A prominent priest may soon be removed from his order over his very public support of women priests.
From the National Catholic Reporter:
Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois, the longtime peace activist and founder of SOA Watch, has received a letter from his order giving him 15 days to “publicly recant” his support of women’s ordination or face dismissal from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.
The letter, which is dated March 18, is signed by Maryknoll Fr. Edward Dougherty, the order’s superior general, and warns Bourgeois that his dismissal will also be forwarded to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith “with a request for laicization.”
NCR received the letter in a fax from Bourgeois this morning.
Bourgeois, who attended and preached a homily at the ordination of Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janice Sevre-Duszunska in August, 2008, was notified by the same congregation shortly after that event that he had incurred a Latae Senteniae, or automatic, excommunication for his participation.
Dougherty’s letter references that event and says Bourgeois’ continued support of women’s ordination since — specifically mentioning his Feb. 12 participation as a panel speaker at a showing of the film Pink Smoke Over the Vatican — has been “in disobedience to the explicit instructions of your Superiors.”
If Bourgeois does not respond with 15 days, the letter says he will be given a second warning, after which Dougherty will dismiss him for “publicly reject[ing] the teaching of the Holy Father.”
In an e-mailed statement this afternoon, Dougherty told NCR that Maryknoll is “very saddened” by the turn of events.
“We have stood by Roy during this difficult time for him and his church, and we remain hopeful that the issues separating them can be reconciled.”