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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Message from polite protesters

As promised, here is the content of the flyer passed out yesterday by the group of about 12 protesters who peacefully expressed their support outside during our Centennial Mass in favor of Fr. Roy Bourgeois and women's ordination. As a side note, U.S. Regional Superior Mike Duggan commented that somehow this protest was quintessentially Maryknoll, that has so often been the source of protests overseas.

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June 29, 2011

Dear Supporter of the Peace and Justice Movement,

As the Maryknoll Order celebrates their 100 year anniversary we reflect on the contributions this organization has made to peace and justice throughout the world and applaud their continued commitment to serving the poor and oppressed. However, we cannot ignore Maryknoll's position in regards to women's ordination. We encourage the leadership to reflect on this issue and examine their consciences as one of their most cherished members, Father Roy Bourgeois, has done: "as priests we say we are called by God. Who are we to say that God would not calla woman."

We are dismayed at Maryknoll's dismissal of Father Roy for his support of women's ordination. How can an organization that promotes peace and justice worldwide turn its back on this Viet Nam vet turned Maryknoll priest, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, is the founder of the School of the America's Watch, and is the epitome of everything we thought Maryknoll stood for?

For mor information about Fr. Roy Bourgeois and Women's ordination: http://www.womensordination.org/content/view/108

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Father Roy Bourgeois' response to Maryknoll leadership:

In his response, Fr. Roy stated, "It is my conscience that compels me to say publicly that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is a grave injustice against women, against our Church and against our God who calls both men and women to the priesthood... In essence, you are telling me to lie and say I do not believe that God calls both men and women to the priesthood. This I cannot do, therefore I will not recant."


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[Blogger's note: Once again, for the record, Fr. Roy is NOT being threatened with dismissal because of his support of women's ordination. Were that the case, I would also have been dismissed for my editorial in the May 1993 MARYKNOLL magazine that raised the same issue. When Orbis published a compendium of my editorials ("Good News for Today") in 2007, then Superior General John Sivalon suggested that the controversial editorial not be included. I then asked newly elected and current superior Fr. Ed Dougherty about this and he also thought that editorial's inclusion would not be helpful, so I acquiesced. I had made my point and further action on my part would have hurt Maryknoll more than

For publicly and actively participating in the attempted ordination of a woman in 2008, Roy was excommunicated. Even then, Maryknoll leadership kept Roy on as a member and only asked that he refrain from future PUBLIC actions and comments on this topic. He repeatedly refused this order from our superior. EVEN NOW, Maryknoll leadership has agreed to continue giving Roy his monthly allowance and providing for his healthcare.

My previous posts on this do not even begin to capture the sadness and angst this whole episode is causing among our membership. Reading the thread following my article in a recent NCR clearly shows that most people neither appreciate nor understand the importance of the oath we Maryknollers take to "obey our legitimate superiors".

There is a conversation that needs to be had in Maryknoll and in the Church. The topic will not be easily suppressed nor go away.

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