FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 16, 2010
Yesterday, the Vatican issued a clarification of its canonical procedures for how dioceses should handle priests who sexually abuse children. As part of the statement, they have added that the "attempted ordination of a woman" has now been added to the list of "delicta graviora," or most serious crimes in church law, alongside the sexual abuse of minors.
This morning, twenty-seven international Catholic organizations issued the following joint statement in response:
We, the undersigned, express our solidarity with Catholics who continue to seek equality, including those who practice feminist ministries and those who are ordained. We know these women and men to be firm in their faith and courageous in their work as they seek an inclusive and accountable church, undeterred by threats of excommunication or other canonical penalties.
In addition, we stand with our brother priests and bishops who are also being threatened by this new policy for their support of women's equality in the church. Furthermore, we take great offense that good faith struggles for gender equality could be misunderstood as a sacrilege and placed on par with the sexual abuse of children.
In 1976, the Vatican's own Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded there is no valid scriptural reason for denying ordination to women. Therefore, we welcome such efforts to expand the scope and variety of ministry and we celebrate women's faithfulness despite huge institutional obstacles.
We are gravely disappointed that the Vatican would largely repackage its sexual abuse policy norms from 2001 in yesterday's re-issued statement without adding many meaningful changes to canonical procedures on how to handle the sexual crimes of its religious leaders. We stand with survivors in calling for the release of the names of all credibly accused Catholic religious leaders and for the Vatican's immediate adoption and implementation of global child protection policies. Nothing less is adequate to the crying needs of a community torn asunder by its own leaders' crimes.
Catholic Organization Signatories
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC), USAPatrick B. Edgar, D.P.A., M.Div., President
BASIC (Brothers And Sisters In Christ), Ireland.
Contact: Una Ruddock +353 1 621 6816
arianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, 617-669-7810
Call To Action, USA
Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director773.404.0004
Catholics for Choice- Canada
Rosemary Ganley, Coordinator
Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, USA
Paula Ruddy, Bernie Rodel, Michael Bayly, Co-chairs(612) 379-1043
Catholic Network for Women's Equality, Canada
Paula MacQuarrie, Coordinator
CORPUS, USAContact: William Manseau
Corriente Somos Iglesia, Spain Raquel Mallavibarrena, Coordinator+34 649332654
Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, Mexico Maria Consuelo Mejia, Director +5255 5658 1163
Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir, Spain Mar Grandal, President 352 88946
8th Day Center for Justice - Women's Group, USAwww.8thdaycenter.org
Femmes et Hommes en Eglise/Genre en Christianisme, France
Danielle Penuel-Monneron, President(0)2 33 90 78 10
Institute for Feminism and Religion, Ireland.
Mary Condren, Th.D., Director 001-353-1-4624504
Interreligious Convention of European Women Theologians
Lee Wax, Coordinator0044-208 884 0476 Kerk Hardop, Netherlands Marleen Wijdeveld, President Isaac Wüst, Editor-in-Chief0031-20-441.3339
National Coalition of American Nuns, USAContact: Donna Quinn Noi Siamo Chiesa (Italian Section of IMWAC), ItalyContact: Vi
Nous sommes Aussi l'Eglise, FranceLucienne Gouguenhem,
Vice-President33 1 45 88 04 92
Pax Christi Maine, USABill Slavick, Coordinator 207-773-6562
RAPPORT, USAConatct: Gloria Ulterino
Roman Catholic Faith Community Council of the Federation of Christian Ministries William J. Manseau, Evelyn Hunt, and Thomas Quinn, Co-Chairs 603-886-7158
Roman Catholic Women Priests, Europe-West.
I. Riedl, Coordinator 0049-089 845 830
Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc
Contact: Alice Iaquinta 414-791-9952
Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), USA
Mary E. Hunt and Diann L. Neu, Co-directors 301 589-2509
Women's Ordination Conference, USA
Erin Saiz Hanna, Executive Director202-675-1006
Therese Koturbash, Coordinator+44 (0)1923 779 446
Excellent statement above! The Vatican's credibility has sunk to a new low in categorizing women's ordination as a "crime" against the sacraments. This Vatican action is yet another example of Vatican's hostility toward women's equality in the church. Women who preside at sacraments are leading the church into its future and reclaiming our ancient heritage where women ministered in ordained leadership.
Womenpriests are part of the solution to the worldwide sex abuse scandal, not the problem. If the hierarchy had listened to women in the church, they would not have covered up such heinous crimes that hurt children and youth. Can you imagine mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts protecting Our ministry is not a crime against the sacraments but a gift of service to the church we love. Womenpriests bring a renewed priestly ministry in a people-empowered, inclusive Catholic Church. Perhaps, this is why the Vatican reacted so negatively. They are in panic mode because the renewal of the church is already happening in grassroots communities, and womenpriests are partners and equals with the people in these communities.
The clerical abuse of power is at the heart of the downfall of the institutional church in the current global sex abuse crisis. This closed, secretive system covered up crimes of rape and sodomy, crimes that destroyed the lives of thousands of victims. This clerical abuse of power by the Catholic hierarchy is the the systemic sin, the "crime" that needs to be named and changed if the institutional church is to move forward and do justice for survivors. Bridget Mary Meehan