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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Impromptu gathering

After word went out yesterday via email to Society members about the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dismissing Roy Bourgeois from Maryknoll and laicizing him, Fr. Jim Lynch, vicar general, invited Society members to an impromptu meeting in the Asia Room at 7:00 p.m.

Word of mouth informed those who, like me, hadn't yet checked my email, and 45 of the house's 85 residents attended (many having already left for the holiday.)

So we'd all be on the same page, Jim read the official Maryknoll statement to those present. Then he opened the floor to questions.

The mood ranged from sadness to anger, but I don't think anyone was surprised. The anger, too, was spread around from anger at the Vatican for taking this extraordinary step to anger at Roy for dragging Maryknoll through this mess. Several points of clarification surfaced.

• As with other members who leave the Society, Maryknoll will continue to financially assist Roy "in his transition" (meaning for as long as Roy needs and requests it).

• Although Maryknoll is under the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples, because of Roy's public action at the "attempted ordination" of a  woman, the CDF felt it had cause to directly intervene in his dismissal and laicization, even though the canonical requirement of a "decisive majority" of Council Members (two to dismiss, three abstentions) had not been met.

• Since Roy gave up directing the School of the Americas Watch some time ago, the action by the CDF should not prevent the SOAW from requesting funds to help with their many newsletters, all of which emphasize peace and justice issues in the Latin America.

• We do not know what canonical recourse Roy has and only he can answer whether he will continue to employ the services of Fr. Tom Doyle as his canon lawyer.

For what it's worth, Roy has already changed his voicemail message, stating his affiliation with the School of America's Watch and WomenChurch


Here is the Maryknoll statement:

The Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith
Canonically Dismisses Roy Bourgeois
Maryknoll, New York – November 19, 2012 – The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on October 4, 2012, canonically dismissed Roy Bourgeois from the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, also known as the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. The decision dispenses the Maryknoll priest from his sacred bonds.
As a priest during 2008, Mr. Bourgeois participated in the invalid ordination of a woman and a simulated Mass in Lexington, Kentucky. With patience, the Holy See and the Maryknoll Society have encouraged his reconciliation with the Catholic Church.
Instead, Mr. Bourgeois chose to campaign against the teachings of the Catholic Church in secular and non-Catholic venues. This was done without the permission of the local U.S. Catholic Bishops and while ignoring the sensitivities of the faithful across the country. Disobedience and preaching against the teaching of the Catholic Church about women’s ordination led to his excommunication, dismissal and laicization.
Mr. Bourgeois freely chose his views and actions, and all the members of the Maryknoll Society are saddened at the failure of reconciliation. With this parting, the Maryknoll Society warmly thanks Roy Bourgeois for his service to mission and all members wish him well in his personal life. In the spirit of equity and charity, Maryknoll will assist Mr. Bourgeois with this transition.


  1. What sad news. Shame on Maryknoll for accepting this.

  2. Hello. I found this article while searching for Father Lynch. Jim was a dear friend of my parents and married my husband and myself 35 years ago. If you have his contact information I would very much appreciate it. If you are not able to give out the information then maybe you would forward my info to him.

    Patti Rattigan Dillon