the news about a Michigan priest who was removed from his parish because he began to introduce elements of traditional worship. In the case of this priest, Fr Dwyer, he was accused of introducing incense, vesting the altar servers in cassocks and surplices, and putting some candles on the altar. He also introduced a some elements of Latin and Gregorian chant. Most admit that he did so with care, gradually and with catechesis–explaining what he was doing and why-- but it was not enough to prevent his removal. Now I have no personal knowledge of any of these situations but I suspect the story is true.
While the above is happening in Roman Catholic settings, there is similar truth among Lutherans, even within the LCMS. It is not uncommon for pastors to get into trouble for doing little more than holding to the official position of the LCMS by patiently and with deliberate catechesis reintroducing the liturgy, the official hymnal of our church, historic Lutheran worship practices, the teaching and practice of close(d) communion, the teaching and practice of women's roles consistent with LCMS teaching, and the like. In some places, the bishop (district president is the LCMS nomenclature) is quick to discourage the pastor from the pursuit of more faithful Lutheran doctrine and practice -- especially if the overseer fears that it will create conflict. On the other hand, the same bishops seem to have no problem in suggesting candidates to calling congregations who will lead them away from the use of the hymnal, the liturgy, or faithful Lutheran worship practice and will support these changes because they believe such is the shape of our future.
So what am I saying? Sometimes the most dangerous thing you can be as a pastor (or priest) is to be a faithful example of what your church believes, teaches, and practices. We live in a world in which it is considered good to press even further the progressive edge of your church body but not so good to hold to what your church body has believed, taught, and confessed. This is true whether you are a Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, or Roman Catholic. To many folks inside and outside of the church, the best pastor or church leader is the one who is out ahead of the church on such things as gender, sexuality, subjective truth, Biblical integrity, and doctrinal fidelity. And, by extension, the worst thing you can be is to be considered inflexible or rigid in maintaining the faith once delivered to the saints.
If the church is to survive, she will not survive by surrendering her identity for the sake of the moment and if a pastor or priest is to succeed it will not be by surrendering his integrity in the pursuit of being liked or relevant. These are trying times and even if the bishops do not get it, the future lies with those who are faithful. The ultimate faithfulness, of course, is not to an institution but to the voice of God's Word and to the catholic and apostolic faith that this Word informs and guards. But that faithfulness will come with a cost. You can complain about it and your complaint may be true enough but our Lord never once suggested that faithfulness was the easy path or the popular one. In fact, He went to great pains to make sure we knew before signing on that faithfulness would be constantly tested, tried, persecuted, and threatened. If you are not prepared for this, then you are not ready to be commended to the church as a worthy servant and office bearer.