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US woman defies Church to be ordained as priest

Excommunication will follow but woman says it is her calling
US woman defies Church to be ordained as priest

Picture: Mlive

Published: June 02, 2014 05:28 AM GMT
Updated: June 01, 2014 06:46 PM GMT

A 75-year-old woman who plans to be ordained knows it will result in her excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church, but says ministry is her calling.

Lillian Lewis will be ordained as a Roman Catholic Womanpriest in Three Oaks, Mich., Saturday [May 31], according to MLive. With a theology masters from Marquette University, she worked for the church for more than two decades.

"Ministry is my true calling," Lewis told the news site.

The Roman Catholic Church prohibits women from becoming priests. Canon law states that "a baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly." However, the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement currently includes more than 140 ordained women worldwide, according to its website. Bishop Joan Hauk, who is a member of the group, will officiate Lewis' ceremony, according to the Associated Press.

Bishop Paul Bradley of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo, Mich., issued a statement Wednesday condemning the ordination, which was originally planned to take place at the First Congregational Church in Three Oaks. Lewis told MLive that harassing phone calls caused her to move the ceremony to her house.

"Please be aware that such an action does not confer the sacred character of the priesthood for this woman; in fact, this action will further separate her from the Church in a very grave manner," Bradley wrote. "If this invalid 'ordination' takes place then the woman attempting ordination incurs an automatic excommunication."

Not only will Lewis be excommunicated, but Bradley warned other church members that they should not attend the ordination.


"Any Catholic attending or participating in this, or any invalid and illicit attempt at the sacrament of ordination, places themselves outside of full communion with the Catholic Church," he said.

In his 1994 Apostolic letter, Pope John Paul II said the church "has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women."

In 2010, the Vatican declared any attempt to ordain a woman as "delicta graviora," the same type of category of crime against the church as priest sex abuse cases.

Full Story: Woman Will Fulfill 'Calling' To Be Catholic Priest, Despite Excommunication 

Source:Huffington Post Religion

UPDATE: Lillian Lewis ordained as Michigan's first Catholic womanpriest during ordination at her Three Oaks home

The vehicles that transported more than 100 attendees to the ordination on Saturday lined the side street on which Lewis' Three Oaks home is located. The crowded street, along with portable shade and chairs in Lewis's driveway could have led passersby to mistake the event for a high school graduation party if not for the Three Oaks police officer standing in front of the house.

But the event was a joyous one, and any fear of harassment from those who had caused the ordination to be moved from the First Congregational Church in Three Oaks to Lewis's home was quickly dispelled as friends and family gathered to celebrate Lewis's ordination by Joan Houk, a bishop of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests. The dissident Catholic group was founded in Germany in 2002 as a reaction against the Catholic ban against women priests.

"This has been on my bucket list for about 20 years," said Lewis prior to the ordination. "I feel 100 percent affirmed."

Lewis, 75, a longtime Catholic who worked 25 years as a pastoral associate for Catholic congregations in the Chicago area, said she was glad to be able to hold the event at her home so that no one had to put up with harassment from those who were following the warning of Bishop Paul Bradley of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo, who said the ceremony would "undermine the unity of the church."

"This shouldn't be about fear," Lewis said. "As far as the Lord goes, I think he figures any pilgrim who puts their foot to the path is worthy."

Bradley's letter also threatened excommunication for anyone directly involved in the ordination and said anyone who witnessed the event would have to confess to restore their unity with the church.

However, Houk said during the ordination that those who disagree with Bradley should not be angry with him since he is doing only "what any good bishop needs to do."


Source: Mlive


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