Father Jerry Zawada had been previously sanctioned by his religious order, the Franciscan Friars Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province in Franklin, for the November 2011 incident, pending Vatican review.
The Vatican order, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith this month, strips Zawada of his right to function publicly as a priest, and orders him to spend his life in prayer and penance at the order’s friary in Burlington.
“I don’t mind the prayer part,” Zawada told the National Catholic Reporter in an interview this week. “But…when they say that I need to be spending time in penance, well, I’m not going to do penance for my convictions and the convictions of so many others, too.”
Zawada could not be reached at the Burlington friary on Friday. A friar who answered the phone there said he had fallen and was taken to the hospital.
Zawada is among two Milwaukee-area priests sanctioned for concelebrating Mass with Mother Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a Milwaukee native ordained in the dissident Catholic womenpriest movement, at annual protests at Fort Benning, Ga.
In 2012, Milwaukee Jesuit, Father Bill Brennan, was ordered not to celebrate the Eucharist or other sacraments publicly, or present himself publicly as a priest, for saying Mass with Sevre-Duszynska in November of that year. That sanction followed the excommunication and defrocking of School of the Americas Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who participated in Sevre-Duszynska’s 2008 ordination in Lexington, Ky.
The Roman Catholic Church prohibits the ordination of women.
Sevre-Duszynska, of Lexington, is ordained in the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. Women Priests say their ordinations are valid because they were conducted by bishops who stand in “apostolic succession” — the line of Catholic bishops who stretch back to Jesus’ apostles. The Vatican rejects that argument.”
Read more from Journal Sentinel: http://www.jsonline.com/news/religion/vatican-punishes-wisconsin-priest-for-saying-mass-with-female-priest-b99235591z1-252965231.html#ixzz2xIrz1WI4
Follow us: @JournalSentinel on Twitter
ARCWP Bishop Bridget Mary’s Response:
It is a sad day for the Roman Catholic Church when the Vatican punishes contemporary prophets and human rights activists like Fr. Jerry Zawada, a faithful priest for following his conscience in co-presiding at a liturgy with Roman Catholic Woman Priest, Janice Sevre-Duszynska.
Franciscan Fr. Jerry Zawada, Jesuit Bill Brennan and Maryknoll Roy Bourgeois are contemporary prophets standing in solidarity with Roman Catholic Women Priests on our journey to gender justice and equality in the Roman Catholic Church. Our sister, Janice Sevre Duszynska invited her brother priests to co-preside at liturgies. Their “yes” is a historic step forward for the church and reflects the sense of the faithful in the United States and Europe. We are leading the church into a new era partnership and equality in grassroots communities.
Janice Sevre-Dusynska in Middle
The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) should affirm the primacy of conscience, a central Catholic teaching, not persecute Catholics who follow their consciences. Every Catholic is obliged to follow his/her conscience even if it means excommunication as St. Thomas Aquinas, medieval theologian taught. Women priests and our supporters are living prophetic obedience to the Gospel. We are following our consciences.
Therefore , our brothers in the CDF should cease and desist from all forms of spiritual violence and bullying including ecclesiastical punishments such as excommunication against women priests and our supporters. We are your beloved sisters and brothers, members of the Catholic family, by our baptism. Please treat us as Jesus would– as spiritual equals.
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org