In the original article, I was quoted and in this article my quote was edited out.
The bottom line is that not only is there evidence in the catacombs and on ancient tombstones, but also, there are references in official church documents to women priests. In 494 , Pope Gelasius , wrote a Papal Bull, (which is a Letter) to the Bishops of the area in what is now modern day Sicily, condemning the practice of women priests
celebrating Eucharist at the Altar. With impatience we have heard that divine things have undergone such contempt that women are encouraged to serve at the sacred altars, and that all tasks entrusted to the service of men are performed by a sex for which these [tasks] are not appropriate!
Bridget Mary Meehan, Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests,www.arcwp.org
- The 230-240 AD frescoes were found in the Catacombs of Priscilla of Rome
- One fresco shows a group of women celebrating banquet of the Eucharist
- Another shows woman with outstretched arms like those of a priest
- Vatican says assertions that these women were priests are 'fairy tales'
The frescoes, dating back to between 230 to 240 AD, are housed inside the Catacombs of Priscilla of Rome and were unveiled by the Vatican this week.
Proponents of a female priesthood have said that the frescoes prove there were women priests in early Christianity.
The Vatican, however, has responded by saying that such assertions are sensationalist 'fairy tales'.
Newly restored Italian frescoes have revealed what could have been women priests in the early Christian church. The female pictured in this fresco has her arms outstretched as if holding Mass
Dug out from the second to fifth centuries, the Catacombs of Priscilla are a complex labyrinth of underground burial chambers stretching eight miles beneath the northern half of the city.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican's culture minister, opened the ‘Cubicle of Lazzaro’ which is a tiny burial chamber featuring 4th century images of biblical scenes, the Apostles Peter and Paul, and one of the early Romans buried there in bunk-bed-like stacks as was common in antiquity.
A fresco depicting women celebrating the Eucharist is pictured inside the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome. The catacomb, used for Christian burials from the late 2nd century through to the 4th century, reopened on Tuesday to the public after years of restoration
The 230-240 AD frescoes, found in the Catacombs of Priscilla of Rome, were unveiled by the Vatican this week
Proponents of a female priesthood say frescoes prove there were women priests in early Christianity. The Vatican says such assertions are 'sensationalist fairy tales'
THE CATACOMBS OF PRISCILLA
More controversially, the catacomb has two scenes said by proponents of the women's ordination movement to show women priests.
One fresco in the ochre-hued Greek Chapel features a group of women celebrating a banquet, said to be the banquet of the Eucharist.
Another image, in a room called the 'Cubiculum of the Veiled Woman,' shows a woman whose arms are outstretched like those of a priest saying Mass.
She wears what the catacombs' Italian website calls 'a rich liturgical garment'. She also wears what appears to be a stole, a vestment worn by priests.
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests holds the images up as evidence that there were women priests in the early Christian church - and that therefore there should be women priests today.
But Fabrizio Bisconti, the superintendent of the Vatican's sacred archaeology commission, said such a reading of the frescoes was pure ‘fable, a legend.’
Even though the catacombs' official guide says there is ‘a clear reference to the banquet of the Holy Eucharist’ in the fresco, Bisconti said the scene of the banquet wasn't a Eucharistic banquet but a funeral banquet.
A marble low-relief decorating a sarcophagus is pictured inside the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome
The Vatican has restricted the priesthood for men, arguing that Jesus chose only men as his apostles. Here a man's face from the Roman catacombs is pictured
He said that even though women were present they weren't celebrating Mass.
Bisconti said the other fresco of the woman with her hands up in prayer was just that - a woman praying.
‘These are readings of the past that are a bit sensationalistic but aren't trustworthy,’ he said.
Asked about the scenes, Ravasi professed ignorance and referred comment to Bisconti.
A skull is pictured inside the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome. Lost for centuries after its entrances were sealed in ancient time, the catacombs were re-discovered in the 16th century and plundered of many gravestones, sarcophagi and bodies
Google Maps has, for the first time, gone into the Roman catacombs, providing a virtual tour of the Priscilla complex available to anyone who can't visit the real thing
The Vatican has restricted the priesthood for men, arguing that Jesus chose only men as his apostles.
Google Maps has, for the first time, gone into the Roman catacombs, providing a virtual tour of the Priscilla complex available to anyone who can't visit the real thing.
Lost for centuries after its entrances were sealed in ancient time, the catacombs were re-discovered in the 16th century and plundered of many gravestones, sarcophagi and bodies. Excavations in modern times began in the 19th century.
The catacombs of Priscilla, on Rome's Via Salaria, have been fully reopened after a five-year project that included laser technology to clean some of the ancient frescoes
Dug from the second to fifth centuries, the catacoms are a complex labyrinth of underground burial chambers stretching miles beneath the northern half of Rome
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2510473/Vatican-unveils-frescoes-Catacombs-Priscilla-paintings-FEMALE-PRIESTS.html#ixzz44zxDt7Az
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