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Report: some faithful storm out of Mass in Italy after priest criticizes Pope Francis

© Antoine Mekary/ALETEIA

Pope Francis General Audience, April 05, 2017. © Antoine Mekary / ALETEIA

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 04/11/17

From RNS:

A priest is being asked to take a break from his parish in the small Italian town of Montesilvano after some in his congregation reportedly stormed out of Mass when he openly criticized Pope Francis on Palm Sunday (April 9). Media reports claimed the congregation shouted “Shame, shame!” at the Rev. Edward Pushparaj when he said Pope Francis had only been “bad” for the Catholic Church. Palm Sunday commemorates the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem and is a solemn occasion on the Christian calendar that marks the start of Holy Week and the runup to Easter Sunday. But the episode has forced the local bishop, Archbishop Tommaso Valentinetti of the Archdiocese of Pescara-Penne, to intervene; he has pledged to meet the disgruntled parishioners from St. Anthony of Padua parish. In an article published on the archdiocesan website, Valentinetti suggested that Pushparaj, an assistant pastor at the church who is also known as Don Edward, may have overstepped the mark during his preaching. “Preaching is one of the main activities in the ministry of a priest,” Valentinetti said. “It is a service linked to meditation on the Word of the day, the liturgy, and certainly cannot relate to personal judgments, especially when they are not in communion with the pope.”

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