|Father Wurn is in big trouble with Archbishop Vigneron. Notice the non clercical person in the back wearing a stole. It's not liturgically kosher. Oh my.|
Archbishop blasts Ferndale priest's leading of liberal Mass; orders review of his actionsBy Nira Warikoo - Detroit Free Press - June 12, 2011
The top Catholic leader in Michigan slammed a big liberal Mass today in Detroit, saying it had significant abuses and he ordered a review of a Ferndale priest who led the services before 1,5000 Catholics, a church spokesman said. (If he had condescended to say Mass himself he wouldn't have had to worry.)
Defying Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron, a Catholic priest from Ferndale led a Mass today in Cobo Center that was organized by the American Catholic Council, a controversial umberalla group of liberal Catholics. And dozens of Catholic priests and deacons from metro Detroit attended the Mass, said organizers. (Uh Oh, not good for the AB of Detroit. How many can he afford to actually discipline?)
Rev. Bob Wurm, 78, a retired Catholic priest, presided over the Mass and Eucharistic prayer to some 1,500 assembled inside Cobo Center today. He and others participated despite a strict order from Archbiship Allen Vigneron for priests and deacons to not take part in today's Mass because it was led by groups considered heretical by the Catholic Church and could violate Church law. Vigneron warned in a letter that clergy could be punished and defrocked for participating in the Mass.
Now, the Archdiocese of Detroit said it will conduct a review of the priest’s actions.
“There were several, serious liturgical abuses at that service,” said Ned McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese. “It’s disheartening that a Detroit priest would preside over a service with so many…serious liturgical abuses. There will be — has to be — a careful and thorough review.” (So what were these serious abuses? Ohh, I know, they're an official secret to protect Fr. Wurn's reputation.)
Wurn told the Free Press afterwards he was aware that Archbishiop Allen Vigneron had explicilty warned all priests and deacons to not participate. But Wurm said he's not worried being punished.
"I don't see that happening," Wurm said. "I'm older than he (Vigneron) is."
Wurm criticized Vigneron's letter that told clergy to stay away.
"He was making a big mistake," Wurm said. (In poker this would be 'calling Vigneron's bluff' and raising the stakes.)
Catholics at the conference defended their conference and Mass, saying they are in accordance with the laws and values of Catholicism.
“He didn’t violate Canon law,” John Hushon, of Florida, a lead organizer of the conference, said. “We went right down the straight and narrow.”
The Mass was part of a weekend conference that's drawn some 2,000 liberal Catholics from around the world who are upset at the rightward turn of the Catholic Church. They want lay people to have more say in church decision making. Many also want discussion about women, gay, and married priests, and greater accountability on the issue of child abuse by priests. The conference came on the 35th anniversary of a conference in Detroit led by the late Cardinal John Dearden, former Archbishop of Detroit, a leader seen as progressive by liberal Catholics. To them, he represented the spirit of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, which they say recent leadership has abandoned.
"Too many Catholics feel there is no hope," co-organizer Janet Hauter said during the Mass to the crowd.
Members of the crowd at the Mass all wore stoles, usually only worn by clergy, to symbolize equality and the idea that all Catholics, not just its leaders, represent the Church. On the red stoles, there was a drawing of a dove with the words:
"Come Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love."
(Oh, I bet this sent the Liturgy Police into apoplexy. Should they blow their cover and refuse to wear a stole, or commit liturgical sin for the greater glory of God?)
The liberal conference also adopted day a 10-point of bill of rights and responsibilities that calls for more democratization. Discussions continue tonight and Monday. Participants said this weekend’s conference energized them to go back to individual parishes to fight for change.
“I’m disturbed by what’s taking place,” said Robert Livingston, 72, of Berkley. “The Church is going backwards. It’s more feudal, more authoritative.”
But church officials say that the liberal conference featured speakers who have teachings that violate Catholic doctrine.
A conservative conference endorsed by the Archdiocese, Call To Holiness, was held over the weekend in Livonia and put more of an emphasis on social issues. They said their conference was legitimate, unlike the liberal one, because it was endorsed by the Archbishop and was loyal to Rome.
Speakers at the conservative conference railed against abortion, contraception, yoga and the gay rights movement. (Yoga? Is yoga now up there in the sin pantheon with abortion, gays, and condoms?)
Looks like Archbishop Vigneron has a problem on his hands. What ever will he do. His bluff has been called and the bet raised. Is he enough of a poker player to know when to fold em? This one will be fun to follow. I wondered when he pronounced his intentions before hand if he wasn't setting himself up for more than he wanted, but I guess it's too late now.
Actually I'm still trying to get my head around the yoga thing. I guess the holier than thou at the approved Detroit conference needed something new to get all worked up about. Abortion, and contraception, and gay rights must be kind of stale by now, even for them. Bring on yoga. Wouldn't this be anti Hindu or something?
I wasn't too sure much real action would come out of this conference in Detroit. Progressives are not noted for being actively controversial, Anthony Weiner not withstanding, but maybe when we are pushed to the edges of absurdity we can do more than laugh or scream. It seems to me Vigneron has pushed his priests too close to the edge and they took action. Good for them and good for Fr. Wurn. And I did like the stole idea, no matter how liturgically incorrect such attire is for lay folk.