Over one hundred Catholic sisters, sponsored by the National Coalition of American Nuns, have written to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in support of Roy Bourgeois, the Maryknoll priest (or former Maryknoll priest depending on his status) who participated in a women’s ordination rite this summer.
From the NCAN site:
--The nuns’ Dec. 12 letter says the Vatican’s action "has diminished our Church." They believe that "excommunications depend not on edicts or laws, but on compliance" by the faithful. If the faithful do not exclude or shun someone from the community, they are not excommunicated. The letter asserts that Bourgeois is not outside the community because they "embrace him wholeheartedly." The letter was organized by the National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN).
"In the first century, Christians resolved their disagreements about following traditions such as circumcision and kosher dietary laws by dialogue and discussion," said Sister Beth Rindler, speaking for NCAN. "We need to follow their example by promoting public discussion about the ordination of women," the Franciscan Sister said.
"We hope the excommunication is not issued," said Dominican Sister Donna Quinn, one of the coordinators of NCAN. "The medieval punishment of excommunication serves only to embarrass our Church in the eyes of the world and fuels further anger and resentment among the U.S. faithful."
"Many of the signers have served the Church for more than 40 or 50 years. Many are prominent leaders in their fields," said Loretto Sister Jeannine Gramick, another NCAN coordinator. She pointed to Mercy Sister Theresa Kane, who made worldwide headlines when she asked Pope John Paul II to open all ministries to women on the occasion of his first visit to the U.S in 1979, and Dominican Sister Carol Coston, who founded Network, a Catholic social justice lobby. She also noted the signatures of Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, a prolific writer in the field of spirituality, Notre Dame Sister Ivone Gebara, a noted Brazilian feminist theologian, and Loretto Sister Maureen Fiedler, host of the public radio show Interfaith Voices.’ --NCAN
James Martin, SJ