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.

Being Found By Love

Fr. Mark Mossa’s new book, Already There: Letting God Find You is amazing!
There is a tidbit of wisdom in nearly every paragraph which will find its way into the heart, mind and soul of anyone who dares to read it.

His first chapter speaks of his first love, which is an interesting tale all on its own–a heartwarming story of both romance and heartache. But at its core, it sincerely talks about a notion that I found humbling: Being Found By Love.

As I look back on my life, I often see myself searching for love and occasionally finding someone to love. At times, I’m afraid, I didn’t find that love returned. Was love unable to find me?

As I searched more deeply, I realized a stark truth: Quite often in my life, I was too afraid to be found by love.

Have you ever found a person who just takes your breath away? Dennis Miller, the brilliant comic, said of the first time he saw his wife, “I’ll pass out if that woman comes anywhere near me.” Apparently, he conquered that fear. But often it’s not fear of approaching love, but fear of not being good enough to deserve the love of someone else. Perhaps even when love is found, fear keeps the revelation of self that we all have to offer back to our love from really happening. What if she doesn’t love that part of me? What if she doesn’t agree with my opinion? We act like addicts afraid of being unable to get our next fix. What if the love runs out?

Marion, my wife, helped me get over that. I think I fell more deeply in love with Marion when we had our first fight. Now that sounds completely ludicrous, but in fact it’s true. Most relationships I had been in had a breaking point. I wasn’t rich enough, or I wasn’t dedicated to the relationship enough, or I didn’t possess enough ambition for the other in my life. Whenever we fought, it was a sign that all of these shortcomings were a weakening of her favor in my eyes. The message I internalized was clear: I wasn’t measuring up to another’s expectations.

So I hid. I prolonged relationships by being a giver. I’d quiet my opinions and tolerate someone who wasn’t right for me because let’s face it, it’s easy to stay in a comfortable relationship than to go back out there and start over with someone new.

But hiding who you are doesn’t allow love to find you. Why? Because the person that’s out there isn’t you–but rather some incomplete notion of you. Being accepted for who you are by another is actually quite humbling. It says to you that you are enough, that you are more than enough.

My wife gives me that message every day. No matter what I might put out there, she doesn’t stop loving me. (Even when I’m clearly being a jackass)

That first fight came and ended. I felt like I was waiting for another shoe to drop. Clearly a fight was a sign that this relationship was headed down a bad road. But instead, Marion really understood how I felt and she allowed me to own my own feelings and not have to hide from who I was. I didn’t need to be afraid of being myself, in fact, I could give Marion all that I really am. I could let all the facades drop. Marion saw me figuratively naked. And I was still beautiful to her.

Being found by love means that we can be loved for who we are. How often do we succumb to the idea that we aren’t good enough? We play those same games with God, don’t we?

“I’m not holy enough–God doesn’t expect anything from someone as bad as me. The church is liable to cave in if I even show up.”

Being found by God is all about us becoming comfortable being seen exactly as we are–with no pretentions, no games, no deals. We come before God as sinners, broken people and yet, we are still more than enough for God, who is perfect love.

Do we dare to let God find us? Or do we hide in the bushes, too afraid to come out and be seen?

Perhaps that is our challenge. And the challenge that Fr. Mark is leading us to with his excellent new book. Maybe it’s easier than we think? After all, we simply have to be all that we are. To dare to let others see who we really are beyond all the masks that we put up. When we do that in Fr. Mark’s words, we find that indeed we can be found by love, who finds us where we already are.

What the Hell is Purgatory?

Fr James Martin and myself tell you all about it!

“None of us are perfect but all of us are on a journey toward God” is one of the ways we use to explain what the name Busted Halo® means. Given our name it is no surprise that people often ask us:

“Since I’m not perfect, how can I get into heaven?”

Heaven is defined by the Catholic Church as “a perfect life with the Holy Trinity” and “ultimate end and fulfillment of our deepest human longings.”

But most of us feel we fall short of deserving to be in full union with God. While all of us sin, though, most of us don’t sin in such a grave way that we cut ourselves off completely from God. And even if we do commit grave sins, many of us seek reconciliation with God throughout our lives.

So, if heaven is this state of perfection… and one dies while being far from perfect… how can one enter heaven? The answer, Father James Martin, SJ, tells us, is purgatory. So just what the hell is purgatory?


More on Purgatory can be found here in the rest of this BustedHalo “Googling God Section” mixed media piece.

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