You have all read about how one of the women pretending to be a Catholic priest, Virginia Nicolosi, was scheduled to simulate saying Mass at the infamous St. Joan of Arc parish in Minneapolis. A good deal of anger and shock has been demonstrated in the blogosphere over this "event" which was published in the St. Joan of Arc bulletin. I actually had e-mails from friends in Rome asking what the heck was going on there.
St. Joan of Arc parish and his Excellency the Archbishop, Harry Flynn, were taking it on the chin pretty hard since that bulletin was released.
In the interest of complete information and the truth here is some information I was sent. I am compelled to share it with you. A good and reliable source sent me a copy of this correspondence. I have only slightly reformated it. I have not changed the text. The emphasis in mine. It is from Dennis McGrath, who is the spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to someone who was a parishioner of mine when I was in that Archdiocese and whom I know. This was an e-mail:
From: "McGrath, Dennis"
I just finished responding to a New Prague couple who inquired about this same issue, which, understandably, given the severity of the subject, is taking on an email life of its own. Please let me share with you the email reponse I sent to this couple (below). Please share this with all the Call to Action members you sent your original email to because I don’t have their emails.
Let me assure you that Virginia Nicolosi, who claims she’s a priest because she was "ordained" by some "bishop" of a breakaway schismatic group, on a boat in the St. Lawrence Seaway, will not be celebrating the Eucharist at St. Joan of Arc or any other parish within this Archdiocese. Archbishop Flynn has communicated directly to her that she IS NOT a priest of the Holy Roman Catholic church and, in fact, has violated Church law.
Let me take a minute to briefly describe how this rumor about Ms Nicolsoi celebrating the Eucharist at St. Joan of Arc got started and has taken on a life of its own. One of the parish volunteers at St. Joan of Arc inserted the news of this upcoming "Eucharistic celebration" by Ms. Nicolosi into the St. Joan of Arc parish bulletin. Worse yet, it was written in such a way that the reader would assume it would take place at St. Joan of Arc. In fact, I thought so myself when I first saw it earlier this week. However, that is not the case. Her event is not taking place in any church but rather at Normandale Junior College in Bloomington in a space she and her followers have rented.
Neither the pastor of St. Joan of Arc, nor the associate pastor, had read the bulletin before it was distributed. They have both been spoken to about this and have agreed to carefully proof it and henceforth approve all of its content. They have also agreed to issue a renunciation of the story about Ms. Nicolosi and her "celebration".
The centuries old laws of the Church regarding ordination to the priesthood have not, we can assure, changed one iota.
Thanks for your faithfulness in bringing this to our attention and giving us a chance to set the record straight. Please share these facts with others in your parish or among your associates who may be disturbed by this matter.
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
You will all be sure to know that I am no fan of St. Joan of Arc parish. However, in this case, they got a bad rap. It is clear that the pastor, at whose feet the buck must stop, should have a better grip on the bulletin. The Archbishop moved with proper diligence in this matter. That said, let the truth be known about this sad fiasco.