Cleansing Fire

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Zeal for Thy House Will Consume Me–Part IX– ‘No’ Appeal

April 21st, 2011, Promulgated by Diane Harris
This entry is part 9 of 21 in the series Zeal for Thy House

Zeal Part VIII ended with the petitioners of St. Januarius receiving an incomplete, dismissive letter from Bishop Clark approximately a month after their petition was filed with him. In accord with Canon Law, the petitioners had 10 (canonical) days to reply and ask him to reconsider, which they did within the allotted time in a letter dated November 23, 2010. Even though many might sense this effort is a waste, it is necessary to ask for his reconsideration before appeal of the Bishop’s decision can be made to Rome. This is the letter sent by parishioners to Bishop Clark:

On almost the last possible day to respond, Bishop Clark sent his refusal.  While it contained a bit more detail than his first refusal, it still did not address the key issues, and was glaring in what appeared to be his stubbornness and lack of concern for the wishes of the overwhelming majority of parishioners.  He wrote:

When both refusals of the Bishop are considered, it is clear that:

  • he blindly refuses to consider the accumulated data showing the desire of most parishioners, or even to admit that it exists,
  • he ignores arguments of practices at other DoR churches,
  • he refuses to address the statements that there are no liturgical requirements to do this project,
  • he never corrects the parishioners’ belief (based on Fr. Ring’s words) that the Wegmans were creating a family memorial (and to date neither he nor Fr. Ring have issued a correction.)  Only Danny Wegman has clarified the matter (more detail in future Zeal),
  • he fails to acknowledge the absurdity of a pastor being in a parish for nearly 10 years, losing nearly half its attendees, impacting morale through a failed pastoral planning process, and then wreaking destruction on a sanctuary in his final days,
  • he offers the lame excuse of handicapped accessibility (which does have application to the front doors) to what is about to become a smaller sanctuary area where it is doubtful that a wheelchair could navigate anyway. What do his words “negotiate the stairs” mean when there are no railings in the plans that were shown?  Why should people in wheelchairs be able to go up and down a ramp as EEM’s and risk spilling the Precious Blood?
  • he mentions “Acolytes?”  Who? Where? When? 
  • he mentions other parishioners in OLOL attending St. Jan’s (even though Fr. Ring moves many events away from St. Jans and to Penn Yan,) 
  • he writes of “cramped” space but proposes to move more chairs into the sanctuary space and move the Tabernacle out to the fringes.  How does that serve the people or, most of all, their God? 
  • he fails to address the local scandal of using approximately $300,000 for an ego-cementric project when there is so much need in the world. 

Some commentators on recent Zeal postings have suggested that Rome should be informed, and they are correct.  Much of the above list was among the very issues the parishioners would appeal  to Rome.  Nevertheless, it was first necessary to wait for the appeals process with the Bishop to be completed before “appeal” could be made.  The bishop’s second refusal was received in late December, 2010 with demolition still apparently scheduled to begin in early January.

Cardinal Llovera

However, there is one other type of approach, other than an appeal, and that is to ask for an intervention when irreversible damage is threatened, for example, as it was for St. Jan’s.  The Bishop’s refusal even to consider the facts or concerns sent the signal that there was no chance for his rational consideration of the complaints; so, in approximately mid-November, 2010, the St. Januarius parishioners did address their concerns to Rome.  They followed all the procedures, through the Papal Nuncio, to the proper Dicastery in Rome. 

Be prepared for disappointment when you read future Zeal posts.  If one thinks that the case recounted against Fr. Ring indicates lack of caring for the flock, and that the dismissive tone of Bishop Clark’s letter is indicting of lack of serving the people, one will be saddened further to learn in our next posting of the lack of response from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, whose Prefect is His Eminence, Antonio Cardinal Cañizares Llovera.

Series Navigation<< Zeal for Thy House Will Consume Me — Part VIII — ‘By the Letter’Zeal for Thy House Will Consume Me — Part X–Happy Easter >>

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4 Responses to “Zeal for Thy House Will Consume Me–Part IX– ‘No’ Appeal”

  1. avatar Eliza10 says:

    He is an uncharitable shepherd. He lacks basic Christian charity. He has his own agenda, and lovingly shepherding his people is not on it.

  2. avatar Astounded says:

    How sad that your pastor, your bishop, and even the Vatican all disagree with you. I know how challenging and difficult it can be to cope when everyone else is wrong and you’re the only one who is right. These clergy are so arrogant to think they know what is best for your Church. If only the Holy Father knew what was going on he would be charitable and stop this from moving forward.

  3. avatar militia says:

    The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it, and error is error even if everybody believes it. -Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

  4. avatar Diane Harris says:

    I wonder how “astounded”‘s sarcasm would have played to parents a decade ago trying to convince someone that their child had been sexually abused by a priest, those who were in a situation where their pastor denied it, their bishop covered it up and Rome ignored it.

    We can wish that no one ever has such power again, to abuse, to subvert the truth and to refuse to act justly. However, there are other areas of pastoral abuse, failure and/or dereliction of duty that also require attention, not just pedophilia, which was/is the tip of the iceberg of dysfunctional shepherding. And as the rest of the iceberg surfaces, don’t be surprised if we see the same kind of behaviors that shocked in the abuse of children, and the same kind of sarcastic nay-sayers who attack the victims instead of the perps.

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