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    AmP Countdown: Time left to demand that Congress make health care reform pro-life: 2009-11-07 18:00:00 GMT-05:00


    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Outrageous: Candidate for expulsion - Jesuit novice in Oregon province

    In February of this year I blogged about the Northwest Province of Jesuits filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

    Now I find out the disturbing news that one of the Province's novices is, well, morally bankrupt:
    Meet Cormac Brissett who's a novice in that province. He signed a protest in defense of public lewdness in a circular letter posted on-line by an apologist for pederasty, William A. Percy, in No to Sexophobia (May 3, 1995) with one of the founding members of Nambla. It's hard to believe that Mr. Brissett's opinions are a passing fancy, he's penned articles for Lavender Magazine, and intereviewed another pederastic intellectual,Edmund White, without the slightest criticism. It would be more surprising that Mr. Brissett would give up his unnatural tastes and intellectual defense of them than that the Jesuit order will perform due dilligence on its candidates for priesthood.
    I'll leave the moralizing to Diogenes, but I'll write down my gut reaction: "What would Ignatius say?!"

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    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Photo: (Episcopal) Franciscan FAIL

    Ph/t: Pinoy Catholic.


    Or, if you prefer: "Compassion FAIL."

    update: to by clear, this is an Episcopal - not Catholic - Franciscan. I didn't even know they had those. Thanks to reader OCDSister for the clarification and for making the extra effort to provide a hyperlink.

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    Tuesday, July 28, 2009

    Priest at center of Medjugorje laicized by Holy See

    I've been following the ecclesiastical problems faced by the Medjugorje phenomenon since mid-2007. Early on I tried to distinguish between the spiritual fruits of Medjugorje from the authenticity of the "visions" (other folks have made similar points).

    That distinction is going to become a whole lot more important after, subsequently to being suspended from his priestly duties last year, the former spiritual director of the six visionaries of Medjugorje was laicized by the Holy See yesterday.

    Lest we sugar-coat how grave the situation is, let's be clear about the allegations:

    1. Fr. Tomislav Vlasic has fathered a child with a nun
    2. He has been uncooperative with Vatican investigation
    3. The six original seers have become very wealthy as a result of their "visions"
    4. Medjugorje has never been officially approved as an authentic apparition by the Holy See.

    Fr. Vladic has received some firm instructions from the Holy See:
    "The Pope has insisted that Father Vlasic observes a set of conditions on pain of excommunication which include a total ban on teaching Christian doctrine and giving spiritual direction.

    There is also an "absolute prohibition of releasing declarations on religious matters, especially regarding the phenomenon of Medjugorje"." - UK Telegraph
    Now, unfortunately I have had to rely on secondary sources to do this post. I prefer to go to primary sources, of course, but don't have the free time at present. If I find anyone with good analysis of this sad situation I'll post it. 

    In the meantime, Diane at Te Deus Laudamus has documentation and good links.

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    Friday, May 29, 2009

    Fr. Cutie, caught dating widow, decides to join Episcopal Church

    He didn't even bother to inform his archbishop in advance:
    Father Alberto Cutie, an internationally known Catholic priest who admitted having a romantic affair and breaking his vow of celibacy, is joining the Episcopal Church to be with the woman he loves, he said Thursday.

    "I will always love the Catholic Church and all its members," he said at a news conference. "But I want to start today by going into a new family.

    "Here before this community where I have chosen to serve and where I live, I am going to continue to proclaim the word of God and my love for God," Cutie said.

    Cutie (pronounced koo-tee-AY) was received into the Episcopal Church earlier Thursday at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Miami, Florida. He will pursue the priesthood in the Episcopalian faith, the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida said in a written statement.

    It was not immediately clear how long the process would take. (CNN)
    More on the Cutie scandal backstory here. Episcopal Life Media adds more here.

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    Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    Bishop tells outspoken CA priest to "cool it" on Obama sermons

    "San Diego Bishop Robert Brom has asked an outspoken Escondido priest to tone down his fierce criticism of the Obama Administration, prompting supporters of the priest to launch a letter-writing campaign to the bishop on his behalf.

    On Feb. 11, California Catholic Daily reprinted an article – “100 Days or End of Days?” -- from the parish bulletin of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Escondido written by Pastor Richard Perozich. In the article, Fr. Perozich warned that “evil has acceded to power” in the Obama Administration. (To see the article behind the controversy, Click Here.)

    Sources at St. Mary’s told California Catholic Daily that a family from the parish-administered St. Mary’s School had complained to the chancery about the article. An intermediary, acting on behalf of Bishop Brom, then contacted Fr. Perozich by telephone, sources said, and told him to “cool it.” Aside from that single complaint, sources said, “the overwhelming opinion of parishioners has been favorable.” (California Catholic Daily)

    I have some personal experience of Fr. Perozich's energetic ministry style. While I don't agree with everything he said in his letter (I only had time to skim it), I think what is at issue is not so much what he said, but that he said it - people are not used to hearing their priests vocally "naming names" in this manner. Also, an important note: this is what Fr. Perozich said in a homily - he published it in his parish bulletin.
    Still, the problem with impassioned rhetorical language about these issues is that such statements tend to come across as irrational, thus doing a disservice to the principled versions of these sentiments.

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    Saturday, November 15, 2008

    Update: Fr. Bourgeois to appeal excommunication, but it doesn't matter

    Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, two pictures and a few words will suffice.

    When you do this:

    You'll end up like this:

    Get the picture? I hope he does.

    {more backstory here.}

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    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    Fr. Bourgeois' women priest activism to result in Vatican action

    His case is one ripe for exommunication: he supports women's ordination, is obstinant in the face of Vatican reprimand, and seems ready to receive the sentence of excommunication.

    Well actually, he might be facing more than that, as Canon Lawyer Ed Peters explains:

    The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has given activist Maryknoll priest, Rev. Roy Bourgeois, about a month to recant his support for women's ordination or suffer excommunication.

    Without seeing CDF's warning letter to Bourgeois, it is impossible for me to comment on the precise grounds upon which his excommunication looms, but a related thought occurs to me: given the attitude that Bourgeois showed in his reply to CDF, I suspect that a penal decree here will not only impose an excommunication, it will also lay the groundwork for a fairly expeditious dismissal from the clerical state.

    Signed, sealed, delivered.

    And ya know, while we've got the official seals out of their boxes....

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    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    Excommunicate, already!

    "Sign it. Seal it. Deliver it." says Canon Lawyer Ed Peters:

    The more modernistic the liberal clerical cohort in Australia tries to become, the older are the heresies that they promote. Lately, one Fr Peter Dresser is promoting his own brand of Arianism, a heresy that basically denied the divinity of Christ, and which was solemnly rejected by the Council of Nicaea (325). "No human being can ever be God," writes Fr. Dresser in a booklet distributed to the faithful, "and Jesus was a human being. It is as simple as that."

    Okay, here's my version of simple: "No Catholic priest may deny the divinity of Christ, and Dresser is a Catholic priest. It's as simple as that." If Fr. Dresser really denies the divinity of Christ (among several other things!), declare his formal excommunication and expel him from the clerical state. Do it quickly, do it cleanly, and do it without rancor. But do it.

    Nice of Fr. Desser to make things easy on us.

    He also claims Joseph was the biological father of Jesus, and the Virgin Mary had six children.

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    Tuesday, October 07, 2008

    More on former ND president Fr. Hesburgh

    Diogenes was not impressed with Hesburgh's flippant remarks about Church teaching. Neither is Ed Peters:

    Fr. Theodore Hesburgh's recent interview with the Wall Street Journal is getting some attention in the Catholic blogosphere, and it should: the WSJ article presents a casus classicus of how priestly ministry disappeared under the allure of social activism for the last 50 years or so. In any case, it is Hesburgh's assertion that "I have no problem with females . . . as priests, but I realize that the majority of the leadership in the Church would" that deserves a canonical comment. [Read it here.]

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    Former Notre Dame Priest President, "that venerable fraud"

    Diogenes caustically, but not untruthfully, comments on recent public statements made by Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, the former President of Notre Dame, who's been quoted as saying:

    "I have no problem with females or married people as priests, but I realize that the majority of the leadership in the Church would. But what's important is that people get the sacraments."

    With shepherds like that, who needs wolves?

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    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    Quebec priest picks church over politics following 2 years in office

    Off the American beat, but generally related to recent topics:
    Bloc Québécois MP Raymond Gravel has decided not to run in the next federal election after the Vatican forced him to choose between Parliament and the Catholic Church.

    Gravel, an ordained Roman Catholic priest, was granted special permission by the Vatican to run for federal office in 2006.

    He indicated on Tuesday that the Vatican requested he choose between politics and the priesthood in light of Canada's impending federal election. (CBC)
    Ph/t: AmP reader Blaise.

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    Monday, September 01, 2008

    Catholic priest claims cannabis field in backyard 'a gift from God'!

    Good times in Bulgaria:
    A catholic priest, who claims that his back yard full of cannabis plants is a gift from God, has been placed under constant surveillance by police.

    Father Cyril Papudov, of Petrich, Bulgaria, has been arrested seven times but police have never caught him actually cultivating the crop.

    He insists that the cannabis seeded by itself and is part of God's gift of nature and nothing to do with him. (ANI)
    Where is the bishop?!

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    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    Unearthed Vatican Letter to Bishops Emphasizes Choice of Defiance

    Wow, I knew this happened, but the documentation makes it crystal clear:

    During the tumultuous years of the 1960's Pope Paul VI published a controversial encyclical, Humanae Vitae, which addressed the issue of birth control in light of the arrival of the birth control pill.

    Today LifeSiteNews.com is publishing a recently unearthed letter which was sent to Bishops with a pre-release copy of the encyclical. The letter, dated July 19, 1968, is signed by the late Amleto Giovanni Cardinal Cicognani, who was then-Secretary of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

    The outright defiance of many priests and even bishops to Pope Paul VI's encyclical - which restated and reinforced the Church's long-time opposition to artificial birth control - is even graver in light of the carefully worded letter the bishops received specifically pointing to the urgent need for unity on the matter.

    [Read more about the letter.]

    [Read the actual text of the letter.]

    Meanwhile? Are Catholics ready to hear about the Church's teaching?

    Maybe not everwhere, but sometimes ... they applaud.

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    Saturday, July 26, 2008

    Is anything different 40 years later? Yes.

    A particularly sad and encompassing example of dissent is presented by Fr. Richard McBrien (of the University of Notre Dame) upon the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae.
    He cites the same, tired arguments that have been circulated against the teaching about contraception, and ends with this question: "Is the situation any different today, on the fortieth anniversary?"
    My answer is yes, the situation is very different, but you, sir, sadly, are not.
    (And that difference is not, I might add, in the teaching, but in the reception of it by the people of God - particularly my own generation - and the proven veracity of the predictions that document made.)

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    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    Breaking: Arch of STL & Board Members Sue St. Stanislaus for Control

    Breaking, big, news:

    The St. Louis Archdiocese filed suit today against the St. Stanislaus Kostka church in an attempt to regain control of the former Polish parish.

    Six parishioners, including three recent board members, joined the archdiocese in the suit. They are asking a St. Louis judge to void any changes to the St. Stanislaus' bylaws since 2001 and give the archbishop the authority to appoint a pastor and board there.

    Last month, the St. Stanislaus board voted 4-3 to dissolve itself and allow parishioners to elect a new board at its annual meeting in August. Eight St. Stanislaus board members had been declared excommunicated by Archbishop Raymond Burke.

    According to the archdiocese, the three board members who lost that vote - Bernice Krauze, Stanley Rozanski, and Robert Zabielski - were secretly reconciled with the Roman Catholic church last month in a meeting with Burke before Pope Benedict XVI re-assigned him to a new position at the Vatican.

    Last month, Edward Florek, a former board member, also reconciled with the church.

    The archdiocese’s release said that if the lawsuit is successful, it "is prepared to appoint a Catholic priest, Rev. Michael Marchlewski, SJ, to St. Stanislaus as administrator." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

    The full dust-up is at the Saint Louis Catholic blog.

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    Wednesday, July 02, 2008

    Report: Rector of Lourdes embezzled ~$700,000 from pilgrims

    UK Mail Online:
    The Roman Catholic shrine of Lourdes was tonight at the centre of a major fraud investigation.

    Father Raymond Zambelli, the 65-year-old Treasurer and Rector of the pilgrimage site, is suspected of embezzling hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    Much of the money was raised for the sick and the dying who visit the shrine in the foothills of the Pyrenees in south west France every year because they believe it is a place of miracles.

    Father Zambelli, who last night denied all wrong doing, was due to welcome the Pope to Lourdes in September to celebrate its 150th anniversary as a place of Christian pilgrimage.

    Instead he will now be asked to explain how at least £350,000 destined for Lourdes came to end up in his personal bank account. [More.]
    Pope Benedict is scheduled to visit Lourdes on September 13th. I hope this is straightened out by then.

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    Wednesday, June 04, 2008

    Obama, Cardinal George, and the Pfleger Situation

    After my brief blogging hiatus, it didn't take long to realize that the controversy surrounding Fr. Michael Pfleger and his political remarks constituted the big story over the weekend.

    A plus side to covering the story late - time yields perspective and has allowed the dust to settle.

    But first, a quick recap: Fr. Pfleger is a well-known activist priest, the pastor of St. Sabina's parish (or "faith community", as it calls itself) in Chicago since 1981. He recently achieved notoriety by criticizing Hillary Clinton at Barack Obama's former church (Rev. Jeremiah Wright):

    Pfleger mimicked Clinton while delivering a guest sermon at Trinity United Church of Christ two Sundays ago. During the sermon, Pfleger, who is white, mocked Clinton for getting choked up on camera before the New Hampshire primary in January.

    “When Hillary was crying … I really don’t believe it was put on. I really believe that she just always thought ‘This is mine. I’m Bill’s wife. I’m white. And this is mine’,” he said, shouting at times. “Then out of nowhere came, ‘Hey I’m Barack Obama’. And she said, ‘Oh damn! Where did you come from? I’m white! I’m entitled! There’s a black man stealing my show!’”

    After that, he simulated Clinton crying and said: “She wasn’t the only one crying. There was a whole lot of white people crying … I’m sorry. I don’t wanna get you in any more trouble. The live streaming just went out again.” (FOX)

    Then he got into more trouble later by saying "America is the Greatest Sin Against God":


    It is clear, however, that he inadvertently said "America" when he meant to say "Racism" (just watch the whole video). Nonetheless, he's also on record defending Jeremiah Wright, etc.:

    I don't want to get too far off topic (in Fr. Pfleger's defense, read his letter of apology).

    These two videos I think reveal enough about this priest's priorities and imbalances to inform what actually interests me: a) how Cardinal George has handled the situation, b) how Obama has reacted, and c) how various commentators are reacting.

    A: Cardinal George has issued a statement today on the Archdiocese of Chicago website:

    To put recent events in some perspective, I have asked Father Michael Pfleger, Pastor of St. Sabina’s Parish, to step back from his obligations there and take leave for a couple of weeks from his pastoral duties, effective today. Fr. Pfleger does not believe this to be the right step at this time. While respecting his disagreement, I have nevertheless asked him to use this opportunity to reflect on his recent statements and actions in the light of the Church’s regulations for all Catholic priests. I hope that this period will also be a time away from the public spotlight and for rest and attention to family concerns.

    I hope also that the life of St. Sabina’s parish may continue in uninterrupted fashion. Fr. William Vanecko, Pastor of St. Kilian’s parish, will be temporary administrator of St. Sabina’s and will assure the full complement of ministerial services during this period. I ask the members of St. Sabina’s parish to cooperate with him and to keep him and Fr. Pfleger in their prayers. They are in mine.

    While obviously diplomatic, I don't think you can find much fault with the statement. It serves the immediate purpose of neutralizing (or attempting to neutralize) Fr. Pfleger.

    Rocco tracks some of the back story that led up to this statement being issued:

    After apologizing for the offense caused by his Trinity sermon (fullvideo) during Sunday's Mass at the parish, Pfleger launched into another sermon (audio) saying that if YouTube existed at the time of the crucifixion, it would've ignored the resurrection.

    CNS also publishes more words from Cardinal George on the matter. The Cardinal is being watched especially closely in how he handles this matter because he is currently the President of the USCCB. (Incidentally, last Thursday the Cardinal ordained two priests, with beautiful pictures posted at NLM.)

    Jill Stanek notes that Fr. Fleger and Cardinal George had a showdown in 2002, "when the Archbishop blinked first." Even in 2002, Fr. Fleger was described by the Chicago Sun-Times as a priest who "has a long habit of rebellion."

    If you want an example of the damage caused when problem priests are allowed to persist, you've got a classic case right here it seems. All the articles and links for that are available here.

    B: Obama himself has a long history with Fr. Pfleger:

    .... Obama's relationship with Pfleger -- who is the priest at a different, Catholic, church -- spans decades.

    In September, the Obama campaign brought Pfleger to Iowa to host one of several interfaith forums for the campaign. Pfleger has given money to Obama's campaigns and Obama as a state legislator directed at least $225,000 towards social programs at St. Sabina's, according to the Chicago Tribune. Pfleger appears to have been scrubbed from the Obama campaign's page that features the testimony of faith leaders, but you can see the cached version HERE.

    Jill Stanek has also been watching the Obama-Pfleger connection closely for some time. After Obama released this statement....

    As I have traveled this country, I've been impressed not by what divides us, but by all that unites us. That is why I am deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger's divisive, backward-thinking rhetoric, which doesn't reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause.

    .... Jill responds: "That's just as impossible as Obama claiming not to know Wright's racist, anti-American beliefs after listening to Wright from the pew for 20 years. But here's more corroboration, from the Chicago Sun-Times in 2002." She makes a strong case, and reports further here & here.

    C: On the local level, some members of St. Sabina are (not surprisingly) protesting the removal of their pastor:

    The decision to remove Father Michael Pfleger, the Catholic priest who berated Hillary Clinton from the floor of Barack Obama’s former church, has drawn criticism from members of St. Sabina Church where Pfleger is the pastor.

    St. Sabina President Gerald Stewart said members of the church “wholeheartedly disagree” with Cardinal Francis George’s decision and “respectfully request” that Pfleger be reinstated because of the significant impact he has had on the Chicago community.

    More (including a video report) from the Chicago Tribune:

    Outside St. Sabina on Tuesday night, angry church members and residents of the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood said they took issue with the cardinal's action."

    It's unfortunate that one misstep would cause someone not to look at the overall good that Father Pfleger has done," said Lyne Grant, a clinical social worker who said she occasionally attends the church.

    Inside the church, parishioners and ministers from across Chicago, including Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., the controversial retired pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, sang and prayed in protest of the forced leave.

    A letter to the editor in the Chicago Sun-Times mounts a rhetorically impressive, but substantively lacking defense of Pfleger's record.

    The wider reaction to this situation in the media, blogs, etc. is far too much to encapsulate in a post, but let me highlight what I take to be the interesting points:

    • There is a clear ideological connection between Fr. Pfleger and Rev. Wright
    • It's troubling that Obama has close ties to both, until their record caught up to them
    • The state monies that Obama has given to Fr. Pfleger's parish is even more troubling
    • Why did Cardinal George allow Fr. Pleger to stay entrenched in St. Sabina's so long?
    • Are any priests so blatantly, unabashedly partisan in favor of republican candidates?

    I think I'll leave it here, for now.

    Something tells me we haven't heard the last from or about Fr. Pfleger.

    update: and sure enough, within minutes, Fr. Pfleger gives an interview:

    In the wake of the Clinton flap, Cardinal Francis George officially silenced Pfleger, whom he had pressured to resign a month ago from the Catholics for Obama committee.

    [Pfleger:] "He and I have had conversations, and I won't go into the conversations; I'll only say that he has asked me to remove myself from Barack's public campaign -- from the group Catholics for Obama -- and that was before all of this," Pfleger told me as we sat alone in a conference room Monday in Sabina's rectory. "He said that, as a Catholic priest, I'm not allowed to publicly support a candidate. I said my understanding was that, as an individual, I can support anyone I want, but that I would never tell parishioners who to vote for. First of all, from my point of view, that insults the congregation. They make their own choice.

    .... "Are you in jeopardy of being removed right now?" I asked.

    Pfleger blanched and wearily rubbed his forehead.

    "Because of the hierarchical nature of the archdiocese, I think you're always serving at the discretion of the cardinal," he said. "Within the last year, we talked about a plan for transition over a number of years, and I think we agree on a plan and seeing the transition for Sabina over the next several years. That's all I want to say about that, but obviously I serve at the discretion of the archbishop."

    Fr. Pfleger conducted this interview on Monday.

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    Friday, November 09, 2007

    Abp. O'Brien removes priest for grave liturgical and disciplinary abuses

    Update: The Baltimore Sun has posted an update to their original story here which provides more details about the nature of Father Ray Martin's abuses and (not-surprisingly) plenty of one-sided reactions.
    An exclusive to the Baltimore Sun (underlining mine):

    Baltimore's new Roman Catholic archbishop removed a priest who was pastor of three South Baltimore parishes for offenses that include officiating at a funeral Mass with an Episcopal priest, which violates canon law.

    Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien personally ordered the Rev. Ray Martin, who has led the Catholic Community of South Baltimore for five years, to resign from the three churches and sign a statement yesterday apologizing for "bringing scandal to the church."

    Martin led the funeral Mass on Oct. 15 for Locust Point activist Ann Shirley Doda at Our Lady of Good Counsel with several clergy, including the Rev. Annette Chappell, the pastor of the Episcopal Church of the Redemption in Locust Point, Martin said.

    {snip}

    Sean Caine, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, said this was one example of repeated administrative and liturgical offenses Martin had committed in more than a year."

    Father Martin's received advice and counsel on numerous occasions from the archdiocese, and he has repeatedly violated church teaching," Caine said. His major offense was not complying with hiring and screening policies, but he also allowed dogs in the sanctuary and did not show up for a baptism, Caine said.

    The penalized Rev. Martin gives us his take on Canon Law and "extremism":

    "I think that canon laws exist to protect the church from extremism. I don't find that this is such an extreme situation," Martin said.

    Martin, who has not been defrocked, said he has been barred from celebrating Mass publicly. He will go on an extended retreat and counseling at a monastery in Latrobe, Pa., he said.

    Liz F. Kay and Kelly Brewington, the Sun reports who wrote the piece, focus all of their "human interest" attention on those who opposed Abp. O'Brien's decision. This opposition ranges from the tearful and outraged to the laughably-ignorant ("What, are we in the Dark Ages again? This is absolutely ridiculous.") Of course, not a single person who supports the Archbishop's decision or wrote letters to complain about Rev. Martin's abuses is given a chance to speak in the article.

    Lessons learned?
    • When a bishop takes action against a priest in accord with Canon Law (say, in cases of sexual abuse), he's routinely criticized for not acting with more forcefulness
    • When a bishop takes action against a priest in accord with Canon Law (say, in cases of liturgical abuse), he's guilty of extremely overextending the ministry of his office.

    We are sure to hear in the upcoming days and weeks a great deal of complaining from certain sectors that Archbishop O'Brien has acted vindictively and oppressively. But I would submit that what these people actually dislike is not that Archbishop O'Brien has invoked Canon Law, but that he has invoked it primarily to discipline a wayward priest in liturgical and disciplinary matters (Martin, it strikes me, has been treated more than fairly).

    O'Brien has been installed as the head of the Baltimore archdiocese for all of six weeks, CWNews informs us.

    Ph/t to the reader who notified me.

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    Thursday, November 08, 2007

    "Priest Accused of Stalking Conan O'Brien" (AP)

    What happened:

    A priest has been arrested on charges of stalking late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien by writing him threatening notes on parish letterhead, contacting his parents and showing up at his studio, prosecutors said Wednesday.

    The Rev. David Ajemian, a priest in the Archdiocese of Boston, was arrested last week while trying to enter a taping session of NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" at New York's Rockefeller Plaza, said Barbara Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan prosecutor's office.

    Ajemian referred to himself as "your priest stalker" in one note and complained of not being allowed in to see an earlier taping of the O'Brien show, court papers say.
    "Is this the way you treat your most dangerous fans?" the note said.

    The letters and e-mails, which started coming in September 2006, continued even after Ajemian was asked to stop and were "intended to cause annoyance and alarm," Thompson said.

    "I want a public confession before I ever consider giving you absolution _ or a spot on your couch," wrote Ajemian, who signed the notes "Padre," Thompson said.
    Ajemian also has been in contact with O'Brien's parents, Thompson said. [Full story.]

    You read that correctly - this situation has been developing for over a year:

    The Boston Archdiocese said in a statement that Ajemian had been placed on leave and was no longer allowed to minister publicly. O'Brien has participated in fundraising activities for the archdiocese.
    I found what appears to be a short bio of Fr. David Ajemian (46) published July of '06. Fr. David Ajemian entered the priesthood at the height of the Boston sex abuse scandal. Some passages:

    Although he was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church, he described his family as "not terribly religious," and himself as a non-practicing Christian during his undergraduate years at Harvard College. That's why, at age 30, after having worked in a series of jobs, including telemarketer, aid for people with disabilities, and in the legal department for the MBTA, along with a brief turn at law school, he was taken by surprise by an experience so powerful, it changed the course of his life.

    "Around 30, I had a real experience of grace. The Lord touched my heart. I felt in a personal way the truth of Jesus as God."

    ... "Right away I felt a call to religious life."

    A meeting with Monsignor Francis Kelly, rector of the Blessed John XXlll Seminary in Weston who would later become a powerful mentor to Fr. Ajemian helped clear a path for his future.

    "He said I had all the makings of a good priest...It seemed like everything I was doing was leading in that direction."

    ... His core belief he brings to St. Patricks is one he has devoted himself to since his May 2001 ordination, and during his posts at St. John the Worker Parish in Hanson, where he found a friend and mentor in former St. Patrick Pastor Fr. John Mark Hannon, and at St. Agatha's Parish in Milton.

    “You have to be able to share people's joys and pains and bring God's presence to them. You must know you can do that. You feel it. It's grace.”

    ... “I never thought, having been through RCIA just ten years before, that I would be bringing others into the Church.”

    If Fr. Ajemian has been developing a psychological disorder, one would have hoped that his superiors had been made aware of the problem so that appropriate action could have been taken sometime during the months that this harassment was occurring. What we have here, at minimum, is a failure to communicate (and keep tabs on the well being and activities this priest).

    Fr. Ajemian is currently undergoing a psychological evaluation which means, I would guess, that he is no longer leading that annual pilgramage to Medjugorje. Hmm, maybe Conan could step in?

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    Tuesday, October 09, 2007

    Italian priest asks for permission to date, loses post

    With typical AP aplomb:

    An Italian priest who publicly declared his love for a woman has lost his job, the diocese said Tuesday.

    The Rev. Sante Sguotti can no longer work as pastor in his Monterosso parish and cannot hear confessions from the faithful, the diocese of Padua said in a statement. Sguotti remains a priest and can celebrate Mass, however.

    Sguotti made headlines in August when he went on national television to say he was in love with a woman and wanted to be her boyfriend publicly while remaining chaste.

    The case reignited the debate over priestly celibacy, particularly because the woman in question has a young son, whom Sguotti said he had helped name. He dodged direct questions about whether he was the boy's father, saying only that he cannot have a child according to church law.

    Bishop Antonio Mattiazzo issued a decree on Monday removing Sguotti from his pastoral duties, saying he was doing so because Sguotti "had been linked for some time to a woman and had asked for a dispensation to go out with her."

    Men in the Eastern rite of the Catholic church who are married can become priests, and the Vatican has accepted into the priesthood some married Anglican priests who converted to Catholicism.

    But the Vatican has constantly refused to relax the celibacy requirement for Latin rite priests. The Vatican reaffirmed that last November, when Pope Benedict XVI convened a summit of clergy who rebuffed a crusade by Emmanuel Milingo, the renegade Zambian archbishop who was excommunicated last year after marrying a woman and launching a campaign for the Vatican to allow priests to marry.

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