ASK FATHER: Excommunication of lay people for attending women’s fake ordination?

From a reader…


A local Protestant affiliated hospital in my city hosted a so-called WomanPriest recently. She purported to confect the Eucharist in their chapel. This “event” received zero publicity (to my surprise). The usual small gaggle of grey haired unitarian-ish UCC/ELCA/Episcopalians were in attendance, I understand. She no more confected the body and blood of Our Lord than does the Episcopalian female priest on staff at that institution. (Of course this Roman Catholic WomanPriest is an excommunicate).

My question is: Are there canonical penalties for LAY Catholics who attended this, and received so-called communion?

(Yes, the local ordinary has been informed.)

In 2007 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Pope Benedict XVI, alerted the faithful to the fact that any woman claiming to get ordained and any bishop attempting to ordain a woman would be subject to the penalty of excommunication. The CDF, by this decree, elevated the attention of the Church to these sad instances, which are grave threats to the integrity of the priesthood and of the faith.

The attachment of a penalty of excommunication to the bishop who attempts to ordain and also the to the woman who attempts to get ordained makes it clear that this is serious matter. A priest or deacon who participates in these fiascoes open himself up to possible penalties.

The lay faithful, too, should stay far away from this nonsense.

While no specific penalty is declared for laity who attend, a wise and prudent bishop should consider the possibility of imposing censures should this become a particular problem in his diocese.

Apart from ecclesiastical penalties, simulating sacraments is a grave sin which certainly displease Our Lord.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Elizabeth D says:

    Couldn’t an argument be made for combining this question about someone participating in a “womenpriest” so-called liturgy with the preceding question about returning from schism? The more you learn about it the more you realize the “womenpriests” belief system is so substantially different as to be a different sect or a different religion even, at any rate it is a real departure from Catholicism. Though many lay people who get involved have too little knowledge to necessarily be fully culpable. They know not what they are doing.

  2. gloriamary says:

    What are those hideous papier-mache things??!

  3. arcanum_divinae says:

    Why do they call themselves “womenpriests” and not “women priests”? Surely it can’t be actual *shame* at falsely using the word “priest”, right?

  4. Elizabeth D says:

    They call themselves womenpriests because they are priests of the “womenchurch” and not of the real one. Look up “Womenchurch Convergence” and you will see what they are “priests” of. When Sister Donna Quinn the “abortion nun” has to fill out a form that asks for her diocese she writes “Womenchurch”, according to her.

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