Fr. Vernon Meyer, automatically excommunicated himself when he rejected the teachings of the Catholic Church concerning women ordination. Meyer participated in the “ordination” of Elaine Groppenbacher in Tempe, AZ last month. For Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, this is the fifth priestly excommunication for serious refusal of faithful obedience to the Catholic Church, according to The Arizona Republic.
Referring to Meyer, Bishop Olmsted states: “Actions such as these are extremely serious and carry with them profoundly harmful consequences for the salvation of the souls participating in this attempted ordination. To feign the conferral of the Sacrament of Holy Orders results in the penalty of excommunication. This penalty applies both to the person attempting the ordination and the person attempting to be ordained.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1577: “Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination. The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.”
This is not the first disagreement between Fr. Meyer and Catholic Doctrine. In 2004 Fr. Meyer was under obedience to Bishop Olmsted to recant a joint declaration Meyer signed which supported “full acceptance” of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered individuals in churches.
Fr. Meyer apparently told The Arizona Republic that he signed the declaration “after making sure it did not conflict with Catholic positions.” This statement contradicts the actual declaration, which states: “Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin.” Two sentences later, the declaration proclaims that all aspects of the homosexual lifestyle should have “full acceptance and inclusion.”
Despite the pastoral efforts of Bishop Olmsted, Fr. Meyer is now a United Church of Christ minister and is the Director of the Arizona Center for Theological Studies, which he founded. Fletch Wideman, local president of the pro-homosexual group P-FLAG reports “the United Church of Christ, has taken a strong pro-gay stand.” This comment would be supported by high percentage of United Church of Christ clergy signing the petition.
The Arizona Center for Theological Studies reportedly values “a deep respect and appreciation for the various interpretative traditions within Christianity.” And has courses on Ecumenical Methods of Theology and studies the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Islamic religions among other diverse topics.
The center has two sponsors. One is John Chuchman, who authored the book “I Love My Church, BUT, OH MY GOD!” In the book, Chuchman states why he is “so excited about Organizations like Call to Action and Voice of the Faithful,” organizations known to be active in their support of abortion, homosexual rights, contraception and women’s “ordination.”
Bishop Olmsted has been under attack for requesting his clergy and religious to remain faithful to the vows of obedience they took when they dedicated their lives to serving the Catholic Church. Many people are calling Bishop Olmsted intolerant and unpastoral. This is not true. He has exhausted every resource to bring his sheep back to the flock. How truly sad it is that some of his priests choose tolerance as their supreme pillar and foundation of truth.
“And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse: erring, and driving into error” — 2 Timothy 3:12-13.