Check it out.
"(Today), 12 women ... will board the ship (that) will become a floating church -- and the stage for what might be the most central controversy in Catholicism today. The robed women are in the vanguard of the growing womenpriests movement, the most flamboyant and incendiary challenge to the Roman Catholic Church's unrelenting discrimination against women. Declaring herself 'present' (in Latin, ad sum), each of the 12 will be ordained priests or deacons by women bishops -- themselves secretly ordained to the episcopacy by active Roman Catholic male bishops whose names will remain locked in a vault until they die. This ceremony is totally verboten: Women's ordination or even advocating for it is forbidden by the Catholic Church, under pain of excommunication, which means no sacraments, ever, not even a Catholic burial.
"By their visibility and accessibility, a small band of women are forcing a confrontation. They are asking, Is sexism a sin? How does the church reconcile its teaching that women and men are created in God's image, that once baptized, there is 'no male or female' and 'all are one in Christ Jesus,' with its contention that women cannot represent the ultimate sacred or hold ultimate power through ordination because they are, literally, the wrong 'substance'?"
I had my first experience with female priests in Rochester, NY this past December. My community traveled there to support our housemate Judy, who had a gender discrimination lawsuit challenging the diocese.
Meanwhile, we stayed at the home of Fr. Jim Callan. Callan is the former priest of Rochester's Corpus Christi parish--and during his long tenure, the number of parishoners grew exponentially. He led the parish as they as they went ahead and ordained women, as they married same-sex couples, and as they welcomed non-Catholics to share in the Eucharist. They also grew their initiatives challenging poverty and the prison system.
After 25 years, Callan was finally forced out of his role by the Vatican when he refused to sign an oath that he would cease and desist all the acts of conscience practiced by the Corpus Christi community.
And the parish stuck with him. Spiritus Christi grew out of it--a Catholic parish that models what I believe the church as a whole should and can be.
While visiting, we attended a Spiritus Christi reconciliation service, in one of the churches that donates its building for the use of the SC community. I did my confession--my first in a hell of a long time--with a female priest, Rev. Mary Ramerman.
It was an incredibly beautiful experience that deserves to be common practice, as Spiritus Christi and today's 12 ordained women well know.
Says Joan Clark Houk, one of today's ordained priests:
"'It is a sin for the Church to discriminate against women and blame God for it ... In obedience to the Gospel of Jesus, I will disobey this unjust law.'"
God bless her.