Bedford, KY – A female Catholic priest was ordained in Kentucky today, in direct defiance of Roman Catholic authority and doctrine.
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests ordained its first Louisville-area priest on Saturday, in direct defiance of Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz. Rosemarie Smead, a retired Indiana University Southeast counselor-education professor, was ordained during the service hosted by Bridget Mary Meehan, the bishop of the movement.
The two-hour ceremony featured several woman priests in white robes and red stoles. The ceremony was a traditional Catholic ordination liturgy, though with feminist imagery. About 200 people attended the event, held at the St. Andrew United Church of Christ.
Smead’s appointment will not be recognized by the Catholic Church, and will almost certainly draw plenty of controversy in the coming weeks. The Roman Catholic Church, as a matter of “unchangeable doctrine,” only appoints men to the priesthood.
Additionally, anyone who participates in a ceremony that ordains a woman to the priesthood is automatically excommunicated.
Ahead of the ceremony, Archbishop Kurtz released a statement saying that the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is in no way connected to the Roman Catholic Church, and that Catholics shouldn’t support or participate in the event.
The women’s ordination movement is about a decade old, and was founded on the belief that woman were ordained as priests int he early church. A priest of the movement claims there is archaeological and documentary evidence supporting the belief.
The ceremony included invocations to female Catholic saints, to God as mother and father, and to “Christ-Sophia,” a biblical term for divine wisdom that the group has adopted as a feminine aspect of God.
Do you think that women should be ordained as priests in the Catholic Church?