Friday, July 31, 2015

The heart of Christianity

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
August 2, 2015

John 6:24-35

The people need Jesus and look for him. There's something in him that attracts them but they still don't know why they're looking for him or to what end. According to the evangelist, many are doing it because the day before, he had distributed bread to them to satisfy their hunger.

Jesus starts to talk with them. There are things that should be clarified from the beginning. Material bread is very important. He himself has taught them to ask God for "daily bread" for everyone. But human beings need something more. Jesus wants to offer food that can satiate their hunger for life forever.

The people sense that Jesus is opening a new vista, but they don't know what to do or where to start. The evangelist summarizes their questions with these words: "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?". In them, there is a sincere desire to get it right. They want to work on what God wants but, used to thinking about everything based on the Law, they ask Jesus what new works, practices, and observances they must take into consideration.

Jesus' response touches the heart of Christianity: "The work (singular!) God wants is this: that you believe in the one he sent." God only wants them to believe in Jesus Christ since he is the great gift He has sent into the world. This is the new requirement. This is what they are to work on. Everything else is secondary.

After twenty centuries of Christianity, don't we need to rediscover that the full force and originality of the Church is in believing in Jesus and following him? Don't we need to move beyond the attitude of followers of a religion of "beliefs" and "practices" to live as disciples of Jesus?

Christian faith is not primarily properly fulfilling a code of new practices and observances, superior to those of the Old Testament. No. Christian identity is in learning to live a lifestyle that is born of a living and trusting relationship with Jesus Christ. We become Christians in the measure that we learn to think, feel, love, work, suffer and live like Jesus.

Being a Christian today requires an experience of Jesus and identification with his plan that wasn't required a few years ago to be a good practitioner. To survive in the midst of secular society, Christian communities need to take greater care than ever of their vital adherence to and contact with Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SAVE THE DATE: 35th Congreso de Teologia

The 35th Theology Congress of the Asociación de Teólogos y Teólogas Juan XXIII will take place in Madrid September 10-13, 2015. The theme of this year's conngress is "Religions: Violence and Roads to Peace." Here are the details in English and you can download the brochure in Spanish here. The sessions will be in Spanish.


Salón de Actos de Comisiones Obreras
c/Lope de Vega, 40
28014, Madrid, SPAIN

30 euros -- the whole Congress
20 euros -- Saturday and Sunday
10 euros -- Sunday only

Register and pay in cash only at the door.


September 10

19:00 - Welcome and Introduction
Francisca Sauquillo, president of the Movimiento por la Paz, el Desarme y la Libertad

19:30-21:00 - First Lecture: Conflicts in the World Today and Their Causes: A Critical Analysis
Mariano Aguirre, director of the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre

September 11

10:00-11:30 - Communications
Moderator: Comunidad Fray Pacífico
  • Violence in Adolescents and Youth. JOC
  • Discrimination and Violence Against Women in the Labor Environment. María del Carmen Heredero, CCOO Women, Equality and Social Policy Secretariat
  • Stolen Children in Spain. Francisco González de Tena. Federación Coordinadora X24


12:00-13:30 - First Roundtable: Peace Accords and Historical Memory

16:00-16:30 - Open Communications
The Latin American Agenda: 25th Anniversary
Fernando Bermúdez, theologian

16:30-18:00 - Second Roundtable: Meetings for Peace and Co-Existence in Euskal Herria
  • Rosa Rodero, ETA victim
  • Axun Lasa, GAL victim
  • Moderators: Carlos Olalla, actor, and Javier Baeza from St. Carlos Borromeo Parish in Entrevías


18:30-20:00 - Second Lecture: Gender Violence and the Feminist Response
Ana de Miguel, Professor of Philosophy, King Juan Carlos University, Madrid

September 12

10:00-11:30 - Third Lecture: Violence and Peace in Africa: The Role of Religions
Cyprien Melibi, Theologian, Cameroon


12:00-13:30 - Fourth Lecture: Violence, Terrorism, and Peace in the Monotheistic Religions
Natalia Andújar, Director of the "Educaislam" and "Feminismo islámico" programs. Cordoba.

16:00-16:30 - Open Communications

17:00-18:30 - Fifth Lecture: Commitment to the Poor as a Contribution to Peace and the Latin American Liberation Processes
Sonia Suyapa Pérez Escapini, Theologian, UCA, San Salvador, El Salvador

19:00-20:15 - Hommage to Pedro Casaldáliga and Remembrance of Monseñor Romero

September 13

10:00-11:30 - Sixth Lecture: Religions, Roads to Peace
Javier Melloni, Expert in Interfaith Dialogue

12:00 - Celebration of the Eucharist and Solidarity Collection
Comunidad de Santo Tomás

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Our great sin

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
July 26, 2015

John 6:1-15

The episode of the multiplication of the loaves enjoyed great popularity among Jesus' followers. All of the evangelists recall it. Surely, it moved them to think that that man of God was concerned to feed a crowd that had been left without enough to eat.

According to John's version, the first one to think of the hungry crowd that has come to listen to him is Jesus. These people need to eat; we have to do something for them. That's how Jesus was. He was always thinking about basic human needs.

Philip makes him see that they have no money. Among the disciples, everyone is poor -- they can't buy bread for so many. Jesus knows it. Those with money will never solve the problem of world hunger. It takes more than money.

Jesus will help them envision a different path. First of all, it's crucial that no one hoard what's his for himself if others are hungry. His disciples have to learn to make available to the hungry what they have, if only "five barley loaves and two fish."

Jesus' attitude is the simplest and most humane one we can imagine. But who is going to teach us to share if we only know how to buy? Who will free us from our indifference to those who are starving to death? Is there anything that can make us more humane? Will this "miracle" of real solidarity between all ever happen?

Jesus thinks about God. You can't believe in Him as the Father of all and let His sons and daughters starve. So, he takes the food they have collected in the group, "raises his eyes to Heaven and gives thanks." The earth and everything that feeds us, we have received from God. It is the Father's gift, intended for all His children. If we deprive others of what they need to live, it's because we have forgotten this. It is our great sin although we almost never confess it.

When sharing the bread of the Eucharist, the early Christians felt nourished by the risen Christ but, at the same time, they remembered Jesus' gesture and shared their goods with the needy. They were brothers and sisters. They had not yet forgotten the Spirit of Jesus.

Women's Ordinations - June and July 2015

Here are the women's ordinations that have taken place so far this summer.

June 20, 2015 - Shelburne, NH

Mary Catherine White of Gorham, NH, was ordained a priest by ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan at the Shelburn Union Church. Rev. White holds a B.Sc. from the University of Maine and a Masters in Theology through Global Ministries University. Prior to seeking ordination, White was active in the Catholic Church in a variety of ways as a director of religious education and working with Catholic Charities. She currently is a Certified Family Mediator and Guardian ad Litem with specialized training in substance abuse treatment. Mary is part of an inclusive faith community in the Berlin-Gorham area and plans to hold home liturgies now that she is fully ordained.

Responding to the Vatican's argument that women can not be priests, Rev. White cites St. Paul's Letter to the Galatians. "'In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave or free.' That is a very clear depiction of what Jesus taught us." In her homily, Bishop Meehan called White's ordination and her ministry "a living witness to our liberating God's transforming action in this local community."

June 27, 2015 - Albany, NY

At the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Albany on June 27th, Kathleen Ryan was ordained a Roman Catholic woman priest and Kim Panaro a deacon by ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan. Two "catacomb" deacons, using the pseudonyms "Edmund John" and "Phoebe Joan", were also ordained. Catacomb priests and deacons are women who do not use their real names because of fear of reprisals. About the new ordinands who are not in "catacomb" status:

Kathleen Ryan has a Masters in Social Work from SUNY Albany and worked for 15 years with children with emotional illnesses. She is presently working for Synergy Counseling Associates. She ministers to families who suffer from grief and loss and is a member of the leadership circle of the Inclusive Catholic Community of Albany.

Kim Panaro, who holds degrees in both social work and religious studies, has over 20 years working with children and families and has extensive experience as a psychotherapist in the areas of eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, grief and depression. She is also a Certified School Social Worker experienced with special education and school consultation. She has worked for the Bethlehem Central School District and for the Episcopal Diocese of Albany's Episcopal Counseling Service.

July 11, 2015 - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Jane Kryzanowski was ordained a Roman Catholic woman priest by RCWP Bishop Marie Bouclin. For the ceremony, Kryzanowski wore a chasuble that had been made over 45 years earlier for her husband Felix, a former Roman Catholic priest. Jane and her husband have been active members of the married priests' organization, CORPUS Canada. Prior to her involvement in the RCWP movement, Rev. Kryzanowski and her husband were active in Holy Cross Parish in Regina where she worked for a time as Administrative Co-Coordinator. In her first homily as a new priest, Kryzanowski said, "Today, I have committed to being a servant-leader in an inclusive discipleship of equals. This is our model as Roman Catholic Women Priests. I am here for you and to be with you on the spiritual journey."

July 25, 2015 - Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Barbara Billey, a counselor and art therapist from Windsor, who has also been pastoring a house church since her diaconal ordination in May 2014, was ordained a Roman Catholic woman priest by Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan. Billey has been engaged in theological study and has a particular interest in women’s spirituality and a passion for integrating sacred arts in liturgy. An activist in the women's ordination movement, Billey has been involved in the Catholic Network for Women's Equality, hosting Pink Smoke screening parties in her area.

Rev. Billey first heard her call to the priesthood during a retreat at an Episcopal church in Michigan where a priest from that tradition, not knowing she was Roman Catholic, asked her if she was also a priest. At the time she assumed that her only option for responding was to become an Anglican priest but later she was introduced to the RCWP movement, beginning the journey that led to her ordination. Billey will leave the local Catholic church she has been attending as her priesthood is not recognized there but she dreams of the day when "the Roman Catholic church would be inclusive of women at all levels of ministry. I believe we can only be whole, that is the sacraments, the church, the people of God, can only be whole when all people are included and that would include, not just women but all people that have been marginalized."