Their patron is Mary Magdalene and they are convinced that there is no divine reason why women can not be ordained in the priesthood. For this reason, last Saturday the first female priest from Santander was ordained.
Those who wait for the Mass do so with recollection. They believe these women. They believe in their holiness, in that what they are doing is right.
(Photo: Paola Esteban / VANGUARDIA LIBERAL)
The book of Genesis, in the Bible, says that we have all been made in the image and likeness of God. Later in this sacred book Adam and the rib are spoken, but in the first verses, in 1:27, he says: "And God created man in his image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. "
This is the theological basis with which the Association of Presbyters of South America made last Saturday the ordination ceremony in the priesthood of the ex-religious and teacher Blanca Azucena Caicedo Blanca.
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The place chosen was Piedecuesta, at 10 o'clock in the morning, in the middle of the hot sun and intense heat, but in a certain way, covered with a halo of sanctity and, at the same time, with a revolutionary spirit.
The Mass was officiated by Bishop Olga Lucía Álvarez Benjumea, a 76-year-old woman who learned at home, with her parents, to cultivate faith and Christian values, as she herself described in a letter she sent a year ago to Pope Francisco.
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The Bishop wants only one thing: that the hierarchs of the Catholic Church annul the rule by which only men can be ordained as priests: "On December 8, 1965, during the Second Vatican Council, in the closing speech, the Paul VI's voice was heard saying: the time has come when the woman's vocation is fully fulfilled, the time when the woman acquires an influence, a weight, a power never reached in the world ".
She has a strong voice, an Antioqueno matron willing to break with traditions that, for women, are chains. Walk slowly, but it is strong and cheerful. Close
But 53 years have passed since that announcement by the then Pope and the norm remains in force.
The priests expect a change, but their way is a way of the cross.
In May 2016, Pope Francis, in a meeting with women's congregations in the Paul VI Hall of the Vatican, accepted the creation of a commission to study the possibility of the female priesthood.
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However, in November of that same year, a journalist from The Guardian reported that on the private plane of the Holy See, the Pope told him that women would never receive approval to be ordained as priests.
So far they can only become Deacons, a degree prior to the priesthood.
So, what does the ordination of the first Santanderean priest mean?
A sacred right
"We demand a right and we are going to show that we deserve it through the work we are going to do. With the sole fact that we make the consecration, we are saying that God also receives the offering of the woman, "Blanca emphasizes.
It also has a strong voice, sung, like the Santandereans closest to the rugged lands of this region.
She is used to working with people, with love, but firm.
He knows that he will be criticized from all sides, the strongest, by the hierarchs of the Catholic Church.
He says they held her in high esteem until this moment. After today, it is clear that it is very possible that this affection is over.
It is the only moment in which it seems to be meditative, in which its tone of voice lowers a level.
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He has his linen dawn, the cíngulo -cordón to wrap the dawn around his waist-, the stole and the chasuble.
She is ready to enter the mass.
Beside her is the Venezuelan doctor María Teresa Martínez Maldonado, who traveled from Caracas to attend this ceremony: she will also be ordained as a priest.
Both have a serious face, they are nervous. Their friends, students and family are waiting for them in the white chairs of the lounge.
There is bread, wine, offerings and large dogs that attend as de facto guests because they live in the farm where the ceremony is held.
They are also accompanied by two prelates of the Anglican Church: Bishop José María González Gómez and Father Jenaro Rodríguez, as well as a woman presbyter of the indigenous communities, Blanca Cecilia Santana Cortés and Lucero Arias Manco, of the Association of Presbyters.
What these women want is renewal, no more patriarchy in the Catholic Church, a space just for them in the religious world.
They trust that they will be able to achieve it. They say it openly.
"We do not intend to compete with our brother priests, we do not look for altar, power, or temple or parish, we only use ornaments following the Roman rite, in ordinations and celebrations.
Our ministry is of service, it is pastoral and it is catechetical. This is what defines us, that is how we express our being as ministers within the Apostolic Succession, not through power, but through service, availability and love ": The Bishop has spoken.
The ordination begins.
The first priestess
Roonie Mara is the protagonist of the film María Magdalena, which premiered last March.
The argument: Mary Magdalene was recognized by Jesus as another apostle, who continued to preach his word, but the other apostles, suspicious, set aside and then constitute a Church ruled only by men (and that there was once a Pope: Juana , in the 8th century, who exercised by hiding his sex).
The biblical story says that Mary Magdalene received the call of her faith and took it, but was set apart.
Blanca also took this call, but she will not allow herself to be separated.
He was born in Charta, two thousand meters above sea level.
So far that her mother could not accompany her in the ceremony because to get down from her house to the village it is necessary to ride a horse.
For 17 years, Blanca was a missionary teresita. He retired in 2011: "I was always struck by that pod. I spent 15 years in indigenous communities, then one sees the church from another world, the formation is completely different from that of a sister in the city. "
The difference is that for indigenous communities the women who evangelize are everything: guides, counselors and those who solve problems.
The nuns are the only authority.
As a child, Blanca sent a letter to be accepted in the religious community.
Was 16 years old.
The formation of a nun includes theology, christology, missiology and various trades.
They tell them that the priest is their highest leader, that they must respect him and be nice to him.
But as Blanca went to evangelize, she saw herself with greater freedom of action: "I was face to face with the priest.
I lived more a brotherhood with them. And they understand that the role of women in the Church is valuable. "
After almost two decades, a family crisis forced Blanca to renounce her religious life.
I was about to go to Africa, I was already learning English.
The dream of every missionary is to travel to that continent, says Blanca.
But, "there is no point in doing works of mercy there and in the house nothing".
Their vows were perpetual.
She was insured as a missionary for all eternity.
But life had it destined for other ministries.
In his heart the call to the priesthood sounded.
The theologian Bernard Lambert points out that although the female priesthood exists in the Anglican Catholic Church, this constitutes a break for the Catholic Church.
Blanca is excommunicated: "unjustly," she clarifies. At the time of taking "the body and blood of Jesus", the ordination has already taken place: it has several phases.
The first thing is an imposition of hands by all those attending the mass. They have already prostrated themselves on the ground as part of the ritual.
Not before the Bishop, she says, but before God.
Then they give communion.
In everything it is similar to a traditional mass, the difference is that at the moment of peace, a hug is offered and not the hand.
They are excited: the time has come.
The Bishop raises the hands of the new priests.
It is an achievement for them.
Then, everyone embraces to celebrate.
They are followed by a lunch and a serenade.
The students of Blanca embrace her.
Some people who sought help at the Hope Foundation, where Blanca worked before and in the Archdiocese of Bucaramanga, where she also collaborated, ask one of the Anglican priests if they are married.
They say yes.
How can they lead a community if they do not lead their own home?
Blanca smiles, runs up and down like a normal day.
But is not.
He has done History in the department.
And she knows it.
Published by: PAOLA ESTEBAN C.