According to one source, St. Brigid was apparently ordained to the episcopate. Feminist scholars sometimes use this to support the position that women can be ordained. But apparently not all feminist scholars are convinced of this (this is primarily because as an entirely individualist based movement, feminists can never agree with each other on anything–even including as to whether the patriarchy is inherently evil or not–go figure). This female bishop was brought to my intention in an excerpt of Gary Macy’s book, The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination. The only source where you will find that a woman was ever ordained a bishop or priest explicitly without being charged as a heretic is the following…
The bishop being intoxicated with the grace of God there did not recognise what he was reciting from his book, for he consecrated Brigit with the orders of a bishop. ‘This virgin alone in Ireland’, said Mel, ‘will hold the Episcopal ordination.’ While she was being consecrated a fiery column ascended from her head. (Bethu Brigte, 19)
Lo, and behold though, the feminists respond and save the church from utter destruction!–the church they want destroyed. Because apparently, “the text later specifically excludes her from sacerdotal authority” (Bishop, 111-112) and a footnote reads…
In regard to the BB account of Brigit’s episcopal ordination, O hAodha notes, “This is probably the earliest occurrence of this claim. It is contradicted by the narrative at 512 ff. infra, where Brigit has to send to Patrick for a cleric to baptize her pagan host.” 6 hAodha, BB, p. 48. (112)
You really have to love these feminist scholars at times. Most of the time it seems like they’re playing a cruel, cruel, joke on women trying to make feminists sound like idiots. Any way, suffice to say, the evidence for Brigid being a bishop is non-existent for as is pointed out, “None of the vitae yields very precise historical information, in modern terms, for Brigit’s existence” (Bitel, 177). Oh well, maybe if they try harder the feminists will win next time. God, though, I really love the entertainment they give sometimes!
Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination
Judith L. Bishop, SANCTITY AS MIRROR OF SOCIETY: CULTURE, GENDER AND RELIGION IN THE THREE OLDEST VITAE OF BRIGIT OF IRELAND
Lisa M. Bitel, Landscape with Two Saints: How Genovefa of Paris and Brigit of Kildare Built Christianity in Barbarian Europe