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Ida Raming’s Bio
Schedule of tour Witness to HerStory
Co-sponsor Tour

Catholics Speak Out & Women’s Ordination Conference
Sponsor Five Week Speaking Tour by Ida Raming, Ph.D.


Theologian, Pioneer in Women’s Ordination Movement, Ordained on Danube


Catholics Speak Out and Women’s Ordination conference are jointly sponsoring a national five-week tour by German theologian Ida Raming, one of the seven women who were ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood on June 29, 2002.

Raming is a pioneer of the women’s ordination movement, who, together with Dr. Iris Mueller, drew up a published submission to the Second Vatican Council in 1963, challenging the exclusion of women from the priesthood.


Raming’s groundbreaking doctoral study (1969) of the history of the church’s discrimination against women from early Christian writings through the Middle Ages conclusively proved the church’s exclusion of women from the priesthood was based upon concepts of the essential and ethical inferiority of women. These notions rest upon the second creation story found in Genesis saying woman was created from the first man’s rib, and the alleged first sin of the mythical Eve. These mythical concepts are the foundation stones upon which the church’s continuing discrimination against women rests.

Ida’s research published in English in 1976 as The Exclusion of Women from the Priesthood: Divine Law or Sex Discrimination was tremendously influential. It soon will be republished in an updated edition edited by Bernard Cooke and Gary Macy for Scarecrow Press as the second volume of a series on the history of women’s ordination. Raming is also the author of numerous scholarly articles on the ordination of women. The decision of the women to go forward with the ordinations was both spiritual and political, they said.

"Women who feel called to ministerial priesthood and who want to live their vocation, find themselves in a situation of grave conflict of conscience," Raming and Mueller say. "On one hand they face the unrevised position of the church leadership. On the other hand, God is calling them to priestly service to the church."

Raming argues that the church law restricting ordination to only baptised males (Canon 1024) is itself illegal, because it establishes two classes of baptism. The Church law is contrary to Holy Scripture and the church’s earliest history in which women played prominent roles and were ordained deacons, priests and bishops. The Brazilian bishop who ordained the women was ordained a bishop by a bishop consecrated by Pope John XXIII. Had the women been men, the ordinations would have been considered "valid but illicit" because it is through the laying on of hands that one is ordained a priest.

The ordinations occurred during widespread revelations of sexual abuse crimes involving decades of secrecy and official cover-up. Yet the women presented such a challenge to the hieararchy that it took the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith a mere 23 days to excommunicate the seven women, on July 22, 2002.

Raming was well prepared for this move, and filed a refutation on behalf of the women priests, pointing out that the excommunications were illegal. At least one prominent German theologian has publicly agreed. Dr. Raming has given many speeches and appeared on television programs. Her deeply spiritual roots, intellectual gifts, and the genuineness of her call are clearly authentic. Her reasoned approach has tremendous appeal among young people, says Tobias Raschke, spokesperson for the International Movement We Are Church/Youth.


Catholics Speak Out/Quixote Center, PO Box 5206, Hyattsville, MD 20782
301-699-0042 * * [email protected]

Women’s Ordination Conference, PO Box 2693, Fairfax, VA 22031
703-352-1006 * * [email protected]

Save These Dates!

Tentative* Schedule For Ida Raming Five-Week Tour

April 4, 2003 Morris County, New Jersey
Sponsored by CTA New Jersey,
Drew Theological School & Women’s Studies Dept.

8 PM – Drew University
36 Madison Ave., Madison, NJ
Founder’s Room, Mead Hall
(Directions available at:
Contact: Mary Ann Hain, [email protected] 908-665-0919, Jody Caldwell, [email protected]
April 6, 2003 Metro Washington, DC
Sponsors: Call to Action (CTA) NOVA, Dignity NOVA & WOC

2:30 – 5 PM,
First Presbyterian Church, 601 N. Vermont St.,
Arlington, VA (From Ballston Mall, 1 Block on Carlin Springs Rd.)
Contact: Sharon Danner, [email protected]
April 8, 2003 San Diego, California
Sponsor: CTA San Diego

Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan
4321 Eastgate Mall, La Jolla, CA
Contact: Evi Quinn, [email protected] 858-277-0259 or 760-434-3710
April 9, 2003 Los Angeles, California
Sponsor: Women’s Studies in Religion at Claremont Graduate University

7:30 PM Claremont School of Theology, Haddon Conference Rm
1325 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA
Contact: Katie Van Heest, 909-607-9893 katrina.[email protected]
April 13, 2003 Palo Alto, California (South Bay Area)
Sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center of Palo Alto

7:30 PM. St. Ann Chapel
541 Melville Ave., Palo Alto
Contact: Kay Williams, [email protected] 650-328-2781
April 21, 2003 Chicago, Illinois
Sponsors: Chicago WOC & European Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Religion and History Deptartments, and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University

7-9 PM, Northwestern University, Harris Hall
Evanston, IL
Open to students and the general public, donation requested
Contact: Katy Scott 773 465 7409, [email protected]
April 22, 2003 Liturgy – Rev. Ida Raming, Presider
7-9 PM Chapel of the Unnamed Faithful
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
Evanston, IL

Registration requested, limited seating: Maura Neuffer, 630-493-1886
April 24, 2003 St. Louis, Missouri
Sponsor: Justice for Women in the Catholic Church

7PM Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman
St. Louis, MO
Contact: Gerry Rauch, [email protected] 314-664-5770
April 25, 2003 St. Paul, Minnesota
Sponsors: CTA Minn., Minnesota St. Joan Community (local group of St. Joan’s International Alliance) & WOC-Red Wing Chapter

7PM, Normandale Community College, Bloomington, Minneapolis area
Contact: Regina Nicolosi, [email protected] 651-388-6059
Dorothy Irvin, [email protected]
Verna Mikesh, 651-645-2791 or Joyce Manning, 651-628-9283
April 27, 2003 Boston, Massachusetts
Sponsors: Massachusetts Women Church & Dignity/Boston

1 – 4 PM
Braun Room, Andover Hall
Harvard University Divinity School
45 Francis Street
Cambridge, MA
Contact: Barbara Mahar, [email protected]
April 29-30, 2003 New York, New York
Sponsors: Dignity New York & WOC

April 29, 7-9:30PM (Please note, this date may be changed to April 30)
James Chapel
Union Theological Seminary
Columbia University
3041 Broadway at 121st St.
Contact: Leslie Kretzu,
[email protected]
April 29, 2003 Liturgy – TBA
May 1, 2003 Rochester, New York Sponsor:
Spiritus Christi Church

7:00 PM Mass, Guest Presider
Spiritus Christi Church
60 Bittner St.
Rochester, NY
May 3, 2003 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sponsor: Southeast Pennsylvania WOC

12:30 Registration, 1 PM Program
Additional speakers: Mary Ramerman, Denise Donato, Janice Sevre-Duszynska: Break-out groups, concelebration, and dinner. Friends Center, 15th & Cherry Sts. SEPA WOC,
Contact: [email protected] or phone 215-545-9649

Bibliography of Dr. Ida Ramin

* (Together with Iris Müller) ‘Kritische Auseinandersetzung mit den Gründen der kath. Theologie betreffend den Ausschluß der Frau vom sakramentalen Priestertum’. In: Heinzelmann, G.(ed.): Wir schweigen nicht länger! Frauen äußern sich zum 2. Vatikanischen Konzil, deutsch- englisch, Zürich 1964, pp.61-76.

* Der Ausschluß der Frau vom priesterlichen Amt – Gottgewollte Tradition oder Diskriminierung? Eine rechtshistorisch-dogmatische Untersuchung der Grundlagen von Kanon 968 § 1 des Codex Iuris Canonici. Köln / Wien 1973.

American edition:

The Exclusion of Women from the Priesthood: Divine Law or Sex Discrimination? (translated by Norman R. Adams with a preface by Arlene Swidler), The Scarecrow Press (Metuchen, N.J.) 1976

* ‘Frau und kirchliche Ämter’, In: Diaconia Christi. Dokumentation, hg. v. Internationalen Diakonatszentrum Freiburg, 10 (1975) H.1, pp. 24-28.

* ‘Die inferiore Stellung der Frau nach geltendem Kirchenrecht’. In: Concilium 12 (1976) 30-34.

* ‘Gleichwertig – aber andersartig’. Zu einem üblichen Argumentationsschema gegen das Priesteramt der Frau. In: Orientierung 43 (1979) 218-221.

American translation: ‘Equal but other’ and ordination of women. In: Theology Digest, Vol 29, Nr. 1, p.19-22.

* ‘Von der Freiheit des Evangeliums zur versteinerten Männerkirche. Zur Entstehung und Entwicklung der Männerherrschaft in der Kirche’. In: Concilium 16 (1980) 230-235.

* ‘Den Fatalismus überwinden. Zur Situation der Frauen in der katholischen Kirche und in den theologischen Fakultäten der deutschen Universitäten’ , In: Publik-Forum 10 (1981) Nr.6, pp.20.

* ‘Kanonisches Un-Recht. Zum neuen Codex Iuris Canonici.’ In: Courage. Aktuelle Frauenzeitung 8 (1983) nr.9.

* “Theologie der Ordnungen” und Priesteramt der Frau. In: Orientierung 47 (1983) 176-178.

* ‘Katholische Frauen in den USA. Die Women’s Ordination Conference streitet für mehr Rechte der Frauen in der Kirche’, In: Publik-Forum 13 (1984) nr. 10, pp.26-27.

* ‘Ordination der Frau für ein erneuertes Amt – Fortschritt auf dem Weg zur Befreiung der Frau in der Kirche.’ In: Schlangenlinien. Feministische Wissenschaft – Feministische Theologie, AGG-Broschüre, Bonn 1984, pp.142-146.

* ‘Einsatz für die Menschenrechte der Frau in der Kirche – die Women’s Ordination Conference in den USA.’ In: Schlangenlinien, Bonn 1984, pp.170-174.

* ‘Wir rufen nach Freiheit und Gerechtigkeit, wo Frauen nicht als Menschen gelten.’ In: N. Sommer (ed.): Nennt uns nicht Brüder! Frauen in der Kirche durchbrechen das Schweigen, Stuttgart 1985, pp.73-79.

* ‘Diskriminiert, gedemütigt, manipuliert – und trotzdem kaum empört. Zur Situation der Frau in der Kirche.’ In: H.J. Findeis (ed.): Die Frau in Religion und Gesellschaft. Hinduismus-Judentum-Christentum – Islam, Bielefeld 1986, pp.118-138.

* (Together with Iris Müller), ‘Erste Internationale Konferenz über Frau und Judentum.’ In: Orientierung 51(1987)30-32

* ‘Relevanz und Stellenwert des Kirchenrechts in der feministischen Theologie.’ In: M.Th. Wacker (ed.): Theologie feministisch. Disziplinen, Schwerpunkte, Richtungen, Düsseldorf 1988, pp.115-142.

* “Gleiche Würde” – aber keine gleichen Rechte. Zum Apostolischen Schreiben Johannes Paul II. “Mulieris Dignitatem”. In: Christenrechte in der Kirche, 14. Rundbrief (1988) pp.31-35.

* Frauenbewegung und Kirche. Bilanz eines 25jährigen Kampfes für Gleichberechtigung und Befreiung der Frau seit dem 2. Vatikanischen Konzil, Weinheim, 1. ed. 1989, 2. ed. 1991.

* ‘In Christus gilt nicht mehr Mann und Frau’ – Zeichen des anbrechenden Reiches Gottes. In: Anhaltspunkte (pub. by Deutschen Evangelischen Frauenbund) 34(1990) H.1, pp.9-13.

* ‘Die Frauen in der Kirche’. In: Stimmen der Zeit 115 (1990) 415-426.

* ‘Diskriminierung der Frauen in der katholischen Kirche – eine Herausforderung für Frauen und Männer.’ In: Rundbrief. Zeitschrift des BDKJ im Bistum Berlin nr. 7/April 1991, pp.5-7.

* ‘Die Amtsfrage ist der Prüfstein’ (Interview). In: Entschluß. Spiritualität. Praxis. Gemeinde (pub. by the deutschsprachigen Jesuiten) 46 (1991) 33-35.

* ‘Recht/Gerechtigkeit’. Kirchenrecht (kath.). In: Wörterbuch der feministischen Theologie (ed. v. E. Gössmann u.a.) Gütersloh 1991, pp.344-347.

* ‘Priestertum der Frau’ , In: Wörterbuch der feministischen Theologie. Gütersloh 1991, pp.328-330.

* (Together with Iris Müller) ‘Theologin’ (kath.) In: Wörterbuch der feministischen Theologie. Gütersloh 1991, pp.420f .

* “Die zwölf Apostel waren Männer…” Stereotype Einwände gegen die Frauenordination und ihre tieferen Ursachen. In: Orientierung 56 (1992)143-146.

English translation

* ‘Ungenutzte Chancen für Frauen im Kirchenrecht. Widersprüche im CIC/1983 und ihre Konsequenzen.’ In: Orientierung 58 (1994) 68-70.

* ‘Endgültiges Nein zum Priestertum der Frau? Zum Apostolischen Schreiben Papst Johannes Pauls II. “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis” ’, In: Orientierung 58 (1994) 190-193.

English translation

* ‘Priesteramt für Frauen: eine Forderung der Gerechtigkeit und Anerkennung ihres Christseins.’ In: Katechetische Blätter 120 (1995) 296-299.

* ‘Für die Rechte der Frauen in der Kirche. Eindrücke und Überlegungen zur Women’s Ordination Conference 1995’, In: Orientierung 60 (1996) 54-57.

* ‘Ein Ereignis von historischer Tragweite? Priesterinnenweihe in der altkatholischen Kirche Deutschlands.’ In: Schlangenbrut 14 (1996) 46.

* ‘Rezension: Walter Groß (ed.): Frauenordination.’ In: Schlangenbrut 15 (1997) 47f.

* ‘Stellung und Wertung der Frau im kanonischen Recht.’ In: U. Gerhard (ed.): Frauen in der Geschichte des Rechts. Von der Frühen Neuzeit bis zur Gegenwart. München 1997, 698-712

* ‘Kirchenrechtliche Fragen zum Diakonat der Frau. Das bestehende Kirchenrecht und der Diakonat der Frau; Rechtliche Fragen in der Diskussion.’ In: P. Hünermann u.a. (ed.): Diakonat. Ein Amt für Frauen in der Kirche – Ein frauengerechtes Amt? Ostfildern 1997, 225-235.

* ‘Diakonat – ein Amt für Frauen in der Kirche’, In: Orientierung 62 (1998) 8-11.

English translation

* (Together with Gertrud Jansen and Iris Müller ) Zur Priesterin berufen. Gott sieht nicht auf das Geschlecht. Zeugnisse röm.-katholischer Frauen. Thaur-Verlag (Österreich) 1998.

* (Together with Mechtilde Neuendorff and Iris Müller ed.) Aufbruch aus männlichen “Gottesordnungen”. Reformbestrebungen von Frauen in christlichen Kirchen und im Islam. Weinheim 1998.

* “Wie lange noch sollen wir warten?” Frauen, die Priesterinnen werden wollen, brauchen die Solidarität ihrer Schwestern. In: Publik-Forum nr. 15 (1998) 36f.

* ‘Kein priesterliches Amt für die Frau? Der Ausschluß von Frauen von kirchlichen Ämtern ist biblisch nicht begründbar.’ in: Christliche Freiheit statt Heilige Herrschaft. Vision einer künftigen Kirche (pub. by der Kirchenvolksbewegung “Wir sind Kirche”) Publik-Forum Spezial 1998, 42-46.

* ‘Studientag Salzburg: Meilenstein auf dem Weg zur Frauenordination.’ In: Kirche Intern 13 (1999) nr.6, pp.26.

* ‘Zur Geschichte des weiblichen Diakonats.’ In: Kirche braucht Diakoninnen. Arbeitshilfe zum Diakonat der Frau, hg. v. Arbeitskreis Diakonat der Frau, Münster,1999, 5-7 .

* ‘Les Discours masculin sur Dieu dans la liturgie et ses effets sur les femmes.’ In: Lumen Vitae, Revue Internationale de Catéchèse et de Pastorale 55 (1999) pp. 47 – 57.

English translation

* (Together with Iris Müller) ‘Veränderungen nicht erwünscht. Bericht über die 2. Sonderversammlung der Bischofssynode für Europa 1999’, In: Kirche Intern 13 (1999) nr.12, pp.36f.

* ‘Eine Vorkämpferin für die Gleichstellung von Frauen. Zum Tod von Gertrud Heinzelmann’, In: Schlangenbrut 18 (2000) nr. 68, 39.

* ‘Frauenordination vor dem Hintergrund des interkonfessionellen Dialogs.’ In: Johannes Brosseder u. Evah Ignestam (ed.): Die Ambivalenz der Moderne. The Ambivalence of Modernity. TRO & TANKE, Svenska Kyrkan, Uppsala 1999, 173-181.

Witness to HerStory

Austrian and German Women Ordained Priests
By Rea Howarth, Coordinator Catholics Speak Out


Click here for Spanish translation

On June 29, I witnessed an extraordinary event that I believe moves the ordination of women in the Catholic church to a new level.


Seven Roman Catholic women — two Austrians, four
Germans, and a woman with dual US-Austrian citizenship, were ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, June 29, by two bishops, Romulo Braschi of Argentina and Rafael Regelsberger of Austria.


The German and Austrian women hold degrees in theology and had participated in a three-year ministerial training program. Two of the ordinands were Austrian, Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger and Sr. Adelinde Theresia Roitinger. There were four Germans: Dr. Iris Müller, Dr. Ida Raming, Dr. Gisela Forster, and Pia Brunner. The seventh, with a dual citizenship in the US and Austria, was ordained under a pseudonym in order to preserve her anonymity.

The ceremony took place under tight security on a cruise boat on the Donau (Danube) River, which winds through Germany and Austria, with 200 invited guests. This was to prevent disruptions by demonstrators and press. It made it impossible for the local bishops, witnesses, and even the newly-consecrated priests to know precisely where the ordinations took place.

It was attended by prominent theologians, activists, and ordinary Catholics who are in the communities served by the women.

Msgr. Braschi was ordained to the Roman Catholic priesthood in Buenos Aires in 1966. He was a member of the Marianists and holds a doctorate in theology. He was active in the basic community movement in Argentina, and opposed the military junta during 1976-1983. His public attitude, he said, caused him great personal suffering. Braschi left the Roman Catholic church to work with the Charismatic Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ. He received his episcopal ordination in 1988 from Bishop Roberto Padin, a bishop who had left the RC church, but whose apostolic roots trace back to the 15th Century.

Braschi says that he was ordained a second time by Jeronimo Podestá, bishop of the Avellanda diocese in Argentina, who served for a few years during the 1960s before being removed, allegedly for being too vocal in his support for church reform and social justice issues. Podestá continued to serve the church as a priest, but in 1972, gave up that right to marry, and later became active in the international married priests movement.

From a canonical standpoint, the organizers say that Braschi, who is married, is a bona fide bishop, although he is not recognized as such by Rome. That is, since the conferral of holy orders is accomplished through the laying on of hands, Braschi can validly claim apostolic succession even though the Vatican does not recognize him as a Roman bishop.

Braschi said that he did not claim to ordain the women in the name of the Pope, nor to present himself as a Roman Catholic bishop. He is, he said, a bishop for the universal catholic church, and that he was ordaining the women as for the good of the whole church. He did, however, follow the Roman rite. But even if the ordaining bishop were recognized by Rome, the ordinations would not be considered valid by Rome because they violate canon law 1024, which stipulates that only men can be ordained.

Nonetheless, the women consider the ordinations valid. "We understand ourselves as priests in the Roman Catholic Church," Rev. Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, one of the seven women said at a press conference following the ordinations. "It is not a licit solution, but it is a fact. We have to live with this fact, and in this fact."

Forster said that at one point as many as 12 women considered being ordained. She noted that four American women had actively considered ordination at that time, but pulled out of the process.

"An important step," Forster noted, was the ordination of eight women to the diaconate on Palm Sunday. The ordaining bishop’s identity was not disclosed. The pressure on the candidates was enormous, Forster said. One of the women had so much pressure put on her by her bishop that she pulled out. The nun, Roitinger, was "threatened with expulsion" from her community of 58 years if she went through with the act.

"We looked for a bishop with apostolic succession for three years," Forster said. They found five bishops who support women’s ordination and are in good standing with Rome, but only one said he would do it, and then in secret. "We thought at this time that the institutional church exerts so much coercion and pressure, that no one has the courage to do it," Forster said.

The group justified their actions, saying that for 40 years, women have used theological arguments to refute the justifications for excluding women from ordained ministry, in numerous scholarly and popular articles, books, and other publications. So far, the Vatican has ignored the refutations of existing church teaching, and in 1995, gave the doctrine Ordinatio Sacerdotalis issued in 1994, the status or a "quasi-dogma" and forbidden theologians from further discussion.

"Women who feel called to ministerial priesthood and who want to live their vocation, find themselves in a situation of grave conflict of conscience," said Raming. "On one hand they face the unrevised position of the Church leadership. On the other hand, God is calling them to priestly service to the Church…. Experience has shown that the discussion does not bear the promise of a result, and so the women have chosen ordination contra legem (CIC.1024). A change in the juridical condition of women in the Roman Catholic Church is not to be expected in the near future. Its hierarchical and centralized structure means that only bishops (exclusively men!) have the right to decide in a Council that women may have access to the ordained ministry. These men have shown themselves to be in the main, extremely obedient to the Pope and the Magisterium of the Church."

Canon 1024, which states that "only a baptized man can validly receive sacred ordination," is based upon "a grave lack of respect for the human dignity of women and their Christian existence," Raming said. "That valid ordination is reserved exclusively to men ignores the status of women as baptized and confirmed persons. This implies that Canon 1024 and its underlying teaching denies that women are created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:27) and the teaching of Vatican II (Lumen Gentium, para 32 et al.) and Galations 3:27-28 that says: "All baptized in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus."

Thus, the doctrine of exclusion of women from ordained ministry is based upon a heresy that women in the Roman Catholic Church are no longer willing to accept, Raming said. The women’s act is both political and spiritual, a clear sign of protest against "this misogynist teaching and juridical norm that a male church leadership has imposed upon women, causing grave damage to the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church in the world."