For Immediate Release
"The Vatican and Maryknoll can dismiss me, but they cannot dismiss the issue of gender equality in the Catholic Church."
November 20, 2012
Contact: Erin Saiz Hanna
Dismissal of Fr. Roy Bourgeois from Maryknoll Religious Order
Statement from Executive Director, Erin Saiz Hanna
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) 675-1006.
November 20, 2012
STATEMENT 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 away.
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.