The news that peace activist Fr. Roy Bourgeois was threatened with excommunication for his support of women’s ordination unleashed a storm of commentary and reaction from various Catholic interest groups and around the blogosphere.
One of the most high profile clerics to weigh in on the Vatican discipline is Jesuit
Fr. James Martin, an author and frequent contributor to America magazine, the weekly Jesuit publication. In a Nov. 11 blog posting, Martin essentially explained the collision course that was inevitable when Bourgeois clearly violated church teaching by participating in the ordination, no matter that on another level, he was following his conscience, an inviolable activity.Martin cites several of the powerful references to conscience in Vatican II documents and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, including the line from Gaudiem et Spes: “Conscience is man’s most secret core, and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.”
Martin tacks a “reflection” to the end `of his entry in which he recounts that the excommunication warning was sent to Bourgeois in October, within three months of the ordination ceremony in August. “Would that the church had acted with equal swiftness against sexually abusive priests. Would that bishops who had moved abusive priests from parish to parish were met with th same severeity of justice.
“Were their offenses of lesser ‘gravity?’” he asked. “ Did they cause lesser ‘scandal?’”
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