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none too soon

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 03, 2007

"Because of illness or some other grave reason." Once again, Canon 401-§2 proves itself Joe Catholic's Best Friend, most recently bumping Middlesbrough (UK) Bishop John Patrick Crowley into retirement, ten years ahead of his sell-by date.

In June of 2001, Crowley made headlines in the kind of papers it's a felony to send through the mail when it became known that he was to preside at a Mass celebrating the relationship of two gay activists, ex-Carmelite Martin Pendergast and his partner Julian Filochowski. Eyebrows were raised, booms were lowered, lies put forward. This from the CWN report of the upshot (September 2001):

Bishop Crowley abruptly pulled out of the event on the morning of June 10, after the Daily Telegraph ran a story about the Mass. He explained that he had decided not to be the celebrant because of "misleading" press reports, and added: "I want to make it perfectly clear at the outset that what is being celebrated at this Mass is, as the invitation card indicated, '25 years of friendship and commitment to justice.' It is simply that."

Right. A simple misunderstanding. We all of us "celebrate" our friendships with special anniversary Masses, and the local bishop is almost always happy to drop what he's doing and oblige. One curious point though: most of our friendships, unless they were forged escaping from a prison camp or the like, are hard to date with precision. Clever of Martin and Julian to keep track.

Regrettably, there are those on both sides of the aisle quick to find a bride's blushes in the Filochowski-Pendergast discomfiture. A bishop's word, however, is good enough for me.

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  • Posted by: - May. 04, 2007 4:31 AM ET USA

    At last, Deo Gratias. I wrote to the above bishop in the wake of that scandal and asked him to resign his See. I'm still waiting for his reply. Just a small correction. He was not the local bishop, he had to travel 250 miles for the privilege of offering the Holy Mass in honour of unnatural practices. How many married couples can say that on their 25th wedding anniversary?

  • Posted by: - May. 03, 2007 9:43 AM ET USA

    Hey, now there is another date to celebrate----the happy removal/retirement of Bishop Crowley. I pray that his retirement may be blessed.

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