The Rev. William C. Hausen thinks of the Roman Catholic Church as an institution of the Middle Ages, an entity that shuns new ideas and contrary positions.
Of course positions contrary to his views will not be allowed in his new church.
“I think the institution of the church has used fear and guilt to manipulate and coerce people into not thinking for themselves,” said Hausen, 65, of Sewickley.
So Hausen is breaking away, risking a pension earned over 40 years as a Catholic priest, to form Christ Hope Ecumenical Catholic Church. Services are to be held starting May 2. The move prompted the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to warn the outspoken priest and his potential Catholic parishioners that leaving the church means excommunication.
…As a pastor at St. James Catholic Church in Sewickley, Hausen on Easter 2002 professed in a fiery homily his opposition to the church barring female priests and marriage for priests. He also told parishioners they should be “pissed off” about the state of the church. He later apologized for using profanity and for voicing his opinions from the pulpit.
Bishop Donald Wuerl quickly reassigned Hausen to Sacred Heart Parish in Shadyside.
The diocese in October placed Hausen on administrative leave. He believes the move was due partly to his battle with alcoholism but also because officials disagreed with his views. Lengwin declined to discuss the decision, but said Hausen has been prohibited from wearing the Roman collar, publicly celebrating the sacraments or presenting himself as a priest in good standing.
It will be a church that will “act on our own informed conscience” and “profess no dogmas,” Hausen said. The church will “reject absolute statements and decrees. Absolute utterances are the weakest form of argument,” he said.
His first decree is that there are no decrees. The first dogma is that there are no dogmas. Absolute utterances are not allowed unless they are about a female priesthood.
Virginia Walker, 65, of Sewickley, was baptized at St. James parish, where Hausen was an assistant pastor for two years. She attended eight years of school and received her first communion there.
“I’m really a St. James girl,” she said.
But on May 2, she’s ready to become a Christ Hope girl, angered by a Catholic church she describes as a monarchy working with antiquated laws.
“I’ve been very unhappy with some of the things going on in the church,” Walker said. “There are a lot of people like me.”
She questions the logic of a church that moved priests accused of sexually assaulting children from parish to parish.
But I guess she is okay with the Bishop moving priests around that are theologically assaulting their parishioners.
“I don’t understand how the Catholic church could have been moving all these priests around who were guilty of terrible things, but they want to excommunicate (Hausen) because he wants to start a church,” she said. “I believe what (Hausen) is doing is reaching out to these people — people who are married and divorced and can’t receive the sacraments.”
They are not barred from the sacrament of reconciliation if they are repentant and remove themselves from a sinful state. The Church does not bar individuals from the acraments, individuals through free will bar themselves from the sacraments. Allowing people who are living a lie and are committing an objectively grave sin to receive the sacrament of communion is not reaching out. Jesus said “go and sin no more” not “carry on.”