Dignity Canada Dignité received the disappointing news today that the Vatican has dismissed Fr. Roy Bourgeois from the priesthood due to his public advocacy for women priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

Dignity Canada Dignité

Priest defrocked for supporting women's ordination


I have been a Catholic priest in the Maryknoll community for 40 years. As a young man I joined Maryknoll because of its work for justice and equality in the world. To be expelled from Maryknoll and the priesthood for believing that women are also called to be priests is very difficult and painful.

The Vatican and Maryknoll can dismiss me, but they cannot dismiss the issue of gender equality in the Catholic Church. The demand for gender equality is rooted in justice and dignity and will not go away.

As Catholics, we profess that God created men and women of equal worth and dignity. As priests, we profess that the call for the priesthood comes from God, only God. Who are we, as men, to stay that our call from God is authentic, but God's call to women is not? The exclusion of women from the priesthood is a grave injustice against women, our Church and our loving God who calls both men and women to be priests.

When there is an injustice, silence is the voice of complicity. My conscience compelled me to break my silence and address the sin of sexism in my Church. My only regret is that it took me so long to confront the issue of male power and domination in the Catholic Church.

I have explained my position on the ordination of women, and how I came to it, in my booklet, My Journey from Silence to Solidarity. Please go to www.roybourgeoisjourney.org.

In Solidarity,

Roy Bourgeois

Vatican has dismissed Roy Bourgeois from order
by Joshua J. McElwee
National Catholic Reporter 
Nov. 19, 2012

Roy Bourgeois, a longtime peace activist and priest who had come under scrutiny for his support of women's ordination, has been dismissed from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, which he served for 45 years, according to the congregation.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made the dismissal in October, according to a news release issued Monday afternoon by the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.

Monday's statement from Maryknoll seemingly puts a cap on years of discussion about Bourgeois' role in the order following his participation in the ordination of Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janice Sevre-Duszynska in August 2008.

Shortly after, Bourgeois was notified by the Vatican congregation that he had incurred a latae sententiae, or automatic, excommunication for his participation.

Bourgeois served for 45 years in Maryknoll, with 39 years as a priest.

Dignity Canada Dignité stands in solidarity with Fr. Bourgeois in the belief that both women and men are called to all ministries in the Church. We know through the birth, life, execution and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth that God loves all persons, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation or the many other ways in which our species is diverse. Jesus simply did not discriminate, although the Jewish purity code at that time mandated many distinctions/prejudices.
I invite you to read Fr. Bourgeois' statement at right. He joins John J. McNeill, PhD, Matthew Fox, PhD, Hans Kung, PhD and many other Catholic theologians and other members who have been cast aside by the hierarchy for their prophetic voices. However, the vast majority of members of the Church, the persons in the pews such as you and me - as well as many of our fellow Catholics who have given up on the institution as it presently is behaving - would simply have no difficulty in accepting and celebrating women in all roles in our religious institution.
We pray for Fr. Bourgeois in his formal rejection by the Vatican and we pray that the institution may develop a heart open to the diversity of the human race, as shown by the life of Jesus, and rid itself of any sexism, heterosexism and clericalism.
Yours truly,
Frank Testin

Dignity Canada Dignité




The full statement from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers follows:

The Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith Canonically Dismisses Roy Bourgeois

Maryknoll, New York – November 19, 2012 – The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on October 4, 2012, canonically dismissed Roy Bourgeois from the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, also known as the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. The decision dispenses the Maryknoll priest from his sacred bonds.

As a priest during 2008, Mr. Bourgeois participated in the invalid ordination of a woman and a simulated Mass in Lexington, Kentucky. With patience, the Holy See and the Maryknoll Society have encouraged his reconciliation with the Catholic Church.

Instead, Mr. Bourgeois chose to campaign against the teachings of the Catholic Church in secular and non-Catholic venues. This was done without the permission of the local U.S. Catholic Bishops and while ignoring the sensitivities of the faithful across the country. Disobedience and preaching against the teaching of the Catholic Church about women’s ordination led to his excommunication, dismissal and laicization.

Mr. Bourgeois freely chose his views and actions, and all the members of the Maryknoll Society are saddened at the failure of reconciliation. With this parting, the Maryknoll Society warmly thanks Roy Bourgeois for his service to mission and all members wish him well in his personal life. In the spirit of equity and charity, Maryknoll will assist Mr. Bourgeois with this transition.

Dignity Canada Dignité is Canada's organization of Roman Catholics who are concerned about our church's sexual theology, particularly as it pertains to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. We work in collaboration with other Catholic organizations seeking reform in our church's leadership and teachings.