I note on the site of CMR that the priest in the Diocese of Nashville, Fr. Joseph Breen, who posted a video some time ago containing his own dissident statements.
The diocesan bishop, H.E. David Choby, gave Fr. Breen an opportunity to correct his statements. Fr. Breen decided to accept that opportunity in a positive way.
Now I found also on CMR that Fr.
Here is the official statement by the Diocese of Nashville with my emphases and comments:
Father Breen retracts statements, apologizes
In letters to Pope Benedict XVI and to St. Edward Parish, Father Joe Pat Breen has retracted and apologized for statements made in an internet video and subsequent media interviews that Catholics are not obligated to follow teachings of the Catholic Church as defined by the pope and bishops. In addition, he has agreed to no longer voice his private concerns publically or in the media as required by a document presented to him by Bishop Edward Kmiec [back in] in 1993. [This was not a new problem.]
The letter to the parish also indicated that he expects to continue as pastor of St. Edward Parish until Dec. 31, 2011.
Father Breen has shared the content of those letters with Bishop David Choby and the letter to the parish will be distributed in the next few days.
Bishop Choby offered Father Breen the choice of retracting and apologizing for his statements or face the process set forth for the removal of a pastor under canon law when a ministry becomes harmful or ineffective. [A canonical process.]
The offer came during a meeting on Aug. 19, a little more than two weeks after a video interview with Father Breen posted on the St. Edward Parish website received worldwide attention. It was the bishop’s second meeting with Father Breen about his statements contradicting Church teaching. Bishop Choby asked Father Breen to remove the video from the parish site on Aug. 6. The video was removed but copies remain available on the internet and have been viewed more than 14,000 times. [I would say that constitutes a potential for scandal.]
In the letter to the parish, Father Breen said “the meeting was cordial and fruitful.”
The terms of the 1993 ban put in place by Bishop Edward Kmiec prohibit him from making statements that disagree with the authentic magisterium of the Church. [Once upon a time priests were required to take or renew the Oath Against Modernism when they were ordained or accepted an office. It is sad thing when a priest needs to be prohibited in this a way.]
Although the process to remove a pastor has not been used in recent memory in the Diocese of Nashville, it is used with some regularity in the worldwide Church.
“The role of pastor is particularly important as the leader and teacher of a parish,” Bishop Choby said. “The office is a direct link to the authority of the Church as instituted by Christ in the apostles and handed down through the popes and bishops. A pastor holds a public office charged with administering, teaching, and sanctifying the local community of the faithful. The Church expects him to work in unity with its authentic teaching as handed down through the pope and the bishops. It is simply wrong to state, as Father Breen has repeatedly, that one’s conscience frees an individual from the truth revealed and instilled in Church teaching. A deep understanding of Church teaching is, in fact essential to a fully formed conscience, and helps guide an individual in making the distinction between one’s opinions and a decision based soundly on the foundation of a rightly formed conscience. One who chooses to act contrary to Church teaching acts outside of the revealed truth of God’s will.”
“In recognition of his many years of good work among the people of his parish, I want to give Father Breen every opportunity to correct the errors in his teaching, and gracefully enter retirement,” Bishop Choby said, “but in any case, his recent public remarks could not stand.”
I am very glad that the meeting between Bp. Choby and Fr. Breen was both "cordial" and "fruitful".
I am very glad that there is an opportunity to make the actual teaching of the Church clear about the role of conscience and the role of the Church’s Magisterium and the role of her pastors.
Sure, some people will now gripe and mumble against the meanie meanie bishop. Perhaps some will perhaps even be egged on to grumble, but they will be egged on in private.
What began as something very negative, has the chance to wind up being positive.