Sunday, June 12, 2011

Archdiocese of Detroit responds to defiant priest's celebration of Mass at ACC dissent-fest

Photo: Susan Tusa/Detroit Free Press
Fr. Robert Wurm, 78, celebrates an unauthorized Mass at Cobo Hall in Detroit
which closed the American Catholic Council's conference
UPDATE: I have made another post which contains a more extensive audio interview with Archdiocese of Detroit spokesman that Al Kresta had the other day. I've provided some pertinent quotes in the body of that post, as well.

The Archbishop of Detroit was quick to react through a spokesman to the liturgical abuses which took place at the Mass which closing the American Catholic Council's dissent-fest.

This post has been updated, and may undergo further updates.
The Archdiocese of Detroit website is not yet updated, but Niraj Warikoo of the Detroit Free Press has reaction about the Mass in which organizers claim dozens of priests and deacons attended.  (Note: There are a number of photos in a slideshow in that link, with captions if you hover your mouse over them.  The article continues to be updated with additional info and pics, so you may want to revisit it).  Niraj writes:
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 1,500 Catholics, a church spokesman said.

“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.”
The Detroit News has a similar quote attributed to McGrath, but it goes one step further, saying it will also potentially be reviewed by the Vatican.

Photo: Susan Tusa/Detroit Free Press
Left, Suzanne Thiel, president of Roman Catholic Women Priest USA,
from Portland, Oregon, and Juanita Cordero,
from Los Gatos, CA participate in the liturgy celebration.

The celebrant, Fr. Wurm is a resident of Detroit.   The Free Press article goes on to read:
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.

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.”

According to the Detroit News, he is a Benedictine whose last assignment before he retired in 2004, was St. James in Ferndale.

Janet Hauter, the co-chair of the American Catholic Conference, said her group followed the rules and did not use a diocesan priest for the Mass. She said Wurm can't be censured or defrocked because is from the Benedictine order of priests.

Do they seriously think that a member of a religious order has got some kind of diplomatic immunity which hinders the Church from disciplining it's priests?

While Fr. Wurm is a Benedictine, his incardination in that order is a separate issue from the faculties given to him to celebrate Mass.  From what little is provided in the article, it seems that he had faculties here in the Archdiocese of Detroit back in 2004 when he retired.  Those can be revoked, at least for celebrating Mass.  Further, he is not out of reach of disciplinary action by the Holy See.  Some background on incardination and faculties can be found in this post on the excommunicated and laicized ex-priest, Marek Bozek.

Here is video from local ABC affiliate, WXYZ.  In the article that accompanies the video, they quoted Archbishop Vigneron from a recent statement:

“The American Catholic Council portrays itself as something other than what it is. In effect it advocates for what it calls ‘change’ by putting Catholic sacraments, church teachings and even the sanctity of life up to a vote. That’s not even close to liberal or left-leaning thinking; it’s beyond a bridge too far.”

Please pray for these misguided Catholics, and for the unity of the Church. 

More to come.



I hope to have a photopost up soon on the Call to Holiness Conference which took place with the blessing of Archbishop Vigneron, and from today's Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at Assumption Grotto.

I know.... I'm really behind.  I still have Easter photos to edit, among others.  The last two months have just been packed.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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