3 Catholic Women to be Ordained...

At times I forget, in 21st Century USAmerica, that we are still so backward as to yet be fighting civil rights battles settled by our own culture decades ago (apart from some resistant, though vocal, enclaves scattered throughout).

But fight on, we must: I cannot speak for my Catholic sisters and brothers, but I am convinced and convicted that women must be given equal standing in the church - equal opportunity to serve and lead as the Holy Spirit ordains.

Galatians 3:28
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

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BOSTON -- Three Catholic women will be ordained as priests in a Back Bay neighborhood church this weekend, despite the Vatican's admonition that the trio will be excommunicated if they do so.

"Excommunication or not, I will still be a validly ordained priest and still will be able to serve the people of God," said Gabriella Velardi Ward, 61, a Staten Island architect and mother of two.

Also a grandmother of three, Ward said she has wanted to be a priest ever since she was five years old and once considered becoming a nun, but felt the priesthood was her true calling because she wants to be able to celebrate the sacraments.

She will be joined by Gloria Carpeneto, of Baltimore, and Judy Lee, of Florida. Mary Ann McCarthy Schoettly, of Newton, N.J., will be ordained as a deacon.

The Vatican, however, said the ordinations would be illegal and the Boston Archdiocese sent out an e-mail to all priests saying that women who try to receive sacred orders and priests who try to confer them are automatically separating themselves from the church.

The Catholic Church has always said women cannot be priests because Jesus did not have female Apostles.

The ordination ceremony will take place Sunday at the Church of the Covenant on Newbury Street, which is affiliated with two Protestant denominations, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ, the Boston Globe reported.

The church, which has a female pastor, offered to let the ordination take place there as a way of supporting and encouraging the women's group.

The trio will be ordained by Dana Reynolds, of California, a woman who was consecrated as a bishop in Germany in April.

They are all part of an organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which has been holding ordination ceremonies for women since 2002; the organization says there are now 28 women Catholic priests in the United States, according to the Globe.

The group says its ordinations are valid because its first female priests were ordained by bishops who were in good standing with the Vatican. They won't reveal the names so those bishops can avoid sanctions.

The Boston ordinations will coincide with the first Boston conference of four organizations that are pushing for the admission of married men, as well as of women, to the priesthood.
Jean Marchant, who once worked for the Boston Archdiocese's healthcare ministry, has already been ordained and, together with her husband, serves a small Catholic congregation in Weston, Mass.

Copyright 2008 by TheBostonChannel.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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