Priest unafraid to publicly dissent

Priest unafraid to publicly dissent

A Nashville priest, who is good buddies with Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, publicly advocates for the end to priestly celibacy in the Latin rite and is lionized for it in the local papers.

Fr. Joseph Breen was once briefly silenced for his outspoken dissent from Church teaching, but that hasn’t stopped him.

Officially “gagged” once for his outspoken advocacy for married priests, Breen has remained undaunted. He hand-delivered a letter to the Vatican last month asking the pope and top officials to revisit church teachings on married priests, artificial birth control, divorce and women deacons. All are barred by the Roman Catholic Church and have been for centuries. But Breen says he remains driven by his belief that the teachings are out of touch with ordinary Catholics, whom he has seen leave Midstate churches for years.

... In 1993, Breen was asked by former Nashville Bishop Edward Kmiec to sign a pledge refraining from advocating that the church’s celibacy rule be changed to ease a priest shortage. The prohibition came shortly after Breen had mailed a letter to Catholic bishops outlining his views. The year before, 780 members of Breen’s church signed a petition to the pope with the same request. The gag order was quietly lifted two years later, and Breen continued his fight, writing to Catholic newspapers and talking with fellow priests.

I asked this before and I’ll ask it again. Why, oh why do bishops allow such poisonous priests to continue in ministry? What good does it do to have priests who openly dissent from the Church’s teaching continue to lead their congregations astray by preaching falsehood and rebellion?

Don’t tell me that it’s because of a priest shortage. It is not preferable that people be taught error than to have to share a priest and perhaps not have regular access to the sacraments.

Meanwhile the bishops continue to gather in their biannual meetings and discuss why so many people are abandoning their faith. Maybe because the people are being taught the lesson that the faith isn’t worth fighting for, especially when even their priests don’t believe it.

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