Father Roy Bourgeois
Whether as an all-star high school quarterback, a Navy officer in the Vietnam War, a peace activist jailed for protesting against the U.S. School of the Americas, or as a Roman Catholic priest advocating for the ordination of women in his Church, Father Roy Bourgeois has always put himself on the line.
Father Roy treats the ordination of women as important as any of his causes. Discrimination is discrimination, regardless of why. We’ll let you hear it from him:
"I believe that our Church’s teaching that excludes women from the priesthood defies both faith and reason and cannot stand up to scrutiny. This teaching has nothing to do with God, but with men, and is rooted in sexism. Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination against women, in the end, it is not the way of God, but of men who want to hold on to their power."
Father Roy was excommunicated in 2012 for his beliefs that women are called to the priesthood by God. When he wouldn’t recant his position, he was removed from the priesthood in a process the Vatican calls laicization. He was a devoted Catholic priest for 40 years.
The Vatican’s treatment of Father Roy is cruel and ridiculous. It’s unclear why such a harsh punishment was imposed, particularly when compared to the Catholic priests who have committed crimes as heinous as child sexual abuse—how many of them have been excommunicated? Oh, right—none. I believe it’s the same strategy used by the church to marginalize women and gays. Keep them marginalized and you can better control the message, and while you’re at it, marginalize anyone who gets in the way.
Father Roy said it best:
“While the Church has made great gains in valuing and respecting Catholics of all races, we continue— with flawed theology and dogma— to make God our unwilling partner in discriminating against women and gays.”
Father Roy wrote an Open Letter to Catholics and had it published in several major newspapers. The Kelly Ann Brown Foundation (KABF) of the Marin Community Foundation (of which I am the chair) paid for the letter to be published in a San Francisco newspaper. Father Roy has been a grant recipient yearly since the Kelly Ann Brown Foundation was formed and is written about extensively on their website, kellyannbrownfoundation.org.
Here is an excerpt about Father Roy:
Father Roy stood with the poor, fighting for justice in Bolivia in the 1970’s, was beaten, arrested and kicked out of the country. He spent the 1980’s in and out of El Salvador’s civil war, reporting all the army’s atrocities being committed with U.S. tax dollars, literally becoming the “voice for the voiceless” as Archbishop Romero requested. When words alone were not enough, he fasted, prayed and was sent to prison many times for his peaceful protest of the U.S. military policies that were destroying Latin America.
Silence Father Roy? Not even close. He never left the road—his campaign trail of just causes—he simply took his message further. The treatment of the LGBTQI community by the Catholic Church is appalling.
Their canon law condemns that community, just as it condemns women to inferiority. We all need to know what the Catholic Church teaches on these issues. Please Google Roman Catholic Catechism section 2357, and read for yourself the laws on the LGBTQI community and then take action, whether you are a Catholic or not. We need to demand justsice and the elimination of these biased, unfair, undeserved laws. Such beliefs hurt us all.
Little Catholic Girl swag includes tees and totes with a few lines from Father Roy’s Open Letter to Catholics.
Read Father Roy's letter in its entirety here.