Letter sent by Fr Edward M Dougherty, Superior General to Fr Roy Bourgeois giving him his Second Canonical Warning

Rev. Roy L. Bourgeois, M.M. P.O. Box 3330

Columbus, GA 31903

Second Canonical Warning

Dear Father Bourgeois,

In accordance with the provisions of canon law and the proper law of the Catholic Foreign Mission Society, you are hereby given the second canonical warning required by Canon 697.2.

We have been in communication with you since receiving the September 27,2008 letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith resulting in your Excommunication Latae Sententiae reserved to the Holy See. You were warned at that time of possible dismissal if you continued your campaign in favor of women priests and failed to recant publicly your position on this matter. On March 18,2011 you met again with the Maryknoll General Council and were warned of the dismissal process if you did not publicly change your views on the matter of women's ordination.

Your participation in the event in support of women priests at Barnard College in New York City on February 12, 2011 presents a clear act of disobedience of the explicit instructions of your Superiors and the warnings from the Holy See. Also, in the wake of continuing efforts over the last couple of months by your brother Maryknollers inviting you to consider the effects of your actions on the Society and the Church, you have remained unmoved.

The dismissal is based on your defiant stance as a Catholic priest who publicly rejects the Magisterium of the Church on the matter of priestly ordination (C.13 71). Your public statements are directly opposed to the definitive letter of John Paul II in the Apostolic Letter "Ordination Sacerdotalis" #4. and in a response to a "dubium" on the matter, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated this Apostolic Letter "is to be understood as pertaining to the deposit of faith (cf. AAS 87 (1995); (C. 750:2 and C. 1371). Your numerous public statements and appearances in support of the women's priests movement continues to create in the minds of many faithful the view that your position is acceptable to our Church, which as described above has ruled that your position is contrary to Church teachings. (C. 1399; C.696: 1)

Here, I remind you of the words of our former Superior General, Father John Sivalon in his letter to you on October 21, 2008. "I must remind you, Roy, that if you do not recant within thirty (30) canonical days. you will be automatically excommunicated (C.l331) and this will have ramifications for your membership in the Society." f you fail to publicly recant and retract your stand on this issue of women's ordination, after excommunication and several warnings of your Superiors, within fifteen days of receipt of this second canonical warning, I will proceed with the process of dismissal. I will submit evidence of your violation of Canons 1371 :2; 1384; 1379; 1399; 750; 908; 6%: 1.

Taking into consideration all of the Canons listed above, the reasons for the dismissal are in accordance with Canon 696: 1 :

1.     For obstinate disobedience to your legitimate Superiors in violation of Canon Law and your Oath to the Society and the Magisterium in a grave matter.

2.      Grave scandal given to the people of God, the Church, especially in the United States, and scandal given to many of the Maryknoll priests and Brothers in a serious matter defined in Catholic doctrine, tradition and Canon Law.

3. Diffusion of teachings opposed to the definitive teaching of John Paul II and the Magisterium of the Church (Cf. Canon 1024; Ordinatio Sacerdotalis N.4 1944, AAS87-1995,1114).

You have a right under the law to self-defense, including a Canonical counsel, and we are aware that you have engaged the services of Thomas P. Doyle, J.C.D., C.A.D.C. as your counsel. You have a right to present to the Superior General, in person or in writing, your defense against the second canonical warning and "the proposed dismissal within fifteen days of receipt of this warning. All your communications and responses will be given due consideration in the process.

Again, please be advised of the seriousness of this matter.

Given at Maryknoll, New York July 27,2011


Rev Edward M Dougherty, M.M.

Superior General

Rev Edward J McGovern, M.M.

Secretary General

See also the letter sent by Fr Roy Bourgeois to the Superior General regarding his Second Canonical Warning