( I emailed this to city newspaper, but figured I would post it here as well)
The reaction of City Newspaper and Roy Bourgeois, to Roy Bourgeois’ excommunication from the Catholic Church, is strange.
Both City and Bourgeois believe the Catholic Church’s teachings are rooted in sexism, patriarchy and homophobia.
Both condemn the “power” of the Catholic Church, the power of the Church hierarchy of priests, bishops, cardinals and the Pope as abusive.
Both have taken upon themselves a public ministry, to spread this Word, to lead people away from what the Catholic Church teaches.
And yet, they are surprised and bothered that the Catholic Church has finally and definitively, distanced Herself from Roy Bourgeois and his ministry.
One of the most notable aspects of Tim Macaluso’s interview with former “Rev.” Roy Bourgeois is the choice of words Bourgeois uses to refer to the Catholic Church. “Our Church, “ “my church” in contrast to what Bourgeois refers to as, “The Vatican”-in essence, the “other” Church, the one that for 2,000 years has been steeped in “patriarchy and sexism,” the one departed from the actual vision of love Jesus intended, the “hijacked” Church.
Bourgeois’ creation of two churches, reveals how the faith he is preaching is in direct opposition to the faith of the Catholic Church. Bourgeois’ vision of what the priesthood is, of what human dignity, value and worth are, is not the Catholic Church’s 2,000-year-old vision. Bourgeois’ faith and the Catholic Church’s faith are antithetical and by this logic, he should not expect his position as an ambassador of the Church, to be preserved. He is “protesting” the Catholic faith- he is a Protestant, not a Catholic.
In his interview with City, Bourgeois refuses to refer to the Catholic Church, the way the Catholic Church has always referred to Herself: in the feminine form. Notice, he never uses “She” or “Her” to refer to the Church. Ironically, while arguing against the Church as a sexist body, Bourgeois completely ignores Her longstanding femininity. He prefers a description of the Church, based on his own ownership.
The Catholic Church has since Her beginning, been believed by Her members to be a living body. She is a feminine and motherly figure- a literal Bride, whom priests marry, when they are ordained. This is based entirely on the Judeo-Christian revelation, that God is a Father and the Church is the body of souls who receive God’s grace and likeness. God, in the Trinitarian form, is a family- into which all of humanity has been invited to choose to participate.
Modern day Catholic apologist Peter Kreeft gives an insight into how God’s fatherhood can be known. “The soul is spiritually impregnated by God, not vice versa. That is the ultimate reason why God must always be he to us, never she... The new birth—our salvation—comes from above, from without, from transcendence. We do not spiritually impregnate ourselves with salvation or divine life any more than we physically impregnate ourselves… The Church can no more be fruitful without being impregnated by her Divine Husband than a woman can be impregnated with new life without a man.”
Christ instituted the priesthood to leave the world with “in persona Christi”- Little Christs, little fathers. Jesus was a man who was begotten by God the Father, meaning He is one in the same. He chose 12 men, whom the Holy Spirit descended upon, to plant the seeds of his Word and to give Divine Life (these being masculine actions) to His Church (receiving, being a feminine action) through the Eucharist to give God’s life to the world through the Church (giving life is feminine). The conjugal imagery here, resulting in fruit- is entirely intentional.
If Christ being a man and His first chosen priests having been all men, is an accident, or arbitrary, or based on human construction, then what within the Church is not accident, arbitrary or human construction? As Kreeft says, “if you can change God's masculinity, why not change his morality?”
If your “natural” conclusion to God being a Father, and Jesus being a man, and his priesthood being for men, is that the Church has been upholding the sin of sexism, how can this be the Church that Jesus said the Gates of hell would not prevail against? Why choose to stay in this Church?
But then again, Bourgeois is arguing that this is his Church.
He is determining what is from God and what is not. He is replacing the Church, with himself. He believes that he can be impregnated by new revelation- revelation that has not come since it first came to the Apostles 2,000 years ago, which closed after their deaths, revelation that contradicts the entire history of the Church, the history of God’s identity and what the Church sees as physically impossible.
And he does all this without referring to what the Church truly teaches and believes. He admits that as a priest he never asked any questions- he keeps it “simple”- either you love women and you allow them to be priests, or you think they are inferior and you don’t.
Bourgeois’ faith promotes a redefinition of the role of the sexes; a concept entrenched in today’s Liberal/Progressive worldview. This is the view that is dominating the Catholic Church in America (which without coincidence is in decline. In the rest of the world, traditional religion, in all its forms, including Catholicism is growing leaps and bounds. By 2025, there are expected to be 230 million Catholics living in Africa.). The hierarchy and faithful of the Roman Catholic Church are fighting this Liberal/Progressive view, because it is incompatible with Catholic teaching. Bourgeois’ redefinition, does however, accurately highlight that there is an overlap of the issues of a male priesthood, marriage as defined as a union of a man and a woman, the role of women in the church, what sex is, and what “power” is within the Catholic Church.
This worldview says that to highlight the differences between men and women, you are a sexist. You must be reasoning out of hate, that you are placing value on one sex above the other. To say both sexes are equal, we must say they are the same, that they are interchangeable. Men and women must be allowed to do everything that the other can do. A woman can replace a man in any role, with equal ability. Two fathers or two mothers are the same as a mother and a father. Actions and categorical roles, define a person’s value. You are what you do. You are what you are “allowed” to do.
There is, however, an underlying irony in this position (actually, many), because the same insistence that men and women are the same also demands women be able to do all that men do for the sake of diversity- admitting that women have something unique to offer from men.
The problem with this worldview is that it is not based in our physical reality.
The Catholic Church believes that God has two books in which He reveals who He is and who humanity is in relation to Him- the Book of Nature and the Bible. In the Book of Nature, in what we can observe around us, men and women do not do everything the same- the best example being, only women can be mothers and only men can be fathers.
Does this mean that they are not both necessary or of equal value? Without each, a new life is not possible; the world is not possible, so irrefutably they are both of equal importance. However, the role each plays in the creation of a new life is very different.
Is God a sexist because only women can have babies and only men can impregnate them? Was this a mistake? Many feminists seem to argue this –advocating for the State to “right” Mother Nature’s “wrong”- to give out free contraceptives and to force the Church to participate in seeing womanhood’s maternal nature as flawed and burdensome.
(Let me be clear in saying that I am not anywhere near opposed to women working or not being the caretaker who stays at home, or any other assumptions that could possibly be made here. I am simply referring to the physical limits of what men and women can do, and how the Church sees a physical limitation to the priesthood being a role that only men can do- namely the Consecration-which requires Fatherhood. I believe in equal rights, I am a woman, but I also believe that a woman can follow the Church’s teachings, particularly those on sex and still be “liberated” in the sense that she can play any number of valuable roles and practices in society. If you know true Catholic teaching, then you should know that the Church doesn’t demand that you have a certain number of children or that you limit your career options- the point here is that the priesthood is not a career- it is a vocation.)
Bourgeois and the Liberal Progressive “Catholics,” seem to equate the priesthood (and masculinity) with privilege. This is based in part, on hostility toward what is unique to womanhood and on a false notion that priests control the content of what the Church believes.
Is it any surprise, that a Progressive culture, that diminishes motherhood as enslavement, new life as disposable, and children as barriers to personal fulfillment, would not understand, that to the Church, motherhood is uniquely holy? As uniquely holy as the priesthood? Because humanity is made in the image and likeness of God, we are all like God; we are all sacred (even criminals-note: actions do not give or remove your value!). Mothers bring God into the world. Jesus was here because of Mary! Many Protestants think Catholics worship Mary because she is so venerated by the Church. The Church does not view motherhood or being a woman as enslavement, but as supremely holy and powerful work. The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world! Motherhood is a unique relationship with the Creator because it deeply involves women in the creation of a new and invaluable human life. God is life. He needs women to say yes to this role, so that life can be brought into the world.
And women care for this life with a distinctly maternal nature. Look at Mother Teresa- she was beautifully maternal- holding and touching and mothering the sick, the smallest and the weakest, the cast offs of society, in a way that only a mother could. And she loved the Church, for all She is, for ALL Her traditions- employing her role in the Church’s mission, to her fullest. Would priesthood have endowed her with more “power”? What does that even mean? Her closeness to God was palpable. She didn’t need to be a priest to know and be like God. And no priest or man could have filled her role the way she did.
Is it also any surprise, that if you do not believe that God exists in the Eucharist, that you would not understand that the Consecration is an action that is definitively masculine? If you do not believe that the bread and wine are physically being "impregnated" by God (through the priest in persona Christi), that the bread and wine becomes God through this transference, then of course you will assume that anybody should be able to pretend to do this.
The Church says that every human being has the capacity to be a saint, regardless of the position in life they hold. Equality is that, even if our talents, abilities or roles are not the same, they all hold the same potential for life’s purpose of “spiritual marriage” with God through His Bride, the Church. (And no, this does not mean only Catholics can go to Heaven). Equality is, that God wants this marriage with all of us because we are all His children. God is the only one, who sees the individual for exactly who they are. You achieve your purpose in life by connecting with your Creator and having His life/grace work through you, to call you to more than you could be capable of on your own. “Power” or “winning” comes from obedience to God, so you may become like God- a God who died for all of humanity- to know, love and serve Him.
The Catholic Church believes that God left Her with this “recipe” 2,000 years ago. He revealed it to Her and works through Her for this end. Women do not need the priesthood to know and to be like God. Men do not need to do the physically impossible- to bear children, in order to know God. Each role, to be a man or to be a woman, reveals a part of God- each plays an important part of a whole, of a family. To say that to be a man or to be a woman is interchangeable is to say there is no significance in either role. The Church says the opposite- elevating what is unique to each to extreme significance.
Both City and Bourgeois seem to argue that Roy Bourgeois has a right of reinterpretation of Catholic teaching because Bourgeois has done his fair share of good deeds. His missionary work, his actions, qualifies him to rewrite what the Church teaches. He can assume this authority, because according to this “new Catholic” standard with Progressive roots, he is more Christ like than the old white male bullies in the Catholic Church hierarchy, who seem to blindly bark the rules.
This belief is also found in Bourgeois’ example of the martyred nuns, who by their demonstration of obvious faith, by his reasoning, should be entitled to assume the role of priesthood if they had so desired. The “priesthood” is to Bourgeois, a kind of prize, an endowment of value as opposed to the Church’s view that it is literal fatherhood, a role that only God can ordain, a role of servitude. He chose for this role to be a man’s role because it involves the actions of a “father” and through this to reveal certain aspects of who He is as our Father and who Christ is as a Man.
Have there been priests who have been evil? Wholly deficient, patriarchal, abusive of this role? Sadly, yes. Thank God, that for all the bad priests, bishops and Popes we have had that they did not have the power to change what the church teaches! Because that power, those rules have come from outside of the Church, 2,000 years ago through the Apostles- a Church that Jesus promised to protect. It is a miracle that the teachings of the Church have been documented, and remain unchanged since their founding! The Church received these teachings- She did not create them. Priests transmit them, they cannot manipulate them, just as they cannot change any reality created by God.
City Newspaper continually runs pieces and opinions, which misrepresent what the Catholic Church teaches. It is a lie, to preach that the Church is based in hate, when the very reason the Church acknowledges that men and women are different is in order to elevate these roles beyond any Earthly value.
For all the “power” City Newspaper attributes to the Church, it is ironic, that if you were to enter a public sphere in Rochester, that it would be City’s literature you would find, promoting hate, promoting a bigoted view of a group of people, not the Church’s teachings. The Church cannot and does not force Her opinion on anyone. She cannot force anyone to do anything. The excommunication of Roy Bourgeois was the Church declaring, in the only power She has, that Roy Bourgeois does not speak for Her.
City is promoting the equation of the Catholic Church, of Catholic people, with racism, sexism and homophobia- with hate. Meanwhile, this Church is responsible for some of the greatest human beings who have ever lived- like Mother Teresa. Every faith, from the outside looking in, has its oddities. That is why tolerance is important. To equate the Catholic Church with groups that outwardly espouse hate, as if She is akin to the Westboro Baptists, is prejudicial- it is grouping people together based on your own assumptions, not on truth or actual research into the Church’s age old philosophy.
For those of us who love and believe what the Church teaches, we take comfort in the fact that She has remained the same for 2,000 years. For those who do not believe this, there are many who have come before you and they have founded their own faiths and churches. I respect those decisions. I respect their free will. I will not, however sit silently and listen to the faith that I base my life on, the faith that instructs me to love everyone- even and especially those who do not live by this same faith- is belittled and debased and flat out lied about. You have bullied those of us who believe because you are able to be louder, because you have a platform that we don’t. I would respect Tim Macaluso’s piece had it actually attempted to first understand what the Church teaches and then respectfully disagreed through more than just name calling. Instead, it tried to tell me, that I hate people. It told every City Reader that Catholics hate people.
As a publication, you have lied, misrepresented and mislead. You should practice the tolerance that you preach.
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