Vatican Excommunicates Women Ordained as Priests

Less than a month after the Vatican called the ordination of women to priesthood “an affront to the dignity of women, whose specific role in the Church and society is distinctive and irreplaceable,” seven women priests were excommunicated for failing to repent by the Church-issued July 22 deadline. Last month, the Vatican reasserted its policy banning women from priesthood, insisting that Romulu Braschi — the Argentine bishop who ordained the women from Austria, Germany, and the US — founded a schismatic community.

The statement today, signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, suggested that “[the women] may rediscover the path of conversion in order to return to the unity of the faith and to communion with the Church, which they have wounded by their actions.” However Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, spokeswoman for the women priests, criticized the move as “a further act of discrimination against women in the Catholic Church.” She told the Austria Press Agency: “We stand single-mindedly, unwaveringly by our vocation.” The seven women priests intend to appeal the decision.


Reuters 8/5/02; BBC 8/5/02; Associated Press 8/5/02

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