An Urgent Letter From Prof. Bill Quigley: Our brother, Father Roy Bourgeois, needs our immediate solidarity!

From: Bill Quigley, Attorney for Father Roy Bourgeois,

7214 St. Charles Avenue, Campus Box 902, New Orleans, LA 70118

August 8, 2011

Dear Friends:

Our brother, Father Roy Bourgeois, needs your immediate solidarity. The Maryknoll community has taken another step towards expulsion of Father Roy for speaking out in favor of the ordination of women priests. Father Roy has said that, as a matter of conscience, he must speak out against the exclusion of women from the priesthood both because it defies faith and reason and because the exclusion is rooted in sexism. Despite the threats to expel him, Father Roy refuses to recant.

It is time for people of good will to take action. Please contact Father Ed Dougherty, the Superior General of Maryknoll, and ask him not to expel Father Roy Bourgeois for advocating for women priests. Here is how to contact Father Dougherty:

Father Edward Dougherty

Maryknoll Fathers

PO Box 303

Maryknoll, NY 10545-0303

Fax: 914.944.3600 or Phone: 914.941.7590


I am one of the lawyers on the team working with Father Roy. Below is a link to the letter Father Roy recently received from Maryknoll. It is the official second and perhaps final notice threatening to immediately expel him from the community.

Below is a link to Father Roy’s response to Maryknoll. You can read it and see where he stands. His letter is a simple direct invitation to dialogue about inclusion of women in the priesthood and a call for the protection of conscience – key foundation principles in any institution which respects human dignity. Contrast his letter with one from Maryknoll and judge which best reflects the spirit of hope, justice, respect and love.

Father Roy’s Letter to Maryknoll:

Maryknoll Letter to Father Roy:

Father Roy has been a priest for 39 years and a member of Maryknoll for 44 years. We cannot allow Maryknoll, pushed hard no doubt by fundamentalist forces of the institutional church in Rome, to silence a prophetic voice of conscience and justice. Galileo was silenced by the church in 1633 for saying the earth revolves around the sun and they did not admit their error and apologize until 360 years later in 1992. Truth and justice cannot be expected to wait that long. Hundreds of priests already publicly support Father Roy’s right to speak his conscience. Thousands more women and men across the world support this issue and Father Roy as well. Maryknoll cannot and should not be party to a modern day silencing.

Thank you for your action and solidarity. Please send me a copy of what you sent Maryknoll and I will make sure Father Roy knows of your support.

Peace and justice,

Bill Quigley


See this PBS video documentary regarding Fr Roy Bourgeois and the School of the Assassins:

About ajmacdonaldjr

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8 Responses to An Urgent Letter From Prof. Bill Quigley: Our brother, Father Roy Bourgeois, needs our immediate solidarity!

  1. jbq2 says:

    To say the very least from the picture, Father Roy’s collar does not fit “all that snugly”. The Church has to “preach the Gospel”. If that means “sending women to the sidelines”, then so be it. As a Navy vet and follower of the “other” Maryknoller, Vince Capodanno, I can say that you have a dichotomy. According to PBS, Father Roy has “other spoons in the pot”. If his real motive is “Liberation Theology” and the active participation in the overthrow of South American governments, then he needs to be “brought to task”.

    • Personally, I think Fr. Roy is wrong in this case. John Paul II wrote a very brief letter regarding this issue upholding the traditional and scriptural position of the Church, which I agree with. But I don’t mind standing with him even though I disagree with him on this issue.

  2. Christopher Lake says:

    A.J., I am curious– why would you stand with Father Roy Bourgeois here, when a.) He is so clearly standing against a teaching of the Church that has been declared irreformable by the Church, through reasoning from Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and b.) When you yourself think that he is wrong?

    Maryknoll is not quibbling over a non-essential matter here. To the contrary, Maryknoll is standing with the Holy Father, the Magisterium, and with the historic teaching of the Catholic Church, back to the days of Jesus Himself, on “women’s ordination.” No one was more respectful of, and loving toward, women than Our Lord. Christ was also not shy to challenge certain Jewish leaders of His day on practices and policies that He considered to be unjust. He never challenged anyone on this issue.

    The argument that Jesus did not ordain women because it would have been out of step with the religious/cultural “norms” of His day is an argument which does not hold water. He was not afraid to challenge accepted thinking at all. This is clear from the Gospels. Still, He never said to a woman (as He did to Peter and the other apostles), “Whoever’s sins you forgive are forgiven; whoever’s sins you retain are retained.” The Church cannot legitimately ordain women, because Christ did not do so. The Catechism is as clear as it could possibly be on this issue. In that light, I am glad to see Maryknoll taking a stand here.

    • I agree with what you are saying Christopher. I, too, stand with the Church and the Scriptures on this issue and I’m not sure why Fr Roy does not, except that he feels he must. Fr Roy is a good man with a heart of gold and since Bill Quigley, who is also a good man with a heart of gold asked for help with Fr Roy’s case I am spreading the word, even though I disagree with Fr Roy on this. I wish this were not happening at all, for many reasons, and I am praying for Fr Roy.

  3. Christopher Lake says:

    A.J., in Father Roy’s letter to Maryknoll (in the pdf file above in the post), he states that the Church is engaging in the sin of sexism by not ordaining women as priests. This is a very serious charge for Father Roy to make against the Church, especially when Popes Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI have been simply following Christ on this issue.

    Christ only ordained men. By charging the Church with sexism on this issue, Father Roy is not simply taking a stand on an issue of his personal conscience. By saying that the Pope and Magisterium are wrong on women’s ordination, he is also saying (whether he means to or not) that the Church has been wrong on this issue for 2,000 years.

    However, the Church is following Christ, and Christ was not wrong on this issue or any other one. Father Roy may be very sincere (and I believe that he is sincere), but a priest with a true heart of gold should not be opposing the Church on a practice which comes from Christ Himself and from 2,000 years of Church thinking and practice.

    How can a faithful priest say that the Church (and, by implication, Christ Himself) has been wrong for all of Church history about women’s ordination? Father may not mean to say such a thing, but that is the logical end of his thinking. H states that the Church is sexist on this issue, but the Pope is not “sexist” on women’s ordination, any more than Christ Himself was sexist (and Christ is God, and God is obviously not sexist). I pray, in love, that Father Roy will reconsider his stand against the Church. As your brother in Christ, I also hope you will reconsider your choice to give publicity to Father’s stand here.

  4. I agree with you, but I don’t see Fr Roy committing a sin that is deadly, so I pray for him, and I would love to speak with him about it as well. Personally I believe he has been tricked by Satan into doing his will instead of God’s, because Satan always uses some method of making us think we are doing God’s will when we are, in reality, doing Satan’s will. I haven’t written in defense of Fr Roy, either on my blogs or to Maryknoll, I simply circulated Prof Quigely’s letter. Fr Roy is a good man, not an evil man, I believe, so I assume he is being mislead into thinking he is doing right when he’s not. Much like most of my Christian friends believe they should support Israel when Christ told us not to, because he no longer did. Satan has these folks fooled into thinking they are doing God’s will but they are doing Satan’s will instead. I don’t cut them off but I tell them they are wrong, just as I would Fr Roy.

  5. Comeau Charles says:

    I fully support the ordination of women priests. I regard the Pope’s attitude that it would never be possible for this to happen as an abuse of Papal authority and typical of a male superiority attitude in the Church in general. How much longer do we have to endure this situation? Charles R. Comeau

    • The problem with your position is that it’s one based upon current opinion and not scripture and tradition. If either Christ or the early Church would have chosen just one woman this wouldn’t be an issue. But he/they didn’t, so the ordination of women will never happen. This doesn’t mean that a woman wasn’t the first evangelist, because Mary Magdalene was. This doesn’t mean women didn’t minister to Jesus, because they did. This doesn’t mean women abandoned Jesus at the cross, because they didn’t. In many ways the New Testament shows the superiority of women over men. The men, the apostles, were hiding – having abandoned Jesus at his crucifixion, but the women never did, which is shameful – but typical – of men. The NT doesn’t hide this fact but neither does it permit women to be ordained priests, or leaders, in the Church. If the last is to be first and the first are to be last, why would someone make such a big issue about being first? Or is it that women in the Catholic Church are clamoring to serve and not clamoring to lead? Perhaps we should all focus on serving however we can and wherever we are? There is a lot of real work to do and spending time on this issue is, to me, a waste of valuable time.

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