The Network of Spiritual Progressives wishes to be a place in which progressives from various religious communities (as well as “spiritual but not religious” people) can feel safe in coming together to work for a New Bottom Line to replace the materialism and selfishness in the world with an ethos of love, kindness, generosity,caring for others, ethical and ecological sensitivity,and awe and wonder at the grandeur of the universe.
But what do we do if one of our religious communities is directly involved in racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic or attacking “the Stranger” (whoever the demeaned Other of any given society happens to be at a particular historical moment, when the Bible actually commands us not only to love our neighbor, but specifically and unequivocally to “love the Other” (the stranger, in Hebrew: ger). Truth is that every one of our religious communities has within them groups or denominations or movements that sometimes fit these tendencies to sin by denying God in “the Other.” I know it happens in sections of the Jewish world, particualrly in relationship to Arabs and Muslims, and I make that a subject of frequent attention in Tikkun magazine and asubject for repentance each year in my own Beyt Tikkun synagogue in S.F. and Berkeley California, and in the “For Our Sins” supplement that we send out to all our supporters for use in their communities.
But of course it’s not just Jews who demean others or see one type of human being as more valuable or closer to God or more appropriate to serve God than another. This has come into
particular highlight this very week, because the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith ( the office that was previously named The Inquisition,but now no longer using violence to achieve its ends) has sent a letter to Father Roy Bourgeois threatening him with ex-communication (which effectively means an end to his income and to his teachings inside the church) for daring to publicly support the ordination of women and to offer remarks in a ceremony ordaining a woman as priest.
Roy Bourgeois isn’t just any priest. He is, along with John Dear and Sister Joan Chittister, one of the most courageous Catholic voices for peace and non-violence and the founder and
leader of the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW). The ultimatum and ex-communication would be effective the day before the annual demonstration of the SOAW at Fort Bennings (next to Columbus, Georgia) where the School of the Americas is housed and where it
trains South and Central American police forces in the techniques of torture, repression, and counter-insurgency. We at the Network of Spiritual Progressives have been calling for support for this demonstration which begins on Friday and goes till Sunday.
So the current conservative leadership of the Catholic Church will now in one fell swoop be able to rid itself of the progressive Catholic who has created the most important spiritual
progressive demonstration taking place anywhere in the country for peace and against torture, and simultaneously terrify other priests into not daring to question the Church’s doctrines on
It should be noted that the very progressive teachings of the Church against war and poverty have not served as a basis for the excommunication of any priest or other church officials who have publicly supported the US war in Iraq or Afghanistan or supported the notion of a violent war against terror. As the politically conservative forces have come to power in the Church after, and in part to undo, the more liberal spirit of Vatican II, they have used their offices in the hierarchy against those who support progressive causes, but not against those who support authoritarian and reactionary and violent causes. So, while they make their own tenth century decision to exclude women from the clergy on a pedestal of non-disputability, they leave Jesus’ teachings against violence and for social justice on no such pedestal, thus allowing priests who support economic oppression and wars an open path to challenge Church teachings or distorting how they might be applied, while preventing any serious dissent when it comes to matters of sexuality and gender.
We urge all those who feel strongly opposed to this attempt to silence dissent within the Church and to oust its most celebrated peace-priest to take the following steps:
1. Write to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, Rome, Italy and protest.
2. Write to your local newspapers and protest.
3. Write to your local Catholic church and priests and protest.
4. Write to the National Catholic Reporter, Commonweal, and to national news sources like the NY Times and Washington Post and CNN and NPR and let them know that the NSP is protesting this move against Father Bourgeois and re-affirming our commitment to
equal rights for women plus our commitment to strengthen the demonstrations in Fort Benning until the training of counter-insurgency experts (a way of saying torturers and
repressors of democratic movements for justice and peace) is stopped and made illegal in the U.S.
Now here’s the key: we want to communicate this message in a respectful way to the Catholic world. We are not anti-Catholic. Our organization contains many faithful Catholics . We seek to recruit faithful Catholics into the NSP, and we do not wish to give them the impression that we are challenging their entire faith. Moreover, at the SOAW demonstration this weekend you’ll be able to meet many Catholics who have anti-war, anti-violence and
pro-peace and generosity perspectives–and they represent a major part of American Catholicism.So please help us communicate our outrage at the attempt to silence or excommunicate Father Roy Bourgeois. But do so in a way that indicates respect and genuine caring connection to the many Catholics who remain committed to peace and social justice but who may be afraid to speak out on this issue for fear of losing their connection with the Church (including many many Jesuits, for example, who share our progressive peace-oriented and social-justice oriented perspectives and would be part of the NSP, but are fearful that they too would be thrown out of their livelihood should they speak out clearly on these topics).
Nor is it for progressives like Roy Bourgeois merely a matter oflivelihood that is at stake-cthese are people of faith who feelcnurtured by and deeply connected to the Church, and to thecteachings of Jesus, and feel that on some specific matters theircChurch, which they love deeply, has mistaken priorities that do not reflect the true teachings of Jesus, and they wish to correct policies that they feel are out of sync with God’s word as they understand it. This kind of dissent, of course, was what led up to the convening of Vatican II, and the ideas that manifested there were only possible because of previous dissenters in the Church
finally being given a chance to have real voice. So it is distressing to the dissenters today to find that the freedoms to dispute parts of the “official teachings” that made possible
previous changes in the Church’s doctrines are now being withdrawn by Pope Benedict, who himself was part of this same process of limiting dissent when he headed the same Church Office that now seeks to silence Roy Bourgeois.
Please read the materials below so that you can see more documentation of the issues discussed here.
Rabbi Michael Lerner
P.S.If you ARE coming to the SOAW demonstrations this weekend,
please note that I will be leading a workshop at 11 a.m. on
Saturday morning in the Columbus conference/convention center on
the topic of How to Best Support our new President and how to
raise the issues connected to the Global Marshall Plan–and you
are invited! And that we will have a table at the actual
demonstration on Sunday. We need help in distributing our
information and person-ing a table at the demonstration, so please
let us know if you’d be willing to donate a little time for that.
Also, people in Southern Florida may wish to attend a similar
talk I’ll be giving next Monday night in Palm Beach, Florida
(details will be on our website of the NSP
(Interesting news note which you can learn more about by gong to
Catholic News Service(Pentagon hosts dinner for U.S. bishops (Nov
Roy Bourgeois threatened with excommunication
Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch, outside a
congressional office building in Washington in 2007 (CNS
photo/Paul Haring)Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA
Watch, outside a congressional office building in Washington in
2007 (CNS photo/Paul Haring)Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois has been
threatened with excommunication by the Vatican’s Congregation of
the Doctrine of the Faith for his support of women’s ordination,
according to a letter made public today.
The letter was written by Bourgeois and addressed to the
Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. It was distributed via
e-mail by Bill Quigley, a New Orleans lawyer who represents
According to Bourgeois’ letter, which is dated Nov. 7, the
congregation has given him 30 days to recant his “belief and
public statements that support the ordination of women in our
Church, or (he) will be excommunicated.”
The letter indicates that Bourgeois received notification from the
congregation Oct. 21.
Bourgeois, a priest for 36 years, attended the ordination of
Janice Sevre-Duszynska in Lexingon, Ky., Aug. 9 and preached a
If Bourgeois is excommunicated at the end of 30 days, it would
come just before the mass rally and protest against the U.S.
Army’s School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Ga., that Bourgeois
has organized for 19 years. In recent years, more than 15,000
people, many of them Catholic university students, have joined the
three daylong rally and demonstration.
Bourgeois was not immediately available for comment. The text of
Bourgeois’ letter follows.
Rev. Roy Bourgeois, M.M.
PO Box 3330, Columbus, GA 31903
November 7, 2008
TO THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, THE VATICAN
I was very saddened by your letter dated October 21, 2008, giving
me 30 days to recant my belief and public statements that support
the ordination of women in our Church, or I will be
I have been a Catholic priest for 36 years and have a deep love
for my Church and ministry.
When I was a young man in the military, I felt God was calling me
to the priesthood. I entered Maryknoll and was ordained in 1972.
Over the years
I have met a number of women in our Church who,
like me, feel called by God to the priesthood. You, our Church
leaders at the Vatican, tell us that women cannot be ordained.
With all due respect, I believe our Catholic Church’s teaching on
this issue is wrong and does not stand up to scrutiny. A 1976
report by the Pontifical Biblical Commission supports the research
of Scripture scholars, canon lawyers and many faithful Catholics
who have studied and pondered the Scriptures and have concluded
that there is no justification in the Bible for excluding women
from the priesthood.
As people of faith, we profess that the invitation to the ministry
of priesthood comes from God. We profess that God is the Source of
life and created men and women of equal stature and dignity. The
current Catholic Church doctrine on the ordination of women
implies our loving and all-powerful God, Creator of heaven and
earth, somehow cannot empower a woman to be a priest.
Women in our Church are telling us that God is calling them to the
priesthood. Who are we, as men, to say to women, “Our call is
valid, but yours is not.” Who are we to tamper with God’s call?
Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard or how long
we may try to justify discrimination, in the end, it is always
Hundreds of Catholic churches in the U.S. are closing because of a
shortage of priests. Yet there are hundreds of committed and
prophetic women telling us that God is calling them to serve our
Church as priests.
If we are to have a vibrant, healthy Church rooted in the
teachings of our Savior, we need the faith, wisdom, experience,
compassion and courage of women in the priesthood.
Conscience is very sacred. Conscience gives us a sense of right
and wrong and urges us to do the right thing. Conscience is what
compelled Franz Jagerstatter, a humble Austrian farmer, husband
and father of four young children, to refuse to join Hitler’s
army, which led to his execution. Conscience is what compelled
Rosa Parks to say she could no longer sit in the back of the bus.
Conscience is what compels women in our Church to say they cannot
be silent and deny their call from God to the priesthood.
Conscience is what compelled my dear mother and father, now 95, to
always strive to do the right things as faithful Catholics raising
four children. And after much prayer, reflection and discernment,
it is my conscience that compels me to do the right thing. I
cannot recant my belief and public statements that support the
ordination of women in our Church.
Working and struggling for peace and justice are an integral part
of our faith. For this reason, I speak out against the war in
Iraq. And for the last eighteen years, I have been speaking out
against the atrocities and suffering caused by the School of the
Americas (SOA). Eight years ago, while in Rome for a conference on
peace and justice, I was invited to speak about the SOA on Vatican
Radio. During the interview, I stated that I could not address the
injustice of the SOA and remain silent about injustice in my
Church. I ended the interview by saying, “There will never be
justice in the Catholic Church until women can be ordained.” I
remain committed to this belief today.
Having an all male clergy implies that men are worthy to be
Catholic priests, but women are not.
According to USA TODAY (Feb. 28, 2008) in the United States alone,
nearly 5,000 Catholic priests have sexually abused more than
12,000 children. Many bishops, aware of the abuse, remained
silent. These priests and bishops were not excommunicated. Yet the
women in our Church who are called by God and are ordained to
serve God’s people, and the priests and bishops who support them,
Silence is the voice of complicity. Therefore, I call on all
Catholics, fellow priests, bishops, Pope Benedict XVI and all
Church leaders at the Vatican, to speak loudly on this grave
injustice of excluding women from the priesthood.
Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador was assassinated because of
his defense of the oppressed. He said, “Let those who have a
voice, speak out for the voiceless.”
Our loving God has given us a voice. Let us speak clearly and
boldly and walk in solidarity as Jesus would, with the women in
our Church who are being called by God to the priesthood.
In Peace and Justice,
Rev. Roy Bourgeois, M.M.
PO Box 3330, Columbus, GA 31903
Bourgeois homily: ‘Conscience compels us to be here today’
Homily text of Father Roy Bourgeois
August 9, 2008
When I met Janice Sevre-Duszynska years ago in the SOA Watch
movement, she spoke about her journey of faith and her call to be
ordained in the Catholic church.
That day has arrived. And we are here to share in her joy and to
support Janice in her call to the priesthood.
As we know, the ordination of women in the Catholic church is a
controversial issue. Ten years ago I wrote the following letter to
my Maryknoll community about why women should be ordained. It was
published in the Maryknoll newsletter under the headline “No One
Likes a Bully.”
In prison one has a lot of time for long thoughts and long
prayers. Among my thoughts has been the issue of the ordination of
women in the Catholic church.
Years ago, while in the military, I felt called to the priesthood
and entered Maryknoll. Today I have women friends who say God is
calling them to the priesthood. Who are we to judge their calling?
As people of faith, we believe that a person’s call to ministry is
initiated by God and is something sacred. Who among us has the
right to tamper with God’s call?
In my 26 years as a priest, it is my experience that we need the
wisdom, sensitivity, experiences, compassion and courage of women
in the priesthood if our church is to be healthy and complete.
Sexism is a sin. However, [according to] the idea of Joan
Chittister, the problem is not so much with sexism as it is with
the perception of God held by those who oppose the ordination of
women. As people of faith we profess that God is all powerful and
the source of life. Yet, when it comes to women being ordained, it
seems that opponents are saying that this same God who is all
powerful and created the heavens and the earth and can bring the
dead back to life, somehow, cannot empower a woman to be a priest.
Suddenly, we as men believe God becomes powerless when women
approach the altar to celebrate Mass.
I am in prison for protesting the training of Latin American
soldiers at the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA). The SOA is
about men in Latin America who abuse their power in order to
control the lives of others. They cause people to suffer and are
seen as bullies. There are also bullies in prison who cause fear
and threaten to punish those who speak out.
Just as soldiers in Latin America and inmates in prison abuse
their power and control others, it saddens me to see the hierarchy
of our church abusing their power and causing so much suffering
among women. Jesus was a healer, a peacemaker, who called everyone
into the circle as equals.
The ordination of women in our church is a moral issue and will
not go away. A growing number of people of conscience and faith
feel a responsibility to address this issue. I would very much
appreciate knowing how my brothers and sisters in our Maryknoll
community feel about women being ordained and respectfully ask
r write Maryknoll News and express your views. In peace,
Roy Bourgeois, MM
Now I have been a Catholic priest for 36 years and I must say,
more than ever before, I am convinced that women should be
ordained in the Catholic church.
The hierarchy will say, “It is the tradition of the church not to
ordain women.” I grew up in a small town in Louisiana and often
heard, “It is the tradition of the South to have segregated
schools.” It was also “the tradition” in our Catholic church to
have the Black members seated in the last five pews of the
No matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination, in the
end, it is always wrong and immoral. As Reverand Nancy Taylor of
Boston put it, “Prejudice in liturgical clothing is still
We can go to the Scriptures and find numerous passages that
support the ordination of women in the church. In Romans 16:7, we
read that in the early church of Rome, a woman named Junias is
described by Paul as “an apostle” who was imprisoned for spreading
the faith. In Galatians 3:26-28, we read, “It is through faith
that you are God’s sons and daughters. … There is neither male nor
female. In Christ Jesus you are all one.” And in the Gospels we
read that after Jesus was crucified, he chose to appear first to
Mary Magdalene and other women. Jesus told the women to go and
bring the news of resurrection to the men who, out of fear, were
hiding behind locked doors.
Janice has been very active in the SOA Watch movement. As a high
school teacher, she participated in a nonviolent protest against
the SOA and was sent to prison for three months. Janice and the
more than 250 others in our movement who have gone to prison are
called, “Prisoners of Conscience.”
Conscience is something very sacred. It gives us a sense of right
and wrong and urges us to do the right thing. Conscience is what
compelled Franz Jagerstatter to refuse to enlist in Hitler’s army.
On this day, August 9, 1943, this humble farmer was executed for
following his conscience. Conscience is what compelled Rosa Parks
to say, “No, I cannot sit in the back of the bus anymore.”
Conscience is what compels Janice Sevre-Duszynska and the other
women to say, “No, we cannot deny our call from God to the
priesthood.” And it is our conscience that compels us to be here
today. How can we speak out against the injustice of our country’s
foreign policy in Latin America and Iraq if we are silent about
the injustice of our church here at home?
Janice, all of us present in this church today, and the many who
cannot be here, support you and walk in solidarity with you in the
struggle for peace, justice and equality.
May our loving God bless you in your ministry and journey of
Despite Vatican warning, Father Bourgeois firm on women’s
By Dennis Sadowski
Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Despite being threatened with excommunication
by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois said he would not recant his belief
that women should be ordained as Catholic priests.
“There’s nothing that Rome can do to me to take away the peace,
the clarity I have on this issue,” Father Bourgeois told Catholic
News Service Nov. 12. “No matter what the consequences, I feel I
am doing the right thing.”
Father Bourgeois sent a letter to congregation officials Nov. 7
outlining his stance on women’s ordination and how he believes
church “teaching on this issue is wrong and does not stand up to
scrutiny.” He said the issue is one of conscience and that he
cannot recant something of which he remains firmly convinced.
The letter was made public Nov. 11 by the priest’s attorney, Bill
Quigley, in New Orleans, La.
The 69-year-old priest said his letter was in response to an Oct.
21 notice from the Vatican congregation, headed by Cardinal
William J. Levada, an American, that gave him 30 days to recant
his belief and public statements about the ordination of women or
Known widely for his 19-year campaign to close a U.S. army school
at Fort Benning, Ga., that trains Latin American soldiers, Father
Bourgeois attracted the attention of the leaders of his order and
church officials following his participation in a reported
ordination ceremony sponsored by Roman Catholic Womenpriests Aug.
9 in Lexington, Ky.
In August Father Bourgeois said he concelebrated the liturgy,
delivered the homily and laid hands on longtime friend and fellow
peace activist Janice Sevre-Duszynska during what traditionally
would have been the ordination rite at the ceremony in a Unitarian
Universalist church. He said he was invited to the ceremony by
Sevre-Duszynska and decided to participate after a period of
He received a canonical warning from Maryknoll leadership during
an Aug. 18 meeting with representatives of the order’s General
Council in Maryknoll, N.Y. At the time, Father Bourgeois said he
hoped the issue was settled because he had no intention of
participating in any other such ceremony.
The Maryknoll order, through spokeswoman Betsey Guest, said Nov.
13 that a confidential notice had been received from the Vatican
congregation and forwarded to Father Bourgeois. She said the order
“continues to respect the confidentiality” of the communications.
“We are definitely required to abide by the decision by the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” she said. “At the
same time we have an obligation to ensure the canonical rights of
She added that it would be Father Bourgeois’ decision on the next
step to take once a final decision from the congregation is
The congregation’s letter came as a shock, said Father Bourgeois,
who was ordained in 1972. “The seriousness set in,” he said. “It
wasn’t complicated. They said very seriously I had 30 days and if
I didn’t recant I will be excommunicated. That’s pretty serious.
That’s pretty clear. No ifs, ands or buts.”
Father Bourgeois said he spent two weeks in prayer and discernment
before crafting his response. He said he then drove from his home
in Columbus, Ga., to Lutcher, La., 35 miles west of New Orleans,
to meet with his family, including his 95-year-old father.
“To them and to me (my father) said, ‘Roy has been all over the
world and God brought him back from the war in Vietnam safely. God
brought him back from Bolivia and El Salvador (where he served as
a Maryknoll missioner) and God is going to take care of him now. I
support him 100 percent and he’s doing the right thing,’” Father
Bourgeois told CNS.
“When we get the blessing from family and loved ones, it does
bring some peace. At the same time, it saddens me to put them
through this,” he said.
For now, Father Bourgeois will continue to prepare for the Nov.
21-23 vigil and procession to the gates of Fort Benning in
Columbus, the home of the Western Hemisphere Institute for
Security Cooperation, the army school he has been trying to close
for nearly two decades.
He also said he may try to arrange a meeting with congregation
officials with the help of his superiors in New York and in Rome
to discuss the issue.
Father’s blessing brings peace to Roy Bourgeois
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By THOMAS ROBERTS
November 17, 2008
(CNS file photo, 2004)(CNS file photo, 2004)In his own words,
Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois has “poked at a lot of hornets nests”
along the way from soldier in Vietnam to committed pacifist and
persistent critic of U.S. military policy. He’s poked at the
presumptions of major institutions and systems, including, most
recently, standing in opposition to the Catholic church’s ban on
But for all of the heat he’s taken, for all of the scary episodes
that come with bucking the status quo, one of the most emotionally
wrenching moments of his life occurred just days ago in the living
room of his childhood home.
There he stood, with his sisters, Ann and Janet, and his brother,
Dan. They had read his response to the Vatican’s threat of
excommunication if he did not recant his position supporting
women’s ordination. In it he had said he could no more rescind his
position on ordination of women than he could recant his
opposition to the training of foreign troops at what was once
called the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Ga., or his
opposition to the war in Iraq.
So they all knew that his 36-year career as a priest was probably
nearing an end, that after 36 years of service, work among the
poor and against military violence, he would be ostracized, no
longer considered a part of the church community.
They waited now to hear what 95-year-old Roy Sr., devout Catholic
and daily Mass attendee, would say about this latest in a long
history of controversies involving his son.
“My siblings were afraid this would break his heart. My sister Ann
was the first to ask him, ‘Daddy, how do you feel about this?’ “
Bourgeois recalled in a Nov. 17 phone interview. “My dad cried.
He’s a soft-hearted guy. But then he got his composure and said:
‘God brought Roy back from the war in Vietnam. God took care of
Roy in his mission work in Bolivia and El Salvador, and God is
going to take care of Roy now.’ Then he said, ‘Roy is doing the
right thing by following his conscience, and I support him.’ “
They all wept, said Bourgeois. It was curious, he said, because
all of them had worried that the news would be terribly upsetting
to his father. “But then this person of great inner strength
looked at us and said, ‘God will look after the family, too.’ “
Bourgeois, who faces almost certain excommunication, was the
founder of an annual protest outside the gates of Fort Benning and
what once was called the School of the Americas. This year’s
protest will be held Nov. 21-23. The school’s name was changed in
recent years to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security
As the School of the Americas, the facility trained scores of
Latin American military who can be traced to committing or
overseeing some of the most horrendous human rights abuses in
modern Latin American history. Troops engaged in assassinations,
disappearances, torture and massacres of hundreds of thousands
throughout the region. Some of the most heinous crimes occurred in
El Salvador and Guatemala during periods of civil war there in the
latter part of the 20th century.
Bourgeois is known primarily for his campaign against the School
of the Americas and opposition to the war in Iraq as well as his
advocacy of the story of Franz Jagerstatter, the Austrian farmer
who was executed for refusing induction into the German military
during World War II.
Increasingly in recent years, however, he has become a vocal
critic of the church’s ban on women’s ordination. He said he kept
meeting women who said they had a call from God for ordination.
“Who are we, as men, to say their call is illegitimate,” he
For Bourgeois, the issue was a matter of justice, and he reached a
point this past summer when he could no longer remain on the
sidelines. Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a regular protester at the
School of the Americas, asked Bourgeois to attend her ordination
Aug. 9 in Lexington, Ky. She became the sixth woman to be ordained
in the United States this year as part of the Roman Catholic
Women priests movement.
The Vatican response arrived Oct. 21, threatening excommunication
unless Bourgeois recanted his statements saying the church is
wrong and unjust in maintaining the ban.
When he received the letter, Bourgeois, canceled all plans. He
travels widely, giving talks and consulting with representatives
of Latin American governments to persuade them to stop sending
soldiers to the United States for training.
He decided to go into solitude for two weeks to meditate and pray
and to work on his response to the Vatican. He completed the
response Nov. 7, mailed it and headed off on a seven-hour drive to
his childhood home in tiny Lutcher, La., where his father still
He had arranged a meeting with his siblings and his father. His
sisters, especially, were fearful about what the news would do to
“When I received his blessing and the blessing of my family, I
felt a great peace. A total peace came over me. And I’ve felt
peaceful ever since I came back from Louisiana.” Nothing the
Vatican does, he said, can take that peace and serenity away.
Still, he prepares for a lonely move into the unknown. Fellow
priests have called and written to voice their agreement and
support, but all of them say they can’t do it publicly because it
would jeopardize their ministries and positions within the church.
He doesn’t know what kind of association, if any, he’ll be able to
maintain with Maryknoll in the future.
Bourgeois expects a final word from Rome soon. His deadline to
recant is Nov. 21.
Betsy Guest, Maryknoll spokesperson, said the society was led to
believe that a response will be made Nov. 24. She said that unless
Rome levies further penalties, such as revoking Bourgeois’
membership in the society, he can remain a member of Maryknoll,
though he will be unable to function as a priest. He hopes that
when the final word comes he would be given the courtesy of
15-minute visits with Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal William
Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
the Vatican office that issued the warning of excommunication.
“I am not angry,” said Bourgeois, who acknowledged early on that
his attendance at the ordination could have serious consequences.
“I don’t want to respond in anger. I would like to meet with them
personally to explain my position and make my appeal.”