(WOMENSENEWS)–Seven women who had been ordained as Roman Catholic priests in Austria were excommunicated on July 22, according to reports published in two Catholic news services, the deadline set by the Vatican for them to repudiate their actions.

The Vatican’s Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had warned the women on July 12 that if they did not “repent publicly” and admit their ordination was “invalid” within 10 days that they would be expelled from the church and denied any participation in its rituals.

Uncowed, the women sent a letter sent to Cardinal Ratzinger rejecting the Vatican warning and calling other women for support and “resistance against a Catholic Church dominated by men.”

A U.S. Old Catholic prelate, Bishop Peter Hickman, Rochester, N. Y., has ordained one woman to the priesthood, Mary Ramerman. Hickman, a member of a 100-year-old Catholic break-away faction, ordained Ramerman after her local parish priests had been admonished by the Vatican for permitting her to help with services. Ramerman, the two priests and 3000 Catholics broke off from the Vatican and formed their own parish, Spiritus Christi. Bishop Hickman plans to ordain another woman, Denise Donato, on Feb 22, 2003.