Friday, July 24, 2015

Article in Windsor Star by Sharon Hill: Barbara Billey To Be Ordained by Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in Windsor, Ontario, Canada on July 25, 2015

http://blogs.windsorstar.com/news/movement-wants-roman-catholic-church-to-allow-female-priests
Barbara Billey, ARCWP of Windsor Canada, photo in Windsor Star

"Barbara Billey is about to be ordained by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests — a movement determined to shake up the church hierarchy.
The Windsor woman may call herself a priest after her ordination Saturday, but she knows she won’t be welcome in that role in any local Roman Catholic churches and could be considered ex-communicated.
“I don’t expect any major invitations anytime too soon,” Billey said.
The Windsor counsellor who operates a home church said she felt called to become a priest about five years ago at a retreat and is now part of an international movement to get the Roman Catholic church to accept female priests.
She said it’s about equality.
“At the core of it is what the Gospel and what Jesus represents in terms of including all people,” Billey said. “If we don’t include women we’re excluding more than half the population. The sacraments, ourselves, our church can’t be whole with over half the population excluded.”
Billey wants the church to include women in all levels of ministry, to also include those who have chosen an alternative lifestyle and to use inclusive language such as referring to God as female.
Father John Comiskey, a moderator of the curia who provides administrative help to the bishop in the Diocese of London, said women can serve in many ways in the church but not as priests.
“There’s no question that women are equal but equal doesn’t mean the same,” he said.
Comiskey said there are church teachings which Roman Catholics believe are revealed by God and others that are made by humans. He said the idea of priests not being married is a man-made rule or tradition which could be changed but things like the Ten Commandments or the idea of priests being male are considered revealed by God.
The current Pope Francis has said more than once that the issue of women becoming priests is closed. Comiskey said that in 1976 Pope Paul IV said the evidence wasn’t conclusive but Pope John Paul II said clearly it was revealed by God and unchangeable.
He said the term Roman Catholic woman priest is incorrect because Roman Catholics don’t have female priests.
By participating in the ordination ceremony, women who become so-called priests ex-communicate themselves because they would not be in communion with the Pope, the local bishop or following the church teachings, Comiskey said. They can show up for a mass but they cannot serve as a priest and if they implied that they are in communion with the Roman Catholic church, the diocese would issue a public statement to clarify that they are not.
Comiskey said Jesus broke all kinds of taboos such as his treatment of women — both sides of the argument agree the risen Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene first — but if Jesus had wanted women to be priests or disciples he could have done that. His 12 disciples were men.
Bridget Mary Meehan, the bishop of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, is coming from Florida to conduct the ordination service Saturday in Windsor. Meehan calls the movement a holy shakeup that is challenging the church’s gender inequality and sexism. She sees male-only priests as a man-made rule
 

“We, the Roman Catholic women priests movement and the bishops doing the ordaining are breaking an unjust law that discriminates against women. Therefore we are living a prophetic obedience. We’re following our consciences.”

 
Meehan said the women don’t want to leave the Catholic church. They want to lead it at a time when the Catholic church struggles with the dwindling number of men who feel called to become priests. When Pope Francis visits the United States in the fall, the association will be ordaining more women and urging the Pope to allow female priests.
The association has almost 70 members in Canada, the United States and Latin America. It is part of a larger movement that Billey said has about 200 women including 15 women in Canada who call themselves Roman Catholic priests."
shill@windsorstar.com
Find Windsor Star on Facebook
www.arcwp.org         

No comments: