Archbp. Myers suspends priests who confuses the faithful

When someone has been sacked for dissent from Catholic teaching or because of some immoral “lifestyle” choice, I have mixed feelings.  On the one hand, good riddance.  On the other hand, I would – by orders of magnitude – prefer that they change their ways and keep their positions (provided they were competent, etc.).  Card. George once said that Americans can be simultaneously hedonistic and puritanical.  This crops up in an unforgiving spirit which some people manifest: they bash people who were public sinners. Don’t we want people to convert?  I do.

Anyway, I saw this at CWN:

A New Jersey priest has been suspended from public ministry because of his persistent homosexual advocacy.

Father Warren Hall revealed on Twitter that he had been suspended by Archbishop John Myers of Newark, because his public statements and actions are “confusing the faithful.” Last year Father Hall had been removed from his post as chaplain at Seton Hall University because of his outspoken support for homosexual causes.

Father Hall indicated that he thought his suspension showed that Archbishop Myers was out of step with Catholic thinking. He wrote on Twitter that “@Pontifex’s Reform are taking too long.”

Kudos to Archbp. Myers.

While I would rather see this guy change his ways and work to undo some of the scandal he has caused, my only comment until that happens is: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

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17 Responses to Archbp. Myers suspends priests who confuses the faithful

  1. Chiara says:

    I fully agree with your sentiments, Father.

    We must be merciful to sinners. All of us, not just priests. But we must not encourage sinners to continue in their sinfulness. Doing so is not merciful, charitable, or following the example of our good Jesus.

    It is very sad. I hope, like you, that Father Hall finds his way back to the truth of our Faith and regains his priestly facilities. But not until he recognizes his error and understands the spiritual and moral damage he does to the laity.

    Time to pray for Fr. Hall and all priests who hurt the Church by their unwholesome and unfaithful examples.

  2. Eliane says:

    Re: AB Myers’ comment that the offending priest is “confusing the faithful:”

    Perhaps I do not number among the faithful, but I am not confused by the priest at all and doubt that many others are confused either, including those who support his undermining of sexual morality and those who don’t. That is, it seems quite the no-brainer to understand exactly where he stands and what he intends.

  3. slainewe says:

    I’m afraid my feelings are never mixed in these cases. Removal from ministry…period. It’s like the policeman who accidentally kills an innocent citizen when his very job is to protect them. He must resign for the maintenance of good will between all policemen and all citizens. And to put fear in the hearts of all policemen to never do harm. It’s tragic, but it’s part of the job of public trust.

    [I may be biased because my Faith, albeit already tottering, was thrown off the cliff by one bad sermon. Perhaps had I read about this priest being sacked, I would have taken a second look at the Faith before I destroyed my life as well. How many thousands of souls were killed by this one priest? (May it please the Lord and Lady that he has been saved.)]

  4. rdb says:

    While this is good news, the reality is that the good Archbishop Myers is at retirement age. With Archbishop Hebda now in Minneapolis-St Paul, the door is open to appoint a successor who will not only bring this priest back without repentance of his position, but, perhaps, even a promotion.

  5. Chris Garton-Zavesky says:

    Tonight I have some time before the Blessed Sacrament, so I will offer prayers for this priest.

    As to the idea of feeling badly that this has happened, may I suggest sadness instead that it is necessary? If we regret the exercise of episcopal authority, we’re going to get a lot less of it.

  6. PTK_70 says:

    @Eliane…The confusion comes in when an impressionable 18 year old begins to think that Fr Hall is speaking on behalf of the archbishop or the pope, in other words, that Fr Hall is preaching and teaching sacred truths. If his words confuse in this way even one among the faithful, then it can be said that he is “confusing the faithful.” But it would appear likely that he has confused more than one impressionable soul.

  7. slainewe says:

    @PTK_70

    Exactly. What to a priest may be just sharing a random liberal interpretation of the Faith (like a comedian trying out a new joke on an audience), may, in a young mind, undermine everything he believes essential to the Faith. At 18, it was inconceivable to me that a priest could teach error.

  8. asburyfox says:

    Is not the suspension an opportunity for him to change his ways? How can he change if he is in active ministry promoting error, unrepentant, without punishment and correction? They can’t change their ways with them keeping their positions. It is only with punishment, that they will see the gravity of their situation and reflect on their wrongs.

  9. Ben Kenobi says:

    There will come a time, perhaps even with these dismissals in particular, that we will see a Catholic priest sue the Church over ‘discrimination’. It is coming. We are not far. We’ve already seen other diocesan employees starting up this fight which will surely come down to the Supreme Court. Last time in Hosanna-Tabor, religious freedoms prevailed 9-0, we shall see how close this will come, in 3, 4 years from now as the cases work their way through.

    @Slainwe

    “It’s like the policeman who accidentally kills an innocent citizen”. No, sir. you fail to understand the depth of depravity that we are dealing with. This is not an ‘accident’. This is not a ‘mistake’. This is the direct and deliberate. It would be akin to a police officer publicly calling for the murder of citizens. Even if he has not himself killed a citizen, (which I sincerely doubt is the case); this would be grounds for immediate dismissal. Anything less would indicate the weakness on the part of the police office and would indicate the extent to which sin has prevailed.

    As one article quite forthrightly put it. One side is fighting a war. The other side best figure that out quickly.

  10. L. says:

    In a diocese of which I know, years ago a Priest was rather too vocal in favoring homosexual “rights,” and so he was told by the chancery that he could either become a military chaplain or leave. He joined the military.

    He’s now retired from the military and is back in the diocese. He’s a darling of the current chancery.

    In light of what the Obama administration is doing now, it’s quaint to think that at one time the military was the place to send someone to have his views on homosexual activity corrected– well, suppressed anyway.

  11. SKAY says:

    Mark 9:42

    “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,[a] it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”

    This seems really clear to me.

  12. slainewe says:

    @Ben Kenobi

    “…you fail to understand the depth of depravity that we are dealing with. This is not an ‘accident’. This is not a ‘mistake’. This is the direct and deliberate.”

    I find it hard to believe that large numbers of priests who really know what it is to have Faith deliberately strip it away from children. I hope most priests accidentally strip it away because they themselves do not have Faith. They preach error because they do not know the possible consequences of a child with Faith believing these errors. It’s more of an intellectual game for them.

    I may be wrong, but I must give a priest the benefit of the doubt. Otherwise I would have to believe most priests I have known to be monsters, gloating over ruined souls.

    But this does not excuse their teaching of error when their job description is to defend the Truth. It seems to me that this injustice towards the People of God, by a priest who is charged to stand in Christ’s place, requires the justice of said priest’s discharge from active ministry. How else to discredit his errors and regain the people’s trust?

  13. KateD says:

    A suspension is a merciful first warning to help point out his error and get him back on track…but this priest responded with a tweet that is insubordinate and proves that he is not repentant.

    If he will not listen to the Church…..

    He should be set out side so that he understands the severity and seeks to come back into communion with her.

  14. leftycbd says:

    The priest in question was removed as chaplain at Seton Hall University last year. I think it is safe to assume that he was warned by his bishop at the time.

    If that is the case, then the bishop has been charitable. The priest’s continued advocacy of theses causes has now led to a more severe consequence.

  15. robtbrown says:

    Chris Garton-Zavesky says.

    As to the idea of feeling badly that this has happened, may I suggest sadness instead that it is necessary?

    Note from a Grammar Nazi:

    It should be “feeling bad”. “Feeling badly” would mean, e.g., when someone’s hand is numb and cannot feel the difference between, say, hot and cold.

    We need a Papal document on adverbs.

  16. robtbrown says:

    PTK_70 says:

    @Eliane…The confusion comes in when an impressionable 18 year old begins to think that Fr Hall is speaking on behalf of the archbishop or the pope,

    The problem would be when he begins to think that a priest is speaking on behalf of Christ.

  17. robtbrown says:

    slainewe says,

    I may be wrong, but I must give a priest the benefit of the doubt.

    I would not give the benefit of the doubt to the seminary that produced him. It is not unlikely that he was formed in an updated version of Gnosticism.