Letter of Support for Fr. Roy Bourgeois

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

Dear Father Dougherty and Maryknoll Councilors,

We want to voice our support for Father Roy Bourgeoise. Fr. Roy has been a support and inspiration to the 8th Day Center’s work for justice for over thirty years. Fr. Roy has been an example of constancy, sacrifice and creative resistance. Fr. Roy has never shied away from examining how the privilege that he carries impacts a larger context and reality.

It is clear from the work of Maryknoll missionaries that Fr. Roy would have learned the examination of privilege from his community. Maryknollers every year shed the privilege of the U.S. context to work and serve alongside communities struggling for justice and peace in contexts of deprivation around the world.

Is it so different that Fr. Roy would not just examine the privileges of education and economic security that can stem from being a U.S. citizen but also that Fr. Roy would examine the privilege of his gender?

Women around the world and in the United States do not have the luxury of choosing to examine gender, the realities of the inequities it brings is a daily struggle. Fr. Roy realized this and spoke out attempting to create a space of dialog for change within the institutional Church.

Why choose the Church and not another institution that denies women equality, because the Church claims God, the Most Holy Mystery, as the reason for their sexism and misogyny. God wills an all male hierarchy and priesthood as if the life of Jesus could ever be seen as a mandate for exclusion and abuse.

But perhaps the greatest privilege of all in this scenario is the one being exercised by the institutional Church. The privilege to silence and exclude a member because to talk, to simply talk, is too dangerous for an over 2,000 year old institution to withstand.

We are sure Fr. Roy never knew he was so dangerous. What will be dangerous will be if other groups, institutions, or bodies within the Church are complicit in excluding and silencing Fr. Roy. For this takes the misdirected actions of the few and makes them the legitimated actions of the many.

We call on Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers and all faithful members of the Catholic Church to resist the mandate of excommunication. Nothing will be gained or saved by preventing honest and transparent dialog about Church teaching. And truly nothing will grow in a Church that denies half of its membership the basic acknowledgement of being human enough to be seen as in persona Christi or able to bring and share Sacred presence with a community.


8th Day Center for Justice Staff

Read Fr. Roy's response given at a press conference organized by the Women's Ordination Conference today, Friday April 8th, in Washington, D.C.

If you would like to read any of the ncronline.org articles here are a couple of sites: