Sanctions lifted on recanting woman deacon

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith lifted the sanctions on Norma Jean Coon, the San Diego woman who recently publicly recanted her Roman Catholic Womenpriest ordination.

"The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has lifted any canonical sanctions that I incurred by attempting ordination as a deacon," Coon wrote March 25 on her Web site,

"A letter from Bishop Robert Brom states that I may now return to the full practice of our Catholic faith. I have been very touched at the remarkable support of my actions and the prayers offered in my behalf during this trying time."

Coon is the first woman ordained through a woman's ordination association to recant her decision, according to the Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an international initiative founded in 2002.

On Feb.8, Coon renounced the decision on her Web site (read story here).

Last year, the Vatican revised church laws that govern the handling of what it calls "grave crimes" and for the first time added the "attempted sacred ordination of a woman" to that list (NCR, Aug. 6).

Participants incur latae sententiae, or automatic excommunication. To return to full communion with the church, the person must appeal to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Coon took part in an ordination ceremony to the diaconate by the Roman Catholic Womenpriests in July 2007 in Santa Barbara, according to her Web site. Two weeks later, Coon withdrew from the program.

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