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Vatican Rules: Ordaining Women Priests a Crime Like Sex Abuse of Children

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New rules the Vatican is expected to issue soon on penalties for priests who sexually abuse children will also put the ordaining of women in the same category of the most serious crimes under church law.

Church sources told Catholic News Service that the new "norms," as the policies are called, will include the "attempted ordination of women" among the list of most serious crimes, or what are known as "delicta graviora."

Sexual abuse of a minor by a priest was added to the classification in 2001. The new norms are largely expected to codify changes made in 2001 and 2003 that were aimed at addressing the burgeoning clergy abuse scandal. But the policies expected to be issued later this month will also specifically include the abuse of mentally disabled adults as on par with abusing minors, and it will extend the statute of limitations under the Church's Code of Canon Law from 10 years after a victim turns 18 to 20 years.

Word that the Vatican will also use this opportunity to codify the attempted ordination of a woman as among the "delicta graviora" is a surprise, however, and is not likely to please either victims advocates -- who have been pushing for much more stringent and universal church policies against abusers -- or those who favor a greater role for women in the church.

"Quite frankly, it is an outrage to pair the two, a complete injustice to connect the aspirations of some women among the baptized to ordained ministry with what are some of the worst crimes that can be committed against the least of Christ's members," U.S. Catholic editor Bryan Cones wrote at the monthly magazine's web site in a blast that appears to echo the views of many.

"This decision boggles the mind: The faithful have been justly demanding for nearly a decade clear guidelines for dealing with the sexual abuse of children, along with just punishments for both offenders and bishops who have abetted these crimes. What we have gotten is half of what we have been asking for (still no sanctions for bishops), along with a completely unconnected and unnecessary condemnation of the ordination of women."

In recent years, a number of women around the world have sought to be ordained as priests, in violation of longstanding church prohibitions. In some cases male priests who were legitimately ordained have performed the ritual, which is apparently what concerns the Vatican most.

In 2008, the Vatican department overseeing orthodoxy, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith -- which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed for 23 years before his election as Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 -- formally decreed that a woman who attempts to be ordained a Catholic priest and the person attempting to ordain her are automatically excommunicated.

The new policy would apparently make it easier for the congregation to defrock any priest who participated in such an ordination.

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I'm as moderate conservative as they come..this goes from inane to arcane...

July 22 2010 at 1:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If the catholic church feels that ordaining women as priests is as bad or just abote as bad a sin as the priest molesting children,then there are probably thousands of ordained women as priest.Its just a problem finding where they were all transfered to or hidden by the cardinals or the pope.But if the catholic church thinks this is as bad as molesting young children and insted of admitting they have a problem just transfer them somewhere else.The catholic church has problems beyond repair

July 22 2010 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am often baffled by people's insistence that the Catholic Church change it's policies. If you want to attend a Christian church that ordains women, there are plenty of other denominations that do. Why not just attend one of those churches?

Why do people always feel the need to change other people's beliefs?

"We live your lives expecting the whole world to be carpeted for us. Why not just wear a pair of slippers?". - Stuart Smalley

July 16 2010 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob Fitz

Wasn't it a woman (Mary Magdalen) that Christ appeared to first after His crucifixion? There has been a steady diminution of women's stature and work in the Catholic Church. I was raised in a Catholic Orphanage and two people stand out in my life; one a Sister and one a Priest. By far, the Sister was more educated and professional but had to defer to the Priests and even the Brothers (Xvarian). The Sisters talked a lot about Hell; the Brothers not so much and the Priests (Jesuits) said Hell is a state of mind! The Catholic hierarchy unduly creates a 'hellish' state of mind not conducive to the prayerful love of Christ and respect for all; that's all, people. I drink to my conscience then i drink to the Pope! Common sense should rule not talking male heads.

July 16 2010 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

God said to Eve: " Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you". Man was created in God's image, woman was created for man. Women are to be "silent" in church, therefore no woman may be ordained. I know it offends our western beliefs of gender equality but those are the facts. We can choose to believe God's word or we can do as we please and die. I choose the former, even if I don't fully understand it.

July 16 2010 at 12:00 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BobaLou's comment

You can't possibly believe what you you? It is also written: "...all through the house, not a creature was stirring...not even a mouse." You must sit still and be quiet...or you'll get nothing.

July 16 2010 at 4:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The Vatican is shamelessly displaying its long-running contempt for women. They sound creepily similar to some of the Islamic clerics who also trumpet their hatred of women. Organized religion has significantly distorted divine truth. This has been confirmed by research with thousands of people who have had near-death experiences and who have had direct encounters with the Creator.

July 12 2010 at 9:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Critter Lover 09

I don't understand how a mortal...a human being...has the right to speak for God and change laws at will. If you believe in the bible, that should be IT from the beginning of life to the end and NOT according to what the Pope decides is wrong one day and okay the next, so-to-speak.

July 11 2010 at 6:27 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Perhaps the Church in Rome is hoping to attract disaffected Anglicans with this policy?

July 11 2010 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As a former Roman Catholic, now Episcopalian, I find the Roman church to be behind the times on many issues: the ordination of women being one of them. The Roman church is far to politicized into its empire to accept change. The molestations by many of its priests are the result of the "clique" run by males. It's no wonder, it as a church is losing young people all over.

July 11 2010 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Vatican persists in aggrandizing men and demeaning women.

Too bad they don't talk to modern psychologists about how effective emotionally healthy and consistent paternal engagement & care is in giving a child (of either sex) self esteem that protects them from letting themselves be abused. (I.e,.not priestly "fathers" but the child's real father.) See Kyle Pruett's books.

July 11 2010 at 11:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to nowafewthoughts's comment

And Stephan Poulter's books (former seminary student, I believe, who dropped out to get a PhD in psychology once he suspected this was true).

July 11 2010 at 7:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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