Nine Women Challenge the Vatican’s Prohibition Against Women Priests

In defiance of the Vatican’s refusal to ordain women priests, nine Roman Catholic women participated in an ordination ceremony on Monday, risking excommunication. The nine women were ordained by unofficially ordained Bishops Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Gisela Forster on a cruise ship off the coast of Canada. One of the women ordained Monday, Regina Nicolosi, told the Associated Press that she believes her ordination is “Évalid even if it’s against the law of the Church, because [the Church’s prohibition against women priests] is an unjust law.”

Mayr-Lumetzber and Forster were among a group of seven Roman Catholic women known as the “Danube Seven” who challenged the Catholic Church’s position against women priests in 2002. They were ordained through a similar ordination ceremony performed on a boat on the Danube River between Germany and Austria. Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger) excommunicated all seven women, calling the women “heretics” and the ordination ceremony “a grave offense to the divine constitution of the Church,” according to the Associated Press.

In a statement released by the Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC), an organization that advocates for women’s leadership in the Catholic Church, WOC Executive Director Joy Barnes said of the ordination ceremonies, “These women are not creating a schism in the church; they are working from within to transform it É We honor and support women who are breaking the male-only boundaries within the Roman Catholic hierarchy.”

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WomenÕs Ordination Conference 7/25/05; Associated Press 7/25/05; The Washington Post 7/26/05.

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