Aug 11, 2005

USC's Father Messenger had wedding plans

Not for himself, mind you, but for Chris Coggins and Kimberle Kelly.

Chris and Kim are huge fans of Father "Bill." Their "wedding website" describes the former USC Catholic chaplain as "... an intelligent, entertaining, and inspiring celebrant." The couple considered themselves "blessed" to have Messenger as part of their "celebration."

On April 29, Father Bill was put on administrative leave following allegations that he had inappropriate physical contact with a male, adult student. Messenger denied the charges.

On June 13, Father Messenger resigned his post as pastor of the USC Catholic parish known as "Our Savior."

What is perplexing is that between April and June of this year, precisely on Saturday, May 7, Father "Bill" was scheduled to officiate at the couple's wedding.

A page from Chris and Kim's website entitled "Wedding Celebrant," reads:
Kim and Chris will be married in a civil ceremony by Father William Messenger, Pastor of Our Savior University Church and Director of the USC Catholic Center.
The venue for this ceremony was NOT the USC Catholic Center (Our Savior), but rather "Silent Partner Studios" in West Los Angeles.

I am no canonist, but to the best of my knowledge, the Church does not allow priests to officiate at civil marriages. Priests routinely "bless" or convalidate already existing civil marriages, but as far as I know a priest is never authorized by the Church to conduct a civil marriage outside the context of the Roman Catholic marriage rite.

Family and friends are invited to celebrate Mass with the newlyweds and Father Bill on Sunday, May 8, at 9am at the Catholic Center.

So let's try to figure this out. The plan was for Father "Bill" to marry the couple in a civil ceremony on Saturday, and then invite everyone to Mass -- a Sunday Mass, not a nuptial Mass -- at Our Savior's the next day. The webpage, "In Honor of Our Mothers," offers this explanation:
Kim and Chris will join their mothers Elaine and Mary Lou and their immediate family for a Mother's Day Mass and Brunch on Sunday, May 8.
I admit that there may be any number of important details missing from this scenario, but based on what is known and taking into account Messenger's unorthodox ways, these wedding plans appear to be highly irregular, at best.

Given that Father Messenger relinquished his office as pastor about a month after he had been placed on administrative leave, it is hard to imagine how he could have remained a part of Chris and Kim's wedding plans. But, who knows? In L.A. stranger things have happened.

By the way, is that a muumuu Father "Bill" is wearing in this photo or is that a chasuble?

To learn more about the wild and wacky world of Father Bill Messenger, go to the USC Catholic Community website which, surprisingly, is still up and running just as Father left it.

For more background about Father Messenger, go HERE.


Blogger Clayton said...

That mumu really bespeaks the transcendent. Just looking at it transports one into the heavenly Romper Room.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Non Sum Dignus said...

Where to begin!!??

First off, that Klingon Battle Flag to the left is damn distracting (or is that some sort of New Age bio-hazard warning sign? Hell, I dunno).

next.... Why is there a framed Pigskin Review poster directly behind Presider Skippy, Chip, Bubba, or whatever his name is? I've heard that "Football Is Religion", but this is ridiculous! I guess a crucifix would be just too Catholic... and that would never do.

Looove the floral arraignment! Methinks we have entered a Hetrosexual Free Zone.

Lastly, in reference to said "vestments", anyone remember that episode of the old Carol Burnette show where she did a parody of Gone With The Wind? Remember when she made her gown out of the curtains? That's the first thing I thought of when I saw the mumu.

On second thought, I'm now convinced that somewhere on earth, there is a '68 VW hippie micro-bus that's missing most of it's upholstery.

3:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

non sum dignus

The "USC Catholic Community" website has this to say:

"Bill boasts perhaps the most diverse and unique collection of Mass vestments including an original USC Trojan print."

That explains it, although the '68 VW hippy bus upholstery thesis certainly made sense!

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Bro. Andrew said...

Greetings, Quintero,

I was wondering if the state allows priests to confer civil marriages. I am no canonist; I'll leave that to you.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Quintero said...

Bro. Andrew-

Regarding your comment: "I was wondering if the state allows priests to confer civil marriages."

The answer is yes! By virtue of his ministerial status as an "official," if you will, of the Roman Catholic Church, the state, actually I believe, the county (L.A.) would recognize a priest's authority to witness a civil marriage. The question is -- and I think I am right about this -- the Church does not authorize priests to witness civil marriages separate and distinct from the Catholic marriage rite.

7:26 PM  

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