“We are Church” Leader Martha Holzer is Excommunicated – UPDATED

“We are Church” Leader Martha Holzer is Excommunicated – UPDATED May 22, 2014

The Herald UK was fast on the story:

Martha Holzer and her husband, Gert, were excommunicated for “simulating the Mass”, according to the website Kath.net.

Mrs Holzer is a leading personality in We are Church, which was founded in 1995 in Austria, German and South Tyrol and seeks liberal reforms within the Catholic Church.

According to reports, the 67-year-old regularly took part in “private Eucharistic celebrations” at her home with no priest present. The Church considers the simulation of the Mass a delictum gravius, or “grave delict”.

Bishop Manfred Scheuer of Innsbruck described the development as a “self-excommunication”, which he said was “not a victory, but always a defeat for the Church”.

In a statement Martha and Gert Holzer said they were “immensely shocked” by the excommunications.

Original report, untranslated, here.

More as it comes, in English. I mean, I’m pretty sure performing your own mass is Latae sententiae — the means of self-excommunication — but is there something more formal being pronounced? I can’t tell. If not, are these folks just seeking out a headline b/c a bishop acknowledged it? And why is she shocked? Has she been living in a bubble? Anyone who believes herself to be on top of things enough to say her own mass should be aware of latae sententiae, yes? Meanwhile I’ve changed the title because although the German bit mentions Francis, that’s not clear to me.

UPDATE: Thanks to Inge Loots’ translation in the combox, it does seem like something official may have come down the pike, although not fully clear, yet whether any of this extended to Francis. It was the diocese that made the announcement and, as Inge says, perhaps reported badly by a secular newspaper unversed in these issues (not unusual). Check Inge’s twitter feed (@inge_loots) for her further thoughts.

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