Rutgers update: school revises its press release on woman "bishop"

Rutgers update: school revises its press release on woman "bishop" April 13, 2011

Some heartening news.

A deacon reader, Tom Lang, learning about the misleading (and inaccurate) press release Rutgers issued about the appearance of a Catholic woman “bishop,” dropped a line to Rutgers University President Richard L. McCormack, expressing serious concerns.

President McCormick wrote back:

Thank you for your message about the upcoming lecture at Rutgers-Camden by Patricia Fresen. I appreciate your bringing this matter to my attention. Please be informed that the news release has been revised.

The new press release reads:

Patricia Fresen of the group “Roman Catholic Womanpriests” will deliver a lecture at Rutgers–Camden at 12:20 p.m. Friday, April 15.

Fresen, from South Africa, will discuss why she believes women should help lead the Catholic Church. A Dominican sister for 45 years, Fresen claims to have been ordained a Catholic bishop in 2005. She was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 2008.

After teaching in convent high schools, Fresen moved to Rome, studying theology at the University of St. Thomas and at the Gregoriana, where she earned a Licentiate in Theology. She has served on the faculty of the National Seminary in Pretoria and the Catholic University in Johannesburg, and earned a doctorate in theology at the University of South Africa.

After citing her ordination as a Roman Catholic priest in 2003, she was forced to leave the Dominicans and her position at Catholic University. She also moved to Germany, where she lives today and serves as the coordinator of the Training Program in Preparation for Priesthood for Roman Catholic Womenpriests (RCWP).

The free event will take place at 12:20 p.m. in the faculty lounge, located on the third floor of Armitage Hall on Fifth Street, between Cooper Street and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on the Rutgers–Camden campus.

Fresen’s visit is sponsored by the Rutgers–Camden Department of Philosophy and Religion and the Gender and Women’s Studies Program.

Kudos to Deacon Tom Lang, and thank you for the update!

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8 responses to “Rutgers update: school revises its press release on woman "bishop"”

  1. One phrase in the statement struck me: “she was FORCED to leave the Dominicans and her position at Catholic University.”
    Why did it have to reach the stage where she was “forced” to leave. It is sadly typical of many at the higher education level who no longer belong in the positions they hold that they don’t have the integrity to simply resign.
    I wonder what would happen if a person hired to be an astronomer suddenly announced he was an astrologer.
    Would he have to be “forced” to leave even though it was obvious to everyone, including himself, that he no longer belonged in the position he was hired for.

  2. Perhaps it was good for the deacon to clarify this. It was only because Dr. Fresen was ordained validly but illicitly (by an anonymous bishop in union with Rome) that she “no longer belonged in the position” she “was hired for,” but her academic credentials and faithfulness and love for the Church remain. She has lost everything and is marginalized from everything she held dear. But equality of women in the RC Church is her mission. Prophets are not welcome in their own home – words of Jesus.

    I invite anyone to attend her talk and dialogue with her. Also, anyone interested in more information can go to and come to their own conclusions.

  3. Karen — the definitive teaching of the Catholic Church is that her attempted ordinations are invalid as well as illicit.

  4. Her ordination was certainly NOT valid in any way, shape or form. Ordination has nothing to do with equality or women’s rights. I find the link to the “women priests” highly offensive on this blog.

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