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Cardinal Brandmüller: those who call for women priests are ‘heretics’ and ‘excommunicated’

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller (CNS)

Those who push for the ordination of women to the priesthood “fulfil the elements of heresy” and effectively incur excommunication, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller has said.

Cardinal Brandmüller, who is one of the four “dubia” cardinals, strongly criticised Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the General Secretary of Germany’s governing CDU party, after she called for the Catholic Church to ordain women priests.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is widely regarded as the frontrunner to succeed Angela Merkel as German Chancellor, said in an interview with Die Zeit: “It is very clear: women have to take positions of leadership in the Church.”

She added that she would like to see female priests, but for now the Church should concentrate on “a more realistic goal, the female diaconate.”

However, Cardinal Brandmüller said the idea of female ordination had been definitively ruled out by St John Paul II, and therefore anyone who insists on promoting the idea has “left the foundation of the Catholic faith” and “fulfils the elements of heresy which has, as its consequence, the exclusion from the Church – excommunication.”

The cardinal added that the Church is not a “human institution”, but lives according to the “forms, structures, and laws as given to her by her Divine Founder about which no man has power [to change] – also no pope and no council.”

He said it was “astonishing” that certain themes were being kept alive within the German Church. They are “always the same: female priesthood, celibacy, intercommunion, remarriage after divorce. Just recently there has been added the Church’s ‘yes’ to homosexuality.”

Recently, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also waded into a doctrinal debate, calling for the Catholic Church to ‘share’ Communion with Protestants.

“Let us seek ways of expressing the common Christian faith by sharing in the Last Supper and Communion. I am sure: Thousands of Christians in interdenominational marriages are hoping for this,” he said.