Excommunication of seven 'ordained' women confirmed

 The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a decree yesterday, confirming the excommunication of the seven women who were ordained on a boat in Austria last summer, by the head of a breakaway Argentinian religious community. Extracts from the document follow: 'On June 29, 2002, Romulo Antonio Braschi, founder of a schismatic community, attempted to ordain the following Catholic women to the priesthood: Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Adelinde Roitinger, Gisela Forster, Iris Muller, Ida Raming, Pia Brunner and Dagmar Braun Celeste, who on that occasion identified herself as Angela White. 'Citing the previous interventions of the Bishop of Linz and of the Austrian Episcopal Conference, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a statement on July 10, 2002, warning the above-mentioned persons that they would be punished with excommunication if by July 22, 2002, they had not acknowledged the nullity of their 'ordination' and asked forgiveness for the scandal caused to the faithful. As they gave no indication of amendment, this Congregation punished the aforementioned persons with excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See, in the Decree dated August 5, 2002, expressing the hope that they might be moved to conversion. The Decree also confirmed that the 'ordaining' bishop was already excommunicated insofar as he is a schismatic.' 'In a letter dated August 14, 2002, they asked that the Decree of Excommunication be revoked, and then, on September 27, 2002, with reference to canons 1732-1739 CIC, they made recourse against the Decree.' 'The request for revocation and the recourse were examined by the Sessione Ordinaria' of the Congregation on the 4th and 18th of December 2002. ... In the course of these meetings the Members arrived at the collegial decision to confirm the Decree of Excommunication. In the case under consideration, in fact, hierarchical recourse is not possible, as it concerns a Decree of Excommunication issued by a Dicastery of the Holy See acting in the name of the Supreme Pontiff.' '... The case under consideration does not involve a 'latae sententiae' penalty, which is incurred 'ipso facto' when a delict expressly established by the law is committed. It concerns instead a 'ferendae sententiae' penalty, imposed after the guilty party has been duly warned (cf. cann. 1314; 1347 ?1 CIC).' 'The particular gravity of the offences committed is evident, which can be seen from various aspects. 'a) There is first of all the issue of schism: the above-mentioned women were 'ordained' by a schismatic bishop ... and thereby made themselves accomplices in schism." 'b) In addition there is the doctrinal aspect, namely, that they formally and obstinately reject a doctrine which the Church has always taught and lived, and which was definitively proposed by Pope John Paul II, namely, 'that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women' (Apostolic Letter 'Ordinatio sacerdotalis', n. 4)." 'Moreover, by denying this doctrine, ... they are at odds with the doctrine on the Magisterium of the Successor of Peter, ... and they thereby fail to recognize that the teachings of the Supreme Pontiff on doctrines to be held definitively by all the faithful are irreformable. 'The refusal to comply with the penal precept established by this Congregation is further aggravated by the fact that some of the above-mentioned women have been gathering round them members of the faithful, in open and divisive disobedience to the Roman Pontiff and diocesan bishops. In view of the gravity of this contumacy (cf. can. 1347 CIC), the penalty imposed is not only just, but also necessary, in order to protect true doctrine, to safeguard the communion and unity of the Church and to guide the consciences of the faithful. 'The above-mentioned Members of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith therefore confirm the Decree of Excommunication issued on August 5, 2002, specifying once again that the attempted priestly ordination of the aforementioned women is null and invalid (cf. can. 1024 CIC) and therefore all those actions proper to the Order of Priesthood performed by them are also null and invalid (cf. cann. 124; 841 CIC). In consequence of the excommunication, they are forbidden to celebrate sacraments or sacramentals, to receive the sacraments and to exercise any function in an ecclesiastical office, ministry or assignment (cf. can. 1331 ?1 CIC)." 'At the same time, it is hoped that, sustained by the grace of the Holy Spirit, they might discover the path to conversion and so return to the unity of faith and to communion with the Church, a communion broken by their action.' Source: Vatican Information Service

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