Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/96/5895796/html/index.php:2) in /home/content/96/5895796/html/wp-content/plugins/si-contact-form/wp-session/class-wp-session.php on line 92
jamiemanson @ Jamie Manson

LCWR: A Radical Obedience to the Voice of God in our Time



In his Holy Thursday sermon, Pope Benedict XVI made headlines for criticizing those who refuse to obey the church’s position on the ordination of celibate men. He traced his argument back to Christ’s obedience to the will of God.

“His concern was for true obedience,” Benedict said, “as opposed to human caprice.”

Of course, the pontiff fails to point out that Jesus was obeying God while also radically disobeying the religious leaders and laws of his time. Like so many archconservative Roman Catholics, he is confusing God with the institutional church and its doctrine.

I suppose the pope is using some of this same logic in his treatment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. He views the sisters’ unwillingness to condemn gays and lesbians or contraception or women who feel called ordained ministry as an act of “caprice.”

Read More...

Recognizing the Church that We Already Are



On the evening of Friday, Nov. 4, NCR columnist Jamie L. Manson offered the opening night keynote address at the annual Call to Action national conference. The theme of the conference was “Living the Gospel of Love.” Below is the text of her speech. Read more about the address here.

I want to begin by telling a story because stories, perhaps more than any other element of faith, are vital to sustaining religious communities. Stories pass on insights; they help to give shape to religious traditions; they recall paradigmatic moments or people; they define a community; they are vehicles for revelation; even though they may be ordinary, stories can tell us a lot about the sacred.

This story, I think, does all of those things. It is a true story that happened in a place as ordinary as St. Louis and as recently as 2008. The year that stretched from the summer of 2008 to the summer of 2009 was especially bizarre for the Catholic Church in the United States (and, I know there is a lot of competition for that title).

Read More...

Anthony Ruff: The Accidental Activist



The last time Father Anthony Ruff, OSB, came to New York, he was visiting with an editor from First Things, a theologically and politically conservative journal founded by the late Richard John Neuhaus, six years ago.

Ruff recently returned to Manhattan to offer the first presentation sponsored by the newly formed New York City chapter of Call to Action. Since CTA groups are rarely allowed to meet on Roman Catholic property, Ruff gave the lecture in the common room of an Episcopal Church in Greenwich Village.

This radical change of scene isn’t the only transformation that has marked Ruff’s life in the last six years.

Read More...

Archbishop Sheehan: How to Lose Catholics and Alienate People



One of my earliest memories of church is watching my mother being forced to abstain from the Eucharist during my First Holy Communion. The scene is still vivid for me.

I sat in the third pew, squirming in the frilly, miniature bridal gown and veil that we were required to wear. When I returned from my first taste of the host and sacramental wine, I turned around to watch my family receive communion.

I saw my mother kneeling alone in a pew, looking at turns sad and embarrassed. The pews around her had been vacated by Catholics worthy of receiving communion. My mother kneeled in that empty pew. She was the only parent of a new communicant who didn’t receive Eucharist that day.

Read More...

St. Joseph’s Hospital: A Phoenix in the Desert



Just days before Christians celebrated Christmas, Jesus got evicted.

In a strange twist of fate, he was removed from a hospital named after his adoptive father, St. Joseph. The whole saga took place in a desert. Only this time it was in Phoenix, Ariz., rather than Egypt.

Because a mother of four had her life saved under harrowing circumstances, the sacramental presence of Jesus was forced to evacuate a Catholic hospital in the Valley of the Sun. It’s a sad loss, really, since the body of Christ dwelt peacefully at St. Joseph’s for over 115 years.

Read More...

Shattered Expectations of Institutional Change Bring True Vision of God



As life-giving as it is for me to attend meetings with progressive Catholics who are committed to inviting this institutional church into greater integrity and inclusion, I always come away from these gatherings with a slight heaviness in my heart.

What weighs on me, I believe, is the palpable hurt in this group of faithful people whose expectations have been betrayed. In the late 1960s and through the 1970s it was not unreasonable for Catholics to believe that major reforms were beginning to unfold.

So often traditional Catholics make progressive Catholics feel like they are asking the impossible, or they are imposing their own secular needs on a church that is unchangeable.

In the face of these criticisms, it helps to remember that the movement to bring a spirit of change and open-mindedness to the Catholic Church was initiated by the hierarchy. It was church authorities that sought the reforms that would allow them to understand more fully the lives of the people they were serving.

Read More...

A Challenge to Elder Prophets: Help Empower the Next Generation



If you attended the Call to Action conference earlier this month, you no doubt came in contact with Shane Claiborne. He offered a Friday evening keynote address that was at turns affecting and entertaining.

If you didn’t attend the conference, you may have seen Tom Roberts’s recent profile of this urban monk.

Claiborne became the highly visible figurehead of the “new monasticism” movement after starting a community called The Simple Way with a group of friends from his Evangelical college. The Simple Way is one of many faith-based communities that live among those in need in the hope of creating positive change and transformation through service to the surrounding neighborhood.

Read More...

Relationships Create Church, Not Loyalty to the Institution



They disagree with the Roman Catholic Church’s stances on women, ordination, contraception, and gays and lesbians, but still, they remain faithful to their individual Roman Catholic parishes.

It’s an interesting phenomenon — and surely not new one. But as the institutional church becomes more and more reactionary in its teachings on these issues and the faithful in the U.S. become increasingly more liberal on these issues the connection that Catholics feel to their parish community becomes ever more intriguing.

Read More...

The Priests We Seek Are Already Working Among Us



Janine Denomme was deeply respected in her church and her community in Chicago. For years, she served her local parish as a lay preacher, church musician, parish council member, spiritual director and religion teacher. She held a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, taught at a number of Catholic colleges, and, later, was the director of youth programs at a Chicago gay and lesbian center. She was an out lesbian in a loving, committed relationship.

Mercy Sr. Margaret McBride has more than 34 years of experience in health care management. Most recently, she served as vice president of mission integration at St. Joseph’s Medical Center, a prominent Catholic hospital in Phoenix, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1895. McBride was the highest-ranking Mercy sister on the staff, and a member of the hospital’s ethics committee.

Denomme had a lifelong struggle with the church that she loved and her belief that God was calling her to the priesthood. After years of discernment, Denomme decided to pursue ordination in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests community. In April 2009, while preparing to be ordained, Denomme, at the age of 45, learned that she had terminal colorectal cancer. She battled the disease with extraordinary grace, and, as a final act of ministry, kept a powerful journal recounting her illness, treatment, and movement toward death. She was ordained in April 2010. With only a few weeks to live, her dying wish was to have her funeral Mass held at St. Gertrude, the parish she loved and served for years.

Read More...

A Challenge to Old Progressives



Last Saturday, I attended an event that has undoubtedly happened hundreds of thousands of times on Staten Island, that little known borough of New York City. An Italian guy and an Irish girl got married. It was the first marriage for both of them.

But something was different. The wedding ceremony took place in a catering hall. And the officiant was the cousin of the groom. He had been ordained by an internet-based church just a few weeks earlier.

Though the bride and groom were both baptized and raised Catholic, they were not at all interested in having their ceremony in a church.

Read More...
© Copyright Jamie Manson - Designed by Pexeto