Consider this the last gasp of the hippie generation. This entire generation is stunned that they were unable to completely overhaul the Church during their lifetime. They had such success changing academia and even local parishes but now they wander around commiserating with each other that the Church didn’t bend to their will. They blame Pope John Paul II. They blame Pope Benedict XVI and they know they’re running out of time so with each passing day they grow more desperate.
Case in point: Father Roy Bourgeois is being threatened with excommunication for taking part in a female ordination ceremony, according to the Altanta Journal and Constitution:
Fr. Bourgeois gave the sermon at her “ordination.” He has called the Church’s rules against female ordination “sexism.” And he is obstinate in his decision and is demanding a meeting with the Pope. And yes, like all good hippies he compares himself with Rosa Parks. I mean, give me a break. It’s one thing to be compared to Rosa Parks but once you go around comparing yourself, it crosses the line between idiocy and megalomania.
In the interview it’s interesting to note he never once shows any respect or deference to the Vatican or the Pope.
Here’s the key quote from Fr. Bourgeois: “I began to ask myself: Who are we, as men, to say to women, ‘Our call is valid, yours isn’t.’”
Well the truth is that it’s not up to you as a man. That’s where these folks often get messed up. It’s up to the Church to decide that and the Church has made their thoughts on this pretty clear.
Q: You say the church’s position on women as priests doesn’t stand up to scholarly scrutiny. But the Vatican would say it stands up to God’s scrutiny.
A: To try and use God to bless discrimination does not hold up. Just saying “the pope says” doesn’t work. Just a footnote: In the early church, women were ordained. There were women priests and bishops. …
Q: I’ve never heard of that before.
A: Well, you and many Catholics have not. It’s something the pope doesn’t want to talk about. It was really in the Middle Ages that the patriarchy really had such a concentration of power that men began to say, “No way are we going to allow women priests.” It’s documented. The pope [the late John Paul II] says, “Jesus chose 12 apostles and they were all men.” But there’s a problem when you start talking about chosen. When Jesus resurrected from the dead, he appeared to Mary Magdalene and Mary. Jesus chose women to bring this important message of resurrection to the men. The core of this issue is the issue of sexism.
Q: I’m gathering you read “The DaVinci Code,” then, with some amusement?
A: No, I don’t read novels. And I didn’t go to the movie. I don’t have the time.
Q: How did you meet Janice Sevre-Duszynska, the woman who was ordained?
A: We met in the School of the Americas Watch movement years ago. When I met her, she shared with me that she was a devout Catholic in our church who felt called to priesthood. Janice was just one among many who forced me to look at this issue, the call to priesthood. As Catholics we profess that the call comes from God. So … I began to ask myself: Who are we, as men, to say to women, “Our call is valid, yours isn’t.”
Q: What was the ceremony like?
A: Where we gathered, in this Unitarian church, there were Catholics there who came in the name of their faith to support and who believed in Janice’s call to the priesthood. The ceremony I went through for my ordination in 1972, it was the same ceremony. That event [Janice’s ordination] was filled with joy and hope.
Q: Why did you do it at a Unitarian church? Not to be disrespectful, but wasn’t that sort of cowardly in that, if you’re going to be in-your-face, then do it at a Catholic church?
A: There was no Catholic church available. There was no priest or bishop that would allow them to do that ceremony in a Catholic church.
Q: There was no other like-minded priest willing to take the risk?
A: A bishop who would have done that would have been immediately excommunicated. A priest, a pastor who would do that in his church would be excommunicated.
Q: What would women bring to the priesthood that men don’t?
A: In our church, we profess that in the eyes of God women and men are of equal stature and dignity. All I’m saying is that we need the wisdom, the compassion, intelligence, the experience and the courage of women to make our church complete.
Q: Well, there are nuns.
A: No, no, no. Nuns are not ordained.
Q: How many women have been “ordained” in the U.S.?
A: 36. The numbers in Europe and Australia are not known.
Q: You’d be the first U.S. priest excommunicated for such an action. Why didn’t you do it anonymously like a handful of European Catholic bishops are said to have done?
A: Why act in the shadows? I believe in transparency.
Q: So was this your Rosa Parks moment?
A: The Rosa Parks moment was earlier for me in the Vatican in 2000. When I was invited to speak on Vatican radio. I had 15 minutes, and 13 of those minutes were devoted to talk about the SOA. I knew what I had to say, I said, “There will never be justice in our Catholic Church until women can be ordained.”
Q: What happened?
A: The [station] manager came in, furious. I had 30 seconds to go, but they just cut me off and came in with Gregorian music.
Q: Will you recant?
A: I could never recant.
Q: What does your family want you to do?
A: My brother and two sisters said: “You are gonna break Daddy’s heart. He’s 95.” They were asking me to reconsider. My daddy said: “God is gonna take care of Roy. Roy is doing the right thing, and I support him.” Then my siblings came onboard.
Q: Have you heard any more from the Vatican?
A: Nothing. They might have the hope that this sinner, this priest who has gone against church teaching, will perhaps at the last hour repent.
Q: You’ve led protests outside the gates of Fort Benning against the School of the Americas. Will you protest at the Vatican if you’re excommunicated?
A: Of course. I do believe that, as a priest for 36 years, I should be allowed 10 or 15 minutes with the pope to make a personal appeal.
Q: Has this experience shaken or strengthened your faith?
A: It has brought me closer to God. It has brought me deeper peace. “Weeping will endure the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
How bourgeois of him. What? You thought I was going to get through this entire post and not make that joke?
So let’s do the math. He’s been a priest for 36 years so he was ordained around 1972. Kinda’ fits, right? I know a few priests from this generation and they are almost uniformly in shock that they weren’t able to completely overhaul the Church to their will. They know they’re running out of time because they bemoan the younger generation of conservative priests. I suspect that in the end the hippie generation will have only succeeded in making the Church more able to stand against dissent. It’s kind of like the Big Bad Wolf. Sure he had some successes blowing the first two houses down but then he couldn’t understand how he couldn’t knock down the third one. It had been built too strong.