VATICAN CITY, JAN. 27, 2003 ( The Holy See published a decree confirming the excommunication of a group of women who participated in a mock priestly ordination last June.

The document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announces that the Holy See has rejected the appeal made by the women to the decree of excommunication published by the Vatican dicastery last Aug. 5.

Moreover, the Holy See considers that the "refusal to comply with the penal precept established by the Church" is "further aggravated by the fact that some of the above-mentioned women have been gathering round them members of the faithful, in open and divisive disobedience to the Roman Pontiff and diocesan bishops."

It adds: "In view of the gravity of this contumacy (cf. can. 1347 CIC), the penalty imposed is not only just, but also necessary, in order to protect true doctrine, to safeguard the communion and unity of the Church, and to guide consciences of the faithful."

The decree, dated Dec. 21 and published today, is signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, president and then secretary, respectively, of the doctrinal congregation.

The decree has been approved by 13 cardinals and two bishops who reside in Rome and are members of the Vatican congregation.<br>
John Paul II approved the decree expressly and requested its publication.

The mock ordination was conducted by Argentine Romulo Antonio Braschi, a schismatic bishop and founder of a schismatic community.

The decree indicates that the women, of German, Austrian and U.S. nationality, who participated in the simulated ordination are Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Adelinde Theresia Roitinger, Gisela Forster, Iris Müller, Ida Raming, Pia Brunner and Dagmar Braun Celeste. The latter used the name Angela White for the occasion.

In the 1994 apostolic letter "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis," John Paul II said "that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women."