Roman posters of Women Priests

Women priest posters put up near St Peter’s Square

Women priest posters resized

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Dozens of posters of illicit women priests were plastered in Rome near St Peter’s Square last week in a provocative campaign.

Above the image of one of the women priests were the words “some women disobey”.

The putting up of the posters in Rome’s Trastevere neighbourhood and near St Peter’s was part of a “jubilee for women priests”.

All of the women pictured are “essentially under excommunication”, the Guardian reported.

Kate McElwee, co-executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, said the metre-high posters are meant to celebrate female priests around the world.

They may help spur a dialogue with the Church about women’s equality, she said.

Ms McElwee sees this as a “true blind spot for Pope Francis”.

In 1994, St John Paul II declared “that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful”.

Pope Francis has said the ordination of women as priests “cannot be done”, citing St John Paul II.

The city of Rome agreed to put the women priest posters up.

Organisers said they had found an enthusiastic supporter within the city government who had promised to save “good space” for them even though they are competing with political posters before the upcoming mayoral election.

According to Ms McElwee, there are about 150 renegade female priests around the world.

Many of them were ordained after a group of women known as the Danube Seven were ordained illegally in 2002 by an Argentinian bishop.

The posters were created by Italian photographer Giulia Bianchi.

She said meeting a woman priest helped heal the “Catholic child inside herself” and “a lot of pain and scars I have from the official Church”.

A petition calling on Pope Francis to lift the excommunications of women priests will be delivered by a woman priest to the Vatican on June 3.

Sources

At the very time when Pope Francis has indicated that there will be a special Commission set up to consider the use of Women Deacons in the Roman Catholic Church, here we have a demonstration – in Trastavere, a Roman suburb across the River Tiber from Vatican City – of defiance, by ‘illicitly ordained’ women priests, in the form of posters that have been allowed  by the City authorities to be erected.

This action must surely be no coincidence, bearing in mind the fact that Pope Francis has already signified an openness to the enrichment of the ministry of the Church by the fuller participation of women, who make up at least half of the population of the Church. If the Pope needed any indication of what Catholic women actually thought of the situation, here is a specific pointer.

Of course, in the present culture of Vatican opposition to the ordination of women, this demonstration could be seen to be more than a tad provocative. However, it is direct action such as is being taken by these women who were ‘illicitly ordained by Roman Catholic bishops in other parts of the world (some by an Argentinian Bishop), that will draw the attention of the Curia to the fact that there are women in the Church who strongly believe that God has called them to be priests.

Whether or not the Roman Catholic Church will ever ordain a woman priest, is bound to be affected by the fact that the deceased Pope John Paul II (now Saint John Paul II) made an official declaration that: “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful”. As a direct consequence:

Pope Francis has said the ordination of women as priests “cannot be done”, citing St John Paul II.

It will be most interesting to see what sort of reception will be given to the woman priest who intends to present a petition calling for the removal of a proclamation of excommunication of the ‘Danube Seven’ to the Vatican on June 3.

(Thanks to ‘CATHNEWS N.Z.’ for this news item)

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

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About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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