Bishop Victor Galeone of Florida’s St. Augustine diocese has punished a priest who has joined the “Rent-A-Priest” group and plans to get married. While the newspaper says Fr. Rouville Fisher is being excommunicated, I’m not sure if that’s the actual punishment being handed down or whether he’s simply being suspended from ministry.
The nature of Fisher’s crime includes his disobedience of the bishop by “offering his priestly services outside of and apart from the Diocese of St. Augustine and in violation of the directives of the bishop.” In addition, he has announced his plans to get married.
Fisher, 57, was previously married, divorced, presumably had the marriage annulled, and was ordained in 2002. Fisher was removed from his last parish assignment in June 2005 when the diocese learned of his actions. Curious… He says he’s planning to marry. When did he meet his future bride? When did their relationship begin? And in a rhetorical vein, does Fisher understand the meaning of “vow” and “oath”?
Listen, also, to Fisher’s own description of himself and his “calling.”
He said he has been called “through the laying on of hands” to minister to the faithful and, now, to those like him who are in conflict with the church hierarchy. “That’s what I see my ministry as – reaching out to those who have been disenfranchised,” Fisher told the Times-Union on Monday.
… “I felt it [ordination] was a gift as well as a call and is an integral part of who I am,” Fisher said.
Once again, we find a dissenter for whom it’s all about him. I’m morbidly curious as to the quality of his Masses and his homilies. If there is a valid complaint about the Novus Ordo in English as it has been celebrated over the past 35 years, it is that it puts the celebrant at the center of attention and on a pedestal, a dangerous place for any man with a fragile ego prone to self-puffery. I don’t know if that’s what caused Fisher to go off the reservation, but in any case it seems to me that when a priest “crashes and burns” so soon after ordination that an eye should be given to the ordination and formation process.