Several Catholics were critical of a Star-Advertiser headline last week that described Marc Alexander, Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s homeless coordinator, as an “ex-priest.”
The story on his appointment said he had left the priesthood after 25 years for a secular job. The message — inelegant as it may have been written — was that Alexander was not going to be a priest, he was going to be a homeless coordinator.
Alexander said it was “time to answer a call in a different direction.”
Bishop Larry Silva, in an interview with the Catholic News Agency, explained how the church now sees Alexander.
As Bishop Silva explained on Jan. 26, Fr. Alexander has not lost either the spiritual gifts, or the sacred obligations, that he received at ordination. However, having abandoned his ministry, he is no longer permitted to celebrate the sacraments, or perform other priestly functions, under all but the most urgent circumstances.
“Marc Alexander is still a priest,” the bishop explained, “but his faculties have been withdrawn. He has not requested dismissal from the clerical state, nor has it been granted.”
“However, in light of his decision to abandon the active priestly ministry, his ‘license’ to minister, granted by the bishop, has been withdrawn. He may not licitly perform any specific priestly functions. He may give absolution to someone only if that person is in danger of death. Otherwise, he is not to function as a priest,” the bishop said.