WESTBOROUGH, Mass. –A Catholic priest in this town was temporarily pulled from the pulpit after refusing to support the state bishops’ drive against gay marriage.
The Rev. George Lange of St. Luke the Evangelist was replaced last weekend by Bishop Robert McManus of the Worcester Diocese, who led the Saturday evening Mass and the Sunday morning Mass at the church.
The move came after Lange and his associate pastor, the Rev. Stephen Labaire, posted an item in the Sept. 11 church bulletin stating their opposition to a proposed Constitutional amendment that would ban on gay marriage. The state’s Catholic bishops are leading a signature drive to get the amendment on the 2008 ballot.
The bulletin item read: "The priests of this parish do not feel that they can support this amendment. They do not see any value to it and they see it as an attack upon certain people in our parish, namely those who are gay."
A spokesman for McManus, Raymond Delisle, told the MetroWest Daily News of Framingham that Lange and Labaire remain in place at the church.
Delisle said the bishop’s intention was not to rebuke the priests, but to "present the church’s teaching on the subject."
But parishioner Cindy Hodgdon said her church leaders’ "hands were slapped very publicly."
"Bishop McManus told us that Father George ‘made a mistake’ and ‘should not have done that,’" she said. [Source]
Most of the time that I hear statements from bishop’s spokesman I hope that they are just trying to put a happy face on what their bishop really said. And when did rebuke become a dirty word? Rebuke comes before the word repent in the dictionary and in life as well.