Illinois priest who freelanced his prayers loses his job

What a crying shame! Sacrificing priests on the altar of conformity.

Remember, fellow priests, do not pray from your heart. Pray only from the book. That’s how God wants it!

For 18 years, the Rev. William Rowe has done a little improvising while celebrating Mass on Sunday mornings at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Mount Carmel, Ill.

Now those deviations have led to his resignation in an incident that may be tied to global changes to the Catholic liturgy.

Last Sunday, instead of saying “Lord our God that we may honor you with all our mind and love everyone in truth of heart,” during the opening prayer, he altered the phrasing to better reflect the day’s Gospel message, in which Jesus heals a man with a troubled spirit.

“We thank you, God, for giving us Jesus who helped us to be healed in mind and heart and proclaim his love to others,” the 72-year-old priest prayed instead.

Three days later, Rowe received a letter from Bishop Edward Braxton accepting his resignation.

“The problem is that when I pray at Mass, I tend to change the words that are written in the book to match what I was talking about, or what a song is about,” Rowe said in an interview.

The book in question is the Roman Missal, a book of prayers, chants and responses used during the Mass. Rowe has been saying some of those prayers in his own words for years.

But in December the Vatican-mandated adoption of a new English-language translation of the Missal may have given bishops an opportunity to rein in freewheeling priests who have been praying in their own words for decades.

“Since December when the new translation came out, no one has said what would happen to you if you changed stuff,” said the Rev. John Foley, director of the Center for Liturgy at St. Louis University. “But I find it hard to believe a priest in Illinois would be forced to resign because he wasn’t using the exact words from the translation. It’s not a strong-enough offense for that.”

In the wake of sweeping changes in the church as a result of the Second Vatican Council, some priests in the 1970s began using their own words and phrasing in place of the verbatim translations of the original Latin liturgy in the Missal, Foley said. He said there has never been an established penalty for improvising nonalterable prayers, and bishops have traditionally looked past an individual priest’s extemporizing.

Monsignor Kevin Irwin, professor of liturgical studies at the Catholic University of America, said there are some prayers said by a priest at Mass in which he is “beholden to the structure not to the words.”

But there are also prayers that priests are “duty bound to say,” said the Rev. John Baldovin, professor of historical and liturgical theology at Boston College. Most of the prayers in the Missal, in fact, are not optional, he said.

Rowe said Belleville’s previous bishop, Wilton Gregory, had discussed his off-the-cuff prayer habit with him, referring to the practice as “pushing the envelope.” He said five years ago, Braxton also discussed the matter with him, and asked him to read directly from the Missal.

“I told him I couldn’t do that,” Rowe said. “That’s how I pray.”

Last summer, Rowe said, Braxton made it clear to his priests that “no priest may deviate from any wording in the official Missal.”

In October, two months ahead of the introduction of the new Missal translation, Braxton said he couldn’t permit Rowe to continue improvising, according to Rowe. The priest offered his resignation but didn’t receive a response.

Braxton did not respond to a request for an interview with the Post-Dispatch.

On Monday, Braxton wrote Rowe a letter informing him that he’d accepted his resignation.

The action did not sit well with the nearly 500 families at St. Mary’s, some of whom are contemplating a letter writing campaign to Braxton. “They’re devastated,” said Alice Worth, principal at St. Mary’s School. “Father Bill is the backbone of our parish.”

“The ways Father changed the Mass ritual with his words have only made it more meaningful to us as opposed to distancing us from the church,” Worth said. “Everything he does is based on our faith, it’s not just a whim. There’s a reason for every word he prays.”

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic League: Jewish Rabbis Even Greater Abusers Than Catholic Priests

COMMENTARY

Bill Donohue, the head of the pedophile priests supporting Catholic League, in an attempt to deflect attention from the regular, serious, and unresolved sexual transgressions, sexual assault, and child rape within the Catholic Church, today pointed the finger at Orthodox Jewish Rabbis, saying, “[t]he most serious cases of the sexual abuse of minors currently taking place are among Orthodox Jewish rabbis in Brooklyn.” Donohue, proving the ludicrousness of the existence and purpose of his entire organization, lambasted Jay Leno for a joke he made last night about an L.A. Bishop who recently resigned after revealing he had fathered two children. Donohue claims also that Leno has “a long track record of bashing Catholicism.” So, rather than work to fix the root causes of systemic and felonious issues within the Church, Donohue chooses instead to attacks its critics, hoping, praying that no one will notice the Catholic Church’s role and reputation in America is rapidly diminishing, even among America’s Catholics.

Jay Leno, according to the Catholic League, Thursday said, “I thought bishops could only move diagonally. I didn’t know they could move up and down.”

Donohue’s group added,

When making these remarks, Leno gestured with his hands, waving them side to side, and then up and down.

Leno went on to say, “Isn’t it amazing the bishop of L.A. confessed to fathering two children? But, hey, he didn’t use birth control, so at least he followed the church rules. Ya gotta give him credit for that.”

“The most serious cases of the sexual abuse of minors currently taking place are among Orthodox Jewish rabbis in Brooklyn, yet Leno would never tell a joke at their expense,” Donohue said in a statement. “The rate of HIV/AIDS among homosexuals is 50 times higher than in the rest of the population, yet Leno would never tell a joke at their expense. [Note: making such jokes would be equally offensive.] But if there is one wayward Catholic clergyman, it’s not only acceptable to ridicule him, it’s okay to mock the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

(The disclaimer above is Donohue’s, not ours.)

Donohue offered no proof of his allegations, nor did he offer any compassion, help, or hope for any victims, regardless of religious affiliation.

Donohue, who earlier this month claimed that rape victims of the Catholic Church’s pedophile priests are “professional victims,” and “a pitiful bunch of malcontents” unable to move on, apparently is learning that we’re watching his every word. In the past, Donohue would not have inserted the HIV/AIDS disclaimer.

In fact, just two months ago, Donohue called AIDS a “self-inflicted wound,” claiming that if “homosexuals” followed the teachings of the Church they would not “self-destruct.”

But Donohue’s default position of trying to point the finger elsewhere is offensive and misguided. No doubt there are child abuse problems in the Jewish community also, but Donohue neither works for the Jewish community, nor the Islamic community, nor any other community.

If Donohue spent his time working to prevent abuse, working to help victims of child rape by the Catholic Church — rather than, say, assist Archbishop Dolan to bash 16-year old abuse victims — then perhaps he would be qualified to point fingers and call his organization the “Catholic League.” Because right now, it’s merely a league of one extraordinary bigot.

Complete Article HERE!

Mrs. Santorum, Can We Talk?

COMMENTARY — Kate Kendell

On a recent campaign stop, Karen Santorum accused LGBT activists of “backyard bullying” against her husband in the presidential race. National Center for Lesbian Rights executive director Kate Kendell responds.

Someone’s been using the extra bit of cash he got from his surge in Iowa to buy some spin doctor advice. Earlier this week, Rick Santorum, his wife, Karen, and their oldest daughter, Elizabeth, were all talking about how much Rick “loves gay people” and that his opposition to our right to marry is a “policy difference.” Karen then added to the obscenity of this utter claptrap by suggesting that gay activists were being “backyard bullies” in our attacks on her husband and his policies.

Karen, we need to talk. And by that, I mean that I need to talk and you need to listen.

You love your husband — I get that. You love your faith — fine by me. But when you pretend that hate is love, that lies are truth, and that victims are oppressors, you have become inane.

Your husband believes that LGBT people cannot be trusted to serve in the military, raise children, form stable relationships or be fully respected under the law. According to you, Rick may love us, but honey, his love is killing us, and we want nothing to do with this abusive relationship. Our community has endured expulsion from family, mass firings, daily epitaphs, assaults, harassment, humiliation, death, and suicides. We know that if your husband becomes president of our country our long suffering will only deepen and magnify.

So yes, we are calling him what he is: a sanctimonious bigot who believes that we are dangerous, sick, and evil. We are telling the truth about his vision and his beliefs about us. That is NOT bullying, it’s about saving our own lives. Your husband would erase the landmark and life-saving changes we have seen over the past few years, and revisit the hell of a government that does not see us as fully human. Given what so many of my brothers and sisters live through daily, you calling us bullies is contemptible.

It did not have to be this way. Many people of faith truly and authentically do love the LGBT people in their lives. They also love fairness and equality and inclusion. They do not live in fear of those who are different. My mom was such a person, and I am sure you could have been too.

In some ways, it’s very sad. In another two or three months, the cameras will be gone, and the press will not care about you or Rick. The march of justice will continue, leaving you and your family a forgotten footnote on the wrong side of history.

I’m glad we talked, Karen. I feel better now. While I know you will keep saying whatever that reprobate PR firm is telling you to say, at least we understand each other.

You and Rick are the haters. My community is the victim, and anyone paying attention knows the truth.

Complete Article HERE!