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Priest defies archbishop, presides at illicit Mass at dissidents' conference

June 13, 2011

A Benedictine priest faces possible disciplinary action after he presided at a Mass celebrated for a conference of Catholic dissidents in Detroit, defying a warning by Archbishop Allen Vigneron.

Father Robert Wurm presided at the Eucharistic liturgy organized by the American Catholic Council on June 13. Archbishop Vigneron had ordered priests of the Detroit archdiocese not to take part in liturgical ceremonies at the conference, explaining that he had reason to expect “serious liturgical abuses.” The archbishop’s fears were realized when many members of the congregation wore stoles, indicating that they were—or thought themselves to be—acting as priestly ministers during the Mass.

Father Wurm told reporters that he was not worried about a disciplinary response, because as a member of a religious order he is not directly subject to the archbishop’s authority. He also pointed out that at the age of 78 he is already retired from active ministry.

A spokesman for the archbishop said that the priest’s participation in the ceremony would be “reviewed by the Detroit archdiocese and, potentially, by the Vatican.”


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  • Posted by: kmbold - Jun. 13, 2011 11:22 PM ET USA

    Faces "possible" disciplinary action? Nothing less than doing time in a dungeon is sufficient discipline.

  • Posted by: voxfem - Jun. 13, 2011 5:58 PM ET USA

    Essentially: I've got nothing to lose so I don't care what I do. Nevermind how it affects the faithful. Wow.

  • Posted by: - Jun. 13, 2011 5:54 PM ET USA

    I will certainly not debase myself to the extent of making excecrable puns on Fr. Wurm's name and I call upon all who read this blog to stand with me.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Jun. 13, 2011 5:35 PM ET USA

    Fr. Wurm, does, however, possess an immortal soul that, sooner rather than later, will face judgment before Almighty God. I doubt he thinks much about it. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to remind him.