A woman became an ordained priest Saturday during a ceremony that was facilitated by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.
The group, which has no official ties with the Roman Catholic Church, ordained Rosemarie Smead, 70, allowing her to become the newest member of a club that has around 150 female priests throughout the globe.
Catholic Church doctrine has long maintained that women could not be ordained due to the fact that Jesus had only male disciples, so females have been excluded form leading congregations.
Smead, who had to leave her work as a Carmelite nun after issues surrounding her health arose, insists that she is not worried that she could be excommunicated by the Church for her actions.
"It has no sting for me," Smead told Reuters during an interview. "It is a Medieval bullying stick the bishops used to keep control over people and to keep the voices of women silent. I am way beyond letting octogenarian men tell us how to live our lives."
But those within the Catholic Church are detailing the seriousness of participating in an unsanctioned event that has been continually likened to pretending to becoming ordained.
Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz released a statement ahead of the planned ceremony by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests a described it as a "simulated ordination" that is in direct conflict with Catholic teaching.
"The simulation of a sacrament carries very serious penal sanctions in Church law, and Catholics should not support or participate in Saturday's event," Kurtz wrote.
The modern woman priest movement gained recognition in 2002 when seven women were ordained by the Danube River by an independent Catholic bishop. But current women priests don't see this as a direct assault on Catholic doctrine rather they welcome bring more people into the church.
"As a woman priest, Rosemarie is leading, not leaving the Catholic Church, into a new era of inclusivity," said Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan during her sermon Saturday. "As the Irish writer James Joyce reminded us, the word 'Catholic' means 'Here comes everybody!'"
And newly elected Pope Francis as echoed those sentiments that women are going to have a larger role in the Church
"Women play a primary, fundamental role in the Bible," the Pope previously told thousands of pilgrims at an audience in St. Peter's Square, Reuters reported. "The evangelists simply narrate what happened: the women were the first witnesses. This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria."
"The disciples had a harder time believing but not the women," the Roman Catholic Church leader reminded the people, referring to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. "Women in the Church have had and have a special role in opening the doors to the Lord, in following him, in communicating his message."