RALEIGH, N.C. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The head of the Raleigh diocese is rescinding a speaking invitation to a dissident priest.
Father Michael Crosby, a Franciscan priest well known for dissenting on Church teaching with regard to clerical celibacy, female ordination and homosexuality, was scheduled to give a Lenten mission at St. Stephen the First Martyr parish in Sanford March 12–16.
He was going to be the homilist for the weekend English Masses, and then give talks for the following three days. The title of his mission was "Obstacles and Occasions of Grace to Fulfill the Great Command."
Earlier this week, ChurchMilitant.com contacted Bp. Michael Burbidge, head of the Raleigh diocese, to inquire about the event. Thursday morning, we received an email from William Atwell, diocesan communications director, informing us that Fr. Crosby's speaking engagement was being canceled.
"We have reviewed this matter with all appropriate parties," Atwell stated, "with the result being that Father Crosby will not be speaking in the Diocese of Raleigh."
ChurchMilitant.com confirmed with the parish that Fr. Crosby's talk will no longer be taking place, on or off diocesan property.
Father Crosby has caused controversy in the past. When he was scheduled to address teachers at the Canadian Forum on Theology and Education in 2013, the Toronto archdiocese learned of the event and canceled his talk, which was then moved off diocesan property to a local hotel.
And when the Felician Sisters of Madonna University chose Crosby to lead their week-long retreat in 2012, students and alumni organized a protest.
Crosby was once facilitator at a retreat for LGBT individuals sponsored by New Ways Ministry, a dissenting homosexual organization that aims for acceptance of same-sex acts, and whose co-founder, Sr. Jeanine Gramick, has been censured by the Vatican. He has also spoken at a Call to Action conference, an organization that seeks Church reform on clerical celibacy and female ordination, among other things.
Father Crosby occasionally writes for the dissident publication National Catholic Reporter, where he once wrote a column asserting that he stands by his support of female ordination. Quoting from a 2004 speech he gave, he said, "[W]e still have to worship a God that the Vatican says wills that women not be ordained. That god is literally unbelievable. It is a false god; it cannot be worshiped."