Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Excommunicated Woman Bishop from Kentucky, Detained After Vatican Protest

An excommunicated woman bishop from Kentucky has been detained by Vatican officials for protesting the lack of women voices in the church as it prepares to select a new pope. 

Janice Sevre-Duszynska is one 150 women priests in the world who are not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church.

Standing in liturgical robes outside St. Peter’s Basilica, Sevre-Duszynska unfurled a banner reading “Women Priests are Here” before being carted away by Vatican police. As a member of a group calling itself the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests, she’s long been a vocal advocate for women’s ordination. 

“When one becomes a priest, one gives one’s live for the community, and works for the common good, works for the marginalized, deplores exploitation of any kind and welcomes all to the table,” Sevre-Dusznyska said in 2008 about her view of activism and the priesthood.

She added that the church’s exclusion of women from leadership positions is alienating the younger generation and causing them to leave the church. And while Sevre-Duszynska doubts this conclave will change much for women, she hopes her efforts, along with those of supporters, will influence policy once the church selects its next leader.

Sevre-Dusznyska has been leading mass in Kentucky for four years. She spoke to WUKY in 2008 about her role as an activist.

“To me, a priest is to live one’s life on the edge for the people,” she told WUKY in Lexington in 2008.  ”Otherwise, don’t step up to the plate.” 

Sevre-Duszynska says, while she doubts this conclave will change much for women inside the church, she hopes her efforts, along with others, will influence the future church policy.        

The Cardinals decided Friday that the Conclave to elect the next pope will begin Tuesday.

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