Latest female priest is Montrealer

A retired teacher from Montreal undergoes an unofficial ceremony, held at an Anglican church in Sutton, Que., to become a Roman Catholic priest.

A retired teacher from Montreal underwent an unofficial ceremony, held Saturday at an Anglican church in Sutton, Que., to become a Roman Catholic priest.

Linda Spear said it should be up to people to decide if she is legitimate as a priest. ((CBC))

Linda Spear, originally from Winnipeg, became the sixth woman in Canada to defy Rome and become unofficially ordained, and just like the five women before her, Spear now faces excommunication.

She said she will perform the sacraments — such as baptism, marriage and confession — even though they won't be recognized by the Vatican, which limits the priesthood to men.

Spear said it should be up to people to decide if she is legitimate.

"There are lots of male priests who are very sensitive and they have developed their feminine side. I hope that [my vocation] will be sensitive to people's needs, that it will be pastoral, that it will put people's needs and where people are at before the letter of the law, always respecting the law in spirit," she said.

The group Roman Catholic Womenpriests symbolically ordained Spear in a ceremony led by U.S. bishop Andrea Johnson.

Spear said she has wanted to be a priest since the age of four.

The group said its ordinations are valid and that it doesn't want to split from the Catholic Church.

In 2008, the Vatican declared that any women who attempt ordination or any bishops who attempt to ordain women will be excommunicated.