Roy Bourgeois, excommunicated priest on the ordination of women (CBC - audio)

Roy Bourgeois, excommunicated priest on the ordination of women

Anna Maria Tremonti | The Current | CBC Radio | December 19, 2012

For years Roy Bourgeois mixed activism with his religion as a Roman Catholic priest. He was a vocal proponent of human rights in Latin America. Then he took up the struggle for the ordination of women. For the Vatican that was one struggle too many. Roy Bourgeois has been excommunicated and today as part of our project Line in The Sand,the Dilemmas that Define Us, we hear from Roy Bourgeois about where he drew his line. 

Roy Bourgeois, excommunicated priest on the ordination of women

We started this segment with a clip from Roy Bourgeois, protesting against what's known as the School of the Americas. As a Maryknoll priest, Roy Bourgeois spent years trying to close down the military institute at Fort Benning, Georgia. It's helped train some of Latin America's most notorious military and police officers. But while he's been the face of that protest movement, it was another cause that cost him his job.

In October on the show, we spoke with Canadian lay Catholic Therese Koturbash. She's a Manitoba lawyer fighting for the ordination of women. One of the priests with whom she worked on that campaign was Roy Bourgeois. She recalls travelling with him to the Vatican, and meeting a Church official. We aired a clip.

Today, Roy Bourgeois is no longer a priest, dismissed from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. He served as a priest in the Maryknoll order for 40 years. According to the Vatican, his excommunication is the result of what the Church calls his disobedience and preaching against Church teaching on women's ordination.

Today as part of our project Line in the Sand: Dilemmas that Define us, Roy Bourgeois joined us to talk about his beliefs, his convictions and where he drew his line. We reached him in Columbus, Georgia.

We requested an interview with the Maryknoll leadership in New York. But we were told they consider the matter to be a personal one concerning Roy Bourgeois, the Maryknolls and the Church. And other than a written statement that Roy Bourgeois has been released from his priestly duties by the Vatican, the Maryknolls will not comment further on this issue.

This segment was produced by The Current's Ellen Saenger.