Roman Catholic Women Priests respond to Vatican document

by Dennis Coday

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Roman Catholic Women Priests issued a statement late last night (North America time) anticipating the release this morning of the Vatican's revision of certain church laws, which as expected, added the "attempted ordination of women" to list of "grave crimes."

The release opens by objecting to having women's ordination and sex abuse of minors by clergy in the same category of sin, which fellow blogger Maureen Fiedler wrote about earlier (Don't know whether to laugh, cry or scream!).

Here is the rest of the Roman Catholic Womenpriests statement:

Roman Catholic Womenpriests believe that the forthcoming document from the Vatican is intended to specifically scare off male priests who choose to walk in solidarity with us for justice for women in our church. Priests like Roy Bourgeois, Maryknoll priest of 38 years, founder of the School of the Americas Watch and 2010 nominee for the Nobel Prize for Peace. Bourgeois participated in the ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska in Lexington, Kentucky, on Aug. 9, 2008.

We are welcomed with open arms and hearts by the people at the grassroots of the church. Yet, our brother priests- the Vatican’s all-male hierarchy- in May 2008, declared that we and the person ordaining us would be self-excommunicating ourselves. The Vatican has also said that anyone who attends ordinations would be excommunicated. That threat has not deterred the faithful who come in droves to Roman Catholic women’s ordinations all over the United States. Roman Catholic Womenpriests numbers have erupted from seven to over 100 in the last eight years since the first ordination in 2002 on the Danube in Europe. The Vatican continues to respond to women’s ordinations with condemnation of everyone who supports the movement for women priests within the Catholic Church. However, Womenpriests are being supported widely by the hundreds of Catholics attending every public ordination.

The Roman Catholic Womenpriests wonder how answering a spiritual call to serve through priesthood could possibly be in the same category of “sin” as pedophilia. Instead of the many excommunications and condemnations the Vatican issues against women priests and their supporters, it would be better to take responsibility for the damaging behaviors of patriarchy especially the abuse of spiritual power. We suggest that the Vatican begin this process of reconciliation and renewal by listening to the pain of those who suffer from clergy abuse: nuns, women priests, and lay women in the Church who have been as much victims of the church as the survivors of sexual abuse.

RCWP asks the member states of the United Nations to support us in our quest for justice for women within the Roman Catholic Church and for justice for victims of Catholic clergy sexual abuse. It is unjust and discriminatory that the males at the Vatican continue to deny us employment and decision-making within the Roman Catholic Church. This behavior is a violation of international law, our human rights, the example of Jesus and the integrity of conscience.

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