Priest May Be Disciplined For Video Against Catholic Teachings
By Chris Cannon
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Comments made by a South Nashville priest have started a nationwide controversy. In a video, Reverend Joseph Breen criticized the Roman Catholic Church for its teachings on celibacy, birth control and papal authority.
Breen is the longtime pastor of St. Edward Church and School on Thompson Lane in South Nashville.
The priest said the reason behind taping the video was to reach out to Catholics who have left the church. So people have taken offense to the manner in which Father Breen accomplished this.
"We respect the Pope, but we owe no obedience as adults," Father Breen said in the video.
"He's a human like you and I, and I don't believe we as adults should show any obedience to other adults, except to the spirit of God," Breen explained during an interview.
Breen also called for the Roman Catholic Church to allow married priests and birth control during the 14 minute video that was posted on Facebook.
Nashville Bishop David Choby became aware of the video last week.
"The Bishop's looked at the content of this video as a whole and he's very concerned about a number of points in there," according to Rich Musacchio, spokesman for the Diocese of Nashville.
Creative Minority Report, which many call a conservative Catholic web site, picked up on Father Breen's video last week and urged its readers to email Nashville's bishop.
"Some of them were very mean and harsh about what the bishop should do to me and that upset the bishop. I am sorry and regret that," Father Breen explained.
Bishop Choby met with Breen, and asked him to remove the video. The priest complied.
"And Bishop Choby plans another meeting with him later this week. He's been in discussion with Father Breen seeking to find a resolution to this matter under the canon laws of the church," Musacchio added.
After that second meeting the Bishop will decide if the 75-year-old priest should face any disciplinary action.
"Hopefully we can get together. You know, you have differences in a marriage or with brothers or sisters, you sit down together and if you have good intentions and good will. That's part of life," said Father Breen.
The stance Father Breen has taken on these issues is not a new one to his congregation, and he said he does not apologize for it.
"I got to do that, whether some people agree or like it, or not. Otherwise I'm just blowing in the wind, you might say. That's not my life, that's not how I am going to end my life," the priest explained.
Breen has been the pastor at St. Edward since 1984 and said he does not plan on speaking about this issue during mass this coming weekend.