October 18, 2012

Father Roy Bourgeois Shares Struggle for Gender Equality in the Church and Justice for Latin America

VALDOSTA - In the midst of criticism from some religious teachers, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Father Roy Bourgeois will share his mission to promote justice in Latin America and gender equality within the Catholic Church with Valdosta State University Monday, Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. in the Jennett Lecture Hall. This event will conclude the 2012 Women’s and Gender Studies Program (WGST) Lecture Series.

An activist for the ordination of women (ordaining of women to be priests) in the Catholic Church, Bourgeois has made headlines in the past four years after participating in an ordination ceremony for a female priest in Kentucky in August 2008. Although threatened with excommunication (banishment) and defrocking (removal from the priesthood), he has not backed down on his support for female priesthood. The controversy between Bourgeois and the Vatican remains ongoing at this time.

Bourgeois is also known for becoming a critic of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America after working in Bolivia for five years. He has spent four years in federal prisons for nonviolent protests against the training of Latin American soldiers at Fort Benning.

Bourgeois’ background includes four years of service in the U.S. Navy and a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He is the founder of the School of Americas Watch and a recipient of the Gandhi Peace Award, Pax Christi USA Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace Award and the Thomas Merton Award.

"We are thrilled to have Father Bourgeois share his struggle for justice and equality with the university,” said Dr. Tracy Woodard-Meyers, director of WGST. “Father Bourgeois is an advocate for change and is known for standing up for what is right.”

For more information about the lecture, contact the WGST office at (229) 249-4842.