Cleansing Fire

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The IPPG Documents – St. Salome Addendum

February 14th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

What follows below is our analysis of the St. Salome addendum to the IPPG letter to Bishop Clark recommending the closure of St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Salome. You can find the original letter, with all of its content, online here. What follows are excerpts and commentary:

The letter: “On January 21, 2010 a letter was sent to the St. Salome Parish Council in which the IPPG formally declined to include our Response in its recommendation to you. Curiously, the IPPG composed a second letter on January 27, 2010 in which it declared that it had decided to reconfirm its decision of July 9, 2009. Again, we respectfully disagree with the portion of the recommendation which includes closure of the St. Salome campus.”

Commentary: Not sure what exactly is going on here, but it sounds like the IPPG declined to acknowledge that St. Salome wanted their building to be retained in the final plan.

The letter: “The most important category relative to planning for the future in the “Ranking by Net Proceeds 10 Years.” St. Salome church is the only church in each of the top three groupings!”

Commentary: Isn’t it blatantly obvious by now that the IPPG did not bother to choose the best facilities or even the ones with the best potential, but instead has been obsessed with protecting the Big Three (Christ the King, St. Cecelia, St. Margaret Mary) parishes? The Big Three had pastors/administrators to fight to defend them; St. Thomas and St. Salome did not. These parishes were instead being led by Fr. Tanck, whose loyalties lie with Christ the King, the Basilian parish where he was originally assigned. St. Thomas and St. Salome’s leadership duties are an inconvenience, and also a headache for the priest (because they did not roll over and say “OK, shut us down”).

The letter: “Father Joseph Hart’s own words were that if the Providence funding were not acquired the parish would close.”

Commentary: Haven’t we learned by now that we can’t trust anything said by Buffalo Road? So much for St. Salome renting its property to Providence to keep the parish open. I hope the diocese enjoys the money from Providence. Maybe the French Road heresy factory could use another overhead projector, or book written by a liberation theologian for their terrible library?

The letter: “As the project progressed St. Salome parish sacrificed its presence and identity within the Providence facility. Even something so trite as a brick connection was eliminated. At Father Hart’s suggestion a small free standing meeting space was sacrificed. Ironically, components such as these were then employed as justifications which rendered retention of the St. Salome Parish less desirable than the other parishes. Smaller in size clearly became the theme which justified the IPPG decision.”

Commentary: I wonder sometimes if the diocese already knows the direction it plans to head, and they’re just moving us around like pieces on a chessboard. Come on, the closure of St. Thomas’ school, this St. Salome situation… doesn’t it all add up? Certain parishes were weakened and put in poor situations like St. Salome and St. Thomas. Look what happens to these parishes.

The letter: “There can be no denial that a criteria for closure was the expectation that a certain percentage of parishioners would leave the Irondequoit Catholic Community rather than join the new single parish. Since St. Salome was smaller, the net loss was more easily absorbed. This repeated theme is unacceptable.”

Commentary: Were attendance (and representation) the same, St. Salome would clearly have survived over say, St. Cecilia. However, despite the best attempts of the IPPG to say otherwise, the number of people attending each parish played a significant role in the outcome. St. Salome has the least people, so that means less parishioners to lose when the parishes merge, less collection money lost, and less voices to gripe afterward about the situation.

The letter (here’s a juicy one): “The size of St. Salome parish even had an impact on the configuration of the IPPG. Out of the seventeen current members only two were from St. Salome Parish. Incredibly, one of these members was not allowed to vote or consensus because she had only recently joined the group. The chairs of the standing IPPG committees were given membership on the IPPG. No St. Salome parishioner enjoyed the status of being a chair.”

Commentary: This whole process reeks of corruption and cronyism. Neither St. Thomas nor St. Salome were fairly represented in this process. The Big Three parishes dominated the IPPG. Christ the King, St. Cecilia, and St. Margaret Mary had the most positions in the IPPG, and welded the most power. The process was a sham. Who didn’t see this outcome in advance? EVERYONE KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN.

The letter: “The simple fact is that pastor members of planning groups are revered and most certainly possess a unique stature. You know these wonderfully dedicated priests. Father Horan had the name plate of St. Margaret Mary before him, Fathers McKenna and Leone had St. Cecelia [Fr. McKenna is now the rector of the Cathedral], Father Bayer had St. Ann and, finally, as the process began Father Tanck had Christ the King. Neither Christ the King, St. Thomas nor St. Salome had their own individual pastor representing them. Sadly, one very high ranking member of a parish whose campus will stay open commented “why should we help to save a sinking ship?” We think everything you witnessed between our 100th celebration [Let me guess, Bishop Clark came to that? I promise you he won’t attend the closing; he’s a fair-weather bishop, only there for parties and good times, but then hiding away in his Buffalo Road bunker when he should man up and act like a bishop in bad times] and the dedication ceremony belies this sentiment.”

Commentary: In much more charitable terms than I choose to use, the letter writer makes it clear that St. Thomas and St. Salome did not have a pastor to defend their parish. Fr. Tanck’s loyalties always were with Christ the King. I can’t stress the point enough, CTK is a Basilian-run parish. Fr. Tanck is a Basillian father. Get it? Christ the King was never going to close because of this Basilian connection; St. Thomas and St. Salome were doomed from the get-go.

The letter: “The IPPG has acknowledged that “It is, therefore, difficult to point to specific items telling you why the proposal has been declined by the IPPG.” (emphasis added) [Not my emphasis] There is no business model and certainly ther
e is no tradition or precedent in our Diocese where such a monumental decision would be undertaken where the deliberative body clearly concedes that it has no concrete explanation for its recommendation. It is more incredible to imagine this recommendation being approved after your benevolent words and presence at St. Salome Parish in recent months.”

My prayers for the people of St. Salome and St. Thomas. The diocese may not give a damn about you, but we here at Cleansing Fire do. We know what you’re going through; many of us have gone through it ourselves with our own parishes. You have friends here who will help you with whatever you need. Don’t stay a minute longer and support the Irondequoit parishes when the bishop finally issues his final (obvious) decision to go with the IPPG plan because it gives him the easy out. Leave, and come to a church that will love and respect you; such as Our Lady of Victory or St. Stanislaus.

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9 Responses to “The IPPG Documents – St. Salome Addendum”

  1. avatar Gen says:

    It seems as if the people of St. Salome and St. Thomas are mounting very thorough defenses. I pray that the unfortunate trend of disregard from Buffalo Rd. will change.

  2. avatar Matt says:

    You know, a good bishop should be fighting FOR his people and their parishes, not against them.

    Buffalo Road–has any of you actually prayed about and discerned this decision? Just a simply suggestion.

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    If only you knew the lies and falsehoods spoken by the two diocesan priests, representatives of the bishops when they closed down the Catholic Physician's Guild in the late 1990's. What shocked me was that priests were actually lying because they were in cahoots with the bishop. You are ABSOLUTELY correct. These people are NOT to be trusted. And what cringes me is that these same priests have been entrusted with our souls.

  4. avatar Dr. K says:

    Re: above

    You're going to have to enlighten me about this Physician's Guild event. What happened exactly?

    ~Dr. K

  5. avatar Mike says:

    Dr. K.,

    About a year ago I found the following on the website of Women for Faith and Family. It dates back to 1997. I recall googling around at the time trying to find out more and coming up empty.

    "Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester (NY) has imposed severe restrictions on the Catholic Physicians Guild and the Catholic Lawyers Guild in his diocese, after both groups issued statements critical of homosexuality. Bishop Clark, who has been forthright in his support of homosexuals, participated in a recent national conference sponsored by the militant pro-homosexual New Ways Ministry.

    "Bishop Clark told the two professional groups that henceforth they cannot hold meetings or disseminate literature without his permission and accused them of undermining his authority."

  6. avatar Dr. K says:

    Very interesting. Thanks.

    ~Dr. K

  7. avatar Mike says:

    Dr. K.,

    I guess I've gotten a little better at using Google during the last year.

    The following comes from here.

    Bishop Clarke of Rochester "hosted a special, highly-publicized Mass for ?gays, lesbians and bisexuals? at Sacred Heart Cathedral [where] he not only affirmed the ?lifestyles? of gays and lesbians, saying they had much to teach the wider Church, but he delivered a stinging rebuke to faithful Catholics and admonished them to ?update? themselves on contemporary biblical scholarship." When the local chapter of the Catholic Physicians Guild publicly accused him of dissenting from Church teaching on homosexuality, he disciplined the association by prohibiting them from "distributing any teaching material of any sort of a theological or moral issue" without his "explicit permission."

  8. avatar Gen says:

    What possible legal ability would/does he have to enforce this? I don't think the bishop has a copyright on theology.

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    What happened with the Catholic physician's guild was the Holy Spirit. 6 months prior to the banning, the guild purchased 1000 tapes from A Catholic Family Conference. The tapes indicated the risk of homosexual infiltration in the diocese and parish levels.
    These tapes sat gathering dust for 6 months. When the inspiration was received to send them, they went out at the same time the DOR chose to back the heritical organization: DIGNITY. The tapes were sent to every priest, deacon and nun in the DOR. So now, the diocese had egg on its face. IT comes out for a pro homosexual organization and its Catholic Physician's guild sides with the Majesterial teachings. Boy, did they look foolish.

    So then they were suppressed. I will never forget the bishop's "reason" for supprssion.

    He said, many priests hearing the tapes got angry so he needed to prevent us from angering priests. Of course, it was ll BS.


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