Friday, 30 May 2008

Excommunication of women priests and bishops who ordain them

Women who are ordained as priests will now incur automatic excommunication according to a new decree published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as will any bishop who attempts to ordain her.
Adelaide Now reports the decree was published in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, giving it immediate effect.
A Vatican spokesman said the decree made the Church's existing ban on women priests more explicit by clarifying that excommunication would follow all such ordinations.
Excommunication is usually "ferendae sententiae", imposed as punishment.
But some offences, including heresy, schism, and laying violent hands on the Pope, are considered so disruptive of ecclesiastical life that they trigger automatic excommunication, or "latae sententiae."
The decree says that women priests and the bishops who ordain them would be excommunicated "latae sententiae."
AGI News translates the text of the decree as follows:

"The Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith, in order to protect the nature and validity of the Sacrament of Holy Orders and by the special faculty granted it by the Church's supreme authority, decrees that both the one trying to consecrate a woman in Holy Orders, and the woman who has tried to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders, will be excommunicated 'latae sententiae', reserved to the Apostolic See."
The text continues that "if the one who has tried to consecrate a woman in Holy Orders or if the woman who has tried to receive Holy Orders is a member of the faithful of the Oriental Churches, he or she is excommunicated and pardon can only be given by the Apostolic See."
The decree, specifies the former Holy See, "will come into immediate force from the moment of publication in the 'Osservatore Romano'".