Theologian Martha Heizer, reportedly a former lecturer in religion at the University of Innsbruck, and the founder of “We Are Church,” was excommunicated by the Vatican along with her husband, Ehemann Gert, for simulating Eucharistic celebrations without a priest, according to The Tablet.
Bishop Manfred Scheuer of Innsbruck reportedly delivered the excommunication decree to the couple’s house but they refused to accept it. Bishop Scheuer described the move as a “self-excommunication.”
The group “We Are Church," which was formed in 1995, reportedly advocates female ordination and for changing the Church’s teaching on birth control.
In 2012, Heizer gave an interview and described her simulated Eucharistic celebration this way:
We sit around a table. This is a normal celebration of the Eucharist, as also happens in the parish. We have no text except the Bible. We pray spontaneously and personally. We have good bread and good wine and ask that the Holy Spirit both - and us - converts. We eat and drink together, and we sing and pray much…
We can only pray What the Holy Spirit does or not, is up to Him. We have every confidence that he does so in both in the small and in the great congregation. I think that we need not even be particularly religious to convert the Eucharistic elements. The Holy Spirit does this at His or Her discretion…
We are accused of desecrating the Eucharist. It drives me mad that we in this wonderful celebration which builds us up and is the source and centre of our faith life should be deprived of holiness. It is as if we were crucifying cats.
She reportedly added, “I do not care whether that is recognized from the outside. For us it is a Eucharist, we are very happy and it does us good.”
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