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Expelled Catholic Priest Speaks On Crisis in the Catholic Church

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

A former priest spoke at Saint Francis of Assisi Church about the crisis in the U.S. Catholic Church Wednesday night. 

Roy Bourgeois is an American activist, laicized Roman Catholic priest, and founder of the human rights group School of the Americas Watch. He was a naval officer decorated with a Purple Heart before becoming a Maryknoll missionary priest. He's was honored the Gandhi Peace Award in 1994, American Peace Award in 2011, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

"I think it’s at the core of the crisis this addiction to power that the patriarchy would have they rule the church and I think if we had women priest and married priests we would not be in this crisis that we are in now. We would not have looked the other way and covered up for their fellow priest or for the bishops for their silence. We would not be in this crisis today," said Bourgeois. 

Bourgeois was ordained to priesthood in 1972. After spending 40 years as Catholic priest, he was expelled by the Catholic Church because of his calling for the ordination of women. Bourgeois was canonically dismissed forty years later, on October 4, 2012.

"I received a letter from the Vatican saying that I was causing grave scandal in the Catholic Church because of my support for the ordination of women and they gave me thirty days to recant which I could not do. It violated my conscious. I believe very deeply that, all love of God created men and women of equal worth and dignity and call us both for the priesthood," said Bourgeois. 

"I’m happy to see more Catholics in this crisis, that the Catholic Church is in, breaking their silence for the first time. For many long time Catholics it’s not easy because of our education not to question church teachings or priests," said Bourgeois. 

"I simply asked a basic question that who are we as man to say that our call is authentic but gods call of women is not?

"And I was expelled because of that, after 40 years it been hard, very difficult, but, very painful, I haven't experienced this kind of rejection before, but I have no regrets," said Bourgeois.

"And I also have to address in my response to the Vatican this issue of scandal, when Catholics here the word scandal they do not think about the ordination of women, most Catholics support the ordination of women, and to think about the thousands of Catholic priest, over 5000 in the United States alone, who raped and sexually abused over 12,000 children, this is a scandal," said Bourgeois.