Popular Jesuit Liturgist Removed from Ministry

Because I am king of fairness…

J-Glen Murray, S.J. a priest who I have spent many conferences listening to and admiring his great enthusiasm for liturgy has been removed from ministry for an allegation that happened more than 20 years ago.

Deacon Greg pointed me here but he quoteth the Sacramento Bee:

The Maryland Province of the Jesuits said Tuesday that it removed the Rev. James Glenn Murray from church work after an investigator hired by the Roman Catholic order found evidence supporting the allegation. Murray is living in a monitored Jesuit residence.

The Jesuits sent notice of their action to dioceses and high schools where Murray has served since his 1979 ordination.

Murray is a liturgy specialist who helped draft a 1990s document for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on African-American worship in the Roman Catholic Church.

Fr. Murray is someone who I often agreed with and charitably disagreed with at times on liturgy. I like to read along with lectors and he was vehemently against it. We duked it out at Notre Dame last year at a conference:

Murray: Lectors should be so well trained that they should proclaim as if they are on fire for the word of God. We should be happy to watch them burn.

Hayes: That’s a great image Father! But frankly there are more than a few lectors that I’d like to set on fire.

That got a huge laugh, even from Fr. Murray. I was proud that I made the great liturgist laugh, one of my finest moments. It saddens me that this happened, even if it was over 20 years ago. I hope further details of the case come forth and perhaps he can return, although I’m sure that’s not likely.

I think that there are many priests out there who may have done something inappropriate in their ministry some time ago. Perhaps their victims are owed a bit of justice, after all, they are innocent and were robbed of something that cannot be repaired any longer. The fallout from these incidents for these victims may indeed still be scarring. In Fr. Murray’s case we only know of this one. And that’s one too many.

For now, let us pray for priests who have abused others, sexually and otherwise. Let us pray that they can get the help they need. And pray for the victims that they too, might be able to heal from the deep wounds that men in positions of power have inflicted.

Most of all, I remain saddened. And hope Fr Murray can come to terms with what he did that long ago and that his accuser can also rest easy.