News and Press Releases

Roman Catholic Women Bishops Call for a Dialogue with Pope Francis

An Open Letter to: the People of God, Pope Francis, Curia Officials, Conferences of Bishops in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and Oceania

(printed in the New York Times January 6, 2023)

Hope arrived for women in the Roman Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). Pope John XXIII called the Church to open the doors and windows and to “read the signs of the times”. When Pope Francis recently called for a global synodal process, we, the women bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, dared again to hope that the leadership of the Church would listen and walk with all the People of God.

In a November interview published in America magazine, Pope Francis attempts to justify the exclusion of women from ordained ministry utilizing the archaic, patriarchal theology that Jesus was a man and he chose men as his apostles, therefore, priests must also be male.  He appealed to the medieval spousal imagery of an active-receptive relationship, in which the Church is the bride and the priest the bridegroom. This disregards the fundamental message of the Gospel and contradicts our baptismal oneness in Christ: “. . . there is no longer male nor female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)  Baptism rests on faith, not on gender, not nationality, nor any other form of discrimination.

In the interview, Francis fails to acknowledge the many times in Scripture where women are chosen by God or Jesus to minister. Mary of Magdala was proclaimed ‘Apostle to the Apostles’ and a host of other women named in Scripture went out to proclaim the Good News in the early church. The argument that maleness is necessary for ordination damages the Church and greater society.  A church subjugating women with their structures supports similar subjugation in the world. In this the Roman Catholic Church violates its own words from the Second Vatican Council which states that, “Forms of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language or religion, must be curbed or eradicated as incompatible with God’s designs.”(Gaudium et Spes 29) Francis’ attempt to justify the exclusion of women from ordination is a failure to “read the signs of the times” and to understand the basic human rights of all members of the Church.

Roman Catholic Women deacons, priests and bishops have answered the call of God and their communities through valid ordination in apostolic succession. We are providing a vibrant experience of community and sacraments where we live. We are not responsible for people leaving the Church, we are bringing people back to the faith. We heal those grievously wounded by physical, emotional and spiritual abuse and exclusion. We offer a model of church easily recognizable as Roman Catholic, but offering transparency of governance, the inclusion of those marginalized, and recognition of gender equality.

We call on Pope Francis and the Conferences of Bishops in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and Oceania to meet with us, the Roman Catholic Women Bishops serving across the world. Despite his call for dialogue, Pope Francis refuses to engage in authentic conversation with us. Francis can use his Petrine key to unlock that door.

On behalf of Roman Catholic Women deacons, priests and bishops around the world:

+Jane Kryzanowski, Regina, SK, Canada;,

+Martha Sherman, Washington, IA;

+Mary Eileen Collingwood, Cleveland, OH, USA;

+Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Pettenbach, Austria;

+Jane Via, San Diego, CA, USA;

+Olga Lucia Álvarez Benjumea, Envigado, Colombia

+Jean Marie Marchant, Boston, MA, USA

+Suzanne Avison Thiel, Portland, OR, USA

+Mary Keldermans, Springfield, IL, USA

+Ida Raming, Stuttgart, Germany

+Bridget Mary Meehan, Sarasota, FL, USA

+Marie Evans Bouclin, Sudbury, ON, Canada

+Merlene Olivia Doko, Pismo Beach, CA, USA

+Andrea Michele Johnson, Annapolis, MD, USA

+Sibyl Dana Reynolds, Overland Park, Kansas, USA

+Joan Clark Houk, South Bend, IN, USA

+Patricia Fresen, Johannesburg, South Africa

+Nancy Louise Meyer, Brownsburg, IN

+Dr. Gisela Forster, Berg, Germany

Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA
Media Release

 20 March 2021



Our disappointment regarding the Vatican’s recent statement forbidding the blessing of same-sex unions is compounded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops vehement opposition to the Equality Act.

The Equality Act seeks to establish protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in federal law. This act remains pertinent as nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ Americans report experiences of discrimination.[1] It adds sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity to the sections of the Civil Rights Act that do not currently prohibit these discriminations. The Equality Act was passed by the House of Representatives on February 25, 2021, and it still awaits a vote in the Senate.

We, the undersigned, express our support for the Equality Act, as we oppose all unjust discrimination against LGBTQ communities. Religious beliefs on the subject of gender should not hinder the protection and rights of LGBTQ people living in the United States. The USCCB has made it clear that they care more for the protection of their own power than the equality of all people. We recognize the need for the separation of Church and State, and we advocate for Roman Catholics to support the safety of all LGBTQ people by joining us in expressing support for the Equal Rights Act.

In Christ,

The Western Region Roman Catholic Womenpriests- USA Leadership Circle:

+ Lisa Gosiaco, Administrator, Olympia, Washington

+ Bishop Suzanne Avison Thiel, Portland, Oregon

+ Bishop Elizabeth Jane Via, Jamul, California

+ Reverend Nancy Corran, Eureka, California

+ Reverend Penny Donovan, Los Gatos, California

+ Reverend Maria Eitz, San Francisco, California

+ Reverend Diane O’Donnell, Albuquerque, New Mexico


March 20, 2021.


Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA
Media Release

16 March 2020


 We, the undersigned, call upon Pope Francis and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to re-evaluate their latest statement regarding the blessing of the unions of persons of the same-sex.

On March 15, 2021, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a statement with great pastoral consequences.  It is with great sorrow we read their comparison of same-sex unions to sin, their denial of LGBTQ love as a vital aspect of God’s creative order, and their conclusion that “the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex.”

The Church is comprised of many faithful Roman Catholics who recognize, and have recognized, the Divine mark and love present in LGBTQ sexualities and relationships. Many womenpriests, bishops, and laity resist the Magisterium’s unjust discrimination against the LGBTQ community, and they celebrate the dignity and love of their LGBTQ friends and family members. The presence of LGBTQ love in our Church enriches our Catholic faith and communities.

We will continue to bless and marry same-sex couples and support LGBTQ people as we always have, and we will continue to advocate for the access of all Roman Catholic people to all seven sacraments. We pray for the conversion of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith regarding same-sex unions, and we hope they may be awakened to the radical and inclusive love of Jesus Christ present through and within our Church and world.

In Christ,

The Western Region Roman Catholic Womenpriests- USA Leadership Circle:

+ Lisa Gosiaco, Administrator, Olympia, Washington

+ Bishop Suzanne Avison Thiel, Portland, Oregon

+ Bishop Elizabeth Jane Via, Jamul, California

+ Reverend Nancy Corran, Eureka, California

+ Reverend Penny Donovan, Los Gatos, California

+ Reverend Maria Eitz, San Francisco, California

+ Reverend Diane O’Donnell, Albuquerque, New Mexico


March 20, 2021.   Contact: Questions can be directed to Kimberly Griggs,

Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA
Media Release

16 March 2020

Roman Catholic Women Bishops respond to Querida Amazonia


Recently, Pope Francis issued his Apostolic Exhortation, Querida Amazonia.  This document accompanied the final report on the Synod on the Amazonian Region, thereby endorsing the report and, in effect, making it a part of the magisterium.  Both documents speak eloquently about concern for the environment and the people of the Amazon Region.

Pope Francis sets forth his dreams in four areas: social, cultural, ecological and ecclesial.  The dream for the church is: “Christian communities capable of generous commitment, incarnate in the region, and giving the Church new faces with Amazonian features.” (7) 

His vision is for the church to journey alongside the people and growing in a culture of encounter.  The people have a right to hear the Gospel and the church should not become just another NGO.  By the presence of her ministers and their service, the church will foster “a holiness born of encounter and engagement, contemplation and service, receptive solitude and life in community, and the struggle for justice.” (77)

What is of concern to us bishops is that while the Pope acknowledges the great work that women do in the Church to achieve this vision, his statement reinforces the tradition of the Church’s designation of a “special” place for women, which suggests their role is in some way exceptional and set apart from or above and beyond the human norm. Yet, while women play such an important role, they are deemed inadequate to serve as priests or deacons to meet the “pressing need to provide the sacraments of the church to accompany God’s children, to heal and strengthen them.” (84)  The Church, which is to be a Mother called to show the people God’s mercy through the sacraments, denies that the maternal face of God can be shown through the sacramental ministry of such dedicated women.

Reinforcing the theology of Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis assigns a complementary role to women when he writes, “God has shown God’s power and love through two human faces: Christ and Mary.” (101) By putting them side by side, he is suggesting that men are similar to the former (Christ) and, therefore, can be ordained, while women are similar to the latter (Mary), and, therefore, cannot be ordained. This takes away from the teaching that both woman and man are created in the image of God and thus both are, can and should be acting in persona Christi.   

Fundamental to the Christian faith is the conviction that Christ adopted human nature inclusively, thus every human being, male and female, can be saved and is indeed divinized in Christ.  Women and men are baptized into Christ is the same way to share in Christ’s own priestly, prophetic and servant ministry. The Letter to the Galatians 3:28 states clearly that in Christ there is no distinction – “neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free, for we are all one in Christ.”

Unfortunately, throughout the history of the church, men with power and authority have defined women as deficient to represent Christ because they do not possess the male physiology of Jesus.  This is the thesis of the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacrdotalis (1994) which has been shown to contain many theological and historical mistakes. Failure to use historic critical exegesis of the Bible perpetuates such errors and dismisses the findings of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (1976) that there is no scriptural basis for exclusion of women from ordination.

Roman Catholic Women Priests are called by God to live the fullness of their Baptism as priests and are ordained according to the Rite of the Roman Catholic Church.  We no longer abide by the unjust laws of the institution that denies the equality of women and men baptized in Christ.  By our prophetic witness the ever renewing and reenergizing Spirit of God gives voice to women in order to bring the light of truth regarding their role in the church from the earliest days and to create ways to enrich the mission and ministry of the Church. Thus, we hope to meet “the pressing need to provide the sacraments of the church to accompany God’s children, to heal and strengthen them.” (84)  Only with equality and justice for women in the church throughout the world can the dream Pope Francis has for the church be realized: “Christian communities capable of generous commitment, incarnate in the region, and giving the Church new faces with [local cultural] features.” (7)

The International Bishops of Roman Catholic Women Priests:

+Jane Kryzanowski, Bishop, RCWP Canada – Regina, Saskatchewan

+Jean Marie Marchant, Bishop, RCWP–USA Eastern Region – Framingham, Massachusetts

+Nancy L. Meyer, Bishop, RCWP-USA Midwest Region – Brownsburg, Indiana

+Suzanne Thiel, Bishop, RCWP-USA Western Region – Portland, Oregon

+Jane Via, Bishop, RCWP-USA Western Region – San Diego, California

+Patricia Fresen, Bishop, RCWP South Africa –Johannesburg

+Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Bishop, RCWP Europe – Pettenbach, Austria

+Ida Raming, Bishop, RCWP Europe—Stuttgart, Germany

+Marie Evans Bouclin, Bishop Emerita, RCWP Canada – Sudbury, Ontario

+Merlene Olivia Doko, Bishop Emerita, RCWP-USA Western Region – Pismo Beach, California

+Andrea M. Johnson, Bishop Emerita, RCWP-USA Eastern Region – Annapolis, Maryland

+Joan M. Houk, Bishop retired, RCWP-USA Great Waters Region – South Bend, Indiana


March 16, 2020

Contact:  +Jane Kryzanowski –


Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA
Media Release

25 November 2019

 No One Catholic Preeminent Priority

We, the undersigned Roman Catholic Women Bishops call upon our brother bishops to re-evaluate their latest statement regarding the priorities for the Catholic people.

On November 12, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted a letter that will serve as the introduction to a voting guide that will be issued before the 2020 U. S. election.

In that document, the bishops cite a singular “preeminent priority” for Catholics to consider as they cast their ballots, which effectively dilutes the importance of all other prominent social issues.

We concur with and applaud the efforts of Bishop McElroy, Cardinal Cupich and Cardinal Tobin who warned the bishops against advocating for exclusive, single-issue choices. Pope Francis, in his exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, also pointed to the danger inherent in the reductionist approach of defending only one issue.

We are vitally concerned with the extremely urgent issue of a climate emergency, which will affect all of God’s people and all of God’s creation. We are vitally concerned with U. S. immigration policies that separate children from their parents and hold children and adults in cage-like structures, while denying many asylum-seekers due process. In addition, we abhor the current efforts to deport DACA recipients. We are vitally concerned with gun violence, with overt and covert racism, and white supremacy in this country. We are vitally concerned with the inequity of health care, especially as it pertains to the poor. We are vitally concerned with the lack of equality for women and the lack of respect for women’s leadership both in the Church and society.

As people in search of the common good, we must grapple with many social justice problems without the limitations implied by one preeminent priority. 

It is our fervent hope that all citizens will exercise their responsibility to inform themselves and weigh the consequences of each and every moral issue of the day. 

 In Christ,

+Suzanne Thiel, Bishop, RCWP-USA Western Region – Portland, Oregon  

+Jean Marie Marchant, Bishop, RCWP–USA Eastern Region – Framingham, Massachusetts

+Nancy L. Meyer, Bishop, RCWP-USA Midwest Region – Brownsburg, Indiana

+Jane Via, Bishop, RCWP-USA Western Region – San Diego, California

+Patricia Fresen, RCWP South Africa –Johannesburg, South Africa

+Jane Kryzanowski, Bishop, RCWP Canada – Regina, Saskatchewan

+Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Bishop, RCWP Europe – Pettenbach, Austria

+Ida Raming, Bishop, RCWP Europe—Stuttgart, Germany

+Marie Evans Bouclin, Bishop Emerita, RCWP Canada – Sudbury, Ontario

+Merlene Olivia Doko, Bishop Emerita, RCWP-USA Western Region – Pismo Beach, California

+Andrea M. Johnson, Bishop Emerita, RCWP-USA Eastern Region – Annapolis, Maryland

+Sibyl Dana Reynolds, Bishop Emerita, RCWP-USA Western Region -Pebble Beach, California

Joan M. Houk, Bishop retired, RCWP-USA Great Waters Region – South Bend, Indiana

Archived Press Statements and News

Bishops Respond to the

Pennsylvania Grand Jury Findings

26 August 2018

We, the undersigned international circle of Bishops representing the Roman Catholic Women Priests movement, state the following:

  • We thank the Pennsylvania State’s Attorney for doing the work the Roman Catholic Bishops have failed to do and for disclosing the criminal conduct of hundreds of Roman Catholic priests and an estimated thousand child victims.
  • We condemn the conduct of priest sex offenders. We condemn the conduct of Bishops who conspired to cover up the criminal conduct of priest sex offenders and expanded the number of child victims by transferring offending clergy to new assignments. We condemn the conduct of Bishops who failed to report clergy accused of sexual crimes to local law enforcement agencies for investigation and possible prosecution. We condemn the conduct of Bishops who themselves engaged in sex offenses with minor victims. We condemn the conduct of all clergy, priests and bishops, who engaged in the sexual harassment of adult women and/or men.
  • We believe the structure of priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church is bankrupt and corrupt and must be completely restructured.

We call upon the U.S. Bishops to tender their resignations as bishops subject to the acceptance or rejection of Pope Francis.

  • We call upon Pope Francis to establish a lay led ecumenical council to explore new structures for church leadership and church order, including:
  1. the ordination of married men, women, and people of all genders;
  2. the normalization of LGBTQ relationships and same sex marriage;
  3. the establishment of a process for participation of local laity in the selection/election of their bishops;
  4. the establishment of lay representation by 2/3 in all ecumenical councils for purposes of developing and setting Roman Catholic theology, policy, self-understanding and practice.

We are aware that this sexual abuse crisis is a worldwide crisis, occurring on every continent where the Roman Catholic Church has a presence. This crisis dramatically affects all of God’s people.

Healing and renewal in the Roman Catholic Church can only begin after a serious accounting of its hierarchy. A recall of the current, collective leadership and a non-hierarchical restructuring of the Church is imperative in order to heal the grave wounds to the body of Christ and move the Church into the 21st century.

+Marie Evans Bouclin, (Sudbury, ON, Bishop Emerita, RCWP Canada)
+Merlene Olivia Doko, (Pismo Beach, CA, Bishop Emerita, RCWP-USA)
+Patricia Fresen, (Stuttgart, Germany and Johannesburg, South Africa, RCWP)
+Joan M. Clark Houk, (South Bend, IN, RCWP-USA, Great Waters Region)
+Andrea Michele Johnson, (Annapolis, MD, RCWP-USA, Eastern Region)
+Jane Kryzanowski, (Regina, SK, RCWP Canada)
+Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, (Pettenbach, RCWP Austria/ Europe)
+Nancy Louise Meyer, (Indianapolis, IN, RCWP-USA, Midwest Region)
+Ida Raming, (Stuttgart, RCWP Germany)
+ Sibyl Dana Reynolds (Pebble Beach, CA, RCWP-USA)
+Suzanne Avison Thiel, (Portland, OR, RCWP-USA, Western Region)
+Jane Via, (San Diego, CA, RCWP-USA, Western Region)


Andrea Johnson

Suzanne Thiel

Two New Bishops for RCWP Western Region Ordained
October 1, 2017
Aptos, California

(From Womens Ordination Conference’s “Table”)
Ministry of Prophetic Obedience: Celebrating Suzanne Thiel, RCWP
September 25, 2017 by Ruth E. Broeski.

You may think of Roman Catholic bishops as stern or stuffy; certainly you think of them as male. Not so, I say! October 1, 2017 at a synagogue in Aptos, California, Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP) will be ordaining two new women bishops. They are Reverend Suzanne Thiel and Reverend Jane Via. As a sister priest, I have been asked to write about Suzanne.

Bishop Suzanne Thiel, RCWP

I first met Suzanne in 2006, sitting at a garden table of an Italian bakery in our home city of Portland, Oregon. She was already with another candidate, and I was invited because I was also pursuing priesthood. Suz and I eyed each other, and I silently thought she was at least okay. You must understand we were at the amorphous beginning of this movement of RCWP in the United States, and we were some of the early candidates feeling our way in this newly coalescing group.

We didn’t exactly know what we were developing, but Suzanne brought to us her organizational and ministerial talents and sense of adventure. Those traits have served RCWP, her ministries, and the Church through thick and thin. She now conducts Sunday services for under-served Catholics and Protestants in assisted living, volunteers in hospital chaplaincy, performs weddings and funerals, anointing, and does informal counseling. She is at the ready for anyone who needs a priest. In RCWP her range is from administration to finances all the way to printing banners, brochures and doing everything, I mean everything, in between. Life has been full in ways she could not have imagined while visiting with me on that bakery patio.

Like so many women priests, Suzanne came from a background of trying to make the world a better place. She spent years at our local Roosevelt High School, using classrooms, home visits and especially caring to see that teen parents made it to their crucial graduations. She still runs into people grateful to “Mrs. Thiel.” She was involved in her parish, St Clare, where she and her husband (of 43 years) and three sons spent their worship and service time. She helped develop the parish council, was on the school board, trained the altar severs, took communion to shuts-ins and worked as a volunteer with women at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, making sure the women had a chance to pray and simply share together. It was distressing to her when she was asked to leave those ministries — a consequence of the institutional Catholic Church finding out she was an ordained womenpriest. Needless to say, the empty space has now been filled many times over.

Preparation under Bishop Patricia Fresen’s guidance led to Suzanne’s ordination as a deacon July 28, 2007 at the welcoming Zion United Church of Christ. I remember it well, because I was lying right next to her on the brown carpet as we prostrated ourselves during the powerful Litany of Saints. The following year, Suzanne was ordained a priest in a ceremony in Germany. Once again, she leapt into the unknown.

There is so much history packed into a short time in RCWP. Back in 2006, Suzanne started meeting with another member and myself in what was the nucleus of the Pacific Northwest cluster group of RCWP. Then in 2007 at a meeting of less than a dozen of us who constituted the entire Western Region, Deacon Suzanne agreed to become our regional administrator. I remember our borrowed space in a typical church meeting room of a Methodist church. We went around the circle of our small group. Each person turned down the job, until we got to the person in the last chair. That would be our willing Suzanne. By acclamation we said okay, and from then on Suzanne moved us forward with our seat-of-the-pants development, which continues to this day. I have no idea what would have happened if Suzanne hadn’t been in that fateful last chair. Ah, the ways of the Holy Spirit…

Yes, we were feeling our way forward, trusting Suzanne Thiel to be our lovingly-called “Boss.” At least we were mostly loving toward our administrator. Think about it — we are, after all, a bunch of very strong opinionated women. God bless Suz for hanging in there with “trying to herd cats.” We trusted her to keep us on track with all the organizational nitty-gritty an emerging group needs. It’s her gift, and a grounding one in a collection of women (and a few men) focused on so many varied and heavenly ideals in this world.

(R-L) Donnieau Snyder, Suzanne Thiel, Juanita Cordero

Over these short eleven years, Suzanne has been a force in RCWP, holding a myriad of formal and informal positions. Much of her work has been behind the scenes and thankless (I’ll say thank you now: thank you, Suz!). Besides being the person who hands out RCWP bookmarks no matter where she travels, Suzanne has been essential on the leadership circle, significant on the Board, kept our finances in order, and been a trained eye on legal matters regarding our 501(c)3. She has attended ordinations worldwide, acquainted herself with just about every woman priest and contributed her management skills to our sometimes motley group. Suzanne’s caring involvement has ranged from organizing rides for us from the airport for retreat, to serving on the Board as president and the financial officer.

One thing Suzanne is known for is her wanting to get the word out: “Yes, women priests do exist!” People at progressive and conservative Catholic conferences, people on planes and at pubs and restaurants have seen Suzanne Thiel in her Roman collar and found out for the first time that hundreds of women, yes women, have been ordained as Roman Catholic priests.

Whew! What a legacy in a short eleven years.

When our dear Western Region bishop, Olivia Doko, decided it was time to retire, we began our process for electing two new bishops from among our priests. One night when Suzanne was meditating in her bathtub, the Holy Spirit mumbled something in Suzanne’s ear about “let your role evolve.” So Suz left her name in for the ballot. She was then elected by the members of the Western Region to be one of our bishops. Evolve. Serve. Jump in. Those are all holy messages and motivations for Suzanne Thiel.
On October 1, adding another chapter to our jam-packed history, Suzanne Thiel and Jane Via will join eleven US, Canadian and European bishops on the altar. Suzanne will again offer herself in a new step forward. Western Region bishops, priests, deacons and candidates will be sitting in our Jewish friends’ sacred space to celebrate this joyous ceremony. Together other clergy, and with family and friends, we will unite with the universal Church and follow centuries of Apostolic Succession. We will celebrate our Suz and Jane becoming bishops. They will be lovingly anointed, ordained and consecrated by women’s hands. And I might add, by their hearts and souls, too.

In the spirit of a vocation that will not be denied, Suzanne will once again lie prostrate and surrender her gifts and herself to God. I’m going out on a limb to say God will be pleased. Yes, I think She will be very very pleased. (Written by Rev. Ruth Broeski, Porland, Oregon)

Ministry of Prophetic Obedience: Celebrating Jane Via, RCWP
September 28, 2017
by Jackie Davis

Bishop Jane Via, RCWP

I’ve known Jane Via for 38 years. There was a group of women in San Diego who were meeting to address women’s ordination. I had asked Jane to moderate one of our gatherings focused on inclusive language. Jane was willing but asked me what the fee would be. We had no money and never imagined giving a stipend. Jane agreed that she would moderate this meeting but that it was important for women to learn to value women’s professional contribution as much as we would a man’s. Her words opened up an appreciation for women’s time and knowledge. Our group, WomenSpirit: Catholic Women of San Diego, was about to take a big leap forward in our awareness and consciousness!

Jane remained in WomanSpirit as we explored what it was like to create prayer and ritual together as most of us had never been asked to lead prayer. We grew alongside the wisdom of the Women’s Ordination Conference where we imagined a church with women priests that were ordained in a new priestly ministry. Jane’s knowledge of scripture, her friends in other woman-led congregations and her own hunger for ministry impacted the direction of our group and gave us hope to continue our work for justice in our institutional church.

In her personal life, Jane continued to imagine this inclusive vision and allowed the desire for priesthood to grow in her heart. I remember the phone call when she told me about the Roman Catholic Women Priests organization. Jane was about to be ordained a deacon on the Danube River. It was an electric conversation! Jane then co-founded Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community (MMACC) and she brought into this inclusive group people from so many areas of her life – including some of the original WomanSpirit members who were amazed to see one of our own push through the barriers to actually proclaim her priesthood after all these years.
Jane’s ordination moved MMACC to the next level where we could worship weekly with a woman priest. Our community has evolved under Jane’s thoughtful, knowledgeable hand and encouraged our expansion in thought and deed. It is with unbounded joy that we celebrate Jane, our spiritual community, and RCWP as she takes this next step as ordained bishop, embodying women in priestly and pastoral ministry.

Action for women’s ordination in September 2015
in Washington, DC (Jane Via, Left)

Religious Studies Lecturer (San Jose State University)


(Western Region Roman Catholic Womenpriest)

Awarded Fulbright Scholar to Palestine:
for Fall 2018

Fulbright Scholar Program
A program of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

Press Release

March 26, 2018

Roman Catholic Womenpriests Action Network

Roman Catholic Womenpriests march with the young people who demand an end to the terror they face by those wielding instruments of death. We follow the Prince of Peace, Jesus, who was murdered by the Roman occupation for his insistence on the dignity and value of each person’s life.

We advocate for an immediate ban on new sales of semi-automatic rifles, such as the AR-15. We advocate for universal background checks with no loopholes for all who purchase guns.

We urge that you participate in local marches and communicate your insistence for change to your governmental representatives and leaders.

We pray for the safety of all who march and for the presence of the Prince of Peace at all the rallies.

Group Called ‘Roman Catholic Womenpriests’ Say

They Are Defying The Church To Answer A Call From God

May 13, 2014 at 11:15 pm

Filed Under: Ordination Of Women, Roman Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Women Priests, The Vatican

LOS ANGELES ( — Twenty years ago this month, the Vatican reaffirmed the ban on the ordination of women, which led to the birth of a movement within the Church called the “Roman Catholic Womenpriests” who say they are defying the Catholic Church to answer a call from God.

These devout Catholics, who preach teachings and rituals of their faith, were excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church because, they say, they are women.

“It’s a sexist law created by some humans and the call of God trumps that,” Jennifer O’Malley said.

O’Malley, a self-proclaimed Catholic priest, holds prayer in a tiny Episcopalian Chapel in Long Beach.

“It’s important that everyone participates in the liturgy and everyone has a role,” she said about her small gatherings where everyone sits in a circle.

She is one of four self-proclaimed Catholic priests in Southern California who are part of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests. They are Catholics who believe they oversea the ordination of femalepriests — a movement that began decades ago in secret.

“The womanpriests movement was rooted in the 60s. It was not until 2002 that RCWP was formed when seven women were ordained by some male bishops on the Danube River,”

O’Malley says the movement has grown through “apostolic succession”. There are currently 180 of them worldwide, but most of them preach in the United States.

According to Gary Macy, a renowned author on the subject, women were ordained up until the 12th century, but only as leaders in the community.

“What you got was a job within the community, and any job you got went through an ordination ceremony,” she said.

The definition of ordination changed in the 13th century when the Church made it official barring women from receiving the holy sacrament, according to Macy. She said disobeying would be as serious as priests who sexually abuse children.

“The former Pope saw this as a grave crime — one that merits excommunication,” she said. “Women cannot be ordained priests and even if they went through the consecration ceremony or ordination ceremony, nothing happens.”

Rosa Manriquez said the law is not stopping her from following her dreams of becoming a Catholic priest.

“It’s like you can come here, but no further. And then I’ll hear how we’re all equal in the Church, but you just can’t be a priest,” Manriquez said. “That makes no sense.”

“My Church has a history of exclusion and has grown up over the centuries…over the decades. There was a time in the Church that Native Americans had no souls. There was time the Catholic Church was perfectly okay with slavery,” she added. “I think without those people in the Church who risked speaking out against slavery, who risked speaking out about what was said about Native American people, our church would not be where it is right now. It would not have progressed the way it has. My point is I am part of the Church that says there needs to be a change.”

Many in the RCWP movement hope change will happen, that one day women will be allowed to lead inside Catholic churches.

“Hopefully one day they’ll realize that gender won’t be a requirement to be called by God for ordination. But even if they don’t, the people are recognizing it, and the people are the Church,” O’Malley said.

“In any institution there can be like a tunnel vision, and there’s a need for someone to say ‘No, no, no. Look over here’,” Manriquez said. “I believe that’s what I’m doing as being part of the renewal of the Church — being one of those voices. It may not be recognized in my lifetime, but I think it’ll be eventually recognized.”

According to a New York Times/CBS poll, 59 percent of American Catholics support the ordination of women.


For current news and articles related to the women’s ordination movement and renewal of the Catholic Church, please visit our Facebook, Twitter, Bridget Mary’s Blog and Judy's Blog. Bridget Mary’s Blog, Judy's Blog, and the Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests operate independently of Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc. The third party blogs are for informational purposes only. For semi-monthly news relating to the RCWP in Canada see RCWP Canada's publication, The Review, at

This website was created and is maintained by Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc. (RCWP-USA, Inc.), a California 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation, as an educational and informational service to the public. RCWP-USA, Inc. promotes and supports the ordination of women and men in a renewed priestly ministry in the Roman Catholic Church. This website provides information about the Western Region of RCWP. Every ministry convened by a RCWP member operates separately and independently from Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc. RCWP-USA, Inc. disclaims any responsibility for the operation of these ministries. The biographical information and descriptions of the ministries are for informational purposes only. This website also contains links to third party sites. Such links do not constitute or imply an endorsement and/or sponsorship by RCWP-USA, Inc. RCWP-USA, Inc. is not responsible for such third party websites and is not liable for the contents therein.
© 2024 Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc.