Nuns defend Bourgeois to Vatican

To my knowledge, there has been no word yet on the fate of Father Roy Bourgeois, the Maryknoll priest who faces excommunication from the Vatican for taking part in a woman’s “ordination” ceremony (and refusing to recant).

But National Catholic Reporter reports that 113 nuns have signed a letter to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that pleads Bourgeois’ case. The letter was organized by the National Coalition of American Nuns and explicitly supports the ordination of women as priests.

Dominican Sister Donna Quinn, one of the coordinators of NCAN, told NCR: “We hope the excommunication is not issued. The medieval punishment of excommunication serves only to embarrass our Church in the eyes of the world and fuels further anger and resentment among the U.S. faithful.”

Here’s the letter, addressed to Cardinal William Levada, head of the congregation:

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“Dear Cardinal Levada:

The Vatican’s threatened excommunication of Fr. Roy Bourgeois because of his belief in the priestly ordination of women has diminished our Church.

As women religious who love our Church and who have served the People of God for decades, we support our brother Roy. As a Maryknoll priest for 36 years, he has followed the Gospel of Jesus in his ministry for peace and justice by speaking out against the war in Iraq and against the torture of countless human beings, aided and abetted by the U.S. government’s School of the Americas. He has been a prophetic voice for thousands in our society.

Roy is now a prophetic voice in our church because of his support for women’s equality in all Church ministries. Excommunications depend not on edicts or laws, but on compliance. We do not believe Roy is outside the community and we embrace him wholeheartedly. Like Roy, we know women who testify that they are called to priesthood. We know that Jesus did not discriminate in calling both women and men to ministry. And we know that our church needs the gifts of everyone called.

So we join Fr. Roy Bourgeois and the majority of U.S. Catholics, who believe that women are called to priestly ordination in the Catholic Church. We look forward to the day when Catholic women, following in the footsteps of Mary Magdalene who announced the Resurrection to the male Apostles, will minister as full equals in our church.”