The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Bishop blasts attempted ordination of a woman

It happened in Phoenix:

The Catholic Bishop of Phoenix responded Wednesday to a priest’s reported participation in an attempted priestly ordination of a woman. Urging prayers for all involved, he said such actions are “divisive” and have “profoundly harmful consequences.”

Writing in a Sept. 1 letter published in the Catholic Sun, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted informed Catholics in the diocese that a “schismatic group” in Tempe, Arizona called the Ecumenical Catholic Communion tried to ordain a woman. Fr. Vernon Meyer, a priest of the Diocese of Phoenix, reportedly participated in the alleged ordination.


“To feign the conferral of the Sacrament of Holy Orders results in the penalty of excommunication,” Bishop Olmsted explained, saying the penalty applies both to the person attempting the ordination and to the person attempting to be ordained.

“The attempted ordination of a woman is a grave offense against a sacrament and the structure of the Church,” he added. “Please pray for all involved in this divisive, scandalous act against the Catholic Church.”

The teaching of the Church is “of paramount importance,” he said, citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s statement that only a baptized man can be validly ordained. The Catechism says the ordination of women is “not possible.”


“The Church’s position on the Sacrament of Holy Orders, of course, does not mean that women are of any less value or dignity than men,” Bishop Olmsted noted. “We are all called to Christian service, and women have always played an instrumental role in the life and holiness of the Church.”

There’s more at the link.

Meantime, for some other thoughts on the place of women in the church, check out this gal, or, for a bracing tonic, this one.

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posted September 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Oh yes, this is quite hilarious to us Phoenix Catholics. The news coverage of this event has been lacking, to put it mildly. Check out that link for the Catholic Phoenix blog’s take on the ordeal.

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posted September 3, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Unfortunately, the not-so-right-Reverend Vernon Meyer seems to be no stranger to heterodoxy and heteropraxis.
Fr. Meyer was corrected by Bishop Olmsted several years ago for signing his name to the “Phoenix Declaration”, a pro-homosexual interfaith statement that Meyer contended was vague enough to be squared with Catholic teaching as he saw it.
At the time Fr. Meyer made a public retraction, but sadly it seems that his path since then has taken him away from the Church rather than closer to it. He, an ordained priest of the Church, needs prayers indeed.

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posted September 3, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Meantime, for some additional thoughts on the place of women in the church, check out Pope Benedict’s latest Wednesday Audience catechesis which was on on St. Hildegard…
” Pope Benedict began by thanking women for the important role they “have played and still play in the church.”

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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted September 5, 2010 at 10:50 am

I am reminded of the words from today’s (Sunday’s) first reading from the Book of Wisdom…”Who can know God’s counsel,or who can conceive what the LORD intends? For the deliberations of mortals are timid,
and unsure are our plans.”
Having earlier read Lopez’ and The Anchoress’ pieces that you link to, I have a considerable objection to the conflation of the church being anti-woman and the ordination of women. It is intellectually simplistic (and trust me, I have tremendous respect for The Anchoress’ in particular, so I do not say that lightly!) for anyone to put the two together.
Both the forces from the one side, that advocates for womens’ ordination and the other side, that does not, puts these together and derails the entire conversation. It is maddening.
I have many issues, many, many issues with the Womanpriest movement and I also have issues with breaking the community. What gets me is that we are forbidden to discuss it in any meaningful way.
In closing, I will say that I am also reminded of today’s Second reading, from St. Paul. At one time slavery was an accepted position of the Church. Oh, back to Wisdom, who can know? Wisdom is traditionally thought of as a woman by the way, Sophia, Shekinhah. Oh what a Cross (lest I ignore the Gospel for today) it is to follow Jesus. This means we all have to deal with things we do not like or agree with. All meaning, well… all.

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posted September 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Though I disagree with the church’s position against ordaining women to the priesthood, I would think it unwise of a priest to try it anyhow!

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posted September 6, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I have a considerable objection to the conflation of the church being anti-woman and the ordination of women.

Amen, Fran. I used to be surprised when I would bring some topic about the Church refusing to minister to women and immediately get a response detailing why I can’t be ordained. I don’t know why you suck at doing your job in this way and that way is taken as being some sort of double-plus-secret code for you are doing a marvelous job and I want to do your job, too, and do it just like you do. Trust me, boys, if I tell you that I want you to do your job better, I really do mean you.

What gets me is that we are forbidden to discuss it in any meaningful way.

This, though, is where I think I have to part company. I really wish that all of the “helpful” supporters of the “it is impossible to ordain women” camp would just be obedient to the pope and STFU. Because by the time they finish with all of their “logic” they’ve managed to “prove” that: women cannot be redeemed by Jesus’ death and resurrection and cannot put on Christ in Baptism, and that Jesus is not God (or alternatively, that Catholics are not monotheists), and that’s not even getting into all the creepy sexual stuff — some weird thing about how Catholic women are supposed to be having sex with priests because priests are Jesus and Jesus isn’t gay because homosexuality is evil — yeah, *shudder* I really wish that they’d stop discussing it…

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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted September 7, 2010 at 8:10 am

cathyf – Yes, we do agree on that part, you put it rather well.
As for parting company, well that we do indeed, because I – and I do say this with all due respect – you have conflated potentially unrelated threads.
When I talk about discussing it, I perhaps use the wrong language. We need to be able to ask questions, discern and pray. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not advocate for the ordination of women, nor do I advocate against it. I advocate for meaningful conversation. And, once more I say with respect, your cry to “STFU” and just be obedient is not helpful.
And then you go off on that sexual riff, what is that about?

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Your Name Pauline Symith

posted December 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Alter Boy Abuser in Sun City West at Prince of Peace – name David Ostler.

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Your Name Hans RU

posted January 28, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Bishop Olmsted did your mother ever think to abourt you before she was nine months? We i the Sun City West,Az. wish she had both you and OSTLER.

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