A Catholic church in Pearl River, Louisiana, has burned the altar where its former pastor was caught having sex with two women.
“His behavior was obscene, his desecration of the altar is demonic,” said Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans, who consecrated a new altar at the church Sunday.
The former pastor at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Travis Clark, has been removed from ministry and is no longer on the diocese payroll, WDSU reported.
Clark, 37, was arrested Sept. 30 with Mindy Dixon and Melissa Cheng on obscenity charges after a passer-by reported seeing them having sex on the church’s altar, the New Orleans Advocate reported.
Police confiscated sex toys, stage lights and two recording devices from inside the church, according to the publication.
Attorney Bradley Phillips, who represents Dixon and Cheng, called their arrest “appalling,” and said they were engaged in consensual sex with an adult outside public view, the New Orleans Advocate reported.
Aymond told the congregation at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church on Sunday that the previous altar had been removed and burned, WVUE reported.
“The church is a very holy place,” Aymond said Sunday, WDSU reported. “When a church has been used for unholy things and it has been desecrated, we must drive away the evil spirit, and that is what we do today.”
Church-goers said they would pray for Clark.
“He had a moment of weakness, we still love him, we’ll still support him, we’ll still pray for him and ask God for what he did and have a sincere and sorrowful heart,” said Steve Fecke, WVUE reported.
Advocates for victims of sex abuse by priests protested outside the church before the service Sunday.