At a parish known for promoting “progressive” ideas, parishioners protested during Mass over their new priest’s attempt to restore orthodoxy and tradition.
Saint Francis of Assisi Church is one of the oldest churches in the Diocese of Portland, Oregon. The parish has become known for its “progressive” leanings.
Parishioners have marched in the Portland Pride Parade, hanged a banner on the entrance that read “Immigrants & Refugees Welcome,” and used only gender-neutral language to refer to God – avoiding he, Lord, and King, instead using only God or Creator. They would also recite a pledge of their “values in a community commitment” after the Nicene Creed.
A year ago, Father George Kuforiji from Nigeria began restoring orthodoxy, tradition, and reverence to the parish. He removed the banner, began using proper language to refer to God, and removed the community pledge pamphlet also stopping it’s recitation after the Nicene Creed.
The last-straw was when Kuforiji removed a hand-woven altar cloth, and “pride” vestments hand-made by parishioners that were worn by previous priests were discarded. They protested and interrupted a June 30th Mass.
The protesters, mostly elderly females, wore white, held up signs, and shouted over Kuforiji during Mass. Some wore T-shirts during Mass that read “Jesus resisted the Pharisees” on the front, the back reading “Question authority.”
When one person tried defending the African-born priest, protesters shouted “you don’t belong here” at him and locked their arms to sing “We Shall Overcome,” a Gospel song associated with the Civil Rights Movement.
One female parishioner asked Kuforiji: “How can you be a priest? I’ve been here for over 15 years. You’ve been here a year.” To which he responded: “Do you have reverence for God?” as she turned her back on him in disgust.
One male parishioner accused Kuforiji of “trying to destroy the parish,” while another female parishioner took the pulpit to egregiously compare his restoration of tradition as “abuse.”
“I said we are being abused. We are being abused in the Catholic church by this priest and by this archbishop.”
When Mass was over, the former music director also took the pulpit to lead the protesters in song. They shook maracas, hit tambourines, clapped their hands, and sang loud.
Watch disgruntled parishioners irreverently protest tradition and orthodoxy at their parish: