MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Some parishioners spent their mass in tears at St. Victoria Catholic Church Sunday. It was the first official Sunday without the church's music director of 18 years, Jamie Moore.
Moore says he chose to resign when Archbishop John Nienstedt asked him to -- after Moore married his longtime partner.
Father Bob White, the pastor of the Victoria, Minn. church, says he tried figure out a way so Moore could stay in his position, but that did not work out. Now, White says he's dealing with one of the most trying situations in his 40-year ministry.
"I think, in the end, the archbishop has a job to do. I think what's often over looked is he is simply doing what in his role he's called to. I understand that," White said.
White says he also called Moore a friend.
"I called him the quite literally the voice of St. Victoria for the last 18 years," White said. "We all will leave legacies behind and Jamie's is monumental."
The archbishop, in a statement as to why an employee could be asked to resign, sited "public conduct which is inconsistent with the faith, morals, teachings, and laws of the Catholic Church."
Brie Raiolo grew up in the church -- and with Moore's music.
"It's sad, kind of like I've known him my whole life and part of my childhood is gone now," Raiolo said.
Her friend, Ben Almquist, said "it's sad and it kind of angers me that he can't be here for the reason that he married his partner."
Of the confusion parishioners may be feeling, White said, "our faith, I think, confronts us with paradox and calls on us to hold both that we don't dismiss one or the other."
Even though Moore will not lead the music again, White insists Moore is welcome to sing from the pews, he says all are welcome to attend worship.
Moore wrote a letter to the congregation ending with these words: "I know that the vast majority of people at St. Victoria live lives that are truly examples of the way Christ would live; free of judgment, filled with love."
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