The ACP supports Fr. Roy Bourgeois

Statement of Support for Fr. Roy Bourgeois
The Association of Catholic Priests (Ireland) is saddened and disappointed by the dismissal of Maryknoll priest Fr. Roy Bourgeois from the priesthood and from his religious congregation, and his excommunication from the Church that he has served for almost half a century. We believe that this type of action, ordered by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and implemented by the Maryknoll Order, is unjust, and ultimately counter-productive. Dismissing people because they have sincerely held views that are contrary to those of the Vatican, but which are widely shared by the Catholic faithful, will not end discussion and debate on these topics. In fact it will only serve to highlight the urgent need to face the problems around ministry in the Church. Participants in a year long ‘listening process’ in the diocese of Killaloe, a mainly rural diocese in Ireland, expressed the opinion that the ordination of women should be openly discussed, particularly in view of the projected shortage of priests in the next few years. Surely this is yet another of many examples of the sensus fidelium calling for change so that, in future, the Eucharist can be available to the Church community.
We call on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to cease this type of abuse, to restore Fr. Bourgeois to the full exercise of his ministry and to allow for open and honest discussion on issues that are of crucial importance for the future of the Church.
On behalf of the Leadership of the ACP:
Fr. P.J. Madden; Fr. Sean McDonagh; Fr. Brendan Hoban; Fr. Tony Flannery
• The news of Fr Bourgeois’ dismissal was previously reported on the ACP site: read it about it here.

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  1. Soline Humbert says:

    “There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal…. There are those who are seeking to equate dissent with disloyalty…. Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony. But we must speak” (Martin Luther King).
    Thank you to the ACP leadership for its courage in the face of institutional violence and standing in solidarity with Roy Bourgeois: a sign of spring in the depths of winter. Thanks be to the Holy Spirit!

  2. Kathryn Rudy says:

    Thank you for your stand. I am a 59 year old life long practicing Catholic woman and I am tired of constantly feeling at odds with the strident and inflexible views of the Church on this issue (and others concerning women). Without Fr. Bourgeois and those like him, your organization included, I would be utterly without hope. It’s really hard to be part of a faith community when you are constantly struggling with the man-made obstacles that those in power are so intent on perpetuating. They use their power like a hammer and are destroying the spirit of the Church -driving more and more faithful away.
    I envision the Roman Catholic Church in another generation to be unrecognizable from the Post Vatican II faith I grew up with – t will be quite orthodox, smaller in numbers and intent on adhering to ancient cultural traditions far removed from spiritually or the essence of God. We need a Reformed Catholic Church where we who disagree can feel at home and not hide our feelings. Where can I sign up?

  3. Laura Kuntz says:

    Thank you, thank you to the ACP for this stand (from Minnesota, USA). And, if I knew how to thank Fr. Helmut Shuller, I would, and Fr. Bill Brennan of the Jesuits.

  4. Bill Kiley says:

    I have just learned of the ACP’s support of Fr. Bourgeois and am so delighted that you have added your voices to the ever growing number that are outraged by this act of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The time has come to call for an end to the the sin of sexism and a tradition that says, “God loves all, but loves men more.” As an Irish-American, I am proud to see the ACP helping to lead the way to change. Fr. Bourgeois has frequently said, “Silence is equal to complicity,” and your voices are needed and are greatly appreciated.
    Long Island, New York

  5. Sean (Derry) says:

    Be honest for once, you do not want the ordination of women to be ‘openly discussed’ (it already has) you WANT women priests. There are quite a few organisations where you will find women ‘priests’ (and all your other ‘demands’) but the Catholic Church does not have and will never will have women priests.
    Please don’t keep going on about ‘discussion’, no matter how many ‘signatures’ you may get you will never have ‘Catholic’ women priests. Why not admit that you are ‘outside’ the Catholic Church and start your own religion.

  6. Stephen Kellett says:

    I wish to express my support for Fr Roy Bourgeois and my protest at his dismissal and excommunication. I cannot see how supposedly intelligent men in the upper hierarchy of the Church can possibly imagine that they can justly “punish” someone for thinking in accordance with their conviction or imagine they can stifle thought by material and psychological exclusions.
    It seems to me that to be a bishop in today’s Church is to surrender one’s intelligence or integrity.
    I congratulate and support the founders of ACP.

  7. Jerry Norton says:

    Thank you for your support of Fr. Roy at his time of need, both for the recent loss of his father and for the punishment inflicted on him by the CDF; and at their bidding, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.
    “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton

  8. Joe O'Leary says:

    The trouble is it’s not only his views but his participation in an illegal ordination; the ACP should support him on the former but not on the latter.

  9. Supposing that Jesus was born on this earth in 1980, would he in 2013 choose to sit down with 12 men, excluding all women, at the Last Supper? Suppose that he sits down to eat and drink with men and women equally in 2013, will he put a man or a woman in charge of this group?

  10. Thanks for your courage and faith. Come Holy Spirit.

  11. Soline Humbert says:

    Roy Bourgeois MM has described how his commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as a catholic priest and religious, brought him to this place. His journey, FROM SILENCE TO SOLIDARITY, is available for free in pdf form http://www.roybourgeoisjourney.org/.
    (Just click on image of book cover)
    Well worth reading for understanding what motivates him.
    A powerful testimony to an inconvenient, disturbing truth.

  12. Roy, Jesus broke many social conventions during his time on earth, breaking social convention when necessary was not a problem for Him. Not choosing women as priests was therefore, not a result of some form of social discrimination on the part our our Lord and Saviour, but part of His divine plan. If we are talking about most qualified candidates for Priesthood then Our Lady stands Head and shoulders above every human being that has ever or will ever live and yet Christ did not choose her to be a Priest, Maybe to show us that worth in His Church comes not from function or action but from simply being baptised into it. When I wonder why God only choose Men to be Priests despite the capable candidates among the women in his circle I often think of 1 Cor 1:27 “but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong”. The Worth of a Priest come not from his ability or his gender but from his Baptism.
    I am a layman I do not feel that I am ‘missing out’ by not being a priest anymore than I feel I am missing out not being a mother or in not being married to more than one woman. These are not injustices perpetrated against me by society/the Church but facts of Life, I am no more worthy or unworthy because of it.
    God calls and we respond in the context of the Church He founded.He doesn’t call all or even the best to Priesthood, but he calls who He wants in the context of the Church. The Apostoles decided on the replacement of Judas(some first priest and Bishop by the way!) under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Matthias responded to the Call, and the Church discerned, and this is the way it has been ever since. If the Church says no (as it also does to many men who feel called but who the Church discerns do not have a vocation) this is not an injustice but part of her mission to respond to the Lord.

  13. Jane Murphy says:

    It saddens me to read of my church treating its members- or indeed anyone- in this way.
    Surely it can deal with it’s different views on ‘difficult issues’ in a more christian and mature way.
    On days like today- and in actions such as this one-the church resembles the northern troubles- refusing to talk while both sides slowly destroy each other.
    God grant Advent brings a new dawn.

  14. There are a group of people living on this island whose war cry is NO SURRENDER. It appears to me that the CDF has adopted the same slogan in relation to women’s ordination to the Priesthood. Many Theologians have stated that there is no theological reason why women cannot be ordained. I believe that the reason is that those in high positions in Rome are truly committed to keeping the Power, Wealth and Control in their own hands, regardless of the consequences for the wider Church.
    Within a short few years we will have few Priests to celebrate Eucharist. From West Cork to the Glens of Antrim, from Connemara to Wicklow and many points in-between we will have empty Churches. St Peters Basilica, and all the other Churches in Rome, will as usual be packed to capacity with plenty of Priests to celebrate Mass. Does the thinking of the CDF extend beyond Rome. I think not.
    I pray that there will be a change of heart, sooner rather than later.

  15. As a member of the Killaloe diocese, I wasn’t even aware of a listening process. I and many others (in the Diocese) that I know are not interested in having women Priests. We are not interested in a liberal, free-for-all Church. We need rules and regulations in all aspects of life, otherwise you have sheer chaos. And above all in our Church we need to have boundaries, rules and guidelines: otherwise what’s the point. We need more prayer in our Church and holiness to bring about good vocations to the Priesthood. That’s what our young people want. They want Real Holiness, which comes from Prayer, Sacrifice, Self denial and obedience.
    I thank God for our Holy Father and our new Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles Brown for coming to our aid, to the aid of those who wish to remain as Catholics in our Church. Our voices need to be heard also. Those who are being disobedient to the Church are doing a disservice to the Church and are hurting many ordinary good people out there and many who are suffering who are left without any pastoral help. Where sermons are no longer preached and Confessions are no longer heard. It is all very sad. But I have hope for our country that the Catholics we do have will become stronger and more faithful in the coming years, even if the Church grows smaller.

  16. Janice Sevre-Duszynska says:

    The Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests congratulates the ACP in Ireland for your solidarity and prophetic stand on the issue of ordination of women priests and for supporting Maryknoll Roy Bourgeois. We thank you for your courage to speak truth to power to the Vatican and CDF on this issue. You are reminding the People of God that primacy of conscience trumps obedience to the Vatican. We look forward to the day when prophetic male priests will be co-presiding with women priests in an inclusive Catholic Church with equality and justice for all.
    Blessings and Godspeed,
    Janice Sevre-Duszynska priest, (Media)
    for the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

  17. Jesus gave Mary Magdalene the first commission to “Preach the Good News of the Resurrection.” Thank you for carrying on Jesus’s example of honoring the Holy Spirit in women.

  18. Joe Baltrukonis says:

    The most incredible, magnificent event in mankind’s history was the Resurrection.
    -Without that event, there would be no Catholic Church.
    -Without that event, Jesus would be some back-water prophet whose words may or may not have made it into the Jewish Bible.
    -Without that event, Jesus’ followers (men and women) would not have been inspired to endure hardships, welcome martyrdom, and to write down their Savior’s words.
    -Without that event, the Irish would be worshiping Celtic deities and I would be sacrificing virgins to the Gods of trees and thunder.
    -Without that event, there would be no papacy.
    Before the Resurrection, Jesus chose men to spread His words. Women were lower class, nothing without their husbands, stoned if they committed adultery, were not allowed to speak in public, and were considered filthy during their menstrual cycles.
    Leviticus 15: 19-23 “If a woman have an issue, and her issue… be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.Whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall … be unclean until the even.And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even.”
    No where in the New Testament did Jesus treat women without the deepest respect and love!
    After the death and suffering of our Lord, a truly magnificient event happened. The Resurrection happened. According to all four Gospels, our God Jesus chose WOMEN to tell all of the apostles of the event. He could have chosen men, but I think that in choosing women he symbolized to the world that he wanted women to also spread the good news. To criminalize women’s ordination is to minimize the importance of the Resurrection. That would be anathema!
    How can I believe that my infinite God of Love would get angry if women served him to the best of their abilities, even in the priesthood?
    The Virgin Mary first presented the Body and Blood of our Lord to the world.
    The condemning of women’s ordination does not continue a Holy Tradition. It does continue a nasty tradition of hatred and discrimination against women…men’s property, forbidding public speech,the live cremation of withes and other female heretics, the lack of educational opportunities for women, the Catholic Church’s fight against women’s suffrage, not inviting intelligent and theologically trained women to bishops’ conferences, the investigation of radical Girl Scouts and so-called feminist sisters in the USA, and the instant and harsh punishment of those who advocate for women’s ordination. In stark contrast, priests who bugger or sodomize boys and girls,who destroy the lives and spiritual lives of these children are given a pass, a new parish, or the very finest in legal protection (over 3 billion dollars in the USA alone).
    Joe Baltrukonis
    South Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA

  19. Bob Hayes says:

    Roy (9), your what-would-Jesus-do were he to choose his disciples in 2013 question relies upon a huge assumption: that when God chose to send His Son, he willed that Christ comply with the social conventions of the day. Now, there is ample evidence in Scripture that Christ, at times, rebelled against the religious establishment. So, why do you suppose that he evidently conformed to prevailing gender roles by choosing twelve men – and on what basis do you speculate that were he here in 2013 he would conform to today’s perception of gender roles? Surely the Son of God is not bound by contemporary human conventions!

  20. I had the priviledge of hearing an interview on CBC radio in Canada this morning, December 19th. The interview was with Father Roy Bourgeois and Anna Maria Tremonti.
    What a tremendous, person of Christ, Father Roy Bourgeois demonstrates. There is so much in this interview that I applaud, but most importantly, it is so refreshing to hear the truth being spoken.
    I’ll speak to one thing, here: the Vatican accused Father of being a scandal and creating scandal. He is right to say, that Catholics, practising and non-practising would say, that the scandal were the sexual abuse cases and the covering up, of said cases. What is a scandal in the sight of God was that situation, but even more so, scandal to God, is always hypocrisy and the pharisaical clergy. The clergy of the Lord’s time pointed to Him as the scandal, yet, we know, who the source of scandal was……………and I’m afraid, it is no different today. As well, Jesus says to those to take up their cross and follow me, you will be hated and rejected. Father Roy can’t be excommunicated, not from the true Communion of Saints………..not from the Holy Church.
    Thank you Roy Bourgeois and you are right to say that many women who have been called by God and denied their gift have suffered greatly and continue to do so. Your understanding of this reveals you to be wise and compassionate. Your criticism of the Church Institution and it’s policies reveal that you are brutally honest, and courageous for making your criticism public. You are a prophet and you know you are in good company, especially, since you were in Latin America and you know the price that Bishop Romero paid, yet, he knew, as well, what his relationship with Christ and his conscience would ask of him. I pray and have prayed that Our Lord and Mary and the Saints will see to you. I thank the Association of Priests of Ireland and I am extremely proud of you, that you show such backbone, such compassion. I’m proud to be a grand-daughter of Ireland!

  21. Eddie Finnegan says:

    Poor Hopkins! Not much hint of ‘Heaven-Haven’ or ‘Elected silence’ or ‘The Habit of Perfection’ or ‘The Windhover’ or ‘Pied Beauty’ or ‘The Wreck of the Deutschland’ or even a taste of sprung rhythm about that piece of doggerel that former Jesuit Jim Ewens has the gall to call ‘Hopkinsian’. “Are Jesuits different . . .?” he asks. Well, Hopkins certainly was and the reluctant poet and Jesuit shouldn’t be dragooned into presiding over some latter-day un-ignatian field exercises of quixotic tilting at windmills.
    But, as poor Kavanagh put it: “They put a wreath upon the dead /
    For the dead will wear the cap of any racket.” Even dead Jesuits.

  22. Happy Christmas Fr Roy Bourgeois. When you celebrate your mass on Christmas morning, I am sure you will feel as though it is Good Friday. Remember Your Easter is just around the corner. Many throughout the world truly respect and love you.

  23. All of My Friends and Relations:
    I also wish Happy Christmas to Father Roy and I thank you for being the “light” that you have been this Advent season.
    Indeed, this has been a very enriching Advent for me, as it was about the First Sunday of Advent that I began to read of the various renewal initiatives coming from Ireland, specifically, from Killaloe Diocese and Father Gerry O’Hanlon of the Faith and Justice Centre of Dublin. These “renewal initiatives” are light for Ireland, but mark my words, Ireland is leading the way for renewal of the entire, universal Church.
    On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, I am rejoicing at the light that has come forth from Ireland, and I certainly look forward to Christmas. We have seen many places, i.e. countries this year have been in the process of rising up against their oppressor, and we’ve heard of the prediction of the End of the World, on December 12, 2012………..I think, perhaps, there has been a message of ending all right, in the world, the ending of the “old order, the ending of old ways of doing things”. Isn’t that what Advent was? As the light of Christ came into the world, “the old spiritual order was overthrown” and Christ replaced “the old with the new”. As well, we know that the inspiration of Vatican II was to usher in the new, so as we celebrate the coming of light, the birth of Christ, so we can also celebrate that after 50 years, we might also be embracing renewal of the Church again, and indeed incarnating a greater degree of the vision of Vatican II.
    We know Father Bourgeois, that that vision must have the Church embrace the “femine heart” as it was clearly expounded for us, in the work, and book of Father Diarmud O’Murchu……that book being, “Reclaiming Spirituality”………another Irishman! The Church will be well on its way to a new life in Christ, when it embraces women as liturgical presiders and preachers. As Father Roy, says, with that dawning, we will probably have a new model of church, one that is, inclusive, one that is just, and one that is fully participatory……….ah, truly, universal. A church universal that says, “Christ is Priest, Prophet, and King” and that we are His Friends, because we know the Father’s business.
    Happy Christmas to all, and I wish I was there, on that Emerald Isle!
    Thank you Soline for posting the podcast address! And thank you all for accomodating my comments that come with love, joy, and peace.!

  24. Thank you Father Joe for providing that article address above.
    It is an excellent article………..In the article, mention is made of a “piece” by Timothy Shriver, for the Washington Post, on March 1st………The “piece” is called “Vatican needs mystic”. Is there anyone who has the article, ready to share?
    One of the thoughts, I had reading the above article, was:
    There is a shortage of priests, does that mean, that we can expect, a shortage of cardinals?

  25. The N.C.R. has a report that Pope Francis met with the 8 cardinals yesterday….and he asked them to come up with 3 or 4 issues of concern for the Universal Catholic Church…..We know of many issues without consulting 8 cardinals…one is very pressing, that being, homosexuality and sexuality period…and I’m sure we could name 4 without consulting any cardinals….well…I don’t know about you…but, this doesn’t sound too promising….their first concern…is….that Catholics are not getting married…while, marriage and the sanctity of it, I’m sure is important….I’m not sure I would make it the first priority, considering the crisis within the Church…the crisis that preceded this papacy and the 8 Cardinal Council….Yes, I think it is a turning point in the papacy and I’m not sure, it has taken a positive turn….but, I might well be putting the cart before the horse. Pope Francis is a good man…but, perhaps, the job of universal reform is going to be too big for him to navigate…so, unfortunate, since, there is so much ‘talent’ in the Church to come together for consultation…from the person in the pew, to clergy, to theologians, etc, etc.

  26. Please strike above comment…….I placed it incorrectly and I also need to revise the comment…
    Thank you

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