Austrian Bishops Say "Ordination" of 7 Women a Farce

Dissident Goes Through the Motions on the Danube

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PASSAU, Germany, JULY 1, 2002 (Zenit.org).- A ceremony in which an excommunicated Argentine priest presumed to ordain seven women was denounced by the Austrian Catholic bishops' conference as a farce.



Romulo Braschi, who was excommunicated in the 1960s, claimed he had the power to ordain the women because he himself had been ordained bishop by two other excommunicated clergymen.

The women, of German, Austrian and U.S. nationality, went through the ceremony led by Braschi, founder of the so-called Charismatic Apostolic Catholic Church of Jesus King.

The Austrian episcopal conference in a statement said that "a simulated ordination like this one is not valid," and lamented that "a small group of women has wished to force the way toward ordination, scorning the magisterium and the Tradition of the Catholic Church," according to which "the sacrament of ordination may only be conferred on men."

The Vatican does not recognize the "Church of Jesus King" which, with headquarters in Munich, says it has 13,000 followers worldwide.

Braschi himself broke with the Vatican, saying that "the Catholic Church is in urgent need of reforms, called for by a great number of bishops and faithful in the whole world, especially the priesthood of women and the integration of families in religious life, capable of giving new impetus to and addressing the crisis of vocations."

Braschi claimed that he was ordained bishop by two colleagues, Brazilian Roberto Garrido Padin and Hillarios Ungerer, of the "Free Catholic Church." The Argentine refers to himself as archbishop of Munich, Zurich, Buenos Aires and Salvador da Bahia.

The weekend ceremony, attended by some 300 people, took place in a ship moored in the Danube near Passau in southern Germany.