The ordination ceremony for Abigail Eltzroth happened in Asheville at Jubilee! – a nondenominational faith community – with Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan presiding. Eltzroth, 64, said she is the second woman in North Carolina ordained by the rebel group, called the Association of the Roman Catholic Women Priests
An international group defiantly opposed to the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on women priests Sunday ordained its first woman Catholic priest in the 46 counties that make up the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.
The ordination ceremony for Abigail Eltzroth happened in Asheville at Jubilee! – a nondenominational faith community – with Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan presiding.
Eltzroth, 64, said she is the second woman in North Carolina ordained by the rebel group, called the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
“It’s time for a change and we’re in the forefront, leading the charge,” Eltzroth told the Observer on Sunday. “We expect that eventually everybody is going to follow us.”
Eltzroth said, she now plans to start a Catholic worship community in the Asheville area.
But reached for comment Sunday, David Hains, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, said: “I hope that Catholics in the diocese will understand that it would be sinful to receive a fake sacrament from a woman priest and that includes attending a fake Mass.”
According to a news release about the Sunday ordination from the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, 250 women in 10 countries have been ordained as Catholic priests. In the United States, it said, women priests serve in 65 “inclusive churches.” That includes women priests affiliated with the association and with a second allied group – Roman Catholic Women Priests – that has the same mission.
Many, but not all, Protestant denominations in the United States have women clergy. The Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church do, but most Southern Baptist churches do not. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ordains women, but the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod does not. And the Presbyterian Church (USA) has women clergy, while the Presbyterian Church in America does not.
Most American Catholics say they’d like their church to ordain women. A Pew Research Poll in 2015 found that about six in 10 American Catholics said they favored allowing women to be Catholic priests.
But the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy has stood by its longtime prohibition against women becoming priests.