Benedict XVI: Sticking with misogyny which ousts women priests & any involved in their ordination Print E-mail
 May 31, 2008

Vatican Asserts Rule That Bars Female Priests

By ELISABETTA POVOLEDO

ROME ­ The Vatican on Friday reaffirmed a ban on ordaining women as priests, warning that the consequences of any such ordination would be the automatic excommunication of anyone involved.

The decree was a reaction to specific episodes of “so-called ordinations in various parts of the world,” according to Msgr. Angelo Amato, the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which issued the decree. In recent years, dozens of women have been ordained by individuals acting outside of the church’s authority.

The document was also drafted to give bishops uniform guidelines on an increasingly contentious matter, as a growing number of Catholics contest the church’s position that only men can be ordained as priests.

In an interview for Vatican Radio, Monsignor Amato reiterated that the church did “not feel authorized to change the will of its founder, Jesus Christ.” The Vatican, he added, felt “in good company” because the Orthodox and ancient Eastern churches have also preserved what he said was a 2,000-year-old tradition.

The decree went into effect on Thursday, after it was published in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

Last March, the archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond L. Burke, excommunicated two women in his diocese and another living in Germany after they were ordained as priests as part of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization.

In the past six years, the organization says it has ordained more than 50 women and some men as priests and deacons in North America and Europe. In 2002, the Vatican excommunicated the first seven women shortly after the organization designated them priests.

On Friday, Bridget Mary Meehan, a spokeswoman for the group, said the excommunication, which extends to both the women and the bishops ordaining them, was a positive sign “that the Vatican is taking us seriously.”

Excommunicated Catholics cannot participate in the sacraments or public ceremonies or hold any ecclesiastical position.