Monday, December 10, 2007

Name that priest...

Can you think of a priest who said, "...since I became a priest all that I do is valid. I don't have the authority of the bishop, but I think I have authority from God."?

Those who were thinking of Marek Bozek, hired priest of St Stanislaus Kostka church in St Louis, wold be correct in that he said something very similar to this. However, I was thinking of another wayward priest as reported in today's California Catholic Daily (CCD) report.

And similar to the St Stanislaus issue, the case being discussed by CCD centers around a 'property' dispute:
A state appeals court on Dec. 3 upheld a superior court ruling that the San Diego diocese holds title to land claimed by a group of parishioners in the Pauma Valley. For over 30 years, Centro Guadalupano de Pauma Valley, a group of mostly Mexican parishioners, have been meeting at a chapel they built on the property.

San Diego Bishop Robert Brom had assigned a priest, Fr. Paul Marconi, to serve at the mission, until the parishioners decided they would not obey they bishop's desire to build a bigger facility at another location:

In 2001, when, according to the Reporter, Brom told Marconi to cease saying Mass at the chapel, the Guadalupanos found a Peruvian priest, Fr. Abel Quispe, to staff the chapel. Though the bishop told Quispe to leave the diocese, he has remained. Local parish bulletins, said the Reporter, published warnings that since Quispe had no faculties in the diocese, some of the sacraments he offered might not be valid. But Quispe told the Reporter, "ever since I became a priest all that I do is valid. I don't have the authority of the bishop, but I think I have authority from God." He said he would leave the chapel when the bishop sent another priest to replace him.

Rebellion and disoebedience look and sound the same everywhere, it seems..."I will not serve!" is the common motto - the rallying cry - of those who reject the lawful authority of the local ordinary and the Church.

Although this report is primarily about the property rights being adjudicated by the courts, I could not help but be reminded of the souls whose eternal salvation is placed in jeopardy by their own actions and the actions of disobedient priests, and where a number of the sacraments are invalid.

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