Warning: Barf Alert
by Alex DiBranco
Father Roy Bourgeois, a Catholic priest of 39 years, felt obligated to speak his conscience -- and it told him that women should be allowed to be priests too. His outspoken opposition to sexist discrimination could cost him dearly, however, as he now faces dismissal from his position and excommunication.
The Women's Ordination Conference (WOC) has launched a petition on Change.org in support of Fr. Bourgeois and other Catholics who believe that women deserve the same clergy rights as men in the Church. "I cannot possibly speak out about injustice in society and at the same time be silent about this injustice in my church," Bourgeois affirmed. WOC -- along with cosponsors the Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Call To Action, and Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA -- wants the Vatican to know that a respected priest shouldn't be kicked out for supporting women's ordination when there's no scriptural prohibition for this practice.
"After much reflection, study, and prayer, I believe that our Church's teaching that excludes women from the priesthood defies both faith and reason and cannot stand up to scrutiny," Fr. Bourgeois wrote in response to his threatened removal from office in the Maryknoll Catholic order. '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."
Bourgeois and his lawyer, Fr. Thomas Doyle, have challenged the dismissal, which came from the Maryknoll leadership under pressure from the Vatican, on the grounds that the ban on women priests is not infallible doctrine. They want theologians to look into the current system and see if it doesn't need an update -- the Roman Catholic Church is now lagging behind other Christian denominations that have welcomed women into the clergy. One woman writes as her reason for signing the petition in support of Fr. Bourgeois: "My mom and my sister are both ordained priests (Anglican), and the world did not end when they celebrated their first masses."
Over the past decade, 120 women priests and 10 female bishops have [not] been ordained by the Roman Catholic Church...