Friday, November 14, 2008


From the New York Times:

The Vatican has informed a Roman Catholic priest in the United States that he will be excommunicated next week for participating in a ceremony it considers illicit and invalid: the ordination of a woman as a priest.

The priest, the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, 69, has been a member of the Maryknoll religious order for 36 years. He said he was anguished at the thought of excommunication, but could not disavow his actions.

“Who are we as men to say that we are called by God to the ministry of priesthood, but women are not? That our call is valid, but theirs is not?” he said in an interview. “We profess as Catholics that the invitation to the priesthood comes from God, and it seems to me that we are tampering with the sacred.”

Father Bourgeois served as a missionary in Bolivia and El Salvador, and concerned by what he witnessed, returned to the United States and became nationally known as a peace advocate.

He lives in an apartment outside the gates of Fort Benning, Ga., where he leads an annual protest against the United States Army School of the Americas, which trains military personnel from Latin America. Last year, 17,000 people joined the protest.

In August, Father Bourgeois joined a ceremony in a Unitarian Universalist church in Lexington, Ky., in which a friend from the peace movement, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, claimed ordination as a Roman Catholic priest. Father Bourgeois gave the homily and laid hands on her.

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If this excommunication proceeds, I believe he will be the first priest to come under the ban as a result of participation in women's ordination.

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