Saturday, July 25, 2015

"Windsor woman fights for 'justice for women' in Catholic Church", CBC Article

http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/canada/windsor/story/1.3166730

Barbara Billey to be ordained as priest with Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

Posted:Jul 25, 2015 7:00 AM ET

Last Updated:Jul 25, 2015 7:00 AM ET


The Vatican doesn't support the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, but the organization claims it is legitimately Roman Catholic.
The Vatican doesn't support the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, but the organization claims it is legitimately Roman Catholic. Amy Dodge/CBC

As a woman of the Roman Catholic faith, Windsor's Barbara Billey didn't know she could become a priest.

That changed after she spent 10 days on a silent retreat at an Episcopal church in Michigan.

"After that service, someone approached me - who was also on a retreat -  and I believe he was a priest in that tradition. He said, 'are you a priest?' and I said, 'no' and I looked at him and I felt in my heart a 'yes,'" said Billey.

Saturday, Billey will become the first ordained female priest with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests born in Windsor.

Almost immediately after that conversation in Michigan, which was had five years ago, Billey started attending All Saints Anglican Church in Windsor. 

"Believing that would be my only option to be a priest in the Anglican tradition," she said. "But after about a year and a half, something shifted in me and the conditions didn't just feel right to continue on that path."

She wondered how her intense spiritual calling could be fulfilled.

Then, on the weekend of Pentecost, she received an article in the mail from a friend. It was that piece of mail that introduced her to the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.

Billey emailed a bishop in the association and they met the following weekend.

"That path was ignited," she said.

Billey will become one of more than 200 ordained women of the association, worldwide. 

Bridget Mary Meehan will ordain Billey. 

"She's just such a vibrant, radiant reflection of love and compassion," she said

Association not recognized by Vatican

Billey has been active with the ministry for two years in Windsor, and said she frequently attends a Catholic church in Windsor, but she would not disclose which one for the privacy of her family.

"There are people in my life who might feel some discomfort in me naming that," she said.

Billey said she will discontinue her participation at the local Catholic church once she is ordained.

"The long term vision, of course, is that the Roman Catholic church would be inclusive of women at all levels of ministry," she said. "I believe we can only be whole, that is the sacraments, the church, the people of God, can only be whole when all people are included and that would include, not just women but all people that have been marginalized."

The Vatican doesn't support the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, but the organization claims it is legitimately Roman Catholic.

Meehan believes the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is legitimately Roman Catholic because the association's first female bishops were ordained by a male Roman Catholic bishop

 "They passed on what the church calls Apostolic succession," she said.

Janice Sevre-Duszynska, from Lexington Kentucky and who is ordained with the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, says her association does not discriminate.

"Jesus welcomed everyone," she said. "We are breaking an unjust law, and we are a movement for justice for women in the church, including ordination, and women in society.

"Everyone is welcome at our table. That means divorced Catholics, former Catholics, non-Catholics, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people, as well."

Sevre-Duszynska hopes the pope will one day "embrace women."

"He is doing such good things in the world, such wonderful things," she said. "Naming oppressive behaviours, of taking care of the earth, naming the harshness of capitalism where so many are oppressed, and people's lives are so fragile because of economic disparity.

"It's a sign of the times, for women to priesthood, to step forward, and say 'I am ready.'"

Father John Comiskey of the Catholic Diocese of London says the women are excommunicating themselves by being ordained as priests.
"They are not in communion with us, they are not in union with us in the faith," he said. "This is not a group that is officially connected to the Roman Catholic as we would expect or as they would expect or as they seem to imply.
 "The Catholic Church does not have women priests. Because they call themselves that doesn't necessarily mean they are connected to the Roman Catholic Church as people understand Roman Catholic."

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