Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wisconsin Priest To Organist: 'Stop Selling Sex Toys'

A Catholic priest has removed his church's organist and choir director from her duties saying her sale of sex toys was not "consistent with Church teachings."

Linette Servais, 50, played the organ and sung with the choir for 35 years. Much of her work as choir director and organist was done without pay.

When her parish priest asked to meet with her, she thought it was to say thank you.

Instead, she was told to quit her sales job with company known as Pure Romance or she would lose her position in the church. Pure Romance in Loveland, Ohio, is a $60 million per year business that sells spa products and sex toys at homes parties attended by women.

It has 15,000 consultants like Servais.She said her decision was not hard: She began working with Pure Romance after a brain tumor and treatment left her sexually dysfunctional.

The job allows her to help other women who have similar problems.

"After I got over the initial shock, I prayed over this a long time," she said. "I feel that Pure Romance is my ministry."

The Rev. Dean Dombroski felt differently, removing her from the choir loft just before Thanksgiving and gradually taking away other church duties. Servais can no longer take pictures during First Communion services or lead the committee planning St. Joseph's annual late-summer picnic.

Dombroski said he couldn't discuss the situation because it involves personnel. But in a letter to his rural congregation, he wrote: "Linette is a consultant for a firm which sells products of a sexual nature that are not consistent with Church teachings.

Because parish leaders are expected to model the teaching of our faith ... she could stay on as the choir director/organist or she could continue to be a consultant but she could not do both."

Servais responded with her own three-page letter to church members, saying she felt compelled to help other women, especially those suffering from problems caused by cancer. Many choir members quit in support, she said, and some have gathered at her home on occasional Thursdays to sing hymns.

"Father Dean made it sound so sinful," she said. "There is so much more to this business than toys."

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