Priest says he tries to be true liberal

“The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their sign posts." – St. John Chrysostom

Reprinted from the Catholic Virginian, "Letters" February 21, 2011 edition.

Thank you so much for your article concerning the Latin Mass in Appomattox (Feb. 7 issue). I would just like to pass on my perspective as priest and pastoral person.

As one of my teachers at Catholic University, Father Charles Curran, used to say, “We are a big church and there is room enough for everybody.”

In my early years as a priest in Virginia Beach, Father Bill Dale, my wonderful mentor, created a space at Church of the Ascension for a reformed Jewish community called Beth Chaverim in the 1980s and 1990s. A Hindu community also needed a place to meet so they met in the upstairs from the commons.

My own theology embraces liturgical dance (prayerful movement), lay men and women leading prayer and giving reflections in appropriate circumstances. While the Latin Mass is not my personal piety, I believe that those with such piety have a right to practice their way of being close to the Lord.

I try to be a true liberal, that is, not just allowing for my post Vatican II practices, but those practices which may be different from my own.

It is most important that we pray that Christ will always find room in our hearts.

Fr. James Gallagher
Our Lady of Peace, Appomattox

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