Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Catholic Priest Who Ordained Women Remains Unrepentant

WASHINGTON — Time ticks away for Father Roy Bourgeois.He’s the high-profile Maryknoll priest who took part in a women’s ordination ceremony in August 2008.

Despite a canonical warning from his order soon after the ceremony, which was sponsored by Roman Catholic Womenpriests in Lexington, Ky., the priest refused to recant and was automatically excommunicated three months later.

“Sufficient time has now passed for you to consider the gravity of the matter,” the canonical warning said. “You are hereby asked one final time by the superior general and his council to publicly recant and accept the teaching of the Church on this serious matter concerning priestly ordination and the explicit teaching of the Church.”

Now, because he refuses to renounce his support for allowing women to become priests, he might lose his membership in the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers and in the priesthood itself.

“I cannot do it,” said Father Bourgeois, 72. “Rome wants two words from me to make this go away: ‘I recant.’ Those words I cannot say. They are asking me to lie, by saying that I think God does not call women to the priesthood. I believe in my heart that he does.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says Father Bourgeois’ stance on women’s ordination has caused scandal by countering Church doctrine.

Excommunication does not automatically laicize a priest, nor does it remove him from association with an order. That’s the next step, which the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asked Maryknoll to take.

Maryknoll is a 100-year-old missionary order of 360 priests, two bishops, 49 brothers and 11 seminarians based in Ossining, N.Y.

“He remains a priest, even after excommunication,” said Jimmy Akin, senior apologist for Catholic Answers, a San Diego-based apologetics organization, and a Register blogger. “Excommunication is a Church penalty that plays a medicinal role. It says a Catholic has said or done something seriously wrong and needs to repent.” During excommunication, a priest may not celebrate or receive the sacraments.

A laicized priest remains ordained, Akin said, as ordination is an indelible mark on a man’s soul. A laicized priest may no longer function as a priest in the Church apart from certain extraordinary exceptions, such as hearing the confession of a dying person.

In March, the superior general of the Maryknoll order warned Father Bourgeois that he will proceed under canon law to seek the priest’s removal from the order and request that he be laicized unless he recants his belief that women should be ordained as priests.

Father Edward Dougherty, superior general of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, outlined the steps the order would follow under the direction of Vatican officials in a canonical warning sent to Father Bourgeois dated March 18.

The document gave Father Bourgeois 15 days after receiving the warning to respond. Father Bourgeois told Catholic News Service he received the correspondence March 29 and that he has until April 13 to respond.

Seeks Audience With Pope
In an interview with the Register, Father Bourgeois said he wants to plead his case directly to Pope Benedict XVI, and he said he would be honored by a five-minute audience in which he would try to convince the Pope to reject his laicization. He would also like to meet with Cardinal William Levada, prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“The Pope is pastoral, and I hope he will meet with Father Bourgeois and hear him,” said Lil Corrigan, an 88-year-old Catholic who says she is a close and longtime friend of Father Bourgeois. “It upsets me so much that a man who has done so much good has been accused of giving scandal.”

As laicization looms, Father Bourgeois is on a liquid-only fast in Washington, D.C., trying to get President Barack Obama to close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, also known as the School of the Americas, a U.S. Army school at Fort Benning, Ga., that trains Latin American soldiers. He was a founder of School of the Americas Watch and alleges the school produces out graduates who commit human-rights atrocities, including the assassination of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador in 1989. He has spent four years behind bars for arrests and convictions associated with unlawful protests at the School of the Americas.

“He has done many good works, and we all like him and consider him a brother,” said Maryknoll spokesman Mike Virgintino. “Some of his brothers may silently agree with him, believing that women are called by God to the priesthood. I think most would rather he just come to terms with the Church in order to stop this from happening.”


Father Bourgeois gets emotional when explaining that he will let his brothers down after the second 15-day warning expires.

Read it all here.

Roman Catholic Womenpriests in Lexington, Ky. Oh, yes!  My old friends and neighbors, and one reason I decided NOT to join the Roman Catholic Church.  Beware of all innovations coming out of Lexington KY.  This is where Gene Robinson got his start and the Episcopal Church Bishop here is so radical that even gay and lesbian people cringe at some of his antics.

Related reading: Why Women Were Never Priests; What is a Priest?; What's Lost When Women Serve as Priests?; C.S. Lewis "Priestesses in the Church"; Sweeping Away Gender and the Biblical Worldview


George Patsourakos said...

If Father Roy Bourgeois refuses to recant for his role in a woman's ordination ceremony in August 2008, he must remain excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church.

The fact that Fr. Bourgeois took part in the woman's ordination ceremony -- while knowing very well that women are not allowed to be priests in the Catholic Church -- illustrates his serious resistance of Catholic Christian doctrine.

Alice C. Linsley said...

As well as his ignorance of or refusal to accept the historical and anthropological realities behind the Priesthood.