Commentary by Dr. Thomas Plankensteiner, the founding chairman of the platform "We are Church" in Austria, on the excommunication of Martha and Gert Heizer (Tiroler Tageszeitung, 30 May 2014)
For a week there has been an intense debate about the excommunication of Martha Heizer, the co-ordinator of IMWAC. In this context I can think of a parable of Jesus:
At that time, the Pharisees came to Jesus and asked him, "Rabbi ! Here is a woman who has illegally celebrated the Eucharist without a priest in her house. We have an old law and according to that law only men may be ordained as priests to celebrate the Eucharist. That's why she deserves a severe punishment. What do you say?"
The Pharisees wanted to set him a trap.
Jesus responded with a parable : "In a country the rulers passed a law that forbade women to help the sick. For a long time the people complained that this law was unfair and violated human rights. But the rulers remained deaf and reaffirmed the law, saying that this law will apply for all eternity. Then there came a woman who could no longer put up with this injustice and began to help the sick, knowing that she thus transgressed a law. I ask you now: Who carries the greater blame ? That woman or the rulers who clung to an unjust and inhumane law?"
Then the Pharisees were silent and went away with downcast faces.