WESTBOROUGH -- Some parishioners at St. Luke the Evangelist are angry their pastor was yanked from Mass and publicly scolded by the bishop of the Worcester diocese for opposing church efforts to ban gay marriage in Massachusetts.
"Bishop (Robert) McManus told us that Father George (Lange) 'made a mistake' and 'should not have done that,'" said parishioner Cindy Hodgdon. "Our church leaders' hands were slapped very publicly."
McManus took over two Masses after Lange and his associate pastor, the Rev. Stephen Labaire, printed a short item in a recent church bulletin snubbing the Massachusetts bishops for supporting an amendment to the state Constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman only.
"The priests of this parish do not feel that they can support this amendment. They do not see any value to it and they see it as an attack upon certain people in our parish, namely those who are gay," the item in the bulletin said.
McManus, bishop of the Diocese of Worcester, took over the two Masses, the 5 p.m. Mass Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Mass Sunday, to state that Lange's position about gay marriage was wrong and that Lange and Labaire mishandled the issue.
Source: Bishop scolds Westborough priests for announcement supporting gay rights, by Sarah Menesale. MetroWest Daily News Sept. 29, 2005.