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Gay priest fired from university job gets new post at New Jersey parishes

In May, the Rev. Warren Hall was abruptly dismissed from his position as the popular campus chaplain at Seton Hall University in New Jersey because the Catholic archbishop of Newark said his advocacy against anti-gay bullying, and his identity as a gay man, undermined church teaching. Photo courtesy of Warren Hall
In May, the Rev. Warren Hall was abruptly dismissed from his position as the popular campus chaplain at Seton Hall University in New Jersey because the Catholic Archbishop of Newark said his advocacy against anti-gay bullying, and his identity as a gay man, undermined church teaching. Photo courtesy of Warren Hall

In May, the Rev. Warren Hall was abruptly dismissed from his position as the popular campus chaplain at Seton Hall University in New Jersey because the Catholic archbishop of Newark said his advocacy against anti-gay bullying, and his identity as a gay man, undermined church teaching. Photo courtesy of Warren Hall

(RNS) A gay Catholic priest who was dismissed from his position as campus chaplain at Seton Hall University because of his work against anti-gay bullying has been named to a job serving two parishes after weeks of uncertainty over his fate.

The Rev. Warren Hall, whose firing by the archbishop of Newark, N.J., added to growing concerns about the church’s treatment of gay people, tweeted that he was “thrilled” with the posting at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Hoboken and its sister parish, St. Lawrence in neighboring Weehawken. Both parishes are on the Hudson River across from lower Manhattan.

Hall will serve as parochial vicar, which means he will assist the pastor of the two parishes, the Rev. Bob Meyer. Meyer and Hall have known each other for years and St. Lawrence was one of the churches where Hall already had been helping out after he lost his Seton Hall job.

“I received many welcoming messages from enthusiastic parishioners of both parishes,” he told Religion News Service. “I’m looking forward to getting on with my ministry there.”

A controversy erupted after Newark Archbishop John Myers phoned Hall in May, while the priest was giving an exam to students in his sports and spirituality class, to tell him that he would no longer be the campus chaplain.

Myers told Hall his decision stemmed from concerns over a picture the priest posted of the “NOH8” symbol on Facebook last fall. “NOH8” stands for “no hate,” and it grew out of the battle over banning gay marriage in California.

Hall posted the photo after attending an anti-bullying workshop and he stressed that he was not advocating against any church teachings.

Later in May, Hall, 52, came out as gay. He said he remains committed to his vocation as a priest and committed to his vow of celibacy. James Goodness, a spokesman for the archbishop, responded by saying that “someone who labels himself or another in terms of sexual orientation or attraction contradicts what the Church teaches.”

In July, Hall wrote to Pope Francis urging the pontiff to address the concerns of LGBT Catholics, especially the rash of firings of openly gay church workers, when he makes his first U.S. trip Sept. 22-27.


READ: Gay priest fired from chaplain job asks Pope Francis to meet LGBT Catholics in U.S.


In that letter, Hall said that he had been given no further assignment by Myers and had no regular salary. Goodness countered that Hall still had health insurance and room and board at Seton Hall was covered. He also said the priest had been assured that he would eventually receive a new assignment.

“The archbishop has been very gracious,” Goodness said.

Goodness also told a local news outlet that the archdiocese now does not consider Hall’s sexual orientation a problem.

“If he remains celibate, and he maintains his ordination promises, his sexual orientation is not an impediment,” he told NJ.com.

St. Lawrence parish has staged a comeback since Superstorm Sandy devastated the church in the low-lying section of Weehawken in October 2012, battering the structure with 8-foot waves and causing $1 million in damages.

It was thought that the parish might never reopen, but Meyer, the Hoboken pastor, has overseen a renaissance at the church.

LM/AMB END GIBSON

About the author

David Gibson

David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS and an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He has written several books on Catholic topics. His latest book is on biblical artifacts: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery," which was also the basis of a popular CNN series.

19 Comments

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  • Good decision, as long as the priest identifies himself as a Catholic priest, and not a gay Catholic priest.

  • If a church official or a congregant is flagrantly in open sin and unrepentant, they themselves should leave. They should not have top be forced to leave.

    Whatever happened to honesty? Is that now a hate crime too?

  • I could be wrong but you seem to suggest that just admitting that you are gay is a sin. Seriously? Suppose a priest is gay and doesn’t admit it. Is just being gay a sin the way you see things?

    Whatever happened to honesty? Is that now a hate crime too?

    Oh poor you!

  • Oh no they exiled him to crappy crime infested depressed Newark to affluent upscale Hoboken and Weehauken. Oh the horror! /sarcasm

  • This “gay priest” actually could have kept his post at Seton Hall University. He was NOT fired for publicly identifying as “gay” or “gay celibate”, but instead he was fired for supporting gay marriage and gay activism via the back door.

    (As the article indicated, the “NOH8” sales-pitch comes directly from the Gay Marriage Cult’s fight against traditional-marriage Proposition 8 in CA. Thank God for Hall’s choice to stay celibate, but he has clearly become a gay marriage activist anyway, clearly OPPOSING Catholic teaching, implicitly yet unmistakably.)

    I do not begrudge Hall finding a new job at a NJ parish, but it’s clear that Archbishop Myers made the right call for the sake of Seton Hall University. A little yeast leavens the entire loaf of bread. It also seems likely that Rev. Hall’s gay activism is only going to get worse, and more public.

    Catholics are facing difficult times in America, as with all Christian churches.
    Gotta choose.

  • Doc Anthony,

    Well put. Those that have chosen the mind-warping gay agenda are as much a heretic as was Judas Iscariot. The Catholic Church will sell out the Gospel there can be little doubt about that. And the Great Apostasy will continue to grow until the rainbow idol is forced to be flown above every cross in every diseased parish.

    It’s interesting to see how brazen anti-Christ people have become. But of course . . . to be expected. The Bible being always being on message no matter the date on the calendar.

  • Larry showing once again where the fruit of gay activism falls. Into the hands of the godless. Who eagerly await its taste.

  • BB, you are showing once again, why I usually ignore your posts.

    What you don’t get is that the priest actually wound up in a far better job and location by being fired at Seton Hall.

    Newark, where the school is located is a dump. Hoboken, where he is now, is affluent and yuppified. Not exactly much of a punishment.

  • Goodness also told a local news outlet that the archdiocese now does not consider Hall’s sexual orientation a problem.

    “If he remains celibate, and he maintains his ordination promises, his sexual orientation is not an impediment,” he told NJ.com.

    WOW, did Sir Goodness really say that??? Shame Goodness did trot out this outrageous statement when Father Michael Fugee was slip, slliding all over the archdiocese.

    Speaking of impediments, has that correspondence from the Catholic Whistleblowers re Archbishop Myers reached the Vatican yet? Just to ensure its delivery, I’ll ask the group to send me a copy and I will personally deliver it in September when the Pontiff rolls into our City of Brotherly Love.

    OOPS, Did I say “City of Brotherly Love”? Guess Herr Goodness of the Newark Morality Police will have an admonishment sent my way. Are we allowed to say “brotherly love” anymore?

    Who are the winners in this drama? The Catholic faithful in the parishes of Hoboken…

  • Why is Rev. Warren Hall contributing to and perpetuating this awful philosophy called ‘Christianity’? It is at war against the best of humanity.

    Meanwhile, the gayest preacher is the one who condemns gays:

    “The only cure for homosexuals is that they be put to death”
    – Pastor Robby Gallaty, Tennessee Megachurch, Sept 2014

    Simple question.
    Why bother with religion under these circumstances? Who gains other than bullies? Why encourage more bullies by bringing in more victims.

    Humanity should stand up for itself against these claims.

    “Kill them” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)

  • The official Catholic Church stance is that it doesn’t consider being gay a sin, it’s only acting on being gay that they consider a sin. As long as this priest continues to adhere to his vow of celibacy, he is as free of sin as a straight priest who takes the same vow.

  • For goodness’ sake. If the man wishes to be open and honest and declare himself gay, surely that’s between him and God. What is behind your judgmental reasoning?

  • I’m curious whether someone “from above” told Abp. Myers and the rest of the archdiocesan staff to mind their own business, lest they receive the Finn/Nienstedt/Tebartz-Van Elst treatment. #googlemichaelfugee

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