A phone call today from a concerned and well-informed Maryknoller convinced me my contention that L'Affair Bourgeois is all about our oath of obedience and not women's ordination is not quite accurate. Or may not be accurate at all.
He deftly laid out the case that MANY Maryknollers over the years have disobeyed orders from superiors and then went on to enjoy blissfully undisturbed lives sans threat of dismissal. He also mentioned that those few Maryknollers (four, by my count) who were dismissed in recent years had other issues and extenuating circumstances.
He contended that had the Super G actually ordered Roy either to return to the Center or take an overseas assignment and then had Roy refused, the disobedience card might have been more convincingly played. What removes the disobedience fig leaf (my words, not his) from the argument is the double whammy of dismissal AND laicization. Other guys who were dismissed were not laicized, even though most did not join another diocese or order. This lays to rest the apparently false notion that a dismissed priest must be laicized because you can't have priests freelancing, as it were.
My caller insists it's all about Rome equating ordination of women with child molestation as equally offensive to the Church and wanting to make an example of him by putting the screws to Maryknoll (again, I am paraphrasing).
OK, so it's not about obedience. But the anger remains among some Maryknollers (I never took a poll) who resent Roy's consistently dragging Maryknoll's name into his crusades, from his disappearing act in El Salvador in the 1980's to his inviting a woman to concelebrate Mass in Minneapolis to the more widely publicized actions of recent years.
They point to Father Miguel D'Escoto's equally impressive actions on behalf of justice with nary a mention of Maryknoll's name and wonder why Roy didn't or couldn't do that.
Then we have the canonical conundrum that the unanimous votes for dismissal might not even be there. Perhaps that's the strategy. Father General could then tell his superiors in Rome that he did all that canon law requires and if they want to be rid of this "meddlesome priest" (a la Thomas Becket) they might have to do the deed themselves.
Granted the Fourth of July is a slow news cycle, but the drama contues.