Thousands of women canonized as saints
This letter is a response to the article about Father Roy Bourgeois. He states that his support for women’s ordination is an act of conscience on his part. Our conscience certainly does help us to choose what we do, but it has to be properly formed. Humans are capable of rationalizing many things. For a faithful Catholic, we look to the teachings of the church and when our conscience is opposed to church teaching, it should be a red flag to us that something in our conscience is misguided.
The stated reason for his “controversial battle with the Vatican” was somewhat simplified in the article. Some Catholics – sadly, even Catholic priests – voice support for women’s ordination but they don’t experience a dismissal from their work as priests. Bourgeois participated in a ceremony that claimed to “ordain” a woman as a priest. That open and public act probably was the cause of swift Vatican response because it was so well-known.
Pope Benedict XVI is not dissolving any sacred vows by resigning, as the article claimed Bourgeois stated. Priests do take an oath of fidelity to the church and its teachings before they are ordained. This is something Benedict has upheld in a great and holy way.
Bourgeois mentions the issue of “gender equality.” The priesthood is certainly an extremely important way to serve Christ and his church, but there are many other ways. The Catholic Church has recognized these ways and canonized thousands of women as saints, making them role models through their lives of heroic virtue in the ways they served. Sainthood is the church’s highest honor for a person, and in its saints the church has shown great gender equality.