Catholic Church excommunicates woman who tried to become a priest


Georgia Walker, a Kansas City woman, who participated in a simulated ordination to become a Roman Catholic priest on January 3, has been excommunicated by the Church, according to the Huffington Post.

Bishop Robert W Finn, of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City, sent a letter on January 7 informing Walker of her automatic excommunication due to her participation of a ceremony not recognised by the Vatican.

Walker expected the excommunication before she participated in the ceremony. In an interview with the Huffington Post, she reiterated the consequences she will face.

"What the official church does to me is not relevant," she told HuffPost shortly after her ordination ceremony. "They can't take away my baptism, they can't take away my calling to the priesthood. All they can do is deny me their sacraments."

She also told KCTV5 her sentiments in participating in the ceremony. "The people that are doing the excommunication, they're simply following church law. That's just the way it is and I would like to see the law changed," she said.

"I want it to be more inclusive. I want it to welcome everybody to the table," Walker said.

In the statement released by the diocese to KCTV5, the diocese denies the ordination of Walker stating that priesthood is passed down through bishops and can only be conferred to men. Walker satisfies neither requirement.

The statement is in line with Pope Francis's Apostolic exhortation.  In "Evangelii Gaudium", he says that, "The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion," and further that on this question, "The Church has spoken and says 'no' ... that door is closed."

The diocese said: "We certainly agree with Pope Francis on the importance of increasing women's roles in leadership in the Church. In this diocese, women serve as directors of diocesan offices, members of the diocesan finance council, heads of schools and charitable agencies and numerous other leadership roles. Ordination, while restricted to men, does not signify superiority, as the Pope has said."

Walker expressed her disappointment with the excommunication but added that she had expected the outcome as it follows the letter of Canon Law. 

Meanwhile, Walker sent KCTV5 and Huffington Post a statement on her plans for the future, saying she intends to form an "intentional, inclusive Roman Catholic community" with anyone interested in participating in weekly liturgies.

"This type of worship community will be egalitarian, non-hierarchical and all will be free to actively participate in the worship, service and governance. All will be welcome at the table," she said.

She added that the Association of Roman Catholic Woman Priests had no plans to stop what it's doing in trying to push the Church in a new direction with "full participation for women and all other persons marginalised by the Church".

"I am a part of that prophetic movement. I have been ordained by a bishop who has been ordained in apostolic succession and I plan to serve in the role of priest as a facilitator of worship for those who feel excluded from the traditional Roman Catholic Church," she concluded.