In an e-mail, Connelly said he was following church law requiring a sanctuary be used only for things that promote "piety, worship, or religion," and that he was using the translation of the Nicene Creed "approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and by Rome."
"It's what unites Catholics throughout the English-speaking world," he said. "I do understand that change is difficult for some and embraced by others."
The Rev. Michael Tix, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis' vicar for clergy and parish services, said Connelly "has the full support of the Archbishop," and noted that "not even the Archbishop has the freedom to change the language of the Creed for Mass. The directives on the use of sacred space are similarly governed by the universal law of the Church and are both clear and reasonable."
Sociologist Brice said the divisions Catholics are experiencing are connected to wider cultural polarization.
"There's a pushback, and a feeling of, 'We don't have to just go with the winds of the culture like a weather vane. We are the Catholic Church,' " she said. "But then that has consequences and that will welcome some and push others out."
For now, Hansel is still on the rolls at Guardian Angels. But he's not sure what's next. He's feeling what he called "ambiguous loss" over what had been his spiritual home for decades.
"The church is still there, but it isn't. It's not the same," he said.
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