U.S. Catholic has a gem today that asks that question (by the way, the answer is NO!):

The School of Americas Watch, which protests the military school that taught torture to Latin American militaries, is no longer being supported by the Maryknoll Society due to the SOAW’s founder’s support of women’s ordination.

Father Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest, started the SOAW in the wake of the martyrdom of six Catholic priests and two companions at the University of Central America in El Salvador on Nov. 16, 1989. In 2008, he participated in the ordination of a woman and responded to Vatican inquiries resolutely supporting women’s ordination. Though excommunicated, he remains a Maryknoll priest.

SOAW used to receive a $17,000 general-use grant from the Maryknolls, but this year their application was denied due to Bourgeois’ connection to women’s ordination. “Given Father Bourgeois’ central role as the founder and public face of the SOA Watch, Society leadership has determined that it cannot continue its financial support of that organization without giving the impression that it also supports the actions of its leader concerning the issue of women’s ordination,” the Maryknoll Society said in an email.

What if Fr Bourgeois said that the war in Iraq was OK? Would they have withdrawn support then? What if he thought the death penalty was a fine deterrent for criminals? Would they pony up 17K then? How about if he thought plaid socks went with a striped suit?

It seems to me that a cause runs deeper than one man’s opinion, even if that opinion is contrary to the beliefs of the church hierarchy.

I’m not a very black and white thinker here but it sounds to me like the Maryknoll Society really doesn’t care about the issue of Torture and would rather sacrifice that commitment because they are afraid of being lumped in with Fr Bourgeois opinion. I could be wrong but it sounds like implied guilt my association.

Now as I’ve said here before, I think the church may one day ordain women. But until then I also don’t think we should go out and start ordaining them illegally either. If God is calling these women, they’ll figure out a way to respond to that call DESPITE their lack of access to ordination (just as I figure out how to serve my call and you figure out yours).

But to throw out a serious commitment to social justice over this political football is simply ludicrous.

What does this say to tons of college students who thought that the church would stand with them on this issue and were impressed that they took that stand?

0 thoughts on “Is Ordaining Women Worse Than Torture?”
  1. Thanks for this post, I had not known about this.

    If I might take the controversial stance of redirecting the where of the political football is punted from, I will.

    With all due respect to our deceased Holy Father John Paul II, his actions have made it impossible to have any public conversation from anyone ordained regarding the ordination of women.

    I, who have the utmost respect for Fr. Bourgeois, think that he has stood up for many moral causes, most of which I am in agreement with. As for the ordination of women, as with married priests, I think we need to have the room to discern it with prayer and discussion… That has been lost. How can we know, how can the Spirit come forth if we are forbidden to discern, discuss? I think of other times in history that this has happened and the Spirit does come forth, but it has to be more painfully. Sic transit Gloria mundi.

    It would seem to me that Maryknoll may have some crisis of conscience or just does not want to deal with Rome if they were to continue to support the SOAW because of Fr. Roy.

    The whole thing is just a pity to me and is why many things are so polarized and divided. This dis-members the Body of Christ rather than re-members it if you ask me.

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