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Illinois priest resigns, refuses to use new translation

February 06, 2012

An Illinois priest has resigned from active ministry, refusing to accept his bishop’s directive that he must use the new English translation of the Roman Missal.

Father William Rowe admits that he has been “improvising” freely for years, using his own words to replace the language of the Missal. He explains that “I tend to change the words that are written in the book to match what I was talking about, or what a song is about.” When Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville told him that he must follow the new translation, Father Rowe resigned.


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  • Posted by: littleone - Feb. 07, 2012 3:59 PM ET USA

    OH, filioque!! I simply hadn't considered that possibility in AgnesDay's comments . . . thank you!! (toungue firmly planted in cheek) To all who commented, thank you and I appreciate your perspectives, sincerely, including AgnesDay, honestly. Blessings to all as we struggle in this "veil of tears." .

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 07, 2012 3:54 PM ET USA

    Actually, I was referring to the resignation of a priest who would not obey his bishop as a show of personal integrity. It will then be a show of integrity on the part of the bishop to undertake laicization procedings on his behalf.

  • Posted by: DCpa - Feb. 07, 2012 10:44 AM ET USA

    The problem here is a basic one: the Mass is NOT the priest's "show",not even for a supposedly good reason. The priest is there to give himself to Christ's words, Christ's mission and that has to be in unity with the Church Universal and Apostolic. Hate to shock you, Father, but we do not come to Mass to receive YOU. We come to join the sacrifice of Christ. Good for Bishop Braxton!

  • Posted by: Chelle,SFO-MI - Feb. 07, 2012 5:38 AM ET USA

    Good! One less wacky Mass to cringe through.....

  • Posted by: filioque - Feb. 06, 2012 9:30 PM ET USA

    AgnesDay, I assume you are referring to the integrity of the bishop in requiring that a priest present the liturgy, the public prayer of the Church, as precisely that, not his own rendition.

  • Posted by: Pete - Feb. 06, 2012 8:58 PM ET USA

    What ever happened to the vow of obedience? I guess I'm a bit different from some of the other readers who think this type of protest--"...greatest demonstration of personal integrity..." is perfectly acceptable within the Catholic Church. The term "Cafeteria Catholic" seems to come to mind. We really don't enjoy the "freedom" to pick and choose which items of faith we believe. Either we're Roman Catholics of we should go elsewhere!

  • Posted by: littleone - Feb. 06, 2012 8:47 PM ET USA

    Hmmmmm. Is what you are calling "personal integrity" in line with what the Church asks of its priests? It was my understanding that "The Church Universal" was such that no matter where I went, the world over,I could expect to hear the same prayers no matter the language; The same liturgy wherever I attend. When a priest starts "improvising" and changing prayers based on music chosen at Mass,etc., then I don't quite see how we can call this the same liturgy! May God Bless our Bishops.

  • Posted by: Gerry H - Feb. 06, 2012 6:59 PM ET USA

    "Father William Rowe admits that he has been “improvising” freely for years, using his own words to replace the language of the Missal." From the Canadian Ordo: "Creativity and responsibility: "Ad-libbibg" does not lead to the deepening of devotion that well-prepared comments promote. There is a happy medium between being tied down to a prepared text and constant creativity." The Mass is the Sacrifice of the Church, not a priest's performance. This kind of indiscipline is always bad.

  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 06, 2012 6:23 PM ET USA

    Many of our priests need a refresher course in obedience. They have forgotten whose Church it is, and have little loyalty to Christ's representatives in the hierarchy. However, I cringe whenever I hear them giving scandal to the laity by openly criticizing and disobeying the Holy Father. Most of us who work for large organizations either are loyal to those organizations, or we leave, but some of our priests don't know the meaning of loyalty.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Feb. 06, 2012 3:40 PM ET USA

    There's always a new reason to congratulate someone. This is the greatest demonstration of personal integrity I have seen among Catholic progressives. I pray his honesty will bring him back to his ministry in a renewed faith.