Posted at: 09/15/2013 3:32 PM
By: Dan Bazile
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests celebrated the ordination of a woman this afternoon in Albany.
She's one of about 160 women who call themselves Roman Catholic Priests in the world, but the Catholic Church calls them excommunicated. In a ceremony filled with emotion and applause, Mary Theresa Streck was ordained a priest.
“I'm feeling very joyful. I am very excited about this pathway that I've chosen,” said Streck.
Her path started in a Roman Catholic Church in Loudonville. She joined a convent and that's where she says she learned to live the gospel and how to live it equally with men and women.
However, Vatican law currently bans women from becoming priests. Streck is now one of more than 160 women in the world who couldn't wait for possible changes in the future.
“Unfortunately the Roman Catholic Church discriminates against women and Cannon law says only a baptized male can be ordained,” she explains.
A spokesman for the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese says "a woman who claims to be an ordained Roman Catholic Priest has separated herself from full communion."
The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests says just because its ordinations of women as priests are illegal under the church's Canon Law, doesn't mean they're not valid.
“There was a bishop, an unnamed bishop, who ordained our first women bishops. Therefore we have what the church calls Apostolic Succession.”
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan says the argument that Jesus only chose men as his disciples is also not accurate.
“The church should follow the example of Jesus who had male and female disciples,” she says.
Meehan and Streck say this movement is really about transforming the church into a community of equals.