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MOBILE, Alabama (ChurchMilitant.com) - A much-loved priest who preached extensively on demonology and trained to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass has been sacked after he allegedly went away to Spain with an 18-year-old woman.
The archdiocese of Mobile announced on Wednesday that Fr. Alex Crow, a convert from the Episcopal Church, has been prohibited from exercising his priestly ministry. Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi further ordered Crow not to identify himself as a priest or dress in priestly attire.
"Father Alex Crow abandoned his assignment in the archdiocese," a statement issued by the archdiocese on Wednesday read. "His behavior is totally unbecoming of a priest."
The archdiocese also said it has reported Fr. Crow's actions to the Mobile district attorney's office "due to the circumstances of his departure." District attorney Keith Blackwood's office said it is asking anyone with information on Fr. Crow to contact them.
All references to Fr. Crow were swiftly deleted from the website of Corpus Christi Catholic Church, where the 30-year-old absconding cleric has been serving as parish priest since he was ordained on June 5, 2021.
Father Pat Arensberg published a statement on the church's Facebook page announcing, "with great sadness," that "Fr. Crow has left the archdiocese and is no longer the parochial vicar at Corpus Christi parish."
While neither the archdiocese nor the parish revealed why Fr. Crow was defrocked, the local newspaper Lagniappe and several parishioners reported that the priest had decamped to Spain with an 18-year-old female graduate of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile.
Parishioners said on social media that Fr. Crow may have taken the student to a Marian site in Spain to conduct an exorcism. Former McGill-Toolen students told local media that Crow would "talk to classes about demons and exorcisms."
The now-deleted bio of Fr. Crow on the parish website said that the priest had specialized in demonology and exorcism in his baccalaureate in sacred theology degree from the Pontifical University of San Anselmo in Rome.
Father Crow has given several talks on spiritual warfare, demonology, exorcisms and the Marian apparitions at Akita. Some of the talks are posted on YouTube.
Talks and interviews given by the priest were quickly scrubbed from the internet after the archdiocese announced Fr. Crow's defrocking.
While Fr. Crow could not celebrate the TLM due to restrictions imposed in the archdiocese of Mobile, he trained to celebrate the Tridentine Mass in July 2021, a month after he was ordained to the priesthood, Tridentine Community News reported.
Known to always wear his cassock in public, Fr. Crow robed regularly for the Eucharist with a laced alb and the traditional Roman chasuble, along with an amice and a maniple — vestments not required to be worn by priests celebrating the Novus Ordo.
Crow, a professional musician and popular performer around the Gulf Coast, experienced a dramatic conversion to Catholicism after going to confession at the age of 21.
The young musician, who was baptized an Episcopalian and later joined the conservative Presbyterian Church of America, quit his band after he felt called to the priesthood.
"Ten years ago, I was as far away from the Church as one could be. Not only did I not live the Catholic faith, I wasn't even sure if I believed in God. I have said jokingly before that my call to the priesthood is proof that God exists," Fr. Crow said soon after his ordination.
"I can certainly empathize with those who are estranged from the Catholic Church or from God in general," the priest added.
In comments on social media, parishioners expressed shock at the priest's being defrocked, with one commenter noting that "this girl followed him to daily Mass and begged for demon exorcism."
Defending the priest, another member of the congregation insisted that Fr. Crow did not have a "romantic relationship" with the young adult and did not "run away" with her.
"They went to Europe together just a few weeks ago, and that was fine with the parents," Jess Westphal remarked, adding, "I am not saying that they should have gone without permission."
"He fell into a trap, but he's not a bad person," Westphal commented. "Even risking his own career and reputation. He needs a psychologist, not stones thrown because the media can't report the truth."
"It's because we know Alex and we know he is a good person," parishioner Julien Poole wrote. "If he met a woman and decided [the] priesthood isn't for him, then good for him. He shouldn't be labeled as a devil or criminal."
Father Crow did not respond to Church Militant's request for comment as of press time.