Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Friday, August 11, 2006

Compounding their crimes

The pseudo-ordinations that a number of women around the world, and lately in the United States, have attempted are, to borrow Leo XIII's phrase, "absolutely null and utterly void". (See specifically John Paul II, Ordinatio sacerdotalis, n. 4). Last summer (scroll to 6 July 2005) I explained how such affronts to divine and canon law can and will result in excommunication, although, as I argued, not by the automatic process (1983 CIC 1314) that many simply assumed would apply to such cases. Here I need to make a different point.

To no one's great surprise, some of these women have gone on to attempt to celebrate the Eucharist. Canonically speaking, what they have done is to simulate the Mass, which action is a distinct crime under canon law (1983 CIC 1378 § 2, n. 1). Moreover, the penalty for Eucharistic simulation is automatic, specifically, interdict, which differs from excommunication in a few respects (1983 CIC 1332). The differences need not detain us, though, for 1983 CIC 1378 § 3 allows the penalty of interdict to be increased to excommunication in cases of simulation "according to the gravity of the delict." It should be obvious that the circumstances surrounding these simulated liturgies are quite sufficient to support the augmentation of the penalty.

The practical consequence is this: those women who, after undergoing pseudo-ordination, compound their canonical crimes by simulating Holy Mass, cannot be restored to full communion (basically per 1983 CIC 1347 and 1358) upon repentance from their attempted ordinations; they must also repent of their mockeries against the Mass.

Which means the rest of rest of us have more praying and fasting to do.

Update, August 15: This, from the GB&I Comm, 794: "The offence involved here is that of a lay man or woman, or even a deacon, who goes through the rites prescribed for the Mass in an attempt to celebrate the Eucharist, whether publicly or in private." See also CLSA Comm 924-925 and CLSA New Comm 1586.