Rev. Warren Hall told Religion News Service that he was notified of his suspension by phone on Wednesday. Newark Archbishop John Myers, with whom Hall has clashed in the past, accused him of “confusing the faithful.”
Hall will no longer be able to celebrate Mass in public, present himself as a priest or work in the parishes where he had been ministering.
Sadly, my differences with my bishop continue. Today he has suspended me from priestly ministry. @Pontifex's Reform are taking too long.
— Warren Hall (@Warrmeister) August 31, 2016
“The problem is that we have an archbishop who doesn’t believe you can be gay and Catholic,” told RNS.
Hall voiced support for Kate Drumgoole, former dean and head basketball coach at Paramus Catholic High School, who was fired when the school found out she was in a same-sex relationship. Drumgoole recently filed a lawsuit in Hackensack Superior Court alleging discrimination, NJ.com reports. Drumgoole also claims she was fired as retaliation for notifying administrators that three students alleged they had been sexually abused during a 2011 trip to Europe.
Myers’ previously fired Hall from Seton Hall after he posted his support for the “NOH8” campaign.
Hall said he was committed to his vocation as a priest and to the vow of celibacy he took, and later confirmed that he was gay.
The Newark Archdiocese responded that “someone who labels himself or another in terms of sexual orientation or attraction contradicts what the (Catholic) Church teaches.”
Yet Myers assigned Hall to assist at two parishes in Northern New Jersey two months later. Hall continued his public support of LGBTQ issues, speaking out in support of groups such as Gays Against Guns, the LGBT Community Center in New York, Catholic LGBTQ organization New Ways Ministry and an unofficial gay and lesbian ministry at the church’s World Youth Day in Poland in July.
Hall said it would be hard to break the news to parishioners.
“They fully welcomed me after my firing from Seton Hall last year, they know my personal story and made me a member of the family.
“Since my firing from Seton Hall and coming out last year I felt an obligation to use this as an opportunity to more directly let people know of God’s love for all of us and that gay Catholics should stay in the church and work for more wider acceptance,” he wrote. “I do not feel I ever preached or taught anything contrary to the Gospel (and) this is true from my entire 27 years of ordination” as a priest.
“Every Catholic priest promises to be reverent and obedient to his bishop,” said James Goodness, a spokesman for Myers. “A priest’s actions and statements always must be consistent with the discipline, norms and teachings of the Catholic Church. When they are ordained, priests agree to accept the bishop’s judgment about assignments and involvement in ministry.”
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, called Hall “courageous” and said “the archbishop is saying that his church fears associating with LGBT people – a fear which is contrary to the gospel.”