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Friday, September 2, 2011

Not yet a done deal

A NYT article dated Aug. 8, 2011 (and countless subsequent blogs and posts notwithstanding), the formal dismissal of Fr. Roy Bourgeois from Maryknoll is not a done deal, Superior General Father Ed Dougherty told a gathering of Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers last Tuesday evening.

I watched a video of that meeting this morning. You get a different feel for the tenor of that gathering by seeing and hearing the questions that even my facility for twisting words and phrases beyond recognition can capture.

Although the Second Canonical Warning has indeed been delivered, the law requires a minimum of 15 days before the final letter requesting dismissal is sent to Rome for review and validation. And, of course, canon law allows Roy to formally challenge this.

In response to one question, Doc said the Society is not compelled to act within a given time frame. "We are a people of hope," he said at one point, and expressed his desire that some sort of accommodation may yet be worked out. He saw a small glimmer of hope the last time he spoke with Roy over the phone and Roy said he did not want to be dismissed.

Complicating the discussion considerably, however, has been the refusal by Roy in recent days to take any phone calls from the superior general, referring him instead to communicate through his canon lawyer. Roy also asked all future correspondence be in writing, something Doc said he felt uncomfortable doing, given Roy's penchant for maintaining an open hotline to the NCR and other publications.

At last Tuesday's meeting, other salient points that were raised which I did not report on in the previous post, dealt with the impression that Roy has somehow been denied due process.

Yet some years ago when other members were dismissed from the Society, the process was quite rapid, while in Roy's case it has gone on close to three years. Following his excommunication in 2009, "The Vatican wanted to give Roy time to reflect on his actions," Dougherty said, so they were willing to give Maryknoll time.

The case of an Augustinian priest was compared to that of Roy. The priest voluntarily stopped saying public Mass until such time (if ever) women are called to orders. The main difference is that the Augustinian acted privately and did not drag his order into the fray, whereas even to this day Roy continues to speak out openly with the MM firmly, albeit tentatively, affixed to his name.

So there you have it, folks. Less than five years after the Holy Father did away with Limbo, Maryknoll seems to be embracing it as our newest mission territory. (Is there a flag for that?) And therein we presently dwell.

Maryknoll Society Members who want to learn the INSIDE inside scoop on this meeting may log onto and read Knollnews 2.0 in the Missioners' Forum section on the Bulletin Board! (Hint: I name names!) Hey, this might entice more men to join, just to find out what Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers are really like!

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