Document 14: "A Liturgy of Liberation," liturgy handout, University Catholic Center, Madison, Wisconsin, 13 January 1974, pp. 1-2, 7-9, Mary B. Lynch Collection (CMBL), 4/04, Archives of the University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, Indiana.

Document 14: "A Liturgy of Liberation," liturgy handout, University Catholic Center, Madison, Wisconsin, 13 January 1974, pp. 1-2, 7-9, Mary B. Lynch Collection (CMBL), 4/04, Archives of the University of Notre Dame, Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, Indiana.


   By 1974, many Catholic feminists were expressing their feminist consciousness through the Catholic Mass and other types of Catholic liturgy. This early liturgy handout illustrates how feminists (including the presiding priest), integrated their beliefs into Catholic liturgical forms. This liturgy integrated feminist themes into each part of the Mass. It also included readings from both Mary Daly and Rosemary Radford Ruether.

p. 1


Rite of Reconciliation

Celebrant: God, our Creator, who made us in your image, female and male, we pray especially for all women, who in your church and in your world have so often been ignored, patronized, and denied full expression of their gifts, and who have likewise denied one another. Free us to be ourselves, that we may freely give of ourselves to you and to our fellow women and men.

As we pray for women, we pray also for all, women and men, who are treated as less than persons. We pray particularly -

Univ.: for those who because of their color, language, or faith are excluded, deprived and belittled

State: Grant us mercy.

Univ.: for the poor, burdened by anxiety, and dependent on a grudging bureaucracy (RESPONSE)

Univ.: for those who believe that material success is the measure of their worth (RESPONSE)

p. 2

Univ.: for the ill and dying, isolated by our fear (RESPONSE)

Univ.: for ministers of your church, besieged by impossible expectations (RESPONSE)

Univ.: for ex-prisoners, alcoholics, and all those whose present is labelled by their past (RESPONSE)

Univ.: for those whose wholeness is not seen because of their physical or mental handicaps (RESPONSE)

Univ.: for old people who are put aside as useless (RESPONSE)


Congregation: Keep them from acquiescing in other people's view of them. Give them the patience and courage and the knowledge that you care. O God, you know each of us by name. Give us the grace to see with your eyes and to act with your compassion. Show us how we stand in the way of others, and teach us to cherish their personhood as we do our own. Amen.


*   *   *

p. 7

Preface O God, who came in Jesus Christ to set at liberty those who are oppressed, we give you thanks for all who strive to release women and men from bondage. Give clear purpose, imagination, and perseverance to those who in marriage and family life are rethinking traditional roles and seeking fresh vitality; to those who resist that which in the name of efficiency denies individuality; and to those who celebrate the uniqueness of every person.

In a world of change, we are often bewildered and timid. As our assumptions are questioned and accustomed ways disappear, we cling to the familiar. But you are Knower of the unknown as of the known, of the future as of the past. Overcome our doubt with faith, our fear with love, and send us forward with renewed hope.

Faithful God, we are enabled by your power within us to do far more than we dare to ask or imagine. We rejoice that you open new possibilities before us. We accept gladly the responsibility to understand our lives anew and to speak clearly of what we see. We rejoice that you have made no two of us alike but have given us the delight of discovering one another. We rejoice that you have given us Jesus Christ and in him shown us what it is to have life in all its fullness. We lift our aspirations to you in his name.

Eucharistic Prayer II

Communion Rite

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Closing Prayer

Congregation: I believe becoming more fully human means

State: encouraging the essential me. . . and you. . . to grow according to God's nurture and not according to the cultural design.

Univ.: widening our circle, be it family or other, to embrace people of all ages, colors, back-grounds and dimensions.

State: giving women the opportunity to minister to others in public life, as well as their private life.

Univ.: giving men the opportunity to minister to others in their private as well as their public life.

Congregation: I believe becoming more fully human means

State: it's all right to be single, and it's all right to be married. . . and it means relationships depending more on caring and commitment than on category.

Univ.: it's all right for a couple not to have children. . . . but it means giving all children more wholehearted mothering and wholehearted fathering with more equal time and balance between the two.

Congregation: I believe becoming more fully human means

State: less weeping and more raising my voice against dehumanizing forces. . . visible, invisible, and unintentional.

Univ.: remembering what John Stuart Mill said a hundred years ago that "everything which is usual appears natural". . . and thinking of my own attitudes and affections, our traditions, customs and values and asking, "Is it natural because it is usual or is it natural because it is life-giving?"

p. 9

Congregation: wondering what Jesus would say to some of our "natural ordering of things". . .listening to the Holy Spirit. . . speaking to us about a New Order. . . speaking through women as well as through men. Amen.


Closing Thought Rosemary Ruether Liberation Theology

Women must be the spokesmen (sic) for a new humanity arising out of the reconciliation of spirit and body. We have to look beyond (women's) liberation from oppression to the liberation of the oppressor as well. Women should not buy the masculine ethic of competitiveness that sees the triumph of self as predicated upon the subjugation of the other. Women have traditionally cultivated a communal personhood that could participate in the successes of others rather than seeing these as merely a threat to one's own success.

To seek the liberation of women without losing this sense of communal personhood is the great challenge and secret power of the women's revolution. It's only proper end must be the total abolition of the social pattern of domination and subjugation and the erection of a new communal social ethic. We need to build a new cooperative social order out beyond the principles of hierarchy, rule and competitiveness. Starting in the grass-roots local units of human society where psychosocial polarization first began, we must create a living pattern of mutuality between men and women, between parents and children, among people in their social, economic and political relationships and, finally between mankind (sic) and the organic harmonies of nature.


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