27 July 2011

First, Call to Disobedience; Now This...

More than 150 Roman Catholic priests in the United States have signed a statement in support of a fellow cleric who faces dismissal for participating in a ceremony that purported to ordain a woman as a priest, in defiance of church teaching.

The Rev. Roy Bourgeois has received letters from the Vatican threatening dismissal for his role in a ceremony that purported to ordain Janice Sevre-Duszynska...as a priest.

The American priests’ action follows closely on the heels of a “Call to Disobedience” issued in Austria last month by more than 300 priests and deacons. They stunned their bishops with a seven-point pledge that includes actively promoting priesthood for women and married men, and reciting a public prayer for “church reform” in every Mass.
...
Father Bourgeois, a member of the Maryknoll religious order, received a letter from the Vatican in 2008 warning that he would be excommunicated if he did not recant. He sent the Vatican a long letter saying that he was only following his conscience. The Vatican never wrote back, he said.

The statement from the 157 American priests says only that they support Father Bourgeois’s “right to speak his conscience” — cautious wording that probably enabled more to sign. The effort was organized by Call to Action, a Chicago-based group that has long advocated change in the church. It is intended to put pressure on the Maryknolls not to go through with dismissing Father Bourgeois.
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