An international group defiantly opposed to the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on women priests Sunday ordained its first woman Catholic priest in the 46 counties that make up the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.
The ordination ceremony for Abigail Eltzroth happened in Asheville at Jubilee! – a nondenominational faith community – with Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan presiding.
Eltzroth, 64, said she is the second woman in North Carolina ordained by the rebel group, called the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
“It’s time for a change and we’re in the forefront, leading the charge,” Eltzroth told the Observer on Sunday. “We expect that eventually everybody is going to follow us.”
Eltzroth said, she now plans to to start a Catholic worship community in the Asheville area.
But reached for comment Sunday, David Hains, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, said: “I hope that Catholics in the diocese will understand that it would be sinful to receive a fake sacrament from a woman priest and that includes attending a fake Mass.”
According to a news release about the Sunday ordination from the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, 250 women in 10 countries have been ordained as Catholic priests. In the United States, it said, women priests serve in 65 “inclusive churches.” That includes women priests affiliated with the association and with a second allied group – Roman Catholic Women Priests – that has the same mission.
Several major Protestant denominations have women clergy, including the Episcopalians, Lutherans, United Methodists and Presbyterians. And most American Catholics say they’d like their church to ordain women, too. A Pew Research Poll in 2015 found that about six in 10 American Catholics said they favored allowing women to be Catholic priests.
But the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy has stood by its longtime prohibition against women becoming priests.
Not only that. In 2007, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the blessing of then-Pope Benedict XVI, decreed automatic excommunication against anyone “who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order.”
Excommunication means the person cannot receive the sacraments or participate in the liturgy unless he or she repents.
SOURCE: TIM FUNK