A senior figure in the We are Church movement has been excommunicated, the Austrian media have reported.
Martha Holzer and her husband, Gert, were excommunicated for “simulating the Mass”, according to the website Kath.net.
Mrs Holzer is a leading personality in We are Church, which was founded in 1995 in Austria, German and South Tyrol and seeks liberal reforms within the Catholic Church.
According to reports, the 67-year-old regularly took part in “private Eucharistic celebrations” at her home with no priest present. The Church considers the simulation of the Mass a delictum gravius, or “grave delict”.
Bishop Manfred Scheuer of Innsbruck described the development as a “self-excommunication”, which he said was “not a victory, but always a defeat for the Church”.
In a statement Martha and Gert Holzer said they were “immensely shocked” by the excommunications.
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