A former nun defied the Catholic Church’s ban on women as priests and went through an ordination ceremony, joining a growing push to crack open the all-male clergy.
A female bishop from Minnesota led Sunday’s ordination ceremony for 71-year-old Maria Thornton McClain at Friedens United Church of Christ on the south side of Indianapolis.
McClain said she was a nun for 15 years before leaving her order and has been married to her husband for 31 years. She said she has been a devoted Catholic but believed the ban on female priests needed to be challenged.
“Some people call me courageous,” McClain said. “I don’t see myself as courageous. I just feel I’m doing what I’ve been called to do.”
McClain joins more than 100 women around the world already ordained in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement.
Pope Benedict XVI this month denounced such movements, saying he had no authority whatsoever to allow female priests because an all-male priesthood was an “irrevocable” church teaching.
Greg Otolski, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, said the Catholic Church traces the all-male clergy to Jesus Christ.
“He only chose 12 apostles, all men,” Otolski said. “He did not choose women, and that’s an unalterable part of the faith, a tradition the church has held and carried on for 2,000 years.”
Full Story: Former nun is ordained