Fr. Joseph Patrick Breen, pastor of St. Edward's Catholic Church for 35 years, is a man of many contradictions. Fr. is a proud and noted advocate of women deacons, married priests, artificial birth control and divorce.
This article by the Tennesean has the following to say:
At 71, Nashville priest Joseph Breen doggedly continues a years-long quest to challenge church teachings he says are driving more and more of the faithful away from the Catholic Church.
Officially "gagged" once for his outspoken advocacy for married priests, Breen has remained undaunted. He hand-delivered a letter to the Vatican last month asking the pope and top officials to revisit church teachings on married priests, artificial birth control, divorce and women deacons.
"There is a serious disconnect between the hierarchy and the people," said Breen, pastor of St. Edward Church in south Nashville. "And that is causing the church great harm. These are not my views. They're the views of ordinary Catholics. American bishops need to start listening to the people; otherwise they're going to lose them."
I think we have managed to clone Andrew Greeley. The shame of it is that Fr.'s silencing was lifted 2 short years later.
Breen's Bishop has the following to say:
Far from being out of touch with the needs of ordinary Catholics, the teachings provide a steady guide on morals and faith for Catholics, however challenging they may be to live by, according to the Most Rev. David Choby. He is bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tennessee, who oversees 51 parishes in 38 counties, including Breen's.
"I think the church as an institution understands human nature better than any other institution in our society," Choby said. "Taking a position on faith and morals that does not coincide with what all people think does not mean that the church is out of touch."
The article fails to say what pastoral action the Bishop will take against Fr. Breen's heresy. But I am sure there is something very, very imminent.
Then last month, Breen celebrated the 45th anniversary of his ordination in Rome with fellow seminarians, including Cardinal Bill Levada, [Cardinal Bill as a nice ring to it, doesn't it?] who now heads the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which sets policies on faith and morals for Catholics worldwide.
Breen handed Levada a letter that said there was consensus among Catholics for married priests, artificial birth control, a greater acceptance of divorced people and women deaconesses.
"I ask you to prayerfully consider and reflect on the concerns of the people of the church," he wrote in closing.
So, I think we can safely discount the theory that priests like Fr. Breen are acting without Rome's knowledge. Fr. Breen made his views quite clear, with no apparent concern for inquisitional action (more's the pity)to Cardinal Levada.
"There's burnout," he said. "Many of us are quite old, and if there were other priests available, priests would be able to retire."
It's nice to know that in spite of burnout and being overextended, Fr. Breen still has time to exercise his ministry among the entertainment industry.
According to this link, Fr. Breen is well known fixture and has a unique point of view. Ain't that the truth. No doubt Fr. Breen's liberal views are very reassuring to the people of good will among the entertainment industry.
I see that it escapes Fr. Breen that the shortage of vocations and the limiting of family size has everything to do with birth control, whether artificial or natural.
On birth control, Breen said, "I really think if the bishops had two or three children, they'd be better informed on what constitutes great parenthood. Catholics have already examined their conscience and determined (birth control) is a necessary part of parenthood."
No argument from me that the Bishops need a refresher course on what constitutes "great parenthood" in their capacity of the father of the diocese but birth control is such an admission of failure. It is the failure of the parent that makes one resort to birth control. It is the admission that I don't really love my kids enough, not enough to have another. Really it is a passive form of agression against the lives that have been entrusted to you. And a passive form of aggression against your spouse and an utter rejection of the lifelong commitment you have entered into.
And very strange words from a man who was raised in a family of nine children.
But that's what all these views are- a rejection of authority, a rejection of right ordered living, a rejection of commitment and faithfulness, a rejection of the reverence and respect due to the clergy.
Imagine going to Confession to a priest who holds these views. What would you confess? Oh yeah, being wealthy if you're not on welfare, voting Republican, being judgmental, lacking uncompassionate for the poor and the sinner - because if you are not affirming them you are engaging in hate, chauvinism, destroying the environment by having too many children. I suppose there are plenty of things to confess after all.