Hundreds of Roman Catholic priests from all over the world are challenging the Vatican to rethink all-male celibate priesthood and ordain women priests. In the United States, 157 Roman Catholic priests signed a statement in support Roy Bourgeois, a member of the Maryknoll religious order and priest who faces dismissal for taking part in a ceremony that purported to ordain Janice Sevre-Duszynskaas. The statement was organized by Call to Action, a group that advocates change in the church.
Sevre-Duszynska, now a member of the Roman Catholic Women Priests, began her journey to priesthood in 1998. She gained media attention over the years for "disrupting" services and conferences calling for ordination of women priests. In 2008, Bourgeois delivered the homily ordaining her a "womanpriest." Following the ceremony, Bourgeois received a letter from the Vatican demanding that he recant his belief and public statements for the ordination of women or he would be excommunicated. He did not recant and has not yet been excommunicated.
In June, 300 Austrian priests and deacons issued a "Call to Disobedience" to promot priesthood for both married men and women. The Austrian priests and deacons read aloud a public prayer for "church reform" in every Mass.
In 1994, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, declaring that the church "has no authority whatsoever" to ordain women as priests. The church argues that the Apostles of Jesus Christ were all men, and since all-male priesthood has been their practice all along, it cannot be changed.
Media Resources: Cincinnati City Beat 7/26/11; New York Times 7/22/11