Tuesday, April 5, 2011
(PhillyBurbs.com) CAMDEN - Rutgers University in Camden will host a woman theologian next week whom the university describes as a "female Catholic bishop."
"Roman Catholic Bishop Patricia Fresen, one of only three ordained female [non-]bishops in the world," will lecture at the university at 12:20 p.m. April 15, according to a Rutgers news release.
Fresen was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church in 2008, according to www.CatholicCulture.org.
"Patricia Fresen is not a Roman Catholic bishop. That would be the position of the Diocese of Camden," said Peter Feuerherd, diocesan spokesman, on Monday when contacted about Rutgers' symposium.
The lecture is being sponsored by Rutgers-Camden's department of philosophy and religion and the gender and women's studies program.
The university holds monthly symposiums at which sometimes controversial topics are discussed, said John Wall, an associate professor of religion.
A colleague of his had heard that Fresen would be in the Philadelphia area for another talk, "so we invited her," he said. "Fortunately, she agreed to come."
Wall said he had not heard that Fresen was excommunicated, but knew that she had to give up a teaching position after her ordination.
"She belongs to an organization called Roman Catholic Womenpriests," he said.
Fresen, who is from South Africa, will discuss "why she believes women should help lead the Catholic Church now more than ever."
"She has an organization for women to be priests in the Catholic church. That's why we wanted her to come," Wall said.
The free lecture will be held in the faculty lounge at Armitage Hall on Fifth Street, between Cooper Street and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
A Dominican sister for 45 years, Fresen was [not] ordained a bishop in 2005, the university said in its release.
Also, she studied in Rome at the University of St. Thomas and at the Gregoriana, where she earned a licentiate in theology.
Fresen could not be reached to comment on the ordination ceremony or about who performed the rite.
"The ceremony she talks about was secretive," Feuerherd said. "That is a problem. From my understanding, she doesn't identify who that person is."
According to the excommunication decree issued by St. Louis Archbishop Raymond L. Burke in March 2008, as posted on the Catholic Culture website, Fresen was excommunicated for "the crime of schism" for "having pertinaciously rejected a definitive truth of the faith," and for "the crime of simulation of the administration of the sacrament of holy orders."