Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
On 29 June 2002, Romulo Antonio Braschi, the founder of a schismatic community, attempted to confer priestly ordination on the following Catholic women: Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Adelinde Theresia Roitinger, Gisela Forster, Iris Müller, Ida Raming, Pia Brunner and Angela White.
In order to give direction to the consciences of the Catholic faithful and dispel any doubts which may have arisen, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wishes to recall the teaching of the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis of Pope John Paul II, which states that "the church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgement is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful" (n. 4). For this reason, the above-mentioned "priestly ordination' constitutes the simulation of a sacrament and is thus invalid and null, as well as constituting a grave offence to the divine constitution of the Church. Furthermore, because the "ordaining" Bishop belongs to a schismatic community, it is also a serious attack on the unity of the Church. Such an action is an affront to the dignity of women, whose specific role in the Church and society is distinctive and irreplaceable.
The present Declaration,recalling the preceding statements of the Bishop of Linz and the Episcopal Conference of Austria and in accordance with canon 1347 § 1 of the CIC, gives formal warning to the above-mentioned women that they will incur excommunication reserved to the Holy See if, by 22 July 2002, they do not (1) acknowledge the nullity of the "orders' they have received from a schismatic Bishop in contradiction to the definitive doctrine of the Church and (2) state their repentance and ask forgiveness for the scandal caused to the faithful.
Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 10 July 2002.
Joseph Card. RATZINGER,
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli,
DECREE OF EXCOMMUNICATION
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
On 5 August the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the Decree of Excommunication of the seven women who took part in an invalid ordination ceremony in Austria on Saturday, 29 June.
The ceremony which took place on a boat on the Danube River in Austria, was performed by Romulo Antonio Braschi, an Argentinian priest, who broke with the Catholic Church in 1998, and was ordained a Bishop in the Schismatic Catholic Apostolic Church of Brazil. That group broke away from the Holy See in 1945. The seven women, from Germany, Austria and the United States are: Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Adelinde Theresia Roitinger, Gisela Forster, Iris Müller, Ida Raming, Pia Brunner and Angela White. The women were given time to repent and renounce their ordination, but the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith noted that they have given no sign of repentance.
Premise to the Decree of Excommunication
In order to dispel any doubts about the canonical status of Bishop Romulo Antonio Braschi, who attempted to confer priestly ordination onseveral Catholic women, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith confirms that, as a schismatic, he has already incurred an excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.
Decree of Excommunication
Following upon the warning issued by this Congregation on 10 July 2002, and published the following day, because the women Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Adelinde Theresia Roitinger, Gisela Forster, Iris Müller, Ida Raming, Pia Brunner and Angela White did not within the period that ended on22 July 2002, give any indication of amendment or repentance for the most serious offense they had committed, this Dicastery, in keeping withthis warning, declares that they have incurred an excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See with all the effects established by canon 1331 of the Code of Canon Law.
In having to take this action, the Congregation trusts that, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, these persons may discover the path of conversion in order to return to the unity of the faith and to communion with the Church, which they have wounded by their actions.
Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 5 August 2002.
JOSEPH Card. RATZINGER
TARCISIO BERTONE, S.D.B.
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli
Weekly Edition in English
17 July 2002, page 11
7/14 August 2002, page 12
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