Vatican dismisses Maryknoll priest from order

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President Rafael Correa of Ecuador received Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of Surveillance in his office June 27 2012 in Quito. Credit: Santiago Armas-Presidency of the Republic.

The Vatican canonically dismissed Roy Bourgeois from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers on Oct. 4, for disobedience and preaching against Church teaching on women's ordination.

The decision, made by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, dispenses him from both the bonds of priesthood and religious life.

On Aug. 8, 2008, Bourgeois preached a homily at the simulated ordination of a woman to the Catholic priesthood. His participation in the simulated Mass led him to be automatically excommunicated.

“With patience, the Holy See and the Maryknoll Society have encouraged his reconciliation with the Catholic Church,” said a statement from the Maryknoll Society Nov. 19.

“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.”

Bourgeois was told in July 2011 that he would be dismissed from the Maryknoll order unless he renounced his “defiant stance” against Catholic teaching on the possibility of women's ordination.

Maryknoll superior general Fr. Edward M. Dougherty in a July 27, 2011 letter warned Bourgeois of his imminent dismissal on the grounds that he had shown “obstinate disobedience” to his superiors in violation of his oath about a “grave matter.”

The letter also cited his “diffusion of teachings” opposed to the “definitive teaching of John Paul II and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church as well as the “grave scandal” he has caused to the people of God, to the Church, and to many Maryknoll priests and brothers.

Bourgeois replied soon after that the Catholic teaching on male priesthood “defies both faith and reason” and is “rooted in sexism.”

“I will not recant,” he said in his Aug. 8, 2011 reply.

Following that exchange, his case proceeded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which more than a year later dismissed and laicized Bourgeois.

“Mr. Bourgeois freely chose his views and actions, and all the members of the Maryknoll Society are saddened at the failure of reconciliation,” the order stated.

“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.”

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