Bishop Olmstead – Woman’s Ordination is a Grave Offense

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted Letter Says Only a
Baptized Man Can Be Validly Ordained

Here is his letter posted in the Catholic Sun.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As reported in the news this week, a schismatic group in Tempe known as the Ecumenical Catholic Communion attempted to confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders upon a woman. It was also reported in the news that Fr. Vernon Meyer, a priest of our diocese, participated in the attempted ordination.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted

Actions such as these are extremely serious and carry with them profoundly harmful consequences for the salvation of the souls participating in this attempted ordination. To feign the conferral of the Sacrament of Holy Orders results in the penalty of excommunication. This penalty applies both to the person attempting the ordination and 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. As it states in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1577: “Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination. The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason 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. We are all called to Christian service, and women have always played an instrumental role in the life and holiness of the Church. Women serve in various levels of Church leadership and hold nearly half of diocesan administrative and professional positions, including chancellor and school superintendent in our own diocese. Women serve as presidents of Catholic colleges and universities in our country, and nearly 80 percent of lay parish ministers are women.

However, it is of paramount importance to recognize that the Catholic Church teaches that only a baptized man can be validly ordained to the ministerial priesthood. The Catholic priesthood, today as in ages past, mirrors the actions of Christ, who lived as a celibate male and chose to ordain only men.

You or your parishioners may also have seen it reported in the news that the Holy See allegedly considers the attempted ordination of women to be on par with the sexual abuse of minors. This is simply not true. This portrayal arose following the release of a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the public July 15, 2010, which concerns updates to norms related to grave crimes that were outlined in 2001 by Pope John Paul II. It expands the number of offenses to be referred to the Holy See and deals with such issues as sexual abuse of a minor, pornography, violations of the seal of the confession, and the attempted ordination of women.

Please pray for all involved in this divisive, scandalous act against the Catholic Church.

Grace and wisdom in the risen Christ,

+Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix

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11 comments to Bishop Olmstead – Woman’s Ordination is a Grave Offense

  • Bob Garrett

    Bravo Bishop Olmsted. We only wish there were more like you in the ranks. Thank you and May God Bless you.

  • jan c

    To Serge Farjardo:
    Serge, you sound as though you are not at peace, and perhaps your reason for leaving the Catholic Church is not so much in regards to what you think of Priest’s as being “controlling and opressive” but rather there may be a deeper lying circumstance which only you can contemplate internally and realize. After all, Priests are human, and not perfect. Don’t allow the enemy to infiltrate your thoughts or harbor resentsments, for he only wants to create distance between you and God and take you away from your relationship with God and our beautiful faith. It is what he does best and he is constantly working to capture souls and bring them to demise. I can see in the manner of your statement that you are stronger than that. If I may suggest, prayer as a remedy, for prayer is the Life of our soul, helping us to discern and find union with God. It will deepen your faith, enrich your life more vibrantly and bring you peace. It works!
    jan c

  • Lee Anne

    A bishop is to safeguard the faith as closely as is humanly possible and Bishop Olmstead is correct in his teaching the faith in his jurisdiction.

    Serge – I am a woman who has had an abortion. I was seventeen and unwed. That makes me the mother of a child who was killed by an abortion. There are very few, if any, pregnancies that are so life threatening to a woman that her child needs to be torn apart, limb by limb, in order to save the mother’s life. To take the life of an innocent human being due to society’s norm, is wrong and can never be correct. I encourage you to research and find where there are medically necessary cases to kill a child so that its mother can live.

    A person who engages in the procurement of, the act of, or performs an abortion excommunicates themselves. They are already outside the Church’s teachings.

    To be open to life at all stages is not against the gospel of Jesus Christ. To kill a person is totally against what God teaches and, more importantly, commands.

    I pray you peace Serge and I look forward to the day that you can reconcile yourself to Christ in the Eucharist.

    I am a 22 year old babe in Catholicism and have found much peace, freedom and JOY in the arms of Holy Mother Church.

  • […] Bishop Olmstead – Woman’s Ordination is a Grave Offense September 5th, 2010 Read full article here: Bishop Olmstead – Woman’s Ordination is a Grave Offense […]

  • Kristine

    This is very good news indeed but, what about the woman in southern
    California that was “ordained” by the bishop just a few years ago and has a faithful congregation mistakenly believing that they are receiving the body and blood of Christ from her?

  • gb

    Dear “I’m a former Catholic”,
    Then why in the world are you spending time on something in your past? If life in the Church was that “oppressive” by all means, move on.
    For my part, no other church on the planet was started by the Son of God & no other church on the planet can bring He & I together in the Eucharist. That’s the bottom line. NO wonder the Church (& Bp Olmstead) takes her job of safe guarding the Eucharist very seriously. You say that the good Bishop is severe; that’s wrong. The folks who participated/promoted this charade excommunicated themselves by their own actions. They’ve taken it upon themselves to make a mockery of Jesus present in the Eucharist & in his Church. Bp Olmstead would be neglecting his job if he didn’t warn them re: this.

  • Melissa

    Dear Serge,

    I am very happy you decided to comment and so very sorry that your experiences with Catholic Priests have been so hard for you. If you don’t mind, I would like to comment on your post.

    You and I have something in common in that we both attended Catholic School; I attended K-12th grade. (I graduated in ’97.) After that I began working in a Traditional Catholic Seminary in Pa. From there I joined the Navy and served for four years receiving an honorable discharge. In 2007 I had the great fortune of meeting a selfless and dedicated Priest who became my Spiritual Director. In 2008 our town was blessed with the Latin Mass and our Chaplain has become my regular Confessor. (Both my Director and Confessor are from the Seminary I worked in.) I mention all of this not to give you a thumbnail sketch of my life, but to show that I have worked in two very “male-dominated” environments — the Seminary and the Navy — and that I have had, and continue to have, a very close, spiritual relationship with two wonderful Traditional Priests.

    As a woman who has been in contact with hundreds, if not thousands of Traditional, Roman Catholic Priests in my 31 years, I don’t understand the “oppressive and controlling experiences” people describe. My experiences in the Navy could rightly be described as “oppressive and controlling”; however there is no way I can truthfully ascribe those words to any experience I have ever had with any Priest.

    I could, however, truthfully say that each and every one of them did not hesitate to put me in my place. Yes, there are different roles and dignities that men and women have in God’s plan, and as good Priests they made sure I was aware of mine even when I wasn’t. Without my knowledge or even my consent, all of them, individually and collectively, put me in my place right up there on a pedestal. (All women are on one by right, sharing the same sex as the Blessed Virgin.) So you see, for a woman to become equal to a man, she has to step down; something I refuse to do and don’t understand the woman who want to; nor do I understand the men who think we are oppressed if we don’t.

    As a Traditional Roman Catholic woman, I fully support Bishop Olmsted’s “all knowing view” on the topic of the ordination of women.

    May God bless you and I pray that you can come to peace with the Church,

  • God bless you Bishop Olmstead, for preserving our Holy Catholic faith from those who would try to corrupt it. We are so blessed to have you for our shepherd.

  • Theresa

    Thank you for posting this, Bishop Olmsted. Regardless of what we think we may know, we are clouded by sin and our limited intelligence. As such, it is only through the intervening wisdom of the Holy Spirit and a two-thousand year-old church that we learn what truth really is. In this day and age, where the truth is so buried beneath various layers of secularism, materialism, modern feminism (I say “modern” because the original feminists were not the anti-marriage, anti-child, angry women of today’s lot), and moral relativism, it is imperative that we have holy fathers and sisters who are more concerned with the proper formation of people’s consciences and the salvation of souls than with being popular.

    Indeed, the truth is never popular amongst people who choose to live in the darkness of ignorance, hate, and miseducation.

  • Serge Fajardo

    Of course, I fully expect that my comment won’t be posted. I’m sure that the moderation process will filter out any comments which oppose the bishop’s “all knowing” views.

  • Serge Fajardo

    Excommunication?? A bit harsh, don’t you think?
    I’m a former Catholic, which is to say, that I choose to permanently leave the Catholic religion due to a lifetime of oppressive and controlling experiences on the part of priests. Now, this does not mean I turned my back on God or Jesus Christ, just the Catholic Religion’s beliefs and practices.
    These experiences included attending Catholic schools from 3rd grade through high school, so I do know what I’m talking about.
    I recently read about a Bishop, I think it might have been in the Phoenix area as well, who spoke of excommunicating a patient and a nun at a Catholic hospital because the patient had an abortion which was considered to be life-threatening. So, the position of the Catholic church when there is a life-threatening pregnancy is to either have the mother risk dying to carry to term, or be kicked out of your church. Nice. Very loving and supportive on the part of the church.
    This falls right in line with why I am no longer Catholic. “Obey what the priests say to do, or risk burning in hell.

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