"Illegitimate": woman renounces her attempted ordination to diaconate

In a rare move, a woman who attempted ordination as a deacon has had a change of heart.

Norma Jean Coons announced as much on her own website:

On July 22, 2007, I was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Patricia Fresen, of Germany and South Africa who was ordained by three male bishops in Germany for the group called Roman Catholic Women Priests. The ordination took place at the Santa Barbara Immaculate Heart Spiritual Center. Because neither Patricia Fresen nor myself were given permission for the ordination by Pope Benedict XVI, the ordinations were illegitimate and not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. Thus an excommunication process called Latae Sententiae occurred, excommunicating oneself by failure to observe the Canon Laws of the Church.

I wish to renounce the alleged ordination and publicly state that I did not act as a deacon as a part of this group except on two occasions, when I read the gospel once at mass and distributed communion once at this same mass. I withdrew from the program within two weeks of the ceremony because I realized that I had made a mistake in studying for the priesthood. I confess to the truth of Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis . I confess the authority of the Holy Father on these issues of ordination and recognize that Christ founded the ordination only for men.

Formally, I relinquish all connection to the program of Roman Catholic Women Priests and I disclaim the alleged ordination publicly with apologies to those whose lives I have offended or scandalized by my actions. I ask God’s blessings upon each of these folks and their families.

There’s more at this link.

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8 responses to “"Illegitimate": woman renounces her attempted ordination to diaconate”

  1. It’s really encouraging to see someone submitting to the teaching and discipline of the Church. It can’t have been easy for her to go public about it in this way. She gives good example to us all.

  2. Personally, I still haven’t figured out why a woman isn’t just as quaified to lead a church as a priest, though I have had it explained to me. Women can be nuns, but if I understand correctly, they still answer to a male. I’m sorry that the woman above backed out of her connection of the Roman Catholic Women Priests.

  3. @pagansister: Nuns are not clergy. They are members of a religious community and their lines of authority vary with the community, but leadership is from within the community – other women. (They are very much like lay religious brothers or monks who are not ordained to the priesthood.) Of course, the bishop has authority for what goes on in his diocese in terms of Catholic teaching and ministry but, unless the religious community is connected directly to the diocese, the bishop can’t meddle with internal affairs. (For instance, many religious communities are pontifical, that is, had their rule recognized by Rome, and would fall under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for Religious.)

    The main issue here, though, is that the ordination was never authorized and never valid and by participating she, like the other “women priests” was excommunicated. The group “Roman Catholic Womenpriests” are not Roman Catholic and are not validly ordained priests.

    I admire her for the courage that she exhibited in going public with this. It couldn’t have been easy for her. God bless her.

  4. It’s simple pagansister, in establishing the sacrament of Holy Orders, Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh, ordained only men. These ordained men, in turn, ordained only men in obedience to Christ. This is a teaching and practice is rooted in Scripture, clarified by the Tradition, and taught in every age by the Magisterium. The Church cannot change what Christ prescribed.

  5. Thank you for the explanation, Fr. Proffitt. I have admiration for those women who join religious communities, having had contact with a couple of really neat ladies during my 10 years teaching in a Catholic school.

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