Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Recent news accounts and internet postings have revealed that on Sunday, November 15, 2015, Ms. Linda Kobe-Smith was “ordained” as a priest by a member of the Ecumenical Catholic Community of St. Clare. This was a public ceremony open to all. In light of the confusion and scandal this may cause on the part of the faithful of the Diocese of Spokane, I want to take this opportunity to clearly present the position of the Catholic Church.
This simulated ordination sadly resulted in the excommunication
latae sententiae reserved to the Apostolic See of Ms. Kobe-Smith as well as the person who attempted to ordain her. The perennial teaching of the Catholic Church, as reaffirmed recently by Pope Francis, is that the Church has no authority to confer priestly ordination on women. This teaching is to be held definitively by all the faithful as a matter pertaining to the Church’s divine constitution itself. Any attempt on the part of Ms. Kobe-Smith to celebrate sacraments reserved to priests should be viewed as invalid. Moreover, Catholics should avoid attendance at any future ceremonies led by Ms. Kobe-Smith.
It is an occasion of great sadness when people choose to separate themselves from the Church. We always have hope, however, in the power of repentance, reconciliation, and mercy. I would ask you to join me in a sincere spirit of prayer that those involved in this simulated ordination may seek to be reconciled with Jesus Christ and the Church which he founded. Until then, please be assured of my continued prayers as I remain,
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Thomas Daly
Bishop of Spokane