For Immediate Release
November 20, 2012
Contact: Erin Saiz Hanna
of Fr. Roy Bourgeois from Maryknoll Religious Order
Statement from Executive Director, Erin
The Women's Ordination Conference (WOC)
is heartbroken to report that the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith has canonically removed Roy
Bourgeois from his community the Maryknoll Fathers and
Brothers because of his support for women's ordination.
Fr. Bourgeois' dedication to social
justice, his unwavering conscience, and his personal friendships with women
called to priesthood compelled him to bravely speak out against the inequality of
women in our Church. As a Maryknoll priest for forty years, he has consistently
followed the gospel of Jesus by speaking out against injustice, risking
everything for what he knows to be right.
Perhaps no longer a priest in the eyes of
the Vatican or Maryknoll community, Fr. Roy will remain a prophet in the eyes
of the marginalized. Fr. Roy joins a much larger Church - the Church of the
people of God - who understand that men and women are equal in the eyes of God.
History is on our side, and someday, as they are canonizing him, the Vatican
will apologize for this painful mistake.
I spoke with Fr. Bourgeois this morning.
While he is devastated to lose his community, and saddened by the harshness of
this final step, he remains steadfast in his faith and conscience. He has asked
for solitude and prayers during this time of transition.
Supporters are encouraged to mail letters
of support to the WOC office (P.O. Box 15057 Washington, DC
20003). In addition, Fr. Bourgeois, the dedicated activist, recommends
supporters order or download a copy of his story My Journey from Silence to Solidarity and
use the book as a tool to break the silence on women's ordination. Please watch for further actions to support Fr. Roy.
The following is a statement from Fr.
Bourgeois. Any additional inquiries may be directed to me at (202)
ABOUT MY DISMISSAL FROM MARYKNOLL
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
As Catholics, we profess that God created
men and women of equal worth and dignity. As priests, we profess that the call
to the priesthood comes from God, only God. Who are we, as men, to say
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.