Kentucky woman “ordained”

Kentucky woman ordained as priest in defiance of Roman Catholic Church

www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/28/us-usa-religion-womenpriests-idUSBRE93Q0EE20130428

Rosemarie Smead, a 70-year-old Kentucky woman, sings with the audience before being ordained a Roman Catholic priest, during a Celebration of Ordination at St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ in Louisville, Kentucky April 27, 2013. Smead was ordained as part of a dissident group operating outside official Roman Catholic Church authority. REUTERS-John Sommers II
Rosemarie Smead, a 70-year-old Kentucky woman, weeps openly as almost the entire congregation comes to lay their hands on her head in blessing, as she was ordained a Roman Catholic priest during a Celebration of Ordination at St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ in Louisville, Kentucky April 27, 2013. Smead was ordained as part of a dissident group operating outside official Roman Catholic Church authority. REUTERS-John Sommers II
The processional enters the Church sanctuary for the Celebration of Ordination of Rosemarie Smead into the priesthood during a service at St. Andrew’s United Church of Christ in Louisville, Kentucky April 27, 2013. Smead was ordained as part of a dissident group operating outside official Roman Catholic Church authority. REUTERS-John Sommers II

By Mary Wisniewski

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky | Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:00pm EDT

(Reuters) – In an emotional ceremony filled with tears and applause, a 70-year-old Kentucky woman was ordained a priest on Saturday as part of a dissident group operating outside of official Roman Catholic Church authority.

Rosemarie Smead is one of about 150 women around the world who have decided not to wait for the Roman Catholic Church to lift its ban on women priests, but to be ordained and start their own congregations.

In an interview before the ceremony, Smead said she is not worried about being excommunicated from the Church – the fate of other women ordained outside of Vatican law.

“It has no sting for me,” said Smead, a petite, gray-haired former Carmelite nun with a ready hug for strangers. “It is a Medieval bullying stick the bishops used to keep control over people and to keep the voices of women silent. I am way beyond letting octogenarian men tell us how to live our lives.”

The ordination of women as priests, along with the issues of married priests and birth control, represents one of the big divides between U.S. Catholics and the Vatican hierarchy. Seventy percent of U.S. Catholics believe that women should be allowed to be priests, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll earlier this year.

The former pope, Benedict XVI, reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s ban on women priests and warned that he would not tolerate disobedience by clerics on fundamental teachings. Male priests have been stripped of their holy orders for participating in ordination ceremonies for women.

In a statement last week, Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz called the planned ceremony by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests a “simulated ordination” in opposition to Catholic teaching.

“The simulation of a sacrament carries very serious penal sanctions in Church law, and Catholics should not support or participate in Saturday’s event,” Kurtz said.

The Catholic Church teaches that it has no authority to allow women to be priests because Jesus Christ chose only men as his apostles. Proponents of a female priesthood said Jesus was acting only according to the customs of his time.

They also note that he chose women, like Mary Magdalene, as disciples, and that the early Church had women priests, deacons and bishops.

The ceremony, held at St. Andrew United Church of Christ in Louisville, was attended by about 200 men and women. Many identified themselves to a Reuters reporter as Catholics, but some declined to give their names or their churches.

‘NEW ERA OF INCLUSIVITY’

The modern woman priest movement started in Austria in 2002, when seven women were ordained by the Danube River by an independent Catholic bishop. Other women were later ordained as bishops, who went on to ordain more women priests and deacons.

“As a woman priest, Rosemarie is leading, not leaving the Catholic Church, into a new era of inclusivity,” said Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan during her sermon Saturday. “As the Irish writer James Joyce reminded us, the word ‘Catholic’ means ‘Here comes everybody!'”

Smead had to leave the rigorous Carmelite life due to health reasons, and earned a bachelor’s degree in theology and a doctorate in counseling psychology. She taught at Indiana University for 26 years, and works as a couples and family therapist.

During the ordination ceremony, Smead wept openly as nearly everyone in the audience came up and laid their hands on her head in blessing. Some whispered, “Thanks for doing this for us.”

During the communion service, Smead and other woman priests lifted the plates and cups containing the sacramental bread and wine to bless them.

A woman in the audience murmured, “Girl, lift those plates. I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”

One of those attending the service was Stewart Pawley, 32, of Louisville, who said he was raised Catholic and now only attends on Christmas and Easter. But he said he would attend services with Smead when she starts to offer them in Louisville.

“People like me know it’s something the Catholic Church will have to do,” said Pawley.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor and Mohammad Zargham)

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2 comments on “Kentucky woman “ordained”

  1. Tired of hearing about these crazed women wanna bes in the papers with no rebuttal coming from Bishops, Cardinals or the pope to formally set the record straight.

  2. It is a joke that these silly women think that the church HAS to do anything they say. No, it does NOT have to do anything of the sort. I am glad that these people have gone on their own to do this and to leave us alone. Let the liberals syphon off to these groups so we won’t have to deal with them. They made the choice to leave so it is a good thing they did. The church has certain teachings and if people do not want to adhere to these teachings, then they can go elsewhere. That is what different denominations are for–dissident people breaking off from other groups. There should be a place for them outside the Catholic church where they do not destroy the unity of the church. True unity of all people will only take place in heaven, not on earth because of free will and different needs, etc. Liberals are living in lala land if they think everyone is going to agree on everybody’s wishes. It does not work that way. The important thing is to keep the Catholic faith intact and let the dissents decide whether they want to stay in or go elsewhere.

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