Fundamentalist Catholics defy Vatican to ordain three priests
The rebellious fundamentalist Catholic Pius Brotherhood challenged the Vatican again on Saturday by ordaining three new priests – against the will of Pope Benedict XVI.
The controversial brotherhood was stripped of ordination rights by the Vatican after they refused to recognise a raft of modernising changes to the church in the late 1960s.
But the pope caused concern and outrage earlier this year when he lifted the excommunication of four Pius Brotherhood bishops including Richard Williamson – a Holocaust denier – who had been thrown out of the church in 1988 for being ordained without Papal approval.
Since then, more moderate Catholics have called upon the Pius Brotherhood to come into line with the Vatican, but they continue to stick to their fundamentalist approach, which, among other things, calls for the conversion of Jews and supports mass in Latin.
Alfonso de Galarreta ordained the three new priests – from Sweden, Poland and Switzerland – at the brotherhood’s base in Zaitzkofen, in the Upper Palatinate region. Around 1,500 believers were there, according to reports.
Head of the priest seminar there, Stefan Frey, appealed for the criticism to stop. “We regret the enormous verbal exclusion which we have experienced from a number of German bishops in the last few days,” he said.
Regensburg bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller accused the brotherhood of being stubborn and bigoted in an interview, calling for the ordination to be stopped.
Vice president of the German parliament, Wolfgang Thierse, also weighed in, saying the brotherhood contradicted all that the Catholic Church stood for during the 20th and 21st centuries – such as the recognition of religious freedom and inter-faith dialogue.
The Vatican said in the middle of June that such an ordination would be unlawful.