Women with vocation to Catholic priesthood meet US delegation

Five women  have contacted a US delegation visiting Ireland this month because they believe they have a vocation to the Catholic priesthood.

The delegation is led by Irish-born Bishop Mary Bridget Meehan, who is visiting Ireland to recruit female priests.

Meehan, who leads the US-based Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP), says the women seeking ordination “already have theology degrees and diplomas in spirituality”.

Meehan is a former nun and was ordained a priest in Pittsburgh, USA, in July 2006. She was later ordained a bishop in California.

She now ministers as a priest in Sarasota, Florida, even though the Catholic Church forbids the ordination of women on pain of excommunication.

In 2007 Meehan and fellow women priests were excommunicated by Pope Benedict. He decreed that anyone “who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order” was automatically excommunicated.

This decree has been rejected by the ARCWP.

In North America, there are about 250 Catholic women priests and 11 women bishops, Bishop Meehan says.

She says their ordinations were valid “because of our apostolic succession within the Roman Catholic Church”.



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