Sunday, May 6, 2012
THE DISASTER OF MISPLACED FAITH AND PRACTICE
From the National Catholic Reporter: "St. Mary in Platteville, Wisconsin was a tranquil parish with a thriving elementary school until June 2010, when Morlino assigned three traditionalist priests from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest to the parish. They replaced a beloved pastor, Msgr. Charles Schluter, who had served the 1,200-member parish for more than a decade.
Such transitions are always difficult, everyone acknowledges. Some parishioners said the new priests made too many changes too quickly.
They had a reputation of upsetting another parish with their very conservative ways," Anderson said of the order. "Right away, they said no girl altar servers, only priests could give Communion and they disbanded the group that took Communion to the homebound. They said the basis for what they were doing was that Vatican II had been misinterpreted."
"The parish had been collecting between $11,000 and $12,000 a week, according to a former parish council member. That's dropped to between $4,000 and $5,000.""
My Comments: Bishop Morlino has agreed to close the parish school because of the dramatic drop in financial support for both the parish and school.
What's going on here? Predictable mismanagement and poor judgment of the priests who replaced a "beloved" pastor.
1. Was there a cult of the personality as it regarded the previous "beloved pastor?"
2. Did the new priests act way to hastily in dismantling what most parishes in the USA and Canada have: Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Altar girls and more casual kinds of Masses?
3. Did the parishioners of this parish place to much emphasis on the personality and theology of their previous pastor and come to believe that Eucharistic Ministers, Altar Girls and a less formal liturgy are the foundation of Catholic Ecclesiology and life? Did lay involvement and the organization or nature of the Church trump the need for salvation, forgiveness and reconciliation?
Like it or not, liturgical roles expanded after Vatican II to include females as altar servers and to allow the laity to assist in the distribution of Holy Communion and the Precious Blood as well as bringing Holy Communion to the sick and homebound are ministries that most of us priest appreciate and have cultivated.
To arbitrarily take these away in a parish accustomed to having them creates the problems we see. So I continue to blame the priests. Even if they accomplished their goals in a slow and methodical way over the course of years I think they might have been able to pull it off. But they were not trusted to begin with and never gained the trust of those they were sent to serve.
All the practices they dismantled are allowed. And it is allowed to dismantle these practices. That's the problem and that problem is a "bishop" and "pope" problem and ultimately they are the only ones who should make extremely clear what is lawful in all circumstances and what isn't. If they leave the ambiguous state of affairs we have today then we're going to see more of this divisiveness that is harmful to souls, parishes and dioceses.