May 17, 2010

Italy to ordain first female priest

by Sara Levy

Italy’s first female priest will be ordained later this month in an Anglican church close to the Vatican.

Maria Longhitano, 35, is a married teacher from Milan. She will be ordained as Italy’s first woman priest at All Saints Anglican Church in Rome.

Longhitano, a member of the breakaway Old Catholic Church, hopes her ordination will challenge prejudice against women in mainstream Catholicism.

The mainstream Roman Catholic Church does not allow women to be ordained.

Members of the Old Catholic Church do not believe in the immaculate conception, nor in papal infallibility.

Longhitano said she hopes her ordination will provoke debate among Roman Catholics about modernising the church.

Pope Benedict is resolutely opposed to the ordination of women as priests.

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