A friend of Cleansing Fire has sent us a copy of “Charlotte’s Web.” No, this is not the weekly bulletin article Ms. Bruney publishes detailing the goings-on at St. Vincent de Paul. Rather, this is the friends edition of the newsletter (which is far more enlightening to say the least). A couple of readers have mentioned that in a previous edition of the newsletter, Ms. Bruney described getting the Brockport pastorate over two priest applicants as a coup. That would appear to be one of the benefits of being a layperson on the bishop’s Priest Personnel Board. Below is an excerpt from the most recent article where the new Nativity pastoral administrator reveals that she will be working with a familiar yes-man in Fr. Ted Auble, and that the “dynamic duo” plan to win over the people of Brockport with their “love”.
Let’s take a look at what she has to say, with emphasis:
“We also learned that Fr. Ted Auble, my ministry partner here for the last eleven years, will be moving with me to Brockport. As sad as it will be for us to leave St. Vincent’s, we are thrilled to be able to continue our collaboration. There is still quite a bit of “noise” coming from small pockets in Brockport who are angry about my appointment there, feeling that a priest should have been appointed pastor. I know in time this “dynamic duo” will prove to them that there are far worse things than not having a priest pastor, but in the interim, we need to be paitent [sic] and thick-skinned. “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love….”!!!”
Surprise surprise, Fr. Auble is coming with Charlotte to Brockport. What has been the fruit of this “dynamic duo” you might ask? Take a look below at the weekly Mass schedule and imagine how well this is going to go over at Church of the Nativity:
Your vision is not failing. Under the “dynamic duo” (I’ll use her term), St. Vincent de Paul has only one weekday Mass. Meanwhile, the parish has four Scripture and Communion services every week. This has got to be a dream scenario for any priestess wannabe. But don’t worry… As Ms. Bruney admits in Bishop Clark’s lay ministry apologia, Forward in Hope, when it comes to Masses and communion services at her parish, “at this point, it matters not which it is” (page 73). Expect the same kind of confusion to come to Brockport. Irreparable damage is going to be done no matter how hard parishioners fight back, whether it be in the form of lower attendance or apathy toward the growing priest shortage in Rochester.
A reader sent us an e-mail late last night to inform us that Fr. Auble has a job apart from his priestly duties selling and grooming pets for his company, “Happy Tails.” If only this priest would spend a little more time doing the Lord’s work instead of pursuing entrepreneurial ventures! I don’t think it would be unreasonable for the people of Nativity to request that this priest offer more than one weekday Mass, unless grooming animals is a higher priority than saving souls.
Ms. Bruney concludes the article with her plan to squelch opposition:
“[We] will prove to them that there are far worse things than not having a priest pastor, but in the interim, we need to be paitent and thick-skinned. “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love….”!!!”
The win them over with love strategy is a familiar one which has been employed to varying degrees of success by pastoral administrators across the diocese — fool the flock with a fake smile and they will become putty in your hands. I hope that the people of Brockport will see through any attempt to win them over with kindness. A smiling pastoral administrator does not make the appointment of a pastoral administrator any more acceptable; it’s still illicit and a gross misinterpretation of the provision provided under Canon 517.2. Laypersons may collaborate in pastoral care, but they certainly can not direct it.
Remember folks, the law of the Church is on your side. You don’t have to put up with laypersons delivering homilies, taking a leadership role in the Mass, and/or presiding over parish councils. Remind the administrator about what the Church says. If she quips back that the bishop has granted permission for these illicit activities, inform her that the bishop is wrong, and furnish proof. If this still fails, send faxes and letters to Rome ASAP (specifically to the Congregation for Bishops). Bishop Clark will make his ad limina trip to Rome either late this year or early next. If you voice your concerns now and in large numbers, they could very well find their way into the discussion when the bishop sits down with Pope Benedict.
A little over a year to go until change comes to Rochester. Keep praying.