Cleansing Fire

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Fr. Mike Mayer officially going to St. Charles Borromeo

May 29th, 2013, Promulgated by Ben Anderson

The very same weekend we reported that Fr. Mike Mayer was being removed from St. Pius X in Chili (here and here), the non-canonical “Pastoral Administrator” Bill Rabjohn made the following announcement from the pulpit after mass (below):

*see footnote below

The very next week Mr. Rabjohn made another announcement (below). After repeatedly referring to Fr. Mayer as simply “Mike”, parishioners started to speak up saying “FATHER Mike” and eventually applauded… for, I assume, the correction and their support for Fr. Mike, who then graciously spared Bill further embarrassment and finished the announcements.

Mr. Rabjohn is to be ordained a permanent deacon this coming Saturday, June 1st. In the bulletin for this upcoming weekend, Mr. Rabjohn is all set to refer to himself as “Rev. Mr. Bill Rabjohn, Pastoral Administrator.”

UPDATE 2013-05-30 5:00 PM

Because I turned off comments in this post, Churchlady posted a useful comment on the original post that I thought worth sharing here:

From The National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States

Clerical Title
88. While various forms of address have emerged with regard to deacons, the Congregation for the Clergy has determined that in all forms of address for permanent deacons, the appropriate title is “Deacon.” 95

95 “The introduction of the title ‘Reverend Mr.’ for permanent deacons could further complicate the issue of identity for deacons. The term ‘Reverend’ has traditionally been associated with priests and used only for transitional deacons on their way to priesthood. As there is great sensitivity surrounding the issue of a deacon being seen as a ‘mini-priest,’ it would seem that the title ‘Reverend Mr.’ would lead to continued identification of the diaconate with the priesthood, rather than contributing to the independence and integrity of the Order of Deacon in itself. The title ‘Deacon’ would, of course, be appropriate.” Congregation for Catholic Education and the Congregation for the Clergy, Joint Study of the US Draft Document—National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, Prot. No. 78/2000 (March 4, 2002).

END UPDATE

UPDATE 2013-06-10 8:27 PM

From the following week’s bulletin:

I made an honest mistake in my pilgrim companion article last week. Over the past eleven years, various deacons from other dioceses have sent me letters with the written title “Rev. Mr.” in front of their names, so I thought this was proper; similar to priests being referred with the written title of “Rev.” and verbal title of “Father”. After verifying this, I learned that the title “Dcn.” is proper in our Diocese and I will use that in writing from now on. Thank you for your gracious understanding and forgiveness. God’s peace and blessings to you
~ Dcn. Bill Rabjohn, Pastoral Administrator.

Kudos to Deacon Rabjohn for correcting the mistake.
END UPDATE

I contacted Mr. Rabjohn over a week ago requesting his input on some questions surrounding this story, but have received no response.

Comments are off on this post. Parishioners would like to request prayers for all involved – for Fr. Mike Mayer, Bill Rabjohn and his family, Bishop Cunningham, and the parish at large. They merely want a wrong to be made right.


Objection #1: Fr. Mayer can do more good at St. Charles Borromeo.

Quick Responses to Objection #1: If this is true, then:

  • Why doesn’t the diocese clarify that this move has nothing to do with Mr. Rabjohn’s desire for him to leave?
  • Why does one of the larger parishes in the diocese not have a priest as its leader?
  • Why is Fr. Mayer not a pastor of a parish after 15 years of excellent service to the diocese? What exactly is going on here?
  • After putting in much effort laying groundwork and establishing connections and trust with parishioners, families, and children, does it really make sense for a priest to start over again after just a few years?

Objection #2: Lay people ought not question the Holy Spirit.

Quick Responses to Objection #2

  • Not every action taken by clergy is the work of the Holy Spirit.  If this were the case, then the Holy Spirit would be guilty of just about every heresy in the book.
  • Canon 212.3

    They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals.

  • Episcopal Attacks on Orthodox Catholic Blogs – Dr. William Oddie

    So one has to ask again what the duty of a layman is when he firmly believes that duly constituted local authority is setting itself against Church teaching. The usual response on such occasions is rightly and appositely to quote St Thomas Aquinas’s famous dictum: “If the faith is in imminent peril, prelates ought to be accused by their subjects, even in public.” St Thomas also said that “Augustine says in his Rule: ‘Show mercy not only to yourselves, but also to him who, being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger.’ But fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected.” [Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 4, Sed Contra].

  • CleansingFire’s register user “true faith”‘s comments starting here.

footnote 1
I would direct anyone who would like to learn more about what the Church teaches about “OFFENSES AGAINST TRUTH” to the Catechism of the Catholic Church starting at paragraph 2475. This is really useful stuff to know. Read it and re-read it until you know it very well. It is so very important to have this down especially when you consider that in charging someone of an offense against truth when, in fact, they have not offended against truth, you may actually be offending against truth yourself.

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