.- Archbishop Donald Wuerl of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Doctrine welcomed the Vaticanâs recent clarification on the canonical penalties for the attempted ordination of women, saying the action shows âthe seriousness with which it holds offenses against the Sacrament of Holy Orders.â
In a July 15 statement the Vatican said that the attempted ordination of women was a âgrave delict,â a Church crime that is always referred to the Holy See for adjudication.
Archbishop of Washington Donald W. Wuerl, Chairman of the USCCBâs Committee on Doctrine, said the clarification was âa welcome statement.â
âThe seven sacraments are an integral and identifying part of the Catholic Church and the faith life of each Catholic,â he commented. âTo feign any sacrament would be egregious. The Catholic Church through its long and constant teaching holds that ordination has been, from the beginning, reserved to men, a fact which cannot be changed despite changing times.â
Archbishop Wuerl noted that all Catholics are called to âChristian service.â
Women have responded to this call with âextraordinary generosityâ and have had an âessential roleâ in the life of the Church. They now serve in âChurch leadership positions at all levels,â he commented, reporting that they hold nearly half of diocesan administrative and professional positions, about 25 percent of the top diocesan positions, and make up about 80 percent of lay parish ministers.
âThe Churchâs gratitude to women cannot be stated strongly enough. Women offer unique insight, creative abilities and unstinting generosity at the very heart of the Catholic Church,â Archbishop Wuerl continued.
Pope John Paul II, in his 1994 apostolic letter âOrdinatio Sacerdotalis,â reaffirmed that the Catholic Church has no authority to ordain women. The issue was also addressed by the U.S. bishops in their 1998 pastoral response.