The Reverend Edward Beck sat inside the rectory of St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church last Friday morning riding tidal waves of emotions — sadness, disappointment, anger and confusion.
In four days, the Passionist priest would be forced to leave Montauk, the place he had called home for over a year, and without a clear explanation as to why.
Last summer, Bishop John Barres of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, which oversees Long Island’s Catholic community, had placed him at the parish along with a fellow Passionist priest, the Reverend Robert Joerger, who served as pastor. But in July, the diocese abruptly ended Beck’s assignment, revoking his “residence and faculties” effective August 31.
Refusing to leave Joerger without Beck, the Passionists, who traditionally live in community, decided to withdraw from the Montauk parish altogether and both priests moved off the East End last Tuesday — further splintering an already fractured religious community that the two men helped stabilize, renew, and reinvigorate.
“It pains me because some of them have said they’re gonna stop going, they’re not gonna come to church, they’re gonna stop contributing. It’s affected their faith life,” Beck said. “And that is really sad to me, that something like this, that was so easily resolvable by just talking about it and trying to come to some compromise and understanding, that all of this hurt and pain could have been avoided — but that the bishop refused to take any step toward understanding, reconciling, or compromise.”Read More