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If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at and I have a Facebook page.

Friday, August 04, 2006

8 Women Ordained as Priests Not Excommunicated


August 4, 2006


On July 31, 2006, eight Roman Catholic women were ordained as priests in Pittsburgh. They were validly ordained by three consecrated female bishops.

Whether or not U.S. bishops recognize these priests as validly ordained is not the point. What is very much to the point is the fact that bishops have incorrectly stated that the women who were ordained have excommunicated themselves from the Roman Catholic Church.

Under the carefully crafted guidelines for excommunication, there needs to be a process for such action. There is no such thing as "self-excommunication,” although one could make an argument that if a person announces that he or she is leaving the Roman Catholic Church, an interpretation of self-excommunication is possible. However, in the case of the eight women ordained as priests on July 31, there were no announcements from these women that they were leaving Roman Catholicism. They do indeed consider themselves to be Catholic and are therefore not self-excommunicated.

In the fullest sense, excommunication is the result of a process initiated by a diocesan tribunal. In brief, a formal charge needs to be made, after which the accused have an opportunity to be represented by a Canon lawyer at a trial in front of a tribunal. Even if a tribunal should decide that excommunication is in order, there is an appeal process.

In summation, no formal charges have been made against the eight women who were ordained as priests on July 31. Therefore, an excommunication process has not been initiated. If a bishop should choose to initiate such a process, it is reasonable assume that he would be the subject of ridicule. Therefore, trials by tribunal seem to be rather unlikely.

CORPUS (the national association for an inclusive priesthood) fully supports the July 31 ordinations. In addition, CORPUS prays for the day when the Vatican comes to recognize the need for an inclusive priesthood - a priesthood that does not discriminate on the basis of gender, marital status or sexual orientation.

Ray Grosswirth
Media Liaison for CORPUS (


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