Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rogue Milwaukee Priest Faces Excommunication

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
A Milwaukee-area Catholic priest sanctioned this year for indirectly violating the seal of the confessional now faces excommunication after launching a new parish with a breakaway diocese a few miles away.

Father David Verhasselt, once a popular priest at St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Oconomowoc, was named pastor this month at the newly founded Holy Name of Jesus Evangelical Catholic Church in nearby Ashippun, taking at least some of his former parishioners with him.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee said Verhasselt will be given an opportunity to reverse his decision and would incur "immediate excommunication" if he does not. ...

Founded in 1995, the Evangelical Church has 17 parishes or missions in the United States and Ireland, according to spokesman Bill Morton.

It bills itself as "a welcoming community of faith rooted in the Catholic tradition," but it breaks with Rome in key areas, including the ordination of women, allowing married and gay clergy, and in offering the sacrament of marriage to same-sex couples.

Sounds like the Episcopalians. One the one hand, it's very sad, but on the other, at least Fr. Verhasselt is getting the heck out, instead of working from within to undermine and confuse, something that goes on more often than some would like to admit in this Archdiocese, which is still waiting for a thorough housecleaning.

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