Women priest posters put up near St Peter’s Square

Dozens of posters of illicit women priests were plastered in Rome near St Peter’s Square last week in a provocative campaign.

Above the image of one of the women priests were the words “some women disobey”.

The putting up of the posters in Rome’s Trastevere neighbourhood and near St Peter’s was part of a “jubilee for women priests”.

All of the women pictured are “essentially under excommunication”, the Guardian reported.

Kate McElwee, co-executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, said the metre-high posters are meant to celebrate female priests around the world.

They may help spur a dialogue with the Church about women’s equality, she said.

Ms McElwee sees this as a “true blind spot for Pope Francis”.

In 1994, St John Paul II declared “that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful”.

Pope Francis has said the ordination of women as priests “cannot be done”, citing St John Paul II.

The city of Rome agreed to put the women priest posters up.

Organisers said they had found an enthusiastic supporter within the city government who had promised to save “good space” for them even though they are competing with political posters before the upcoming mayoral election.

According to Ms McElwee, there are about 150 renegade female priests around the world.

Many of them were ordained after a group of women known as the Danube Seven were ordained illegally in 2002 by an Argentinian bishop.

The posters were created by Italian photographer Giulia Bianchi.

She said meeting a woman priest helped heal the “Catholic child inside herself” and “a lot of pain and scars I have from the official Church”.

A petition calling on Pope Francis to lift the excommunications of women priests will be delivered by a woman priest to the Vatican on June 3.


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