Roy Bourgeois’ priesthood can never truly end | National Catholic Reporter

I`m back! After a week`s absence, from home and this blog, I`m ready to jump back into pondering about our Catholic church. In all honesty, I was running out of steam, and running out of inspiration. Then I clicked on to the latest news from National Catholic Reporter. Oh my…

Roy Bourgeois’ priesthood can never truly end | National Catholic Reporter.

I encourage all to read the news about Maryknoll priest, Roy Bourgeois, founder of the School of the Americas Watch and a life-long social justice activist. (Jamie L. Manson, as usual, does a superb job of showing the deeper meaning behind the story.)  He is also a supporter of women`s ordination, and this has landed him in hot water with both the Vatican and his religious order. The Maryknolls are asking him to recant his support for women`s ordination or face expulsion and laicization. He is refusing to do so.

I’ve built a comfy spot on the fence with the issue of women`s ordination in the church. I`ve tried to explain my middle-of-the-road approach in a previous blog post . Fr. Roy`s predicament illustrates the consequences that befall those who challenge the teachings in our Church. Fr. Roy also personifies the courage of the prophet who is not afraid to seek the truth in careful theological study and prayerful pondering. And prophets learn to rise above the fear in order to speak the truth.

Suddenly that spot on the fence has lost its comfort. My carefully rationalized moderation feels an awful lot like apathy – not the kind that comes from indifference, but the kind that comes from fear.

Roy Bourgeois is taking the fall for a belief that is quietly shared by many Catholic women and men today – lay, vowed religious and ordained. It is the belief in the holey-ness of the logic used in upholding a male-only priesthood. It is the belief that Jesus Christ preached a new and radical gospel of inclusiveness with equality and dignity for all.

If it was an earlier time in our history, the fires would be stoked for yet another human barbecue in the town square. Happily, we no longer torture and kill those who question the teachings of the church. But those who speak out what many of us believe in the quiet of our hearts, continue to suffer the consequences.

5 thoughts on “Roy Bourgeois’ priesthood can never truly end | National Catholic Reporter

  1. “Roy Bourgeois’ priesthood can never truly end | National Catholic Reporter” The Church now realizes that priesthood is bigger than it can control. The charism of “priest” is one of teaching and healing. There are priests that God has that the Church does not have; and there are priests that the Church has that God does not have. It was proclaimed at Roy Bourgeois’s ordination: “You are a priest forever” “I have sworn and I will will not relent, you are a priest for all eternity, says the Lord”. Roy heard these words spoken to him in an ordination ceremony, others have heard this same words spoken in their hearts, or in their “irregular” ordinations by a validly ordained women bishop.
    The Church does not even allow discussion of women priest and I guess as an American it doesn’t feel right to forbid people to talk about something.
    However, there is a deeper significance to this kind of imposed silence as pointed out in “Surviving and Other Essays,” Bruno Bettelheim (1903-1990), the Holocaust survivor and child psychologist, wrote: “What cannot be talked about cannot be put to rest. And if it is not, the wounds will fester from generation to generation.”
    When I read what Isabella said about her own “spot on the fence loosing its’ comfort” it brought to mind an incident that I previously related on this blog. When I was working for a religious institution and the object of poor behavior by others; I was mystified by the silence of those who knew what was happening. Isabella, good for you that you are uncomfortable when you see injustice!
    There is a memorable line delivered with blunt force by Buford Pusser, in the 1973 film, “Walking Tall.” Buford stood shirtless before a packed courthouse, the lacerations of his brutal scourging by local thugs still glistening with blood, while a corrupted judge pounded his gavel charging Buford with contempt. The entire courtroom also gasped with contempt, but not for Buford, when he said: “our collective silence about it all only gives him and others like him “the eternal right to do the same damn thing to any of you!”
    Or in the words of Fr. Roy Bourgeois, “Silence is the voice of consent.”

  2. Isabella dear friend, I humbly disagree with you; forcing a man like Roy Bourgeouis to walk away from an organization he has given his life to, forbidding him to serve publicly in the church he has known from birth, denying him the ability to live by his conscience, is indeed torture and a form of murder.

  3. Dear Roy,

    As a former Maryknoller I whole-heartedly support your work to end the evil operations of the SOA and your personal testimony and support for women’s in general and your specific focus on women’s ordination within the Catholic Church.
    I agree with your statement about why the Church refuses to accept the ordination of women: “This teaching has nothing to do with God, but with men, and is rooted in sexism. Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination against women, in the end, it is not the way of God, but of men who want to hold on to their power.”
    I know you understand that your declaration implies disagreement with other dogmas of the Catholic Church.
    As a non-theist, I hope that your personal growth and experiences lead to enlightenment about the futility and frustration of efforts to reform failed and obsolete religious institutions.
    In line with the principles of The Enlightenment – the basis for our American ethos – I stand in awe of your personal journey and public actions. Perhaps, it will lead to acceptance of humanitarianism based on empathy and love for every person founded on reasonable and logical human altruism, perhaps not.
    In any case, I wish you success in your spiritual journey and public activism,
    Tom McMahon – former Maryknoller

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