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Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP) is an independent, international group that asserts a connection to the Roman Catholic Church. They are descended from the Danube Seven, a group of women who assert that they have been ordained as priests in 2002 by Rómulo Antonio Braschi, an independent bishop.[1] According to a book published by the organization, Women Find a Way: The Movement and Stories of Roman Catholic Womenpriests at least two other, unnamed bishops were involved in the ordination. In addition, the RCWP claim that these bishops were in good standing and acted in full apostolic succession.[2]

In 2007 the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the authorization of the Pope, decreed the penalty of automatic excommunication against anyone "who attempts to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the woman who attempts to receive a sacred order".[3]

Organizational mission[edit]

The proclaimed mission of Roman Catholic Womenpriests North America is to

"...spiritually prepare, ordain, and support women and men from all states of life, who are theologically qualified, who are committed to an inclusive model of Church, and who are called by the Holy Spirit and their communities to minister within the Roman Catholic Church."[4]

The organization has sponsored numerous ordination ceremonies for women; in response, the Roman Catholic Church has excommunicated or threatened excommunication of all involved.[5]

RCWP dissents from what it calls myths or misconceptions about women's role in the Catholic Church and about the exclusion of women from Holy Orders.[6] It mentions the case of Ludmila Javorová, a Czech woman who worked in the underground church during the Cold War and claims to be a secretly ordained priest, as an instance of female ordination in the modern era.

In response to questions of legitimacy and whether the ordinations are valid or recognized by the Vatican, RCWP states:

The group "RC Womenpriests" receives its authority from Roman Catholic bishops who stand in full Apostolic Succession. These bishops bestowed sacramentally valid ordinations on the women listed above. All the documents pertaining to these ordinations have been attested and notarized. All minutes of the ordinations, including data about persons, Apostolic Succession, and rituals, together with films and photos are deposited with a Notary Public.[6]

Their website claims that "Our ordained women may be married or single, hetero- or homosexual, some are grandmothers, a few are divorced and have had their marriages annulled: we are in fact a cross-section of the Christian community in our lifestyles."

Vatican response[edit]

The Roman Catholic Church's canon law bars ordination of women, stating that "A baptized male (vir) alone receives sacred ordination validly".[7] The Church teaches this as not a matter of changeable discipline, but of divine constitution that it cannot alter. Pope John Paul II wrote in his Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis of 22 May 1994: "We declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be held by all the Church's faithful".[8] Therefore the ordination of a woman to the priesthood, even if conducted by a Catholic bishop in good standing, is without sacramental effect.

Cultural references[edit]

The movie Pink Smoke over the Vatican documents female priests, including Roman Catholic Womenpriests.[9]


  1. ^ "Church disapproval doesn't deter crowd" Sarasota (FL), heraldtribune.com, Anna Scott, February 7, 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  2. ^ Women Find a Way: the Movement and Stories of Roman Catholic Womenpriests (2008) Edited by E. H. McGrath, B.M. Meehan, I. Raming.
  3. ^ General decree regarding the delict of attempted ordination of a woman
  4. ^ "Roman Catholic Womenpriests", Retrieved on 2008-08-11.
  5. ^ Sadowski, Dennis. "Priest faces removal from Maryknoll for supporting ordination for women". Catholic Review. March 30, 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Roman Catholic Womenpriests", Retrieved on 2008-10-05.
  7. ^ Code of Canon Law 1024
  8. ^ Ordinatio Sacerdotalis
  9. ^ Jamie L Manson (February 15, 2011). "Women Priests Demonstrate Profound Faithfulness to God". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 2011-06-12. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Womenpriests — Please support Wikipedia.
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48 news items

The Star-Ledger
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:21:18 -0700

Schoettly, who retired from Newton High School a decade ago, was ordained as a priest in 2009 by the dissident group Roman Catholic Womenpriests, according to news accounts of the time. She and others who underwent the ceremony were cut off from the ...

National Catholic Reporter

National Catholic Reporter
Mon, 28 Jul 2014 04:40:07 -0700

There are, of course, women now who say they have been ordained as Catholic priests in connection with such organizations as Roman Catholic Womenpriests, though official church structures have refused to recognize the validity of such ordinations.
Illinois Times
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 20:56:15 -0700

She applied to Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc., the organization that ordains women priests in the U.S., as a “catacomb candidate,” using a fake name during her studies in order to prevent her actions from overshadowing her sons' upcoming ...


Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:26:15 -0700

Michael Corso, her co-pastor of the Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community in Sparta, confirmed Scholettly died Tuesday, reports NJ.com. In 2009 the group Roman Catholic Womenpriests ordained Schoettly and four other women as priests. All the women who ...
New Jersey Herald
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:06:43 -0700

FREDON — Mary Ann Schoettly, who traveled to the Vatican to advocate for the inclusion of women in the clergy, passed away Tuesday morning, according to Suzanne A. Thiel of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests. She was 71. FREDON — Mary Ann ...
New Jersey Herald
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:30:00 -0700

FREDON — Mary Ann Schoettly, who traveled to the Vatican to advocate for the inclusion of women in the clergy, passed away Tuesday morning, according to Suzanne A. Thiel of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests. She was 71. FREDON — Mary Ann ...
St. Cloud Times
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 16:03:45 -0700

“Stop blaming Jesus,” wrote Jamie Manson in National Catholic Reporter. She's addressing members of the Catholic hierarchy who refuse to admit women to ordination and thus equality in the church. Manson is telling them Jesus is not the one who set up ...
New Jersey Herald
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:10:52 -0700

FREDON –– Mary Ann Schoettly, an ordained Roman Catholic priest who traveled to the Vatican to advocate for the inclusion of women in the clergy, died Tuesday morning, according to Suzanne A. Thiel of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests. FREDON ...

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