May 24, 2010

Rebel Catholics ordain female priest


by David Masters

A breakaway Catholic group has ordained Italy’s first female priest.

Maria Vittoria Longhitano yesterday celebrated her first mass as a priest in a Rome church just metres from the Vatican.

The 35-year-old former teacher belongs to the Old Catholic Church, which split from the Roman Catholic Church in the 19th century.

“Catholicism, which means universality, is crippled without women, because one half of the world does not participate in Christ’s mission,” she said.

She added that the leadership of the mainstream Roman Catholic church is “a very hierarchical system; a male caste with a strong instinct for self-preservation.”

The Vatican is strongly against the ordination of women, and the Pope has banned discussion on the issue.

However, there are strong grassroots Catholic movements in a number of countries around the world that support women’s ordination.

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