Support Father Roy Bourgeois.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5 (TNIV)) The TNIV footnote lets me know an alternative translation is the darkness has not “understood” it.
In the case of Father Roy Bourgeois, recently excommunicated, laicized, and dismissed from his Maryknoll order by the Vatican, the light of his teaching can be seen by all and whether the Vatican can understand this teaching or not, they will not prevail against it.
History will find that Father Roy Bourgeois is a prophet and hero and there can be no reason for the Vatican’s refusal to ordain women and the Vatican’s refusal to even discuss the matter.
Other Christian churches have women priests, women bishops, and women ministers. The Vatican’s own Pontifical Biblical Commission in April 1976 found “12-5 in favor of the view that the church could ordain women to the priesthood without going against Christ’s original intentions.” (NCR editorial December 7-20, 2012) Of course, qualified women should be ordained in the Roman Catholic Church, and have been ordained (without Vatican approval) in the Church’s apostolic tradition in the case of Roman Catholic womenpriests.
Should I be shocked that in his free online book, Father Roy Bourgeois calls on all Catholics “to speak out loudly on this grave injustice of excluding women from the priesthood”? No, it is an injustice. The NCR follows through by trumpeting in a large-type heading, “Correct an injustice: Ordain women” (above-referenced editorial). In my opinion, the Vatican Church can hardly be considered “catholic” while it denigrates half the human race, and yes, I did mean to write “Vatican Church.” I’m glad we’re finally getting a spotlight on the emperor’s clothes. Institutionalized bigotry is wrong.
The first-century Pauline Christians reformed some of the beliefs and practices of their time (incestuous deities, ritual sex in temples), and promoted worship in spirit and inclusive community. Their supposed heirs sank into idol worship (gender-limited deity) and misogyny for its own sake. What are the male hierarchs afraid of besides maybe having to work for a woman or listen to a woman preach? It’s almost like they’re afraid the people might revert to ancient ways with priestesses and ritual sex – I know, preposterous.
Not only is gender discrimination anti-Christ, so are Pharisaical hierarchies. There’s no solution to this short of overhauling Church governance structures. Those who seek better join a vast diaspora. I predict the book by Father Roy Bourgeois will have even greater potency than Luther’s 95 theses issued in the year 1517, and also predict the Vatican will not manage the current situation with any more intelligence than they did the former.
Father Roy Bourgeois has done nothing worse than express his own opinion on a subject that needs to be discussed. Yet the Vatican has had a cruel, vindictive, and extreme reaction to him. As the leadership of an association of 1,000 Irish priests has written, it is abuse.a I hope Maryknoll will let Father Roy Bourgeois have his retirement pension for his service of 45 years.
We honor the courage and dedication of Father Roy Bourgeois and give thanks for the light.