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Category Archives: Commentary
Mary Magdalene Celebration
You are invited to a Celebration of the Feast of Mary Magdalene.
When: Monday evening July 23, 2012 at 7:00pm.
Where: Hubbard Interfaith Sanctuary, 959 Madison Ave, Albany, NY (map)
Contact: Steve at (518) 370-1615 or Ellen at (518) 462-2299
Why this Celebration? See below:
Suppressed Mary Magdala Story One of Many
By Chris Schenk
Official Lectionary Omits Women’s Stories
In February 2007, Pope Benedict spoke feelingly about early Christian women leaders, “The history of Christianity would have developed quite differently without the generous contribution of many women…” The Pope even acknowledged that unlike the apostles, women “ did not abandon Jesus at the hour of his passion. . . Outstanding among them was Mary Magdalene, who was the first witness of the Resurrection and announced it to the others.”
Yet how many of us knew about Mary Magdalene’s leadership until the DaVinci Code? Even then Dan Brown got it only part right, to the great consternation of Church leaders who have only themselves to blame.
For centuries Mary of Magdala’s story, like those of many other biblical women, has been minimized or excised from the official lectionary used in both Catholic and Protestant churches. A fascinating 1996 analysis by Sr. Ruth Fox OSB, found a disproportionate number of passages about women had been deleted from the lectionary, a book of biblical passages carefully chosen for Church proclamation.
For example, Jesus’ appearance to Mary of Magdala in the garden and his command to “go and tell my brothers” is never read on any Sunday in the Easter season, or any Sunday at all in U.S. Churches. Instead, the lectionary account from the Gospel of John, inexplicably stops just before this beautiful commissioning, Matthew’s Palm Sunday lectionary text deletes the story of the unnamed woman disciple who anoints
Jesus. (26:6-13). Unlike the male disciple who criticized her, this woman affirmed Jesus’ prophetic and kingly role. Yet her story is never told, though Jesus himself promised: “…wherever the good news is proclaimed…what she did will be told in memory of her.” (Mt 26:13).
Another obvious example is the Roman’s 16 reading where verses about Phoebe, the woman deacon who carried Paul’s letter to the Romans, are completely excised. We never hear Paul’s praise of this important woman leader: “I commend to you our sister Phoebe who is a deacon of Church at Cenchreae. Please welcome her…she has been of help to many, including myself.” (Romans 16: 1)
Stories of women from the Hebrew scriptures are also omitted, perhaps most notably that of Shiprah and Puah, two Hebrew midwives. The Exodus 1:8-22 weekday reading skips from verse 14 to verse 22, eliminating the story of their brave nonviolent resistance to a command from Pharoah to kill all male Hebrews at birth. Had the midwives obeyed, Moses and many other Hebrew men would never have seen adulthood. Yet our sons and daughters never hear about the brave women who saved a
nation because they obeyed God over an unjust government.
In his February 2007 address, Benedict also openly countered centuries of literal biblical interpretation by pointing to Paul’s writings where it is normal for early Christian women to edify the assembly with prophetic utterances. The Pope concluded: “Therefore St Paul’s subsequent assertion that ‘women should be silent in the churches must be relativized.’.” The Pope and Synod Bishops must encourage and invite women to serve as preachers and proclaimers in our Catholic churches.
Only through concrete actions such as these will Catholicism begin to heal centuries of silencing and suppression of women leaders who seek only to witness publicly to Christ. Then, perhaps we will be closer to Paul’s ideal community where: “there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28).
Chris Schenk is the Director of FutureChurch, a national coalition of parish centered Catholics working for full participation of all Catholics in the life of the Church. She holds Master’s degrees in Theology and Midwifery.
The Mary of Magdala Project was developed and is administered by FutureChurch.
Vatican Declares “Year of Assault”
May 27, 2012 John C. Sivalon, M.M.
Note: The author of this incisive analysis is a former Maryknoll provincial superior who now teaches theology at the University of Scranton. It “connects the dots” between the recent Vatican censure of the LCWR and the retrenchment from Vatican II.
Under the guise of a “Year of Faith,” the Vatican has launched an all-out assault on any theology or interpretation of Vatican II based on what it calls a “Hermeneutic (Interpretation) of Rupture.” This theological assault is articulated in the document known as “Porta Fidei” written by Benedict XVI and further specified in a document titled “Note on Recommendations for the Implementation of the Year of Faith” which was developed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Both of these documents are cited by Cardinal Levada in his statement on the doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). The rationale for that assessment and other punitive moves that have been made in recent months (Caritas International, educational institutes, and the Girl Scouts) must be understood in the broader context of this special “year of assault.”
Read More: http://istandwiththesisters.org/vatican-declares-year-of-assault/
Sisters are Women of Conviction
Article by By Mary Johnson published in the Times Union May 26, 2012****
I left the convent 15 years ago, but I still dream of myself in a long white habit.
Lately those dreams have intensified. I dream of nuns on trial, sisters forced into boxes. I find myself shouting into crowds, trying to get someone to pay attention.
In April the Vatican accused some American sisters of exploring spiritualities outside Roman Catholicism, engaging in corporate dissent and embracing “radical feminism.” They’ve appointed a Seattle archbishop to oversee the activities of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for the next five years. Beginning Tuesday, the sisters of the LCWR will gather to formulate a response.
Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Sisters-are-women-of-conviction-3586625.php#ixzz1w1KltRM2
On Tuesday in Albany, there will be an Evening of Prayer in Support of Women Religious of America at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 900 Madison Ave., from 7-8:30 p.m.
**** See another article by Mary Johnson published May 21st on the Huffington Post:
The Vatican Lays a Cunning Trap for American Nuns
By Mary C. Johnson
Posted: 05/21/2012 1:54 pm Huffington Post
At the end of this month, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will meet to formulate a response to a Vatican trap whose cunning is best appreciated within the long tradition of religious authorities who craft impossible dilemmas for those they perceive as threats.
Two millennia ago, the chief priests sent someone to ask Jesus, “Should we pay taxes?” If Jesus said yes, he would pit himself against Jewish resistance to Roman occupation and therefore, in Jewish eyes, against God. If he said no, the Romans could execute him for sedition. Instead, Jesus famously replied, “Render to Ceaser what is Ceaser’s and to God what is God’s.”
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-c-johnson/vatican-lays-a-cunning-trap-for-american-nuns_b_1527369.html