Gay Priest Already Fired from Job, Now Suspended from Ministry by Archdiocese

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Fr. Warren Hall

Fr. Warren Hall, an openly gay priest who was fired from Seton Hall University last year, has now been suspended from ministry in the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, reported Religion News Service.

Hall was informed that his priestly faculties were being revoked because, according to Newark Archbishop John Myers, his actions were”confusing the faithful.” These actions have included support for unofficial LGBT events at World Youth Day this past July, along with support for PFLAG New Jersey, Gays Against Guns, and New Ways Ministry.

Hall has also publicly supported fired lesbian educator Kate Drumgoole, whom Paramus Catholic High School in New Jersey fired last January after her same-gender marriage became known to school officials.

Hall himself was fired as the Seton Hall’s director of campus ministry in May 2015 after posting a NOH8 Campaign photo of himself on social media. He later came out as a gay man, and was assigned to assist at two parishes in New Jersey. Hall commented to RNS:

” ‘The problem is that we have an archbishop who doesn’t believe you can be gay and Catholic. . .Since my firing from Seton Hall and coming out last year I felt an obligation to use this as an opportunity to more directly let people know of God’s love for all of us and that gay Catholics should stay in the church and work for more wider acceptance. . .I do not feel I ever preached or taught anything contrary to the Gospel (and) this is true from my entire 27 years of ordination.’ “

Myers, who turned 75 this year, has already submitted his resignation letter to Pope Francis.  Additionally, the Vatican had already assigned a coadjutor to assist him in administering the archdiocese.  Both Myers and the Archdiocese are defending their suspension of Fr. Hall as consistent with a priest’s vow of obedience.

The following is the statement of New Ways Ministry’s Executive Director Francis DeBernardo on the suspension of Fr. Warren Hall:

“By all accounts, Fr. Warren Hall has been a caring, compassionate, and faithful Catholic priest. But there’s one more important adjective to describe him: courageous. He has courageously stood by the LGBT community, taking personal risks to let them know that God loves them unconditionally.

“Fr. Hall first leaped into the pages of the news in 2015 when he was fired from his chaplaincy at Seton Hal University. His supposed crime: on Facebook, he supported the NOH8 campaign, an LGBT equal rights crusade with a strong anti-bullying focus.

“Later he took a more personal and courageous step by coming out publicly as a gay man. Throughout the media blitz that ensued, he also continually professed his love for the Church and for his priesthood. Fr. Hall has ministered to and with LGBT people in the New York City metro region, being a sign of hope and welcome to many.

“Archbishop Myers’ decision to remove Fr. Hall’s faculties exposes a weakness: by doing so, the archbishop is saying that his church fears associating with LGBT people—a fear which is contrary to the gospel. Myers’ authoritarian style, evidenced by his years as archbishop of Newark, is one that is on the wane in the U.S. church, and around the globe.

“Fr. Hall’s ministry with LGBT people is in line with the Church’s own authentic teaching that its ministers must reach out to all those who have been marginalized. He is in line with Pope Francis’ more pastoral and welcoming approach towards LGBT people.

“It is painful that Fr. Hall has had to suffer such an unjust penalty from an archbishop who is soon to be replaced because of his looming retirement. Our God, who is a God of surprises and blessings, surely has some good in store for this priest who has been such a good and faithful servant to the Church community.

“New Ways Ministry is proud that earlier this summer Fr. Hall agreed to lead a workshop on the topic of gay men in the priesthood and religious life at our organization’s Eighth National Symposium on Catholicism and LGBT People, to be held in Chicago, April 28-30, 2017. Because of this latest ordeal, his presentation will further show his strength of character, faithfulness to God, and devoted service to those shunned by dictatorial Church leaders.’

To DeBernardo’s statement I would add that there does not seem to be much good in removing a faithful priest from celebrating the Sacraments or being a positive face for the church in Newark.

–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry

 

 

23 Responses to Gay Priest Already Fired from Job, Now Suspended from Ministry by Archdiocese

  1. miriamtf says:

    Thank you, Bob, for the sad news. It, of course, urges us to pray and work more.

  2. May God bless, fortify and guide this faithful and exemplary priest and servant, Fr Warren Hall.

    Fr Hall, please continue to be a light of Christ’s unwavering and unconditional love for all, even to those who are persecuting you.

  3. Gary Cox says:

    what a loss for the church! How much more? is it worth it? Would God really care if I went to another church who accepted me?

    • Kathleen says:

      Alot of us care Gary. Hang in their brother, you’re not alone. These actions by authoritarian bishops to silence Catholics priests and laity who support the lgbt community will be exposed for their total lack of love and human kindness. We can stand together in the comfort of God’s love and be spiritually strengthened to speak up against the cruel gatekeeper bishops who are failing us miserably.

      .p.s.I think Lynne1946 has the right idea for us to start writing more letters to Pope Francis.

  4. lynne1946 says:

    I plan to write to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, in protest of this man’s treatment. He should be allowed to minister as a Catholic priest as he has done all along. This sort of thing is just wrong!

    • Kathleen says:

      Good idea Lynne. We all have to try and do something to support Fr. Hall. Do you know a sure way to send mail to Pope Francis?. Last time I tried sending Pope Francis a letter, I Didn’t receive any response.I don’t even know if anyone even received the letter i sent. Make sure if you send a letter, request a return signature receipt so you’ll at least know that someone received it.

      • Barry Blackburn says:

        Once I sent a letter to the Pope (actually the Vatican about Jewish Christian dialogue asking for an encyclical on the Holocaust) I sent a courteous letter to the nuncio and he forwarded it in his “diplomatic pouch”. The nuncio replied to my letter. If you ask the nuncio to send it to the pope he just might do so–perhaps he’s even obligated to do so. It’s a courteous way to respect channels and maybe even get results! Good Luck–you speak for all of us in the LGBTQ community as well.

  5. Friends says:

    Question: under Canon Law, could another bishop, in another more welcoming diocese (such as our own Diocese of Springfield here in Massachusetts), commission and authorize Fr. Hall to come and serve in that other diocese? The new Bishop of Springfield has shown himself to be moderate and diplomatic on GLBT issues — and we’d love to have Fr. Hall on staff at the UMass Cardinal Newman Center. There’s a shortage of priests, and Newman could definitely use the help! He’d be a perfect match for this vibrant academic community.

  6. […] via Gay Priest Already Fired from Job, Now Suspended from Ministry by Archdiocese — Bondings 2.0 […]

  7. paularuddy says:

    Would the other priests of the diocese support Fr. Hall? If many spoke out together would it call upon the Archbishop to change his policy toward gay priests? Are the questions of being gay and being celibate sufficiently distinguished?

  8. FRANTHONY Borka says:

    Being from there, I have heard that Myers is not a nice person. I left there and joined an independent Catholic Church where most of the Clergy were gay. So we’re most of the people.

  9. Paula Mattras says:

    “Good and faithful servant” would summarize Father Hall’s dedication to – and love of – his priestly vocation. I am wondering why the hierarchy hasn’t held a mandatory meeting with medical and psychological professionals in this field, as well as LGBTQ’s and their parents, to learn more about human nature. We only have one lifetime to help make things right. Let’s not squander it.

  10. Barry Blackburn says:

    Father Hall’s courage has come with a painful cost. This article/profile by Bob Shine is excellent. Thank You Bob for this! We can only trust that Fr. Halls fidelity to the Gospel in being Faithful to himself and to our LGBTQ community will reap God’s Blessings albeit painfully hidden now. Fr. Hall’s trust in God is both a prophetic sign and a leaven of God’s presence in our LGBTQ struggles in the Church.

  11. Sharon Willey says:

    The coadjutor did not stay in that position in Newark for very long. He was sent to St. Paul/Minneapolis to be an administrator after the resignation of an archbishop and auxiliary bishop there and was later elevated to Archbishop of that Archdiocese. There are several bishops/archbishops that are past, at, or nearing retirement age across the United States. Let us pray for kinder souls to be their replacements.

  12. John Hilgeman says:

    “The Rev. Warren Hall said he was notified by phone on Wednesday (Aug. 31) that Newark Archbishop John Myers, an outspoken conservative who has submitted his retirement papers to Pope Francis, says Hall’s actions are ‘confusing the faithful.’”

    Reminds me of the parable of the Good Shepherd. “When he has let out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. But a stranger they sill not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

    Perhaps the faithful – the sheep – are confused by the voice of those who don’t speak with the voice of Jesus, not by those who speak with his voice. It sounds like the people with whom this priest was working, and the people he was defending, were not confused. Rather the voice of the bishop sends a confusing message that certain people are unacceptable and are second class and should be discarded.

  13. Larry says:

    I hope that Pope Francis will not take 5 years as he did in the Dominican Republic to send Myers away to his million dollar plus hot tub house. Leaving these toxic clerics in their jobs only causes more damage.

  14. Thomas Smith says:

    Fr. Hall is not “confusing” the Faithful. He’s enlightening them. It’s Myers who’s confused about the meaning of unconditional love.

  15. Pat D says:

    There is a segment of our society which cannot believe slavery ever existed. How could a civilized nation and Christian religion tolerate such oppression? Like the Crusades, the holocaust & pedophilia, which the Church has attempted to disguise, the issue and intolerance regarding the issue of gender identity will also cease to exist for many in a subsequent generation. Until then there will be those people, particularly my generation, born 1935, who adamantly reject the LGBT life-style and whole-heartedly support Archbishop John Myers actions. Many of the clergy, particularly Bishops, feel the same. But there are many who do not!
    How was Fr. Warren Hall “confusing the faithful”? First of all, Fr. Hall was being transparent, inclusive and attempting to provide enlightenment to fellow Catholics that all people, regardless of their gender, are welcomed by Jesus. He never preached anything that was contrary to what Jesus has said in the Good News in the 4 Gospels. What would possess a retiring archbishop from taking such drastic action of firing a priest who did not violate his vow of celibacy?
    I recognize that unfortunately a Bishop has supreme authority within their Diocese. But this type of action should have the approval of the Vatican. At least the Vatican should have been consulted. I sincerely believe Pope Francis when He said, “Who am I to Judge?” The Pope or Papal Nuncio needs to comment on this issue. Otherwise, it will be an implicit approval, whether consulted or not.
    Those clergy who do not condone the archbishop’s actions, condemnation and intolerance, but share Fr. Hall’s caring, compassionate and courageous support of the LGBT community need to be heard, NOW! At least they need to listen and learn that those brothers and sisters who wish to enter into a loving relation with someone of the same gender should have the freedom to do so. And if they wish to follow Jesus together, then the Church should welcome them to do so. The Pope needs to put some substance behind His “Who am I to judge?” Evidentially, some Pope will!

  16. Al Martino says:

    This is very sad and shocking. In a year that we are called to mercy, to dismiss a faithful servant of Jesus Christ because of his ministry to a people who have been led from Christ rather than to him by so many reinforces the fact that the church has much work to be done. If it is the true one church of Our Lord and savior, it needs to play the role in embracing ALL of God’s children as God made them.

  17. […] has a notably negative record on LGBT issues. Last week, he suspended Fr. Warren Hall from priestly ministry, having fired him last year from directing Campus Ministry at Seton Hall […]

  18. […] of Guidance and women’s basketball coach is now suing the school and the archdiocese. Hall has been suspended from active ministry, in part for supporting Drumgoole and other LGBT efforts. He had been fired […]

  19. […] Warren Hall, an openly gay priest who has been a strong advocate for LGBT equality and who was sanctioned by his local archbishop for such efforts, Francis DeBernardo, executive direcctor of New Ways Ministry; Joe Vitale, […]

  20. […] supporting her received more than 3,000 signatures in just a day. Later, Fr. Warren Hall was suspended from priestly ministry in part because of his public support for Drumgoole and LGBT Catholics. They are among the more […]

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