November 27, 2012


• Erin Saiz Hanna - Women’s Ordination Conference (USA):  001.401.588.0457

• Miriam Duignan – (UK/ International): 011.44.1923.779446

• Therese Koturbash – WOW Communications (Canada): 001.204.622.7000

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers have announced that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has dismissed and canonically stripped Roy Bourgeois of his status as a priest because of his support for women's ordination.

Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) is dismayed to learn that Roy Bourgeois has been stripped of his status as a priest because of his support for women's ordination.  'In a Church that upholds primacy of conscience as a central tenet of faith,' says WOW Leadership Circle member Miriam Duignan of the UK, 'it is disturbing that a pastor of outstanding character like Roy Bourgeois – a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, a Vietnam veteran decorated with the Purple Heart – is excommunicated, dismissed and laicised on account of what is deemed to be the grave offence of actively advocating the ordination of women as priests.

Grave Scandal

The CDF and now Maryknoll leaders say that Roy Bourgeois's witness and subsequent refusal to recant his support for an inclusive priesthood causes grave scandal to the Church. This may be so to them but in the eyes of the faithful, even graver scandals lie in the facts that:

  • Catholic faithful are officially forbidden from merely talking about women's ordination even though theological scholarship clearly supports it
  • in the twenty-first century, women are still excluded from Catholic sacramental ministry even though the majority of Catholics know from their sense of faith that Jesus would not exclude women
  • While Roy Bourgeois endures the severest sanctions possible, remaining untouched in office and sometimes even elevated to higher positions are Bishops who not only failed to protect children from paedophile priests but in many cases, actively manipulated systems so as to protect those paeodophile priests from scrutiny.  On this count, at least one Bishop was recently criminally convicted of this. His current status is that of Bishop is in good standing.

No Reason to Exclude Women

When an informed examination is made of the attempts the Vatican makes to justify excluding women from sacred ministry, it is clear that:

  • there is absolutely no reason in scripture, theology, or the tradition of the Church to support a male only priesthood.  This is evidenced in the huge body of studies available on the academic website   
  • for century after century, cascading prejudice against women has continued to creep into the Church as though that prejudice were truth! This prejudice now underpins the Vatican's official rationale for the exclusion of women.

The Duty of the Faithful

Church teaching recognises that it is from the hearts of the faithful that truth can emerge. To this end, canon law 212§3 provides that:

'the Christian faithful have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard for the integrity of faith and morals and reverence towards their pastors, and with consideration for the common good and dignity of persons.'

Women's Ordination Worldwide stands strong in saying that  is time both to end the ban against official dialogue about this matter and to end the Vatican’s tyrannical bullying of Catholics who speak out for the Gospel value of gender equality and their concerns for the Eucharist and sacramental ministry.


Founded in 1996, Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) is an international network of groups whose current mission is to see Catholic women admitted to all ordained ministries in the Church. WOW is founded on the gospel principle of equality and therefore opposes any discrimination. 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no long male and female for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).