ALBANY -- A historic day for women in the city of Albany. The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests ordained the first female priest in Albany.
Mary Theresa Streck says the journey has been long...but worth it. "I'm hoping that I'm breaking the stain glass ceiling absolutely," she tells us. "We are seasoned daughters of the church, we love the church, we don't believe we are leaving the church instead we are leading the church," Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a priest with the ARCWP tells us.
But it hasn't come without controversy. We're told some members opted out of sundays ceremony because they were threatened of being kicked out."I certainly would not want anyone to put themselves in any position of harm because they are my brothers and sisters, but it saddens me that they would be pressured not to come to this joyous celebration," Streck says.
"According to a recent CBS gallup poll, 70% of Americans support women priests in the catholic church, this year alone, the association of roman catholic women priests ordained 15 deacons and priests."it's sexism and it's injustice, and sexism like racism is a sin. so we just like in the civil rights movement and in other movements we are breaking an unjust law. our ordinations are valid and so we believe we are moving the church forward," Sevre-Duszynska says.
"Like Rosa Parks who refused to accept second-class citizenship and refused to give up her seat on the bus, we are no longer going to tolerate second class citizenship in the Roman Catholic church we are leading the church we are leading the church not leaving the church into it's future," bishop of the ARCWP, Bridget Mary Meehan says.
The movement of the ARCWP has been growing since it's start in 2002, with the ordination of seven women. Today there are more than 150 women in the world in the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement, including 100 in 30 states in the U.S., and now they can add one more here in the Capital Region.
We reached out to the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese and they released this statement to us:
"The ceremony is not regarded by the Roman Catholic Church as a valid ordination, as evident by the fact it is not taking place in a Roman Catholic Church. Women have always played significant roles in the Church. In the Albany Diocese some two dozen women manage parishes as parish life directors and others serve important teaching, faith formation, pastoral care, human service and administrative roles.
Historically, there has never been a tradition of women priests in the Church. Pope Francis recently stated that the Church of today does not believe it has the authority to change that tradition. Canonically, a woman who claims to be an ordained Roman Catholic priest has separated herself from full communion with the Roman Catholic Church Further, the sacraments she celebrates are not considered valid in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church."