Msgr. James Moroney Named Interim Cathedral Rector

Liturgical leader Msgr. James Moroney will become interim rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul in Worcester, MA starting Jan. 1, AP reports. Moroney had previously been head of the seminary in Boston, but was asked to step last fall down during an investigation of misconduct at the seminary. Moroney was not accused of wrongdoing.

Moroney served previously as rector of St. Paul Cathedral, until in January 2011 he was named to the seminary post. He has served as executive secretary of the Vox Clara committee advising the Vatican on liturgical translations, and until recently was an advisor to the Congregation for Divine Worship in the Roman curia. From 1996 to 2007 he was Executive Director of the secretariat for liturgy at the U.S. bishops’ conference, serving capably as a moderating figure at a time when the so-called “liturgy wars” were becoming increasingly divisive in the U.S. Church.

Pray Tell wishes Jim Moroney the very best in all his future ministry and service.


  1. Wishing the best: certainly. I heard him at a conference in the early 90s and I was impressed. Much less so from his statements around the time of MR3–it was like he drank the liturgywars Kool-Aid. Priests should be ordained to be pastors. Anything else should be part-time. Or a hobby.

  2. Todd that’s fine for diocesan priests. Religious priesthood is different. See “Priesthood in Religious Life” edited by Steve Beavens. SVD.

      1. The notion that all priests should be pastors represents a very narrow view of the priesthood. Many fine priests are professors, scholars, spiritual directors, canonists, administrators, or yes, even monastics, yet aren’t necessarily called to lead a local parish, and that’s fine. Being a priest means a lot more than being a “sacrament factory.” Plus, these non-parochial priests provide needed sacramental help at your local parish while the pastor is on vacation or medical leave, help that would be considerably harder to find if these priests didn’t exist or were told to get lost.

      2. Many lay people are professors, scholars, spiritual directors, canonists, administrators, and monastics too. These are charisms of the baptized.

        The role of pastor goes far beyond that of confecting sacraments. There is a quality of spiritual leadership involved–one certainly that lay people could do if they administered a parish or even a diocese. But we don’t see to much of the former, and hardly ever of the latter.

        As it is, this is the kind of discussion that should be taking place in the church today. Why are people getting ordained? Both in large numbers and individually? We might well ask why women in religious orders aren’t ordained to serve their sisters. Or why numerous lay people who have the obvious charisms aren’t being ordained to serve in parishes.

        It seems like the only answers we hear are variations on this theme: we’ve never done it that way; Jesus said we couldn’t do it that way. We do well to ask for better of our pope, theologians, and bishops.

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