The story of one of the Pittsburgh 12 women who attempted ordination facing excommunication in Wisconsin is getting a lot of media play. It’s not exactly a surprise. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the excommunication occurred in the act of the empty ritual, not necessarily by any declaration by a bishop.
But in fact, Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan‘s declaration would in fact be a message not just to this one woman, but to all Catholics about Catholic belief. It’s also at the core of why I think denial of Communion for pro-abortion politicians under Canon 915 (“Those who are excommunicated or interdicted after the impostion or declaration of the penalty and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”) should be made public as well.
I’m a little confused why the archbishop says he’s reporting Vandenberg’s name to Rome. Is that what you do when someone falsely claims to be a priest? Since we don’t have a copy of the actual statement (I didn’t find it on the archdiocesan web site), it’s hard to say.
Vandenberg’s claims seem a little kooky, but then she did claim to be ordained.
Dolan said her excommunication could come soon but Vandenberg said it was only a punishment. “That doesn’t mean I’m excluded from the church. Only I can exclude myself,” she said.
Again, I think the excommunication was latae sententiae. In any case, just as Vandenberg claims she can declare herself a priest, she also declares herself in communion with the Church. It reminds me of those celebrity stalkers who climb the fences at movie stars’ homes while claiming that they actually have a relationship with Brad Pitt or Angeline Jolie or something.
That’s what they are: Church stalkers. If I walked up to Bill Gates’ house and declared myself to be his son and heir and when he had me arrested and removed I said that he can’t disown me that only I can disown myself, I’d be institutionalized. They have replaced God at the center of their lives with themselves in a classic of delusional narcissism. I think the only people taking these fruitcakes seriously are the heterodox fringe and the media.