Woman to be ordained as Ga's first female Catholic priest - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Woman to be ordained as Ga's first female Catholic priest

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ATLANTA -

A metro Atlanta woman is set to be ordained as Georgia's first female Catholic priest on Saturday. However, the Roman Catholic Church says she will be excommunicated because the church doesn't recognize women priests or the ordination service that she will participate in.

Diane Dougherty says that as a former nun and parochial school teacher, she is very familiar with the rules of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests will ordain her. Dougherty said that she knows she is about to make both history and enemies.

"When I heard of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, I thought this is a great opportunity because they're working on a renewed priesthood in which…all the community of believers are equal. And I really believe that, as Christ is calling us, Christ calls whomever Christ calls," said Dougherty.

She will not be referred to as Father Dougherty -- she will simply be Reverend. Or even better, she says, just Diane.

She accuses of the Catholic Church of sexism in its denial of women to lead Mass and perform the other duties of the priesthood.

"Sexism is a horrible illness, I think, in the church," said Dougherty.

Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory sent FOX 5 a statement saying, in part, "The attempt to ordain women by the group titled Roman Catholic Women Priests brings division and fractures unity in the Church...those who attempt to confer Holy Orders on a woman, and women who attempt to receive Holy Orders, incur automatic excommunication. Excommunication is knowingly, intentionally and willingly placing oneself outside the communion of the Catholic Church."

Dougherty said the idea of excommunication upsets her.

"I find that to be the saddest of all statements. As Catholics reflect on that, here's what I'm hoping: I'm hoping that they will come to an understanding that excommunication is like psychological torture. It is mean, it is cruel and it is hurtful. And if God calls me, and the bishop excommunicates me, it's what is called a double-bind. It creates a schizophrenia within the body of Christ," said Dougherty.

The ordination service will be held at first metropolitan community church in Atlanta on Saturday.

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