Ex-First Lady of Ohio was Among Catholic Women Ordained as Priests

Last week, the ex-wife of former Ohio Governor Richard Celeste admitted she was among the seven women ordained and then excommunicated as Catholic priests. After calling their ordinations “an affront to the dignity of women, whose specific role in the Church and society is distinctive and irreplaceable,” the Vatican excommunicated the women in early August. Insisting that “Women, just like men, deserve to follow their conscience and calling,” Dagmar Braun Celeste, 60, and the six other women are appealing their excommunication, reported the Associated Press. The Women’s Ordination Conference, of which Celeste is a former board member, agrees. Spokeswoman Erin Hanley said, “I think it’s another step in the process of women who are tired of sitting and waiting for approval from a system that has no place for them in ordained ministry,” according to the AP. An article by Catholics for a Free Choice president Frances Kissling appearing in the Fall issue of Conscience suggests that the struggle for female priesthood serve as a springboard for the church to address issues critical to women, particularly reproductive rights. Over half a million women still die each year from illegal abortions. Still, the reach of the women’s ordination movement remains to be seen.


Associated Press 10/22/02, 10/23/02; Conscience, Fall 2002; Feminist Daily News Wire

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