To My Fellow Priests
"The Christian faithful have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church." Canon 212"
As a Catholic priest for 36 years, my conscience compels me to write this letter.
Years ago, as a young man in the military, I felt God was calling me to the priesthood. I entered Maryknoll, was ordained in 1972, and assigned to work in Bolivia.
Since returning to ministry in the U.S., I have met a number of women who, like you and me, feel called to the priesthood.
I am now 69 years old and believe, without any doubt, that God is calling women, as well as men, to be priests in our Church.
After all, isn't our God the Creator of heaven and earth, the Source of all life? Is not our loving and all-powerful God, who created men and women of equal stature and dignity, capable of empowering a woman to be a priest?
Women are telling us that God is calling them to priesthood. As we know, the invitation to the ministry of priesthood comes from God. Who are we to say that we are called by God, but women are not. Who are we, as men, to tamper with God's call?
Excluding women from priesthood is a grave injustice in our Church.
Therefore, I respectfully ask that you, my brother priests, join me in speaking out on this important moral issue.
Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, assassinated during Mass because of his defense of the oppressed, said, "Let those who have a voice, speak out for the voiceless!"
My fellow priests, you and I have powerful voices within our Church. I ask that we break our silence and address this issue of the ordination of women in our homilies, in our clergy meetings and with our bishops. Silence is the voice of complicity.
You and I are leaders in our faith community. Let us walk in solidarity, as Jesus would, with the women of our Church who, like you and me, are called by God to the priesthood.
Your brother in Christ,
Roy Bourgeois, M.M.
P.O. Box 3330, Columbus, GA 31903