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Monday, August 30, 2010

"Disheartened and dismayed"

To date I have received five letters from Catholic priests (two from the same priest) expressing their strong disagreement with Maryknoll's decision to cut off our yearly subsidy ($17,000) to the School of Americas Watch because of Fr. Roy Bourgeois' continued advocacy for women's ordination. I presume I was included in these correspondence (to Fr. Ed Dougherty, Fr. Bob Jalbert or Mr. Jim McCullough and cc-ed to me) because my name appeared in the NCR column by Ms. Heidi Schlumpf.

Here are two letters from Fr. Brian Joyce from Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill, California, which I reprint with his permission:

July 30, 2010

Dear Fr. Dougherty,

I write to you as an experienced, active pastor and a long time friend and supporter of Maryknoll to express my disappointment and dismay at the decision to withdraw my customary and long time annual financial support to SOAW. It makes a clear and alarming statement about the current direction and goals of the Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers. The ongoing protest by SOAW is one of the very clear and doable calls for justice in our nation and one which directly affects the people of Latin America where Maryknoll has so faithfully served.

Any argument that the goals and funding of SOAW should be tied to the recent "excommunication" of Fr. Roy or considered part of any agenda over ordination of women is obviously mistaken and wrong headed. For the thousands upon thousands who annually protest at Fort Benning or financially support SOAW and Maryknoll's work as well, the issue is clearly not ordination of women. The issue is the School of Americas Watch. Our local congressman and the Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor said to me of the School of the Americas and its promotion, "If we lay down with dogs sooner or later we will get fleas." No mention of women's ordination there! Only a serious issue of justice which up to know Maryknoll has joined in addressing and now has uncharacteristically deserted. My considerable efforts at fund raising will now be directed to SOAW and the sisters, not the fathers and brothers, of Maryknoll.

May God bless you and may you quickly reconsider.


Rev. Brian T. Joyce


[This second letter was addressed to Mr. Jim McCullough, in our Marketing and Development office and cc-ed to Father Dougherty and me. Once again, it is reprinted here with Fr. Joyce's permission.]

August 13, 2010

Dear Jim,

Thanks you for your letter of August 5. While everyone recognizes Fr. Roy as founder and inspiration of SOA Watch, given a moment's reflection, no one would think of him as its "public face"! The public face of the SOA Watch is clearly the four churchwomen killed by military death squads of El Salvador, six Jesuits and their companions slain in El Salvador, and the countless victims whose names and crosses are carried in procession each year at Fort Benning. That is the public face of SOA Watch and that is the face, people and cause, Maryknoll leadership has chosen to forsake. It is interesting that you cite how Society members have long been involved in the defense of human rights throughout Latin America. I question whether those members were consulted or whether they would agree with this recent decision.

I have been a faithful and vocal supporter of Maryknoll for many years, so I am doubly disheartened and dismayed at the decision and also at your "explanation". Please note my contribution this year, exactly $17,000 to mirror the amount withdrawn by Maryknoll leadership, will go to SOA Watch.

You still have time to reconsider.


Brian T. Joyce

[A xeroxed copy of Fr. Bryce's check to SOA Watch appears on the bottom of his letter.]

1 comment:

  1. Just a simple question from WHINSEC, which Pres. Clinton and the Congress opened as they closed the School of the Americas almost ten years ago. What precisely does the school or the institute have to do with criminal activity of any kind, anywhere? There is not a single example, including in those incidences mentioned above, of anyone using what he learned at the school to commit any crime. Saying so with no evidence is a moral libel of the loyal U.S. Soldiers who taught at the school. I would think your sense of justice would extend to ensuring that people you accuse of wrongdoing have actually been found to have done so. I am the public affairs officer for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, and I welcome any of your organization to visit WHINSEC any workday, sit in classes, talk with students and faculty, and review our instructional materials. Both the current and last previous Archbishop of the Military Services has done so. Why not you?