Saturday, March 10, 2007

Voice of the Faithful Writes to Cardinal on Behalf of Recently Closed Churches

This morning's New York Post ran an item, The Cardinal is begged to reconsider. This piece describes a letter written to Cardinal Egan by the leadership of the local chapter of Voice of the Faithful, a group of concerned laity seeking certain reforms within the Roman Catholic church. Regarding Our Lady of Vilnius:

"They also complained that the closing of Our Lady of Vilnius on Feb. 26 was "disrespectful to its pastor and parishioners and brought shame upon the Catholic Church itself." The archdiocese has said the decision to close both churches was made after an elaborate review process, that the concerns of the parishioners were considered and that everyone was given an opportunity to be heard on the subject."

My two cents: They have to say that the review process was elaborate because it was neither effective nor fair. It was based on a simplistic evaluation of demographic parameters carefully chosen to justify the closure of certain parishes. How could the considerations of the parishioners of Our Lady of Vilnius be considered when the Chancery never allowed an exchange of ideas with parish representatives? They don't even know what our concerns are, unless the public relations firm of Howard Rubinstein has been briefing them on recent press.

The Archdiocese should have sent a team to visit parishes and talk to parishioners before compiling a list of parishes for closure. Parishes that were solvent, but whose statistics belied their viablility, should have been given an opportunity to register the unregistered and challenge the administrative tally of "sacramental viability" statistics. Parishes should have been given a wake up call, not a death knell. The Archdiocese should have looked into the attributes that inspire devotion and the financial support of those who can least afford it and looked at ways to invigorate other parishes with those traits.

Cultivation of structural decay and the appearance of statistical morbidity, inaccurate and misleading information carefully chosen for being a micron shy of legal falsehood, misleading logic and implication, imperviousness to communication, brooking no opposition, the use of deception and brute force to quell opposition. How is this true to the teachings of Christ?

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