More Than About Where To Live

From the NCR, via the Catholic News Hub, a tale of a priest who left Roman Catholicism for schism, then found his bishop ready to reconcile:

(A)t age 52, (Father Ray McHenry) found himself in a failed relationship, with no job and no prospects. It was the fall of 2005, and he often made the two-hour trip to his hometown of Des Moines, occasionally running into friends who asked, “Why don’t you come home?” The question was more than about where to live.

He continued to preside at the Eucharist for the Council Bluffs group, but in January of this year sent them a letter of resignation. Back in Des Moines, he began working as a volunteer at the St. Mary Family Center, which distributes food and clothing to the poor. He renewed acquaintances with priest friends who agreed to talk to Bishop Joseph Charron about meeting with McHenry.

McHenry met with the bishop, and was surprised that Charron said it was possible for him to return to his ministry, and that the process didn’t have to go to Rome. He asked McHenry to get counseling, which he had already begun, and make an eight-day retreat. Afterward, he could make a profession of faith and renew his promises to the bishop.

“I can’t say enough about Bishop Charron,” said McHenry. “He was the forgiving father to a prodigal son.”

After a brief ceremony in the bishop’s office on Wednesday of Holy Week, he returned to his volunteer work at St. Mary and began helping out in parishes on weekends. Then in July, he became administrator of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Indianola, just south of Des Moines.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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1 Response to More Than About Where To Live

  1. FrMichael says:

    Looks like another boneheaded decision by a US bishop. Said priest should have been welcomed back into the Church with joy. But back into the priesthood? Only after a public repudiation of his schismatic act and the various theological heresies and errors of this splinter church he joined. Plus a few years working in a job outside the Church so that rejoining the priesthood isn’t seen by he and others as a meal ticket. I’m gathering from this short story that this priest needs to be strengthened in his sense of maturity. Right now he gives the appearance of bouncing from one community to another and getting stressed out and panicking when he’s in a less-than-ideal situation.

    And does the public scandal of a schism mean nothing to this bishop? How about the priest’s continuing attachment (per the article) to women’s ordination and who knows what else? Looks like Des Moines is yet another diocese saddled with a mediocrity as a bishop.

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