I-Team uncovers growing ranks of female ‘priests’

(WLS) The ABC7 I-Team uncovered the growing movement of Roman Catholic women who call themselves priests. Their numbers are on the rise even though the Catholic Church does not recognize their “ordination.”

In 2008, the Vatican ruled that women are automatically excommunicated at the time they go through a self-styled “ordination” ceremony. At that time, the I-Team reported that a handful of Roman Catholic women were willing to face banishment. Their numbers have since blossomed to more than 200 women priests in 12 nations.

At one of life’s most precious rituals, a wedding, the happy couple is celebrating a newly legal same-sex marriage, and carefully chose their celebrant- self-proclaimed female Roman Catholic priest Barbara Zeman.

“Many Catholics feel marginalized. Some are divorced and feel it’s disingenuous to not be able to go to communion. Some are LGBT and are welcomed in community as long as they don’t show who they are… and the pedophilia scandal,” said Barbara Zeman, ordained in 2008.

Zeman says, more Catholics are looking to worship in, what she describes as, a more accepting Catholic environment and therefore the need for accepting leaders has grown. She says women priests fill that role. In 2009, there were roughly 60 women calling themselves priests, now that number is more than 200 worldwide.

“We wanted somebody that was female because we feel that females are somewhat discriminated against in the Catholic Church,” said Don Hoppa, newlywed.

Bill Riehle and Don Hoppa married on their 40th anniversary of their meeting. [More]