Rorate Caeli

Automatic excommunication for "ordination" of women

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

General Decree

On the delict of attempted sacred ordination of a woman

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in virtue of the special faculty granted to it by the Supreme Authority of the Church (cf. Can. 30, Code of Canon Law), in order to safeguard the nature and validity of the sacrament of Holy Orders, decreed, in the Ordinary Session of December 19, 2007:

In accordance with what is disposed by Can. 1378 of the Code of Canon Law, he who shall have attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, as well as the woman who may have attempted to receive Holy Orders, incurs in a latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.

If he who shall have attempted to confer Holy Orders on a woman or if the woman who shall have attempted to received Holy Orders is a faithful bound to the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches, he is to be punished with the major excommunication, whose remission remains reserved to the Apostolic See, in accordance with can. 1443 of the same Code (cf. can. 1423, Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches).

The present decree enters in force immediately after its publication in L'Osservatore Romano.

William Cardinal Levada
Angelo Amato, s.d.b.
Titular Archbishop of Sila

(Published in L'Osservatore Romano of May 29, 2008 - permanent link)


Congregatio Pro Doctrina Fidei

Decretum generale

de delicto attentatae sacrae ordinationis mulieris

Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, ad naturam et validitatem sacramenti sacri ordinis tuendam, vigore specialis facultatis sibi a suprema Ecclesiae auctoritate in casu tributae (cfr can. 30 Codicis Iuris Canonici), in Congregatione Ordinaria diei 19 Decembris 2007, decrevit:

Firmo praescripto can. 1378 Codicis Iuris Canonici, tum quicumque sacrum ordinem mulieri conferre, tum mulier quae sacrum ordinem recipere attentaverit, in excommunicationem latae sententiae Sedi Apostolicae reservatam incurrit.

Si vero qui mulieri sacrum ordinem conferre vel mulier quae sacrum ordinem recipere attentaverit, christifidelis fuerit Codici Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium subiectus, firmo praescripto can. 1443 eiusdem Codicis, excommunicatione maiore puniatur, cuius remissio etiam reservatur Sedi Apostolicae (cfr can. 1423 Codicis Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium).

Hoc decretum cum in L'Osservatore Romano evulgabitur, statim vigere incipiet.

Gulielmus Cardinalis Levada
Angelus Amato, s.d.b.
Archiep. titularis Silensis
a Secretis