Friday, August 28, 2015

A note on women and the Church today

By Eduardo de la Serna (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Blog 2 de Eduardo de la Serna
August 27, 2015

I am not an expert on the subject, but that doesn't stop one from having some sensitivity, as well as ears open to learn.

I think great open-mindedness is needed -- because we are children of millennia of chauvinism -- to learn to see the right and necessary place that women must have in society and the Church. And this goes far beyond female quotas on lists (a kind of lesser evil), or the incredible imbalance in wages between men and women doing the same job. And although I would like to look more closely at the issue of women in the Church, it does have repercussions on the issue of "women in society / culture / family ..." Precisely because of not being an expert, I recognize that I must educate my ear and heart, and I hope to continue doing so. These are some steps.

I believe that Jesus of Nazareth was quite daring (as in many other spheres) on the recognition of women. That he had female disciples was not taken for granted because of his environment -- that he would talk to women, or even that they would eat at his table wasn't usual. Paul continued this dynamic in his communities (although it doesn't seem to have been a cause for scandal in a world ruled by the Julio-Claudians -- the descendants of Julius Caesar -- during the first empire). The progressive assimilation of sociocultural "home" schema led to relegating women (as seen in the Deutero-Pauline writings and others of the second Christian generation such as Matthew and -- to a lesser extent -- Luke). The arrival of the Flavian imperial rule (Vespasian, Titus, Domitian) -- that occurred around the same time -- relegated women from public life. To this must be added, later, the gradual symbiosis between Christian thought and Greek philosophy. Thus, while many 2nd and 3rd century theologians were particularly "biblical," there were quite a few -- and they were increasing -- theologians influenced by Greek, particularly "androcentric", philosophy. The increasingly apparent invisibilization of women continued forward, especially with Platonism. There were always (as on many other issues) great people (among the fathers and mothers of the Church, for example) who sought to give women their rightful place, but the "predominant wave" was particularly chauvinist.

It is not a matter of -- or my chance to -- do a long and comprehensive "history of the Church" and the place of women in it. But neither must it be forgotten that the whole society "walked those roads." It's enough to recall that Husserl, on giving up his professorship in Germany (1928), lamented that Edith Stein was a woman and therefore would not be able to be his logical replacement.

But while theology (and many other sciences) have moved forward along many - and diverse - rails in recent years in feminist studies, the institutional Roman Catholic Church doesn't seem to act or speak accordingly. When the Aparecida document was adulterated by some sectors of the Curia, the already scant acknowledgement of the role of women was cut even more (plus the addition between the second and third draft of "gender ideology" [# 40]):

Original text

109. We regret...the shortcomings of our living out the preferential option for the poor, and significant numbers of secularizing lapses in consecrated life, discrimination against women and their frequent absence in pastoral institutions. As the Holy Father stated...

Adulterated text

100 b. We regret...the shortcomings of our living out the preferential option for the poor, and significant numbers of secularizing lapses in consecrated life under the influence of a merely sociological rather than evangelical anthropology. As the Holy Father stated...

But in a merely indicative way, it remains striking that the issue has not been fully taken up by the Curiae.
  • The strange phrase "feminine genius" has all but imposed itself -- I understand it originated with John Paul II.

  • Pope Francis, when asked about the place of women, said it is an issue that should be studied carefully. To which more than one woman theologian told him that the issue has been seriously and carefully studied for many decades.

  • Phrases such as "icing on the cake", "old maids" and many others are, rightly, very badly viewed and interpreted when done from a feminist perspective.
We should not think that because of being women, their outlook is necessarily feminist. Similarly, I can point out that I know hundreds of theologians who live in Latin America and who don't think "from" Latin America (and more than one European theologian who does, or at least tries to do so), just as there are dozens of lay people who look at things from a clerical perspective, many Africans and Asians who come back home "European" when studying in European schools ... In this sense, I will rescue the use of the term "kyriarchal" coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, noting that many have introjected the dominator (kyrios, lord), and it is this mentality that impairs an integral and liberating outlook.

In conclusion (my intention is simply to alert the eye), I deeply regret the recent statements of the new president of CELAM, Cardinal Rubén Salazar:

"That [Women in the Church] is another key issue, which has to be worked on transversely in all departments of CELAM. In the words of Pope Francis, it isn't so much about finding employment for women within the Church, but that they bring us the feminine genius, since the Church is sometimes viewed too much from men's point of view. They bring us all the subtlety, tenderness, caring, motherhood that women imply, and the Church as mother is enriched by their contribution in her life and mission." (reported in Periodista Digital)

What's this "they bring us ..."? What concept of "women" do [these words] contain? "Subtlety, tenderness, caring, motherhood"? And what would men's contribution be, from this perspective? Can't men have caring, tenderness, subtlety? Do all women bring "motherhood"? Can't women bring capability, theology, decisiveness, commitment, ministry, initiative, leadership and management ability...?

Personally, seeing these poor statements -- which are what motivated this disorganized writing -- I think that unfortunately women in the Church of Latin America will still have to continue to wait many years to be recognized, unless they are the ones who capture spaces (with the support of those of us who believe they belong to them). It doesn't seem that they can expect too much from "above" for now. It doesn't seem - for example - that the phenomenal contributions of so many women to theology have been "received" by the hierarchy.

Eduardo de la Serna is a Catholic priest in Argentina and coordinator of that country's Grupo de Curas en Opción por los Pobres.

Des Moines Catholic Worker House denied privilege of celebrating Mass after service with woman priest

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Des Moines "has revoked the privilege of celebrating the Roman Catholic Mass at the Catholic Worker House" for the moment, due to what it has euphemistically called "concerns related to variances in Catholic liturgical rubrics, doctrine, and practice." (full text below)

It is believed that this action was taken following a Eucharist celebrated at the Catholic Worker last December by Roman Catholic woman priest Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska, pictured above with members of the Des Moines CW community, a long-time friend of the Catholic Worker movement.

Frank Cordaro, a co-founder of the Catholic Worker House in Des Moines, called the bishop's actions "bullying" and added that the community would be preparing an official response to the Diocese and will determine how it will proceed with Mass in the future.

Statement of clarification regarding celebration of Roman Catholic Mass at Catholic Worker House in the Des Moines Diocese

August 12, 2015 (published in the August 2015 edition of The Catholic Mirror)

In response to publicity generated by the Catholic Worker House in Des Moines, Bishop Pates, upon the unanimous recommendation of the Diocesan Presbyteral Council of the Diocese of Des Moines, has revoked the privilege of celebrating the Roman Catholic Mass at the Catholic Worker House for the time being. The concerns are related to variances in Catholic liturgical rubrics, doctrine, and practice.

This determination was communicated to the leadership of the Catholic Worker House community on May 5, 2015 and remains in effect. At the time of printing of "The Catholic Mirror" no corrective or substantive response has been made to the Bishop and Presbyteral Council.

The Bishop of Des Moines and the Presbyteral Council have enormous appreciation for the legacy of Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, and the philosophy she espoused. They are also aware that while her radically faithful witness to the Gospel was highly challenging to her fellow Catholics, especially in the Social Justice arena, she was equally faithful to the liturgical traditions of the Church and followed them with great dedication benefitting her courage to serve Christ in the poorest of the poor and to actively witness for upholding their human dignity.

Members of the Presbyteral Council are:
Rev. Dan Kirby
Rev. Daniel Siepker
Rev. David Fleming
Rev. Frank Palmer
Rev. Guthrie Dolan
Rev. Michael Amadeo
Rev. Michael Peters
Rev. Robert Harris
Rev. Thomas Dooley, chair
Rev. Thomas Kunnel

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Support Rev. Alexandra Dyer

In a horrific attack last week in Long Island City, New York, Rev. Alexandra Dyer, a Roman Catholic woman priest, was assaulted by a man who tapped her on the shoulder wanting to "ask her something" and, when she turned, threw a cup of drain cleaner in her face. The attack took place in the late afternoon as Rev. Dyer was leaving her job as Executive Director of the Healing Arts Initiative, an organization which breaks down barriers by "bringing art into schools, hospitals, prisons and other health and social service settings as well as by taking marginalized individuals into the community and cultural venues."

Rev. Dyer, who has a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Barnard College, an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary, and an MBA with specialization in not-for-profit management from Columbia, was ordained to the priesthood in 2014. Prior to her current position, she worked at the Greyston Foundation and the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center and she ministers at the St. Praxedis Roman Catholic Community with a fellow Roman Catholic woman priest Gabriella Velardi Ward.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests and Women's Ordination Conference issued a joint press statement saying that they were saddened by the attack on Rev. Dyer, which they believe was not related to her status as a priest, and asking prayers and funds for her on her road to recovery.

Rev. Dyer suffered 3rd degree burns on her face from the drain cleaner and was fortunate not to have lost her eyesight. She was aided by a passer-by who called 911 and then transported first to Elmhurst Hospital and then to New York-Presbyterian. Now Dyer is facing an uncertain financial future due to required surgeries and rehabilitation for the attack that has left her disfigured. Another priest, Rev. Susan Schessler, has set up a Go Fund Me account to help Dyer with her expenses.

Meanwhile, the New York City Police Department has issued a sketch of the suspect in this crime and is asking the public's help in locating and arresting him.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Spanish theologians initiate petition supporting communion for divorced and remarried Catholics

A group of Spanish theologians of considerable prestige has launched a manifesto of support for an eventual decision of the Synod to allow communion to divorced and civilly remarried people. To complement, if not counter, the petition with almost half a million signatures asking the Pope the opposite. The campaign will also be launched in English, French and Italian, according to the petition website, but we are providing you with the translation of the Spanish text right now so those of you who want to add your names can do so immediately. The Spanish petition has already garnered over 3,000 signatures. And, brothers and sisters involved in this petition project, if you want to use my English translation of the letter, you are welcome to do so.

The theologians, including such notables as José Antonio Pagola, José Ignacio González Faus, and Andrés Torres Queiruga, say in their statement that, by admitting divorced people to communion, the Church is faithful to the spirit of the Gospel and not its letter. As it is also faithful to the dogma defined at Trent, well interpreted. And they bring in a series of biblical and anthropological reasons to support their request. They conclude by giving thanks for the Pope's efforts, "amid cruel resistance, to give the Church a face more in keeping with the Gospel and with what Jesus deserves."

The hard-line sectors are putting more and more pressure on the Synod and Rome. It is time that the Pope hear the cry of the people of God, silent on this issue so far. Join this petition and sign on to this campaign. Let's protect the Pope and the Synod Fathers who want to follow him on the path of mercy.

LETTER TO THE BISHOP OF ROME

Brother Francis, "a glimpse of Peter,"

These lines would be to complement, on the other side, the letter of nearly half a million faithful, in which they ask you earnestly to "reaffirm categorically the Catholic teaching that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics cannot receive Holy Communion." For the love of Jesus, we would ask with equal zeal that we all be faithful to the spirit of the Gospel, beyond alleged loyalties to the letter of certain teachings of the Church.

We are speaking of alleged loyalty not to judge the intentions of those who wrote you but because, in reality, the teaching of the Church is not that those divorced and remarried "can not receive Holy Communion" but, according to the Council of Trent, "the Church does not err when it denies them communion." That wording, carefully chosen at the council, left open the possibility that there is no error or infidelity in the opposite position either, and that it is more a pastoral issue than a dogmatic one.

In our opinion, pastoral prudence not only allows but rather today demands a change in position. For these reasons.

1. In 1st century Palestine, Jesus' words directly concerned the husband who betrays and abandons his wife because he likes another one more, or for reasons of that kind -- they are primarily a defense of women. Thus the Master's phrase is definitive: "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder."

In Jesus' time, the situation of a married couple failing at their partnership project (maybe the fault of both, or because of previously undiscovered incompatibility), was unknown. Given the situation of women with respect to their husbands in 1st century Palestine, such a scenario was unthinkable. And applying Jesus' words to a different situation unknown at the time, where what there is is not the abandonment of one party but a failure of both, could amount to distorting his words. We would thus be manipulating Jesus for the sake of our own dogmatic security, and putting the letter that kills ahead of the spirit that gives life, against Pauline counsel.

The gospel must be inculturated, and when it isn't inculturated, it is betrayed. The following examples may clarify this a bit more.

2. The evangelist Matthew, who is perhaps the one who tells the most transgressions of the law by Jesus, is curiously the only one who puts in his mouth the phrase "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law ... I have come to fulfill it...to the smallest letter." Thus we are given to understand that, in those transgressions of the letter, Jesus was fulfilling the Law to its depths, because he was keeping its spirit.

And the fundamental spirit of the whole Gospel law is mercy -- not a wimpish mercy, of course, but a demanding mercy. But by no means a merciless requirement. Perhaps, then, the words with which Jesus responds to the scandals caused by his merciful conduct, have something to say to us here: "Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’..." (Mt 9:13 and 12:7)

3. The early church offers another glaring example of this fidelity to the spirit over the letter, with the abandonment of circumcision. Circumcision was something sacred as an expressive symbol of the union between God and His people; the aforementioned words of Jesus could have been valid for it too: "What God has joined together let no man put asunder." However, the Church abandoned the practice after forceful arguments and against the advice of some who believed themselves to be more faithful to God and, in fact, sought their own security. Thanks to that much discussed decision, the Church was not only faithful to God but opened the door to the evangelization of the world. Today that decision may seem obvious, but it was shocking to many then.

Peter himself, in his speech defending that decision, which today seems so true to the spirit of Jesus, spoke of "not imposing what neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear." (Acts 15:10) This is one of the biggest sins the Church can commit. And it is quite debatable whether celibate people can understand what it means to live intimately and peacefully every day with another person with whom one isn't the slightest bit in tune. As it is arguable whether celibate people could abstain from sexual intercourse with a person with whom they live day and night and whom they love.

4. We fear that advocates of the hard-line think that instilling a "discipline of mercy" in the Church would be equivalent to opening the door to moral laxity, or that the Church would accept the same views on divorce as our secular society. Actually it is not so -- the indissolubility of marriage is not being questioned at all, and the discipline of mercy remains a discipline that not everyone will be able to accept -- because it demands repentance, acknowledgment of guilt and a firm purpose of amendment. What it is about is not leaving those who have failed alone and unaided. Like Jesus -- eating with sinners not because they were good, but so that they could be.

Teresa of Avila, whose centenary we are celebrating, recalls in her autobiography that when she felt herself a sinner or unfaithful, she sometimes resorted to refraining from prayer because she did not feel worthy of it. Until she discovered that that remedy was worse than her evil. The Church has always taught (and practice confirms it) that participation in the Eucharist can be a great help and strength to live evangelically. We fear that depriving those who have failed in their first marriage project -- and have already done penance for that failure -- from this strength, might end up alienating them from the faith.

5. Finally, there is the question of whether the Church must have a double standard for infidelities to the Gospel that concern the sexual field and for those that concern other moral fields.

For example, the Church has always taught that the sole owner of the goods of the earth is God and that we men and women are only stewards of what we think we own. That stewardship status asks men and women to put all the surplus goods they have at the service of those who have less -- the poor and those without means. Precisely for this reason, the Church does not recognize an absolute right to private property, but only to the extent that this is a means to satisfy the primary and absolute right of every human being to the goods of the earth. That teaching on the primary destination of the goods of the earth, so often recalled by recent popes, is breached by the majority of Catholics without even showing the slightest remorse or will to amendment for it. Because that teaching of the Church is also very contrary to the mentality of this secular world. But is it not a glaring injustice that those Catholics are allowed to receive sacraments that are denied to other cases of failed couples, when there is repentance and amendment in the latter that aren't there in the former?

God doesn't have a double standard, or better yet, His bias is always in favor of the poor and the victims. In the parables told in the Gospel of the Pharisee and the publican, and the older brother of the prodigal son, Jesus was surprisingly on the side of the transgressors -- because for those who accused them, all their good deeds had not helped them to have a good heart, but to have a hard heart.

Nothing more, brother Peter. We just wanted to put forward an opinion. But we appreciate your efforts, amid cruel resistance, to give the Church a face more in keeping with the Gospel and with what Jesus deserves.

Complete list of signatories

Xavier Alegre Santamaría
José I. Calleja Saenz de Navarrete
Joan Carrera i Carrera
Nicolás Castellanos Franco
Maria Teresa Davila
Antonio Duato
Ximo García Roca
José Ignacio González Faus
Luis González-Carvajal
Mª. Terea Iribarren Echarri
Jesús Martínez Gordo
José Antonio Pagola
Joaquín Perea
Bernardo Pérez Andreo
Josep Mª Rambla Blanch
Lucía Ramón Carbonell
Andrés Torres Queiruga
José Manuel Vidal
Javier Vitoria Cormenzana
Josep Vives i Solé

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 18: Optional Celibacy Day

by Rufo González Pérez (English translation by Rebel Girl)
¡Atrevete a orar! Blog
August 18, 2015

Pope Francis knows the martyrdom of Ladislao (SJ) and Camila

It is part of the memory of the Church in Argentina and specifically of the Diocese of Buenos Aires, of which Francis was the titular bishop before being elected bishop of Rome. Moreover Ladislao Gutiérrez was of the same religious order, the Jesuits. In the mid-nineteenth century, August 18, 1848, he was shot along with Camila O'Gorman, and their unborn child. The case reached the movie screen in two films with women's names -- "Camila O'Gorman," 1910, directed by Mario Gallo, with Blanca Podestá in the role of the young woman, and "Camila" in 1984, directed by Maria Luisa Bemberg, which was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film. Imanol Arias plays Father Ladislao Gutiérrez, SJ.

Martyrs for love and freedom

Based on their faith in God, the Father of Jesus, they experienced and played out their mutual falling in love. Their consciences told them that their love was "not a crime." They deemed "the irresistible attraction between them" a gift from God. He acknowledged his mistake in making religious vows. He felt more strongly God's call to marriage than keeping the celibacy commitment. Aware that that society did not allow turning back in this area (as if the optional vows were the final salvation), they challenged the social and ecclesiastical order with the awareness that God was on their side -- "they would be married before God." They were clear about what Vatican II proclaimed in the twentieth century, namely that "[c]onscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths."(GS 16) They gave their lives for being faithful to the love they thought came from God. They never backed down, "satisfied that their conscience was clear in the eyes of Providence." Ladislao with the spunk of a believer's courage wrote an epitaph worthy of his martyrdom: "My Camila, I have just learned that you are dying with me. Since we have not been able to live on earth together, we will be united in heaven with God. Hugs, your Gutiérrez."

Brief history of a martyrial love

With the respect that a martyrial act deserves, let's read some paragraphs from the text of Argentine writer Lucía Gálvez, who has a degree in history:

"Camila O'Gorman (1828-1848), was a young woman from an upper-class family who starred in a romantic and tragic love story during the second government of Juan Manuel de Rosas ... Camila was a close friend and confidante of Rosas's daughter ... She used to attend Mass and precisely the current Church of Socorro, between Suipacha and Juncal streets, was the scene of the awakening of this unfortunate love. She was 18 and there she met the young Jesuit priest Ladislao Gutiérrez, 24, a seminary companion of Eduardo O'Gorman, Camila's brother, who had arrived from Tucumán ...

The passion

Once again the mystery of love between two people imposed itself. Nor could he silence it .. He had never felt this way about anyone ... She had many doubts about religion and he was trying to clarify them, although his own were growing as the days passed. What was his vocation based on? To whom did he owe loyalty? Was it God as he had been taught? Who could claim the right to know His wishes? Wasn't he responsible for that irresistible attraction between them? When they found it impossible to ignore that they loved one another, he reassured her, convincing her that this was not a crime. He acknowledged having made a mistake by following the priestly career but felt that, given the circumstances, his vows were invalid. And if society did not allow him to make her his wife before the world, he would make her his own before God. They wanted to do His will, to live together and multiply like the primordial couple. He had made a mistake, but above all he was a man created in the image and likeness of God, with the intelligence and freedom to repent his wrong decision and start a new life with the loved one that God had put in his path ...

The flight

Camila was persuaded. She could not imagine life without him, but she was not willing to be "the priest's concubine." They began to conceive the idea of running away from Buenos Aires and changing their identity to be able to be married before God and men. But where could they go where the civil and ecclesiastical authorities couldn't reach them? ... They would go to Luján, from there they would travel to Santa Fe, Entre Rios and Corrientes. The final destination, if all went well, would be Rio de Janeiro ... December 12, 1847 was the day chosen for the flight. On arriving in Lujan, in a booth the waiter had provided under the night shining with stars, the lovers had their moment of happiness ...

After ten days, Adolfo O'Gorman denounced the deed to the governor as "the most heinous act and unheard of in the country," while Bishop Medrano asked the governor that "at any point these miserable, unfortunate wretches are found, they be apprehended and brought so that, proceeding in justice, they be reprimanded for such a huge and scandalous process." Rosas didn't care about the concubinage of some priests. What he could not tolerate was a lack of obedience to him. Rosas could have used his power to forgive magnanimously. If the young people had come to him for help, he surely would have done so. But to the scandal of the flight was added the participation in it of a girl very connected in society. And here, opinions were divided -- to most people, she was a victim, to the rest, a lost one.

In Paraná, in February 1848, they obtained a passport in the name of Máximo Brandier, a merchant, native of Jujuy, and his wife, Valentina Desan. On arriving at Goya with their new identity, they could take a break and prepare for the final step -- Brazil. Meanwhile, to earn a living, they opened a school for children, the first that existed in this small town. They were able to live four months in relative happiness, forgetting the persecution to which they were subjected. On June 16, disaster struck when they met in a house of a family an Irish priest who knew Gutiérrez ... Taken by surprise, they only hit upon denying their true identity. The news flew and the next day, by order of the governor ..., the two teachers were jailed and held incommunicado ... Camila denied having been kidnapped and claimed to be the initiator of the romance and that the flight was her idea.

The prisoners

When Rosas heard the news, he gave orders that the prisoners be driven in two separate cars to Santos Lugares, which was the most feared prison of the regime ... They were held incommunicado ... Camila, however, was able to get a letter to her friend Manuela Rosas. The latter replied on August 9 encouraging her not to let herself be broken, that she would help her... But the arrival of the prisoners to Buenos Aires, where they could have defended themselves, didn't enter into Rosas' plan. To avoid having to deal with requests for clemency from his daughter, it was necessary to act swiftly and dramatically.

The statements Camila made in San Nicolás only corroborated their subversive position -- they weren't repentant but "satisfied in the eyes of Providence" and didn't deem their behavior criminal "because their conscience was clear." Where would it go if even simple women believed themselves entitled to deal directly with God? That smelled of Lutheranism and free interpretation of the Truth. It was very dangerous. According to Marcelino Reyes, the young woman asked if the governor was very angry and wanted to know what was being said about her. After letting her eat and rest, Reyes returned to his conversation with Camila to advise her on what she should declare. Camila then openly laid out the story of her affair with Gutierrez. It dated back to well before their flight. She explained that he didn't have any vocation and that their marriage had been before God. That he hadn't made his vows from the heart and, therefore, they were false and he was not a priest. That the intention of the two was to go to Rio de Janeiro, but they had not been able to carry it out due to lack of resources. Gutierrez also made his case and both were taken by a chasque ("emissary, mail") to the governor, that afternoon of August 17.

Without appeal or defense - the established order over love

It was almost dawn when the thunder of hooves, shouts and violent blows to the front gate woke everyone... Rosas had ordered the immediate execution of the prisoners without making room for any appeal or defense. Only a few moments to confess and prepare for death. Reyes then decided to send an urgent dispatch warning about the pregnancy status of the young woman, endorsed by the prison doctor. And a letter to Manuelita explaining the urgency of the situation. Spurring the horses, the chasque got to Palermo and delivered the missives to the officer on duty. The letter never reached Manuelita. The governor could not accept that there was a living testimony of disobedience -- a child who might have represented for many the triumph of love over the established order.

Near the hour, Gutierrez summoned Reyes to his cell ...:
"- I called you to tell me if Camila will have the same fate as me.
- Be prepared to hear the worst: Camila will die too ...
- Thank you, he replied in a loud voice."

Then he asked him to give Camila a note. He took a pencil out of the fur cap he was wearing and wrote: "My Camila, I have just learned that you are dying with me. Since we have not been able to live on earth together, we will be united in heaven with God. Hugs, your Gutiérrez"

They sat each of them in a chair carried by four men with two long poles. Like all the condemned, they were blindfolded and, escorted by the band of the battalion, they were taken to the courtyard surrounded by walls. Under the handkerchief, Camila's eyes let out two strands of tears that couldn't be helped, despite the self-control expressed in an unchanging face. While the soldiers nervously tied them to the benches, Camila and Gutierrez could talk and say goodbye to each other, until the latter began to shout: "Assassinate me without judgment, but not her in that state, wretches!..."

His words were silenced by Captain Gordillo, who ordered the drums to redouble and gave the signal to fire. Four bullets ended his life. Then three discharges were heard and Camila, injured, shook violently. Her body fell from the bench and one hand remained pointing to the sky. "... in the neighborhood the terror of her excruciating, painful and heartbreaking scream remained..."

This love story of innocent victims of political interests would eventually become the most unforgivable event of the Rosas government ... It would be the beginning of the end."

We must eliminate this law contrary to the practice of Jesus!

How long will the stubbornness of the leaders of the Catholic Church will continue to appeal to these stories? Luckily modern societies aren't executing or protecting Church decrees. Thus we've avoided some "Bishop Medrano asking the governor that at any point these miserable, unfortunate wretches are found, they be apprehended and brought so that, proceeding in justice, they be reprimanded for such a huge and scandalous process." Although they haven't come to a violent death, the Church has known stories of exile, clandestine women, unrecognized children ... And all because of a law that binds priesthood and celibacy needlessly, without being supported by the teaching and practice of Jesus, non-existent in the first millennium of the Church. Let's ask the Holy Spirit that this law be removed. It's a requirement of human rights and gospel freedom.

Rufo González Pérez is a diocesan priest in Getafe (Madrid). He has a degree in Philosophy and Letters and a PhD in Theology from Pontifical University of Comillas, where he specialized in spiritual theology. Now retired, he alternated teaching philosophy with pastoral work as parish priest of San Esteban Protomártir, in Fuenlabrada (Madrid). He is the author of several works including Nos casamos en la fe cristiana, now in its third edition through Ediciones Sígueme (2008).