Thursday, August 14, 2008

More Letters in Support of Maryknoll Priest Fr. Roy Bourgeois, who co-celebrated the liturgy at Roman Catholic Womenpriests Ordination in KY.

Catherine M. (Scott) Zatsick
6300 N. Wayne Ave #1
Chicago, IL 60660

Dear Priests of Maryknoll,

I have supported the work and ministry of Maryknoll for over 40 years. I am a member of SOA Watch and spoke at the November vigil for closing the SOA in 2007. I am also a member of Women’s Ordination Conference and have been for over 20 years as I, like Janice, hear the call of the Spirit to ordination in the Roman Catholic Church.

I had the esteemed honor of reading from the Gospel of Matthew at Janice’s ordination on August 9, 2008. I adapted the Gospel to speak to women’s experience and that of the People of God within the Roman Catholic Church. We suffer the spiritual and emotional violence of denial of our very being as daughters of God by the Roman Catholic Church. This violence and soul destruction is as real as the emotional trauma and physical violence to the people of South and Central America caused by American training of their national soldiers at Ft. Benning.

Fr. Roy stands with the people of Central and South America in their oppression. On August 9, Fr. Roy chose to stand with women of the Roman Catholic Church in their oppression. I include the Gospel for your reflection as you attempt to listen to and to understand why Fr. Roy made the moral decision arising from his adult Roman Catholic conscience to join us at Janice’s ordination to the priesthood.

Matthew 5: 3-12
Blessed are those who are poor in spirit: the kindom of heaven is ours.
Blessed are those who are mourning: we will be consoled.
Blessed are those who are gentle: we will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice: we will have our fill.
Blessed are those who show mercy to others: we will be shown mercy.
Blessed are those whose hearts are clean: we will see God.
Blessed are those who work for peace: Janice you are a daughter of God. Roy you are a son of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of our struggle for justice: the kindom of heaven is ours.

We are fortunate when others insult us and persecute us, and utter every kind of slander against us because of Jesus. Be glad and rejoice, for our reward in heaven is great; they persecuted the prophets before us in the very same way.

This is the Good News of Jesus, our Brother the Christ.

As you prepare for your Monday meeting with Fr. Roy, I would respectfully ask that you reflect on the passage from Paul’s letter to Galatians 3:26-28:

Each one of you is a child of God because of your faith in Christ Jesus. All of you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, slave or citizen, male or female. All are one in Christ Jesus.*

This is the kindom of Jesus who is our Way. Come follow Him to justice for women in the Roman Catholic Church. Join Fr. Roy in this work of peacemaking; his life and actions are founded on the charism of Maryknoll to minister with those marginalized by the world and the Church. How could Fr. Roy have made any other choice? How can you?
Your sister in Christ,
Hospice Chaplain and Member of Pax Christi
773 508 4005
*The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation: 2007

Dear John Sivalon:
I had two things happen this week that tells me there is hope and a commonsense energy for our church:
1. That finally more priests and brothers are starting to recognize women as equals and refuse to discriminate against them. I dream that Fr. Bourgeois will be given an award for his courage to finally look at women as equals instead of servants. I often wonder whywomen support a misogynistic institution and when I ask this question at dinner parties or even at committee meetings at St. Joan's, they have to think about it and finally come to the conclusion that it is tradition that keeps them (in line, a term that I fear is on the minds of our churchleaders). I'm all in support of having an ordained woman priest be hired at our church. Though there is no talk about this except from me. She would certainly be in communion with me and probably the other 8,000+ members of St. Joan's.
2. I read the book entitled Cardinal Mahony, A Novel by Robert Blair Kaiser.I have two words for the prospect of our hierarchy after reading this bookand they are: IF ONLY. If only the hierarchy was more Christ-like. I heardRobert Blair speak at St. Joan of Arc Church in Minneapolis a few weeks agoand all the books he brought with him were sold (sold out) at the firstMass.We ordered one directly from him and my wife and couldn't put it down. Irecommend that you read it and then add multiple copies to your library. You can order directly from He also wrote, A Church in Search of Itself among many more.Put me on your mailing list as I would like to make a donation and help payfor any AWARD that you find fitting for Fr. Bourgeois. I would like to write to him and congratulate him. If you wouldn't mind forwarding this e-mail to him, I'd appreciate it.
My background is that I grew up in the Catholic Church, have relatives that were a bishop (Bishop Brust) and a monsignor (Brust) both in Milwaukee, WI.and a good number of priests in the extended family. I attended the minor seminary for three years. My wife and I both graduated from MarquetteUniversity. I grew up with strong women, grandmothers, aunts, mother,(wife, author of Christian Feminism)two daughters -- one a 1st grade teacher who was influenced by a nun in first grade, and another daughter that is doing very well and living in Chicago and about to have her first baby. That will make 9 grandchildren for us.
The Achilles heel of the church, I feel, is an educated population. Even though my four children went to Catholic schools and all got their degrees from good schools and have traveled the world, they are not church goers.They are good kids but they look for the truth and can't stand hypocrisy.For example: no, divorce but annulment (which is a slap in the female's face if the familyhas children) is O.K., no contraception which is totally unrealistic,celibate clergy (an inhumane required condition for the clergy), etc.Finally, all the man-made laws are reversible. If we go to autochthony, the American Catholic Church would be just fine.
Joel C. Papa SR.

14 August 2008
I write because I understand that Fr. Roy Bourgeois MM has been summoned to an August 18 meeting with you, his Maryknoll superiors. I do not know the agenda of that meeting but i am concerned that, under pressure from the Church hierarchy, you may reprove Fr. Roy for his role in Janice Sevre-Duszynska's recent ordination in Lexington, Kentucky.
Fr. Roy is the founder and universally-respected leader of the SOA Watch movement. For much of the last 15 years I have been passionately involved in that movement. Inspired by Fr. Roy, I have twice gone to federal prison for nonviolently working to expose and close the US Army's School of the Americas. Each November dozens of my fellow Central New Yorkers travel to Georgia to participate in the solemnities commemorating the 1989 slaughter of six Roman Catholic priests by SOA graduates in El Salvador. For some years now that annual event has been attended by between 10,000 and 20,000 people of conscience and people of faith . These include many nuns and priests from all over the United States.
Fr. Roy and SOA Watch are currently campaigning to get Latin American governments to withdraw their soldiers from the SOA. With its several successes thus far, this campaign is a life-saving initiative on behalf of the poor and the Christian in Latin America. In my experience Fr. Roy models dignity, personalism, intelligence and courage. Fr. Roy has been a remarkable role model of Christian action. More than any priest I know of, Fr. Roy models the "reconciling and liberating Jesus" of the Maryknoll mission statement.
Few of us have spent as many years in prison as Fr. Roy. Few of us have so outspokenly proclaimed truth to power. Few of us have so effectively spread truth among we who need to have our consciousness raised and our conscience pricked.
Convinced that women too reflect the image of God, and deeply distressed by the gender inequities within the Church, Fr. Roy, in concelebrating Janice's ordination mass, has publicly aligned himself with the Roman Catholic Womenpriests. By doing so he would refresh an otherwise withering and wrong-headed Church -- a Church some believe has lost its moral compass. He helps nudge the Church into reforming some of its own un-Jesuslike traditions...and helps restore to the Church its standing to speak out against the anti-Christian policies of our rulers.
You are the leaders of your esteemed Order. You have the burden and privilege to act with character and wisdom. When you meet with Fr. Roy on Monday I urge you to embrace him and to pledge to do all you can to encourage and facilitate his prophetic work.
Ed Kinane

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