North Side Woman: I Will Be a Catholic Priest

Ordination could mean excommunication from church

Can women be ordained to the priesthood? The Catholic Church has always answered "No," but at least one woman in Edgewater begs to differ.

Barbara Zeman is planning to fight women's exclusion from priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church this weekend. On Saturday, the activist group Roman Catholic Womenpriests will hold a ceremony at a Protestant church where they will pronounce Zeman a Catholic priest.

"I am disobeying an unjust law," Zeman, 60, told the Chicago Tribune. "I'm not doing this for myself. I'm doing this for the generations of women to come, because I don't want those women to have the fight I've had."

The Vatican has repeatedly declared that only men can be ordained priests because Jesus was male and can only be represented by a male priest. The Church officially teaches that it has no authority to ordain women as priests.

The Roman Catholic Church has warned that participants in Zeman's ordination ceremony will be automatically excommunicated, expelling them from the Church and forbidding them from taking part in Catholic services.

Despite this threat, the group plans on holding the ceremony at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Lincoln Park.

"I don't like the thought of what might happen," said Zeman, on the verge of tears. "I'm not doing this unaware of the consequences. I'm aware. I just think that the goal and the change are far greater than the consequences."

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