Roy Bourgeois to be Booted from Maryknoll
NCR reports the expulsion of Roy Bourgeois from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers unless he recants his position on the ordination of women. His deadline is Saturday, and he says he has no intention to recant.
This from the homily at his concelebration of the ordination of Janice Sevre-Duszynska, the event that started all this:
Conscience is something very sacred. It gives us a sense of right and wrong and urges us to do the right thing. Conscience is what compelled Franz Jagerstatter to refuse to enlist in Hitler’s army. On this day, August 9, 1943, this humble farmer was executed for following his conscience. Conscience is what compelled Rosa Parks to say, “No, I cannot sit in the back of the bus anymore.” Conscience is what compels Janice Sevre-Duszynska and the other women to say, “No, we cannot deny our call from God to the priesthood.” And it is our conscience that compels us to be here today. How can we speak out against the injustice of our country’s foreign policy in Latin America and Iraq if we are silent about the injustice of our church here at home?
Bourgeois also sent an open letter to priests along the same line, inviting them to examine their consciences on this issue. Judging from the silence, almost all priests concur that the non-ordination of women is God’s will. I anticipate they will remain silent again as Bourgeois is defrocked.
I’m a little puzzled as to the canonical question. Cardinal Levada of the CDF announced in 2008 that:
Remaining firm on what has been established by canon 1378 of the Canon Law, both he who has attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, and the woman who has attempted to receive the said sacrament, incurs in latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.
Canon 1378 refers to priests who absolve accomplices in sin (referring to canon 977), or to non-priests saying Mass, or hearing confessions. In this case, Bourgeois did not himself ordain the woman in question (or attempt to ordain her, as the case may be.) He preached at the Mass and concelebrated it, but only bishops ordain. Is excommunication a reasonable penalty for what Bourgeois actually did, under canon law? Why or why not?