Female Priests Defy Catholic Church, Hope to Change It

January 23, 2010

Author: Katie Balestra

Source: The Washington Post


Inside a red brick house in Falls Church, Bridget Mary Meehan placed a silver chalice of wine and a plate of flatbread on the coffee table in her living room and prepared to lead a sacred, forbidden ceremony.

"As we gather around this table, this intimate little house church table, let us remember that God is raising us up, all of us," she said, smiling at the four worshipers who had come to hear her say Mass.

Three and a half years ago, Meehan joined a group of Catholic women from across the United States known as the Roman Catholic Womenpriests -- ordained as bishops, priests and deacons, sometimes in secret ceremonies, against Vatican law. The first ceremony took place in 2002, when a renegade bishop ordained seven women in a boat on the Danube River near Passau, Germany. Most, if not all members, have been excommunicated.

The group, which has about 70 women, is one of several nationwide gaining support among U.S. Catholics as more of them begin to question the Vatican's stance on women's role in the Church.