A breakaway Catholic group says it has ordained a woman as a Catholic priest at a non-denominational church in North Carolina.
Abigail Eltzroth, 64, went through the simulated ordination at the Jubilee! church in Asheville, under the aegis of the group Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
“It’s time for a change and we’re in the forefront, leading the charge,” Eltzroth told the Charlotte Observer following the ceremony on 30 April. “We expect that eventually everybody is going to follow us.”
She added that she intends to start a Catholic community in the Asheville area.
The Diocese of Charlotte said that under Catholic teaching the ‘ordination’ was not valid.
“I hope that Catholics in the diocese will understand that it would be sinful to receive a fake sacrament from a woman priest and that includes attending a fake Mass,” said David Hains, spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.
According to a statement released by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests following the ordination ceremony, 250 women in 10 countries have been ordained as Catholic priests. In the United States, the group said, women priests serve in 65 “inclusive churches.” That includes women priests affiliated with the association and with a second allied group – Roman Catholic Women Priests – that has the same mission.
PICTURE: View of a fresco said by proponents of the ordination of women to show a woman priest in the early Christian church in the Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome, Italy. The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests holds this image up as evidence that there were women priests in the early Christian church.