Friday, November 14, 2008

Priest to be Excommunicated

The following is from the NY Times:

The Vatican has informed a Roman Catholic priest in the United States that he will be excommunicated next week for participating in a ceremony it considers illicit and invalid: the ordination of a woman as a priest.

The priest, the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, 69, has been a member of the Maryknoll religious order for 36 years. He said he was anguished at the thought of excommunication, but could not disavow his actions.

In August, Father Bourgeois joined a ceremony in a Unitarian Universalist church in Lexington, Ky., in which a [female] friend claimed ordination as a Roman Catholic priest. Father Bourgeois gave the homily and laid hands on her.

He had known that excommunication was possible but said he thought it unlikely. His order summoned him to headquarters and gave him a warning but did not discipline him.
Then he received a letter dated Oct. 21 from the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, warning that if he did not recant, in writing, he would be excommunicated within 30 days.

“When I got the actual letter, I had to sit down,” he said. “I felt nauseous. I thought, this is serious stuff. The first thought that came to mind was, How am I going to explain this to my dad and my family?”'

Father Bourgeois informed the Vatican that he would not repent.

Father Bourgeois said he would try to appeal the Vatican’s decision. Excommunication, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is “the most severe ecclesiastical penalty.” The person is forbidden to receive or administer sacraments.

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