Catholic World News

Archbishop Wuerl welcomes inclusion of women’s ordination among ‘extremely serious’ crimes

July 16, 2010

Speaking in his capacity as chairman of the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington welcomed the inclusion of “the attempted ordination of a woman” among the revised Vatican norms for “extremely serious” crimes.

“The Vatican’s clarification today of the seriousness with which it holds offenses against the Sacrament of Holy Orders is a welcome statement,” he said on July 15. “The seven sacraments are an integral and identifying part of the Catholic Church and the faith life of each Catholic. To feign any sacrament would be egregious. The Catholic Church through its long and constant teaching holds that ordination has been, from the beginning, reserved to men, a fact which cannot be changed despite changing times.”

Archbishop Wuerl added:

All Catholics are called to Christian service. Women have responded with extraordinary generosity. Historically, women have had an essential role in the life of the Church. This is true especially through their volunteer work in parishes, their professional service and their membership in religious communities, lay movements and other organizations, where they serve in a range of areas such as health care and education.

Today women serve in Church leadership positions at all levels. Women hold nearly half of diocesan administrative and professional positions—a fact that compares favorably to the U.S. workforce as a whole. Women also hold about one-quarter of the top diocesan positions, such as chancellor, school superintendent or chief financial officer. About 80 percent of lay parish ministers are women.

The Church’s gratitude to women cannot be stated strongly enough. Women offer unique insight, creative abilities and unstinting generosity at the very heart of the Catholic Church. Their activity and determinative participation explains much of what makes the Catholic Church the powerful force for goodness and holiness that it is.

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  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jul. 16, 2010 7:19 PM ET USA

    We have to remember that the meaning of "crimen" (pl. crimina) in canon law is different from its popular meaning. Thus trying to ordain a woman (an impossibility) is crimen. Abusing another person is crimen. They are crimina of different types, but they both carry moral weight and both deserve canonical penalties.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Jul. 16, 2010 7:10 PM ET USA

    Yes, but... That's what the women's lobby will say. The church simply must move on from this and not be drawn into a discussion or "dialogue." Such discussions lead to negotiations about changes that are not possible. The church should listen, of course, but then politely move on from there. The Chinese have a way of handling these kinds of things: they simply smile, say something is not possible, and that's the end of that.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 16, 2010 12:23 PM ET USA

    The fact that women hold so many high level positions in the Church is one of the problems. Too many of them are feminists with the goal of undermining Church teaching.