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posted: 9/1/2014 1:01 AM

Activist to discuss justice, equality within Catholic Church

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By Sheila McCann
West Suburban Call to Action

Roy Bourgeois, an internationally known activist for justice, will visit Naperville this month to speak on "Conscience, Justice and Equality."

Sponsored by West Suburban Call to Action, a Catholic reform group, Bourgeois will address the conflicts many Catholics experience when their conscience is in conflict with church hierarchy and its teachings. The presentation is 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, at Celebration Community Life Center, 919 S. Washington St., Naperville.

"Four months before Pope Francis became pope, I, after serving as a Catholic priest for 40 years, was expelled from the priesthood because of my public support for the ordination of women," Bourgeois said.

Bourgeois is a laicized Roman Catholic priest who was canonically dismissed as a member of the Maryknoll order because of his participation in the ordination of a woman. After refusing to recant and deny the dictates of his conscience, Bourgeois' priestly duties were rescinded.

"Silence in the face of injustice is complicity," Bourgeois said.

"Our beloved pope has described the Church as a field hospital after a battle, and called for the Church to heal its wounds. I am among the many in the Catholic Church who have been inspired by Pope Francis' humility, love and compassion," Bourgeois said. "Therefore I respectfully ask that we tend to the many women and gay people in our Church who have been seriously wounded by Church teachings that demean and discriminate against them."

Bourgeois will address issues Catholics face in regard to conscience, justice and equality in his presentation as well as his own life journey.

West Suburban Call to Action is a branch of Call to Action National whose mission is to educate, inspire and activate Catholics to act for justice and build inclusive communities through a lens of anti-racism and anti-oppression principles.

For information about West Suburban Call to Action or Roy Bourgeois' presentation, contact Rachelle Hickey or Margie Tarpey at ws_cta@comcast.net. Find out more about CTA at cta-usa.org.

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