FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2011
Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director, O: 773.404.0004 x262
Nicole Sotelo, Director of Communications & Programs, O: 773.404.0004 x285
200 Priests Sign “Clergy for Conscience” Statement
in Support of Priest Who May Be Defrocked for
Speaking about Women’s Ordination
200 priests have signed the Clergy for Conscience statement in support of Fr. Roy Bourgeois, Maryknoll priest and SOA Watch founder, who has been under pressure to recant his support of women priests in the Catholic Church.
The statement's original 157 signers were highlighted in the New York Times (July 22, 2011) and since then, the list has grown to 200 priests. The final list of priests' names was sent to Maryknoll's Superior General today and posted on the Call To Action website.
Since the first list of signers was sent to Maryknoll, the religious order's Superior General sent a final warning to Fr. Roy in a letter dated July 27th, ordering him to recant or face removal as a priest. Fr. Roy has written his response and says he will not go against his conscience.
"After much reflection, study, and prayer," said Fr. Roy Bourgeois, "I believe that our Church's teaching that excludes women from the priesthood defies both faith and reason and cannot stand up to scrutiny. This teaching has nothing to do with God, but with men, and is rooted in sexism. Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard we may try to justify discrimination against women, in the end, it is not the way of God, but of men who want to hold on to their power."
"The courageous priests who have signed this statement are supporting Fr. Roy's right to speak his conscience," said Jim FitzGerald, Executive Director of Call To Action. "They are upholding our church's sacred teaching on conscience. A healthy church is a church that respects conscience and welcomes open and honest dialogue among its members."
The final letter and list of priests was sent to Maryknoll today in honor of Cardinal Newman whose death is commemorated today. Cardinal Newman was a priest who is remembered as one of the foremost authorities in Christian history on the topic of conscience and its importance in Christianity.
Call To Action (CTA) educates, inspires and activates Catholics to act for justice and bulid inclusive communities through a lens of anti-racism and anti-oppression principles. An independent national organization of over 25,000 people and 53 local chapters, CTA believes that the Spirit of God is at work in the whole church, not just its appointed leaders. Visit our website at www.cta-usa.org.