VATICAN CITY, July 15 (UPI) -- Ordaining women to the Catholic priesthood is "an extremely grave" offense, the Vatican announced Thursday with a revision of a 2001 document.
The church added female ordination to the Delicta Graviora, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. That puts it at the same level as "attacks against the Eucharist" and "attacks against the sanctity of the Confession."
It is a less serious sin than the "moral" crime of sexually molesting children, church officials said.
A handful of women have been ordained by organizations that claim to be Catholic but are not accepted by Rome. The church has also welcomed former Anglicans upset by the ordination of women in Britain, the United States, Australia and some other countries.
The Congregation for the Doctrine for the Faith punishes ecclesiastical offenses with penalties that can include excommunication and removal from the priesthood. Automatic excommunication has been the penalty for female ordination since 2008.