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Catholic rebel

Yalda Zarbakhch & Louise OsborneDecember 16, 2014

Jesus was a man, as were his 12 disciples. This is why women cannot be priests in the Catholic church. But some have rebelled. Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger tells Life Links how she became a priest and an outcast.

Porträt - Christine Mayr Lumetzberger
Image: DW/T. Tempel

Catholic rebel: Becoming a female priest

There are some Catholic women, who, like Jacqueline in the upcoming episode #forchristssake: Ordain me!, would like to become priests. But as part of the Catholic church, they don’t have that choice.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, an official document containing the church’s doctrine on faith and morals, “only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination” - meaning only a man can become a priest, deacon or bishop. It is a tradition that began as Jesus chose 12 men as his apostles and they in turn chose men to follow them.

But despite the doctrine, some women have been defying the church and have been ordained in secret. One such woman is Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, who was one of the Danube Seven. This small group of women were made priests by Argentinian Catholic bishop Romulo Antonio Braschi on a boat floating down the Danube River.

Despite being made an outcast by the church, Mayr-Lumetzberger’s story is inspiring other women to do the same. Here, she tells Life Links about being one of Catholicism’s only female priests.