Monday, March 06, 2006

A mass expulsion?

Via LA Catholic, a disturbing story out of Orange County, California:

From the OC Register editor's blog:
One local Catholic told me that a St. Mary's by the Sea church bulletin that the diocese had planned to hand out in church today was pulled at the last moment after an attorney wrote a letter objecting to the unbelieveable and mean-spirited step of publicly listing 55 people who were being asked to leave the church. The diocese also implored other congregants to turn against these people.
Now, personally, I consider obedience to be a great (and important) way to practice and learn humility. At my home diocese of Cleveland, the "no kneeling" rule has also been instituted by Bishop Pilla. It upsets me a lot not to be able to kneel before Our Lord in the Eucharist after the Agnus Dei. However, in asking me not to kneel, His Excellency is not asking me to commit a sin. And so I obey, even though it hurts. I kneel in my heart; they can't demand that I stop that.

Also, perhaps the whole story isn't being told, and the "Save Saint Mary's group" is doing serious damage at the parish. At the same time... Telling them to leave the parish! To leave the diocese! Publishing the names, and instructing other parishoners to "invite" those listed to leave! It's beyond the pale. Apparently the bulletin announcement was not handed out at the last minute, but the fact that it was even published (and apparently with the approval of the bishop!) is absolutely horrendous. Besides, didn't Cardinal Arinze already address the issue of kneeling? Didn't he say that people had the right to kneel if they wished? I'm not completely "up" on the issue, but the pastor's (and, it seems, the bishop's) behavior is terribly wrong. These people have rights, and I hope they get a good canon lawyer.

*UPDATE*: The alleged text from the letter in the bulletin has been published. Exerpts:

...For all the reasons mentioned above, as Administrator of this parish, for the common good of the parish and the Diocese, with tears almost every day, I officially invite all the brothers and sisters in the "Save Saint Mary's group" to leave the parish and the Diocese, to go to any parish or Diocese that can accommodate their "own traditions/point of view". Every parishioner who follows/obeys the mandate of the Bishop has also the right to invite these "dissident/disobedient" brothers and sisters to leave the parish. If any of these changes his/her heart, or feels being misled by this group, they can ask for removing their names from the list. They are welcomed to stay or come back, and to follow all the liturgical norms of the Diocese with love, obedience, respect and charity.

These are the persons in "Save Saint Mary's group" (parishioners and non-parishioners) that I invite to leave the parish and the Diocese, with the approval of Bishop Brown:
Read the whole thing. To be fair, the pastor does give some reasons for the action. Shudder.

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