Former liturgy director launches independent Catholic church

A former full-time liturgy director for the Catholic church has launched an independent church of his own.

Founder, Bill Mentz, who has just left his liturgy director’s position, says SS Francis and Clare Independent Roman Catholic Community will include gay people, women and divorcees.

The church, which observes apostolic succession, will hold its first service this month.

The service will be held at the Providence United Presbyterian Church in the nearby city of Scranton.

However, the Catholic Diocese of Scranton has distanced itself from the new church.

“The St Francis and St Clare Independent Roman Catholic Community is in no way affiliated with the Diocese of Scranton nor in communion with the universal Catholic Church,” a diocesan statement says.

Mentz has not yet been ordained by the Independent Roman Catholic Church. He is currently serving as a parish administrator.

He expects to be ordained as a deacon later this year and, following a background check, psychological evaluation and other checks, he will be ordained a priest in 2019.

In the meantime, the new church will hold Sunday services without a priest. The services will include scripture readings, a sermon and Holy Communion.

It will also celebrate traditional rites including sacraments such as baptisms.

Mentz said he is not trying to steal away parishioners who are content.

“But, we also believe there are people in the pews right now who are not comfortable,” he said.

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