Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lay group calls Bourgeois move a 'scandal'

Calling the impending excommunication of Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois “the true scandal,” the Boston-based lay group, Voice of the Faithful, has written the pope’s representative in the United States asking that the Vatican reconsider the case.

Bourgeois, best known for his peace activism and as a critic of U.S. military policy in Latin America, concelebrated at the ordination of a woman in August in Kentucky.

He was notified in a letter dated October 21 that he had 30 days to recant his position or face excommunication.

“How scandalous that the Catholic Church can move so rapidly when its authority is challenged, yet the same church has failed, after years of disclosures, to remove even one of the many American bishops who secretly and repeatedly enabled pedophilic predator priests to abuse Catholic children,” the group said in its letter to the papal nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi.

At another point, Voice of the Faithful, formed in the wake of the sex abuse scandal that surfaced in Boston in 2002, compares Bourgeois to Chicago Cardinal Francis George.

“Fr. Bourgeois has been a widely respected champion of justice, but when he speaks his conscience on a sensitive issue, he incurs the church’s ultimate penalty. Cardinal George, who acknowledged protecting child abusers … is today president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

Bourgeois has maintained that he views the ordination of women as a matter of justice within the church and consistently asks how men can determine that the call women feel to priesthood is not legitimate.

“The speed of this action stands in vivd contrast to the action of the holy See on what we regard as a far more damaging problem: public action on numerous priests accused of sexual abuse,” wrote Dan Bartley, Voice of the Faithful president.

“Nearly 5,000 Catholic priests have abused more than 12,000 young people . Most of these priests, and the bishops who protected them, still remain active.”

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(Source: NCR)