The Archdiocese of Boston has issued a statement in response to a group that planned and performed an ordination ceremony for three women in Boston on Sunday. In the July 18 statement the archdiocese’s vicar general, Father Richard Erikson, explained Catholic teaching on the male-only priesthood and said the group, which calls itself Roman Catholic Womenpriests, is “not an entity of the Roman Catholic Church.”
Roman Catholic Womenpriests held an alleged ordination ceremony of three women at a Boston-area Presbyterian church.
In its statement the Archdiocese of Boston said: “The Catholic Church is made up of women and men, equal in rights and diverse in gifts and ministries. Following our devotion to Mary, the Church is committed to, and sustained by the many important contributions of women each and every day.”
The statement said that women help shape the course of the Church as members of religious communities, lay members in leadership roles, educators, canon lawyers, and service providers in “many other critical areas.”
However, the archdiocese explained, “the ordination of men to the priesthood is not merely a matter of practice or discipline within the Catholic Church, but rather, it is part of the unalterable Deposit of Faith handed down by Christ through his apostles.”
Reiterating that Roman Catholics Womenpriests is not an entity of the Catholic Church, the archdiocese said “Catholics who attempt to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the women who attempt to receive a sacred order, are by their own actions separating themselves from the Church.”
The statement emphasized that the Church is “prepared and eager” to welcome those who want to reconcile with the Church, saying the archdiocese prays that those who have “willingly fallen away from the Church” through the attempted ordination will willingly return to the “community of believers.”