Female bishop holds religious service in Dublin

Female bishop, Dr Bridget Mary Meehan,  who leads a breakaway Catholic group that welcomes female and lesbian priests, presided over a religious service in Dublin on Sunday.

Meehan who is originally from Rathdowney in County Laois and is now based in Florida, has the position of bishop within the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.

She holds weekly services with parishioners at a Christian church in the city of Sarasota and says she responded to an invitation from a faith community of “reform-minded Catholics” to celebrate the Eucharist at a community centre in Rialto.

Her organisation has ordained around 230 female members around the world, and she wants the orthodox Catholic Church to accept women as well as gay and transgender individuals into the clergy.

“I’m going to celebrate an inclusive Roman Catholic liturgy just like everybody has in their churches in Ireland.

“I’m going to celebrate that with a local community here of renewed, reform-minded Catholics who are interested in justice and equality for women in the church,” she said at the weekend.

Meehan said her services are attended by a diverse congregation rather than just like-minded women, but added that there was no attempt made to persuade Catholic authorities to allow the celebration be held in a consecrated church.

Her movement has been officially excommunicated by the Catholic Church since its inception in 2002, when it was claimed a male bishop privately ordained a number of female bishops on the Danube river, and is generally prohibited from holding services on church property.

Women’s Ordination Worldwide (WOW), a coalition of international groups supporting women’s ordination, hosted the meeting and march in Rome to urge church leaders to re-open a dialogue on the question of ordaining women.

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