Report: Maryknoll to dismiss Fr. Roy Bourgeois for causing "grave scandal"

Details, from the New York Times:

The Rev. Roy Bourgeois, who refused to renounce his increasingly public campaign to see women ordained as priests in the Roman Catholic Church, has been notified of his dismissal by his religious order, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.

A letter to Father Bourgeois, signed by the superior general and the general secretary of the Maryknoll order in the United States, said the dismissal was necessary because of his “defiant stance” in opposition to church teaching.

“Your numerous public statements and appearances in support of the women’s priests movement continues to create in the minds of many faithful the view that your position is acceptable to our Church,” the letter said, adding that Father Bourgeois had caused the church “grave scandal.”

Father Bourgeois has gone further than any other priest in good standing to ally himself publicly with the growing women’s ordination movement. The group Roman Catholic Womenpriests claims to have ordained 120 women as priests and 10 as bishops in the last few years. The Vatican regards the ceremonies as illicit and invalid. Father Bourgeois participated in one such ceremony in 2008, and since then has given speeches around the country in support of female priests.

“They want two words: I recant,” Father Bourgeois said. “And they can’t get that out of me. For me, the real scandal is the message we are sending to women: you’re not equal, you cannot be priests, you’re not worthy.”

The case now moves to the Vatican for his formal removal from the priesthood, or laicization. Father Bourgeois said he had hired the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer known for testifying as an expert witness on behalf of victims suing the church in clergy sexual abuse cases, to represent him at the Vatican.

Other reports — notably in the National Catholic Reporter — indicate the dismissal is not final and that Bourgeois is being given 15 days to recant.  However, as he’s indicated above, he still refuses to do so.

You can read the Maryknoll letter and Bourgeois’s response here.


  1. “ordained 120 women as priests and 10 as bishops in the last few years.”????

    In what church? Can’t be a Roman Catholic Church. I tell you, it’s a different world out there. Sometimes I just want to get off this planet. Is there any good news in the world lately?

  2. 700146805 says:

    If Christ had wanted women to be Priests there would have been women disciples. And before someone says he didn’t have any because of the times forget that argument. Christ did many things that went against norms of the times. He ate with Tax Collectors, he talked with the Samaritan woman at the well and took water from her and he went into the homes of Gentiles. All things that were frowned upon at the time. If he felt there should have been women priests there would have been.

  3. peregrinus says:

    Oy, I don’t think this a very productive strategy on the part of Bourgeois. I’m sure he feels it’s very prophetic.

    Much as I agree with his position, I can’t see the wisdom of running headlong into a brick wall over such an issue. I just don’t think it constitutes the sort of vast emergency that his actions would suggest.

    But then I am male.

    @ 700146805
    I think the term you are looking for is “The Twelve”. There were of course women disciples, Mary, Martha, his mom, etc.

    Mary Magdalene even has the title Apostle to the Apostles.

    And every Christian is called to be a disciple of Christ.

    So I think, for the sake of clarity, you should argue that if Christ had wanted women to be priests he would have made women members of The Twelve.

    That being said, if we are to take this argument a bit further, it would suggest that the Church is only allowed to ordain the kind of people that Christ selected as members of the Twelve.

    Which then begs the question, at what point does one draw the line at the similarity?

    For example, if we say that Christ only ordained men, so therefore the Church today can only ordain men, one might make the conclusion that since Christ only ordained Jewish men, the Church can only ordain Jewish men. Or only men from Palestine. Or only men who actually heard Jesus speak… etc etc.

    So the argument that since Christ only ordained men, the Church today can only ordain men, needs to be fleshed out a bit I think.

  4. This is a tragedy on many different levels. As one who was detained for “crossing the line” at Ft. Benning years ago, I am dismayed that Fr. Roy has directed his energies away from his longtime goal of closing the notorious School of the Americas (or WHISC, as they rebranded it) at the very time when it finally seems politically feasible.

    I am even more concerned that he is leading his Catholic followers to embrace a form of “clericalism” that progressives often claim to disdain. What about the vocation of the laity to shine the light of the gospel on the secular world–the very thing SOA Watch seemed to embody so well? Is that somehow less holy or reflective of our Christian dignity than presiding at the liturgy? I can’t believe Fr. Roy thinks so, but it seems to me to be the mindset underlying the push for women’s ordination.

  5. gerardnadal says:

    Time to fish or cut bait. We need to clear out this whole nest of rebels.

  6. naturgesetz says:

    peregrinus —

    The argument does get fleshed out, for example by reference to the scriptures which present the Church as the Bride of Christ, with the result that the one who acts in the person of Christ espousing the Church to himself in the Eucharistic wedding banquet out to have the mascullinity of the bridegroom.

    But it really doesn’t matter. Those who have convinced themselves that this is a matter of women’s rights, to which both Tradition and the Spirit-guided Magisterium of the Church must bow, will never allow themselves to be persuaded.

  7. naturgesetz says:

    “out to have” should be “ought to have”

  8. 583862385 says:

    The real and compelling reasons why women can’t be Roman Catholic priests are explained by Peter Kreeft at . There is no need to add anything to this powerful presentation. Father Bourgeois must be very confused indeed about the nature of priesthood if he thinks otherwise. It is better for him to go.

  9. “For example, if we say that Christ only ordained men, so therefore the Church today can only ordain men, one might make the conclusion that since Christ only ordained Jewish men, the Church can only ordain Jewish men. Or only men from Palestine. Or only men who actually heard Jesus speak… etc etc.”

    If you take this further, the Apostles chose a replacement for Judas by casting lots. Should ordination be similarly left to “chance”?

  10. 1584967262 says:

    There are many churches that allow women to be ordained. This one doesn’t. Why try to change it, why not just move on?

    Whatever happened to obedience? If the father is directed to recant, under obedience, why won’t he do it? It seems to me that pride and vainglory might be involved here somewhere.

    No one can direct anyone in the U.S. on how they should or must worship. However, the Roman Catholic Church can decide on its own doctrines and dogma. If a brother or sister can’t live with those, he or she can’t live in the Church, and they should find another place more amenable to their personal beliefs to worship.

  11. peregrinus says:


    You bring up some great points.

    I would hesitate to take the symbolism too far, however.

    For example, if the priest, acting for Christ, must have the masculinity of the bridegroom in the Eucharistic wedding banquet, doesn’t that in turn mean that the congregation must have the femininity of the bride?

    So do lay men in the congregation need to somehow be feminine in order to participate in it?

    Otherwise, the masculine Christ figure would be engaging in a wedding banquet with… other men… which I don’t think is quite where one may wish to end up.

    So the sexual symbolism is good, valid, and traditional, but I don’t think it’s a firm basis for a prohibition of women becoming priests.

    It just doesn’t seem that sturdy.

  12. Putting aside for the moment the argument of whether it is theologically possible to ordain women, I have to agree with #3 Peregrinus that it isn’t a very productive strategy on the part of Bourgeois. In a (totally hypothetical) world where there was the smallest possibility that the ordination of women might be possible, in say, 200 years or so, actions like that just put the fork in it.

  13. 100000661331102 says:

    The argument that Jesus had no female disciples is ludicrous. Women were non-entities in His time. What a hero, indeed, is Fr. Roy! The Maryknolls have disgraced their Order. But then who ever said the RC Church was a democratic institution. All hail to Fr. Roy.

  14. Deacon Norb says:

    Re; Ron Chandonia #4

    An unexpected overnight guest this part evening was my oldest grand-daughter who graduated this past May from a very prominent and rather exclusive Catholic girls college here in the Midwest.

    So — remembering this whole comment stream about Fr. Roy from a few weeks back — I asked her if there was any involvement from the students at her college during her time there (2007-2011) with the protests at the School of the Americas.

    Now, I knew she had not gone — if she had, we would have known about it — but also because her father is a retired Army sergeant and thus she had a “Military Dependent” ID Card until she became 18. During the years she was in high-school, she was also active in “Family Support” organizations of various types sponsored by her dad’s unit. Support of the military is “in her genes.”

    What she said was that there was absolutely no public organized effort to attend the SOA protest weekend at any point during her stay at this Catholic college. In fact, I had to explain to her what the protest was even all about in the first place because she had not even heard about it.

    In thinking about this scene as well, over those same years, the only college in our area which was still participating in the SOA protest was a private college sponsored by one of the traditional “peace-churches” and even then, less than a half dozen folks went.

    IMHO Fr. Roy’s current scandal is the nail in the coffin here. Ten years from now, only historians will even care about SOA.

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