The Excommunication of Three Women Priests

Posted by Censor Librorum on Mar 30, 2008 | Categories: Dissent

On  March 12, 2008, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke declared two women who live in the archdiocese and another who lives in Germany, excommunicated. Burke also excommunicated Patricia Fresen, the bishop who  led  Hudson’s and McGrath’s ordinations. Fresen is a former Dominican nun from South Africa who now lives in Germany.   All three women are members of the Womenpriests movement.  stlouispriests.jpg

The area women, Rose Marie Hudson, 68 ,of Festus, and Elsie Hainz McGrath, 69, of St. Louis, were ordained as priests in November 2007.   They currently co-pastor a faith community and hold a worship service for about 35 people Sunday evenings at the first Unitarian Church of St. Louis.

Bridget Mary Meehan, a spokesperson for Womenpriests, said Burke is not authorized to excommunicate Fresen because she lives outside the Diocese of St. Louis.   Monsignor John Shamleffer, the archdiocese’s chief canon lawyer, said Burke is within his right to respond to disobedience within his geographic jurisdiction, regardless of Fresen’s residence outside the U.S. “Excommunication is not meant to be a penalty,” he said, but a “wakeup call” aimed at helping the women “see the error of their ways and return to full communion with the church.”

A total of 10 women priests  have been excommunicated since ordinations began in 2002.  The original “Danube Seven” were excommunicated within weeks of their ordination on the Danube River in Germany. Meehan indicated there are  53 women candidates for priesthood, deacons and priests in North America and elsewhere around the world.

In a statement on March 13, Hudson and McGrath said that they “and all Roman Catholic Womenpriests, reject the penalties of excommunication, interdict, and any other punitive actions from church officials. We are loyal daughters of the church, and we stand in the prophetic tradition of holy disobedience to an unjust man-made law that disciminates against women.”

They cited the words of Pope Benedict XVI, who, as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote that Catholics must obey their own conscience, “if necessary even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority.”

Salon reported the Womenpriest movement “is the most flamboyant and incendiary challenge to the Roman Catholic Church’s unrelenting discrimination against women.” “They are asking, Is Sexism a sin? How does the Church reconcile its teaching that women and men are created in God’s image, that once baptized, there is ‘no male or female’ and ‘all are one in Christ Jesus,’ with its contention that women cannot represent the ultimate sacred or hold ultimate power through ordination because they are, literally, the wrong ‘substance’?”

It is interesting to note that while Pope Benedict has strongly hinted his support for  the excommunication of politicians that support abortion, he has said nothing about excommunicating women priests.

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One Response to “The Excommunication of Three Women Priests”

  1. Irish cardenal estadounidense Raymond Burke culpa a las mujeres por los problemas de la iglesia | Evangelizadoras de los apóstoles Says:

    […] de los medios se ha creado debido a la oposición del cardenal. Lee la historia aquí: “Las mujeres de la zona, Rose Marie Hudson, de 68 años, de Festo, y Elsie Hainz McGrath, de […]

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