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Fr. Joseph Klee receives medical attention after his left hand was injured during an incident at a pro-life vigil in 2017. An abortion activist was charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 29, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― A bishop has yanked a priest known for his pro-life work from ministry thanks to threats by LGBT activists. 

Bishop Robert J. Brennan of the Diocese of Columbus in Ohio announced last week that Father Joseph Klee is neither assigned to, nor represents, the parishes of St. John the Baptist and Sacred Heart.  

“Father Klee has shown a pattern of making communications to a broad audience on a variety of contemporary issues which are frankly divisive,” Brennan wrote in a “Special Message” on the St. John the Baptist parish website.  

“While these communications seemingly present Catholic moral teaching, they are often offensive and disrespectful to the human dignity of persons,” he continued.  

“Father Klee has been repeatedly warned about making these divisive communications and ordered to cease doing so. Further steps are being considered at this time.”

Klee told LifeSiteNews that the bishop’s announcement was caused by prayer hours he held on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, this June 19, and on the Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the following day, as well by the threat of violence from “the local active homosexual community.” 

LifeSiteNews has ascertained that Klee’s prayer hours were held outdoors, as a form of “outreach,” and featured a banner reading “God’s Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman.” According to the witness, the Catholics who participated prayed and sang hymns peacefully whereas some people driving by either honked in support or screamed insults including “unmentionable sexual suggestions.” 

A Columbus Catholic who spoke under condition of anonymity told LifeSiteNews that he has known Klee for 20 years and attended his regular Thursday night Adoration liturgies. He said that Klee, a late vocation, had been incardinated in his native Columbus but marginalized because he is orthodox. 

Klee, he said, has actively preached a pro-life message and on modesty. The priest ministers to nuns on “the periphery” and works in prison chaplaincy. For over 10 years Klee also was the chaplain of a diocesan “Courage” program for same-sex attracted Catholics striving to remain chaste which remained “under the radar until it got popular.” After that Klee was replaced, and the program “fizzled,” he said. 

LifeSiteNews’ source said that complaints about Fr. Klee’s Holy Hours were made by LGBT activists.  

“Gays make demands at the [diocesan] chancery on [East] Gay Street and expect their demands to be honored,” the source said. 

Bishop Brennan also removed Klee from his ministry to the Spanish-speaking community at St. Peter’s Church in Columbus. A spokesperson for the parish announced this on Facebook, saying: 

Fr. Joseph Klee has ably and tirelessly served in Hispanic Ministry here at St. Peter for the last two years. On June 22nd Bishop Brennan relieved Fr. Klee of that responsibility. Fr. Summers will preside at the Sunday Mass in Spanish until he leaves when Fr. Tuttle will take over. Fr. Klee has been a great help to our Hispanic parishioners and to Fr. Summers. We thank him for his time with us and wish him well.

As a response to his removal, Klee exhorted faithful Catholics to “make our lives an Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart.” He asked for prayers on two themes: fortitude for the “spiritual leadership of the Church” and freedom for those “deluded by the false promises of the homosexual agenda” to break free.

“Please pray and make sacrifices for the following two intentions (in addition to praying for me),” he wrote. Klee also asked for prayers for:

1. For a tremendous outpouring of graces upon the spiritual leadership of the Church (specifically upon the bishops and priests), that they would be empowered with the Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude.  That they would implore the intercession of the martyrs, lest they go from being potential victims of Satan’s attacks, to being actual instigators and accomplices (like the Pharisees in Our Lord’s day).  Please pray that they would be freed from a subtle resignation to despair, specifically that of falling into discouragement that the authentic Gospel of Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Faith are not the answer, but that atheistic socialism is.

2. For all those men and women (and increasingly, the boys and girls too) deluded by the false promises of the homosexual agenda, and especially those in the active homosexual lifestyle, that they would be given the grace to break free from the devil’s grasp.  We pray that they would acquire the Theological Virtue of Hope – that they would be inspired to believe that they can be freed from the sinful enslavement that the practice of sodomy entails.  We pray that many would come to understand that the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession are indispensable, for receiving the necessary graces to resist grave sin.

Klee was injured and almost run over by an abortion business volunteer on April 8, 2017. Michelle Davis had stolen Klee’s pro-life signs from the public sidewalk in front of Founder’s Women’s Health Centre and put them in her minivan. She then attempted to flee the scene, and Klee caught his hand in the vehicle’s grille as he got out of her way. The woman was initially charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct but not with assault on the priest.

In 2012, Klee was filmed giving a speech for the “Final Push Heartbeat Rally” in Columbus. The Heartbeat Bill was finally passed in 2019 but was soon blocked by a federal judge.

Contact information for respectful communications:

Bishop Robert J. Brennan
Diocese of Columbus
197 E. Gay Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Contact form for Bishop Brennan on the website of the Diocese of Columbus