Two Missouri women, Rose Marie Hudson and Elsie Hainz McGrath, were ordained as Catholic priests on Sunday by Roman Catholic Womenpriests. 600 well-wishers came to view the ceremony, held at the Central Reform Congregation synagogue in St. Louis, Missouri.
St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke threatened to excommunicate the women if they proceeded with the ceremony. Patricia Fresen, the ordaining bishop with Roman Catholic Womenpriests, said “For us in St. Louis today, the (St. Louis) Arch is a symbol for the gateway to justice and equality for women,” reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Catholic women risking excommunication and defying the Vatican to be ordained as priests and bishops is a growing movement that started in June 2002, when seven women were ordained on the Danube River. Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, excommunicated all seven. However, the movement continued and nine more women were ordained in 2005 on a boat in the international waters between the US and Canada, and another eight in Pennsylvania in 2006.