ORLANDO, Fla. — "One week ago, 80-year-old Rita Lucey was ordained as a priest — and excommunicated by the Catholic Church.
Lucey joins a growing movement of women who, while operating outside the Roman Catholic Church, contend they are not leaving the church but leading it into an era of gender equality.
"We are the Rosa Parks of the Catholic Church. We are leading the church into a new era of equal justice for women," said Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, who will ordain Lucey as a member of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests...
"Rita has been a courageous witness for justice in the church for years. She has stood up for equality and justice for women in the world and justice for women in the church," Meehan said...The idea of becoming a priest in a church that forbids female clergy came in the form of a ring with a dove she found in an old hat box that belonged to her relatives. To her, the dove was a spiritual sign that led her to the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests and the realization that her calling was to become a priest late in life.
"I asked myself, 'What are you doing this for at this age?'" she said. "I know why I'm doing this — because the spirit is calling me. Women can be priests. We are called to the priesthood."
But there is also a part of her that revels in rebellion and the idea that, at 80, she might be part of something that changes the Catholic church as woman in the past have altered American society.
"Sometimes I feel like a suffragette. How excited they must have been when they finally got the vote," she said. "I like that I'm a part of a group who are willful disturbers."