Can you imagine a liberal priest is elected the next pope? And in his first address to the faithful, he says:
“…and on the matter of gay marriage: Yes.
Starting now gay men and women are embraced by this church and their partnership will be recognized, celebrated and blessed by this church. If you have concerns about this and are vehemently opposed, I invite you to two things:
1. We will be begin offering pastoral counseling in all parishes across the world along with group gatherings for individuals to explore their displaced anger and fear, support them in fully embracing their own vulnerability, and nurture them in redefining a healthy sense of their own masculine and feminine nature; and
2. I have created “Project Love” which is a program designed to break down the barriers of intolerance, misinformation, and hate. It is a program that pairs those fearful of gay people with gay men and women where those fearful have an opportunity to live alongside their gay brothers and sisters for the period of one to six months (longer, if necessary) to walk in their shoes, to see how they live and love on a daily basis, to see their sufferings and their joys, to see how beautifully they parent, to see their humanity. Lisa M.’s (that’s me!) friend, Zach, will be heading this up.
Speaking of Lisa M., now on to the issue of Women’s Ordination and married priests.
Again the Holy Spirit has spoken to me on this matter and…Yes. This upcoming year, women and married men and women will be invited to apply for seminary and to study to become priests. We are missing out, folks, on some incredible gifts of women and married people. I recognize this is a huge shock to you. I promise that God, in all Her kindness and nurturance and love will soften your hearts. I have appointed Lisa as one of my advisers in restructuring our seminaries to include women and married people and to revise – totally revise – seminary training to include studies of interreligious understanding and collaboration, theology of the body, yoga and breathwork, dancing, social justice, feminine theology, and management/leadership training.
So Lisa, come on over to Italy – just for the summers and Winter break when your kiddos are out of school. We’ll Skype the rest of the time and you can work from home, even nurse your little ones while we talk and plan. You’ll be one of the pioneers – one of the first women (and married) priests. I could see you being a bishop and then a cardinal, but after the kiddos are in college. In the meantime, I look forward to you leading us in daily yoga practice and reading your poetry to the world.
Again, for those of you, my brothers and sisters who have issues with this, I have set up “Project Mama” where we place those of you who question women’s ability to fully embody Christ into the homes and lives of women across the world for about a week (that’s all it’ll take, trust me). This will be an opportunity for you to walk in their shoes (sandals, flip flops, snow boots because she can’t find her ‘real’ shoes and she’s late to drop off her kiddos at school), to see how she runs the show better than any CEO of a major company you can name, to be moved by how she keenly sees and tends to the needs of those under her care, and to understand how she promotes justice on the playground and between moms. And that’s just before 9 a.m.! “Project Mama” also includes the opportunity to journey with single women, women without children, and/or nuns and see how they are changing the world, to see how they lead with Christ-like hearts and minds, and how they work for inclusion, social justice and reconciliation.
Because women are used to not being paid well for their work and we believe this is a gross injustice, we will be instituting a special collection that all parishes throughout the world will participate in and we will provide a stipend for women who participate in Project Mama and have another being to feed and tend to. For those women without health insurance, we will gladly take you on our policy. As for our gay brothers and sisters, we understand how having someone follow you around for a few months could be a burden for you. We have set up a similar stipend to support your efforts.
So I hope you will join me in praising God that we are listening. I invite you to do your own discerning, to dialogue with one another in ways that are kind and seek to understand rather than to be understood, to love instead of to sow hatred, to hope rather than despair, to be a light-filled presence that banishes the darkness of intolerance, to console rather than to be consoled, to pardon, to forgive, to embrace, and to be an instrument of peace – in your home, in your community, and this world.
Now, that that is settled, let’s move on to other issues that deserve our attention: poverty, human trafficking, and securing high-quality health care and education for all….”
That’s my hope. I can see it!