The Rev. William Rowe, whose refusal to adhere to the wording of the Roman Catholic Mass caused him to become known as the "ad libbing priest," is officially barred from performing church rites.
The banned practices include performing Mass and officiating weddings.
According to a statement released Wednesday by Belleville Diocese Bishop Edward Braxton, a 60-day appeal expired making an earlier ruling by a panel in Rome final.
That ruling by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, stated that Rowe's written argument that changing the liturgy to make it easier for parishioners to understand was no basis to remove him from performing priestly duties, "has no canonical basis in law or in fact and is hereby rejected."
Neither Braxton nor Rowe could be reached for comment Friday.
Braxton, in his public statement, also criticized a claim by Rowe that a glitch in the procedure on the part of the Belleville Diocese, meant he was still able to act as a priest outside, but not within, the diocese.
Rowe, 73, was the pastor of St. Mary's Parish in Mount Carmel for the last 18 years.
In July, he was forced into retirement by Braxton after parishioners complained he changed some of the wording of the Mass, although many others members of the church supported Rowe and urged Braxton to let him stay.
Rowe is now a volunteer at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Olney and resides on the church grounds.
Braxton came under pressure from Rome to remove Rowe after the story of the "ad libbing" priest was publicized. Braxton gave Rowe several chances during the last few years to stick to the wording and stay on as pastor in Mount Carmel, where he voluntarily worked without a salary and enjoyed heavy support from the community.
Rowe said he slightly changed the wording of the liturgy for at least 20 years in the spirit of making it easier to understand. He said he never altered the key phrase, "This is my body. This is my blood," which lies at the heart of the Roman Catholic's church's beliefs.
In December, a revamped liturgy was adopted by the church leadership in Rome, and was said to be closer to earlier Latin texts thought to be more traditional. However, it has been criticized as being hard to understand.
Contact reporter George Pawlaczyk at email@example.com and 618-239-2625.