French Catholic Woman Who Underwent Fake “Ordination” to Priesthood Not Excommunicated - Yet

Fri Jul 8, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST

NIMES, France, July 8, 2005 ( - A story originating with the leading French journal ‘Le Monde’ and repeated by news agencies and wires such as UPI as well as indicated that a French Catholic woman had been excommunicated for her attempt to be ordained a Catholic priest. The Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Nimes, the Abbé Feroldi, has now confirmed that the woman, Mrs. Genevieve Beney, was not formally excommunicated by the Cardinal of Lyon.

Beney, 56, was “ordained” Saturday July 2 on a boat on the Saone River near the eastern French city, by self-proclaimed “bishops” from the dissident movement Women’s Ordination Worldwide. The three women “bishops” Gisela Forster (German); Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger (Austrian); and Patricia Freisen (South-African), were all previously excommunicated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2003 for the simulated laying on of hands from schismatic Argentian Bishop Romulo Antonio Braschi, founder of the “Catholic, Apostolic and Charismatic Church of Christ the King.”

Canon Law expert Marc Balestrieri, JCL, of the group De Fide, explained to that Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon had issued a canonical ‘monitum’, or warning, to Mrs. Beney, and a subsequent press release dated 29 June 2005, describing how any attempt to have herself ordained to the Priesthood would not only be the cause of “wounds and unnecessary sufferings” for many Catholics, but in fact would be utterly null and void in effect. The Archbishop of Lyon’s press release is practically identical to one made on 26 May 2005 by His Excellency Robert Wattebled, Bishop of Nimes, concerning Mrs. Beney, who is a resident in his diocese.

Balistrieri points out that neither Cardinal Barbarin, bishop of the place where the attempted ordination was held, nor His Excellency the Bishop of Nimes, bishop of the diocese where Beney resides, have imposed excommunication (ferendae sententiae) upon, Beney as a consequence of her simulation of the Sacrament of Ordination.“However,” explains Balestrieri, “as her actions appear to be schismatic in nature, this does not mean that she has not already been automatically excommunicated latae sententiae for schism”.

In a press release issued just prior to the fake ordination, Cardinal Barbarin specified that any attempt by Mrs. Beney to receive Holy Orders would constitute “without equivocation a grave act of rupture with the Catholic Church.” The Bishop of Nimes wrote exactly the same words in his statement released one month earlier. Balestrieri notes, “Although very strong statements, from a canonical point of view, these two press releases do not qualify as Decrees of Excommunication.”Â

Significantly, Balistrieri adds “it is my understanding that the formal Decree of Excommunication is forthcoming.”

See Balistrieri’s website:

See the press releases from the Archdiocese of Lyon and the Diocese of Nimes (originals in French with English translations by Mr. Balestrieri)


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