Wednesday, January 17, 2007

...and Another One Gone

Phoenix priest on leave announces he isn't coming back:
Chris Carpenter said he is concerned about the church's outreach to gay members and "the current state of church leadership."

"The enforcement of church doctrine and liturgical practice are taking a step backward to the pre-Vatican II era," he said, referring to the 1960s council on adapting the church to the modern world.

"Attempting to turn back the clock and re-create a time when the Catholic Church enjoyed greater authority and respect culturally is not a realistic way to deal with current problems and challenges."...

Carpenter said the intricacies of leaving his vocation make it more accurate to say he does not plan to return to priestly ministry in the church.

"From now on, I won't formally identify myself as a priest or as 'Father' or dress as one," he said in a statement.

Carpenter, who was ordained in 1995 by Bishop Thomas J. O'Brien and served for more than eight years as pastor of Christ the King parish in Mesa, was a leader in the gay-advocate group No Longer Silent: Clergy for Justice. He was one of nine priests who signed the organization's Phoenix Declaration, which affirmed the right of gay men, lesbians and others to participate in Christian churches....

Carpenter said he will take a job as a non-denominational interfaith chaplain with a hospice in Long Beach, Calif., where he has resided since taking his leave.