Lift your Voice with Roy Bourgeois!

"Break the Silence. Shatter the Stained-Glass Ceiling" 


Take Action

1. Join over 8,000 justice-seeking Catholics and Sign the Petition in Support of Fr. Roy Bourgeois.  Each of the organizations below have issued statements of Support for Fr. Roy:

Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests 8th Day Center for JusticeThe Federation of Christian Ministries’ Roman Catholic Faith , Community Council, Call to Action USACatholic Women’s Ordination UKHotline Human Rights Bangladesh Trust  , Mary Magdala – Germany, National Coalition of American NunsNew Ways MinistryPax Christi Maine , RAPPORT, Roman Catholic Womenpriests , Southeastern Pennsylvania Women’s Ordination Conference, St. Anthony’s Community-Santa BarbaraVoice of the Faithful-New JerseyWomenpriests.orgWomen’s Ordination Conference , Women’s Ordination Worldwide 

2. Contact Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers and express your support for Fr. Roy: 

Father Edward Dougherty
Maryknoll Fathers
PO Box 303
Maryknoll, NY 10545-0303
Fax: 914.944.3600 or Phone: 914.941.7590 
Email: [email protected] 

3. Download "Break The Silence On Women’s Ordination. Shatter the Stained Glass Ceiling!" Postcards  Send these 4" X 6" postcards to your local church leaders or drop them in the collection basket. To mail, print postcards on heavy stock, fold, glue and cut to conform to Post Office regulations. 



On August 9, 2008 Father Roy Bourgeois delivered a homily during the Ordination Ceremony  of Roman Catholic WomenPriest, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, in Lexington, KY. 

Soon after, on October 21, 2008 the Vatican sent a letter to the Maryknoll community stating that Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest of 36 years, had 30 days to recant his support of women’s ordination or he would be automatically excommunicated. 

In response, the Women’s Ordination Conference initiated a campaign titled "Break the Silence. Shatter the Stained Glass Ceiling," with the Association of Roman Catholic WomenpriestsRoman Catholics Womenpriests-USA  and Call to Action  as partners.  The campaign included an online petition, the first of which garnered over 3,700 signatures in less than a week.  Before the 30 days were up, WOC sent that petition to Pope Benedict XVI; the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Pietro Sambi; and Maryknoll Superior General, John Sivalon.  

After thirty days passed, Fr. Bourgeois stood firm in his stance. In his letter to the Vatican  in November, 2008, he expressed that he could not recant his belief in women’s ordination. Fr. Bourgeois also wrote to his fellow priests , calling priests everywhere to Break the Silence and address the issue of women’s ordination in homilies, and meetings with the bishops: "Silence is the voice of complicity."

While Roy Bourgeois received a canonical warning to not participate in future ordinations, the Maryknoll community had agreed to opening further conversations on matters social justice issues, including the role of women in the Roman Catholic Church.   

Since then, Fr. Roy has continued to advocate for women’s ordination, once again calling on the Maryknoll community in May 2010 to address this issue.   

On March 29, 2011, Fr. Roy Bourgeois received a canonical warning  from the leadership of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. Fr. Roy has been given fifteen days to recant his belief that women, along with men, are called by God to serve as Roman Catholic priests. Failure to recant during thistime period will result in a second canonical warning from his superiors, whereupon, Maryknoll leadership will submit their charge for dismissal to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with a request for laicization.  

On July 27, 2011, Rev. Edward Dougherty and the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers issued Fr. Roy’s Second Canonical Warning  for the "grave scandal" of continuing to speak publicly for the ordination of women. Fr. Roy faces dismissal from his order and priesthood if he does not recant his beliefs in women’s ordination. Fr. Roy stands firm in his conscience and refuses to recant : "What you are asking me to do in your letter is not possible without betraying my conscience. In essence, you are telling me to lie and say I do not believe that God calls both men and women to the priesthood. This I cannot do, therefore I will not recant." 



Read More 

Order Dismisses a Priest Trying to Ordain Women  (NYTimes, August 8, 2011)

Fr. Roy Responds, Stands firm in His Conscience  (August 8, 2011) 

Maryknoll Leadership issues Last Canonical Warning to Fr. Roy; Threatened with Dismissal  (July 27, 2011) 

Fr. Roy Bourgeois Responds to Maryknoll, Refusing to Recant his support of women’s ordination  (April 8, 2011)

Maryknoll Leadership sends a first canonical threat to Fr. Roy Bourgeois, threatening dismissal   (March 29, 2011) 

Father Roy Bourgeois’ Letter to His Maryknoll Community (May, 2010)

The National Coalition of American Nuns letter to the Vatican (Dec. 2008)    

Father Roy Bourgeois’ Response to the Vatican (Nov. 2008)

Father Roy Bourgeois’ Letter to his Fellow Priests (Nov. 2008)

Sr. Joan Chittister’s keynote speech at the First Women’s Ordination Worldwide conference in Dublin, Ireland 2001  (Sr. Chittister’s Order supported her after the Vatican’s instruction to not speak at the Conference) 

Dec. 15, 2008: National Catholic Reporter: In-between is a dangerous place to be by Joan Chittister, OSB

Dec. 12, 2008: The Indypendent: Female Priests Altar the Rules 

Nov. 22, 2008: National Catholic Reporter: Focus is on Bourgeois as SOA weekend opens  

Nov. 20, 2008: Huffington Post: Voices Carry — Lay Catholics, Priests Challenge Bishops on Abortion, Ordination  by Angela Bonavoglia

Nov. 19, 2008: Beliefnet: Church threatens to excommunicate Father Roy Bourgeois, Founder of the School of the Americas Watch  by Rabbi Michael Lerner

Nov. 20, 2008: Democracy Now: Vatican Threatens to Excommunicate Catholic Priest for Supporting Ordination of Women into Priesthood  

Nov. 14, 2008: New York Times: Catholic Priest Faces Excommunication 

Nov. 13, 2008: Catholic News Service: Despite Vatican warning, Father Bourgeois firm on women’s ordination 

Nov. 11, 2008: National Catholic Reporter: Roy Bourgeois threatened with Excommunication

Aug. 18, 2008Update on Roy Bourgeois’ meeting with Superiors for participating in ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska. The Maryknoll community agreed to opening further conversations on matters social justice issues, including the role of women in the Roman Catholic Church.