"And this time we don’t have to take her word for it. On her laptop - decorated with a red rose – “Mrs Bishop” has file after file of pictures of herself, in full episcopal robes, performing baptisms, marriages and funerals in Catholic churches up and down Austria – and beyond. She’s being doing one every two weeks for the past decade, she estimates. In the snaps, she’s there on the altar at Kremsmunster, the oldest Benedictine monastery in Austria, with the congregation spread out in front of her. Or leading a long funeral procession side-by-side into another church with a male priest.
So they accept her as one of them? “Yes.” And suffer no consequences from their bishops for sharing their pulpits an excommunicated woman? “No, never once.”
One of the key themes in the Synod on the Family in Rome is the yawning gap between Catholic teaching and what actually goes on in Catholic parishes and lives on such questions as divorce, contraception and homosexuality. Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger is highlighting another.
And she is not alone. In Canada, America, South Africa, Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Austria, there are, she estimates, hundreds of women priests, some ordained by her, all in the active ministry, plus a dozen other women bishops who have followed in her pioneering footsteps. They are all part of the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement. Far from being exiles from the mainstream Catholic community, they’re busy serving it, at its very heart. It is a seamless garment."