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The Rev Katherine Rumens
"One called me an abberation of creation"
 real 28k

Monday, 6 March, 2000, 10:51 GMT
Women priests 'bullied and picked on'
women priests
Women priests still do not feel accepted
Women priests in the UK feel they are discriminated against, bullied and intimidated, a major study shows.

Some have received hate mail, some been branded witches and some threatened with rape since the ordination of women priests started six years ago.

ordaination
It is not a matter of all for one and one for all
The first major study of women priests, carried out at the University of Bristol, showed nearly half of male clergy refused to take communion from their women colleagues.

And two-thirds of women priests said their male counterparts were rude and difficult to work with.

Their congregations are not happy either - nearly 70% say parishioners have refused to receive communion from them.

Six years on

On 12 March 1994, the first woman priest was ordained in Bristol and there are now 1,702 in the Church of England.

But the report says their status has not progressed far in six years and women priests themselves say they are a long way from being accepted.


I feel betrayed by women as well

The Rev Katherine Rumens, assistant vicar
The Rev Katherine Rumens, who is an assistant priest in London, says many feel picked on and ignored, while some have told her they have been physically assaulted.

She said a member of her congregation asked her whether she had been a stripper before becoming a priest, while another said they did not want to deal with a hairy-chested woman.

The most extreme case reported, although not as part of the survey, was that of one woman priest who was pinned against a wall by a vicar.

She said he threatened to rape her if she refused to sleep with him. She was in a state of shock while she said he took it calmly.

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