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April 27, 2009


It is most unfortunate that this pseudo-Ordination has occurred within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. I am concerned pastorally for the souls of those involved and for the Catholic faithful who may be confused. Those who present themselves for ordination at such an invalid ceremony - as well as those who falsely claim to be ordaining the women -- are, by their actions, automatically excommunicated from the Church. (General Decree regarding the delict of attempted sacred ordination of a woman, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, December 19, 2007)

Such a ceremony is in violation of the constant teaching of the Church, based on Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Both clearly indicate that Jesus called only men to follow Him as Apostles, and the Church has always regarded his choice in this matter as normative for all time. Therefore, she has always followed Jesus' example by choosing only men for the ministry of Holy Orders. This teaching has been confirmed by the supreme authority of the Catholic Church as definitive and irreformable. Consequently, the Church is not authorized by Christ to confer Holy Orders upon women, and cannot do so, no matter how ardent a person's desire may be.

All Catholic men and women bring different yet equally valuable gifts to the Church. The Church is strongest when the gifts given by Christ to all her members are celebrated and respected. Our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, said, "The presence and the role of women in the life of the Church, although not linked to the ministerial priesthood, remain absolutely necessary and irreplaceable." (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, 1994).

God's gifts, however, are never given to individuals merely for their own fulfillment, but for the unfolding of his plan of salvation in the Church for the benefit of the whole community of the faithful, and no one's true personal dignity in the Church can be fostered in opposition to the will of Christ Himself. Consequently, such a pseudo-ordination ceremony denigrates the truth entrusted to the Church by Christ Himself, and demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the respect and dignity accorded to women by Christ and His Church.


Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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