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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fr. Roy Bourgeois

A post at dotCommonweal - Roy Bourgeois to be Booted from Maryknoll ....

NCR reports the expulsion of Roy Bourgeois from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers unless he recants his position on the ordination of women. His deadline is Saturday, and he says he has no intention to recant .... This from the homily at his concelebration of the ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska, the event that started all this:

"Conscience is something very sacred. It gives us a sense of right and wrong and urges us to do the right thing. Conscience is what compelled Franz Jagerstatter to refuse to enlist in Hitler’s army. On this day, August 9, 1943, this humble farmer was executed for following his conscience. Conscience is what compelled Rosa Parks to say, “No, I cannot sit in the back of the bus anymore.” Conscience is what compels Janice Sevre-Duszynska and the other women to say, “No, we cannot deny our call from God to the priesthood.” And it is our conscience that compels us to be here today. How can we speak out against the injustice of our country’s foreign policy in Latin America and Iraq if we are silent about the injustice of our church here at home?" ..........

A priest in the Maryknoll order, Roy Bourgeois was excommunicated latae sententiae for attending and preaching a homily at the ordination of a woman in 2008. Here's what Wikipedia has on him - it's well worth a read ....

Bourgeois was born in Lutcher, Louisiana in 1938. He attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in geology.

After graduation, Bourgeois entered the United States Navy and served as an officer for four years. He spent two years at sea, one year at a station in Europe, and one year in Vietnam. He received the Purple Heart during a tour of duty in Vietnam.

After military service, he entered the seminary of the Catholic religious order or the Maryknoll Missionary Order. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1972 and sent to Bolivia.

1972-1975 Fr. Bourgeois spent five years in Bolivia aiding the poor before being arrested and deported for attempting to overthrow Bolivian dictator General Hugo Banzer.

1980 Fr. Bourgeois became an outspoken critic of US foreign policy in Latin America after four American churchwomen, Sister Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, Sister Ita Ford, and Sister Dorothy Kazel, were raped and killed by a death squad consisting of soldiers from the Salvadoran National Guard.

1990 Fr. Bourgeois founded the School of the Americas Watch or (SOA Watch), an organization that seeks to close the School of the Americas, renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in 2001, through nonviolent protest.

1998 Fr. Bourgeois testified before a Spanish judge seeking the extradition of Chile's ex-dictator General Augusto Pinochet.

2008 In August 2008, Fr. Bourgeois participated in and delivered the homily at the ordination ceremony of Janice Sevre-Duszynska ......

[Awards he's been given ... * Pax Christi USA Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace Award (1997), * Thomas Merton Award (2005)

If interested, you can read the text of a letter sent in 2008 by 100 nuns from 22 religious congregations to the Vatican about Fr. Bourgeois here.

Is Roy Bourgeois really the kind of person the church can do without? Does the primacy of conscience actually mean nothing? How the anti-Semitic Vatican II-denying SSPX bishops be un-excommunicated while Fr. Bourgeois won't be? How can pedophile-protecting Cardinal Law be promoted while Fr. Bourgeois is dumped?



Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Hi Crystal --

You ask good questions -- though they're really rhetorical, right? Not that I don't have some of the same ones...

I really appreciated the Commonweal blog, though, and think it's on the mark. Of course, they might have selectively quoted Cardinal Levada, I guess, but I also fail to see how Canon 1378 applies...Fr. Roy DIDN'T attempt to ordain a woman. Only bishops can do that, and it sure doesn't seem that he was trying to challenge THAT point. What he did and still does say, in word and deed, is that the Church can and should ordain women, which is not what the Church upholds.

Is THAT serious enough to warrant excommunication? Apparently & especially so, if you're a cleric and say it loudly and visibly enough, according to Cardinal Levada's ruliing.

I'm not a canon lawyer, so I must leave that discussion to others. However...what little I do hear is unconvincing, and I'm very sure that to most Catholics who follow this it seems that Fr. Roy is being treated this way because he wouldn't recant and he wouldn't keep quiet, in spite of repeated warnings. In other words, it appears like discipline rather than theology.

The Church does NOT want a public discussion of this's really a powder keg. So it appears that our leaders have made a decision that it's better to hope the issue goes away & gets lost. Shall we talk about the coming changes in the liturgical translations, anyone?

5:43 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Denny,

Yes, all rhetorical :)

They already excommunicated him in 2008 - it seems really mean-spirited to now expell him from his home and job.

The subject of women's ordination will not go away no matter how much the Vatican wants it to.

I had a philosophy teacher I really liked in college. One of the things he talked about was regimes. He said that the weaker a regime was, the more control-freaky and draconian it felt compleeled to be. I think that describes the Vatican.

2:22 PM  

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