Saturday, August 27, 2011

Roy Bourgeous' Outstanding Responder-Blanche Crandall

 Blanche Crandall
1200 I Street #303
Anchorage, AK. 99501
August 19, 2011
Rev. Edward Dougherty,MM
Office of the General Council
PO Box 303
Maryknoll, NY 10545-0303

Dear Fr. Dougherty and General Council:

Having received a copy of your letter to Fr. Roy Bourgeois, I must be straightforward in responding and write according to my conscience.

I found the letter dated 27 July,2011 that you wrote to Fr. Bourgeois to be non-pastoral and void of compassion. It included an account of past events of the last few years concerning him, you, and the Vatican. The rules and regulations referred to were written by dogmatic and legalistic clerics not consistent with the compassionate and merciful words of Jesus found in the gospels. Your words betray your allegiance to an unjust system that is self-perpetuating and self-serving (Ps 118:8-9)

As a thinking Catholic woman, I find the words of Pope John Paul II regarding women's ordination offensive. They betray the mind and (heartless) heart of a misogynist. You are aware of the Pontifical Biblical Commission of 1976, of the 200 some Biblical scholars and theologians who concluded that nothing in the Bible forbids women's ordinations. John Paul II chose to vehemently oppose the hard work of that commission and squelched its study. Clearly, he was not at all thinking of the unfolding of truth and thus being liberated by its light. Instead, he was more interested in protecting an institution bent on self-preservation than on justice.

Thomas Aquinas stated that no one has the right to obey an unjust law or to follow false teaching. Our first obligation is to our conscience. In this light, I support Fr. Bourgeois' choice to follow his conscience.

John Henry Newman wrote: "[in a] collision with the word of a pope.... [conscience] is to be followed in spite of that word." He referred to the conscience as the "Vicar of Christ" for each of us. It is noted that he toasted conscience first and the pope second.

Finally the words of then Joseph Ratzinger in 1967: "Over the pope... there stands... conscience which must be obeyed before all else, even if necessary against the ecclesiastical authority."

I haven't heard that the Pope recanted those words. So there is a contradiction with that statement and what the Pope is presently telling you to do to Fr. Bourgeois because he is following his conscience. I might suggest, before you continue with your Canonical Warning, that you check with the Pope for clarification. The answer should be told to all Catholics.

Last Sunday's (8-7-11) Gospel from Matthew tells of Peter walking on the water toward Jesus. When Peter saw how strong the wind was, he became frightened and began to sink. Are the Pope and the Magisterium the wind for you and your General Council?  Why are you afraid to speak the whole truth?

You mentioned in your letter to Fr. Bourgeois that some Maryknollers "invited" him to consider the effects of his actions on the Society. That reminds me of the hierarchy who is more concerned about its reputation and the clerical sexual abusers than it is about the victims. You failed to mention how many – i.e.., 5 or 500 – actually asked him to do this. Was a vote taken among all the MM priests and brothers? From my sources, I have heard that many of the Maryknollers around the world are actually in solidarity with at least a thousand lay men and women who are supportive of Fr. Bourgeois.

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, in his gentleness and humility, has been following Jesus to seek justice for the poor, the vulnerable, the downtrodden, the marginalized, those treated as un-equals in our church. We know in our hearts that Jesus would never excommunicate Fr. Bourgeois. Jesus never spoke of such a thing!  He has given each of us choice, without forcing his will on us as the Vatican has done and continues to do to show its power.

Please remember not to mix the Church with the hierarchy. The Vatican II Council stated that we are the Church, no longer papacy and hierarchy, but the People of God.  Church officials ought to be speaking the words of the Scripture, and not those of the Magisterium. History shows that Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XV1 have been trying to overturn the collegial and democratic characteristics of the Church of Vatican II. We must remember we are united in the Church by our baptism and not by ordination.

Fr. Dougherty, you are in a pivotal position, which gives you and the other Maryknollers, men and women, an opportunity to set an example in favor of justice and truth by supporting your fellow Maryknoller, Fr. Roy Bourgeois. In so doing, you would also be giving support to the many women who suffer injustice from the Church by denying them their right to ordination. It seems you have two choices to consider.

First, you can unite Catholics, around the world by following Jesus first, and not the hierarchy. These church officials have pushed their authority to force you to do what they could not do! No doubt you are familiar with the case with Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, and how her community followed its conscience and told the Vatican it couldn't follow its (the Vatican) orders. The Vatican has never gone after the sisters as it is doing with you. I hope you do some in-depth time with Jesus to help you.

Secondly, you can give into Rome, forget Vatican II changes, and upset the global Catholic community, many of whom are folks I personally know who will stop giving money to Maryknoll. I have met many wonderful MM priests, sisters and brothers through the years that I have attended the SOA Watch at Ft. Benning. I saw how Christ-like they are in their ways. By following this second way, you place many Maryknollers in a terrible bind! You are continuing the exclusivity in our church that the Vatican supports, i.e., women are not equals, instead of the inclusivity practiced and taught by Jesus.

As a staunch follower of Vatican II, I follow Jesus before any man on earth. I give Fr. Roy Bourgeois, my brother in Christ, my complete support in his stand for women's ordination, in particular, and for his constant seeking for justice for the cast-asides, the ignored, the forgotten, and the vulnerable, in general.

Thank you for your attention.

I would hope you will address some of the issues publicly that I have mentioned in this letter.

Sincerely in the justice and peace of Jesus,
Blanche Crandall

Comment: Perhaps the best letter written about the tension Roy Bourgeois is causing,  Blanche is most articulate in outlining the major facts.  There is NO theological or foundational reason women cannot be ordained.  In his own writings Pope Benedict promotes following your conscience and it is the hierarchy, not the church that is promoting division and discord.  Thank you, Blanche.

Diane Dougherty

No comments: