Maryknoll: Bourgeois to get second removal warning 'very soon'

by Joshua J. McElwee

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Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois should expect to receive "very soon" a second and final warning letter from his order before his case will be sent to Rome for laicization, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers confirmed this morning.

"I’m assuming it will happen in early May, if not sooner," Mike Virgintino, the order's public relations manager, told NCR.

Once Bourgeois receives the letter, Virgintino said the peace activist will have 15 days to "rethink his viewpoint, or rethink the direction he would like to go in."

"At that point then, Maryknoll has done all it can do and turns the information over to Rome," said Virgintino.

Bourgeois, who is known for his work as the founder of SOA Watch, received a first warning from Maryknoll superior general Fr. Edward Dougherty last month threatening him with dismissal from the order and laicization by the Vatican if he would not recant his support of women's ordination.

In a gathering outside the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington, D.C. April 8 which included over 100 of his supporters, Bourgeois made public that would not be recanting his support of women's ordination. Reading a loud from a formal letter of reply he had sent to the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers that morning, Bourgeois said he could not recant "without betraying my conscience."

The progressive Catholic group Call to Action hosted a call-in day yesterday for people to call the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers to express their support for Bourgeois.

Virgintino said that from the numbers he had seen as of this morning, the Maryknoll offices in New York received "several hundred" calls supporting Bourgeois yesterday.

People who called in were offered the opportunity to leave their e-mail address if they wished to receive a notification that "their message was received and passed onto the general consul of Maryknoll," he said.

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