Iowa bishop asks faithful not to participate in attempted ordination of woman

Bishop Martin Amos.
Bishop Martin Amos.

.- Repeating Catholic teaching on the invalidity of attempts to ordain women, the Bishop of Davenport, Iowa has said a local woman’s intention to undergo ordination by a breakaway Catholic group damages the unity of the Church and has asked people not to participate in the ceremony.

In a May 25 statement published in The Catholic Messenger, Bishop Martin Amos asked those of the Diocese of Davenport to prayerfully to reconsider any participation in or advocacy of the attempted ordination of women, an excommunicable offense.

“Such participation does not foster unity in the Church and jeopardizes the communion of the faithful with each other and with God. On my part, I will continue to pray for unity throughout the Church and for those people who struggle with this issue,” he stated.

Mary Kay Kusner, a married mother of four, intends to undergo “ordination” by a Roman Catholic Womanpriest group at First Christian Church in Coralville, Iowa on June 13. She is presently a chaplain in palliative care at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

"Ordination for me is finally claiming what I know I am," the 50-year-old Kusner told the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

According to Kusner, her daughter’s chromosomal disorder helped push her to pursue ordination because her daughter taught her “the significance of inclusion.”

In August 2009 Kusner underwent a purported ordination as a deacon and was automatically excommunicated. She currently leads a group called Full Circle which meets in people’s homes.

Her decision to pursue advancement as a womanpriest was met with disapproval by her parents and siblings.

Kusner’s brother will attend the June 13 ceremony and her husband and children have been “extremely supportive,” the Press-Citizen reports.

Bishop Amos’ statement noted that the Church has held the role of women “in high regard” for “centuries.” He added that this “absolutely vital” role extends to all women through the example of the Virgin Mary.

He then cited Pope John Paul II’s 1994 apostolic letter “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis,” which declared that the Church has “no authority whatsoever” to confer priestly ordination on women.

“This judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful,” the pontiff’s letter said.

Bishop Amos then reiterated the May 29, 2008 decree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which said those who attempt to ordain women are excommunicated, as are the women who attempt to be ordained.

Those who are excommunicated are forbidden from celebrating sacraments or sacramentals, receiving the sacraments, and exercising any function in an ecclesiastical office, ministry or assignment.

The bishop explained that the purpose of excommunication is always to bring the person back into communion with the Church and to help him or her discover the unity of the Church, “a communion broken by their action.”

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