Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"A Bloodless Yet Painful Martyrdom"

The following statement was released November 21, 2012 by Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA (RCWP).

RCWP Condemns Dismissal and Excommunication
of Fr. Roy Bourgeois

Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA (RCWP) stands in solidarity with Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who was dismissed from Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers after 45 years of service, fired as a priest and excommunicated as a Catholic on Monday, November 19. We view this as a bloodless yet painful martyrdom suffered on our behalf, because he has been a vocal and visible champion for women's ordination as essential for a just Church. Bourgeois was dismissed from the priesthood and his order by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) for refusing to recant his advocacy for full equality of women in the Roman Catholic Church. RCWP publicly expresses respect, support and concern for Fr. Roy. RCWP decries this injustice and calls on all Roman Catholics to express their own dismay, anger, disgust and rejection of the CDF's action.

Fr. Roy told an RCWP member that his dark night of the soul has ended in a moment of grace when he understood that this sense of dismissal is what women feel.

Rev. Monique Venne, co-pastor of Compassion of Christ Catholic Community in Minneapolis and a Roman Catholic Womanpriest said, "I am distressed and angry that the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith (CDF) has done an end-around the Maryknoll order by kicking Fr. Roy Bourgeois from Maryknoll and forcibly laicizing him because of his public support for women's ordination. Having talked with Fr. Roy several times, most recently this summer, he has been nothing but kind and gracious under the enormous pressure he has suffered for the last four years."

This dismissal and excommunication warrant solidarity by all Catholics outraged by this action. RCWP calls on sympathetic Catholics to protest against the dry rot of sexism in the Roman Catholic Church by participating in the campaign Boycott the Basket. We request that financial support to parishes and Catholic organizations and charities be redirected to Progressive Catholic reform organizations, such as RCWP, School of the Americas Watch, Call To Action-USA, Voice of the Faithful, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or a local RCWP worship community. We encourage people to:

• Write op-ed letters to your local newspapers.

• Read My Journey from Silence to Solidarity by Roy Bourgeois, available here.

Purchase and view the DVD Pink Smoke Over the Vatican, featuring Fr. Roy.

• Send letters of support to Fr. Roy at: Women's Ordination Conference, P.O. Box 15057, Washington, DC 20003, Attention: Fr. Roy Bourgeois.

The unjust action against Fr. Roy continues the CDF bullying against those who advocate for an inclusive and just Church. No predator priests or their protective bishops have been excommunicated for their crimes against the innocent. The few dismissals of pedophile priests by the CDF did not occur with the speed or severity as did this reaction to a priest who has refused to recant his stand for women's equality in the Roman Catholic Church.

Fr. Roy said, "The Vatican and Maryknoll can dismiss me, but they cannot dismiss the issue of gender equality in the Catholic Church." We agree.

Contact person: Rev. Monique Venne, RCWP, 952-894-9639,

Related Off-site Link:
Roy Bourgeois: They Finally Got Him – Tom Roberts (National Catholic Reporter, November 20, 2012).

See also the previous PCV posts:
Roy Bourgeois' Statement on His Dismissal from Maryknoll
Roy Bourgeois: "The Exclusion of Women from the Priesthood is a Grave Injustice"
Christian Sacrifice and the Unholy Crusade to Defrock Roy Bourgeois
Fr. Roy Bourgeois: Ordination of Women Inevitable

1 comment:

  1. If there's anything that could save the Catholic Church from itself, it would be putting women in charge. Couldn't agree more.

    And Boycott the Basket response is a great idea, and my kind of campaign for sure.

    But I must admit I doubt it will work because Church leaders seem to be signaling that they would prefer a smaller uniform traditionalist Church over a larger and more diverse Church. What if they want unchallenged authority more than they want progressive donations?

    None of these controversies can be resolved within the limited us vs. them rut these issues have become trapped in. Fighting Church leaders makes them more influential with their core supporters, it's a losing loop. A conceptual leap is needed.

    An alternative strategy for progressives might be called...

    Be more Catholic than the Pope.

    If the Vatican is dumb enough to fire a talented man like Roy Bourgeois, progressives can celebrate and hire him.

    If the Vatican insists on locking the wiser half of our community out of their game plan, progressives can keep opening their arms wide to embrace those women who are ready to lead, thus winning a leadership arms race.

    If the Vatican wants to insult and deny legal equality to gay Catholics, progressives can smile a savvy smile, and add even more of these good folks to your coalition.

    If you win women and win gays, you've got a majority, and are well on your way to winning the Church.

    The conceptual leap is to stop thinking and acting like victims. People don't follow victims.

    Instead, become the leaders we wish we had, and be more Catholic than the Pope. Liberation and leadership starts in our own hearts and minds, not in Rome.