Vatican lifts suspension of priest who altered prayers at Mass

An Illinois priest who was forced out of his parish by his bishop for improvising prayers during Mass has had … Continued

An Illinois priest who was forced out of his parish by his bishop for improvising prayers during Mass has had his suspension reversed by the Vatican.

The Vatican decided in favor of the Rev. William Rowe on one of three counts, saying Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Ill., had not followed the proper procedure.

The Vatican’s reversal means he can celebrate Mass in another diocese, Rowe said, as long as he has the local bishop’s approval. Others, however, disputed that interpretation of the decree.

In a letter that accompanied the document, Monsignor Antonio Neri, an undersecretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy, said Rowe could only return to celebrating Mass “when you shall have acknowledged your error and formally promise to dispose yourself to adhere to the rights and rubrics of the sacred liturgy set down by the lawful ecclesiastical authorities.”

The Vatican sided with the bishop on two counts: upholding his removal from the parish, and agreeing with the bishop’s withdrawal of the priest’s “faculties” — or his license to practice ministry under church law.

Rowe, 73, clashed with Braxton over altering the liturgical prayers of the Roman Missal — the book of approved prayers, chants and responses used during Mass.

The “liturgical texts themselves are not only a rich source of spiritual nourishment for the faithful but … they express the Communion of the church in a profound manner,” wrote Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, the prefect for the Congregation for the Clergy, in the decree.

“Any departure from these liturgical norms and the approved liturgical texts constitutes an injury to … the life of the Church.”

Braxton did not respond to a request for comment.

In the decree, Piacenza referenced Pope John Paul II’s 2003 encyclical, “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” in which the late pope cited the apostle Paul, who “had to address fiery words to the community of Corinth because of grave shortcomings in their celebration of the Eucharist.”

The ruling can be appealed to the Vatican’s supreme court, and Braxton indicated in a letter that he would appeal the reversal of Rowe’s suspension, Rowe said. Rowe said he would not appeal the rulings against him.

(Tim Townsend writes for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

  • one nation

    Some of these bishops really know how to turn people off.

  • di89

    The bishop is the boss, you follow directions or you get canned. Not too different from other jobs, really.

Read More Articles

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

987_00
An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

shutterstock_134310734
Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.