Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Activist group to ordain Cleveland native a priest

An activist group that wants the Roman Catholic Church to drop its ban on ordaining women has declared a Cleveland native a priest on Saturday, Nov. 1.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests ordained Barbara Zeman at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Chicago's Lincoln Park area.

It also ordained three women as deacons, in preparation for the priesthood.

The group is not recognized by the Catholic Church, and the Vatican has said that participants in such ceremonies are automatically excommunicated.

Those who are excommunicated may not receive the sacraments.

"I am disobeying an unjust law. I am following my conscience, and I am obeying God's call," Zeman told a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. "I'm not doing this for myself. I'm doing this for the generations of women to come, because I don't want those women to have the fight that I've had."

According to the Tribune, officials with the Chicago archdiocese denounced the ceremony.

Zeman, 60, was born and raised in Cleveland, the Tribune said. She is working on certification to become a hospital chaplain.

The Womenpriests Web site says she has been a writer/producer for more than 20 years, "with an emphasis on films and videos for personal enrichment, health-care education and spiritual enlightenment."

Once Zeman was ordained, the group will have 35 women priests in the United States, said Womenpriests spokeswoman Bridget Mary Meehan.

Among them is Dagmar Celeste, former first lady of Ohio who lives in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland.

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(Source: CNCM)

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