Injustice is Not Categorical

By Kaitlin Barker 10-07-2008

Near the Vatican in October 2001, Janice Sevre-Duszynska and fellow advocates hung a banner calling in seven different languages for the ordination of women. Almost seven years later, the fruit of that action and many others like it was realized. Janice's long-awaited and hard-fought ordination Mass took place Aug. 9, 2008, in Lexington, Kentucky.

"We are well-trained daughters of the church," she says of women pursuing the priesthood. "Jesus called us to a discipleship of equals. Women priests are a matter of justice."

Under current Vatican rule, only men are recognized as legitimate Catholic priests; women's ordinations are invalid, often deemed "attempted ordination," and priests and churches are discouraged from supporting or participating. But Janice and countless others, especially the women of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, a community of worker priests dedicated to non-hierarchical priesthood, are committed to changing the wind. "Jesus wanted a discipleship of equals," Janice told Sojourners, "a kin-dom, not a hierarchy."

Catholic women desiring to be ordained usually have to go outside their faith tradition, no doubt dear to them, to find a venue for the ordination Mass. However, Roman Catholic Womenpriests have women bishops who follow in apostolic succession and can officiate the sacramental service. When Father Roy Bourgeois, Maryknoll priest and founder of the School of the Americas Watch, accepted her invitation to the ordination and told her he would participate in the Mass with the women priests and bishop, Janice asked him, "I know you know what you're doing

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