Rev. Joseph Breen, longtime pastor of St. Edward Catholic Church in Nashville has become a hit with a video that some conservative Catholics are calling nothing short of heresy. On the video, Breen challenges the Church’s rules on celibate priests, birth control and papal authority.
On the video, Breen explains why priests should be allowed to marry and couples should be allowed to use birth control. Perhaps most surprising is his statement that Catholics are not bound to blindly follow the Pope. Some might say that Breen sounds a bit like a protestant — certainly to the conservative Catholic website Creative Minority Report. Various conservative Catholics have written to Bishop David Choby for discipline for Breen.
No longer would Martin Luther have to nail a copy of the Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The Internet now serves the same purposes.
Breen took down the video at the request of the Church.
Breen insists that he was trying to reach out to the growing numbers of people leaving the Catholic Church and posted the video on both the St. Edward website and Facebook. It then made it to YouTube and Breen became a heretical hit.
Breen has been a long advocate for reform in the Church and for his call for priests to be able to marry. He has stated “[w]e owe allegiance of respect, support and prayers to the pope. But we do not owe obedience. The only obedience that you and I owe is to the Lord’s spirit and what we call the fidelity of our conscience.”