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Beaufort woman set to be ordained as priest

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Striebinger will be 1st SC woman ordained by Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests 

By Mike McCombs 

On Sunday, Aug. 15, Beaufort’s Jill Striebinger will become the first woman priest in South Carolina ordained by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests in a private service “promoting the equality of women in the Catholic Church.” 

Striebinger is obviously not being ordained through the institutional Roman Catholic Church. The Church does not allow women or married persons to join the priesthood, signaling two roadblocks for Striebinger. 

Striebinger said her husband, as well as her family and friends have been supportive along her chosen path. 

“I have been fully supported in my journey, which I know is not always true of other women in the group because of different feelings people have growing up Roman Catholic,” Striebinger said. “I just see it as bringing more inclusivity and acceptance to people who have grown up Catholic.” 

Striebinger, who has worked in disability advocacy and as a peer advocate for mothers of children with developmental disabilities, said there are too many people out there trying to tell Christians “how to believe” and who can or cannot participate, specifically the LGBT community, divorced people and remarried people. She said this behavior is borderline abuse and has excluded certain people from God. 

“If I can offer any bit of comfort to people who do not feel included,” she said, “then I wish to do that with all my heart.” 

According to a news release by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP), Striebinger’s ordination is “a prophetic act of obedience to the Spirit for gender equality and a clarion call to action in response to Pope Francis’s failure to revise Canon Law on Women’s Ordination and his failure to include women in decisions affecting the care and control of their bodies.” 

Striebinger said she sees the group as a “community of equals, and that’s what appeals to me. It’s much more representative of Jesus and his message. Love your neighbor, not take control of your neighbor.” 

According to the ARCWP, the women’s priest movement “embraces an inclusive, Christ-centered and Spirit-empowered model of Church as a community of equals where all are welcome to receive Eucharist and other sacraments, including the LGBTIQA, and divorced and remarried population. We are helping the church move from a clerical model of priesthood to a people powered community of faith.” 

The movement has grown from seven women priests ordained in 2002 to nearly 300 members today. 

As of Tuesday evening, a message left with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston had not been returned. 

Mike McCombs is the editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com. 

Photo of Jill Striebinger, above, by Jasmina Kimova. 

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