A priest is being asked by his archbishop to take a break from his parish in the small Italian town of Montesilvano after several people in the priest's congregation stormed out of Mass when he criticized Pope Francis during Palm Sunday services, the Religion News website reports today (April 11, 2017).
Media reports claimed the congregation shouted "Shame, shame!" at the Rev. Edward Pushparaj -- a native of India -- when he said Pope Francis had only been "bad" for the Catholic Church.
The episode has forced the local bishop, Archbishop Tommaso Valentinetti of the Archdiocese of Pescara-Penne, to intervene; he has pledged to meet with the disgruntled parishioners from St. Anthony of Padua parish.
In his homily, Pushparaj referred to the pope's dialogue with other faiths and in particular his decision to wash the feet of a Muslim woman at a detention center outside Rome on Holy Thursday in 2013, Francis' first as pope. "In four years Pope Francis has only been bad for the church," the priest reportedly said.