U.S. Priest Arrested for Trying to Meet Pope to Protest Vatican Ban on Women Priests

A priest has been arrested Monday after attempting to obtain access to the Vatican to speak to the Pope to press for the Catholic Church to lift its ban on the ordination of women priests.

Activist priest, Roy Bourgeois, was briefly detained in Vatican City on Monday. He is an excommunicated Catholic priest that supports the ordination of women in to the priesthood and was arrested after he marched to the Vatican to press the Holy See to lift its ban on female priests.

Bourgeois was accompanied by supporters that protested with him on St. Peter’s Square where they chanted, “What do we want? Women priests! When do we want them? Now!”

The protesting group also carried a banner that said “Ordain Catholic Women.”

Bourgeois and two others were arrested after they refused to allow police to confiscate the banners the group was holding. The police attempted to confiscate the banners because the group did not have a protest permit.

Bourgeois was detained only briefly, for about two hours, at a Rome police station.

The activist priest came to Rome with groups including the Women’s Ordination Conference to deliver a petition signed by around 15,000 people that support that the Holy See lift its ban on women becoming priests.

In 2008, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith ordered the priest to recant his support for female priests.

On July 27 of this year Bourgeois was issued a “second canonical warning” asking Bourgeois to “consider the effects of his actions on the Society and the Church.”

However, Bourgeois responded to his second warning in a letter to NPR saying, “What you are asking me to do in your letter is not possible without betraying my conscience.”

He added, “In essence, you are telling me to lie and say I do not believe that God calls both men and women to the priesthood. This I cannot do, therefore I will not recant.”

Bourgeois was dismissed from the Maryknoll Order in August of this year.