Vatican reaffirms Church teaching on ordination to the priesthood

Vatican reaffirms Church teaching on ordination to the priesthood

Vatican reaffirms Church teaching on ordination to the priesthood


The secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Angelo Amato, said this week only men can be ordained to the priesthood because “the Catholic Church is not authorized to change the will of her founder, Jesus Christ."

"Therefore," the archbishop continued, "in the participation in the life and mission of the Church, women cannot receive the sacrament of Holy Orders and therefore, they cannot carry out the functions proper to the ministerial priesthood.”

In an interview with the Vatican daily, L’Osservatore Romano, regarding the recent decree by the CDF on the “ordination” of women, Archbishop Amato explained, that the Church’s teaching on this matter is founded upon the “free and sovereign will of Jesus Christ, who only called men to be apostles.” The Church is bound by the decision of the Lord Himself, he stressed.  “For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.” 

Archbishop Amato said the CDF decree was necessary because of “false ordinations of women that have taken place in different parts of the world.  The General Decree is also an aid to bishops to ensure a uniform response in the entire Church to these situations.  In reality these are not true and proper ordinations,” he explained.

The archbishop went on to note that the decree imposes latae sententiae or immediately applied excommunication on those who attempt to ordain women to the priesthood and on women who attempt to receive Holy Orders.  “The excommunication is automatic, ipso facto,” he stated.

Excommunication bars an individual from participating in the Mass and in the other sacraments of the Church and from exercising any kind of Church ministry.  It is “reserved to the Holy See and is lifted when the persons in question show sincere repentance and promise to follow the Church’s doctrine and discipline."

“Excommunication is a medicinal punishment that invites the person to repentance, conversion and reparation of the scandal, as the act in question was a public one,” Archbishop Amato explained.

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