priest fired over improv prayers…

this story reminds me of a local parish I visited once where the priest changed the Agnus Dei to something like, “Protector of the Earth, you take away our carbon footprint” and some other such nonsense.

In a rare letter of explanation about an internal personnel dispute, Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Ill., publicly responded to the firing of the Rev. William Rowe, who has been pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Carmel, Ill., for 18 years.

Braxton said in the Feb. 14 letter that several parishioners of St. Mary’s had brought audio and video evidence to the bishop “which showed the many changes and omissions Fr. Rowe makes in the Mass.”

Rowe said that when he prays the Roman Missal — the book of prayers, chants and responses used during the Mass — he tends “to change the words that are written in the book to match what I was talking about” in the homily.

“He mentioned in the letter that we clash in our ecclesiology — our image of the church,” said Rowe, 72. “He’s right. He seems to consider the church as the bishops’, and my notion is that the church starts with the people.
full article

Hmm. The same “people” who went to the Bishop in objection of the improvised prayers. The source and summit of the Church is the Eucharists, not the people. Even my nine year old knows that.

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  • Tcn

    I am quite able to spell “The Church” without a single “I.”

    • kenneth

      That’s because you’re not a product of the Chicago Public School system!

  • Tim

    This would be sacri-larious if the parishoners heckled the priest during his routine or threw tomatoes at him.  Maybe a Vaudeville hook.

  • Dr. Eric

    This is my diocese.  The inmates have been running the asylum since the late 70s.

    • Dr. Eric

      When he was installed, 60% of the priests in our diocese openly rebelled against Bishop Braxton.

      • kenneth

        “Open rebellion”? My, that does sound swashbuckling, and I have to say, more than a little romantic! Parish priests pledging their swords, and their lives, to a rebel bishop they know to be the True Prince of the Diocese! Spies and counterspies! Calculating merchants whose allegiances to each bishop wax and wane by the day with their respective military prospects! 
           Well it sounds spirited anyway. The Church hasn’t done top-notch open rebellion since Henry VIII or the Avignon papacy…..:)

  • Janet Butler

    Too many of these jokers take the “we are the Body of Christ” phrase and somehow morph it into “Church Iz Us.” As in, “Pretty much whatever strikes us at the time, as long as we’re sincere about it, is worship, right?”

    Yanno, if they WANNA be Protestants, the door’s always open…they just need to go before they pull too many unsuspecting Catholics with them.

    Harsh? Nope. What they’re doing to the Mass makes Baby Jesus cry. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    The immaturity of that priest is breathtaking. But then, he probably doesn’t worry about how to pay his bills, so he has the financial security to display adolescent rebelliousness toward his boss. Unlike most lay people…

  • Dr. Eric, I live just north.  We have Sacred Heart Franciscans.  Our priest told us from the pulpit this Sunday that the authority of the bishops comes from the people.  Or at least that’s what he believes based on the theory of a Catholyc theologian he reads.  Lots of people shaking their heads in approval.  I looked at my husband (who was sitting with the choir) and his head was shaking to the negative just like mine.  Bah.  We spend more time trying to correct these blatant falsehoods on our way home in the van than I like. I’ve never been a fan of parish shoppers, but I’ve about had it at my home parish.

  • Katie O’Keefe

    Thank you, Bishop Braxton!  Good. For. You.
    About 20 years ago, we left my husband’s ancestral parish (and I mean three generations deep) because the pastor would not follow the Sacramentary.  He “hot-dogged” the Eucharistic Prayer so badly that he often forgot to consecrate the host or the chalice.  We complained bitterly to our local ordinary and the pleas fell on deaf ears.  I am so glad that Bishop Braxton stood up for the Liturgy. 

  • Hermitofbardstown

    We as baptized Christians are the Church.  As Catholics we obey the authority structure that is in place for the sake of unity.  We must not forget that we are the Church, the very Body of Christ on earth, the hierarchy has a job, but they are not the total Church.  I agree, priests should follow the Missal, but do not be fooled into thinking that we’re just pew sitters.  If you do, then you take no responsibility for your own faith. 

  • MissJean

    This disturbs me. I remember reading in “Hostage of the Devil” about possession in which a priest found himself changing the Latin to mean something quite different.   Words matter because the Word matters.