söndag 10 april 2011

In solidarity with Fr. Roy Bourgeois

I just received the following press release.

Fr. Roy's letter can be read here.

I wrote a letter to the Pope about it a few years ago when it all started.


On March 29th, 2011, Fr. Roy Bourgeois received a canonical warning from the leadership of his community, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers giving him fifteen days to publicly recant his belief that women, just as much as men, are called by God to serve as Catholic priests. Failure to recant within the prescribed time will result in a second canonical warning whereupon Maryknoll leadership will submit their charge for Bourgeois’s dismissal and laicization to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

WOMENPRIESTS.ORG wholeheartedly supports Father Roy Bourgeois’s stand for women’s ordination. And we are deeply, deeply saddened by Maryknoll’s threats to dismiss him on account of it.

The Case for Women’s Ordination
womenpriests.org is an international academic website that promotes informed dialogue about women’s ordination.  It presents in full both sides of the case including the reasons the Vatican uses in its attempt to justify excluding women from sacramental ministry.  Thorough research and analysis shows there is absolutely no reason in scripture, theology, or the tradition of the Church to justify a male only priesthood. (See www.womenpriests.org/story.asp) Instead, what is clear is that century after century, cascading prejudice against women has continued to creep into the Church as though it (prejudice) were truth and now underpins official rationale for the exclusion of women.

What Is the Grave Scandal
While Maryknoll superiors suggest that Father Roy’s witness causes grave scandal to the people of God, ie, the Church, the grave scandal lies in the fact that:
    • the international community of Catholic faithful is officially forbidden from even discussing women’s ordination; and 
    • in the twenty-first century, women are still excluded from sacramental ministry in the Catholic Church.
No Reason to Exclude Women

There is absolutely no reason to support the continuing exclusion of women from priesthood.  Anyone who denigrates Father Bourgeois on account of his witness for women’s ordination denigrates one of the channels through which truth is struggling to emerge.  Canon law 212§3 provides that:
the Christian faithful have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard for the integrity of faith and morals and reverence towards their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and dignity of  persons. 
Abuse of Authority
What is becoming ever more clear is that a serious abuse of legitimate authority is at the root of the prohibition against women priests and many other problems inside our faith community.  Signs of this scourge are evident in:
    • the suppression of lay authority in the Church;
    • the suppression of free speech for theologians and experts and people like Fr. Roy;
    • the suppression of the rights of Bishops’ Conferences; and
    • the appointment of party line Bishops.

WOMENPRIESTS.ORG Stands in Solidarity with Father Roy

womenpriests.org stands in solidarity with Father Roy and pray for him, the faithful, our leaders and for the emergence of truth.   ‘A custom without truth is merely ancient error’ - St. Cyprian.
womenpriests.org was founded in 1999 by Dr. John Wijngaards.  Sustained by faithful Catholics who support discussion  about women’s ordination, we work within the parameters of canon law to promote informed international dialogue  about the case.  We love our family, the Catholic Church.  We accept the authority of the Pope and respect his personal integrity as a spiritual leader.  Nonetheless we are convinced that he and his advisors continue to make a serious mistake by dismissing women as priests.  

We are moved by conscience to make our reasons known.  In so doing, we fulfill our duty to speak out as Church teaching and canon law provide... and as our present Pope has repeatedly told us to do.  

With offices in the UK, the US, and Canada, womenpriests.org provides key point presentations, an online library, podcasts, picture galleries, interactive courses and pastoral support for all who struggle to come to terms with the current situation in the Church.  More than 1.5 million people from 220 countries of the world visit the website every year.

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