Five of the nine Catholic priests who signed the pro-gay Phoenix Declaration no longer are on active duty in the Phoenix Diocese.
Three of those who have left active duty say they were forced out by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted. One other is seriously ill, and the fifth resigned on his own, in part because of philosophical differences with the bishop. They all signed a 2003 declaration endorsing civil rights for gays and lesbians that was endorsed by clergy members from several Christian denominations.
Philosophical differences? Too bad Arius didn’t have a press agent to make heresy sound better.
The ousted men are among at least 11 Catholic priests who have left active ministry since Olmsted became bishop in late 2003. Their departures further exacerbate a shortage of priests in the diocese, which has several parish vacancies.
Well it is only fitting that once you depart from the faith that you also depart from the active priesthood.
The Rev. Fred Adamson, vicar general and second in command of the diocese, said the departures were not related to the Phoenix Declaration or any other single reason. "Each one of these is a different, individual case," he said.
Why not? Why are most diocese so reluctant to admit that actions have consequences. Now there are probably individual reasons for each case, but signing the declaration and not repenting of the action should be cause enough for dismissal.
But some church insiders believe the recent ousters are an indication that Olmsted is cracking down on liberal-minded priests, and possibly all of the Phoenix Declaration signers. Olmsted is known for his orthodox ways. He has put a stop to what he considers liturgical violations, has brought back Mass in Latin and has written three articles about church teachings against homosexuality.
"I believe he wants to purify the church," said the Rev. Ken Van de Ven, a declaration signer who was forced to resign as pastor of Glendale’s St. James in March.
The writer of this article must be aspiring for working for the Boston Globe or perhaps Newsday. Inclusions of unnecessary phrases such as "what he considers to be liturgical violations" and the hand wringing in "further exacerbate a shortage of priests." Allowing the Latin Mass and writing three articles about the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is suppose to be a negative in this writers opinion.
he Phoenix Declaration had 169 signers, including the nine Catholics, and was put out in January 2003 by an organization called No Longer Silent, which includes as members several Catholic priests and Protestant clergy.
The bishop at the time, Thomas J. O’Brien, took no position on the matter. But when Olmsted took over, he asked the priests who signed the document to remove their names in late April 2004, four months after he arrived.
This of course was the hit-and-run Bishop who was in charge of producing the incredibly mistaken "Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers." so it is no wonder that Bishop Olmsted has had to work to counteract what was going on in the Diocese of Phoenix.
"It appears this bishop is punishing some priests for conduct that his predecessor, Bishop O’Brien, felt did not warrant any remedial action," Cunningham said. "Expressions of independent thought or progressive writing seems to be a capital offense." [Source]
Using Bishop O’Brien as a standard for the approval of conduct is a pretty laughable standard. What is it with some people’s love affair of the word independent in regards to Church teaching? The National Catholic Reporter proudly announces itself as "The Independent Newsweekly." Using the word independent in this context is like an anti-imprimatur. The usage guarantees departure from Church teaching will be found within or adhered to. Independence from truth is actually slavery.