Roy Bourgeois in Hot Water

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, the prominent Maryknoll priest and tireless human-rights advocate best known for his opposition to the School of the Americas (the U.S. military’s school that had trained some foreign military responsible for assassinations in Latin America), has found himself in some potentially dangerous waters because of his attendance at a women’s ordination rite.  "As a Catholic priest - and this is important - I cannot possibly speak out about the injustice of the war in Iraq, about the injustice of the School of the Americas and the suffering it causes, and at the same time be silent about this injustice in my church," said Father Bourgeois. "I belong to a huge faith community where women are excluded, and I have a responsibility to address this."


James Martin, SJ

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9 years 10 months ago
Mercy Sister Theresa Kane was interviewed on NBC during John Paul II's last apostolic visit to the U.S. where the question of the ordination of women was raised by a reporter. She offered a very thoughtprovoking response in which she stated (as I remember it) that 'it's no longer the correct question' because it 'reinforces the misperception that the ordained priesthood is above other states of life' and so to seek access to the ordained priesthood as an equality issue is to misunderstand the place of the ordained priesthood. I am curious if others have considered the issue from that perspective and considered that improving equality or better yet achieving equity (I make the distinction between 'equality' and 'equity') could be realized in so many other 'spaces' within ecclesial life rather than making women's ordination the focal point. From where I write, I think that healthy conversations about mutuality and equity across genders could be a far more productive space of Catholic development than the fragmentizing and stratifying debate over the ordination of women. To be clear, I am not suggesting or promoting a debate on 'women's ordination.' However, one of the most interesting things to me in considering her point is that, if I recall correctly, Sister Theresa Kane was at one time 'a long time ago' a strong voice for women's eligibility for ordination to the priesthood. (If I am incorrect in that recollection, please forgive me.) Blessings, Lisa
9 years 10 months ago
I felt sad when I first heard of his support and celebrating Mass at a woman's ''ordination''. My initial thought was that this would throw him and also the movement to expose the misdeeds of the School of the Americas (now renamed) into the fringe group category in many people's minds. This would be sad.
9 years 10 months ago
Father Bourgeois has received a "canonical warning" from Maryknoll leadership who expressed their disapproval and denied any foreknowledge of his actions. This seems similar to some of the occurences that Jesuits have also had with the Vatican including those that affected the editorship of this magazine. Father Bourgeois has accepted the warning and expressed his love for Maryknoll and the Church as "family." He did not attempt to "ordain" the women, but did attend and participate. George Weigel and some others who oppose his stand with School of the Americas have taken this occasion to throw some other snide insults about him and his values. One must wonder at the connections... I am glad that this situation is at least mentioned in this blog and it saddens me to see the apparent heavy handediness mainifest or implied as a coming action.
9 years 10 months ago
The reality is, Fr. Bourgeois knew that his participation in this mock-ordination, which is in fact a participation in an active schismatic and heretical movement, would warrant a strong reaction from the Church. It is one thing for a Catholic to voice opposition to Church teaching. It is another thing altogether to participate in the defiance of that teaching. I have a tremendous respect for the social justice work of Fr. Bourgeois, and I myself have attended the protest at the SOA, and will do so again. But the issue of women's ordination is an infallibly taught doctrine of the Church, and as such we have an obligation of obedience to that teaching. Fr. Bourgeois knew what he was doing, and so any disciplinary measure taken against him is done so at the prompting of his conscious act.


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