Well, the Vatican’s Congregation for Religious Doctrine released a statement clarifying a point in the governance of the Church: if you are a woman and attempt being ordained, or if you are a bishop who attempts the ordination, you incur excommunication upon yourself automatically, called “latae sententiae.” This is not really uncommon in the Church for serious offenses. The Vatican’s tone was actually quite moderate, making this clarification “in order to protect the nature and validity of the sacrament of the holy order.” This makes sense. One simply can’t go around ordaining whoever he wants, male or female.
Here’s how CNN writes its headline: “Vatican Sends Threat Over Women Priests.” And how does CNN decide to cover this as respectable news? Explain what “latae sententiae” means? Of course not. Rather, it makes the Vatican the active party, instead of the one who commits the improper acts:
The Vatican announced Thursday in a general decree that it will excommunicate anyone who would attempt to ordain a woman as a priest and the woman herself. [italics added]
In the second and third sentences of the article, what would a responsible CNN reporter do? Interview Vatican officials? Talk to American priests or bishops? Discuss the meaning of big, scary Latin words with a canon lawyer? No, the writer compares the position to the Anglican Church and then interviews a “womanpriest:”
The Anglican Church has taken a different approach to ordaining women — even accepting women as bishops.
It was not persuasive to Regina Nicolosi, a program coordinator for Roman Catholic Womenpriests (sic), who was ordained two years ago.
The “womanpriest” then undermines her own position by stating that she doesn’t care what the Church says anyway:
“We have come not to take that too seriously,” said Nicolosi, a 66-year-old married mother and grandmother who lives in Red Wing, Minnesota, and said her group is composed of 40 to 50 women priests, none of whom are recognized by the church hierarchy. “It’s one of the very last patriarchal hierarchies in the western world, and I don’t know when they will be ready to let go of that.”
It makes you wonder why she wants to be a part of a Church whose authority she doesn’t recognize. But then again, logical thinking and common sense are less important than agenda- driven politics, both for the attempted-priest Regina Nicolosi and the attempted news reporting of CNN. Perhaps we should send them both Sister Sara Butler’s book on the topic.