Mary Keldermans is part of Roman Catholic Womenpriests Inc., one of several groups that has splintered from the Roman Catholic Church. Her ordination will take place at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregational Church.
The Roman Catholic Church strictly forbids the ordination of women, and Pope Francis I has declared any discussion of the issue a "closed door." In 2010, the church labeled the ordination of women as graviora delicta, or a grave crime, classifying it with pedophilia, possession of child pornography and sexual abuse of mentally disabled adults.
In a written statement provided to The State Journal-Register, Springfield Catholic Bishop Thomas John Paprocki warned that Keldermans and the presider, Bishop Joan Clark Houk of Pittsburgh, will incur “automatic excommunication” because “the attempted ordination of a female is invalid.” The site of the ordination, added Paprocki, “is itself a clear message that this will not be a Catholic ceremony.”