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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

601 Synod Videos to watch and courageous thoughts from Jacqueline and Ed

Day 601 Saturday, November 6, 2021

Synod Presentations by Root and Branch and thoughts:

" I think the Spirit is calling us to find Christ within"- Ed

From Jacqueline: I listened to all of the Root & Branch presentations and this is the one that I valued the most. Martha Heizer described for me what Emmaus is achieving or working towards achieving. Here's her presentation -- (about 24 minutes in length)

Dr Martha Heizer - Liturgical Ministry - Friday 10 September 2021

Also one of the main topics of the Bristol Text was: Redefining and Reclaiming Liturgical Ministry - To me, this is what “we” are doing at Emmaus. (Diarmuid was one of the speakers for this presentation.)

Here's the presentation:

Best to you,


On Nov 1, 2021, at 12:41 PM, Ed FitzGerald wrote this heartfelt reflection about the Synod and the future of faith:

I encourage you to watch this video from the Root & Branch Synod.

The video had a profound effect on me regarding the church.

Martha Heizer of Austria's presentation

Reflection by Ed FitzGerald

For a long time, I've described the church as a ship carrying great treasure.

I've been offloading the treasure but not concerned with the ship–perhaps it has worth as scrap metal? The treasure comes not from the church itself, but from its "mystics", whether Meister Eckhart or Richard Rohr.

What awakened while watching the video is that the church will never be something I can be part of (and I'm a man–imagine being a woman!) It's very foundation rests on chauvinistic power. The church I seek is more like the early church before Constantine, which is how I see Emmaus.

I feel Vatican 2 was the beginning of reclaiming that early church, but popes and cardinals sensed how dangerous it would be if it continued, so they stopped it, and worked on rolling it back. I don't think the Spirit is calling us to renew the church, I think the Spirit is calling us to find Christ within. I think the Quakers are probably the best example of this; no dogma, God reveals directly through one's heart, pacifists, and very social justice-oriented.

Consider exactly what would have to change for the church to be renewed for you. For me, the change would be so drastic it wouldn't be changed but something new. "Seeking the holy...the ineffable, the numinous, and how to seek the divine and where to find the true and deep spiritual sustenance all humans crave".

It's time.

- Ed FitzGerald

Dear Sisters and Brothers: Jacqueline and Ed are asking that we watch this powerful video from Martha Heizer, a psychologist at the University of Innsbruck whose special interest is in feminist theology. Through a series of simple stories, she describes her faith journey and growing independence and confidence in her service as a pastor (in the true sense) to others. Like many of us, her diocese has attempted to silence her through excommunication.

She begins her talk with these observations:

We all know: Our church is a man’s church. Women are supposed to be helpful, they are especially suited for preparing the parish picnic, cleaning the churches and for looking after the priests‘ garments. They yearn for listening to the teachings and teachers of the church, and they are important objects on whom paternal kindness can be practiced. Unfortunately, we have been too slow in learning that women are to often objects of sexual and spiritual abuse by the clergy.

We all know that poverty hits women in the first place. Women suffer sexual abuse very often. And there are so many wounded or even murdered women all over the world!

And there is little and more often than not NO HELP AT ALL from the official church!

On the contrary, the church herself wounds women.

Misogyny has a long tradition in our church. I mention just four examples from hundreds:

"Woman is the devil's gateway." Church Father Tertullian

"Woman is an inferior being, not created by God in His image. "

Church Father Augustinus (354 – 430)

"If you see a woman, think it's the devil! She is a kind of hell!" Pope Pius II (1458-1464)

and at the temporary end of a long line:

“Women are the strawberries on the cake!“ Pope Francis 2015

You see we have come a long way from hell to the decoration on a cake: we are nice to look at, sweet and tasty! Decoration, not substance. But the worst with the statement is: I am sure he meant it as a compliment!

It seems to be still a long way to dignity and equality for women.

So maybe I have to disappoint you because you will not get theological arguments as to why we actually need new ways of ministry and ministries in our catholic church and why women must be admitted to those ministries.

As a person, I find it disgraceful to put forward arguments that prove women are as much an image of God as men. That argument degrades me. But that argument has taken place much too often so I will tell you stories. Stories about the eucharist, about weddings, about anointing of the sick, about confession, and about blessing.

Very personal stories about my experiences and the experiences of men and women who are my neighbors.

Read the entire transcript of the speech by downloading this transcript either in WORD or PDF format:

Root & Branch Synod Speech Transcript by Dr. Martha Heizer
Download DOCX • 30KB

Root & Branch Synod Speech Transcript by Dr. Martha Heizer
Download PDF • 206KB

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