By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Two more women were ordained “priests” in Sarasota, Florida last week, which has resulted in the automatic excommunication of the women and anyone attending the ceremony.
According to a report appearing in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the ordinations were orchestrated by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an organization that openly defies Church teaching against women priests. It also rejects the penalty of automatic excommunication issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on May 29, 2008, which applies to any woman who undergoes an “ordination” and the bishop who ordains them.
Bridget Mary Meehan, a former nun and one of five “bishops” currently serving in the U.S., ordained two women “priests” and one “deacon” at the ceremony which was held at St. Andrew United Church of Christ.
Meehan brushed off the notice of excommunication. “They’re upping the ante,” she told the Tribune. “People will have to be courageous to support us, and that is what this is about. Like our sister Rosa Parks, we refuse to sit on the back of the bus any longer.”
The Irish born Meehan spent 25 years in a convent and is now living in Sarasota with her father. She was among the first American women to be ordained by the organization and began celebrating “Mass” for neighbors in her father’s mobile home. She claims weekly attendance has grown to about 50.
Bishop Frank J. Dewane of the Diocese of Venice, which includes Sarasota, refused to comment about the ordinations but reiterated the policy set by the Vatican that any Catholic involved in the ordination, or who attends the illicit ceremony, is excommunicated.
“This situation is sad for the entire Church,” said a written statement from the Diocese. “The Diocese prays that all those involved in this attempt to ‘ordain’, ‘Roman Catholic Womenpriests’ will be reconciled with the Church, and that the harm and division caused will be healed.”
The five female “bishops” currently serving Roman Catholic Womenpriests have ordained 38 women priests in the U.S. and 11 Deacons.
Meehan remains defiant. Beneath a picture of the event posted on her blog, she writes: “Women priests remind us that women are equal images of Christ.”
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