Ordination of women a crime: Vatican
The Age | Melbourne
July 16, 2010
The ordination of women as Catholic priests is a "crime against the faith," the Vatican has said while it issued a raft of new disciplinary rules.
Cases of "attempted ordination of women" will now be handled by the Vatican's doctrinal watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), a Vatican statement said on Thursday.
The new rules put attempts at the ordination of women among the "most serious crimes", along with pedophilia.
They update a 2007 CDF decree, according to which those who attempt to ordain women - and the women concerned - are subject to automatic excommunication.
The US-based Women's Ordination Conference, an advocacy group, dismissed the decision as "medieval at best" and a "scare tactic".
The update was prompted by "fear of our growing numbers", the group said in a statement. "The Vatican is using this attempt to extinguish the widespread call for women's equality in the church."
The Vatican also issued new rules on the handling of sex abuse cases on Thursday. It ordered quicker investigations of pedophile priests and extended the statute of limitations by 10 years to 20 years after the victim's 18th birthday.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi underscored how the ordination of women is "a crime against sacraments", while pedophilia should be considered a "crime against morals".
In May, an Austrian Catholic bishop said the church should rethink ordaining women following the widespread pedophilia scandal.
Eight Catholic activists staged a demonstration in favour of women's ordination in St Peter's Square in June.