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Last Updated: Monday, 28 May 2007, 07:36 GMT 08:36 UK
Canada Catholics 'ordain' women
By Lee Carter
BBC News, Toronto

Ordination ceremony on a boat on the St Lawrence river in 2005
Bishop Patricia Fresen (right) led a similar ceremony in 2005
An ordination ceremony that openly defies Roman Catholic doctrine has taken place in Toronto.

Five women and a married man, all Roman Catholics, have been ordained as priests and deacons by a female Catholic bishop.

However, the Vatican says it will not recognise either the ordinations or the group carrying them out.

The ordination ceremony was held at a Protestant church on the outskirts of Toronto known for its liberal views.

Priestly 'sacrament'

The building was packed with an enthusiastic congregation.

They watched as Bishop Patricia Fresen, one of the most well-known figures in the Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement, led the five women and one married man through a number of rituals to mark their ordination.

Bishop Fresen was herself ordained in a secret ceremony in Spain in 2003.

But the archdiocese of Toronto said that the organisation responsible for the ordinations had no affiliation or any dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.

It said that ordaining men into the priesthood was a sacrament that cannot be changed.

But the bishops in the Womenpriests movement claim they are part of the Church's valid apostolic succession, because Catholic bishops in good standing ordained them secretly.

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11 Dec 06 |  Africa

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