(This report originally aired in Church Militant Evening News on Wednesday, June 16. It is part of a developing story. Stay tuned for updates as the story unfolds.)
Rockford, Illinois bishop David Malloy is doubling down while his latest victim is standing strong in accordance with canon law. Father James Parker of Holy Cross showed up for Mass this [Wednesday] morning — as did the priest Malloy wants to replace him.
Church Militant's William Mahoney is on the parish grounds with more.
The sacristy at Holy Cross Parish this morning was tense as parishioners gathered for the 6:30 Mass. Father James Parker was preparing for Mass — as was Fr. Jared Twenty.
Malloy sent Fr. Twenty as the parochial administrator without properly removing Fr. Parker according to canon law. While Fr. Parker insisted he is still the pastor until the Church's laws are followed, Fr. Twenty insisted Fr. Parker is not pastor and that he [Fr. Twenty] is the parochial administrator.
Father Parker offered Fr. Twenty an invitation to concelebrate, but Twenty rejected the offer and continued to vest for Mass. Before Mass began, some parishioners argued with Fr. Twenty, who entered the back of the Church and removed his vestments. Right before Fr. Parker began Mass, Fr. Twenty announced from a pew Fr. Parker — and not he — would offer the Mass. He then left the church.
Father Parker also offered the 8 a.m. Mass and then disappeared to speak with canon and civil lawyers. Meanwhile, Bp. Malloy released a statement today on the diocesan website claiming he notified Fr. Parker in a letter dated June 9 that the pastor's "term had lapsed."
And the bishop's civil attorney, Ellen Lynch, informed staff of Holy Cross Fr. Parker "has no authority to direct your employment or make decisions affecting your employment or the parish."
Many Catholics here are wondering why Bp. Malloy doesn't simply come here and speak with everybody, as their chief pastor.