Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Charlotte Bruney’s Comments

February 7th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

In Forward in Hope, Bishop Clark publishes essays written by five Diocese of Rochester pastoral ministers. These include essays from Rose Davis, Patrick Fox, Charlotte Bruney, Anne-Marie Brogan, and Deb Housel. All of these essays are certainly interesting, but the one with the most intriguing comments was the essay written by Charlotte Bruney.

Quick background: Charlotte Bruney is the longest-serving Pastoral Administrator in the DoR at a single assignment, serving almost twelve years as the leader of St. Vincent DePaul in Churchville. Ms. Bruney also spent a brief period of time as co-Pastoral Administrator of Corpus Christi with Kathleen Cannon immediately following Jim Callan?s transfer to Elmira. Like other DoR administrators who seem to appear overnight, she was imported from another diocese; the Archdiocese of Hartford. These lay administrators always find their way to Rochester, don?t they?

The first interesting comment made by Ms. Bruney is her retelling of a parishioner?s reaction when she was experiencing difficulty in finding a weekday celebrant for St. Vincent DePaul (we have parishes in our diocese with 4 priests on staff .  How hard can this truly be?). Here is what she writes about this event:“an eighty-year-old gentleman who was a regular at daily liturgy pulled me aside one morning and announced: “We’ve been talkingand we’ve agreed that we don?t want you working so hard to get us a priest for weekdays. We’ve decided that you should say Mass for us!? Stunned, I laughed aloud and then realized that he was perfectly serious. I asked him if he wanted to have me excommunicated; he replied, “We’ll just pull down the shades. No one will have to know but us!?“” (73).

Ridiculous; this is absolutely ridiculous. The culture of dissent in our diocese has been allowed to percolate for so long that there are probably several people out there who would be willing to partake in an invalid Mass if they were given the opportunity. I applaud Ms. Bruney for dismissing this man?s proposition, though I hope she took the opportunity to instruct her congregation on the essential nature of the priesthood, and that no priest means no valid consecration and no Mass. It’s scary to think that there are still people out there saying “we’ll just pull down the shades.” It makes one wonder whether any leaders in the DoR have agreed to do so. Let’s pray that this is not the case…

One thing I worry about with all the Communion services that are popping up in our diocese is that these services will soon be seen as a reasonable substitute for the sacrifice of the Holy Mass. Many people out there may already think that there is little difference between attending a Communion service or a Mass because you receive the Lord Jesus in both. This is a terrible precedent, and one which diminishes the role of the priest in the life of a parish. Charlotte Bruney seems to confirm my concern when she says: “This small, but faithful, community gathers every weekday morning for either Mass or a Scripture and Communion service (at this point, it matters not which it is)” (73). It should matter, and it should matter a lot. The Communion service is not a worthy substitute for the Church’s greatest prayer; the Holy Mass. We shouldn’t become complacent with these Communion services. We need to push for more priestly vocations with every ounce of energy in our bodies. The Church will not survive on Communion and Liturgy of the Word services alone.

I will give credit where credit is due; Ms. Bruney does express concerns about lay ministry being viewed by many as an acceptable substitute for priests. She does state that we need ordained priests in order to function as a Church. However, Ms. Bruney uses this essay to make a political statement concerning who the Church admits to the ordained priesthood. On page 74 she says, “It is so clear to me that the question of who may be ordained is the most important question facing the Church today. Are we really willing to sacrifice the availability of the Eucharist on an altar of celibacy? Which is more fundamental to our Roman Catholic system of beliefs?” (74). I do not see the question of ?who may be ordained? as being the most important question facing the Church today, especially over the question, ?how long before we are rid of all these bishops who reject worthy candidates to the priesthood because they are orthodox in faith?? To remove the requirement of celibacy is only a Band-Aid to our problems. Restore orthodoxy, and the vocations will flourish. We see this trend time and time again. The priesthood is a vocation from God which requires the full time and attention of the man called to serve in this most important duty. To have a wife and kids would add too great a burden on our already over-worked priests, and this would also add a financial burden to parishes. The priesthood requires a full commitment from those called to it.

Next installment (#7 of 8): Bishop Clark and Lay Preaching

Previous installments:
5. The Diocese of Rochester’s Erroneous Interpretation of Canon 517.2
4. The Role of the Lay Pastoral Administrator in the Mass
3. Creation of a Parallel Hierarchy
2. Bishop Clark On Obedience
1. Backward In Obedience: A Book Review of Forward in Hope

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6 Responses to “Charlotte Bruney’s Comments”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Nice job Dr. K.

    I just wanted to suggest to your readers that if they write a letter or send an email letter to the Vatican, the Papal Nuncio, the media or even Bishop Clark, they should add a note telling how the Cleansing Fire web site is exposing all of the harm that is being done to our diocese and it is now on the Internet for the world to see.

    Many readers of Cleansing Fire may not realize how powerful the Internet has become as a tool to save our Church.

    Get the message out of Rochester.

  2. Gen says:

    I know Choir often expresses his desire that the internet had been around during the days of the Council and the implementation thereof. If Rome had been kept up to date on the errors that were inferred from the documents, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now – or at least a mess not quite so large or rank.

  3. Christopher says:

    If Rome was going to do something about this, they would have done it awhile ago. Unless, it's something like a sex or money scandal (which would draw mass media), Rome will not likely act. Obviously Rome will not do anything as they don't want to see Bishop Clark on Oprah if they removed him.

    Going to channel 13 news is futile as well because if it isn't sex or money, it isn't news worthy.

    I think if you really want things to change right now, you enlighten the people who are going to these churches with infractions. Do it in a legitimate way which isn't emotional or too judging. Just show them the facts. Maybe throw fliers on windshields (while they're in church) or whatever explaining why it isn't right and what parishes are free from these issues currently. Then the people can at least make "informed" decisions.

    Another idea is to seek refuge from other dioceses in America who might enlighten people in our diocese properly. The more priests that know about this site from other areas, the better. This is assuming that most priests are against this and not for. Who knows though right?

  4. Anonymous says:

    'enlighten people in our diocese properly." The people know.. its the DOR that needs to be enlightend, it is their souls that are in trouble.

    I do believe your right Chris, Rome is not going to do anything. I think the best we can expect is 2012 the resignation is accepted and our dear Bishop will swiftly move out.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Rome may be very slow to react because most upset parishioners in the Diocese of Rochester are not contacting Rome.

    You get a couple hundred or a couple of thousand parishioners constantly contacting Rome and the Vatican will start to react. You have to be relentless if you want to save the Church. If you do nothing, then sit back and watch the Church in the Diocese of Rochester, die right before your eyes.

    Many parishioners did not attend the past protests that were held against the closing of the 13 schools, the destructive renovation of Sacred Heart Cathedral or several church closings.

    If more parishioners got involved, even starting today, with use of the Internet, you can start to change a bad situation. Change won't happen overnight, but you will help salvage what is left in the Diocese of Rochester.

    As word spreads on the Internet, you will informing parishioners in other dioceses that are experiencing the same type of destruction in their own diocese.

    There are many employees in the local media and all walks of life including local politicians, police officers, judges, lawyers and even a local mayor, who are outraged with Bishop Clark since he closed most of the parishes and schools in the City of Rochester.

    I have sent letters via U.S. mail, email and fax machine to the Vatican.

  6. Dr. K says:

    "As word spreads on the Internet, you will informing parishioners in other dioceses that are experiencing the same type of destruction in their own diocese."

    Another way to look at it is that our future bishop, who may be a parish priest in some diocese out there, could be reading this information on the Web, and he will have a good background on our problems before taking the reigns. You never know for certain who out there may be reading.

    ~Dr. K

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