FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 14, 2008
Media Contact: Erin Saiz Hanna, 202 675-1006, [email protected]
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Women’s Ordination Conference Supports Ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska and Participation of Fr. Roy Bourgeois
Aisha Taylor, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC), released the following statement regarding the participation of Maryknoll priest, Roy Bourgeois in the ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska, which took place on August 9 in Lexington, Ky. Father Bourgeois is the well-known founder of the School of the Americas (SOA) Watch, a group whose annual nonviolent protests in Fort Benning, Ga. draws thousands of activists to close the U.S. military’s training base, the SOA, now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. He co-presided and gave the homily during the ordination ceremony, and he is the first male Roman Catholic priest to participate in such an ordination. He will meet with his superiors in New York on Monday, August 18 to discuss the consequences of his actions.
The Women’s Ordination Conference supports Janice Sevre-Duszynska for her ordination as a Roman Catholic priest and Fr. Roy Bourgeois for his participation in the prophetic event.
With her active commitment to social justice, Sevre-Duszynska embodies the gospel message and demonstrates the difference women priests would make in the Catholic Church and in the world. In contrast, the Vatican has automatically and immediately excommunicated her and all ordained Roman Catholic women. However, the tide of Catholic women prophetically stepping forward to serve God and their communities will only continue to grow.
Fr. Roy Bourgeois’ public support of Sevre-Duszynska’s ordination will encourage many other Catholics to speak out in support of women’s rightful role in the Church. We applaud his dedication to social justice, including justice for women in the Church. His conscience and his personal relationship with Sevre-Duszynska compelled him to stand up for what he believes and risk retribution from the hierarchy. We pray that women will continue to share their story and that more members of the hierarchy will listen to their stories with the same openness.
We echo the words of Fr. Bourgeois in his homily, "No matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination, in the end, it is always wrong and immoral."
Fr. Bourgeois tells WOC that he is at peace. He consulted with trusted friends and he is prepared for whatever penalties or implications may come his way. The Women’s Ordination Conference will be there to support him and all people of conscience who follow Jesus’ example of working prophetically for justice.
Founded in 1975, the Women’s Ordination Conference is the oldest and largest national organization that works to ordain women as priests, deacons and bishops into an inclusive and accountable Catholic Church. WOC represents the 63-70 percent of US Catholics that support the ordination of women as priests. WOC also promotes new perspectives on ordination that call for more accountability and less separation between the clergy and laity.