Archbishop thinks ‘ordination’ ceremony could mean automatic excommunication

On Monday, nine women had themselves ‘ordained’ as Catholic priests aboard a boat near Ottawa, Canada, an act, which one local archbishop fears, could mean automatic excommunication.

The women, who include seven Americans, a Canadian and a German living in the U.S., were falsely ordained, according to Church law, by Austrian, Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and German, Gisela Forster who were ‘ordained’ bishops in 2002.

The ceremony, reportedly sponsored by a group called, ’Roman Catholic Womenpriests’ was held aboard a boat in the middle of the St. Lawrence River near Gananoque, Ont., so as to avoid any diocesan jurisdiction.

According to Catholic teaching, only men can be ordained to the priesthood, a doctrine which it argues is not sexist, but respects different vocations created specifically for men and women.

Archbishop Anthony Meagher of Kingston said that while he would like to see more women involved in the Church, “wearing the colors of priesthood” is not the way to do it.

"What they are doing is stepping outside of the Church,” he said, “and I believe it's an automatic excommunication…It saddens me. Sacrament is so precious and they are trivializing it."

Following a similar ordination ceremony in France early this month, Vincent Feroldi, a spokesman for Lyon’s Archbishop Philippe Barbarin said that no decree of excommunication would necessary in a technical sense, because of the fundamental violation of Church law the woman’s actions constitute.

Many are waiting to see if a formal declaration is issued, as the number of ceremonies for women’s ordination seems to be growing.

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