Swiss Theologian, 2 Others ‘Ordained’ Priests

SWISSINFO, June 24 — Swiss theologian Monika Wyss and two other women incurred automatic excommunication by allowing themselves to be “ordained” priests, SwissInfo reported.

The ceremony was organized by the West European Roman Catholic Womenpriests organization, and took place June 24 on board a passenger ship on Lake Constance between Switzerland and Germany. Also “ordained” priests were Regina Nicolosi, a German living in the United States, and Jane Via, an American. Wyss, a divorced mother of four, said she “had the right to become a priest.”

However, Pope John Paul II, in his 1994 apostolic letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (On Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone), wrote: “The fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, received neither the mission proper to the Apostles nor the ministerial priesthood clearly shows that the non-admission of women to priestly ordination cannot mean that women are of lesser dignity, nor can it be construed as discrimination against them. Rather, it is to be seen as the faithful observance of a plan to be ascribed to the wisdom of the Lord of the universe.”

He concluded, “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”

Historian: Europe Will Be Muslim by 2100 …

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, June 27 — Although 88% of Frenchmen identify themselves as Catholic, only about 5% attend Mass on Sunday and 60% said they never or practically never go, the Tribune reported.

In France and in almost every other European country, Christianity appears to be in a free fall. But Islam is a thriving force. The 12 million to 15 million Muslims who live in Europe make up less than 5% percent of the total population, but the vitality of their faith has led some experts to predict that Islam will become the continent’s dominant faith.

Princeton University historian Bernard Lewis, the dean of American Middle East scholars, flatly predicts that Europe will be Islamic by the end of this century “at the very latest.” Papal biographer George Weigel frets about “a Europe in which the muezzin summons the faithful to prayer from the central loggia of St. Peter’s in Rome, while Notre Dame has been transformed into Hagia Sophia on the Seine — a great Christian church become an Islamic museum.”

However, there are signs of hope. Recently, the European Union constitution, stripped of all Christian references, was emphatically rejected by French voters. Bruno Bourg-Broc, a deputy in the National Assembly and self-described committed Catholic, regrets the erosion of the faith in France.

But, he said, “We are a fundamentally Christian society. The landscape is formed of churches. It’s part of our culture, our literature and painting. Whether people want it [in the constitution] or not, we were formed in this way and should not be ashamed of it. The doctrine of Islam is to conquer and convert, and we must keep this in mind. I don’t think there is a real risk here, but if it happens, it will be our own fault.”

… Though Lourdes Still Draws Throngs of Faithful

VOICE OF AMERICA, June 26 — For nearly 150 years, millions of Christian pilgrims from Europe and elsewhere have flocked to Lourdes seeking miracles of healing. Judging by the thousands of pilgrims on hand during a recent weekend, the Voice of America website reported, faith shows no signs of drying up.

Church attendance may be plummeting in Europe, but Lourdes’ reputation for healing and meditation draws about six million pilgrims to the town each year. And, the numbers are growing. Father John Rice, a priest from Dorchester, England, has been coming to Lourdes regularly since the 1980s.

“There’s a very deep spirituality here,” Father Rice said. “A lot of people associate Lourdes with physical healing, but, in actual fact, what happens is more a [a spiritual healing by] the power of the Holy Spirit.”

In fact, many pilgrims who come to Lourdes are healthy. Odile Silve, who moved to France from the Ivory Coast, has made two trips to Lourdes. She said she is at Lourdes to reflect on her life and her family and on the problems in the world. She believes in miracles — those that heal the soul as well as the spirit.