Catholic women priests ruled out

Manila, Philippines --- What are the chances for the Catholic Church to have women priests?

For a former head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), it's none.

Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said this is because priesthood is for men only and Christ Himself was a man.

''Christ as the high priest Himself was a man; even his disciples were all men. In fact, Christ himself did not make His own mother, Mary, an apostle,'' he said in an interview.

Earlier, it was reported that a 70-year-old Kentucky woman was ordained a priest as part of a dissident group operating outside the Roman Catholic Church.

Rosemarie Smead is said to be one of about 150 women around the world who have decided not to wait for the Roman Catholic Church to lift its ban on women priests, but to be ordained and start their own congregations.

Just like Cruz, newly appointed Imus Bishop Reynaldo Evangelista is also of the same view.

But while men can only receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders, he said, women can still serve the church by entering the religious life.

''Women can serve (the Church) in other ways like being with the religious, or even as lay. The consecrated life is not a lesser form of serving God,'' Evangelista, head of the Commission on Vocations, said in an article posted on the CBCP website.

The prelate said there are many ways of serving God and the Church.

''It's just that there are different charisms,'' said Evangelista.

''Women don't need to become priests just to serve God,'' he added.

In an emotional ceremony in Louisville, Kentucky filled with tears and applause, a 70-year-old Kentucky woman was ordained a priest on Saturday as part of a dissident group operating outside of official Roman Catholic Church authority.

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