Supporting Gender Equality in the Church Results in Excommunication by Gina Messina-Dysert

Gina Messina-Dysert profileIt is unnerving to think that excommunication is still a real threat in the 21st century. Within both the Catholic and Mormon Churches members continue to be bullied into submission with such threats. Today, speaking out against gender injustice seems to be a sure way for one to end up expelled from her or his community. Kate Kelly, a human rights attorney and Mormon feminist, has become the most recent in a long line to be rebuked for speaking out about gender discrimination and is waiting to learn her fate following a trial by LDS Church leaders. Continue reading “Supporting Gender Equality in the Church Results in Excommunication by Gina Messina-Dysert”

Winds of Change in the Roman Catholic Church by Michele Stopera Freyhauf

Michele FreyhaufIn 2007, I had a conversation with a professor who felt that change was in the air for the Roman Catholic Church. The basis of this opinion was based on language. The words and the context used in writings that emerged from the Vatican were changing and somehow different – a difference that went beyond personal writing styles of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. This professor was hopeful that positive change for women could be coming. He was right about change in the Church, however, the changes surrounding women that emerged have not been positive.

As I continue to reflect on these words, I ponder the issue of language; specifically the impact words have and the way they are used to facilitate subtle changes in thinking, opinion, and beliefs. The method of persuasion that seems to be employed is the Aristotelian Rhetorical Theory that utilizes the five canons of rhetoric: invention, organization, style, delivery, and memory.

An example of this can be seen clearly in the changes in the liturgy that occurred last year. First, the teaching comes out with the rationale as to why the liturgy needs to change. From there a discussion, especially through the media, addressing the upcoming modifications are followed by subtle changes in the liturgy beginning with the call – response and the language in the creed. Next, the language of the celebrant began to change. Finally, the full implementation of changes is made with the addition of new gestures or movements. When I discussed the mass changes with a family member, there was an admittance that the changes no longer affect them – the changes were no longer noticeable. Their memory was impacted because the routine is now second nature.

In order to come to grips with the issue of language and the observation of my professor, I wanted to do a cursory review of the writings issued by the Vatican during this period. Admittedly, with a blog post, there is a limitation as to the depth and breadth of information that can be disseminated. It is my hope to eventually complete a thorough review of the modification of language used during Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy. For now, I want to address a few observations.

Continue reading “Winds of Change in the Roman Catholic Church by Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

I Stand with Fr. Roy Bourgeois by Gina Messina-Dysert

“The Vatican and Maryknoll can dismiss me, but they cannot dismiss the issue of gender equality in the Catholic Church.” – Fr. Roy Bourgeois 

While many have said it should be no surprise that Fr. Roy Bourgeois has been excommunicated from the Catholic Church, I was and am utterly astounded, not to mention deeply saddened.

I have been well aware (and an admirer) of Fr. Roy’s work for sometime; but came to know him personally about one year ago.  While I believed my expectations were unrealistic, Fr. Roy not only lived up to, but surpassed the superhero image I had created in my mind.  He is an incredibly humble and generous man whose utmost concern is honoring the dignity of every human being.  On a personal level Fr. Roy is a friend and mentor; on a social and communal level, I respect his activism, courage, and refusal to comply with demands that violate human rights.  In the face of continual threats Fr. Roy stood strong and now pays the ultimate price for following his conscience.  Excommunication means that he has lost his position and his home; his livelihood, status, and vocation have been taken away.  Fr. Roy is forced into laity and the job market at an age where he should be focused on retiring. Continue reading “I Stand with Fr. Roy Bourgeois by Gina Messina-Dysert”

BREAKING NEWS: Fr. Roy Bourgeois Excommunicated

It is very disappointing to share that Fr. Roy Bourgeois was excommunicated, dismissed, and laicized by the Vatican as a result of his support for women’s ordination and the eradication of sexism in the Catholic Church.  The following was sent out for immediate release by Maryknoll on November 19, 2012.  Additional information will be shared once released.


The Congregation For The Doctrine Of The Faith
Canonically Dismisses Roy Bourgeois

Maryknoll, New York – November 19, 2012 – The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on October 4, 2012, canonically dismissed Roy Bourgeois from the Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, also known as the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. Continue reading “BREAKING NEWS: Fr. Roy Bourgeois Excommunicated”

IN THE NEWS: Fr. Roy Bourgeois to Speak at CGU

This week on November 1st and 2nd Fr. Roy Bourgeois will be at Claremont Graduate University to offer discussions on the topics of women’s ordination and the School of Americas Watch.

Fr. Roy is a Maryknoll priest, social justice activist, and founder of the School of Americas Watch.  Here on FAR we have had many discussions and posts about women’s ordination.  However we have had far less about the destruction caused by the School of Americas (SOA) now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).

Renamed in 2001, this institution is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers located in Fort Benning, Georgia and has been dubbed “School of Assassins.”  Continue reading “IN THE NEWS: Fr. Roy Bourgeois to Speak at CGU”

A Response to the Maryknoll Community on Women’s Ordination by Fr. Roy Bourgeois

This letter was written to to Rev. Edward Dougherty, M.M., Superior General and the Maryknoll Community on August 8, 2011 in response to the call for Fr. Roy Bourgeois to recant his stance on women’s ordination in the Catholic Church.

My Brothers,

I have been a Catholic priest for 39 years and Maryknoll has been my faith community, my family. So it was with great sadness that I received your letter of July 27, 2011 (Second Canonical Warning), stating I must recant my belief and public statements that support the ordination of women, or I will be dismissed from Maryknoll.

In my ministry over the years I have met many devout women in our Church who believe God is calling them to be priests.  Why wouldn’t they be called?  God created men and women of equal dignity and, as we all know, the call to be a priest comes from God.

My brothers, who are we to reject God’s call of women to the priesthood?  The Holy Scriptures remind us in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither male nor female. In Christ Jesus you are one.”  How is it possible for us to say that our call from God, as men, is authentic, but God’s call of women is not?   Continue reading “A Response to the Maryknoll Community on Women’s Ordination by Fr. Roy Bourgeois”

Pink Smoke Over the Vatican: A Review by Kate Conmy

Review: Pink Smoke Over the Vatican (2010)

Award-Winning Independent Documentary Film

Directed by Jules Hart

By Kate Conmy, MA.

Membership Coordinator of the Women’s Ordination Conference.

Last weekend I had the honor of joining over eighty Women’s Ordination Conference members and supporters in Claremont, California for a screening of “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican” followed by a distinguished panel discussion.  WOC board member Miriam Todoroff of Pilgrim Place hosted the event, along with Rev. Kathleen Jess, ECC, with local support from Theresa Yugar. “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican” has recently been made available for purchase, but for the past couple of years the film has starred in women’s ordination movement circles, drawing hundreds to cinemas, churches, universities, and homes for a peek at the controversial and moving film.

Fr. Roy Bourgeois has taken the show on the road, touring and speaking throughout the world (from Rhode Island to Rome) on women’s ordination and the important stories in the film. Fr. Roy’s involvement with women’s ordination is well documented, however, notably, “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican” is specifically mentioned in his First Canonical Warning from his Order, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, insisting that his public support and promotion of the movie was a Holy Offense. More than just good press, this is a testament to the power contained within this film. Continue reading “Pink Smoke Over the Vatican: A Review by Kate Conmy”

Pink Smoke, Call to Disobedience, and a Holy Shake-Up: Is it Time to Convene the Third Vatican Council? By Michele Stopera Freyhauf

This past August I wrote about the canonical warning that Fr. Roy received and the issue surrounding the exercise of conscience over church teaching.  For a more detailed explanation of the warning and the background regarding the ordination of women, please see my prior article.

October 17th (this past Tuesday), Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Erin Saiz Hanna (Executive Director of Women’s Ordination Council), Therese Koturbash (Coordinator of Canada’s Catholic Network for Women’s Equality), Nicole Sotelo (Call to Action), Miriam Duignan (Womenpriests), and about 14 other representativesof various other Catholic organizations from around the world went to the Vatican to

present a petition containing 15,000 signatures supporting full and equal participation of women as deacons, priests, and bishops in a renewed church. The group was not permitted in St. Peter’s Square because of their signs; they did not have the proper permit.  Access was also denied to the Women who wore albs/stole because their dress was considered a form of protest.  “We love our family, the Catholic Church,” stated Miriam Duignan of Women-Priests.  “We feel obliged in conscience to make our carefully considered reasons known.  In doing so, we fulfill our canon law duty to speak out, as our present Pope has encouraged us to do.”  Koturbash states “even though canon law invites our Church leaders to hear from the faithful, our leaders are silent when we try to engage.” Continue reading “Pink Smoke, Call to Disobedience, and a Holy Shake-Up: Is it Time to Convene the Third Vatican Council? By Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

Is it Right to Intentionally Lie Because the Church Says to? The Case of Fr. Roy’s Assertion of Conscience Over Vatican’s Mandate to Lie By Michele Stopera Freyhauf

Fr. Roy Bourgeois has many titles: Nobel Peace Prize winner, purple heart recipient, former missionary, member of the Maryknoll Fathers for 44 years, and ordained priest for 38 years.  He has long been associated with social justice and helping the oppressed and marginalized.  He was a peace activist during the Vietnam War and founded the School of Americas Watch.  He is found often marching and protesting in front of the School of Americas (now WHINSEC ), a terror training camp at Ft. Benning  where soldiers are trained in devices of torture.  This is where soldiers that were members of the death squads that existed in Latin America, especially in El Salvadorwere trained. This is also where the soldiers who killed the Jesuits, their maid, and her child as well as Monsignor Romero were trained.

Fr. Roy is and continues to be an important activist for peace and justice and a champion for the poor.   At the risk of being defrocked, Fr. Roy is also an advocate on behalf of another oppressed group – women in the Catholic Church. Fr. Roy, through his actions, is now among the group of the oppressed and stands in punishment of a crime considered “delicta gravioria” by the Vatican.  The brevity of his crime defined as “delicta gravioria” is shared with other offenders such as John GeoghanJohn Birmingham, Paul Desilets, Robert V. Gale, and others found guilty of pedophilia in the Sex Abuse Scandal that rocked the United States.  However Fr. Roy’s crime is not pedophilia; it is the public support of ordaining women. Continue reading “Is it Right to Intentionally Lie Because the Church Says to? The Case of Fr. Roy’s Assertion of Conscience Over Vatican’s Mandate to Lie By Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

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