Monday, November 26, 2012

Priests and Bishops Who Fail the Flock

From the Virginian-Pilot, with my emphases and comments, à la Fr Zuhlsdorf :

Diocese says parish must hold separate Communion services [Erm, we have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass]

By Jeff Sheler
The Virginian-Pilot
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has told the nation's only blended Catholic and Episcopal parish [Wait, there are outfits like this across the pond?] that it must change its worship services so that Catholics and non-Catholics meet in separate rooms for Holy Communion.
The parish, Church of the Holy Apostles, has been led by Catholic and Episcopal co-pastors [Erm, that's not possible, I'll get back to the law at the bottom] for more than 30 years. Parishioners say it's an arrangement that has allowed families in mixed marriages to worship together and has helped build bonds that transcend denominational boundaries.
In an emotionally charged meeting [And there goeth reason, because emotions are always right] diocese voiced support for the ecumenical congregation, said the Rev. Michael Ferguson, the parish's Episcopal pastor.
But the officials made it clear the current worship practice - using a combined liturgy in which the priests move to separate altars in the same room to say the Eucharistic prayers - was unacceptable [I'm very certain this is illicit, possibly if not likely invalid] , Ferguson said.
They instructed the parish to come up with a plan that provides for separate liturgies in separate rooms, Ferguson said [Just break the party up! It was a party right? I mean, it's not like you could actually have genuine prayer and sacrifice in this place].
"What was left in our laps was to develop a way to be together in those parts of the service where it would be acceptable to the diocese for us to be together, and then to separate... without making it disjointed," Ferguson said [Issue Romanorum Coetibus* already! Evidently-based on the singular form of 'diocese'- the Anglicans don't have any respect for Catholic divine worship!].
Once a plan is developed, Ferguson said, it will need approval of Catholic Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo and Bishop Herman Hollerith [Excuse me, you're not a bishop. It's OK, you can stop playing pretend, and put away the miter and ugly vestments now.] of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia.
Ferguson said he is confident an acceptable [To whom?] arrangement can be worked out.
"It could have been much worse," he said.
Michael Cherwa, president of the parish vestry council and a Catholic, said council members were "surprised and saddened" by the diocesan officials' presentation during the two-hour meeting.
"They told us what we are doing is not in compliance with the Roman Catholic Church [Oh boy. How did people not know this already?], that there are some things we need to change," Cherwa said.
He said they were told it was a message handed down from Rome [The big bad boys in Rome! Can't be Rottweilers, since he-the Pope- no longer has day-to-day control on these things. But his puppies at the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith and Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments do.].
"That came as news to us. It's been such a joy for families to come together from different sides and celebrate together. To be told we've been doing something wrong, it was a shock and a disappointment." [I'd laugh, but this is serious business, the salvation of souls and all.]
Yet from the beginning, the ecumenical arrangement raised eyebrows in the church hierarchy [It should have raised more than that. Perhaps a finger telling them to stop in the name of the Church?]. While it was not unusual for Catholic parishes to share facilities with other denominations, a combined parish using a shared liturgy was unheard-of.
Retired Bishop Walter Sullivan, who helped launch the parish and participated in a recent 35th anniversary service, had encouraged local church leaders to keep a low profile, parish leaders said.
"Whenever I have visited, I've found the services distracting [I would find them disturbing, and would write to the bishop, the nuncio, and Rome...]," said Stephen Neill, a spokesman for the Richmond diocese and editor of its newspaper. "It was like going to a movie that has two different endings, or having two people talking to you at once."
He offered no explanation as to why this objection was raised now [Better late than never, I guess].
Ferguson said many parishioners at the church on Lynnhaven Parkway are still upset by DiLorenzo's removal earlier this month of the parish's Catholic co-pastor, the Rev. James E. Parke [The bishop has that right; now the pastor can appeal, but it's not worth it in many cases, especially not one where he's not even in a proper parish].
DiLorenzo gave no reason for Parke's dismissal [Does he need to? Even if he was just a worker bee- which he's not- VA is pretty loose on firing regulations.],  which was communicated in a letter to the parish on Nov. 2. Parke has not been reassigned.
Cherwa said no additional explanation was offered at the meeting.
The diocese has temporarily installed as interim priest Monsignor Raymond Barton, who was the parish's Catholic co-pastor at its beginning in 1977. [As if the guy who helped to start the mess will do jackdiddly to fix it]
Ferguson said he planned to give a detailed report of the meeting to parishioners during Sunday's service.
 The sacraments are those signs given to humanity to fill us with grace, and are entrusted to the Church (the Catholic Church established by Christ, Matthew 16:18). These are Baptism, Confession, the Eucharist, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick. All, except Baptism when someone has indicated a desire for it, and is in danger of death, require a priest or deacon in some form (I can go into this in more detail at another time). So, that means the pastoral care of Catholics in a parish must be entrusted to a priest as the Code of Canon Law (CIC), makes clear:
Can. 515 §1. A parish is a certain community of the Christian faithful stably constituted in a particular church, whose pastoral care is entrusted to a pastor (parochus) as its proper pastor (pastor) under the authority of the diocesan bishop.
So, a Protestant, who doesn't have any ties to the Bishop (the promise of obedience made at ordination) and disagrees on matters of doctrine (as 'he is to be outstanding in sound doctrine'), cannot take care of the souls of Catholics. Period!
Can. 521 §1. To become a pastor validly, one must be in the sacred order of the presbyterate.
I can't see much of a case for valid orders in the Episcopal Church in the USA (definitely not in the Church of England), considering that you tend to toe the traditional Anglican line, or follow a post-modern theological bent. I suppose a former Catholic priest could ordain you, but even then, does he intend to confer the sacrificial priesthood? Probably not. And in any case, the priest needs faculties (permission from his bishop to celebrate the sacraments under the normal i.e. non-emergency conditions) and to be in regular and good standing to exercise those faculties in the parish.

And I definitely do not think this is what the CIC had in mind when it says this, so don't even go there:
 Can. 518 As a general rule a parish is to be territorial, that is, one which includes all the Christian faithful of a certain territory. When it is expedient, however, personal parishes are to be established determined by reason of the rite, language, or nationality of the Christian faithful of some territory, or even for some other reason.
 How can any sacramental functions occur in this parish that are not at risk of being illicit (a form not found in the rubrics given for the Church), or even invalid (not using a form that is acceptable as a sacrament)? Canons 528-30 cannot be fulfilled (Also, this isn't simply about being in violation of canon law. Canon law is simply a good way to point out what's wrong here.) Because of this, and this is the thrust of this post, people cannot receive grace, and come to fully participate in the love of God.

Let's take the Sunday service. The 1978 Book of Common Prayer is not a Roman Missal. The Roman Missal-and the accompanying books, like the Lectionary- must be used by Catholics for we pray in union with all the Masses said throughout the world and with the communion of Saints...I can't imagine that the BCP was left on the shelf the entire time. And actually, I am fairly certain that these services were completely illicit, just because an Episcopal minister was assisting in the sanctuary. I can't speak for the Liturgy of the Eucharist on the Catholic end, because supposedly the Missal was used, but, if it resembles a much-too-large number of American parishes since 1969, I doubt the words of the Eucharistic Prayer were always observed.

Now, how were functions like hospital visits and Confessions handled? Anointing of the Sick and Confession can only be handled by a priest...I shudder at the thought of how many people could wind up in Hell as a result of these and similar actions (and priests will be judged accordingly as priests).

At least his stole is correct
Bp. Emeritus Sullivan is mentioned. Good Heavens. He let the diocese sink into a liturgical disaster. It's been said that he even wore a stole over his chasuble when consecrating a parish to be used for the Traditional Latin Mass. (And that's just the most minor, although rather stupid, of abuses.)

I guess he never wears a stole correctly.
I respectfully ask Bishop DiLorenzo to close this parish, for the spiritual welfare of his flock, and to prevent further scandal.

*Anglicanorum Coetibus is the Apostolic Constitution issued by Pope Benedict for Anglican parishes and clergy to come home to the Church of Rome, giving them their own Ordinaries (usually for entire countries), and allowing them to participate in the Roman Rite under the 'Anglican patrimony,' with their own form of Mass and Office, if they so desire. Romanorum Coetibus is Father Z's way of mocking Anglicans who steal Catholics, but complain when we gave Anglicans an opportunity to swim the Tiber. 


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Whoopsies, that was a mistake...Apparently that is NOT the button you edit others' comments with. Hmm, need to find that button.

  2. "it's not like you could actually have genuine prayer and sacrifice in this place]." Well, in true charity, you must admit you got it half-right.

  3. By prayer, I meant the prayer of the Church i.e. the Liturgy.