Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

11/21/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We invite our readers to pray for Mr. Bourgeois

Disobedience and preaching against the teaching of the Catholic Church about women's ordination led to his excommunication, dismissal and laicization. Then Fr. Bourgeois engaged in an obstinate crusade which involved public and direct defiance of the Holy See and a repudiation of the unbroken teaching of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church concerning sacred ordination. 

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/21/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Roy Bourgeois, Fr. Roy Bourgeois, School of the Americas, clerical state, congregation for the Clergy, priesthood, male priesthood, Maryknolls, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Deacon Keith Fournier


MARYKNOLL, N.Y. (Catholic Online) - The short Press Release from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers confirmed some sad news on Monday, November 19, 2012. The priestly ministry of Roy Bourgeois has come to an end:

*****

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith Canonically Dismisses Roy Bourgeois

Nov. 19, 2012: The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on October 4, 2012, canonically dismissed Roy Bourgeois from the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, also known as the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. The decision dispenses the Maryknoll priest from his sacred bonds.
 
As a priest during 2008, Mr. Bourgeois participated in the invalid ordination of a woman and a simulated Mass in Lexington, Kentucky. With patience, the Holy See and the Maryknoll Society have encouraged his reconciliation with the Catholic Church.
 
Instead, Mr. Bourgeois chose to campaign against the teachings of the Catholic Church in secular and non-Catholic venues. This was done without the permission of the local U.S. Catholic Bishops and while ignoring the sensitivities of the faithful across the country. Disobedience and preaching against the teaching of the Catholic Church about women's ordination led to his excommunication, dismissal and laicization.
 
Mr. Bourgeois freely chose his views and actions, and all the members of the Maryknoll Society are saddened at the failure of reconciliation. With this parting, the Maryknoll Society warmly thanks Roy Bourgeois for his service to mission and all members wish him well in his personal life. In the spirit of equity and charity, Maryknoll will assist Mr. Bourgeois with this transition.

*****

Few Press sources have reported on this sad news. The National catholic Reporter (NCR) which calls itself an "Independent News Source", carried an article by Joshua J. McElwee entitled "Maryknoll: Vatican has dismissed Roy Bourgeois from order"  The article began by acknowledging the dismissed cleric's role as a "longtime peace activist".

However, even that newspaper which had heralded the former member of Maryknoll as a champion of several of their pet causes, did not try to connect his work for peace with the dismissal. To do so would have been absolutely incorrect.

There are many "longtime peace activist" members of the clergy who stay obedient to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. Sadly, after 45 years in the Maryknoll community and 39 years as a priest of the Catholic Church, this one did not and he is now referred to as Mr. Bourgeois.

That is because he engaged in an intentional and protracted act of rebellion against the clear teaching of the Catholic Church.

Mr. Roy Bourgeois was ordained to the priesthood in 1972.  From the beginning of his priestly ministry he worked with the poor and the oppressed. He took public and sometimes controversial stands against Latin American leaders who did not respect human dignity and seemed to have little concern for the oppressed or the poor.

He founded the "School of the America's Watch" in 1990 to call attention to what he long maintained was American complicity in some of the very unjust activities he had dedicated his life and ministry to exposing, opposing and changing.

Up to that point, Catholics of various political persuasions could - and often did - disagree with him and his leftist political leanings. However, he was within his rights to engage in that work. He had not veered from Catholic teaching in so doing.

However, all that changed on August 9, 2008 when Fr. Bourgeois chose to become a "concelebrant" and homilist at the attempted ordination to the "priesthood" of Janice Sevre-Duszynska. The attempted "ordination" occurred at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington, KY.

Then Fr. Bourgeois engaged in an obstinate crusade which involved public and direct defiance of the Holy See and a repudiation of the unbroken teaching of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church concerning sacred ordination. 

He received a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which explained his errors with a genuine concern for his salvation. It gave him a time period within which to recant his "belief and public statements that support the ordination of women in our Church, or (he) will be excommunicated."

That action followed overt, repeated, defiant and public rejection of efforts from the leadership within his own religious community to return him to full fidelity with the teaching of the Catholic Church.

His letter of response to the Holy See was defiant and dismissive. It was also poorly written and failed to answer the clear teaching of the Church, choosing instead to engage in polemical advocacy.

So, by his own choice and action he incurred what is called under Canon Law a latae sententiae, or automatic, excommunication from the Church. The purpose of any excommunication is remedial. It is hoped that the one who incurs it will seriously consider their action, turn back to the Lord and seek full communion with His Church.

Mr. Bourgeois did no such thing.

On May 22, 1994, Blessed John Paul II released an apostolic letter, addressed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church entitled "On Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone" (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis)  
It is a short, succinct affirmation of the clear teaching of the Catholic Church which should be read by every Catholic - and any other Christian - who wants to understand the who, what, where and why of this entire question. There is no room for dissent, debate or disagreement on it.

The letter ends with these words: 

"Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force."

"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

The arguments against this clear and authoritative teaching sometimes come from people who do not understand that the priesthood is not a job and have succumbed to the "rights" mentality of the current age. Other times they come from people who have no understanding of the sacramental nature of the Church and the real meaning of the ministerial priesthood.

Both groups may include among them Catholics who, as in too many other areas of doctrine, have not been properly catechized. However, there are those who know the teaching and its authoritative nature but have willfully chosen to publicly dissent and lead others astray.

Sadly, that was the approach taken by Mr. Bourgeois.

The Superiors of the Maryknoll Religious community issued a Canonical Warning of his pending expulsion from the Religious Order. It contained these words: "Since the September 27, 2008 letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was received we have been in communication with you via letter, and at least two meetings where you were ordered to recant your public views on the ordination of women priests and clearly told not to participate in their meetings and public events."

"You were Excommunicated Latae Senteniae reserved to the Apostolic See because after a canonical warning by the Society in 2008 you failed to recant within the stated 30 days from contumacy and disregard for the Magisterium of the Church on the matter of women's ordination (of. 1347 CIC)."

"According to our documentation, you continued to speak publicly in favor of women's ordination in disobedience to the explicit instructions of your Superiors and recently participated (Feb. 12, 2011) in a panel of speakers following the showing of the film "Pink Smoke over the Vatican" at Barnard College in New York City."

"Sufficient time has now passed for you to consider the gravity of the matter. You are hereby asked one final time by the Superior General and his Council to publicly recant and accept the teaching of the Church on this serious matter concerning priestly ordination and the explicit teaching of the Church. If you fail to comply within fifteen (15) days of receipt of this first canonical warning, I will issue a second canonical warning."

"If you fail to respond to the second canonical warning, I will proceed with dismissal by submitting evidence of your contumacy as a priest who publicly rejects the teaching of the Holy Father (C. 1371), also a priest who acted illegitimately in "communicátio in sacris"-such as  participation in an invalid ordination ceremony of a woman (C. 1384). "Concelebrating" Mass with women analogous to simulation of the Eucharist (C. 1379), giving scandal to the Christian faithful in a serious mailer over a two-year period (C.1399) and Disobedience to the instructions and warnings of your legitimate Superiors and the Apostolic See (C. 601; Mk Const. 40). The dismissal will be submitted to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for confirmation with a request for laicization."

Sadly, he did not properly respond. He was dismissed from the Maryknolls for what the Superior General of the order called his "defiant stance". In a letter of dismissal the Superior wrote "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". Finally, the Superior noted that Fr Bourgeois had caused "grave scandal."

The priest then told the press, "They want two words: I recant...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."

He hired a canon lawyer to defend him. The matter moved to the Vatican for his possible dismissal from priestly ministry. Now, the sad affair has come to an end. The Maryknoll Superiors showed him the respect and fraternal concern that all of those years of his participation and service merited.

These words, contained within the Press release, demonstrate the charity appropriate to this situation, "With this parting, the Maryknoll Society warmly thanks Roy Bourgeois for his service to mission and all members wish him well in his personal life. In the spirit of equity and charity, Maryknoll will assist Mr. Bourgeois with this transition."

We invite our readers to pray for Mr. Bourgeois.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Chinese, Indian immigrants in United States taking away lead set by Mexico Watch

Image of Mexico and China in 2012 had been tied for top-sending country, with Mexico at 125,000 and China at 124,000.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In spite of its next-door proximity to the United States, Mexico has lost the lead in send immigrants to the United States. Both China and India have increasingly been sending immigrants to American shores to work and live. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Former terror suspect among two gunmen shot, killed by police at Texas anti-Islam event Watch

Image of Thirty-year-old Elton Simpson, along with his 34-year-old roommate Nadir Soofi, above, were shot dead by police at an anti-Islamist art contest near Dallas, Texas Sunday night.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thirty-year-old Elton Simpson, along with his 34-year-old roommate Nadir Soofi was shot dead by police at an anti-Islamist art contest near Dallas, Texas Sunday night. Both men were shot dead by police after they fired upon an unarmed security guard in the ... continue reading


Obamacare, State Sovereignty, and the Heckler's Veto at the Supreme Court

Image of An artist rendering of the Justices of the United States Supreme Court. Cameras are not allowed during arguments.

By Edwin Meese III & J. Kenneth Blackwell

Refusing to give effect to Congress's law would usher in an era where courts routinely let presidents rewrite statutes whenever the words Congress adopts does not produce outcomes the president likes. It will permanently cede legislative power to the executive ... continue reading


Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas on What it Means to be a Crusader Today

Image of Atonement Academy, the Parish School of Our Lady of the Atonement Parish Church in San Antonio, Texas.

By Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

When Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade in 1095, he envisioned it as a defensive action, designed to liberate the Holy Land from the Muslims and to protect the lives of Christians living there and of pilgrims going there.  It is interesting that what ... continue reading


Vast majority of Americans fear further racial unrest come the summer months Watch

Image of Asked to choose between two possible explanations for recent events, 60 percent of blacks said they reflected

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a poll, a vast majority of Americans fear further racial unrest come the long, hot summer months. A whopping 96 percent of those surveyed feel that there will be further demonstrations and rioting later this year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


New study pinpoints most 'racist' areas in America -- and it's not where you think it is Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New research suggests that areas in the northern part of the United States have higher mortality rates for black Americans and the people were found to be more racist. Researchers from the University of Maryland, found that areas with more people Google searching the ... continue reading


Crazed, bloody man caught on tape attempting kidnap Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Jessica Corrales, a 24-year old victim of assault, ran for cover with her mother and niece inside the City Hall at the California desert town of Hesperia as a crazed guy covered in blood chased after them. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - In the cell phone ... continue reading


New Black Panther Party's national leader compares their 'war' to the Founding Fathers' accomplishments Watch

Image of  We have to love ourselves enough to be willing to die or kill to save our babies and to save a black nation that is dying before our eyes,

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New Black Panther Party's national leader, Hashim Nzinga, said that they are "willing to die or kill to save our babies and to save a black nation that is dying before our eyes," during the week's broadcast for the "Black Power Radio." MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic ... continue reading


Nevada's Lake Mead drying up: At lowest level since the 1930s Watch

Image of For California, Arizona and Nevada, which draw water from Lake Mead, it's only to get worse.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's just the latest bad news in an increasingly dry year for the Southwestern states. Lake Mead in Nevada is at critically low levels. The popular recreation spot is at 38 percent capacity, the lowest the lake has been since the 1930s. LOS ANGELES, ca ... continue reading


Kindergartener and brother disturbingly bring handguns to elementary school Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Dewitt Elementary School authorities were alerted after a student reported seeing brothers with guns on the school bus, according to spokesperson Frank Shelton. The two brothers, ages 6 and 7, were accused of taking the guns, one of them loaded, to their school in Flat ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 14:19-28
19 Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:10-11, 12-13, 21
10 All your creatures shall thank you, Yahweh, and ... Read More

Gospel, John 14:27-31
27 Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 5th, 2015 Image

St. Hilary of Arles
May 5: Bishop of Arles, France, and friend and relative of St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter