Vatican says no-no to women priests

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{image-Women priests_30052008.jpg www.oneindia.com}London, May 30: In its most explicit decree so far against the ordination of women priests, the Vatican has declared that it will punish female priests and the bishops who ordain them with automatic excommunication.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the decree in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, and put it into immediate effect. The decree makes the Church's existing ban on women priests more clear by clarifying that excommunication would follow all such ordinations. Being excommunicated from the church prohibits the individual from receiving any sacraments and from participating in group worship, such as mass. Rev. Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, said he thought the decree was meant to send a warning to the growing number of Catholics who favour admitting women to the priesthood.

"I think the reason they're doing this is that they've realised there is more and more support among Catholics for ordaining women, and they want to make clear that this is a no-no," the Telegraph quoted Reese, as saying.

The Church says it cannot modify the rules banning women from the priesthood because Christ chose only men as his apostles.

Though Catholic law states that only a baptised male can be made a priest, advocates of women's ordination say Christ was only acting according to the social norms of his time.

ANI

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