Woman Is Ordained As Catholic Priest in Canada

October 10, 2010

MONTREAL Despite a Vatican ban and threats to excommunicate her, a sixth Canadian woman was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest Saturday, an official with a group supporting women in the priesthood said.

The group Roman Catholic Womenpriests ordained Linda Spear, a retired teacher from Quebec, in an Anglican church in Sutton, Quebec, eastern Canada.

According to Bridget Mary Meehan, who was ordained as a bishop in 2006 in the United States, Roman Catholic Womenpriests was founded shortly after 2000 and has grown swiftly.

The first seven women priests were ordained on a boat in the Danube in 2002 and since then another 80 women have become priests in the United States as well as about 20 others around the world, Meehan told AFP by phone.

Spear is the first Quebecer but the sixth Canadian woman to become a Catholic priest this way. She was symbolically ordained by US bishop Andrea Johnson. Spear can celebrate the sacraments such as marriage but they will not be recognized by the Vatican, which limits the priesthood to men.

"We are not leaving the church, we are leading it into living Jesus's example of Gospel equality. Jesus called men and women to be disciples," Meehan said.

"We are disobeying an unjust church law that prohibits women's ordination and is rooted in discrimination," she explained. Spear could be excommunicated; Meehan already has been.

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