND FOR “GENDER JUSTICE” IS A JUST ONE
– THE REAL AGENDA OF THE RING LEADERS OF THE STRUGGLE IS FOR THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN
2. Flavia Agnes
is a women’s rights lawyer who became a student of law after enduring 13 years of an abusive marriage and surviving a messy divorce. She is not even Catholic, but belongs to the India Evangelical Lutheran Church. She has crossed swords with the Catholic Church on several occasions, and she is an anti-life pro-abortionist feminist. For just one instance, check out
3. Dr. Shaji George Kochuthara CMI email@example.com
is from the Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram [DVK],
We will see in the following pages that the
Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram
has a tie-up with the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College. It is not surprising that he was DVK representative at the Consultation.
5. Feminist theologian Dr. Shalini Mulackal, PBVM is with EWA since their very first conference [pages 7, 33].
6. Dr. Jacob Parappally MSFS is a sympathizer of the feminist lobby. See pages 57, 58.
7. Dr. Rosamma John ICM already figures in several of my articles and reports. An example follows.
She is a Ph. D., a Clinical Psychologist who is into a host of New-Agey psycho-spiritual techniques and is in great demand to give such courses.
The Phenomenon of Healing
by Sr. Rosamma John ICM Issues-Health column, The New Leader February 1-15, 2002
“From time immemorial… many shamans were doing the great act of healing the sick. Even today, in some parts of the world, people have great faith in the healing power of these persons who use mantras, prayers, and other impressive rituals to capture the… unconscious mind of the patient… 47.
It takes a good and creative shaman to invent tools which can communicate to the unconscious mind, bypassing the conscious/ rational mind…
In recent years we have witnessed the Potta phenomenon attracting large crowds. Other such phenomena are hypnosis*, faith healing, Pranic Healing, Reiki, the use of pendulum, crystals*, and so on… I believe in the power of these tools to heal many of the illnesses… I have done experimental research using Pranic Healing…
We are familiar with various concepts used in these types of healing such as energy fields, chakras*, prana, bioplasmic body, etc. Dr. Rammurti Mishra, a Swami, spiritual teacher… says that chakras in yogic* tradition are not to be confused with any actual physical body… Through the chakras, mind stuff is able to operate upon the anatomical parts and physiological activities… Through meditation*, chakras are brought into awareness. Later on, the Theosophical tradition* has detailed chakras vividly giving forms and colours…
The healer can suggest good or bad outcomes (e.g. black magic) and make it a reality in the mind of the patient… Suggestion given in Altered States of Consciousness* [ASC] is more effective…”
*all starred items are listed in the February 3, 2003 Vatican Document on the New Age, from which I quote:
The shaman is often seen as the specialist of altered states of consciousness, one who is able to mediate between the transpersonal realms of spirits and gods and the world of humans. #2.2.3 Health: Golden living.
8. Dr. Julian Saldanha SJ a professor of theology at St. Pius X seminary in Mumbai is well-known for his 1985 book, Inculturation. He is an ardent proponent of the squatting Indian rite Mass which opened the door to much innovation and Hinduisation.
– Sr Jyoti Pinto BS, Former Mother General of Bethany Sisters is notorious for her “India prayer based on the Scriptures of the different religions“.
UPDATE, APRIL 5, 2012
1. A LETTER TO THIS MINISTRY FROM CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE, COPY TO JOHN WIJNGAARDS OF WOMENPRIESTS [SEE ALSO PAGES 10, 11]
From: Aaron Rose-Milavec <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: John Wijngaards <email@example.com>; Name withheld3;
Cc: Deborah Rose-Milavec <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 1:57 AM Subject: Re: courses
Start here to explore our April 2012 courses!
Check here to see the reviews of former students who have completed one or more of our courses. […]
Seminar #2 The Gender Policy of the Catholic Church in India
In September 2009 the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India officially approved The Gender Policy of the Catholic Church of India which officially rejected discrimination against women of all types as “contrary to God’s intent and purpose (p. xi).” According to the document:
The Christian understanding of gender equality is based on the biblical account of creation….Equality between women and men is seen both as a human rights issue and as a pre-condition for, and indicator of, sustainable people-centred development.
In spite of man and woman being created equal by God, unfortunately, both in history and in today’s world there is gross discrimination against women. Still worse, justifications are given for discriminating between man and woman, boy and girl. Sometimes this is also done on the grounds of religious tradition.
In this seminar we will explore the background for the construction of the document, its content and implications for the Catholic Church in India, the extent to which it has been implemented and next steps for the future.
Moderator: Deborah Rose-Milavec, M. Div.
This course includes a 90-minute online chatroom discussion on Thursdays for four consecutive weeks at 09:00 New York time [=18:30 India time] + 180-200 90 minutes of study/writing/exchanges each week at times convenient to yourself. Cost=$40 (special price for new course) or scholarship. […] 48.
WomenPriests sure are concentrating on India. They are doing this through the medium of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College of which Virginia Saldanha is the Registrar. Their springboard is “The Gender Policy of the Catholic Church in India“. Catholics may experience a sense of legitimacy — and complacency — believing that they are going to be studying a CBCI document, only to end up being recruited as the new Indian frontline of WomenPriests.org. This will translate into more feminist and pro-women’s ordination letters and articles in the Catholic media and more pressure on the bishops.
But we have been very naïve in imagining that the Catherine of Siena Virtual College is only spreading its tentacles in the Indian Church since very recently.
Recognizing the strategic importance of Kerala state which has a high concentration of Catholics, translations of WomenPriests texts into Malayalam is already being undertaken, see http://www.womenpriests.org/circles/tm.aspx?high=&m=10077&mpage=3#26545.
Out of approximately 1,200,000 visitors from 229 countries to the WomenPriests site, around 470,000 are from the USA, 87,000 from the UK and about 22,000 from India which ranks 11. That number is bound to increase dramatically.
The Catherine of Siena Virtual College founded 2005, started its operations sometime mid- 2007 with three courses, increasing them to six in 2008. Now we find that it established its presence in India in 2009!
2. CHRIST COLLEGE, CHRIST UNIVERSITY AND DHARMARAM VIDYA KSHETRAM [DVK] IN BANGALORE, FR. AGNEL COLLEGE OF ARTS AND COMMERCE IN GOA, AND THEIR AFFILIATION WITH WOMENPRIESTS/CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE
The Department of Sociology, Christ University, Bangalore
The Department of Sociology was one of the first Departments to be established at Christ College, now Christ University, Bangalore… offers two Certificate Programs, one on Corporate Social Responsibility and one on Womens Issues in collaboration with Catherine of Siena College (CSVC), USA
2009: First international collaboration. Certificate program on Womens Issues in collaboration with CSVC, USA
Certificate Course in Women’s Issues
http://www.christuniversity.in/Sociology/progdetails.php?division=Deanery%20of%20Humanities%20and%20Social%20Sciences%20&dept=37&prid=302#cr, http://test.christuniversity.in/progdetails.php?prid=306, and
* The Department of Sociology offers this Certificate Course in collaboration with Catherine of Siena Virtual College, USA
* A unique course offered on a cloud campus
* Computer assisted course
* Conducted using Moodle, a Learning Management System
* Evaluation takes place by the facilitators in USA and the Coordinator from the Department
Centre for Social Action [CSA], Christ University
Partners who Support Our Movement
Catherine of Siena Virtual College, USA
How to obtain a Certificate
In order to obtain a certificate from Catherine College and/or academic credit from DVK or Christ University that testifies that you have graduated from one of our Honors Courses, you will need… […]
Dear Mary Ellen,
At the moment, our courses receive academic credit at DVK and Christ University (in Bangalore, India) and at Payap University and McGilvary College of Divinity (in Chiang Mai, Thailand) due to our sharing programs. We are currently exploring accreditation through various universities in the UK.
As of now, we do not offer any independently accredited degrees. You will want to check with the university under consideration regarding their ability to accredit our course (and course hours) since each university has its own standards in this regard.
Finally, all our academic courses require a final project if one wishes to receive a Certificate or academic credit.
Peace and joy in the adventure of learning,
Dr. Aaron Milavec, 2739 Queenswood Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45211
Vice-President – Catherine of Siena Virtual College
In our Shared Research & Internet Learning on Gender Program (SHARING), Catherine of Siena Virtual College supplements the syllabus of a local college by offering a selection of courses on gender studies.
Catherine of Siena Virtual College
Presents a list of specialized internet courses on gender that widens every year
Provides faculty and tutors that enable enrolled students to engage in interactive study and evaluation
Any partnering college or university
Selects which courses on the list to offer to its students as part of its own syllabus as essential or elective courses.
Provides a local academic adviser &, where necessary, local tutor(s) who can give, when necessary, face-to-face additional guidance to students
Gives credits to local students who fulfil the course requirements
Assists Catherine of Siena Virtual College by . . .
-offering new course material or improving existing courses
-offering online tutors
-offering general advice on the Program
Participating Colleges that have joined our SHARING Program to date are:
Christ University, Bangalore, India http://www.christuniversity.in/
Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram, Bangalore, India http://www.dvk.in/
Fr. Agnel College of Arts and Commerce, Goa, India http://www.fragnelcollege.com/main.php
Payap University, McGilvary College of Divinity, Chiang Mai, Thailand http://ic.payap.ac.th/graduate/mdiv/about.php
1. Christ University formerly Christ College which has a tie-up with the
Catherine of Siena Virtual College is run by the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate [CMI], the first indigenous religious congregation of India.
2a. Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram [DVK]
is also run by the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate [CMI].
This is the icon that one finds on the DVK site masthead and all over their campus, Jesus – the yogi:
2b. http://www.dvk.in/Aboutus.aspx: Dharmaram Vidya Kshetram (DVK) is a Pontifical Athenaeum for higher learning and formation, established by the Congregation for Catholic Education, Vatican, as an independent institute, empowered to grant degrees, including Licentiate and Doctorate in Philosophy and Theology, Licentiate in Oriental Canon Law and Master’s in Formative Spirituality and Counselling…
Already in 1965 the College was affiliated to the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and 11 years later in 1976, the Congregation for Catholic Education by its Decree, “Nobilissimae Indiarum Gentes,” erected in it a Faculty of Theology as an independent Institute with rights to confer the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theology and the Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy… the same Congregation by its decree “Antiquissima Indorum Philosophica,” on December 8, 1983 constituted also a Faculty of Philosophy, empowering it to award postgraduate and doctoral degrees in Philosophy…
Holistic formation in the radical discipleship of Jesus Christ, the Satguru, for Christian leadership. Promotion of rigorous academic research in philosophical, theological and allied disciplines. Harmonious synthesis of the Western, the Eastern and the Indian genius.
Catholics with even an iota of orthodoxy or conservatism will not need to have my comments on the above. DVK is a center of syncretism and ‘ecumenism’.
Vidya Deep College, CRI
Brothers Institute, Bangalore*
Carmelaram Theology College, Carmelaram, Bangalore**
De Paul Institute of Religion and Philosophy, Kumbalgod, Bangalore***
Pushpashrama Institute of Philosophy, Pushpashrama, Naidu Nagar, Mysore****
*http://www.religiousindia.org/religious-india/cri-brothers-institute-opens-new-academic-year: The theology college managed by Conference of Religious India’s Brothers’ section … offers a Bachelors Degree in Theology with a 3 years integrated course of theology and philosophy. The only one of its kind in the world, it is the initiative of the Conference of Religious India…
**Carmelaram Theology College
is the scholasticate of the Malabar
Province of the
Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCD).
***http://www.depaul.ac.in/Institute.aspx: De Paul Institute of Religion and Philosophy is an institute of religious and priestly formation, run by the Vincentian Congregation. It aims at the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation of seminarians.
****Pushpashrama Institute of Philosophy, Mysore, belongs to the OCD Carmelites of Goa-Karnataka Region. 100.
3. Fr. Agnel College of Arts and Commerce, Goa, belongs to the Society of the Missionaries of the St. Francis Xavier, which is commonly known as the Society of Pilar.
These are formation houses, philosophates and theologates for seminarians, our future priests! Imagine the plight of the Indian Church of the future, as awful as it is right now!!
It is a matter of the utmost concern. See the Laitytude post of Francis Lobo on page 41.
Francis Lobo’s blog was forwarded by Gordon Jacobs of the Association of Concerned Catholics:
From: gordon jacobs <email@example.com> Date: Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 10:42 AM
Subject: Catherine of Siena Virtual college- Is it Catholic? To:
How did Catherine of Siena virtual college get entry into India?
Who is responsible for their entry?
How come we Catholics were never informed about this?
Please stand up and ask your parish priest, zonal bishop and your Cardinal for an explanation. Thanks
—– Forwarded Message —–
From: gordon jacobs <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Thursday, April 5, 2012 8:06 AM
To: Archbishop Bangalore PRO <email@example.com>; Archbishops House Kerala <firstname.lastname@example.org>; DY Sect Archbishops House Kerala <email@example.com>; Archbishop Filip Neri <firstname.lastname@example.org> Cc: Archbishop Bombay <email@example.com>; Archbishop of Bombay <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Apostolic Nuncio New Delhi <email@example.com>; The Holy Father <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Michael Gonsalves <email@example.com>; Ashley Dmello <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Catherine of Siena Virtual college- Is it Catholic?
How come the Archbishops at Goa, Bangalore have not brought this to the notice of the laity?
Can the archbishop of Goa and Bangalore please respond?
Can the Apostolic Nuncio at New Delhi please comment on this issue?
Can The Holy Father please be kept informed?
Can the press also get involved, especially our catholic reporters?
UPDATE, APRIL 10, 2012
Bishop Bosco Penha of Bombay is closely associated with one of the ringleaders of the Indian womenpriests movement, Astrid Lobo Gajiwala.
From the archdiocesan weekly, in which she is on the editorial board, I have recorded that Astrid Lobo Gajiwala was felicitated
“contributed to the journey of women’s empowerment in Mumbai”,
receiving her citation
“from Bishop Bosco [Penha] amid loud cheering”. Source: The Examiner, March 6, 2010.
The following items of information indict Bishop Bosco Penha even more strongly.
1. VIRGINIA SALDANHA CITES BISHOP BOSCO PENHA ON THE COLLEGE SITE AS SUPPORTING/APPROVING HER BOOK/CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE COURSE
Course Outlines – P4 Developing Gender Awareness for Empowerment June 7, 2011
This course explores particular issues affecting women and provides the tools for developing the critical gender analysis needed to observe, evaluate, and act. Based on the work of Indian scholar Virginia Saldhana [sic] who crafted these in offering workshops for uplifting women all over India. This course allows you to explore the images of women in the media, the dignity of women, women’s bodies, violence, widowhood, women’s spirituality and more. Because these sessions were crafted for women in India, one has the benefit of gaining a close-up awareness of the joys and pains of women living within this cultural setting. The issues, however, transcend the Indian culture and bring insight and healing to women in their own native culture.
Moderator: Virginia Saldhana
This course includes an online chatroom session of 90 minutes at the end of each week.
This course is divided into seven lessons. Each includes examining a case study, sacred texts, and interacting with other participants–all for the purpose of helping you integrate the values and skills presented in each lesson.
When you register for this course and complete the exercises for each of the seven lessons and write a final assessment paper, you will receive a certificate from our Virtual College. [Course details …]
“It is necessary that the process of conscientizing society with regard to various issues of discrimination and violence to woman be accelerated. . . .
This book (course) by Virginia Saldanha encourages precisely this. . . . This book (course) is validated by Virginia’s experience and struggle as a young widow as well as her extensive grassroots work with women.”
+Bosco Penha, Bishop of Bambay [sic]
I am unable to figure out which “book” Virginia Saldanha refers to. Considering that she has been shown to lie and falsify information, see my report “VIRGINIA SALDANHA-BISHOP FATHERS CHILD BY NUN” at
I would not be surprised if the said bishop actually had recommended a book written by her, and she has used his letter as a certificate, adding the word “course” in brackets twice. Then again, I would not be surprised in the least if the bishop had in fact approved her course, or both her book as well as her course.
2. THE NAME OF BISHOP BOSCO PENHA TURNS UP IN THE CONTEXT OF THE PROMOTION OF THE CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE AGAIN, AS RECENTLY AS SEP. 2011
Streevani* newsletter, September 2011 *See pages 41-48
http://streevani.org/pdf/newsletter_september2011.pdf pages 50, 91 EXTRACT
Background to the Gender Policy of the Church in India It was in this very place, Ishvani Kendra [Pune] where the General
Assembly of the CBCI took up the theme women’s situation for their deliberation in 1992. 52.
One of our fellow sisters Dr. Astird [sic]
Lobo Gajiwala who at the initiative of Bishop Bosco Penha addressed the Bishops on “Breaking the Silence” surrounding the violence of women and though she was the lone female voice in the entire male hierarchical gathering, a new milestone was laid. At the close of that assembly the CBCI decided for the formation of Women’s Desk with Sr. Cleopatra as the first secretary.
And yet again it was Astrid in her response to the Keynote Address by Prof. Rita Noronha called on the 28 Plenary Assembly held in Jemshedpur [sic] in February 2008 called on the Assembly in the company of 40 women participants requesting Bishops to put a gender policy in place. […]
Challenges in formation…
Using ICT: The Church has to learn to use technology to train people. Using the internet, a large number of people can be trained. It is interactive as well, e.g.
Catherine of Siena Virtual College.
3. IT WAS THE INVITATION OF BISHOP BOSCO PENHA TO ASTRID LOBO GAJIWALA TO SPEAK TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CBCI THAT LED TO THE FORMATION OF THE WOMEN’S DESK THAT WAS SOON OCCUPIED BY VIRGINIA SALDANHA. IN THIS QUOTE FROM SR. LILLY FRANCIS SMMI, BISHOP BOSCO PENHA EULOGIZES ASTRID LOBO GAJIWALA
Marginalized women in the Indian church
In the past two decades, Indian Bishops [have made] immersions into the life of women
Sr. Lilly Francis SMMI, Indian Catholic/Catholic News,
August 07, 2009
Let us listen to Bishop Bosco Penha whom I have the honour of quoting extensively:
“My concern for and involvement with the women’s issue came about circumstantially. In 1989, I was elected the Chairman of the Commission for Laity and Family of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in India. In 1992 the theme for the conference was Social Justice and it was decided to take three themes: Women, Dalits and Unorganized Labour. I was asked to take up the issue of women. I invited a woman – erudite, outspoken and on fire for the cause of women. She spoke frankly (her talk was entitled “Breaking the Silence”) powerfully and brilliantly and won the attention and sympathy of the whole conference. As a result, the [Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India] decided to start a Women’s Desk. Accordingly, I was given charge of this Women’s Desk. This brought the first woman secretary into the CBCI – a historical landmark! Later, I was instrumental in having this “Women’s Desk” transformed into a full fledged Commission*.“ […]
The evidence that this woman is Astrid Lobo Gajiwala is to be found at these two links
i.) CBCI Commission for Women
With the awakening of women in the later part of the 20th century, with the incidents of violence and crime against them on the increase, and with the awareness of discrimination against women in Church and Society the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in India gave priority to this issue in their biannual meeting in Pune in January 1992. A paper about women
“Breaking the Silence” presented by a woman,
Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, was an eye-opener.
In the Workshops that followed Bishops came up with wonderful suggestions.
ii.) The Challenge to Counter the Patriarchal and Institutional Image of the Church
The clerical domination in the Church is not a thing of the past alone, but a reality that stares in the face, marginalizing the laity’s active participation. Women are painfully aware of the need to struggle for justice, equality, freedom and human dignity in the Church of Christ.
Both the laity and the Religious Women of India have been highlighting this theme through different Forums: the theme of the 45th National Assembly of the Conference of Religious, India, in February 2006 was “Gender Empowered Church”.
Mrs. Virginia Saldanha, the Executive Secretary of the Office of Laity, Family and Women of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences emphasized on gender equality in bringing harmony and balance in practising the discipleship of Christ, her article, “Christian Discipleship: Women’s Perspective” and the presentation titled, “Breaking the Silence” of Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, a writer and activist, to the Bishops of India at their Biennial General Body Meeting, are but a few illustrations.
Note also that wherever these two womyn are, the Conference of Religious, India or CRI is not far behind.
This series of reports shows clearly that the CRI leadership is allied with the move for womenpriests.
*BISHOP BOSCO PENHA RESPONSIBLE FOR SETTING UP THE CBCI WOMEN’S DESK AND THE CBCI WOMEN’S COMMISSION OF WHICH VIRGINIA SALDANHA WAS SECRETARY
BISHOP BOSCO PENHA 53.
He was also largely responsible for setting up the Women’s Desk at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
+Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay
January 14, 2012
4. AT LEAST 15 BISHOPS, INCLUDING BISHOP BOSCO PENHA, AND A CARDINAL LISTEN TO VIRGINIA SALDANHA AND ASTRID LOBO GAJIWALA ON “WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT”
is not against men”: Sr. Philomena in WRCC meeting
Report by Ancy Paladka, Vasai/Mumbai MangaloreanCatholics Digest No. 851 dated December 11, 2007
“Working for women empowerment is continuing Jesus’ Mission of bringing the Good News to the oppressed” said Sr. Philomena D’Souza*. She was delivering an orientation speech on ‘Empowerment of women in church and society’, a workshop held for the Western Region Catholic Council (WRCC) comprising fifteen dioceses of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa at Bishops house, Vasai here on Saturday December 8 and Sunday December 9.
Quoting a Benedictine
Sister Joan Chittister**
who said “Feminism is not a heresy, it is the spirit of Jesus written anew”, Sr. Philomena said “We are not looking at the theme “Empowerment of Women in the Church and society” from a mere sociological perspective, although this too is important. Neither from a developmental perspective, although we know that no nation can progress if a half of its citizens are left behind. She concluded that as Christians, we are looking at this theme as part of our faith imperative.” “The way Jesus treated women was definitely counter-cultural” She continued. “He went against the cultures of his time – the Jewish as well as the more well-known Greek, Roman, Egyptian or Babylonian cultures all of which were highly patriarchal. Jesus always upheld the dignity of women.” […]
About 80 members of WRCC participated in the said workshop. Various topic such as all India Catholics education policy implementation lead [sic] by bishop Percival Fernandes, women in Gods plan in scripture lead [sic] by Sr Ananda, women in Church’s social teachings lead [sic] by Dr Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, reality chick [sic] with testimony from women lead [sic] by Sr Philomena D’Souza, state of women in church and society lead [sic] by Virginia Saldanha and gender mainstreaming and possibilities for empowerment lead by Sr Helen were discussed.
Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao, president, WRCC, bishop Edwin Colaco of Aurangabad, secretary, WRCC, bishop Thomas Dabre of Vasai, bishop Percival Fernandes, bishop Bosco Penha, bishop Valerian D’Souza, bishop Agnelo Rufino Gracias, bishop Ferdinand Joseph Fonseca, bishop Gregory Karotemprel, archbishop Stanislaus Fernandes, bishop Thomas Elavanal, bishop Godfrey De Rozario, bishop Vijay Anand Nedum-puram, bishop Thomas Macwan and cardinal Oswald Gracias were the bishops present on the occasion…
*Sr. Philomena D’Souza FMA is a feminist-theologian who seeks the ordination of women as priests. See pages 67-69 of the detailed report on Virginia Saldanha. She was a key figure, working along with Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, in the development of the Church’s Gender Policy.
Are our learned bishops aware of this and what really lies behind the façade of the feminists’ calls for
“Women empowerment“, or are they completely lacking in knowledge and discernment as appears to be the fact?
A CARDINAL CITED IN CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE SITE TO LEGITIMISE IT
Course Outlines – P4 Developing Gender Awareness for Empowerment June 7, 2011
The enhancement of women currently underway in India?
India provides a unique environment for Virginia’s small groups bent upon examining traditional images and transforming them into a fresh vision by women and for women. Her “small group empowerment” methods joins with prominent women scholars, theologians, religious sisters, and activists who have worked tirelessly to bring an end the historical suppression of women’s voice and rights in the family and in the political domain. Their committed leadership helped shape a historical event. The Catholic Bishops of India undertook a leading role in focusing on the improvement of women’s lives through the establishment of gender awareness and gender sensitisation programs for priests and parishes, as well as the establishment of gender policies at every level within the Church.
Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil, President of the Catholic Bishops of India reflected the collective tone for these policy initiatives at the 2008 CBCI Commission for Women held in Jamshedpur. At the closing of the 28th plenary session focusing on “The Empowerment of Women in the Church and in Society” he noted:
History was being rewritten when 6 women speakers addressed 160 Bishops on the empowerment process. 3 Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, 40 women and 7 laymen participated in the 2 day deliberations of the General Assembly for the first time in the history of the Catholic Church in India. This Assembly concluded with the release of the Statement that considered it necessary to “mobilize our collective efforts toward elimination of the root causes of discrimination against women.” (Forward) [sic]. 54.
THE CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF INDIA GIVES WOMEN’S ORDINATION “ACTIVIST” VIRGINIA SALDANHA FREE PUBLICITY, AS RECENTLY AS SIX WEEKS AGO
Victims of sexual abuse require justice: Virginia S
CCBI News, February 22, 2012
Women’s learned subordination to patriarchal authority cripples their response to various situations of oppression, especially in the area of sex and sexuality. A priest mediates God to his victims and wields power of divine authority. His position is manipulated to get access to and abuse victims. Religious teaching on the position of a priest and woman’s sexuality reinforce her feelings of guilt and consequent silence in situations of sex abuse by priests. The victim is left confused and silent because she tries to reconcile her experience with her learned image of a priest. She feels that it is her sin not his, that she is the proverbial temptress, that she has crossed the boundaries. She is forced to suffer alone. Unfortunately this is being used to deny the existence of sexual abuse of women in the Church and to classify it as consensual sex.
Women are asking if consensual sex is possible between persons of unequal power. It is imperative that the Church begins to reflect deeply on the way women have been socialized in the Church and how that socialization leaves them vulnerable to abuse. The Church has to listen to women. An important point that Archbishop Tagle touched upon was the understanding of celibacy, and he called for “a serene but comprehensive consideration of the matter.” This is absolutely necessary, especially when people are questioning the whole idea of the celibate priesthood in light of sexual abuse by priests.
When a priest violates those boundaries, it demonstrates a breach of trust and people feel betrayed. The recent resignation of Malen Oriol, the leader of the female branch of the Legionaries of Christ, is an example of this breach of trust. It is reported that over 400 consecrated women have left the organization since the revelations of sexual abuse by their leader broke in 2009. Several religious women who have experienced abuse and came up against a wall when trying to get justice have not only left their congregation but left the Church as well. The abuse of a child, youth or woman of any age is a violation of the rights and dignity of the human person. Victims carry scars throughout their life and experience consequent maladjustment in relationships. The pastoral responses recommended by Archbishop Tagle are deeply compassionate. He advocates care not only for the priest who has hitherto been the only focus of the Church, but for the victim, the community and other innocent priests as well.
Lastly, the formation of priests and religious men and women has to include a comprehensive understanding and a mature handling of sexuality in all situations. The bottom line is that any guidelines must include mechanisms that take all sexual abuse seriously and are oriented toward ending the problem. Right from receiving and processing complaints through to the process of healing and pastoral care for all concerned, the Church will retain credibility only when justice is seen to be done.
Virginia Saldanha is the former executive secretary of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences Office of Laity with responsibility for the Women’s Desk. A freelance writer, she has a diploma in Theology for Laity from the Bombay Diocesan Seminary and is a woman activist working in India.
At her blog http://ecclesiaofwomen.ning.com/profile/VirginiaSaldanha
admits that she has done “Certificate courses in Theology for the Laity offered by the Diocesan Seminary of the Archdiocese of Bombay.”
The Conference of Catholic Bishops of India, like UCAN did earlier [see pages 1, 3, 11 and 15], upgrades this certificate to a Diploma!
BISHOP BOSCO PENHA IS ALSO CITED ON THESE SAME WEB PAGES IN THE LIBERAL AND DISSENTING NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER THAT PUBLISHES WOMEN’S ORDINATION PROPAGANDA AMONG OTHER THINGS, ALONG WITH HIS FRIENDS VIRGINIA SALDANHA AND ASTRID LOBO GAJIWALA, ETC. HAS HE READ THEIR CONTRIBUTONS? YOU MUST:
Voices from Catholic India – Letters to the Editor
a) Virginia Saldanha,
Executive secretary, Office of the Laity, Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences
My girls don’t like to go to church. They come back angry. Yet they work with the poor. They do good work. I keep telling the bishop this. I say that by the year 2020 the churches will be empty and there will be no women unless the church wakes up to the way women feel about things.
The young people will not put up with what we put up with. So I end up feeling anger and pain. Often the things said in the gospels are not being practiced in our church. I cannot leave the church, but my daughters will not be a part of it. This makes me sad.
We recently had an archdiocesan synod. There was talk about what we should address. On the last day, the issue of women came up. The priest running the meeting said we should give women a chance to express themselves. Some did.
Then it was time for the closing Mass, and the archbishop Ivan Dias [Ivan Dias] told us he had listened and would respond to our concerns. He went through the list mentioning all sorts of subjects. However, one was most absent. He left women out completely.
In Bombay the church allows altar girls, but there was none during the synod. What kind of signal does that send out? As a token, two young girls were allowed to stand at the far side of the altar and hold a miter and a cross. A man read the words. It could have been a woman.
The archbishop was giving us a signal that he did not accept women. This is the man who tried to close the [archdiocesan] Women’s Desk. In the end, he was not able to because we stood up for our rights. This is sad for the church of Bombay. We have a cardinal, but he does not have an Asian mind. He comes to us from the Roman diplomatic corps. This is bad because Bombay gives direction to the rest of the church in India.
From the above and from what I have learned from other sources, I understand that as long as Cardinal Ivan Dias was Archbishop of Bombay, there was some restraint and check on these feminists. But after he left to Rome to take up his assignment as Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the new guard was not only more permissive in granting liberties but also overtly supportive of the feminist groups.
The anti-Cardinal Ivan Dias tirade continues:
b) Asdrid Leles Gajivala Professor and lay member Indian Catholic Theological Association Bombay [Mumbai]
http://natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2001b/050401/050401p.htm and other links as above. EXTRACT
We have a new cardinal (Ivan Dias, archbishop of Bombay). When he came here one of the first things he wanted was to do away with the social justice commission and make it a pro-life group. A small group of us came to the conclusion that we must become part of the peoples’ movement to do social justice work. That way it could be done without being under the control of the local hierarchy. That way we can work for social justice irrespective of the hierarchy…
Many of us women are empowered by Christianity. You came to see and know the vision. It is a vision that moves you to work for justice, to work for equality. You put your whole life into it. And soon it puts you up against your own institution, the church. This is something I cannot understand, it disturbs me tremendously. I always have to explain my church. I always have to explain the attitude of my bishop. Why aren’t we on the same side? We are both empowered by Christ.
I ask whether it is worth my while to remain in the church.
I have three small children. They allow me to live out my Christianity. Being concerned about women and wanting to be in solidarity with women, I cannot waste my time banging my head against the wall.
I am at a point in my life when I ask if it is worth trying to transform the church. Isn’t it much better that I join a secular organization? I can still act; I am still empowered by Christ.
My writing on feminist issues has been a real drag for the cardinal.
Before he came to the See, I used to give feminist theology courses. No longer. The excuse he gives [for discontinuing the courses] is that my children are not baptized. My husband is Hindu.
I have raised them in the Catholic faith. But my husband and I have agreed this [decision on religion] will be a decision they will make when they are grown up in the meantime, they receive all the religious education they would get at any Catholic school.
We have a Catholic women’s group. We get together and talk about our fives and faith. We talk about the church. We talk about women and cup common right. We have ideas and want to share them. But the archbishop said he did not want to meet with a woman’s group, imagine. What kind of attitude is that?
We have decided we don’t want to be part of this priesthood. We are not interested in the kind of priesthood that is happening now in our church. We want a new priesthood, a different kind of priesthood…
When I was on the Catholic women’s commission, you could not even use the word feminist. So when you would write for the commission you would have to be careful. If you used the word feminist, people would think you are talking about something extreme. All we were talking about were women.
We are grown women. We know how women think and feel. Who are they, these bishops, to tell us how and what we think?
I find this very difficult. Why waste time working for this church?
Asdrid Leles Gajivala: a pseudonym for Astrid Lobo Gajiwala. Evidently, she was afraid to use her real name during the tenure of Ivan Cardinal Dias; such was his disdain for her and her feminist cohorts.
“Transform the church,” says she. “Undermine” would be a good choice of word; “sabotage”, even better.
As far back as the year 2001, when she penned this letter to the NCR, she already had no loyalty to the bishops of the Church; she was — as she still is — only using them; and when the Cardinal became a block to her insidious machinations against the Church, she debated whether it was worthwhile to remain in it. 56.
Her statement about her “working for this church” reveals an infinitely poor understanding — for a supposed theologian — of what it means to be Catholic. If that is what she thinks she’s doing, its better she quits.
She uncovers the truth for us when she writes boldly in the NCR, “We have decided we don’t want to be part of this priesthood. We are not interested in the kind of priesthood that is happening now in our church. We want a new priesthood, a different kind of priesthood.” If the Cardinal had been as accommodative to her demands as the other Bombay bishops were, would she have felt differently and respected the male priesthood? That is a rhetorical question, the answer for which is “no”. The bottom line is that they really do want “a new priesthood, a different kind of priesthood,” an ordained female priesthood.
The Cardinal was also right in denying teaching privileges in theology to her because her husband is a Hindu and because her children are not baptized. In fact, I believe that she was not married in Church.
A detailed report on Astrid Lobo Gajiwala which is to follow soon will reveal many more little-known facts about her that should give the new regime good reason to remove her, for a start, from the editorial board of The Examiner where she is sitting pretty since November 2011, then from all teaching functions.
TWO OTHER SELECTED LETTERS FROM THE SAME NCR LINK:
Lorna Barrett, Secretary, Archdiocesan Women’s Desk, Bombay [Mumbai]
While mere is a move toward a global church, the experiences of the Eastern churches are not being acknowledged, maybe even negated, by the Western frame of mind. Even so, the Eastern churches seem to be moving in their own directions, which, I think, is a sign they are being guided by the Holy Spirit. We are also being guided by the experiences of the people who are suffering in the East.
I find the church in the West taking a position of dominance, and it affects all our leaders in the East. This is especially true in the area of inculturation. While there is a very strong sense among our people about the needs for a multicultural society, constantly we receive documents or statements from Rome that say the universality of the church is more important and it must be maintained at all costs.
I am hopeful because the number of people who want change is growing. And who knows? The old men in the Vatican will die soon.
Fr. Julian Saldanha, Professor of missiology, St. Pius X College Seminary, Bombay [Mumbai]
What strikes me in [he life of Jesus is that he does not seem to be primarily concerned about teaching doctrines. He is primarily concerned with how we should live and what is the meaning of a human life. For me, therefore, the central revelation is summarized in the paschal mystery: Jesus’ whole life, death and resurrection. It is in and through this that he reveals to us the meaning of human life, the destiny of our life and of the world. This is really what he has revealed….
The West thinks more in the principle of non-contradiction, that is, an exclusive idea of truth. In Asia, there are a lot of inclusive ideas, both/ands. That is why Indian theologians often clash with people like [Cardinal Joseph] Ratzinger on the notion of truth. This is also why Indians are known for their tolerance. We are not so much concerned about orthodoxy and unorthodox. Rather we have a kind, tolerant and inclusive understanding of truth.
I wonder where Lorna Barrett is now, 11 years down the line, and if in the Church, what she is doing. She had the makings of a good feminist, waiting for the old conservatives in Rome to die of old age.
Fr. Julian Saldanha is, of course, the authority on inculturation. For him, being truly “inclusive” would surely mean ordaining woman as priests. I mean, NCR would not give your writings space if you were not against some traditional institution of the Catholic Church! Which makes me wonder how they published Bishop Bosco Penha’s piece, sandwiched as it is between the above four.
WHY THE NAME “CATHERINE OF SIENA”?
Women’s Spirit in our Church
Litany of Women for the Church
[…] Saint Catherine of Siena, to whom the pope listened, pray for us.
Joan Chittister, OSB, Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania, USA
Apparently they expect St. Catherine to intercede for them against the Pope, the apostolic successor of Peter, who was appointed by Jesus Christ himself. These feminists are horribly mixed up.
Anyway, the “prayer” is written by dissident pro-womenpriests nun, Joan Chittister.
Both Astrid Lobo Gajiwala and Virginia Saldanha are on the womenpriests pages.
We have already seen them in umpteen places in the Catherine of Siena
Virtual College and Ecclesia of Women in Asia blogs. The three are in fact one and the same.
Here, immediately below, we see that the womenpriests pages link with CoSVC and EWA.
I. Virginia Saldanha
and Astrid Lobo Gajiwala, EWA web coordinators, Asian/Indian Women Theologians’ Forums and Catherine of Siena Virtual College
I. i RE: Announcement – 26/11/2008
RE: Announcement – 11/03/2009
While this news comes a little late in the call for papers, take note of the Ecclesia of Women in Asia: Gathering of the Voices of the Silenced (EWA) conference happening December 5 to 8, 2008 in Hua Hin, Thailand.
EWA‘s website homepage is here: http://geocities.com/ecclesiaofwomen/
with love and blessings, Sophie […]
EWA Coordinating Team
Astrid Lobo Gajiwala (India)
Sr. Evelyn Monteiro
Virginia Saldanha (India)
I. ii Old hierarchies inhibit Asian Church October 3, 2011
A Christ-centered vision of service must be adopted to end inequalities By Virginia Saldanha, Mumbai
India September 28, 2011
I. iii RE: Announcement – 28/03/2009
I am writing to share news about current online course offerings in Catherine of Siena Virtual College. The College is a new venture led by a community of outstanding internationally respected women academics and theologians who are concerned about the plight of women worldwide. The College specialises in gender studies. One of its aims is to empower women for personal agency and leadership in secular and faith communities. Courses are designed to help people see the origin of social, religious and cultural prejudices that have kept women in second class status…tackling the roots of prejudice against women so to speak.
I will share more about the work of the College. In the meantime, I know that many among us will be interested in the round of current course offerings slated to begin on April 13, 2009. Informational links about the College are here:
-the aims of the College: http://www.catherineofsiena.net/about/default.asp
-the current prospectus of courses: http://www.catherineofsiena.net/study/prospectus.asp
[…] I am excited to share that our website founder,
Dr. John Wijngaards
was invited to contribute to the College syllabus. […] Sophie
I. iv RE: News central, etc., items of interest 18/12/2008
You may have noticed a new Forum on the Circles home page. Its purpose is to share news and information about
— an exciting project developed by friends of
www.womenpriests.org. Because of the nature of the College and its aims, we want to help publicise its features.
Please: Spread the word! and consider enrolling in one of the courses.
Catherine of Siena Virtual College specialises in Gender Studies. The aim of the College is to help people see clearly the origin of social, religious and cultural prejudices that have stifled the voices of women and subverted their dreams. One of its stated goals is to empower women around the world to assume positions of leadership in religion and society.
The College was founded in 2005 by a group of academics who were concerned about the plight of women in the world. By January 2008, the College was open to students with its first run of courses.
A thread dedicated to information about the College is located here: Catherine of Siena Virtual College. Check here for information about current course offerings and news about its work.
If you have questions, let me know. I can help direct you to the resource people for specific information.
With love and blessings, Sophie
Catherine of Siena Virtual College
share the same URL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Virginia Saldanha (India)
Reply by Ecclesia of Women Web Coordinator on November 9, 2009
Judette and I would love to publish your paper Like Water on Stone in the EWA publication.
We will get back to you shortly on details of format as we have not yet started work on the book.
Please acknowledge receipt of this email on email@example.com as I do not always have the time to check the website and may miss out on your communication.
Regards, Astrid Web coordinator
I. xii RE: Catherine of Siena Virtual College: Gender Studies – 10/09/2010
Catherine of Siena Virtual College (Gender Justice Studies) is offering 5 special courses beginning the week of 04 October 2010: Click here to see our faculty and staff–Virginia Saldanha Virginia Saldanha being our most recent addition.
AT womenpriests.org AND YOU REACH THE EWA:
HERE ONE CAN READ, AMONG OTHER THINGS, SOMETHING womenpriests IS KEENLY INTERESTED IN, THE
STATEMENT OF THE 9TH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE INDIAN WOMEN THEOLOGIANS’ FORUM
23rd – 25th April, 2009. Womenpriests HAVE THEIR FINGERS IN THAT PIE TOO THROUGH THE EWA.
TO CONFIRM THAT, HERE IS THE LINK FROM Catherine of Siena Virtual College WHICH IS ALSO womenpriests TO http://www.catherineofsiena.net/about/news.asp Indian Women Theologian’s Forum Statement of the 9th Annual Meeting of the Indian Women Theologian’s Forum (IWTF), 23rd – 25th April, 2009
ONE CAN ACCESS VIRGINIA SALDANHA’S BISHOP FATHERS CHILD BY NUN STORY:
IN EFFECT, VIRGINIA SALDANHA’S BISHOP FATHERS CHILD BY NUN STORY IS ACCESSIBLE AT womenpriests.org!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HOUSETOP [BELOW] IS WOMENPRIESTS. NOTE THAT WOMENPRIESTS AND CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE ARE THE TWO WEBSITES OF HOUSETOP AND THAT VIRGINIA SALDANHA FIGURES IN THIS HOUSETOP-WOMENPRIESTS ANNUAL REPORT.
VIRGINIA SALDANHA OFFICIALLY TEAMED UP WITH HOUSETOP-WOMENPRIESTS IN 2009, AS DID ECCLESIA OF WOMEN IN ASIA, AND THE RECORDS HERE SHOW THAT THEIR GOAL IS STRAIGHTFORWARD AND SIMPLE: “to see women ordained as priests in the Roman Catholic Church“. 2009 IS THE YEAR THAT CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE BECAME AFFILIATED WITH INDIAN PHILOSOPHATES AND THEOLOGATES
I. xiii HOUSETOP TRUST ANNUAL REPORT AND ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31ST DECEMBER 2009
Trustees: Sister Anne Miller FMM, Mr. Ben Clackson, Dr. John Wijngaards, Mrs. Jacqueline Clackson
General Manager: Ms Therese Koturbash
High Street, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. WD31AN
Housetop* comprises a trust and a limited company. *See pages 21-23
The Trust Fund and the income thereof are to be held upon trust to apply the same either as capital or as income for such charitable purposes which advance the Roman Catholic Religion throughout the World as the trustees shall from time to time think fit.
Housetop Care Limited’s commitment to promoting the Christian Gospel is currently focused on Christ’s message of empowerment of women – which throughout the centuries has been misunderstood or disregarded by many faith communities. Our mission includes providing educational opportunities through virtual means (websites, online libraries, online discussion groups.) Anyone is free to join or benefit from our work.
The year 2009 has brought continued progress in both our areas of principal activity:
• The campaign to see women ordained as priests in the Roman Catholic Church
• Our online college (Catherine of Siena Virtual College) promoting the equality and empowerment of women through the provision of gender studies in the developing world.
Chief gains in the year have been:
• Deborah Rose-Milavec
joined us as full time Project Director for Catherine of Siena Virtual College.
She is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
• Therese Koturbash joined us as full time General Manager of Housetop and Campaign Director for the women priests’ campaign. Therese is now based in London, England.
• Progress in the successful international work of integrating the College into Asian academic institutions, non-governmental organisations and communities
• Progress in promoting the international visibility of the Women Priests’ Campaign.
1. WOMEN PRIESTS CAMPAIGN
Improvements in web technology on our site now equip us with capacity to more accurately track `hits’ on our website. We know that almost 1,500,000 people from 212 countries of the world visited our site. This translates to almost 4,000 visitors a day. We also know that visitors read and/or downloaded almost 6,000,000 documents from our library. We know that we receive frequent visitors from the Vatican to our site.
ii. Key Point Presentations
We have upgraded and improved our Key Point Presentation format on the website. The Presentations provide nutshell summaries and in-depth analyses which show the merits of the case and explain how cultural prejudice against women has flourished in the Church throughout the centuries.
We continue to expand the number of languages in which we make information available. This past year, we added Malayalam (India) to the site. Telugu (India) is in immediate preparation. At present, we carry 26 languages on the website. This represents an increase of 2 languages in the last year.
CATHERINE OF SIENA VIRTUAL COLLEGE
On November 2 and 3, 2009, staff from Housetop Care Limited and Catherine of Siena Virtual College met to envision the future of the College over the next ten years and to engage in a strategic planning process for the purposes of
• clarifying and refining the College’s vision, mission, goals, and action plan
• ensuring that all key leaders for the project are working together effectively to realise that mission and accomplish goals as set out.
An action plan with 9 stated goals was drawn which now serves as an additional guiding document for the College function. Some of the goals include the establishment of guidelines for training of tutors, recruitment of tutors, creation of major courses, pursuit of formal accreditation, development of an international advisory council, the development of a well supported USA office, and the creation of a succession plan for the Course Creation Author.
ii. Survey with Major Superiors at the National Conference of Religions in India
Exploring the possibilities of developing courses specific to the needs of religious women, the College’s Project Director conducted a survey with Major Superiors at the National Conference of Religions in India. Our educational team is reviewing the information received from the Major Superiors and will set out a plan of action for course creation in response.
Three new courses were developed and added to the syllabus in 2009:
•Developing Gender Awareness for Empowerment
•Women in Islam
•Violence against Women
This brings our total course offerings to ten.
The course Developing Gender Awareness is especially significant because:
•It marks the first Catherine of Siena Virtual College course being offered by an Asiatic woman.
•It features a brief video introduction to each of its seven lessons. The College Project Director was able to record these introductions with the course creator, Virginia Saldanha during an Outreach Journey in India.
Developing Asian Consultants for Catherine of Siena Virtual College Courses
In autumn 2009, numerous contacts were made with Asian scholars at the Ecclesia of Women in Asia (EWA) Conference in Thailand. Contacts were also made with scholars
in the Philippines and India.
vi. Outreach Journeys
The purpose of Outreach Journeys in the developing world serves the goal of integrating the College into the communities where our beneficiaries live. Integration objectives include networking, marketing, and creating community. Some aims include:
•Gain student enrolment
•Make contact with and invite participation of scholars in the developing world
•Establish relationships with terrestrial institutions.
•Negotiate SHARING PROGRAMME Agreements.
Two major Outreach Journeys were conducted in 2009. The first focused on India.
The second focused on India, the Philippines, and Thailand. Major contacts were made with more than 100 administrators, deans of colleges, heads of university departments, scholars, professors, lay leaders, activists, religious leaders (including those at seminaries) and students.
Fundraising continues to be a major and pressing priority. Under the patient guidance of Dr. John Wijngaards,
Deborah Rose-Milavec and Therese Koturbash have taken over responsibilities for fundraising for both the Women Priests Campaign and Catherine of Siena Virtual College.
Charitable status was achieved in the state of Ohio, USA where our American office is based. This will hopefully provide encouragement to potential US donors. […]
We now have two additional salaries (Therese Koturbash £30,000 + NI) and Deborah Rose-Milavec ($USD 50,000).
Were the bishops of the Indian Church informed of these “Outreach Journeys” made by/through Virginia Saldanha in Catholic colleges and seminaries for the purpose of propagating the heresy of womenpriests? Are they now aware that the affiliation with Church philosophates and theologates of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College is nothing else but the entry of womenpriests heresy in our houses for formation of priests?
I. xv See dozens of articles on the ordination of women at
Women priests, Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain
By Dennis Gruending September 12, 2010
Dennis Gruending interviewed womenpriest.org‘s International Coordinator,
by email. He then wrote this article in his journal “Pulpit and Politics”.
When Pope Benedict XVI pays a visit to England and Scotland on September 16-19, poster advertisements taken out on London buses will say “Pope Benedict – Ordain Women Now!” Father Stephen Wang, the dean of studies at London’s main seminary for Catholic priests, published a semi-official defence against that request in a column that was carried by Catholic websites throughout Britain and on his own blog. The American television network CNN also interviewed Wang. He says that that Pope John Paul II declared in 1994, and Pope Benedict agrees, than the church has no authority to ordain women because Jesus chose 12 men – and no women – to be his apostles. That choice, Wang says, was deliberate and significant not just for that first period of history but also for every age. Men and women are equal in Christianity, but women cannot fulfill a basic function of the priesthood, “standing in the place of Jesus.”
Explanations such as these are unacceptable to
Therese Koturbash. She is a young lawyer who is on leave from her job with Legal Aid Manitoba and she now finds herself living and working in London as the international coordinator for
womenpriests.org, one of the groups that will be active during the pope’s visit.
Patriarchal attitude in church
In an interview via email from London, Koturbash says, “Nowhere is it indicated in scripture that women were excluded by Jesus for special theological or liturgical reasons. This clinging to a pseudo argument shows only too clearly that it is not a matter of recognizing historical or scientific truth. Rather such a stance merely conceals the deeply patriarchal, anti-feminine attitude which pleads the authority of Jesus and God because (today) it would be inopportune to come out openly against the admission of women to ecclesiastical office. This patriarchal attitude prevents St. Paul’s message in Galatians — that in Christ there is no male or female — from being taken seriously. In religion gender differences are entirely irrelevant.”
Koturbash says she was raised as a devout Catholic at Kamsack in rural Saskatchewan and that in 2002 she was among thousands of young Catholics who attended World Youth Day in Toronto, an event presided over by Pope John Paul II. She says that the patriarchal church she saw on display in Toronto caused her to “fall into deep anguish” about the exclusion of women in the church. “As a devout and active Catholic,” she says, “it pained me to learn that according to Rome my sense about the place of women in the church meant that I was out of communion with the church.”
No to ordaining women
Pope John Paul had declared in 1994 that the church would never ordain women and he said the matter closed and not to be discussed further. In 2002, the Vatican moved with uncharacteristic haste to excommunicate the first seven women ordained by a group called Roman Catholic Womenpriests. The Vatican reaffirmed both the ban on women’s ordination in 2008 and the warning about excommunication, which is the harshest treatment that the church can convey. Those Catholics are denied access to both their church community and its sacramental life. The Vatican also announced in 2007 that any priest who tried to ordain a woman could be defrocked. 61.
In July 2010, there was widespread consternation when Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, a Vatican spokesperson, said that ordaining women as priests was a crime comparable to pedophilia. He made his comments at a news conference that announced revisions to the church laws making it easier to discipline priests who are sexual abusers. Mary E. Hunt, an American theologian, wrote about that comparison in a magazine called Religion Dispatches. “Mixing [these] two issues, even under the same legal umbrella, is a profoundly perverse proposition,” she says. Either these gentlemen are more ethically tone deaf than one can imagine, or they are sly beyond the dreams of foxes in an effort to redirect attention from the criminal behavior of clergy against children to their wrath over the ordination of women. Neither option is terribly appealing.”
Women in the church
But the question goes beyond ordination to a fundamentally perceived difference about the role of women in the church, a debate at one level perhaps about theology but at another about power and control. In January 2008, for example, the Vatican announced that it would undertake a “visitation” to investigate nearly 350 communities of women religious in the U.S. to examine everything from how they handle their money to how their leaders deal with sisters who dissent from Catholic dogma. A second, “doctrinal assessment” was established to look into the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the U.S. Both of these moves were interpreted as a signal of the Vatican’s unhappiness with the conduct of women religious in that country. The investigations stoked fears that nuns might be forbidden to continue much of their work in the community with the poor and dispossessed, and that the inquiry might go beyond that into matters of where they choose to live and even how they dress. The leadership of the LCWR and many sisters understand this as an attempt by the male hierarchy to intimidate and control them.
Father Andrew Britz, former editor of the Catholic Prairie Messenger newspaper, has published a book this fall called
Truth to Power,
an edited collection of his editorials over 21 years. In one of those editorials, he wrote: “It is embarrassing to read what the great bishops and theologians of age after age in the church had to say about women . . . We live in a church which, through most of its history, has seen women as being inferior to men. Woman was viewed as the temptress: that justified men in seeking to dominate them-for their own good.”
On Maundy Thursday 2012, I released my pilot reports on Virginia Saldanha and Catherine of Siena Virtual College to a limited list of Catholics. Within minutes, I received the following story:
Pope denounces dissident priests on celibacy
April 5, 2012 Nicole Winfield, Associated Press VATICAN CITY
Pope Benedict XVI denounced priests who have questioned church teaching on celibacy and ordaining women, saying Thursday they were disobeying his authority to try to impose their own ideas on the church.
Benedict made the rare and explicit criticism from the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in his homily on Holy Thursday, when priests recall the promises they made when ordained.
In 2006, a group of Austrian priests launched the Pfarrer Initiative, or pastor initiative, a call to disobedience aimed at abolishing priestly celibacy and opening up the clergy to women to relieve the shortages of priests.
Last June, the group’s members essentially threatened a schism, saying the Vatican’s refusal to hear their complaints left them no choice but to “follow our conscience and act independently.” They issued a revised call to disobedience in which they said parishes would celebrate Eucharistic services without priests, that they would let women preach, and they pledged to speak out publicly and frequently for female and married priests. The group now claims more than 300 Austrian priests and deacons as well as supporters in other countries, and its influence has grown to such an extent that top Austrian bishops met with Vatican officials in January to discuss how to handle them, Italian news reports said. So far, neither the Vatican nor the archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn have imposed any canonical penalties on them.
In his homily, Benedict said the dissidents claim to be motivated by concern for the church. But he suggested that in reality they were just making “a desperate push to do something to change the church in accordance with (their) own preferences and ideas.” “We would like to believe that the authors of this summons are motivated by concern for the church, that they are convinced that the slow pace of institutions has to be overcome by drastic measures, in order to open up new paths and to bring the Church up to date,” he said. “But is disobedience really a way to do this?”
He said Jesus always followed true obedience to God’s will, not “human caprice.”
The head of the initiative, Rev. Hellmut Schueller, downplayed the severity of Benedict’s message and said the pope was merely asking for reflection on whether disobedience can reform the church.
In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Schueller noted that Benedict didn’t forbid what the dissident priests were doing or advocating. “We are listening with interest to this message,” he said. “I cannot see it as a very sharp wording.” The members of the initiative, he said, will reflect on Benedict’s words as part of a dialogue he said he hopes to open with Austrian bishops. “We have decided to go this way because it’s the way of our conscience, as faithful, and we are expressing only the opinion of the people at the base of the church.”
He said the initiative did not seek to split the church or create schism, saying the positions articulated in the call for disobedience increasingly reflected the will of ordinary Catholics.
Any divisions that are being created, he said, are between the base of the church and the hierarchy.
Holy Thursday homilies are often unusual in that the pope uses them to issue direct messages to priests… 62.
In the following pages, we will see that many leading feminist theologians-dissenters are to be found on the pages of womenpriests, CoSVC & EWA. The three are one and the same.
II. i Therese Koturbash’s Page
II. ii Global Elders speak out: Jimmy Carter Issues Statement about Faith Communities Discrimination against Women
Posted by Therese Koturbash on July 16, 2009 EXTRACT
“You need to be a member of Ecclesia of Women in Asia to add comments!”
Work, Church, NGO experience: Housetop, Catherine of Siena Virtual College
II. iii womenpriests.org welcomes new International Coordinator Therese Koturbash
My Story by Therese Koturbash*
I suddenly was appointed to be the Canadian Delegate to the International Steering Committee of Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW)…
*Therese Koturbash of womenpriests.org is interviewed on The Breakfast Show on BBC1 regarding the new Vatican ruling equating women’s ordination with paedophilia http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7AYV8VQdDE 5:02 minutes; Uploaded by housetopwomenpriests on July 23, 2010
http://ecclesiaofwomen.ning.com/forum/topics/endorse-petition-for-vatican?xg_source=activity and http://ecclesiaofwomen.ning.com/forum/topics/pope-benedict-bishop?xg_source=activity
February 23, 2009
Therese Koturbash postings in EWA
WOMENPRIESTS.ORG IN SOLIDARITY WITH FR. ROY BOURGEOIS APRIL 8, 2011: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Therese Koturbash, BA, LL.B., International Coordinator, womenpriests.org.
III. i Deborah Rose-Milavec’s Page
III. ii Message from Deborah Rose-Milavec
III. iii In Memory of Her: Reflections on Holy Week by
Astrid Lobo Gajiwala
Posted by Deborah Rose-Milavec, 20 April, 2011
STATEMENT – NATIONAL CONSULTATION Gender Relations in the Church: A Call to Wholeness and Equal Discipleship 13-15 August 2011, Mumbai
See pages 41 ff.
Posted by Deborah Rose-Milavec, 27 September 2011
III. v Virginia Saldanha speaks out in the NCR
See page 11
Posted by Deborah Rose-Milavec, 24 October 2011
IV. Ursula King, President, Catherine of Siena Virtual College
IV. iii http://www.catherineofsiena.net/about/king.asp,
Catherine of Siena Virtual College: Gender Studies – 18/12/2008
I write to share news about Catherine of Siena Virtual College (http://www.catherineofsiena.net/default.asp)
— an exciting project. Because of the nature of its work and aims, we want to help publicise its features. Please: Spread the word and consider enrolling in one of the courses. Catherine of Siena Virtual College specialises in Gender Studies. The aim of the College is to help people see clearly the origin of social, religious and cultural prejudices that have stifled the voices of women and subverted their dreams. One of its stated goals is to empower women around the world to assume positions of leadership in religion and society. The College was founded in 2005 by a group of academics who were concerned about the plight of women in the world. By January 2008, the College was open to students with its first run of courses.
Catherine College is backed by stellar credentials. Its President is the world renowned feminist theologian, Dr. Ursula King (http://www.catherineofsiena.net/about/king.asp.)
V. Mary Grey, Trustee, Catherine of Siena Educational Trust
V. iii http://www.womenpriests.org/theology/grey1.asp,
VI. Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Patron, Catherine of Siena Virtual College
We are Church – A Kindom of Priests – Keynote speech by Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Ottawa, 22nd July 2006. “We are Church” was condemned by the Pope in his homily on Maundy Thursday, 2012
Theresa Kane RSM, Patron, Catherine of Siena Virtual College
VIII. Agnes M. Brazal, EWA consultant (2005-09), EWA 2004 coordinator
IX. Dr. Sharon Bong, EWA 2005-06 coordinator, Patron, Catherine of Siena Virtual College
Sr. Mary John Mananzan OSB,
Patron, Catherine of Siena Virtual College
Women who want to be a nun should try having a boyfriend first. The surprising advice is not from some liberal activist, but from a Benedictine nun, Sr. Mary John Mananzan March 26, 2012
XI. Aruna Gnanadason, Patron, Catherine of Siena Virtual College; New Age eco-feminism
Aruna Gnanadason has given talks on themes ranging from Eco-feminist Theology to Indian Feminist Theology
Aruna Gnanadason of India says that women call for ‘a wholistic eco-spiritual vision based on care and nurture of the earth* and of all those people who have been denied the right to personhood and human dignity’. From many contexts, feminist theologians are developing a spirituality that values cultural and biological diversity, works for the sustainability of the planet and livelihoods for all, and regards earth-keeping as an integral part of women’s struggles.
Aruna Gnanadason, an Indian theologian, seeks to reintegrate the worship of Shakti, the Hindu Mother goddess, with the emerging Asian women’s spirituality in the church**
*Aruna Gnanadason, A Spirituality that Sustains Us in Our Struggles, International Review of Mission
80 (1991), 33
**Aruna Gnanadason, Women and Spirituality in Asia, in King (ed.), Feminist Theology, pp. 351–60
The speech made by Aruna Gnanadason at the Women’s Ordination Conference, Dublin 2001:
RE: Announcement – 26/11/2008
WOMEN’S ORDINATION WORLDWIDE PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release 24 November 2008
At WOW’s first international conference in Dublin (2001), Vatican pressure forced the withdrawal of the keynote speaker, Aruna Gnanadason, of the World Council of Churches.
XII. Christine Gudorf, radical feminist, pro-women’s ordination
pro-abortion and pro-contraception, see ‘The Moderate Roman Catholic Position on Contraception and Abortion’ http://www.religiousconsultation.org/News_Tracker/moderate_RC_position_on_contraception_abortion.htm
XIII. Dr. Angela Berlis, woman priest
Angela Berlis was the first woman priest in the Union of the Old Catholic Church. She is an Old-Catholic theologian and is also Principal of the Old-Catholic Seminary Utrectht. She is working on a research project at the Theology Faculty Tilburg (Netherlands) on the abolition of compulsory celibacy in the Old-Catholic Church (Union of Trecht).
XIV. Sr. Elizabeth A. Johnson CSJ, Patron, Catherine of Siena Virtual College
Virginia Saldanha [and another EWA member]
has been in contact with feminist theologian-dissenter Sr. Elizabeth Johnson who promotes
the ordination of women as priests [http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/dissent/disspeop.htm].
Dear Sr. Siphim, Please ask Sr. Elizabeth Johnson if she received the book I mailed to her one year ago from the US – “Discipleship of Asian Women at the Service of Life.” I did not hear from her so do not know if she got it.
Or if you could give me her email address, that would be better. Thank you. Virginia
Dear Khun Virginia, many thanks for your message. I met Sr. Elizabeth Johnson last week. We agreed on the timetable and schedule.
She will be my tutorial teacher … Siphim
XIV. ii Truly our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints (Christine Burke’s review of the book by Elizabeth A Johnson) June 14, 2009
Johnson brings a theology grounded firmly in scripture and tradition, sharpened by feminist critique, and deeply respectful of the insights of women from cultures other than the mainstream Western and academic world
From the January 2003 issue of EWA‘s original website, geocities.com/ecclesiaofwomen website
Sr. Dr. Elizabeth Johnson is a Patron of Catherine of Siena Virtual College.
She talks about concepts in her new book
XIV. v Elizabeth A. Johnson’s Assessment of ‘Ordinatio Sacerdotalis’
‘Disputed questions: authority, priesthood, women’, by Elizabeth A. Johnson […]
1. U.S. bishops blast book by feminist theologian
2. US bishops warn of errors in religious sister’s book By Marianne Medlin, Washington D.C., April 1, 2011
The U.S. bishops issued a 21-page statement warning of severe “errors” in a prominent religious sister’s book on theology.
Feminist scholar Sr. Elizabeth Johnson‘s 2007 book, “Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God,” does “not accord with authentic Catholic teaching on essential points,” the bishops’ Committee on Doctrine wrote on March 30. The bishops criticized Sr. Johnson’s book – which is widely read in Catholic universities across the U.S. – for containing numerous “misrepresentations, ambiguities and errors,” causing them concern for the spiritual well-being of students.
Sr. Johnson, 69, is a distinguished professor of systematic theology at Fordham University in New York and is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood. In their statement, the doctrine committee – headed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington – outlined seven categories of problems in the book. They argued that Sr. Johnson questions core elements of Christian theology, views the Trinity as symbolic, criticizes all-male terminology for God and emphasizes the presence of the Holy Spirit in other religions. Sr. Johnson’s analysis of the Trinity in particular, “completely undermines the Gospel and the faith of those who believe in the Gospel,” the committee wrote.
According to the bishops, the book is also pantheistic in failing to differentiate between God and creation, implies that truths about God are ultimately unknowable, and lessens God’s transcendence from human beings in describing how he suffered on the Cross. 65.
Sr. Johnson issued a statement on March 31 in response to the bishops’ criticism, claiming that the “conclusions thus drawn paint an incorrect picture of the fundamental line of thought the book develops.”
She said that she had “serious concerns” over how her book was interpreted, adding that “she would have been glad to enter into conversation to clarify critical points, but was never invited to do so.”
Sr. Johnson also argued that a “result of this absence of dialogue is that in several key instances this statement radically misinterprets what I think, and what I in fact wrote.”
Cardinal Wuerl said on Wednesday, however, that by seeking an imprimatur – the bishop’s approval – prior to publishing her book, Sr. Johnson could have engaged “in dialogue” with the bishops “concerning Catholic teaching.”
“It would have been helpful if Sr. Elizabeth Johnson had taken advantage of that opportunity,” he said.
Cardinal Wuerl noted that the doctrine committee “is first and foremost concerned about the spiritual welfare of those students using this book who may be led to assume that its content is authentic Catholic teaching.”
“The book in question, published some time ago, is not directed to professional theologians for theological speculation, but rather is used as a teaching instrument for undergraduate students, many of whom are looking for grounding in their faith,” he said.
The bishops have not called for any disciplinary measures against Sr. Johnson, but the committee members underscored that Sr. Johnson’s book “does not take the faith of the Church as its starting point.”
“Instead, the author employs standards from outside the faith to criticize and to revise in a radical fashion the conception of God revealed in Scripture and taught by the Magisterium,” they said.
We have examined examples I through XIV above and we have seen that womenpriests feminists are also in Catherine of Siena Virtual College and in the Ecclesia of Women in Asia.
The Feminist Front in the War on the Church by Anne Hendershott, Ph.D.
The appointment of Rosemary Radford Ruether as the Msgr. John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology at the University of San Diego continues a practice at many Catholic colleges and universities of honoring dissident Catholic theologians. The Portman Chair was created to provide a “strong and palpable symbol of the depth of the university’s commitment to Catholic theology as an academic discipline.” And, although pressure from parents, alumni, and donors moved the university to withdraw the Ruether appointment only a few weeks after its announcement, it remains unclear how the San Diego administration found Ruether, a longtime member of the board of directors of Catholics for a Free Choice (now known as Catholics for Choice), and founder of Women-Church, a suitable recipient of the honor.
Ruether rejects the most fundamental beliefs of the Catholic Church, including the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the need for redemption, and the immortality of the soul. Indeed, Ruether’s theme of a misogynistic Church designed to oppress women is a consistent one that has been adopted by most left-leaning theologians on Catholic campuses. And while Ruether has been influential for today’s Catholic feminists, the reality remains that religious feminism is, at its heart, a spin-off from liberation theology — a form of theology which called upon the Church to identify more with the poor and oppressed and to struggle with them for their total liberation.
The rhetoric of liberation theology is at the forefront in the reproductive rights movement among feminists on Catholic campuses. Feminist faculty hostility to the structure of the Catholic Church, papal authority, and Church teachings on sexual morality and reproductive rights is best summarized in an interview published in 2005 in the National Catholic Reporter with tenured University of San Diego theology professor Pilar Aquino.
Entitled “No Time for Glorifying and Exalting” and released during the weeks after the death of Pope John Paul II, Aquino responded bitterly to the Pontiff’s passing by dismissing any contributions he made throughout his tenure as Pope, and complaining that “large numbers of Catholic scholars and intellectuals show a clear rejection of the outdated, imposed, and one-sided thought patterns of the Roman Curia and the Vatican as a whole . . .
“We feminist Catholic theologians profoundly disagree with the intractable position of official Roman Catholicism regarding reproductive rights and women’s human rights.”
A longtime and public critic of Pope John Paul II, Aquino declared that his pontificate exhibited “strong signs of theological intolerance and of rigidity in the exercise of power . . . the mode of Church promoted by John Paul II was widely characterized by authoritarianism, centralism, conservatism, imperialism, and by monoculturalism, and is consistent with the patterns of dominant male-centered Western European Christianity.”
In the rhetoric of liberation theology, Aquino charged that the Pope had “fashioned a non-participative Church where the clerical structure and sexist hierarchy had primacy.” And, she appears to long for the day when the current structure of the Catholic Church is gone: “This Church will survive as a whole only if it has the vision and strength to become a discipleship of equals.”
For the past four decades, the feminist front on Catholic college campuses has focused primarily on the Church’s condemnation of contraception and abortion, and its unwillingness to ordain women as priests.
In 1970, in an attempt to begin to address this “Catholic obstacle” to reproductive choice and population control, the organization Catholics for a Free Choice originated under the name Catholics for the Elimination of All Restrictive Abortion and Contraceptive Laws. Fr. Joseph O’Rourke, SJ, a Jesuit who left the priesthood in 1974, served as the first president of the pro- abortion organization, yet it was not until Frances Kissling assumed control that the pro-abortion organization gained visibility — and funding from prominent population control organizations. 66.
Raised in Flushing, N.Y., Kissling spent six months as a postulant at the convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph, after having spent two years as a student at St. John’s University. When she left the convent, Kissling claimed to have left her faith behind as well. Yet, she continues to call herself “Catholic,” claiming that (contrary to Church teachings) “membership is not based simply upon following a certain set of rules and regulations.” Following the example of Leonardo Boff and the major liberation theologians, Kissling maintains, “The Catholic Church is a Church of the people. My faith is a contract and a covenant that I have with God personally.”
Yet, Kissling’s own words betray her real intentions in the feminist war on the Church. In a 1989 interview published in Mother Jones magazine, Kissling remarked, “I spent 20 years looking for a government to overthrow without being thrown in jail — I finally found one in the Catholic Church.”
As an important part of her strategy, until her recent retirement from Catholics for a Free Choice, Kissling enlisted prominent Catholic feminists — many of them teaching on Catholic campuses — to build a major media presence in an effort to convince the world that Catholics support abortion. With no actual membership (critics routinely refer to the organization as a “well-funded letterhead”), Catholics for a Free Choice was created by philanthropic institutions with a pro-abortion bias. Foundations like the Turner Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation, as well as Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Foundation have all given financial support to the pro-abortion “Catholic” organization.
In an effort to convince even more Catholics that abortion can be a moral decision, Kissling has spent millions of foundation-donated dollars advertising her cause — creating the illusion that she had a constituency among grass-roots Catholics as well as among “pro-choice” foundations. Catholic college faculty members and administrators played an especially important role on October 7, 1984 when Kissling placed a full-page advertisement in The New York Times asserting that “there is more than one theologically and ethically defensible viewpoint on abortion within Catholicism,” and calling for a dialogue among Catholics to acknowledge this “situation of pluralism” in the Church.
The ad explicitly asked for the cessation of institutional sanctions against those with dissenting positions on abortion. Ninety-seven Catholic scholars, religious and social activists, including 24 women religious, four priests and brothers, and a large number of lay professors working at Catholic colleges and universities signed the Times ad.
Among the signers of the ad from academia were Rosemary Ruether; Joseph Fahey, a professor at Manhattan College; Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, then a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame now teaching at Harvard; Daniel Maguire of Marquette, and his wife Marjorie, who was then working as a fellow in ethics and theology at Catholics for a Free Choice. Other signers included Michael Barnes, a professor at the University of Dayton; Mary Buckley, a professor at St. John’s University; Mary Byles, a professor at Maryville College; Daniel DiDominzo, a professor at Marian College; Christine Gudorf, a professor at Xavier University; Paul Knitter, also a professor at Xavier University; Joe Mellon, a professor at the University of Notre Dame; Gerald Pire, a professor at Seton Hall University; Mary Savage, a professor at Albertus Magnus College; Ellen Shanahan, a professor at Rosary College; Jane Via, a professor at the University of San Diego; Arthur Zannoni, a professor at the University of Notre Dame.
A second ad in The New York Times, published on March 2, 1986, was, in effect, a show of support for those who had signed the October 1984 ad, and featured more than 1,000 signatures, “representing a large percentage of the Catholic feminist constituency,” and including hundreds of Catholic feminists teaching on Catholic campuses.
One of those who signed the original pro-abortion ad, Notre Dame theologian Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, is still an honored guest lecturer on Catholic campuses, including most recently at the University of San Diego, Seton Hall, and St. Louis University. She has moved on from her early days with Catholics for a Free Choice to help unite many of the feminist groups into a coalition called the Women-Church Convergence, “a movement of self- identified women and women-identified men from all denominations whose common goal is to reinterpret the Gospel from the perspective of women’s liberation.”
Led by Rosemary Ruether, women in the group have created their own life-cycle ceremonies, including rituals to mark an abortion or the union of lesbian couples. In her presentations on Catholic college campuses, Schüssler Fiorenza cites her own brand of feminist theology to argue that the Catholic Church has always been “pluralist” when it comes to abortion. According to research conducted by Human Life International, she also claims that she rejects the divinity of Jesus and the doctrine of the Trinity, among other fundamental beliefs of the Catholic Church.
Schüssler Fiorenza, Ruether, and Kissling are aware that because they call themselves Catholic, they can say things about the Church that the personnel of national abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood cannot. Most recently, Kissling appropriated a popular devotional image to promote abortion among Hispanic Catholics. In a prayer card asking Our Lady of Guadalupe to “keep abortion legal,” Kissling uses the figure of the Guadalupe, revered by Hispanics, in an attempt to convince them that abortion can be a sacred choice.
Liberation Theology and Women’s Ordination
Reviewing the history of the feminist battles over reproductive rights reveals that many of those fighting the abortion wars have also enlisted in the battle over women’s ordination. As early as 1970, National Organization for Women members publicly burned a copy of the Roman Missal that prohibited women from serving as lectors in the Catholic Church. And, in 1974, Patricia Fogarty McQuillan, one of the founders of Catholics for a Free Choice, crowned herself “pope” on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York on the first anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.
Some of the most visible feminist theologians allied with Catholics for Free Choice, including Catholic theology professors Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Rosemary Ruether, have also been on the front lines protesting Catholic teachings on the priesthood. 67.
Rosemary Ruether, a board member of the Catholics for a Free Choice since 1985, has been one of the harshest critics of the Catholic Church’s stand on women’s ordination. Drawing upon pagan themes in many of her books, Ruether is the author of Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing.
Denying most of the teachings of the Catholic Church, Ruether, like Daniel Maguire and Schüssler Fiorenza, has developed her own theology. According to Human Life International’s research: “Taken as a whole, Ruether’s work is a thorough and complete rejection of Catholicism. . . . Ruether rejects practically every dogmatic teaching of the Church. She does not believe in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ in the Mass, and she rejects the entire Catholic theology of the priesthood. She even rejects the Church’s fundamental contention regarding the immortality of the individual soul — the touchstone on which all forms of Christianity are based.”
In the spring 1997 issue of Conscience, the publication of Catholics for a Free Choice, Ruether wrote that since there is no individual soul, redemption cannot have the classical significance it has always possessed. She believes that feminist theologians, such as herself, reject the classical notion that the human soul is radically fallen, alienated from God, and unable to reconcile itself with God, in need of an outside mediator. The role of Jesus and His sacrifice for our sins becomes quite differently defined in feminist theology as Ruether believes that no one person can become the collective human whose actions accomplish a salvation which is then passively applied to everyone else.
Since the story of redemption, or the Christian belief that Jesus suffered and died for our sins, is the basis of all Christianity, it is difficult to understand how she can continue to remain employed as a “Catholic” theologian — or how she was invited to hold the esteemed Portman Chair at the University of San Diego.
For Ruether, feminist Christianity, rather than the Bible, is the true gospel of Jesus because it involves the dismantling of the patterns of patriarchal Christianity, and the reconstruction of a radically different understanding of the key touchstones of Christian theology. She writes: “What happens to Christian feminist theology when Christian symbols are one resource among others, along with Shamanism and Buddhism. . . . Multi-religious solidarity and syncretism are not only allowable, they are required.”
The Catholic Church has never allowed syncretism, yet, this has not stopped Catholic campuses from offering courses and spirituality workshops which blend syncretistic mixtures of elements from various sources including Kabbalah, astrology, as well as Sufi mysticism, Yoga, Buddhism, and numerology.
In addition to syncretism, polytheism is often an integral part of feminist theology. For Ruether, ordaining women would constitute “an essential first step” in implementing her radical changes in Catholic theology, including a rejection of monotheism, a rejection of the notion of sin and the need for redemption, and a rejection of the central role of Christ as a sacrifice for humanity.
Like Ruether, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza teamed with Pilar Aquino in 2000 to edit In the Power of Wisdom, a published collection of writings by feminist theologians who “inquire into the links between feminist spiritualities and diverse feminist struggles on the one hand and the importance of human or divine Chokma / Sophia / Wisdom as their hermeneutical horizon.” Filled with jargon and New Age syncretistic mixtures, the edited collections focus on religious resources for spirituality and “articulate a spiritual vision that not only expresses women’s struggles to survive and transform relations of domination but also critically identifies religious traditions and resources for such a discernment of the Spirit-Shekhina-Sophia’s working in different global contexts.”
Schüssler Fiorenza concludes that the contributors to her most recent edited collection of feminist writings function as “ministers of Divine Wisdom that have been sent out to the public places of the global village . . . and invite all of us to eat the bread of Wisdom-Sophia, drink of her wine, and walk in her ways of creative justice.”
A “Hermeneutic Of Suspicion”
To support their feminist contentions about a Sophia / Wisdom spirituality — and to help undermine the historical validity of the New Testament and the divinity of Christ — many feminist scholars and theologians draw upon the “hidden gospels.” In his research on the ways in which feminists have been “ambitious in using the newly found gospels to reconstruct the early churches in their own image,” Pennsylvania State University historian Philip Jenkins writes in The New Anti-Catholicism that for feminists, the “hidden gospels” reveal an early Christianity headed by a radically egalitarian Jesus who welcomed a proto-feminist movement which venerated female leaders like Mary Magdalene.
Many feminists believe that the privileged role of women in the early Church was annexed by sinister figures like St. Paul — often described by feminists as a “misogynist and homophobe, who imposed his dark, repressive vision on the emerging Church.” And, as Christian theology became more complex, these same feminists believe that “the mechanisms of the Church became hierarchical, bureaucratic, and oppressive.” For many feminists, the main victims of this transformation were women who lost their positions and prestige within the Church.
The “hidden gospels” are cited by modern feminist theologians like Rosemary Ruether who has included “the evidence” of female priests in her collection of readings supporting a feminist theology, or an alternative feminist canon. Likewise, Schüssler Fiorenza draws upon the material in the hidden gospels to advocate a whole new range of approaches that should be applied in feminist research. Characteristic of these approaches is what they call a “hermeneutic of suspicion,” based on the presumption that patriarchal texts — including most of the New Testament — would unnecessarily exclude or demean women and the feminine, and cannot be trusted.
Yet, as Philip Jenkins points out, the “hidden gospels” are themselves contested terrain. In his book, Hidden Gospels: How the Search for Jesus Lost Its Way, Jenkins argues that far from being “revolutionary,” such attempts to find an alternative Christianity date back at least to the Enlightenment. By employing scholarly and historical methodologies, Jenkins demonstrates that the hidden texts purported to represent pristine Christianity were in fact composed long after the canonical Gospels found in the New Testament: 68.
“Produced by obscure heretical movements, these texts offer no reliable new information about Jesus or the early church. They have attracted so much media attention chiefly because they seem to support radical, feminist, and post-modern positions in the modern church.”
The continued reliance on the core philosophy of liberation theology on Catholic college campuses like the University of San Diego remains strong. In 2006, Gustavo Gutierrez, known as the “father of liberation theology,” was an honored guest speaker at the first Annual Lecture of the University of San Diego’s Center for the Study of Latin and Catholicism. Gutierrez, a Peruvian priest, became the earliest spokesman for the movement when he wrote the most notable text for liberation studies, A Theology of Liberation — a text that continues to be assigned to hundreds of undergraduate theology students on Catholic campuses each year.
Unfortunately, many feminist liberation theologians have redefined the theology by intertwining biblical concepts with Gnostic myths and Marxist ideology in an effort to empower the people of God as equals in the teachings and activities of the Catholic Church — opening ordination to women.
It was especially appropriate that Fr. Gutierrez visited the San Diego campus in 2006 because just a few months before his visit, Jane Via, a longtime theology professor at the University of San Diego, was illicitly ordained as a Catholic priest on June 24, 2006 aboard a riverboat in Switzerland. In a ceremony that was described by Patricia Fresson, one of three female Catholic bishops who claim to have been secretly ordained by active Roman Catholic bishops, as “both a political and a sacramental action,” Via became one of a growing number of American women who have received ordination to the priesthood in recent illicit ceremonies through Roman Catholic Womenpriests.
is a reform movement that claims to have ordained dozens of women priests and deacons. Via, like most feminist theologians, has been a longtime critic of Church teachings on reproductive rights and a woman’s right to ordination in the Church. One of the original signers of the 1984 Catholics for a Free Choice New York Times ad protesting the Church’s stand on abortion, Via enjoyed more than two decades of job security at the University of San Diego where she has served as an adjunct professor of theology until her “ordination.”
Since she left the university, she has co-founded a new Catholic congregation in San Diego and called it the independent Mary Magdalene the Apostle Catholic Community.
The feminist front on Catholic campuses continues to damage not just the Catholic Church as an institution; it has damaged the very understanding of Christianity. By dismissing natural law and the authority of Scripture and what they call the “patriarchal” authority structure of the Church, dissidents on Catholic campuses create confusion over some of the most important teachings of the Church, including the divinity of Christ, the Resurrection, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, as well as, of course, abortion, homosexuality, and women’s ordination.
Philip Rieff writes in his Life Among the Deathworks, “The Death of God the Father will not lead to the birth of God the mother, nor to another twelve or more sacred messengers. . . . The mother-as-god movement will be smothered in its own feminist animus.” The syncretism of the New Age / Wisdom feminist spirituality, and the growing strength of the Marxist liberationist theology and its feminist and gay successors, has constructed what Rieff calls a “psychosis” about the established commanding truths in sacred order. And he warns that “commanding truths will not be mocked, except to the destruction of everything sacred.”
Sadly, on many Catholic campuses, the search for truth has ended, as a desire for a feminist utopia that can never come has driven sacred and social order further and further apart.
Anne Hendershott has spent the past 15 years at the University of San Diego where she served as chair of the Department of Sociology and director of Urban Studies. She recently moved to King’s College in New York City.
MY CLOSING COMMENTS
In this one article by Anne Hendershott, we have received a synopsis of what the Catholic feminist movement is: an off-shoot of liberation theology that Rome has condemned; and New Age.
The New Age aspect will be examined in a separate article of mine on eco-feminist spirituality.
Our own home-grown feminist Virginia Saldanha is no different than Rosemary Radford Ruether and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza who reject Church authority and teaching but continue to remain in the Church and claim to be Catholics. They are not Catholics, neither is Virginia Saldanha.
Like them, she has decided to remain in the Catholic Church [“serving in and through the Church as fully participating members“:
http://www.catherineofsiena.net/about/kane.asp], pretend to be Catholic, and make use of the goodwill of the large number of liberal priest-theologians, powerful rebellious organizations like the Conference of Religious, India [CRI], and bishops sympathetic to the feminist cause. Will she succeed in her nefarious scheme?
Now funded by womenpriests, the Indian campaign of Virginia Saldanha — through the Catherine of Siena Virtual College and its affiliations with Indian seminaries and Catholic universities — is only set to grow more aggressive and penetrating.
Bishops of India, who among you will be the first to go to work to destroy the foundation and dismantle the infrastructure of the womenpriests movement in our beloved Church?
UPDATE, APRIL 11, 2012
POSTINGS IN THE MUMBAILAITY BLOG [SEE ALSO PAGES 39-41]
Is Bishop Bosco Penha unwittingly endorsing HERESIES?
On 2nd April 2012, Laitytude carried an article titled Catherine of Siena Virtual college- Is it Catholic?
The above article clearly defines how Catherine of Siena Virtual College, being linked to womenpriests.org, promotes heresies such as ordaining women priests among others. The article provided a link to the official Vatican site that displays the document for public reading and urged the readers to do so in order to learn firsthand Vatican’s stand on the matter.
On further investigation of this college, one of our readers forwarded this link: –http://www.catherinecollege.net/moodle/mod/resource/view.php?id=747. On scrolling the above link, you will find a quote by Bishop Bosco endorsing some the courses of this college. It reads as follows (quote) “It is necessary that the process of conscientizing society with regard to various issues of discrimination and violence to woman be accelerated. . . . This book [course] by Virginia Saldanha encourages precisely this. . . . This book [course] is validated by Virginia’s experience and struggle as a young widow as well as her extensive grassroots work with women.” +Bosco Penha, Bishop of Bambay (Unquote).
Now this statement of his, though may seem innocent, is a serious matter as it now links him to a college which promotes heresy. So hence we would like him to answer these questions:-
(1) As a Bishop and a shepherd of the Church in Mumbai, does he endorse the actions of these so called Archdiocesan women activists, who promote teachings
and ideologies in opposition to those of the Church?
(2) Are you aware that your endorsement for the above will encourage Catholics to be influenced by the deception of such women activists who are promoting their hidden agenda which is the ordination of women as priests?
This is a serious matter and requires Bishop Bosco Penha’s urgent attention. The laity of Mumbai is urged to take this matter up in their local communities and write a letter to His Lordship asking for his quick response. Or else, God bless the souls who will be lost because of these errors being promoted in the Church.
SELECTED OUT OF 8 RESPONSES TO THE ABOVE:
April 9, 2012, Croydon says:
Canon 1389 clearly states that if a person abuses ecclesiastical office, he has to be punished. However if Bishop Bosco Penha is endorsing heresies, canon 1389 will be the least of his worries.
Matt 18:6-7 – NRSV “If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!”
April 9, 2012, Francis S. Lobo says:
What I understand from the above statement that the course was designed and validated by Bishop Bosco Penha and Virginia Saldanha. It is impossible for me to believe that Bishop Bosco Penha was unaware of CSVC activities and its link with women priest ordination movement. It a big hidden meshed network of women priests ordination movement.
Those who attack Vatican and its doctrine, have no right to stay in the Church Councils. One such instance is by Ecclesia of Women Web Coordinator Virginia Saldanha.
EWA Web Coordinator Virginia writes in EWA that “The Vatican’s declaration that the attempts to ordain women and those associated with such ordinations will now be considered a grave crime on par with that of paedophilia by clerics in the Church is one of the biggest insults to women – further degrading women’s dignity in the Church. […] Women around the world are appalled and shocked that the Vatican could do this to us. […]
There are a number of men who support the issue of women’s ordination and have spoken out against the Vatican stand. It is time for women to raise their voices in greater numbers, especially women in Asia.“
Dear Bishop\Virginia are truly obedient to Vatican teachings?
Virginia says “It is time for women to raise their voices in greater numbers, especially women in Asia”. How she wants to implement her plan through an internet driven world? Is it through Catherine of Siena Virtual College and EWA? As per available record, CSVC is already associated with Catholic Institutes, Universities and Seminaries. Virginia also says number of men support her cause. Can you please reveal their identity so that we too can expose them?
April 9, 2012, Joseph says:
Virginia should read Canon 1024 A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly. If she reject, then she is free to do anything outside the Catholic Church.
April 9, 2012, Aby says:
Bishop Bosco is the brain behind women’s movement, women’s desk, mahila mukti manch. 70.
UPDATE, APRIL 21, 2012
BISHOP AGNELO GRACIAS HOLDS VIRGINIA SALDANHA IN VERY GREAT ESTEEM
Email from Bishop Agnelo Gracias to Mr. Gordon Jacobs [of MumbaiLaity]
[W]e have been implementing the suggestions of sensible parishioners (Virginia Saldanha and others). Accordingly, a Parish Finance Committee has been put into place, suitable persons, including women, suggested by them have been appointed as members… at Sacred Heart [parish], Santacruz…
Allow me one final remark: If you send e-mails, make sure that at least the spellings and grammar are correct. Even such a common word as “properties” is wrongly spelt. Please get your e-mails corrected by someone who knows English. I am writing this for your own good. People who receive your e-mails must be having a good laugh at your mistakes. With kind regards,
+ Bishop Agnelo Gracias
For more on Bishop Agnelo Gracias, see pages 43, 44 and 53.
Bishop Agnelo Gracias
disparages Gordon Jacobs’ lack of fluency in English. It does not say much for his image as a leader, a pastor and bishop. I, too, have written to the bishop on several occasions, sometimes without a response. My command of English is fairly good, but if it weren’t, would it give the bishop reason to mock me for my lack of education or background? Is the quality of one’s English a criterion for the bishop’s attending to the issue submitted to him? If that were so, I would merit a reply from him to each and every letter. Or is it the issue[s] that his subjects draw his attention to that should concern him?
If the bishop found Gordon Jacobs’ letter wanting in proper English, he could have offered the man some fatherly suggestions such as to take greater care when writing to the lordships in the Church. Whenever I review my published reports, I am always obliged to make corrections of mistakes that slipped past me on the previous readings. I know a good apologist whose written English is atrocious; and the learned Jesuit Fr. Jacob Srampickal’s spelling is no great shakes either, see his letters to me, pages 123, 124 of the detailed report on Virginia Saldanha and the EWA.
It must be mentioned that the apple-of-Bishop Agnelo Gracias‘-eye Virginia Saldanha‘s English is imperfect. I doubt that he will attempt to read her EWA blogs, so I suggest that he reads my comments on
pages 5, 6 on her
usage of an incorrect idiom in describing herself as the bishops’ “dark horse”.
I’m sure that even a casual critic could find grammatical errors in this report or in any of my other reports.
Bishop Agnelo Gracias‘
remark to Gordon Jacobs is in very poor taste and is a type of “discrimination” or “racial profiling” that would be viewed very seriously in the developed world. However, Indian laity generally continues to languish in the much-clichéd “pray, pay and obey” category whereas virulently anti-Rome activists and womenpriests agents like Virginia Saldanha are “sensible“. I hope that Bishop Agnelo Gracias will condemn Virginia Saldanha‘s heresies with the same fervor as he did Gordon Jacobs’ poor writing skills.
I draw the reader’s attention to my July 14, 2008 critique on the New Community Bible [NCB], http://ephesians-511.net/docs/NEW%20COMMUNITY%20BIBLE%201_CRITIQUE.doc. I was able to source a copy of Bishop Agnelo Gracias‘ response — which was submitted to the committee instituted to examine the issue — to that critique. I partially completed my as yet-unpublished [because I was constrained to write a series of EIGHTEEN articles and reports on that problem alone] response to the bishop’s submission.
I wrote the following remarks [on the bishop’s submission] in my report THE NEW COMMUNITY BIBLE 13 – RESPONSES FROM THE BISHOPS AND THEIR EXECUTIVE COMMISSIONS http://ephesians-511.net/docs/NEW%20COMMUNITY%20BIBLE%2013_RESPONSES%20FROM%20THE%20BISHOPS%20AND%20COMMISSIONS.doc:
“Much of it belittles or casually dismisses our concerns with sarcasm and comments that are not befitting the office of a Bishop who is supposed to encourage the laity which loves their Church and defends her against error…” His opening statement to what he described as “the long 9-page closely typed critique of Mr. Prabhu” was, “I do not know whether it is worth answering the critical general remarks made by Mr. Michael Prabhu.”
Yet, under pressure from Rome, the NCB was withdrawn and “revised”!!!!!
And, the bishop’s response, rebuttal would be better, to my critique was in itself at least all of eight pages. Talk about “long”!
The same bishop engaged in double-speak when he wrote to me, “let me commend you for the trouble you have taken in this matter. It shows your eagerness to safeguard the purity of Christian doctrine.” See the above link.
SOME COMMENTS IN MUMBAI LAITY
WomenPriests infiltrates the Indian Church: Catherine of Siena Virtual College-By Michael Prabhu
[The SYNOPSIS of this report, pages 1-3, was reproduced in Mumbai Laity from this ministry’s web site.]
SELECTED OUT OF 9 RESPONSES TO THE ABOVE:
April 15, 2012, Croydon says:
Great Job Mr. Prabhu and Mumbai Laity. Now its is certain that there are NO rumors, but rather all claims are now backed by facts stemming from intensive research. I am sure we are now working towards a better Church in Mumbai and in India on the whole, so that the future generations may learn the Truth and not deceptions that are used to promote ones own agenda of lies. Keep it up. May the Lord be with you. Thank you.
April 16, 2012, aveimperator says:
St. Catherine of Siena is one of the Church’s great doctors, not all saints are doctors and only a handful are Church doctors such as St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, St. Therese of Liseux etc. St. Catherine is famous for restoring the Papacy back to Rome, when there was a crisis of two papacies one being the Avignon (France) Papacy and Vatican Papacy. Just because there is a great Saint in the Church who happens to be a woman, it does not mean that she was a feminist (as there never was such ideology existing before) nor was she a “priest”. There are other such group advocating women priests citing examples of Mother Mary, St. Catherine of Siena and to some extent even Byzantine Empresses. This is a failed premise and is not in anyway close to being Catholic. If such like minded women want to express their feelings, they are free to do so outside of the Catholic Church and not use the Catholic Church as a platform for their misguided adventure.
April 17, 2012, Sunil says:
These theologians are the fruits of corrupted seminaries. Close those seminaries which attack our faith.
Women Priests infiltrates the Indian Church: Catherine of Siena Virtual College
SYNOPSIS was posted by Francis on April 21, 2012 in the blog
Catherine of Sienna Virtual college- Is it Catholic? By CROYDON DSOUZA, see pages 39, 40, was posted in Mangalorean Catholics yahoo group on April 3, 2012:
Voice for Women: Indian activist leaves bishops behind, but carries on work for oppressed
October 21, 2011 by Dennis Coday
See the NCR article on page 11 with my comments on page 12. The following information needs to be added:
COMMENT Submitted by John M on October 22, 2011
It’s wonderful to hear from someone who may be influencing the development right now of the first Asian and first woman pope. How can an all male priesthood represent humanity since humanity was created in the image of God, male and female?
The NCR article is about Virginia Saldanha. What “John M” is saying is that Virginia Saldanha‘s feminist groundwork may be expected to influence the installation of the “first woman pope“. Need we say more?
That can become a reality only after women begin to be ordained as priests in the Catholic Church. This is already happening in the West among several groups that have “ordained” lay women and religious sisters as deaconesses and priestesses but still lay claim to being Catholic. Will we see this happen in India?
We have incontrovertible evidence that that is exactly what Virginia Saldanha and her cohorts are ceaselessly working for, now with the juggernaut of John Wijngaards‘ highly-experienced womenpriests.org behind them, using the façade of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College as they spread their tentacles through their affiliation with our houses of religious formation as well as through the print and e-media.
Along with that of “John M“, there were several comments from NCR readers complimenting Virginia Saldanha. My detailed report on Virginia Saldanha and the EWA records how many letters of support her feminist clamour receives from religious sisters, laity and priests in not just left-wing media like the National Catholic Reporter but also in ostensibly Catholic magazines such as Smart Companion India.
MangaloreanCatholics yahoo group reproduces MumbaiLaity blog post, see page 70
Is Bishop Bosco Penha unwittingly endorsing HERESIES?
Is Bishop Bosco Penha unwittingly endorsing HERESIES?
MumbaiLaity continues with its expose
Further Exposing – Catherine of Siena virtual college – By Michael Prabhu [pages 7-11 of this report]
Posted on April 19, 2012 […]
April 19, 2012, Croydon says:
Thank you Mr. Michael Prabhu and Mumbai Laity again for this information. I am sure the Church is safe with angels such as you’ll guarding it from being overrun by people of malicious intent. Now the rumors spread that your blog was dwelling in gossip can now be squashed with detailed, factual reporting such as this. Thank you once again. God bless
THE CARDINAL REPLIES
Dear Mr Prabhu,
I have you email of May 27, 2012 and subsequently have received some documentation you sent to me in the same connection. I thank you for this documentation and am having it studied.
It can be taken for granted that the Archdiocese of Bombay will not either directly or indirectly, in any way support New Age movement.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
+ Oswald Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay & President CBCI
Dear Cardinal Oswald Gracias,
I have written several letters to you on different issues this year. I sincerely do not know which one of them you have replied to.
It will be most helpful to me if you enlighten me as to which of my letters you are referring to. I await your clarification.
God bless you,
Dear Mr Prabhu,
His Eminence has asked me to reply to your mail of yesterday. His Eminence communicates to you that he was referring to the issue of the Catherine of Siena Virtual College.
With kind regards and wishes, Yours sincerely in the Christ,
Fr Neil dos Santos
Secretary to the Archbishop
Archdiocese of Bombay
Subject: Fr Neil, your kind assistance required
Dear Fr. Neil,
Thank you for your prompt response. I am extremely sorry to trouble you again.
There is either a mistake at your end or a mismanagement of my records for which I apologize.
There appears to be no letter in my files dated 27 May 2012 addressed to Cardinal Oswald Gracias concerning the Catherine of Siena Virtual College. Since you refer to such a letter, could you please copy it to me so that I can reconcile my records?
[It would have helped if the same subject line was maintained when the Cardinal Archbishop’s office replied to me.]
I had written to the Cardinal and the other Bishops of Bombay on April 22/23 on an issue related to the Catherine of Siena Virtual College under the subject line MRS. VIRGINIA SALDANHA AND THE EMERGENT WOMEN PRIESTS MOVEMENT IN THE INDIAN CHURCH. The Cardinal’s office has not yet acknowledged that letter.
[The Cardinal has replied to my letter dated May 7 on the subject of Fr Prashant Olalekar’s “Interplay”, which is New Age as my report* demonstrates]
With regards, Michael
FR PRASHANT OLALEKAR-INTERPLAY AND LIFE POSITIVE
NO RESPONSE FROM THE CARDINAL’S OFFICE
Categories: Ordination of Women Priests Movement in India