Hundreds of Roman Catholic priests from all over the world are challenging the Vatican to rethink all-male celibate priesthood and ordain women priests. In the United States, 157 Roman Catholic priests signed a statement in support Roy Bourgeois, a member of the Maryknoll religious order and priest who faces dismissal for taking part in a ceremony that purported to ordain Janice Sevre-Duszynskaas. The statement was organized by Call to Action, a group that advocates change in the church.
Sevre-Duszynska, now a member of the Roman Catholic Women Priests, began her journey to priesthood in 1998. She gained media attention over the years for "disrupting" services and conferences calling for ordination of women priests. In 2008, Bourgeois delivered the homily ordaining her a "womanpriest." Following the ceremony, Bourgeois received a letter from the Vatican demanding that he recant his belief and public statements for the ordination of women or he would be excommunicated. He did not recant and has not yet been excommunicated.
In June, 300 Austrian priests and deacons issued a "Call to Disobedience" to promot priesthood for both married men and women. The Austrian priests and deacons read aloud a public prayer for "church reform" in every Mass.
In 1994, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, declaring that the church "has no authority whatsoever" to ordain women as priests. The church argues that the Apostles of Jesus Christ were all men, and since all-male priesthood has been their practice all along, it cannot be changed.
Media Resources: Cincinnati City Beat 7/26/11; New York Times 7/22/11
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .