Women who want to be Catholic priests held their 33rd annual Holy Thursday protest outside the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.
This year, they had some opposition.
The Holy Thursday protests calling for the Catholic Church to allow women to join the priesthood started in 1980. Protester Judy Heffernan says she’s optimistic the newly named Pope Francis will bring a change.
“I’m enthused. I believe by choosing the name Francis that he has a new outlook, and I pray that he will remember that Francis worked in partnership with a woman,” Heffernan said.
A few feet away a group of counter-demonstrators … mostly children … holding up signs in support of continuing an exclusively male priesthood.
A group leader, Cindy Burdett, said they support staying with tradition. She says Jesus called only men to the priesthood.
“The priesthood is not the role Christ set up for women,” Burdett said. “We’re not against them, they are probably beautiful, but we support the church the way Christ established it.”
All the protesters were peaceful as they greeted people coming out of Holy Thursday services.