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3 female priests ordained in St. Cloud, risk excommunication

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Three women were ordained as priests at a Mass by the Roman Catholic Womenpriests of the Midwest Region on Sunday in St. Cloud, although they risk being excommunicated by the Catholic Church, the Associated Press reports.

The three were Bernadyne "Bernie" Sykora of St. Cloud, Corene Besetzny of Red Wing and Martha Sherman of Salem, S.D., the AP reports.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis has clearly stated that the ordination of women as priests is "not valid." But a female-priests movement persists.

"The Roman Catholic Womenpriests movement is necessary because if we wait, nothing is going to happen for a very, very, very long time — if ever," one movement leader, Mary Frances Smith, ordained a Roman Catholic Womanpriest in 2009, told the St. Cloud Times.

The Los Angeles Times reported last month that more than 120 women worldwide have become priests, at a time when the Vatican faces a shortage of priests.

The Los Angeles Times profiles soft-spoken 72-year-old Maria Eitz, who took the controversial step of becoming a priest because "it is right and just."

"It needs to happen. Not so much for myself ... but for the people who will come after," she told the Times. "For the girls. For the other women."

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