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California woman renounces 'ordination' to diaconate

February 24, 2011

A California woman who participated in an 2007 “ordination” ceremony organized by Roman Catholic Women Priests has renounced her ordination, affirmed the Church’s teaching on the impossibility of ordaining women, and asked forgiveness.

Norma Jean Coon, who had claimed ordination as a deacon, said that she has broken ties with Roman Catholic Women Priests and now wishes to “disclaim the alleged ordination publicly with apologies to those whose lives I have offended or scandalized by my actions.”

In her statement, Norma Jean Coon says that the ordination ceremony, which took place in Santa Barbara in 2007, was conducted by “Bishop Patricia Fresen, of Germany and South Africa, who was ordained by three male bishops in Germany.” She recognizes that because the ceremony was illicit, she incurred the penalty of excommunication. The bishops who allegedly attempted to ordain Fresen could also be subject to that penalty, but they have never been identified.

Coon says that she accepts the truth of the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, in which Pope John Paul II explained that women cannot be ordained. Her statement renouncing the claim to ordination, however, leaves the impression that Patricia Fresen actually was ordained as a bishop, which is impossible.


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  • Posted by: Gil125 - Feb. 24, 2011 7:48 PM ET USA

    Yesterday the priest who "concelebrated" with a protestant minister apologized and admitted he was wrong. Today, this. Things are looking up.