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Family and Friends
Fr. Tony Ercolano is from Queens, New York City, NY
more than thirty years of ministry I decided to request
a leave from my ministry as an active priest. My reasons
are manifold. But stated simply, I am finding it increasingly
difficult to effectively represent our church.
am troubled by the repression of theologians, and by
the definition of discussion, debate, and disagreement
as disloyalty; by creeping infallibilism; by the lack
of real collegiality within the church; by an increasing
sectarianism rather than an inclusive, catholic acceptance
of even those with whom we disagree; by the centralization
of church authority. When elitist, reactionary groups
like Opus Dei and the Legionaries of Christ are extolled
as examples of true fidelity to the Gospel, I know I
can no longer cooperate in this endeavor.
am disappointed by the negligent and cowardly refusal
to creatively address what is truly important (the priest
shortage, many deprived of the Eucharist, fewer going
to church, the loss of a generation of Catholics), while
we insist that lay ministers of Communion can’t fill
chalices, which must be made of precious metal.
am disheartened by the sexual abuse scandal, and in particular
by some members of the hierarchy who failed to deal with
the problem expeditiously and decisively.
am offended by the church’s tacit support of George W.
Bush’ re-election in spite of his war, his support of
the death penalty, and his theft from the poor so the
rich can have a tax rebate.
have always believed that the only way I could change
the church was to remain in active ministry and be the
best possible priest I could be. I am no longer sure
this is realistic.
this time of discernment, I intend to engage in some
form of priestly ministry doing whatever tasks lie ahead.
the past 32 years, many of you have allowed me the opportunity
to serve as your priest. I will always remain grateful
to God for that privilege.
Yes, your marriages are still valid, your children are
baptized, and I am still bound by the seal of Confession.