The Vermont Digger reports:
The Vermont Roman Catholic Diocese has removed a Windsor County pastor who fought calls by the state’s largest religious denomination for Covid-19 vaccinations, masks and other pandemic precautions. Rev. Peter Williams is no longer head of Holy Family Parish of Springfield and neighboring Chester, Bishop Christopher Coyne informed church members in a public letter this week.
Williams, who has led his church since 2003, sparked headlines in January when he posted a YouTube video questioning the diocese’s call for all clergy to get vaccinated or, if not, wear a mask and undergo regular testing to curb transmission of the coronavirus. “Being more of the ilk of a patriot,” the pastor said in a 10-minute video, “I balk at any incursion into my rights as a human being and certainly a U.S. citizen.”
From the bishop’s letter:
Father Williams as of today, March 8, 2022, can no longer serve as your pastor. In the meantime, I have invited him to stay with me at my residence in St. Joseph Cathedral Parish in Burlington so that he and I can pray, dialogue and worship together to hopefully change the bad opinion he has of me as his bishop and to strengthen the bond of fraternity that should exist between a bishop and his priest.
May I point out that this is about the promise Father Williams freely made to respect and obey the bishop and his successors when he was ordained to serve the Church in Vermont as a co-worker with the bishop. A great deal of misinformation has been spread that has caused much division and concern within the parish and has impacted his ability to minister to all parishioners.
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) March 11, 2022