NCR’s Brian Fraga has the story:
A New York diocese’s decision to effectively remove a priest who is a well-known CNN contributor from his posting at a Long Island church has roiled the local community and led the priest’s religious order to end its association with the parish.
Passionist Fr. Edward Beck, who has recently expressed criticism about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the cable news network, had been serving for about a year as a priest in residence at St. Therese of Lisieux Church in Montauk, New York.
In an Oct. 7 press statement, the North American province of the Passionists said the Rockville Centre Diocese informed Beck in July that his faculties to serve in the diocese would expire on Aug. 31.
“When I got that letter, it was a surprise,” said Beck, who told NCR that the diocese did not provide a reason for not extending his faculties.
“In this day and age, you just don’t do that to a priest. It raises questions in people’s minds,” Beck said. “Something like that needs to be clarified and explained, for his personal integrity and reputation.”
The Passionists say they have sought from Bishop John Barres a reason for Beck’s removal, but have yet to receive an explanation and are now planning to withdraw another Passionist priest, who had been serving as the parish’s pastor.
The order’s withdrawal from the parish will be effective on Oct. 19, the feast of St. Paul of the Cross, the founder of the Passionists. Parishioners were notified on Oct. 6. The parish trustees at St. Therese Church announced that they will hold a rally Oct. 11 at the parish to demand answers from the diocese.
In response to questions about Beck’s removal, a spokesperson for the Rockville Centre Diocese released a one-sentence statement saying there had originally been a “written agreement” between the diocese and the Passionists that specified that Beck’s term at the parish “expired on August 31, 2021.”
In their Oct. 7 statement, the Passionists took a different point of view, stating: “It had not been, nor was it ever stated that Father Beck would be in Montauk for just a year.”