|Father Roy Bourgeois|
Father Roy founded the SOA Watch in 1990 after witnessing the killings of thousands in Central America in the 1980's, but his conscious awakening and calling to priesthood happened immediately after his experience serving in Vietnam. He joined the Maryknoll Society, an American Catholic organization, and traveled to La Paz, Bolivia, where he was ordered to leave the country after speaking out against the oppressive government of General Hugo Banzer Suarez, which arrested, tortured and killed many dissidents. From there he went to El Salvador. After witnessing numerous human rights abuses that the Salvadoran government, with the financial support and military tactical aid of the United States government, committed against its own population and fellow members of foreign religious organizations, Bourgeois focused on where these soldiers were receiving their training: the School of the Americas.
Father Roy Bourgeois attended the ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska in August of 2008. Janice was a Prisoner of Conscience with School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) and a longtime friend to Father Roy. Father Roy attended her ordination because he believed it was his responsibility as a Catholic priest to speak out against the sexism in the Church and support Janice in her call to priesthood.
The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith informed Fr. Roy that he would be dismissed if he did not publicly recant his stance on women's ordination. For the past four years Father Roy has attempted to explain to both the Vatican and his community that he cannot recant because this would be a violation of his own conscience. This past Monday Father Roy was told that the Vatican issued an order dismissing him from the priesthood and from the Maryknoll community.
Fr. Roy has been a member of Maryknoll for over 40 years and his commitment to the mission of the Maryknoll community, "...in our interdependent yet fragmented and disconnected world, Maryknollers seek to build up the Body of Christ through presence and active witness in places where it is most broken..." remains firm.
November 20, 2012
STATEMENT ABOUT MY DISMISSAL FROM MARYKNOLL
I have been a Catholic priest in the Maryknoll community for 40 years. As a young man I joined Maryknoll because of its work for justice and equality in the world. To be expelled from Maryknoll and the priesthood for believing that women are also called to be priests is very difficult and painful.
The Vatican and Maryknoll can dismiss me, but they cannot dismiss the issue of gender equality in the Catholic Church. The demand for gender equality is rooted in justice and dignity and will not go away.
As Catholics, we profess that God created men and women of equal worth and dignity. As priests, we profess that the call to the priesthood comes from God, only God. Who are we, as men, to say that our call from God is authentic, but God's call to women is not? The exclusion of women from the priesthood is a grave injustice against women, our Church and our loving God who calls both men and women to be priests.
When there is an injustice, silence is the voice of complicity. My conscience compelled me to break my silence and address the sin of sexism in my Church. My only regret is that it took me so long to confront the issue of male power and domination in the Catholic Church.
I have explained my position on the ordination of women, and how I came to it, in my booklet, My Journey from Silence to Solidarity. Please go to: www.roybourgeoisjourney.org.
PO Box 4566
Washington, DC 20017