Pope Benedict has denounced priests who have questioned church teaching on celibacy and the ordination of women, suggesting they were being selfish in disobeying his authority.
When Pope Benedict restated the Catholic Church's ban on women priests and warned that he would not tolerate disobedience by clerics on key teachings, he asked rhetorically in the sermon of a solemn Mass in St Peter's Basilica "Is disobedience a path of renewal for the Church?"
This was on the day Catholic priests renew their vows. In his response to a group of Austrian priests and laity, Benedict said in its "call to disobedience", it had challenged "definitive decisions of the Church's magisterium (teaching authority) such as the question of women's ordination ..."
He then restated the position by citing a major 1994 document by his predecessor John Paul II that stated that the ban on women priests was part of the Church's "divine constitution."
Pope Benedict has restated the Roman Catholic Church's ban on women priests and warned that he would not tolerate disobedience by clerics on fundamental teachings.
Benedict, who for decades before his 2005 election was the Vatican's chief doctrinal enforcer, delivered an unusually direct denunciation of disobedient priests in a sermon at a morning Mass on Holy Thursday, when the Church commemorates the day Christ instituted the priesthood.
The pope responded specifically to a call to disobedience by a group of Austrian priests and laity, who last year boldly and openly challenged Church teaching on taboo topics such as priestly celibacy and women's ordination.