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A 92-year-old Jesuit missionary has been censored by Church authorities for celebrating mass with a woman priest in Georgia. Photo by: Guardian

Church takes action against Jesuit for celebrating mass with a woman priest

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A 92-year-old Jesuit missionary has been censored by Church authorities for celebrating mass with a woman priest in Georgia. Photo by: Guardian

A 92-year-old Jesuit missionary has been censored by Church authorities for celebrating mass with a woman priest in Georgia.

Father Bill Brennan has been rapped across the knuckles by his religious bosses after violating their strict rules last month.

The Milwaukee peace activist remains a Jesuit and can still celebrate Mass and hear confessions with other Jesuits but he can no longer celebrate Mass or other sacraments publicly.

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A former missionary in Central America, Fr Brennan insisted that his decision to concelebrate mass with Janice Sevre-Duszynska of the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests was a personal choice.

The Huffington Post reports that he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “Sometimes in our lives we have to trust our conscience and bring about the consequences. I wasn’t trying to show off for the ladies.”

Sevre-Duszynska previously made the headlines when the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dismissed Roy Bourgeois, 74, from the priesthood in October.

Fr Bourgeois was de-frocked after he participated in the ‘invalid 2008 ordination of Sevre-Duszynska in a ‘simulated Mass’ according to the Catholic News Service.

Sevre-Duszynska told Reuters that Brennan exemplifies the best of the Jesuit tradition despite the Church’s strict ban on women priests.

She said: “He is able to understand the suffering of women who are called to the priesthood and are denied the priesthood by the church and by the hierarchy.

“I think this is a bullying tactic. And I think it’s shameful. It certainly is not what Jesus would do.”

Jeremy Langford, a spokesman for the Society of Jesus known as the Jesuits, said that the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Province of the Jesuits had mutually agreed on the sanctions against Brennan.

In a statement issued by Langford, the Society said: “The Province did not approve or sanction the event, and regrets Father Brennan’s participation in it.”

Langford added that the Wisconsin Province had no plans to take any further action against Brennan, who is retired from active ministry and living in a Wisconsin retirement home and was not available for comment.

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The report states that Brennan worked as a missionary in Belize and Honduras for 16 years before returning to the US to work as a teacher at Jesuit-run Marquette University High School and as pastor at St. Patrick Church in Milwaukee.

In 2007 Brennan travelled to Cuba as an act of civil disobedience against the U.S. economic blockade, delivering humanitarian and medical supplies to the Cuban people.

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