Nine women, including one Canadian and one American, plan to defy the Vatican and become the first female Roman Catholic priests and deacons ordained in North America.
The ceremony, which is not sanctioned by the Vatican, is to take place July 25 on the St Lawrence River near Gananoque in eastern Canada following a conference on women as priests at Carleton University in Ottawa.
Organisers consider the location for the ceremony international waters between the United States and Canada where no diocese has jurisdiction and thus cannot interfere.
"I only have my faith and my hope and what the global scene says to me that I believe it’s time to take this step," said former nun Michele Birch-Conery, 65, who was ordained as a deacon last year in Europe.
She will be the first Canadian woman to be ordained as a priest next month.
"It is an immensely wounding part in our Catholic history to block women’s ecclesiastical participation in orders. I think people have been closed to a deeper, fuller expression of their faith by having, in the hierarchy and levels of authority and decision-making, a male-only church," she said.
Fourteen women have already been ordained in similar river ceremonies in Europe in recent years and 65 others are planning to join their ranks soon.
The Vatican has refused to allow women to become priests and reacted by excommunicating the first seven women ordained on the Danube River between Germany and Austria in 2003 after they refused to retract their vows.
But, two of the women, Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger of Austria and Gisela Forster of Germany, were later secretly ordained as bishops by their male counterparts in the Roman Catholic church, insists Birch-Conery.
The two women bishops will perform the St Lawrence ordinations.
"This doesn’t conform to the Catholic faith. Church teachings are clear: only men can be ordained," said Monseigneur Serge Poitras of the Apostolic Nunciature in Ottawa, noting that the former Pope John Paul II addressed the issue in 1994. [Source]
The really sad part is that some people will go to these pseudo-Masses given by these women and be deprived of the Eucharist as a result. They will also probably be declared excommunicated as what happened in 2002 on the last riverboat "ordinations." These women of course will not become priests. Waving your hands over a cat and pronouncing them a dog will cause no ontological change as in the case when men are validly ordained.