Fr. Roy Bourgeois has been excommunicated – UPDATES

I was alerted to this sad news.

For Immediate Release, November 12, 2008
Contact: Betsey Guest, 914-941-7636 x2219

Statement regarding Father Roy Bourgeois

The Maryknoll Society did receive a confidential communiqué from the Congregation for the
Doctrine of Faith, and forwarded the contents of that communiqué to Father Bourgeois. The
Society continues to respect the confidentiality of the communications between the Congregation
of the Doctrine of the Faith and Father Bourgeois.

The Society will abide by the decision of the Congregation. At the same time, we have an
obligation to ensure the canonical rights of our members, and we will fulfill that obligation.

I am sure that all good WDTPRSers will stop and say a prayer for Fr. Bourgeois.  We pray for his conversion.

Fr. Bourgeois has been excommunicated

A reader sent me this:

Dear Ms. ____,

As stated in an earlier communiqué from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome, Father Bourgeois was given 30 days to recant his actions regarding the ordination of women as priests, or endure the penalty of excommunication.  Since he has said he cannot recant those actions, he has been excommunicated by the CDF.

Betsey Guest

UPDATE 19:31 GMT:

I was sent this:

I just talked with Betsey Guest. She indicated that the expectation is that Father Roy has been excommunicated as of the 30-day deadline. But they are awaiting official word from Rome. It may be awhile because the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Levada, is recovering from back surgery in San Francisco.

UPDATE 19:38 GMT:

 

From the National Catholic Register:

 Maryknoll: ‘Excommunicated’

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 2:09 PM

Tom Hoopes here. I just got off the phone with Betsey Guest, spokeswoman for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in New York, to ask about the reported excommunication of one of their priests for participating in an attempt to ordain women. Here’s the raw interview:

Does Maryknoll consider Father Roy Bourgeois to be excommunicated?

We believe that he has been excommunicated. This was done by the CDF, not by us.”  [Well of course not by them! For pity's sake.  They can't excommunicate anyone.]

As of today, Dec. 10?
“Yes.”

Have you heard from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about it?
“There has been no direct communication from the CDF regarding that.”

Then why do you consider him excommunicated?
“Because he was given 30 days to recant his actions, and he had responded saying that he could not recant those actions, he has been excommunicated at the end of that” period of time.

Is there usually a communication like these?
She said she had no idea, but reiterated that Maryknoll leaders “have not received any formal notification to that effect and are in fact awaiting a response from the CDF to Father Bourgeois’s letter sent Nov. 13”

Is he still a Maryknoll?
“He’s still a member, but possibly open to possible further penalty. We don’t know whether that will take place or not. We have not had official word.”

So, any further penalty would be in the hands of the CDF and not the Maryknolls?
“We are awaiting their response.”

He can be excommunicated and still be a Maryknoll?
“He is still a Catholic.” Many people misunderstand what excommunication means, she said. “He is just prohibited from receiving or administering the sacraments.

Does the order regret the stance Father Bourgeois took on women’s ordination?
“We’re very saddened.
The fathers and brothers are very saddened by the course of the events that have taken. He’s been a member of the family for 63 years. They give him their love and pastoral response.”

Yes, but does the order regret his stance on women’s ordination.
“We are saddened by the whole circumstance.” 
[So are we all... but "circumstance"?]

Does Maryknoll have a stance on women’s ordination?
“Maryknoll has no official stance by the order
”  [?]

Either for or against?
“We have no official stance. The order follows the rules and regulations of the Catholic Church.”  [And the teaching?]

How is Father Bourgeois taking the news?
“He does not live here at headquarters. His work is quite separate.”

Have you spoken to him personally?
“I have not.”

Where is he now?
“He lives outside Fort Benning, Ga. The School of the Americas Watch is his ministry. Peace and Justice work is his ministry. He speaks around the country on many issues of peace.” 

How will this affect that work?
“It remains to be seen. This is all so new.”  [Well... brewing for a long time, I think.]

— Tom Hoopes

 

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42 Responses to Fr. Roy Bourgeois has been excommunicated – UPDATES

  1. Will says:

    What path is there for his reconciliation? Obviously he has to recant his views on female ordination, but then what? If he re-entered communion, would he be restored to the priesthood?

  2. Tom Lanter says:

    Fr. Z.

    WOW, that was fast. We will pray for him, he is a priest forever.

    JMJ

    Tom Lanter

  3. vincentius says:

    B XVI is like a cop at a frat party- some will sober-up at his sight, others will be too drunk (on progressivism) to realize the party’s over

    (Fr Burgeois and his group wil remain in my prayers)

  4. Wm. Christopher Hoag says:

    So how many Pax Christi USA types will be distancing themselves from School of the Americas/Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation Watch in light of Roy Bourgeois’ new ecclesial status?

  5. Baron Korf says:

    So what happens to the priest when he is excommunicated? I imagine his faculties are suspended, and it would be sacrilegious to celebrate mass until the excommunication is lifted and he is reconciled to God for his offense (i.e. Confession and Penance). But what else? Is he removed from community? I ask this out of curiosity.

    I’ll pray for him tonight.

  6. Terth says:

    Out of curiostity, why is the communique from the CDF confidential? Not that I want to publicly berate this priest, but isn’t the impetus for excommunicating him the public scandal he has caused. Shouldn’t the Church’s redress be likewise public?

  7. Paul Haley says:

    It’s sad to see priest in this dire situation and we must pray that it will be cause for him to reconsider his position and seek forgiveness. Excommunication is supposed to be more than just a penalty; it’s supposed to encourage a return to the fold. Let’s hope this happens in his case.

  8. Michael says:

    Who is Betsey Guest ? What is the relevance of her letter ?

  9. ckdexterhaven says:

    Even in this day and age, pride goeth before a fall. Maybe there is something to the Bible after all….. If only he clung to the truth. Prayers for this (former) priest.

  10. Kazimer says:

    It is sad and unfortunate that Fr. Bourgeois chose to stand firm as a rogue priest and to not recant his position regarding women as “priests”.

    .Amidst all of this turmoil, I appreciate that swiftness of the decision by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

  11. Aelric says:

    Don’t get mad, SUPPRESS!

  12. Michael says:

    It seems to me that the Maryknoll Order does not accept the teaching of the Church, still less considers it infallible; it only, if I may add: legalistically, “follows the rules and regulations”.

  13. Somewhere along the line this peace and justice set which has included and includes: The Fathers Berrigan the Sisters McDonald et al, long ago replaced their concerns about the
    validity of the Sacraments they made oaths to uphold with this push to close all defense
    contractors down. It’s like that drive has become their “church”.

    This cavalier sounding statement: “He is JUST prohibited from receiving or
    administering the sacraments.” says it all. As long as Father Bourgeois has his “ministry” to close down SOA he and other of his ilk will act like the excommunication is “no big deal”.

    However, Rome just did him a huge favor as far as booking speaking engagements with the liberal left and dissident Catholics. Now, he can claim “oppression” and “suppression” by the big bad Church-always a big hit with that crowd.

    Take this to the bank: He’ll be speaking at a certain parish in the Archdiocese of St.Paul/Minneapolis within 6 months. I guarantee it. They love this “oppression by the man” stuff.

    Prayers for him? Always

  14. Michael says:

    “Many people misunderstand what excommunication means, she said. He is just prohibited from receiving or administering the sacraments.”

    That is simply not all.

    The excommunicated person is “forbidden” (Can. 1331 $1) (1) “to have any ministerial part in the celebration …of the Eucharist or in any other ceremonies of public worship”; (3) “to exercise any ecclesiastical offices, ministries, functions or acts of governance”

    If the excommunication is “imposed or declared” (Can. 1331 $2), he is (3)“forbidden to benefit from privileges already granted” and (5)“does not enjoy the benefits of any dignity, office, function or pension held in he Church”. This is what seems to explain the Immediate Release reported initially: “we have an obligation to ensure the canonical rights of our members, and we will fulfil that obligation”.

    Excommunication means “exclusion from the community of the faithful” (Commentary of CIC, by the Canon Law Society, UK, Irland, Canada; Dublin 1995,No.2261,p.763)

  15. Josiah Ross says:

    These guys are great at dodging questions. They never said that they regretted his stance, only the whole circumstance. In other words; “We’re sorry that he got excommunicated. No, we’re fine with the whole women’s ordination thing,. but we wish that he had’nt got excommunicated .”
    “Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’, and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’.”

  16. jarhead462 says:

    cathy of alex: You hit it right on the head. The “Peace and Justice” crowd, like all “progressive” movements, however well intentioned, were hijacked by, or sprang forth from
    Marxist/communist groups. This stuff IS their religion. To these ideas they give all glory and honor. Holy Mother Church, or whatever “Front” (government, patriotisim, etc.) has become a vehicle for some kind of credibility. It is used to mask the mental disorder that we call Liberalism.

  17. wall flower says:

    But Jarhead, do not dismiss those who are faithful and dogmatic Catholics who still work for peace and justice.

    Sadly, people like Bourgeois and the Hands-Across-America crowd work against real efforts at peace and justice by discrediting the whole movement by association.

  18. joanne says:

    I was going to say that the Berrigan brothers comments were a reach, but then I googled a bit. Philip Berrigan did endorse Priests For Equality which lists “equal opportunity” for women’s ordination to the priesthood as one of its charter points. Then again, Philip Berrigan was reconciled to the Church before his death and may have rethought his stance on that issue.
    As for Fr Daniel Berrigan, I don’t see anything recent mentioning his support for female priests. The early 90′s–that’s it. He rarely leaves the topic of nonviolence.
    I am often frustrated over the false divide (a prejudice, really) between pro-life and Catholic social justice. But it gets much harder to reconcile what should never have been divided when social justice paints women priests and/or gay marriage as equality issues. I end up acquiring a bias against GOODS like “peace” because the word, a fine one, is too often associated with destruction today.
    I wonder if there’s a principle confirming that liberalism provokes prejudice? Is it fair to terrify people and then accuse them of “living in fear”? To exploit “peace” as an excuse for all manner of madness, then accuse the wary of being warlike?

  19. There is a certain irony here that his excommunication would occur on the 40th anniversary of the death of Thomas Merton. Thomas Merton was heavily involved with issues of world peace, issues of social justice, and yes, at times struggled with his vow of obedience, yet still remained faithful to it. And more importantly, his Catholic faith was entirely orthodox. To read Fr. Louis (Merton) speak of his love for the true teachings of the Catholic Church is truly a beautiful thing, and yet somehow that sort of talk is missing from those Catholics today involved in social justice work. We orthodox Catholics need to reclaim that. The true teachings of the Church are the ultimate source of justice, as they are rooted entirely in Christ. I have been involved in social justice causes for some time, and have even attended the protest at the School of the Americas. In my work I am constantly at odds with the other Catholics who cherry pick the teachings of the Church that they wish to follow, who only concern themselves with Catholic social teaching and believe the Church to be wrong on just about everything else. But I will not allow this to recoil from this work. We who are orthodox Catholics faithful to the teachings of the Church – all the teachings of the Church – must take this mantle away from the many heretics such as Fr. Bourgeois who seem to always be the face of justice movements (at least those that do not involve abortion). We need a modern voice of Merton, of Mother Teresa, of pretty much all the popes of the late 19th century through today, the modern voice of fidelity to the teachings of the Church which informs a true sense of justice.

    In the mean time, my prayers for the conversion of Fr. Bourgeois will continue. Our Lady must intercede for him now, she is the wellspring of orthodox Catholic priests, for it is almost impossible for a priest to have a true devotion to Mary and lose a sense of fidelity to the Church.

  20. sorry, it’s 3:30 am and I’m doing an exegesis project that is causing my head to spin, so my grammar wasn’t so hot in the previous comment. The one sentence should read, “But I will not allow this to cause me to recoil from this work.” Without the “cause me” it doesn’t make a lot of sense :-)

  21. Prayers for Father Roy Bourgeois, for his repentance and restored communion. Let us hope that the medicinal value of excommunication takes its effect.

  22. joanne says:

    Thank you, Michael, for your comments. They are helping to re-order my head after some disappointing research on the statements of respected peace advocates regarding women’s ordination to the priesthood.
    You delivered to me a grin from Thomas Merton, whose writings have been inspirational to me. The last sentence I wrote on this topic before my head hit the pillow last night was “If only Thomas Merton and Peter Kreeft could get together in recorded dialogue…Alas, only in Heaven…” This morning I find your observation about the date of the excommunication. So, I’m asking Thomas Merton to pray with us for Fr Bourgeois.
    We will all have to do the work of remembering that PEACE does not lead to the destruction of the Church, nor does it cause abortion, and absolute respect for the life of the unborn child does not lead to the oppression of women or to WAR. That is, peace and respect for life are not causes of evil.
    Whenever we forget that, real people DIE as we battle with one another over political abstracts. Peace has been taken hostage by one “camp” and respect for the unborn by another. The road is not just narrow anymore–it zigzags all over the place.

  23. Joe says:

    I would caution you to not necessarily associate the actions of a single member of Maryknoll with the whole society. I know Maryknollers who are very upset and embarrassed by this situation. I realize that their reputation for orthodoxy has not been strong in recent years, but let us pray fervently that they may fully recover the mission articulated by their founders Fr Price and Bishop Walsh, and that more orthodox men may continue to rise in leadership within the society.

  24. Yes pray for the wandering Father Bourgeois to return to the Catholic faith. There are times when cancer must be cut out before it spreads into a larger disease affecting more of the body. Excommunications are for the good of the soul, and for the Church, for dealing with those obstinate in evil.

  25. Mary-Lee says:

    I will pray that the Catholic faith returns to Father Bourgeois. There are cancers in the church, but Father Bourgeois is not part of that.

  26. Mary-Lee says:

    Interesting that they excommunicated him on the anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

  27. Flambeaux says:

    Mary-Lee,

    I’d laugh if your statements weren’t so sad.

  28. jarhead462 says:

    Wallflower:
    Working for peace and justice from a true Catholic perspective is fine, but understand that a group or movement is usually defined by it’s leadership. The leaders of most groups dedicated to advancing peace and justice are dyed-in-the wool Marxists. Many of the rank-and-file Democrats in this country are not unhinged abortionistas, but the leadership is. Most of the rank-and-file Republicans are not linguini-spined sellouts, but the leadership sure is…you get my point.

    Semper Fi!

  29. Paul Madrid says:

    FYI, Fr. Bourgeois is still a cleric. Excommunication does not dismiss a person from the clerical state; dismissal is a different penalty altogether that so far has not been incurred yet. Pray that he is reconciled before it goes that far.

  30. Mary-lee,

    That’s not really interesting at all, to be honest. Priesthood has nothing to do with human rights, since no one has the right to be a priest. It is a gift and a vocation which God bestows on whomever He pleases.

  31. Jordanes says:

    It’s really quite fitting that his excommunication coincides with that anniversary, since that declaration uphold’s the right of reloigious freedom. The Catholic Church’s divine right to excommunicate dissenters and bad shepherds like Father Bourgeois may not be infringed by any earthly power.

  32. Mike Walsh, MM says:

    Thanks to all for the prayers for Fr. Roy and for Maryknoll. I am not a spokesman for the Society, only a member. I do not concur with his actions or his position, which spring, I believe, from a disordered view of freedom, common to American liberalism, that reduces freedom to autonomy. I regret any discomfort or harm this may have caused.

  33. Tim McHugh says:

    Fr. Roy gives me hope for the future of the Catholic Church, whose hierarchy seems to be having another “Galileo” moment.

    If the Christ himself were to walk on the Earth at this very moment, I’m certain he would be standing with Fr. Roy for peace at the gates of the SOA rather than hanging with the gold-robed powdered princes in the Vatican.

    Blessed are the peacemakers.

  34. Jordanes says:

    Mr. McHugh said: Fr. Roy gives me hope for the future of the Catholic Church, whose hierarchy seems to be having another “Galileo” moment.

    Bad analogy. The Galileo incident involved a matter of physical science, which is not within the Church’s competence. Women’s ordination involves matters of the Faith, and the Church is wholly competent to teach the Faith, whereas Father Bourgeois only has competence to teach the Faith if he agrees with the Church. He doesn’t, so he is incompetent here.

    If the Christ himself were to walk on the Earth at this very moment, I’m certain he would be standing with Fr. Roy for peace at the gates of the SOA rather than hanging with the gold-robed powdered princes in the Vatican.

    The Catholic Church, including her powdered princes in the Vatican, is Christ’s own body walking on the earth at this very moment. Christ is “hanging” with the powdered princes, but Father Bourgeois has chosen not to “hang” with Christ any more. Standing for peace at the gates of the SOA is not enough: if you keep the law but fail in just one point it’s as if you’ve broken all of the commandments, as St. James said. It’s not enough to stand for peace — you’ve also got to keep Christ’s faith.

  35. Father Bourgeois has been excommunicated because of his views on the ‘ordination’ of women and for taking part in an ‘ordination’ ceremony of women. He has NOT been excommunicated for his work for peace.

  36. Chris says:

    Mark my words,

    the Holy Spirit will win and the Catholic Church will ordain women before I die (I’m 20)

  37. RBrown says:

    Mark my words,

    the Holy Spirit will win and the Catholic Church will ordain women before I die (I’m 20)
    Comment by Chris

    Your comment is the religious version of: I’ve invested all my money with Bernie Madoff.

  38. Fr. Tom says:

    Obviously Fr. Roy is a man of deep faith and commitment to that faith. I believe his preaching and teaching is more in line with the Gospel than the preaching and teaching of the excommunicators. I have attended and lead workshops at the SOA protest working for peace and justice. Injustice happens both outside the Church and inside the Church. It is important to work for justice in both areas. This work is not always popular because the “powers that be” are resistant to change. I pray that the Church will soon ordain women and reconcile with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.
    Peace and All Good. -Fr. Tom

  39. RBrown says:

    Obviously Fr. Roy is a man of deep faith and commitment to that faith.

    I realize he has faith, but the question is what is the content of that faith. His actions and remarks have indicated that his faith is not in the Christ and His Church but rather in his own watery opinions.

    I believe his preaching and teaching is more in line with the Gospel than the preaching and teaching of the excommunicators.

    I’m sure you do believe that, but see my comments below.

    I have attended and lead workshops at the SOA protest working for peace and justice. Injustice happens both outside the Church and inside the Church. It is important to work for justice in both areas. This work is not always popular because the “powers that be” are resistant to change. I pray that the Church will soon ordain women and reconcile with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.
    Peace and All Good. -Fr. Tom

    I agree there are injustices in the Church. And one of the greatest injustices in the Church is that for too many years the laity has had to put up with priests who don’t understand the difference between Jesus and Karl Marx or between the Doctors of the Church and sociologists like Saul Alinsky.

  40. I pray for his quick return to the Faith…

  41. RBrown says:

    I pray that the Church will soon ordain women and reconcile with our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.
    Peace and All Good. -Fr. Tom

    First, you cause cause violence to the Mystical Body of Christ by dissenting from Church doctrine on the “ordination” of women and homosexual activities, then you close by by invoking peace.

    That’s like robbing and shooting up a convenience store, then on the way out saying, “God bless you all.”