Skip to comments.Longtime peace activist removed from ministry after concelebrating Mass with woman priest
Posted on 03/29/2014 5:21:34 AM PDT by NYer
A longtime peace and human rights activist arrested countless times, Franciscan Fr. Jerry Zawada has been removed from public ministry for concelebrating Mass with a woman priest in 2011.
The letter removing the 76-year-old's public priestly faculties -- a copy of which NCR obtained March 21 -- came from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which reviewed documentation related to the Nov. 22, 2011, liturgy Zawada concelebrated with Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janice Sevre-Duszynska.
"Having carefully examined the acts of the case, and the vota of the former Minister General and the Rev. Zawada's Provincial Superior, this Dicastery has decided to impose on Rev. Jerome Zawada, OFM, a life of prayer and penance to be lived within the Queen of Peace Friary in Burlington, Wisconsin," the letter states.
In addition, Zawada cannot present himself in public as a priest or celebrate the sacraments publicly; however, he can concelebrate Mass with other friars at the friary and in private.
"I don't mind the prayer part," Zawada told NCR Monday, "but when they called, when they say that I need to be spending time in penance, well, I'm not going to do penance for my convictions and the convictions of so many others, too."
Fr. John Puodziunas, provincial minister of the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption BVM Province, said he has not yet discussed the letter with Zawada but plans to in the coming weeks. He confirmed the letter removes him from his public priestly ministry but said it hasn't been decided how it will restrict his movement outside the friary. At the same time, he said, "Friaries are not jails."
"I can't imagine us approaching it from a perspective that this would be, 'He's restricted, he cannot leave the friary' type of thing," Puodziunas told NCR. "I think the letter is pretty clear that he's not to act publicly as a priest, which he hasn't done in years anyway."
Zawada has not held a parish or chaplain assignment for years, Puodziunas added, and he agreed following the 2011 liturgy not to act publicly as a priest until the matter received clarity. In June, Zawada will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination.
Speaking from the Wisconsin friary, Zawada said the letter "sent me for a loop," even though he anticipated a response at some point. "But nothing has changed in terms of my own commitment and belief" concerning women's ordination, he said, adding that they have only deepened.
"I do feel strongly in support of women priests and married priests in the Catholic church," he said, adding that he felt compelled to be transparent with his views and that he has learned much from ministers of different denominations.
"I know that they don't think I observe obedience very well through these years, but I have to use my conscience. I have to listen to other people who also speak the voice of God," he said.
Despite receiving the letter from the doctrinal congregation, the still-pugnacious priest took comfort from the pope's supposed remarks in June to the Latin American Conference of Religious, that should such a dispatch come, "Do not worry. Explain whatever you have to explain, but move forward."
"Even Pope Francis told Latin American religious not to worry about the congregation. Well, why should I worry, then?" Zawada asked.
As for what he will do next, Zawada said he plans to take it step by step and would like to visit his family in Indiana during Holy Week. From there, he said he feels "a strong hunger" toward migrants, prisoners and others on the bottom rung of the social ladder -- all groups he also considers "my family."
"Every single one of my dreams at night are dreams about living and sharing life with the poor, with people who are destitute, and I sense I have a strong calling for that," he said.
"I feel ready to move on," he said. "I want to move on and be able to take some risks. And I have to and I'm called to do so."
Zawada received his letter, dated Feb. 19, in early March through Puodziunas, who also sent him a letter. The Vatican letter is addressed to Franciscan Fr. Michael Anthony Perry, an American and the minister general of the Order of Friars Minor, and is signed by Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, an official with the doctrinal congregation.
During a Mass in 1987, Fr. Enrique Cadena spontaneously handed the chalice to pastoral associate Mary Ramerman and asked her to raise it while he elevated the host. Over time, the role of women leaders in the Mass grew, as having the chalice elevated by Mary or Sr. Margie became a regular part of our services, and more liturgical prayers were said by Mary Ramerman. In 1994 Mary was vested with an alb and a banner which hung from her right shoulder, as a sign of her ministry at Corpus Christi.
Fr. Callan did not comply with sanctions imposed and was later excommunicated.
The Catholic church is not a club, or a democracy. It is what it is, and if you don’t like the rules you can always become a Protestant, or if you prefer a heathen.
Or a Christian.
A few years back, my granddaughter thought it was cool to play basketball with the boys when she was 10....then the boys grew.....and my granddaughter said...."You were right grandma....I am not their equal". And she joined the girls team.
Grandma was 10 once, too.
God made us different. Each of us have different strengths and weaknesses.
-— Roman Catholic Womanpriest -—
Is that one word or two? Anyway, ain’t no such thing.
Yes, the priest should follow his conscience, and if it’s pointing to the exit door, well...
I know the church well. the bishop should have replaced him immediately. He ruined this wonderful church. I graduated for the school which was next door to the church. That was more than 50 years ago.
Walk women into an abortion clinic...no excommunication
Support homosexual marriage...no excommunication
Have anything to do with women priests.....GONE!
I’ll take what I can get. Defending the integrity of the priesthood is arguably more important than those other issues — which is not to minimize them inthe least.
If you’re any kind of Christian, thank the Catholic Church.
“But nothing has changed in terms of my own commitment and belief” concerning women’s ordination, he said, adding that they have only deepened.
I know nothing about the Church’s rules regarding misconduct among clergy, but it seems that this guy is begging to be derocked.
This blasphemous Mass occurred in 2011, and this clown was not disciplined until 2014? What’s up with that?
Translation: Apostate Communist.
“I know that they don’t think I observe obedience very well through these years, but I have to use my conscience. I have to listen to other people who also speak the voice of God,” he said.
I guess it doesn’t bother his conscience that he broke the vow of obedience that he made at his ordination.
You know or you should know that the very first Christians were Catholic and we are still Christian today.
Please ask God’s forgiveness for your calumny.
And the very first ‘pope’ rejected Jesus three times.
The first Christians were well Christian, followers of Christ
Anything else is prideful, please ask God’s forgiveness for your calumny and prideful ways.
And Jesus forgave him and asked Peter to feed his sheep.
Please ask Gods forgiveness for your calumny and prideful ways.
I’ll pray for you too.
There’s being under scrutiny, and then there’s after the scrutiny is done, where they tell you it’s time to retire.
Catholics were the only Christians for over one thousand five hundred years when the protestant revolution took place....that's a long time for you to accuse them of being in error....
ummm yeah, try again