Frequently Asked Questions
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is a renewal, justice movement within the Catholic Church. We are a non-clerical movement that offers the church an egalitarian partnership with the community of the baptized. Genesis 1:27: God created humanity in God's image, in the divine image, God created them, male and female God created them. Galatians 3:27 St. Paul reminds us that by our baptism there is neither male nor female, all are one in Christ.
The real issue is that Roman Catholic Women Priests are visible reminders that women are equal images of God. We are healing centuries of misogyny. Therefore, women should preside at the altar and in all leadership roles in the church. The Vatican (hierarchy) cannot continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it. Our movement is a “holy shakeup” which millions of Catholics support. We lead inclusive, enthusiastic, egalitarian communities where all are welcome to receive sacraments.
We serve Inclusive Catholic communities where all are welcome to receive sacraments.
We reject excommunication. No punishment can separate us from Christ or cancel our baptism. No church authority can separate us from God. This is our church and we are not leaving it. (No matter what the Vatican says or does.) (The Vatican's official line is that our excommunicate is the automatic type, by your choice, you have excommunicated yourself)
Jesus called women and men to be disciples. (Luke 8:1-3). Many women followed Jesus and supported his ministry. Jesus did not ordain or call anyone “priest”. Peter refers to himself as a “fellow elder.” There were more than 12 apostles. The word ‘apostle’ means “sent off.” Apostles were emissaries or ambassadors who were sent out on mission. The Twelve refer to the eschatological reunion with the Twelve tribes of Israel.
The Risen Christ called Mary Magdala to be the apostle to the apostles. She was the first to proclaim the central message of Christianity, the Resurrection. In Romans 16:7, St. Paul commends Junia as “an outstanding apostle.” Is there evidence of women’s ordination in church history? For 1200 years women were ordained. There were thousands of women deacons in the east and the preponderance of evidence of women priests was in the west. “In the early centuries of Christianity, ordination was the process and the ceremony by which one moved to any new ministry (ordo) in the community. By this definition, women were in fact ordained into several ministries. A radical change in the definition of ordination during the eleventh and twelfth centuries not only removed women from the ordained ministry, but also attempted to eradicate any memory of women's ordination in the past. However, the triumph of a new definition of ordination as the bestowal of power, particularly the power to confect the Eucharist, so thoroughly dominated western thought and practice by the thirteenth century that the earlier concept of ordination was almost completely erased. References to the ordination of women exist in papal, episcopal and theological documents of the time, and the rites for these ordinations have survived.” (Gary Macy, 'The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination' & Dorothy Irvin’s archaeological evidence etc.) The Vatican and Google have created a virtual tour of catacombs including two frescoes in St. Priscilla’s catacomb that provide evidence of ancient women deacons and priests in first centuries of church’s history. (One fresco depicts a woman deacon in the center vested in a dalmatic, her arms raised in the orans position for public worship. In the same scene there is a woman being ordained a priest by a bishop seated in a chair. She is vested in an alb, chasuble, and amice, and holding a gospel scroll. The third woman in the painting is wearing the same robe as the bishop on the left and is sitting in the same type of chair. In another fresco in the Catacombs of Priscilla, women are conducting a Eucharistic banquet. This evidence portrays women in liturgical roles and vestments.)
The real issue is that Roman Catholic Women Priests are visible reminders that women are equal images of God. We are healing centuries of misogyny. The Vatican (hierarchy) cannot continue to discriminate against women and blame God for it. We are the “Rosa Parks” of the Catholic Church. We will not accept second class citizenship. Vatican/ (hierarchy) should follow Jesus’ example of Gospel equality and the early church’s tradition of women in liturgical leadership as deacons, priests and bishops. Roman Catholic Women Priests are a “holy shakeup” which millions of Catholics support. Roman Catholic Women Priests lead inclusive, enthusiastic, egalitarian communities where all are welcome to receive sacraments.
Roman Catholic Women Priests have valid orders. Our first bishops were ordained by a male bishop in apostolic succession. We are disobeying an unjust, man-made canon law that discriminates against women.
The Church is the people of God and a growing majority of Catholics support women priests. We are faithful members of the Church who are offering a renewed model of priestly ministry in a community of equals. Pope Benedict canonized two excommunicated nuns (Theodore Guerin and Mary McKillop). Therefore, one could argue that he made excommunication the new fast track to canonization! We hope that Pope Francis will chart a new path toward human equality in our church by opening all ministries to women. If women were priests, we would see an end to the church's policy on contraception. Primacy of conscience is an important church teaching that all must follow in moral decisions. ARCWP makes the connections between injustice in the church and abuse/violence toward women in the world.