Lent Activity: 2013
What happens when a personal decision, made in accordance with a “well-formed” conscience, places one in opposition to current Church teachings? Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois has learned one answer: dismissal from the priesthood and excommunication from the Church he has served for more than 45 years.
In a response to the Vatican’s action, the VOTF affiliate in New York City drafted a petition in support of those who follow their consciences, developed a list of suggested readings on conscience, and prepared a list of readings on women’s roles in the Church.
In appreciation for their work, National VOTF invites you to endorse the petition and to participate, individually or in groups, in this Lent 2013 study of conscience and of women’s roles in the Church.
Suggested Lenten Activities
Organize a group discussion on the primacy of conscience in the Catholic faith — Suggested questions for study
Promote discussions about the restoration of the female diaconate — See Educational Resources below.
Organize an educational debate in your parish on women’s ordination — provide a clear presentation of the Church’s teaching along with a presentation of reasons this teaching may need to be re-examined in light of our Catholic life today. (See Educational Resources below.)
Educational Resources for Lent Activities
On Moral Conscience (Catechism)
Relevant excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the topic of conscience, covering formation, erroneous judgment, the importance of authority, responsibility and participation
The Case of Roy Bourgeois
The saga began in August 2008 when Fr. Bourgeois preached the homily at an ordination ceremony for a woman priest in Lexington KY. Threatened by the Vatican with excommunication, Fr. Bourgeois said his position was a matter of justice and conscience. Ultimately, in October 2012, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ordered Fr. Bourgeois to be separated from his religious order, dismissed as a priest, and excommuncated.
- Read the letter sent by Fr. Roy Bourgeois to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith after being notified that he had 30 days in which to recant his position.
- Review various citations from Canon Law on excommunication.
- Review Voice of the Faithful’s press statement on the case, issued in 2008.
- Review Voice of the Faithful’s letter to the Papal Nuncio on the case, dated Nov. 25, 2008.
On Justice for Women in the Church
VOTF paper on women deacons and related readings
Visit the FutureChurch website to discover many valuable resources on:
About Women’s Ordination
Go to the largest and most comprehensive international website on women and sacred ministry to discover a wealth of information on the topic of women’s ordination, including resources on the Church’s teaching tradition, arguments for and against women’s ordination, academic overviews, the Church’s rules for infallibility, and more.
Read the Vatican document Ordinatio Sacerdotalis from John Paul II and declarations about its gravity.
Read a short summary of the major events and arguments in the continuing debate over women’s ordination, as well as a timeline covering the recent history of the debate.