Catholic Priest Debates Church Rule

By Edgar Linares, NewsRadio 830 WCCO

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — Rev. Mike Tegeder of St. Edward Catholic Church in Bloomington disagrees with a 2004 church rule that bars lay preaching. It’s a rule that recently got him in hot water.

“I’m just trying to use the gifts of my staff and give people a break from listening to me,” said Tegeder.

Lay preaching is when a non-clergy member delivers a sermon or homily to the congregation. On Jan. 23, he let Heidi Busse take the pulpit and deliver the homily.

“She’s extremely qualified, she does a great job, people love her,” said Tegeder.

Busse is in charge of adult faith education at St. Edward and has a master’s degree in theology. WCCO attempted to speak with Busse but she wasn’t available for comment.

Soon after the sermon, Tegeder received a phone call from Minneapolis-St. Paul Archbishop John Nienstedt, reminding him of the policy established in 2004 by the Roman Catholic Church.

“I know one parishioner wrote to the Archbishop, and he’s written about other things too, which I appreciate. I need critique and feedback. I wish he would have come to me first,” said Tegeder.

Tegeder says he has a big parish with 2,300 households and a lay staff. He says among his staff he has seven people with the equivalent degree of a Catholic priest.

“I have one retired priest who helps me out, mainly on weekends,” said Tegeder.

Tegeder says there shouldn’t be a rule against lay preaching because he feels his congregation can benefit from it.

“If somebody has a wonderful message to share, hold it up! People are energized by that. … There are other parishes that use and continue to use lay preachers on a regular basis,” said Tegeder. He says he doesn’t regularly use them at St. Edward.

WCCO tried to reach church leaders at the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul for reaction, but they did not want to comment. Tegeder believes the reason this incident was amplified could be because a woman delivered the homily.

“The funny thing is they make these rules over in Rome,” said Tegeder. “You go to Rome and go to a church, you can shoot a canon through it and you’re not going to hit anyone. Nobody goes to church over there. And yet they tell us what to do when we’re fairly successful. I have a fairly strong congregation. I think they should come over here and learn a few things.”

He added that in the United States everything is black and white.

“If you have a rule it’s either can you do it, or can’t you do it. Over in Rome, well, we have this rule but you’re the pastor, you know the flock. You have to apply it. They have all these rules but they have all these exceptions. If you talk to an Italian cardinal, I don’t think he’d make a big deal about it,” said Tegeder.

Tegeder plans to continue using Busse to perform other services outside of mass. He also believes Nienstedt should focus on more pressing issues happening in the clergy.

“I think the church has a lot of other responsibilities they should be focused on. One of our priests was arrested for criminal sexual behavior. Last fall, one of our priests was arrested for exposing himself to an undercover agent in a public park in St. Paul. These are things I’m concerned about. And the Archbishop should be taking care of that and find out why we’re not attracting healthier people into the ministry,” said Tegeder.

More from Edgar Linares
  • Del B.

    Give me a break… There are far more important issues in life than this… like how am I going to get to work with gas at 4 bucks a gallon? WAAAAAAA!!!! Thats all I hear in this article… He let a non clergy member talk… blah… blah… blah

    • Sam

      Nobody made you read this article. If it doesn’t interest you, don’t read it. Simple as that.

    • St. Eds Member

      Alright well maybe if you went to this church you would think this is an important issue, because I’m 15 and grew up listening to him speak, and he’s played a huge role in me being who I am today.
      So you can shove it.

  • John

    This is another example of church doctrine or rules being more important than the workings of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit may have a message to share with the parish but the “holy doctrine” wins again. Church doctrine is put on such a pedestal, it is almost idol worshiped in some churches. No wonder the Holy Spirit can’t work in many churches or you can’t feel his presence there at all. It’s because the church worships the Father, Son and holy doctrine.

    • John

      The Holy Spirit may have a message to share with the parish my means of a lay preacher to clarify.

  • Flossie

    Fr. Mike makes so more sense. Thank God for his leadership and strength to speak on our behalf

  • Bruce

    I’ve been at more than one church function where lay people got up and verbally wandered in the wilderness with no one to lead them home (think funerals or weddings) and after watching those painfully uncomfortable perfomrances, i have no problemw ith restricting who get sintot he pulpit and preaches.

  • Steve

    You could consider doing what’s done at other parishes,
    have the guest speak at the beginning and following the homily, a brief reflection on the readings is added. Still all takes place in 60 min.

  • Catholic Priest Debates Church Rule | Roman Catholic Church

    […] Read the full story about Catholic Priest Debates Church Rule […]

  • Lou Jungbauer

    In the Committee Notes to Canon 767 of the Code of Canon Law ( 1983), the authors note that “‘normally, the homily at Mass is the obligation and prerogative of the celebrant.” However, they add that preaching by lay persons at Mass “when necessity requires it or usefulness urges it” is not prohibited ( p. 553, Code of Canon Law, Study Edition, Coriden et al).

    Canons 756 and 759, detailing some of the Bishops’ and lay peoples’ duties, lead me to suggest our Bishop should be writing St. Ed’s and the young woman who gave the reflection, and thank them for fulfilling their respective obligations.

    Fifty years ago the Holy Spirit escaped from the genie’s bottle, and nothing any of the well-intentioned group of old, out-of-touch, mostly white-males, is going to ever force Her back into the bottle.

    It’s a shame too many of the ‘leaders’ today, just like in Jesus’ time, refuse to listen to the Spirit. Instead, all too often, they hide behind twisted logic, such as the refusal to allow married priests ( unless the priest was ordained by another denomination). Didn’t Jesus name St. Peter the first pope, and wasn’t he married? The days of ‘pray, pay and obey’ are over. But we’ll continue to keep them in our prayers, that someday they’ll see the light.

  • gtV

    “The funny thing is they make these rules over in Rome,” said (Rev. Michael) Tegeder. “You go to Rome and go to a church, you can shoot a canon through it and you’re not going to hit anyone. Nobody goes to church over there. And yet they tell us what to do when we’re fairly successful. I have a fairly strong congregation. I think they should come over here and learn a few things.”
    {QUOTE} —WCCO News posting.

    Whether you’re shooting a ‘cannon’ or “canon” through an Italian Catholic church or an American Catholic church where attendance is next to nil, why discipline the clergy for using lay persons to spread the Good News of Catholic dogma and beliefs? There are far greater issues of disdain that should be addressed like deviant and pedophile priests etc. than priests who are living by faith, calling, and beliefs to bring folks into the folds of the church.

    The Vatican needs to do a better job in reaching the unchurched. Times they are a changing and so must the church in a simpler theological and religious manner. In order for the parishes of all to survive the lay people must feel and believe in the church. That’s why participation of all the laity is paramount for growth. Amen.

  • Cheryl

    Perhaps it is just the way the article is written, but it sounds like he is being disrespectful both to his bishop and to the bishops in Rome. We are called to obedience even if we don’t always agree, although we can work respectfully toward changing things that don’t seem right.

    Jesus Himself showed us how to be respectfully obedient with His death on the cross. The human side would say it isn’t fair or just that God would ask Him to do that, yet He did it out of total obedience.

  • Denis

    Priests like Father Tegeder are why I never attend the New (Novus Ordo) Catholic Mass–you never know what private little revolution the priest and parishioners are going to wage through the liturgy.

    Since Summorum Pontificum, the traditional Mass of the Church has been growing and will, God willing, grow even more in the coming years, so that ordinary Catholics like myself won’t have to grit our teeth and wince every time we attend Mass and are subjected to some embarrassing display of aging hippie radicalism. Father Tegeder says that churches are empty in Europe. Not the traditionalist Churches. They’re full of young families, and kids. They’re bucking Europe’s sterility trend. Tradition and big, happy families go together, in my experience.

    The sooner the greying radicals of the Church pass into retirement, the better for all of us. I don’t know what they were smoking in the seminaries in the 60’s, but it didn’t do the seminarians any good. They should have stuck to incense.

  • Okky

    You can listen to some of the wiorhsp songs we have used to lead wiorhsp at church.everyone you can check out the songBy Your Grace (Live)at let me know what you think

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live