FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Another Scandal in the All-Male Priesthood

As a Catholic priest, I did the unspeakable. I called for the ordination of women in the church. The Vatican was swift in its response. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith informed me that I was “causing grave scandal” in the church and that I had 30 days to recant my public support for the ordination of women or I would be expelled from the priesthood.

I told the Vatican that this was not possible. Believing that women and men are created of equal worth and dignity and that both are called by an all-loving God to serve as priests, my conscience would not allow me to recant. In my response, I felt it was also important to make clear that when Catholics hear the word “scandal,” they think about the thousands of children who have been raped and abused by Catholic priests — not the ordination of women.

In 2010, the Vatican called the ordination of women as priests a crime comparable to that of the sexual abuse of children. Judging from its actions, however, it would appear that the Vatican views women’s ordination as a crime substantially more serious than child abuse. Among the thousands of priests who raped and sexually abused children, the vast majority were not expelled from the priesthood or excommunicated. Every woman, however, who has been ordained to the Catholic priesthood has been excommunicated by the Vatican.

And in 2012, after serving as a Catholic priest with the Maryknoll Missionary Order for 40 years, I was expelled from the priesthood for refusing to recant my public support for the ordination of women.

Today, once again, scandal is rocking the Catholic Church. This time, it’s six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. According to a grand jury report, beginning in the 1950s, more than 300 “predator priests” sexually abused more than 1,000 children.

The 1,400-page report, written by 23 grand jurors over the course of two years, stated that “Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades.”

A “ring of predatory priests” used violence and sadism in raping victims. A priest was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion.

Another raped a 7-year-old girl in her hospital room after a tonsillectomy. What was his punishment? The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decided, after reviewing his crime, that he should remain a priest and “live a life of prayer and penance.”

The Pennsylvania grand jury report concluded that the Catholic hierarchy “protected the institution at all cost and maintained strategies to avoid scandal.” Priests who got into trouble in one diocese were shuffled to another diocese where more children were abused. The FBI determined that church officials followed a “playbook for concealing the truth,” minimizing the abuse by using words like “inappropriate contact” or “boundary issues” instead of “rape.”

I am convinced that if the Catholic Church had women priests, it would not be in the crisis it is in today. I am equally confident that if the Catholic Church does not dismantle its corrupt all-male priesthood and welcome women as equals, it will continue to drift into irrelevance.

Roy Bourgeois is a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and the founder of the School of the Americas Watch Movement. In 2012, he was expelled from the Catholic priesthood for his public support of women’s ordination. His story is the subject of the book, “Disturbing the Peace: The Story of Father Roy Bourgeois and the Movement to Close the School of the Americas.” He lives in Columbus, Ga.

This column originally appeared on the TribLive.

More articles by:

January 16, 2019
Patrick Bond
Jim Yong Kim’s Mixed Messages to the World Bank and the World
John Grant
Joe Biden, Crime Fighter from Hell
Alvaro Huerta
Brief History Notes on Mexican Immigration to the U.S.
Kenneth Surin
A Great Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons
Elizabeth Henderson
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Support a Green New Deal
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion
Jeff Mackler
Trump’s Syria Exit Tweet Provokes Washington Panic
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: When Just One Man Says, “No”
Cesar Chelala
Violence Against Women: A Pandemic No Longer Hidden
Kim C. Domenico
To Make a Vineyard of the Curse: Fate, Fatalism and Freedom
Dave Lindorff
Criminalizing BDS Trashes Free Speech & Association
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party: Part Two
Edward Curtin
A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot
January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail