A Roman Catholic nurse from Florida, protesting against the church's ban on admitting women to the priesthood, staged a mock Mass today in St. Peter's Basilica.
Babi Burke, of Fort Lauderdale, approached the altar in the basilica with a lighted alcohol lamp, kissed the altar and blessed herself with a sign of the cross. Then, she raised her arms in a priestly gesture of welcome and slowly raised a silver chalice.
As two Vatican guards raced to stop her, she drank from the chalice and blessed the altar. The mock service lasted about five minutes.
Burke, a 44-year-old mother of four children, was dragged from the basilica to Vatican security headquarters.