Presumptuous pastoral assistant receives reprimand from Bishop but Vatican does not regard the case of a concelebrating laywoman as serious

Bishop Joseph Bonnemain warns Monika Schmid

Monika Schmid receives a formal reprimand from Bishop Joseph Bonnemain. The same applies to two priests and other persons who were present at the altar during the pastor's farewell service.

The reason for the disciplinary act: disregard of important liturgical regulations. The case was judged not to be serious by the Vatican dicasteries and was therefore closed.

Against the now retired Zurich pastor, who led the parish of St Martin in Illnau-Effretikon for 37 years, the aa bishop opened a preliminary apostolic investigation at the beginning of September 2022.

The case was investigated by the Chur Offizial Artur Czastkiewicz.

It was triggered by the fact that Monika Schmid had said the High Prayer for Consecration alone in a modified form during her farewell service on 28 August 2022 and had celebrated the service together with two priests - including parish administrator Felix Hunger - a deacon and another woman at the altar.

The question that had to be clarified in the preliminary investigation, which was led by the official Artur Czastkiewicz of the Diocese of Chur, was whether or not Monika Schmid was guilty of something under church law through her actions.

Wide media attention beyond Switzerland

As the diocese of Chur and the parish of St. Martin have now jointly announced, the farewell service of the long-time parish leader Monika Schmid on 28 August 2022 in the parish of St. Martin had attracted a great deal of attention due to the broad media coverage, "far beyond the parish, the Diocese of Chur and Switzerland".

All those affected included in the investigation

Bishop Joseph Bonnemain then opened a "canonical preliminary investigation" to clarify whether the current liturgical order of the Catholic Church had been seriously violated during this service. "All those concerned were also included in this investigation," the media release said.

"No criminal proceedings required according to church law".

The careful investigation of the facts then showed, according to Bishop Bonnemain, "that no serious liturgical violations took place in this service, the judgement of which would be reserved to the Vatican Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. Therefore, no criminal proceedings are necessary according to canon law."

With a shepherd's crook: Monika Schmid at her farewell service.

However, important liturgical regulations had been disregarded in this service, "which are binding for the whole Church". The bishop could therefore not avoid issuing a formal reprimand to the pastors involved.

Warning for Monika Schmid

On 15 August 2023, Bishop Joseph Maria Bonnemain issued the five persons concerned with the appropriate warning in the course of detailed personal discussions, in the expectation that these errors would not be repeated in the future. The matter was thus closed for all concerned.

On the other hand, Bishop Bonnemain expressed his trust in all the pastoral workers involved and thanked them for their committed pastoral work for the good of the people, the media release concludes.

First reaction of the President of the Church Council Cornel Dora

Cornel Dora, president of the Illnau-Effretikon parish, is glad that the case is now closed for the parish. "The uncertainty is finally gone, and we are glad that apart from the reprimand there are no further consequences for our pastoral staff."

Cornel Dora still appreciates Monika Schmid for the work she has done for the parish. "We are one of the liveliest parishes in the canton of Zurich and very open-minded."

Monika Schmid could not be reached by telephone for comment on Friday afternoon.



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