Two New England priests have left active ministry to concretize their homosexual relationship in a so-called “same-sex marriage” and apparently used the maiden name of one of the priests’ mothers as their mutual surname.
Father Joseph Cooper and Fr. Michael Clements recently “married” and moved to Minnesota, leaving behind a trail of hurt and betrayed parishioners as well as financial questions of a possibly criminal nature.
Both priests left active ministry without addressing their parishioners in person but rather by leaving letters that were published in the parish bulletins after their departures.
Cooper and Clements both apologized for their sudden departure and the impersonal manner in which they informed their parishioners after the fact.
Cooper and Clements exchanging vows
Cooper wrote that he was angry with himself for leaving how he did, citing his own weakness and human flaws:
With this said, I do ask forgiveness of anyone whom I have hurt. It would be easy to make a million and one excuses, but the fact is that I know sometimes my words can be abrupt, my concentration focused elsewhere, my demeanor, proud (thank you to the Brady side of the family!). If I have hurt you, I do apologize. If you are angry with me for leaving so suddenly, I understand. I’m a bit angry with myself that I’m not a stronger person in this regard. Welcome to my own human flaws!
Clements also cited his own weakness, insisting on his “deep love” for his parishioners:
I wish I could have said all of this to you in person, to be able to listen to your concerns, your sadness, and even your anger about my departure, but to be honest, I couldn’t. I know that I wouldn’t have the strength. Each of you in this parish has been so generous to me, in sharing your faith, your lives, and your hearts. You enabled me to be a pastor for the first time. … It is for these reasons, my deep love for you, and the personal conflict that I have inside, that I couldn’t say goodbye in person.
The two former pastors now live in Excelsior, Minnesota, and go by the surname “Brady,” which is apparently the maiden name of Cooper’s mother, as evidenced from his departure letter published in the bulletin: “[T]hank you to the Brady side of the family!”
Catholics from the diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, have also confirmed with Church Militant that this is the case.
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