A QUESTION FROM A BLOG READER:
Should Purcell be given a Priory for life to conduct independent ministry from, and if so would you welcome him to work in communion with you?
Basically my challenge today is; follow through on your blog and tell us where you believe the Abbot and Bishop should minister?
The answer to this question depends on two other questions:
1. What does Richard Purcell want to do himself?
2. What do the Cistercians want him to do?
Richard has to decide whether or not he wants to remain a priest and whether or not he wants to continue as a Cistercian monk
He says she has resigned for “personal reasons”.
I imagine those”personal reasons” will play an important roll in his decision on a way to go forward.
The allegations against him is that Richard Purcell has been a sexually active gay man.
You cannot be a Cistercian monk and Abbot and at the same time be sexually active.
Indeed you cannot be a Roman Catholic diocesan or religious priest and be sexually active – although we know that many are – and are thereby living a contradictory and hypocritical life – leading to scandal after scandal.
Richard Purcell can only continue as a monk and priest if he recommits to chastity and celibacy.
Can he do that?
Does he want to do that?
And therein lies his first hurdle.
And then there is the question of the attitude of the Cistercians on this matter.
The Abbot General, Eamon Fitzgerald and his council have handled this matter terribly. They have let it drag on for two years and grow into a bigger problem and scandal.
Surely the monks, nuns, abbots and abbesses of the 160 communities in the order are very concerned by all of this?
The basic fact is that this is a matter primarily for Richard Purcell himself.
As a lay man his personal life is his own business.
As a priest and a monk it is the business of all in the church.
If Richard decides to return to civvy Street and the world of music, then we must give him his personal space.