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Women’s ordination group to meet in Catholic church for first time
24 January 2014 13:34 by Christopher Lamb

A women’s ordination group will hold their annual meeting in a Catholic church for the first time in their history.

Catholic Women’s Ordination (CWO), which was founded in 1993, announced in their latest newsletter that their next annual gathering is due to take place at St Nicholas of Tolentino Church in Bristol.

They described the news that the gathering was taking place in a Catholic church for the first time as “historic” adding that their meeting, on 4 October, will focus on the theme of women in the diaconate.

“This appears to be a subject in the air at present and poses the question: could it be opened to women in the future and if so would members of CWO support the idea?” the newsletter stated.

The question of whether women could be ordained deacons has long been discussed and was recently advocated by then Archbishop of Freiburg and Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Robert Zollitsch, who suggested a specific office of deacon for women.

Fr Richard McKay, the parish priest of St Nicholas Tolentino, said he was happy for the parish to host the meeting and personally supported the ordination of women.

“I understand not everyone would agree – that’s not a problem. But I do think it is a problem that you are not allowed to debate and discuss the matter.”

In 1994 Pope John Paul II said that the Church had no authority to ordain women and that this view “is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.”

On women’s ordination Pope Francis has said: “the Church has spoken and says no … that door is closed.”