Priest will not recant on female ordination


A DISTINGUISHED American Catholic priest, Fr Roy Bourgeois, faces dismissal from the priesthood for refusing to recant by today his view that women can validly be ordained priests.

Fr Bourgeois had become well-known known for his work to end US-government-funded combat training of Latin American militaries.

On March 29th he received a canonical warning from the leadership of his community, the Maryknoll Society, and was given 15 days to recant.

He was warned that failure to do so by today would result in a second canonical warning.

This would mean his superiors submitting a request for his dismissal from the priesthood to Rome.

Writing to his superior general Fr Edward Dougherty last Friday, Fr Bourgeois said that “for the past 20 years I have been speaking out and organising against the injustice . . . in Latin America. Over these years I discovered an injustice much closer to home – an injustice in my church.”

He continued “as a Catholic priest for 38 years, I believe our church’s teaching that excludes women from the priesthood defies both faith and reason”.

He recalled a 1976 report from a Vatican Biblical Commission which found there was “no valid case to be made against the ordination of women from the scriptures”.

He said his superiors were telling him to lie and say he did not believe that God calls both men and women to the priesthood. “This I cannot do,” he wrote, “therefore I will not recant.”