Women, under Vatican excommunication threat for calling themselves priests, ask more time

Posted: Friday, August 02, 2002

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- Seven women under threat of excommunication by the Vatican if they don't repent for calling themselves priests have asked for more time and dialogue with a top cardinal.

The Vatican's guardian of orthodoxy, German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, had set a July 22 deadline for the women to acknowledge they erred in being ordained June 29, but no action was announced.

The women were ordained as priests by Argentina's Romulo Braschi, who calls himself an archbishop but is branded by the Vatican as founder of a schismatic group.

The women have written Ratzinger asking for ''instruction'' from the Vatican on what constitutes schismatic conduct and on biblical passages regarding equality of women.

Ratzinger's excommunication warning called the ordination rite a ''serious attack on the unity of the church.'' Pope John Paul II has repeatedly stated there is no room for debate about priesthood for women.

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