Monday, August 12, 2019


I coping the following from the Deacon's Bench and the comments at the end of it are not mine but his.

How could a parish like this get away with what they were doing for so long? Can you imagine how hard it would be for a priest who is Catholic to go into a schismatic parish like this. Just who was the previous pastor and how did things get out of hand like this?

At the same time, a priest going into such a parish needs to work a bit more slowly. But let me tell you, I would celebrate the Mass as it is written from minute one and I would wear my own vestments if the parish vestments are crazy and I would make sure the altar looks like an altar, cloths and all. So some things would change right away.

I had a parishioner tell me after Sunday Mass that their family had visited Immaculate Conception Church in downtown Atlanta the previous Sunday. This parish, next to the capitol, is very progressive, LGBTQ friendly and more than likely similar to the parish in the story below. My parishioner said that priest bragged about how much better they are than any other parish in the archdiocese because they are so open, so friendly and so welcoming of so many kinds of people. They, unlike the unwashed masses of other Catholic parishes, do it right. Such arrogance and such pride, the deadly sin of pride.

Please look at the age of the parishioners in the video, my age and older, baby boomers who never grew up, 1960's social activists still beating that same drum. Very sad indeed and such a caricature:

Revolt: parishioners protest changes at parish in Portland, Oregon

Evidently, one pastor’s efforts to restore a sense of orthodoxy to a progressive parish met with fierce resistance— even prompting protests during Mass.
See the video below. A longer story follows.
From the front page of The Oregonian on Sunday:
The new priest took charge of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church more than a year ago. Week after week, parishioners said, George Kuforiji changed their church in ways they didn’t think he ever could.
…St. Francis is one of the oldest churches in Portland. It has long been known as a bastion of progressive Catholic faith.
Parishioners have marched in the Portland Pride parade, fed and given shelter to people experiencing homelessness and worked to make the traditionally patriarchal institution more inclusive of women. For several years, a banner hung above the church steps that read “Immigrants & refugees welcome.
Now, the banner is missing. Vestments and one of several treasured photographs of the homeless community that had lined the walls of their parish had been piled in a trailer headed for the dump.
Many felt the new priest aimed to better align St. Francis with the archdiocese, who some feel is out of step with Catholics in Portland.
An archdiocese spokesman turned down multiple requests to interview Sample or Kuforiji.
So what happened?
Parishioners said the changes he made were almost immediate.
For years, St. Francis used inclusive language in its scripture readings. With references to God, for instance, they avoided using “he,” “lord” or “king” and instead used simply “God” or “creator.”
Kuforiji switched readings to traditional scripture, no longer allowing the new wording.
St. Francis outlined their values in a community commitment that parishioners would read after the Nicene or Apostles’ Creed. Kuforiji replaced the pamphlet and cut out the community commitment.
Parishioners brought their own copies and still said the words.
The parish’s handwoven altar cloth was a gift from a village in Guatemala the parish had helped. Parishioners showed up to Mass one Sunday last summer to find that Kuforiji replaced it with a plain white cloth.
Parishioners also had cherished vestments worn by the priest — some they’d made by hand. When two parishioners found the vestments, along with banners and other valued items in a trailer headed for the dump, tensions boiled over.
Dianna Shaffer and Melody Ghormley went to St. Francis June 27 to prepare for a parish clean-up scheduled for the next day. When Shaffer arrived, she saw Ghormley talking with Kuforiji and Deacon Kevin Welch in the sanctuary.
Shaffer and Ghormley noticed the vestments were missing, along with the large “Immigrants & refugees welcome” banner. Black and white photographs of homeless people served by the church were stripped from the walls. Both said Kuforiji told them he didn’t know what happened.
It seems to me someone, somehow, needs to negotiate a truce here — and that effective, meaningful catechesis is sorely needed. I’d like to hear from the archdiocese and the pastor to get their side of the story.
At the very least, the archdiocese should never have let things get this bad.
When a parish starts rewriting liturgical texts to remove God’s gender, and inserting its mission statement into Mass, that’s a serious problem. And publicly tossing vestments into the trash? Really? Was that a good idea?


TJM said...

LOL - “liberals” abhor change when it happens to them!

Anonymous said...

Yes, that would be an accurate description of the Shrine (of the Immaculate Conception) here in Atlanta, I have seen 'immigrants and refugees" welcome signs posted there (and next door, at the very liberal Central Presbyterian Church). Banners in the sanctuary too. The Shrine survives on folks coming from a distance---it is in an area dominated by local and state government and commercial interests, so hardly anyone lives within walking distance of it. The pastor, Msgr. Gracz, certainly has a liberal reputation. The annual MLK Mass is held there every January, though it looks to be a mostly white parish from visiting there at Easter (it is not my normal parish, but hey, have to venture out every now and then).

I suppose it does not look good that all this went on under Wilton Gregory, who of course is now 550 miles to our northeast (of Atlanta) in DC.

But as I have been telling people, Georgia is trending purple or blue. The city of Atlanta voted 80-something percent for Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams (governor) in 2018. The congressman for most of the city, John Lewis, has a 100 percent pro-abortion voting record (yet still claims membership at the historic Ebenezer Baptist) Even Savannah (Chatham County) is turning liberal---Clinton and Abrams easily won both last time. So you might say the Shrine is a reflection of the community, unfortunate though that may be. Well, the good news is if I need to move to escape the liberal onslaught in this state, the Alabama line is only about 60 miles west of the Shrine and Tennessee is only about 110 miles northwest! I don't think either of those states will be turning liberal anytime soon!

Anonymous said...

This is where Archbishop Sample is. The bishop ahead of him should be drawn and quartered for allowing this to get so out of hand.

TJM said...

Archbishop Sample must be undergoing a dry martyrdom there

Carol H. said...

Those protesters stopped being Catholic a long time ago. The only ones they are fooling are themselves.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Portland crowd would be better to join the declining Episcopal Church, believe whatever you want to believe. Stand or sit....vestments or not...Morning Prayer or Holy Communion...priests in same-sex "relationships". I guess I have a different definition of "progressive" than those seemingly 60s malcontents have. or the national Democrats have these days.

With regard to the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception down by the Georgia Capitol, well, at least in my infrequent visits there I have not seen a woman presiding at the altar or any same-sex "ceremonies" conducted! So at least it has not gotten as liberal as some of the area's very liberal Episcopal parishes. That might be going too far! Probably a safe bet you won't encounter a Latin Mass at the Shrine! But they do host the annual Right to Life Mass each year, so maybe cut them a little slack! Just a little...another parish in the Archdiocese inside 285 (our Beltway, inside of it being heavily Democratic) I attended last spring for a funeral, the pastor, a Jesuit, invited everyone to "come on up" for communion. That was in contrast to my parish in 30327, where at a funeral last spring the pastor made very clear, both orally and in the bulletin, communion only for Catholics. We'll see if things change whenever the new appointment (archbishop) is made, about which I am about as much in the dark as my understanding of quantum physics...

Anonymous said...

One last comment from 30327 on the Shrine---its associate cleric there gave the homily at the opening Mass for the Archdiocesan Eucharistic Congress, an annual event since 1995. From the account in our archdiocesan paper, he spoke about "learning from others" and getting out of our comfort zone. He has long hair (is that any indication of his politics?). There is indeed a large LBGQT population at that parish, but it might not otherwise survive without them. Incidentally, the parish was Atlanta's first, going back to 1848, and was mostly destroyed by fire in 1982 (not arson, but some electrical malfunction) and I suspect that the archbishop here at the time (long since deceased) opted to rebuild it for historical reasons---even by then, the congregation has shrunk from earlier years. Little over a mile up the road from there is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, which I don't think is as liberal as the Shrine and could probably absorb the Shrine if it ever closed.

Carol H. said...

Anon at 30327,

Maybe the deceased archbishop rebuilt the Shrine for the purpose of preventing the gays from infesting the Basilica?

Anonymous said...

Jesus had long hair. I wonder if that was any indication of his politics...

TJM said...

Anonymous at 2:50,

My that was profound. None of us here would have ever thought about that but for you!

Anonymous said...

Um, Anon at 8:48 thought of it before I did...

"He has long hair (is that any indication of his politics?)."

Fr Martin Fox said...

Anonymous @ 2:50 pm:

Maybe he thought the Romans' licensing requirements for barbers were too strict?

Paul McCarthy said...

The party of slavery still likes to keep the slaves on the plantation.