WASHINGTON - The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith has dismissed Roy Bourgeois from the priesthood because
of his participation in the invalid ordination of a woman and
"a simulated Mass," the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
announced Nov. 19.
The order said in a statement the canonical dismissal came
Citing Bourgeois' participation in the invalid ordination in
Lexington, Ky., Aug. 9, 2008, the Maryknoll statement said,
"With patience, the Holy See and the Maryknoll Society have
encouraged his reconciliation with the Catholic Church."
Bourgeois could not be immediately reached for comment.
"Instead, Mr. Bourgeois chose to campaign against the
teachings of the Catholic Church in secular and non-Catholic
venues," the statement said. "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."
The church holds that it has no authority to ordain women.
This year at his Holy Thursday chrism Mass at the Vatican,
Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed the church's ban on women
The Maryknoll statement said, "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," the statement concluded.
Maryknoll spokesman Mike Virgintino declined further comment
in a brief interview with Catholic News Service.
Bourgeois first gained the attention of Vatican authorities
after participating in the attempted ordination of Janice
Sevre-Duszynskaa sponsored by Roman Catholic Womenpriests
Aug. 9, 2008, in Kentucky. In a meeting with his Maryknoll
superiors nine days after the ceremony, he received a
canonical warning related to his role. At the time,
then-Father Bourgeois said he hoped the issue was settled
because he had no intention of participating in any other
Subsequently, he spoke about his support for women's
ordination, saying it was a matter of sexism within the
church that caused him to speak out.
The former priest was excommunicated Nov. 24, 2008, "latae
sententiae" - automatically - for not recanting his public
statements supporting the ordination of women. He has said
that his beliefs are based on his understanding of justice
and equality as expressed in the Gospel, but the Catholic
Church teaches it cannot ordain women because Jesus chose
only men to be his apostles.