Fort Myers woman taking on Catholic Church

Women are not allowed to be ordained as priests in the Catholic Church, but one Fort Myers woman says she is hoping to change that. Now she’s putting her own religion on the line.

Devoted to God for 35 years, former Catholic nun Judy Beaumont says becoming a priest feels right, but it’s a position only held by men.

“The people that I serve have called me. The people who know me have called me, and I think through them, God speaks,” she said. “I will be ordained a Roman Catholic priest.”

Soon, Beaumont will join the ranks of the other 124 women around the world ordained as a priest. They’re part of a worldwide group called the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.

But none of them are recognized by the Catholic Church.

Now Beaumont faces automatic excommunication, expulsion from the church, just like the 124 women before her.

“We reject that excommunication. We don’t accept it. We are loyal faithful members of the church working to change the church,” Beaumont said.

The Catholic Church only sees her ordination as an attempt to become a priest.

In a statement, the Diocese of Venice said, “The Catholic Church has no authority to ordain women as priests” and “any attendance or direct participation by Catholics in the attempted ordination ceremony is forbidden.”

But to Beaumont, this is about more than seeking the role of priest. She’s hoping to be part of a movement to bring equality among church leadership.

“We’re the Rosa B. Parks of the Catholic Church trying to bring about change,” Beaumont said.

And despite the consequences, she says she isn’t holding back.

The ceremony for Beaumont will be January 21 at 3 p.m. It will be held at the Lamb of God Lutheran-Episcopal Church.

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