Ever hear of a Catholic Bishop that is a woman? I sure haven't, until the other day that is. Mary Kay Kusner was ordained into priesthood on the 13th of June and it was really quite a big deal. It is good to see the Catholic Church becoming more open and welcoming to woman who want roles in their organization. This nontraditional ordination is a great step for the church towards integrating more woman into their faith.
Mary Kay Kusner belongs to the Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization. The organization has been pushing for all aspects of women being included in the Catholic Church more for several years now. On a sad note the group has not seen much acceptance from the Catholic Church, although they are just as faithful to the church and its teachings as any other religious group.
Bridget Mary Meehan is a prominent leader for the Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization and keeps the world updated on the actions of the group through her blog. Meehan was one of the first eight members of the group to be ordained as a priest back in early 2006. Since then the group has made significant strides towards integration by having nearly 100 more woman ordained as priests across the country.
Several people have made it clear that they are strongly against this movement. In a press release from Catholic Online, Bishop Martin Amos of the Diocese of Davenport was firm in his opposition.
Kusner used to serve as a palliative chaplain before finally being ordained after wishing to do so for many years. She enjoyed her old position but became very discouraged when she would have to turn her patients over to a priest when they wished to receive any sacraments of the church. After making a direct connection with her patients she felt like she was leaving them hanging by not being able to continue working with them. She felt cheated herself and also felt that she was cheating her patients of the help she could offer them.
The Vatican has not agreed to formally honor any women's role as a priest ever, and this really affects the members of Kusner and her fellow group members a lot. They try not to worry about the Catholic Church's ruling that much though, if they just concern themselves with God and their closeness with him they still feel content inside. They have all recognized that they feel a definite calling from God to be priests and Catholic leaders cannot understand that then they will all just have to accept their roles for now.
The members of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization see themselves as pioneers of their field. They have been described before as the "Rosa Parks of the Catholic Church", and one day their efforts will certainly be commended just as Ms. Parks have been. Meehan has always made the valid point that women have been allowed to be priests before in the church, and that that ruling was changed. Although this was a very long time ago when the Catholic Church was just starting, it has existed before.
Kusner has not only faced intolerance from the Catholic Church, but also from her own parents. They are devout Catholics and cannot see the role of women in the church the same way as their own daughter. This obviously bothers Kusner, but she knows that she is doing the right thing by pushing for fairness in the church. Kusner hope that one day her parents and the Catholic Church will see things on a level with her. The Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization has been attempting to spread stories of their work towards tolerance from the Catholic Church to gain support from other groups. They would also love to see more groups of women with similar goals as them.
The faith shown by these women is relentless and commendable. They are faithful followers of the word of God and Christ, and deserve the same rights as anybody else in the Catholic Church. Hopefully one day their efforts will be recognized and they will reach their ultimate goal of being honored as priests of the Catholic Church like many men have already done over the years.