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Gay Catholics Express Solidarity with Priest Threatened with Removal from Priesthood for Support of Women's Ordination

DignityUSA joined other supporters of women's ordination at a Vatican Embassy Vigil to support Rev. Roy Bourgeois

March 30, 2011 -- The leadership of the nation's largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Catholics deplored the threat to dismiss Father Roy Bourgeois from the priesthood if he does not recant his support for women's ordination in the Catholic Church.

Marianne Duddy-Burke, the group's executive director, said, "Father Roy Bourgeois has been an inspiring and fearless advocate for justice and service to the world's poor and powerless for more than forty years as a priest of the Maryknoll order. Now that he has spoken out on behalf of justice for women within the Catholic Church, he is being threatened with removal from his order as well as from the priesthood itself."

Duddy-Burke continued, "As Pope Benedict XVI himself has stated, the highest moral authority for Catholics is not the bishops or even the Pope, but the informed conscience of every individual. Surely it is a mockery of this teaching when one of the Catholic Church's bravest and most prophetic priests is being ordered to betray his conscience or face expulsion from the priesthood as well as the community that has been family to him for decades."

Duddy-Burke noted that in his support for women's ordination, Bourgeois represents the beliefs of a growing majority of Catholics, as numerous studies have shown. He is also in agreement with the Vatican's own Pontifical Biblical Commission, which determined in 1976 that there is no scriptural reason that women should not be ordained in the Catholic Church. DignityUSA has long maintained that the Catholic priesthood should be open to both men and women, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status.

Duddy-Burke concluded, "We in DignityUSA, along with many other faithful Catholics, stand in solidarity with Father Roy. We urge his Maryknoll superiors to support him in his declaration of conscience and his courageous, lifelong efforts to bring about justice in the world, as well as within the Catholic Church."

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