The Maryknoll Fathers today released a press release saying that last month the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith canonically dismissed Fr. Roy Bourgeois from the order, unilaterally dispensing him from his vows. Fr. Bourgeois is being punished for his participation in the 2008 ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska. Fr. Bourgeois had gotten to know Sevre-Duszynska through her participation in his campaign to close down the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia, because of its involvement in training military from various Latin American dictatorships.
Fr. Bourgeois was instructed to recant his support for women priests or be excommunicated. In an April 2011 letter to his superior general, Fr. Edward Dougherty, Fr. Bourgeois said, "what you are requiring of me is not possible without betraying my conscience. In essence, you are telling me to lie and say I do not believe that God calls both men and women to the priesthood. This I cannot do, therefore I will not recant." Now the decision to stay true to his conscience has cost Fr. Bourgeois his position.
Below is the full text of the press release from the order:
The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on October 4, 2012, canonically dismissed Roy Bourgeois from the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, also known as the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. The decision dispenses the Maryknoll priest from his sacred bonds.
As a priest during 2008, Mr. Bourgeois participated in the invalid ordination of a woman and a simulated Mass in Lexington, Kentucky. With patience, the Holy See and the Maryknoll Society have encouraged his reconciliation with the Catholic Church.
Instead, Mr. Bourgeois chose to campaign against the teachings of the Catholic Church in secular and non-Catholic venues. This was done without the permission of the local U.S. Catholic Bishops and while ignoring the sensitivities of the faithful across the country. Disobedience and preaching against the teaching of the Catholic Church about women's ordination led to his excommunication, dismissal and laicization.
Mr. Bourgeois freely chose his views and actions, and all the members of the Maryknoll Society are saddened at the failure of reconciliation. With this parting, the Maryknoll Society warmly thanks Roy Bourgeois for his service to mission and all members wish him well in his personal life. In the spirit of equity and charity, Maryknoll will assist Mr. Bourgeois with this transition.
You can't stop the Spirit...
Meanwhile, ten years after the original Danube Seven and whether the Vatican accepts it or not, women continue to be ordained to the priesthood. More than ten women priests have already been ordained in 2012, following a similar number in 2011.
And male priests continue to support the movement at the risk of sharing Fr. Bourgeois' fate. Just this week at the School of the Americas protest, a 93-year old Jesuit, Fr. Bill Brennan concelebrated the Eucharist with Rev. Sevre-Duszynska.
The beat goes on...