It can be a long and convoluted process, she said, and some bishops have found it easier to deal with troublesome priests by leaving them unassigned.
“They just think they can toss them,” she said. “It’s really sad.”
‘State of limbo’
While Lovell’s case has lingered for nearly a decade, a more recent removal prompted the formation of the Coalition for Canceled Priests.
In May, the Rockford Diocese announced that the Rev. James Parker, pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Batavia, would leave after a seven-year run but would not get a new assignment. The diocese said that was due to Parker’s refusal to discuss “various concerns that have arisen regarding his service as pastor.”
Wiegert would not specify those concerns and Parker declined to comment. But in an interview with LifeSiteNews, Parker said he’d been warned about infringements such as celebrating Mass with his back to the congregation — an old-school practice known as ad orientem — as well as his failure to adhere to all of the diocese’s COVID rules.
Former parishioner Dan Wurtz, who moved to another church because of Parker’s removal, said diocesan officials haven’t clarified the situation, angering the congregation.
“The bishop has never taken time to speak with parishioners who are so wounded by his decision,” he said.
Another parishioner, Craig Holuj, said Parker’s removal was the last straw. He is a friend of Lovell, and together they founded the coalition to raise awareness and financial support for priests they deem canceled, he said.
“You have these priests living in a state of limbo, just kind of there,” he said. “And this is at a time when the Catholic Church is in dire need of priests. So it just makes no sense.”