ShareThis Page
Defiant priest excommunicated |

Defiant priest excommunicated

The Rev. William Hausen knows just what he’ll do when he gets the letter notifying him of his formal excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church: Frame it.

The Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese announced Thursday that Hausen “has incurred automatic excommunication” by starting a splinter church. The diocese sent Hausen notification of the pronouncement via certified letter, said the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, diocesan spokesman.

Hausen, 66, of Sewickley, said he received notice of a certified letter but didn’t have time to pick it up from the post office; he was going to the Andre Rieu concert last night at Mellon Arena.

Hausen on Sunday led the first service of Christ Hope Ecumenical Catholic Church in a rented ballroom at the Sewickley Country Inn. Excommunication was a self-imposed consequence of that act, Lengwin said.

Diocesan officials still hold out hope for reconciliation, should Hausen abandon Christ Hope and return to the Catholic faith.

“I don’t see any reconciliation in the future,” Hausen said. “If (Christ Hope) is not somewhat successful, I’ll be flipping hamburgers at Seven Springs.”

Hausen, who owns a small farm in Seven Springs, labeled the excommunication notice an attempt by the church to control him and his followers by means of “fear and guilt.”

Those who join Hausen’s church — like him — will excommunicate themselves from the church, Lengwin said.

“We are not looking to punish anyone,” Lengwin said. “At the same time, your actions do have consequences when you freely and willingly leave the church.”

The formal notification of Hausen’s excommunication calls Christ Hope a “schismatic church.”

“The Christian Faithful need to know that free and willful participation in this church implies separation from the Catholic Church. This a serious matter that no one should take upon himself or herself lightly,” says the notice, which will appear in today’s Pittsburgh Catholic.

Hausen threatened in 2002 to leave the church, which led to his transfer from St. James Catholic Church in Sewickley to the Sacred Heart Parish in Shadyside, Lengwin said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.