Loading
Hawaii bishop shocked at high-ranking priest's departure for politics
Bishop Larry Silva and Fr. Marc Alexander
Bishop Larry Silva and Fr. Marc Alexander
By Benjamin Mann
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Bishop Larry R. Silva of Honolulu, Hawaii says he was “shocked and extremely disappointed” to discover that his second-in-command at the diocese, Fr. Marc Alexander, was leaving his ministry for a post he had already accepted in the administration of Governor Neil Abercrombie.

“He was a well respected priest,” Bishop Silva told CNA on Jan. 26. “This news has been quite devastating to many.”

Fr. Alexander, who had served as a diocesan priest for 25 years, told Bishop Silva on Jan. 16 that he had lined up a job as the governor's Coordinator on Homelessness, and would be leaving the responsibilities he had taken on during the past five years as Bishop Silva's Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia.

The priest had submitted his resume through the governor's transition website and was hired. While acknowledging the change as “shocking” and “not something that happens every day,” Fr. Alexander told reporters on Jan. 20 that he had felt called “in a different direction.” He mentioned that he had long considered leaving the priesthood, saying he believed Bishop Silva would understand.

His bishop, however, had not seen the move coming. “At the end of December,” Bishop Silva recalled in a statement released by the diocese on Jan. 20, “I announced that I had granted Father Marc Alexander the six month sabbatical he had requested for rest, study, and spiritual renewal.” In light of his departure, he said, “I am sure that many will be as shocked and surprised as I was.”

As Bishop Silva explained on Jan. 26, Fr. Alexander has not lost either the spiritual gifts, or the sacred obligations, that he received at ordination. However, having abandoned his ministry, he is no longer permitted to celebrate the sacraments, or perform other priestly functions, under all but the most urgent circumstances.

“Marc Alexander is still a priest,” the bishop explained, “but his faculties have been withdrawn. He has not requested dismissal from the clerical state, nor has it been granted.”

“However, in light of his decision to abandon the active priestly ministry, his 'license' to minister, granted by the bishop, has been withdrawn. He may not licitly perform any specific priestly functions.  He may give absolution to someone only if that person is in danger of death. Otherwise, he is not to function as a priest,” the bishop said.

He also rejected Fr. Alexander's implication that his secular career could be considered as simply another kind of “calling.” Instead, he expressed hopes for the priest's return to the work of his vocation.

“Father Alexander has served the Diocese of Honolulu with great distinction as a priest for twenty-five years,” he said, highlighting how he had “contributed greatly to the Diocese in his last five years as Vicar General.” 

“We are grateful for all he has done,” Bishop Silva said. “Let us pray for him.”

Although Fr. Alexander's move to a secular political post is highly unusual, it is not without precedent. Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and onetime Filipino Governor Eduardo Panlilo were both ordained as priests, and Paraguay's current President Fernando Lugo is a former bishop.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
25

Liturgical Calendar

October 25, 2014

Saturday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 13:1-9

Gospel
Date
10/25/14
10/24/14
10/23/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 4: 7-16
Gospel:: Lk 13: 1-9

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/25/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 13:1-9

Homily
Date
10/25/14
10/24/14
10/23/14