Cleansing Fire

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Disappointed in Bp. Frank Caggiano

December 13th, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris

I had the opportunity to attend an ordination event in the Bridgeport Diocese, and afterward remarked to several people that I was impressed with Bishop Frank Caggiano, and his insightful and inspired focused preaching. A few months later I was delighted to see that he was one of the first U.S. bishops to reinstate the St. Michael prayer after Mass. But it didn’t take long before the lowest common denominator of wanna-be priests hit Bridgeport as well.

LifeSite News has reported the installation of what we in the DoR would call the ill-fated woman pastoral administrator role, a meaningless title without canon law basis, about which we were expected to act as if we didn’t know it was meaningless.  It’s taken five years to untangle the mess in Rochester; it’s hard to imagine why any bishop would put his head in the noose. The victims of the feminist rodeo are the priests whose rightful role gets suppressed to create the illusion of a basis for authority of such a pseudo-pastor; but, even more important, is the damage to souls.

There is virtually no basis at all for any parishioner to dignify anyone less than the legitimately ordained with influence over their own spiritual development. There is but one teacher, Christ Himself, and what He has given to His ‘other Christs’ is His gift to us. My message to those parishioners faced with the change in Bridgeport would be to run to the nearest exit, and to the nearest parish headed by someone who can confect the Eucharist, forgive sins, anoint the dying, and speak and lead with the charism and grace of the priesthood. The situation as conveyed by LifeSite News is worse than might be indicated. Read carefully, there is a sarcasm and bitterness which seeps through the “feminist’s” words. And that is what the prolonged battle will be – proving the need for a feminist triumph rather than truly caring for the need of souls.

When Bishop Clark wrote “Forward in Hope, Saying Amen to Lay Ecclesial Ministry” the well known journal “Homiletic and Pastoral Review” took an interest in the review I wrote, and printed it in 2010. Rather than just repeat myself here, since I still think exactly the same thing, I share it below. For those who want more insight into the related issues, also see the paper published by the St. Joseph Foundation in 2013. At the time it was written, the Vatican was heavily investigating the women’s priest activity; unfortunately Pope Francis’ decisions fell short of what really needed to be done, and the ugly seed began to sprout again, leading to such things as ‘new’ female deaconate ‘discussions’ in spite of all the prior work that had been done to verify there is no role for women priests or ordained women deacons. Unfortunately, giving the slightest nod to some new titled ‘authority’ only encourages false hopes, over-reaching, and illegitimate assertion of non-existent authority.

 

A Book Review of

FORWARD IN HOPE:  SAYING AMEN TO LAY ECCLESIAL MINISTRY

By Bishop Matthew H. Clark, Bishop of Rochester

(Ave Maria Press, Inc., PO Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556, 2009), 114 pp.

By Diane C. Harris

Published in December, 2010 Homiletic and Pastoral Review

In Forward in Hope: Saying AMEN to Lay Ecclesial Ministry, Bishop Matthew Clark details the status in the Rochester Diocese of lay ecclesial ministry (LEM), strongly advocated in his 1982 Pastoral Letter, Fire in the Thornbush. The inherent issues, problems and failures of the LEM model are apparent, and reveal the legacy Clark will leave to his successor in 2012.  The vision is obscure; it does not address how LEMs, unable to confect the Eucharist and to forgive sins, can provide for the spiritual needs of the future flock.  Clark’s words (plus five LEM testimonies) reveal LEMs as either second-class clergy or elite-laity.  Servanthood is almost completely missing from testimonies of LEMs, worried about their own prestige and pay rates.

Clark seems reluctant to call LEMs to obedience regarding women’s ordination.  Finally, on page 93 (of 114 pages), he writes:  “…I assent completely to the definitive teachings of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II that the Church, following the example of Jesus in choosing only male apostles, cannot alter this pattern.” One can almost hear “but,” as he continues: “…  I must also point out that many of us in church leadership have encountered both men and women who struggle with the Church’s teaching regarding ordination.” He calls this “a difficult cross,”refers to the “painful question of ordination,” and says LEM “has become a substitute ministry for the one to which they feel called.” Clark adds: “The fact that ordination is not open to them is experienced as a restriction, and sometimes as a very real source of grief and anger.” The Bishop’s commiseration is part of the problem, not the solution, stoking dissatisfaction rather than exhorting to servanthood.

He gives no criteria for discerning suitability to be an LEM, but one might expect at least obedience to Church teaching, lack of resentment toward the priest’s role, and a servant mindset toward the People of God.  Rather than expressing gratitude for the opportunity to serve, the testimonies whine traditional feminist complaints (80%+ are female) of needing more power or feeling under-appreciated.  A gender agenda is sadly divisive, belying claims of a vocational call (usually characterized by joy, not complaint).

Zenit reported (March 16, 2009): “The Holy Father urged the bishops to ensure that the ‘new structures’ or pastoral organizations are not planned for a time in which it will be possible to ‘do without’ ordained ministry, on the basis of an erroneous interpretation of the promotion of the laity, because this would lay the foundations for a further dilution in priestly ministry, and any supposed ‘solutions’ would, in fact, dramatically coincide with the real causes of the problems currently affecting the ministry.” Clark describes LEMs’ being “in nearly every facet of our mission” and says: “We simply could not do what we do without [LEMs]and “…with no significant sign that the gradual decline in the number of priests will abate soon, the presence of [LEMs] will allow us to sustain our parishes,” sharply contrasting to the papal warning of “… a further dilution in priestly ministry.” Analysis is lacking on the LEMs’ impact on priestly vocations.  Why is the startling rise in LEMs nationwide (to over 30,000) not related to the decline in priests from 59,000 (1975) to 40,580 (2008)?  Which is the cause?  Which is the effect?

Ignoring controversial LEM testimonies, Clark says LEMs: “should be viewed as a complement to the ministry of the ordained and not as corrosive of their authority.” But, how is this accomplished, especially where lay parish administrators are in charge of a priest?  Clark approvingly quotes one LEM: “My belief is that I have received a call by virtue of my own charisms and giftedness, rather than, ‘I’m doing this for Father.’” Instead of expressing concern for priestly vocations and prerogatives, Clark indulges LEMs’ attending priests’ convocations, and frets about LEMs’ not processing with the priest at Mass, or sitting in the sanctuary, or being more active and visible in administering the sacraments!

Even the Bishop seems conflicted on the real relationship of LEMs to other laity.  He writes: “…many lay ecclesial ministers naturally feel their ministry is distinctive, more clearly defined, and more professional than that of their peers in the pews.” Three sentences later he writes:  “But I do not sense among the vast majority of these ministers with whom I have conversed any overt sense of entitlement or privilege or feeling of being set apart.”Such contradiction underlies and abets confusion about LEMs’ roles.

If LEMs are purposed to serve the laity, why is no effort reported to solicit lay reactions, or identify the effect on parishioners’ spiritual lives and parish participation?  Do LEMs impede lay involvement?  Do the laity hear “Don’t volunteer; just send money to pay the LEM?”  Or are time and talent elicited to benefit souls and community?  Further data and analyses are needed before using this book in lay ministry, and before saying “AMEN” to more LEMs.

NOTE: The LCWR four part article begins here: http://cleansingfire.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/LCWR-FINAL-001.jpg

 

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6 Responses to “Disappointed in Bp. Frank Caggiano”

  1. avatar militia says:

    It is awful to think after all DoR suffered with the insufferable, that other dioceses will now start to do the same! Even the princes of the church are affected with gender disfunction.

  2. avatar true faith says:

    Diane C. Harris I have usually agreed with your viewpoints on this site. I never thought that I would ever disagree with any of your views and opinions. I disagree with you regarding your view of pastoral assistants which you refer to as LEMs.

    I have written before on this site about my memories of attending pre Vatican II High Mass as a child at my home parish, the Sunday Blue Laws, watching Bishop Fulton Sheen on television every Sunday after Sunday dinner and then the family Sunday drive. I remember being bused over to our parish church, every Friday afternoon for six years, along with the rest of the Catholic students in our secular elementary school,in order to attend religious instructions.( I can’t picture this being done today.) Our parish church always had 3 priests stationed there throughout my childhood.We had a boys’ bus and a girls’ bus. Two of the priests drove these buses to take us to religious instructions. The priests taught us religious instructions themselves. We only had 3 priests assigned to our parish church because we had a small parish church in the country. Larger churches had four priests assigned to their parish church. This was given throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. While the parish had a housekeeper who came to clean the rectory once a week, all of the other work and tasks were done by the three priests stationed to this parish.

    As much as I treasure these memories from childhood,I must face the fact that none of this exists today. Parishes today are made up of clusters of several churches in their area. Most of the time, there is one to two priests covering several churches which make up a cluster of churches grouped together as a parish.

    Take a moment to reflect on the state of the Roman Catholic priesthood today. The vast majority of priests who served as chaplains at our hospitals and priests who served our parishes throughout our Diocese: are now deceased, retired, close to retirement, have left the priesthood to get married, or have been dismissed from ministry due to credible sexual abuse allegations. The number of men joining the priesthood is nowhere close to the number of priests that the Diocese has lost.

    I personally know two local priests who left the priesthood in order to marry women whom they fell in love with. One is serving as Director of Volunteer Services at Rochester General Hospital. The other priest had an ongoing relationship with a social worker for ten years. He finally decided to leave the priesthood to marry her. I have known young men who felt called to ministry but were not willing to remain celibate. They got married and then became Permanent Deacons

    I believe the role of pastoral assistant was created to free the remaining priests from their administrative duties and other non-liturgical and non- sacramental duties, so they can serve parishioners more effectively as confessors, spiritual directors, clergy to administer the sacraments, and to celebrate the Mass.

    We might never have the numbers of celibate priests that we had in the past.The Roman Catholic Church has evolved over many, many centuries. There were permanent deacons and deaconesses until the 13th century. The deaconesses actually had a completely different role and their ministry was with women and children. Celibacy was a highly debated subject for several hundred years . Seven popes were married and had children.When celibacy was considered necessary for priesthood, it took well over 100 years to take hold. In the 1500s, half of all European priests were married. The main concern was that any property donated to the church could have been inherited by the children of the priest.

    Pope Paul VI brought about the Permanent Diaconate for men during his papacy. He also gave dispensation for being married to Protestant ministers, Orthodox priests, and Eastern Catholic priests who converted to Roman Catholicism and became Roman Catholic priests. Our own Diocese has a married Protestant minister convert to Catholism and subsequent ordination as a married Roman Catholic Church. In the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and Australia, married Anglican and Episcopal converted to being Roman Catholic and were given dispensation to become married Catholic priests.

    Pastoral assistants may teach some classes, take care of administrative and business matters, visit the sick if the priest and the deacon aren’t able to, and handle logistics for the parish. They aren’t sacramental ministers. The majority of pastoral assistants are women; few men would do this much work fot the amount they get paid.Pastoral assistants will tell you that they receive part time part for what turns out to be a full time job.

    I was saddened to read that you did not intend to show respect or dignity to any pastoral assistant. As Christians, we are treat every human being with dignity and respect because every human being is an object of God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice.
    I can understand if you defer to the authority of an ordained priest in matters of canon law and liturgy, but I have difficulty envisioning any pastoral assistant attempting to deal with those issues when a qualified priest is present and available.

    We must also remember that U.S. Dioceses set up the position of pastoral assistant to fill a void which exists because of a widespread shortage of active, ordained priests. The role was never intended to give women “false hope ” that they could become priests, but to do parish pastoral, administrative, business, and logistics, so the priests aren’t being stretched too thin , trying to do these other functions, while celebrating Mass and hearing confessions at several churches throughout the widespread parish, as well as marrying couples, giving the Sacrament of the Sick and doing unexpected funerals

  3. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Hello ‘True Faith,”

    Welcome back; I haven’t seen you commenting on Cleansing Fire in a while. Your putting up about 1000 words at 1AM shows you have a lot of energy and commitment. That deserves credit, as well as a response. I understand that we seem to be disagreeing on this issue, but perhaps not as much as you think. We have a very common heritage. As you described your early years very eloquently, I had almost the same experiences, except that I didn’t get bused to religious education; I had Dominican nuns teaching the faith every day for the first 12 years of school. We lost much when we lost the teaching charism and gifts of the religious women dedicated to education.

    Let’s try to clear up our misunderstandings first. These comments are in approximately the order in which you presented them:

    1. You wrote: “I disagree with you regarding your view of pastoral assistants which you refer to as LEM’s.” Two points here: First, I did not ever use the words “pastoral assistants” in my post. Moreover, that is distinctly NOT the spirit or intent expressed by Bp.Caggiano in his giving his new appointee the title: “parish life coordinator,”and then calling her “Administrator.” Read the Bishop’s own words (also in LifeSite News which is extraordinarily dependable.) She will have “decision-making authority in the parish” and “oversee the day-to-day operations of the parish as she has done the last several months….” “Her responsibilities, as it is with any priest or deacon appointed as Administrator, is to work with the parish community to develop and foster its pastoral vision and mission,” Caggiano told parishioners in a December 9th letter announcing “a new leadership model” at the parish. Sauers will work with a team of priests who will provide the sacraments at St. Anthony.” This model concisely presents everything that most failed in DoR. Even the title which is referenced “Administrator” is the same. Go here to read Bp. Caggiano’s letter: https://www.bridgeportdiocese.org/bishop-announces-new-leadership-model/?fbclid=IwAR1eUGpuTOa8ws9USSErf9Jx8xiYaqmLs4mzfY7dq8exDGu7wy7ZH3qmp6g

    You may not know it, thinking only of “helper” assistants to priests, but only a priest can function as a pastor, with full responsibility for every aspect of the patrimony of a parish. This new ‘administrator’ is called the decision maker, and the priests will be TOLD what to do. They will be diminished systematically in the eyes of parishioners (see paragraph #5 below).

    Second, back to the other part of your first paragraph: the use of the term LEM’s. That term is not my coinage; it is directly from the title of Bishop Clark’s book: “Forward in Hope: Saying Amen to Lay Ecclesial Ministry.” Please see that there was and is nothing at all derogatory about the LEM title. In my review, which HPR published, I consistently used the LEM abbreviation, and here’s why. My first submission to HPR was a 4500 word essay, criticizing many “flaws” in Bishop Clark’s proposal. You can find that original essay here: http://www.cleansingfire.org/2011/04/in-depth-review-of-forward-in-hope/

    HPR expressed their interest in publishing provided I would reduce it to 800 words! At first I thought that was impossible, but as I was tightening, and tightening, the wordage reduced finally to 802, which they accepted. Each LEM counted as one word, so using the abbreviation, instead of the full 3-word term, became essential to the publication guideline. That is why you don’t see the longer title used. Sometimes, explanations really are just that simple!

    2. You are correct that the Vatican permits some married men to be ordained as priests. Some of them have also practiced, in agreement with their wives, a celibate continence after ordination, as they began to see the great gift God was giving to them in the priesthood. But what you wrote is not quite accurate. It seems to imply that certain priests can get married. No, it is the opposite. Certain married men may be ordained, but they have no right to “remarry” were their wives to pre-decease them. We just need to be careful how that is worded.

    3. A historic deaconess position has been well-studied, and has been found not to be an ordained position but more of a ‘helper’ position in women’s ministry. Remember, in the full immersion baptism in the early Church, there was a risk of immodesty as a wet baptismal garment might cling suggestively to a woman’s body. This is just the kind of thing where a deaconess could help. It is hard for us today to understand the inner call to modesty, since society finds a convenient road to sin by promoting the suggestive and lewd. Can we even imagine what it was like for those martyred for their virginity? Today, some won’t even give up a Saturday night date for that cause.

    To give just one modern example of the issue, consider the changes implemented back in the ‘90’s with the deep bow before the Eucharist before receiving Communion. Did anyone except Satan recognize the impropriety of women bending over to worship only to almost ‘fall out of their low dress tops” especially in summer? Who designs a system to present such a view to the priest holding the Body of Christ? Oh, and then add the rule that crossing ones arms over one’s chest is a signal that you DON’T want to receive Communion. Cute stuff. So maybe there is a role today for a deaconess to quickly clothe an immodestly dressed woman before she receives Communion?

    4. True Faith, I am at a loss to determine how you came to the following conclusion: “I was saddened to read that you did not intend to show respect or dignity to any pastoral assistant.” Well, I’m pretty sad to think that you believe that is my intent, because it is not. Please tell me exactly where in my words you read that conclusion. Try as I might, I can only come up with two possible sentences which do NOT say I don’t intend to show respect or dignity to ANY other human being. I did say the following, and will now reinforce that intent: “There is virtually no basis at all for any parishioner to dignify anyone less than the legitimately ordained with influence over their own spiritual development” and “Unfortunately, giving the slightest nod to some new titled ‘authority’ only encourages false hopes, over-reaching, and illegitimate assertion of non-existent authority.” This conclusion is entirely consistent with Christ’s words to have no other Teacher but Him (and by extension His ordained “Alter Christus.”) For example, of course we should go to confession, tell the priest our sins, receive forgiveness and do penance. But no lay person, male or female (and not even an ordained deacon) has any claim of direction over our souls, or to hear our sins. To yield such authority to another can be a great cause of damage to souls, including a pastor-pretender administrator, and cause of scandal to a community. We must guard our souls as our greatest, and actually our only, real treasure. So to cooperate with any ‘named authority’ even by our silence makes us complicit in their error. It is a burden laid on the backs of parishioners in any church where a priest is not at the very apex of responsibility. Do not think that these pastoral ‘administrators’ delegated to make all the decisions about priests’ activity are not coveting the work and title and gifts of a priest. Satan hides his intentions well. And, like Eve, the desire to have what is not theirs to have is corrupting, not just of the individual but of a whole community.

    5. The priests who serve under such pastoral administrators are often shown on the bulletin cover below the pastoral administrator’s name and title. One cleric used the term for his work as “sacramental robot.” The alb-ed administrator usually wants to process into and out of the church to her hymn choice, sit in the Sanctuary during Mass, make announcements, lector and even preach with the slimmest of excuses. I have heard many examples which I won’t dive into deeply, but which include interrupting the priest speaking with parishioners after Mass, and telling him to scoot along to the next parish or he’ll be late for Mass. Another one frequently interrupted a parishioner asking a question of a priest to give the answer for him. Read very carefully in the LifeSite News article the sarcasm and negativity of this Dr. Sauers. It is a baseline which can only get worse when fed with power.

    The worst I’ve heard, and I’ll leave it here, is of a very competent extern priest from Africa being accompanied by a pastoral administrator on his first hospital visit in the diocese, to check up on whether or not she thought he was doing it well enough. During that visit, with the priest and administrator both in the patient’s room, the patient asked to go to confession. The priest motioned the pastoral administrator toward the door and she wouldn’t leave. Somewhat of a stand-off ensued, and she finally stepped into the hall but insisted that the door remain open. The priest,a few minutes after beginning the confession, closed the door with determination. Whether the interpretation of the event came from the patient or from another parishioner is unclear, but the reason given for the impasse was that the administrator was reluctant to allow a black man to be alone with a white woman in her hospital room. Oh, dear God, save us from the fires of hell.

    So, True Faith, it isn’t about house-keepers, cooks, secretaries, gardeners, and other helpers, nor is it about the volunteer work being replaced by paid administrators, reducing connections of parishioners to their parish, but it is about POWER — to interfere with the need of souls. It is about creating one more difficulty for a priest to truly be a priest.

    St. Jean Vianney, pray for us.

  4. avatar christian says:

    I have noted true faith’s title of “Pastoral Assistant” with regard to the new title “Pastoral Associate.” Years ago, a lay minister serving under a priest, on the parish staff, involved with the fundamental duties of parish life, was called a “Pastoral Assistant.” Through the years, that title has morphed into “Pastoral Associate.” The role of Pastoral Associate as an aide to the Priest Pastor and a liaison to parishioners is a very valuable role, particularly in a large parish where there is only one Priest who is also the Pastor. But, the Pastoral Associate should never be over a Priest, and especially a Priest Pastor. The Pastoral Associate should never be the Pastoral Administrator, especially when there is a Priest available. This is rooted in Canon law.

    Various dioceses in the United States cite the job duties and description of the Pastoral Associate online, as “an application of Canon 519.” This includes the Diocese of Syracuse. But there is also no mention of Canon 517.

    Code of Canon Law, CHAPTER VI-PARISHES, PASTORS, AND PAROCHIAL VICARS

    “Can. 519 The pastor (parochus) is the proper pastor (pastor) of the parish entrusted to him, exercising the pastoral care of the community committed to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose ministry of Christ he has been called to share, so that for that same community he carries out the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing, also with the cooperation of other presbyters or deacons and with the assistance of lay members of the Christian faithful, according to the norm of law.”

    “Can. 517 §1. When circumstances require it, the pastoral care of a parish or of different parishes together can be entrusted to several priests in solidum, with the requirement, however, that in exercising pastoral care one of them must be the moderator, namely, the one who is to direct the joint action and to answer for it to the bishop.

    §2. If, because of a lack of priests, the diocesan bishop has decided that participation in the exercise of the pastoral care of a parish is to be entrusted to a deacon, to another person who is not a priest, or to a community of persons, he is to appoint some priest who, provided with the powers and faculties of a pastor, is to direct the pastoral care.”

    Those Canons make it clear that a Priest should always be over a Deacon and a Lay Minister, such as the Pastoral Associate. I think various dioceses throughout the United States have expanded the role of the Pastoral Associate in making him/her the Pastoral Administrator of a parish, in violation of Canon Law, effectively assigning them over the Priest in the parish, who is then relegated to the title of Sacramental Minister. “Sacramental Minister” and similar titles assigned to a Priest in a parish come across like “rent a cop” or “rent a doc,” and other professions who hire a professional in said profession on a temporary basis, where that professional is hired to fill-in to do a specific job, but has no voice in the decision-making and policy-making in the administration of that place. The bishop of the diocese is responsible for such arrangements in parishes. (I was surprised to learn Bishop Salvatore Matano appointed a Pastoral Administrator for St. Marianne Cope Parish this June (2018).

    I would like to point out that there are both female and male Pastoral Associates. although the majority are female. As you may recall, there were problems with a male Pastoral Administrator at a parish in the Diocese of Rochester, who had issues with power. He was put in charge of priest(s), deacons, and other parish staff. He continually demonstrated his power and he addressed the priest of the parish by his first name only. I, as well as others, suffered the effects of his power and ill manner when he interrupted an event we were attending at this parish years ago. There have been some Pastoral Assistants/Pastoral Associates, usually women, who have delegated themselves to the seat of authority without having been put in charge of the parish. These individuals have a radical agenda and they tend to get away with their self-appointed authority when there is a weak Priest Pastor or when the Priest Pastor is away a good amount of the time and depends on them to take care of most of his duties.

    I have had my own issues with a radical Pastoral Assistant/Associate who was attempting to change liturgy and observances during the Mass, and also use inclusive language in church texts and music, often changing words to well-known hymns and songs. I also encountered another Pastoral Assistant/Associate many years ago, at a parish where my mother was having her Mass of Christian Burial, who was more concerned with my father and sister placing a few live floral arrangements on the altar prior to the Mass, than showing or verbalizing any sympathy to them and the rest of us, at our tragic loss. She was cold and insensitive as she harshly chastised my father and sister with regard to liturgical rubrics, and they looked back in bewilderment and innocence in their grief. The Priest, who overheard this, came to my father and sister’s defense, stating the flowers were fine and would stay; dismissing the Pastoral Associate.

    But I would like to point out that there is little attention shown to the Pastoral Associates who serve their parish communities in humility, compassion, and dedication. These Pastoral Associates are not seeking ordination to the priesthood and are not vying for power over clergy in their parish. These Pastoral Associates function under the Priest Pastor and take care of the nuts and bolts of a parish; the behind the scene things that parishioners, and even some clergy, may not think of, but if it wasn’t done, it would be noticed. There are such things as making sure the Paschal candle fits the candle stand it will be placed in for the Easter Vigil, which may involve hours of whittling the base of candle. There are things such as making sure the correct covers, cloths, and receptacles are available for the altar, coordinating altar servers’, lectors’, and eucharistic ministers’ schedules, (and also training), fielding inquiries for persons interesting in making a sacrament, meeting with a bereaved family to help plan the funeral, parish education, meeting with couples who want to be married, and schedule and coordinate meetings for those couples with the Priest or Priest Pastor. The Pastoral Associate is also expected to show up as the Priest Pastor’s representative to meetings, places, and events when the Priest Pastor cannot be present. Those Pastoral Associates also keep on top of information regarding parishioners who are ill, hospitalized, home bound, have suffered a tragedy, or had a death in the family. In addition to ministering to these people, the Pastoral Associate is able to contact the Priest in that parish, or another Priest, for a priest visit, to hear confessions and to give the Anointing of the Sick, which may be “Extreme Unction” in some cases.
    Pastoral Associates have to have formal studies and training in “Biblical Studies and Church Teaching, Canon Law and Church History, Stages of Human and Faith Development, Principles of Communication and Pastoral Counseling, including referrals, boundaries, and applicable laws; and Principles of Collaboration.” There are Pastoral Associates in our diocese who have Doctorate degrees in Divinity, Theology, and Ministry, but you would not guess it as they do not advertise it and they serve in humility.

    So in conclusion, I do not endorse Pastoral Associates as Pastoral Administrators over Priests. But I would like to honor and thank those Pastoral Associates who serve their parish community in humility, with great dedication and care, for long hours, many times full-time plus hours for a part-time job. I would like to add that there have been some who have conducted the duties of their ministry with a smile while they were undergoing treatment for Cancer.

  5. avatar true faith says:

    Diane Harris and Christian : I have read both of your replies. I had a lot of energy at 01:00 am because I like to stay awake when I’m on call. I must apologize for not understanding your concern about LEM and pastoral associates .

    My previous experience was with pastoral assistants who were there in a helper position to do some of the things involved in running a parish that 1. were not central to priestly ministry 2. involved communication to parishioners, 3.teaching some religious education courses ,4. visiting shut ins and giving them communion when the priest was unavailable 5. attending parish meetings and attending other meetings for the priest if he wasn’t able to attend and report back to him. 6. do logistics for the parish and fill in as lector, eucharistic minister, or usher when a parishioner couldn’t keep his or her commitment due to illness or emergency . I linked pastoral associate / pastoral administrator as a updated or modern name for pastoral assistant much as executive secretaries are now called administrative assistants . I know a few administrative assistants at the U of R who handle notifying people and coordinating attendees of events and who handle a great many administrative duties UNDER THE DEPARTMENT HEAD of other qualified leader of a program .
    I would never consider it appropriate to have the name of a pastoral associate or pastoral administrator over the names of the priests serving the parish on any bulletin or letterhead . I suspect this is either the idea of the pastoral associate or pastoral administrator himself or herself, or the idea of some Diocese of Rochester staff ( business staff ?) who operate as if the Diocese of Rochester was a business . I especially find it offensive that they , as well as the Ordinariate national staff ( business staff ?) have a marketing strategy to attract young professional adults ages 18 to 32. The Rochester Diocese has even advertised invitations for this young group of professionals to events set up especially for them on local media. So young blue collar workers aren’t invited ? If you are 33, you aren’t allowed in ? They seem to have the same exact marketing strategy for the same targeted group of young professionals as the secular business world . This flies in the face of the ministry of our Lord and Savior who sought out those who were social outcasts, public sinners, and the poor multitudes . He invited ALL to come and follow Him. Scripture states that God is a father to the fatherless , a protector of widows and strangers, and that He sets the lonely into families. I think that that those individuals who have the strategy to purposely woo and win a young,professional millennial group of potential church members and parishioners while forgetting the lonely , the lost, the poor, the forgotten, and disenfranchised of every other age group have need of personal evangelization themselves . There should be a difference between the secular world and the Church. Those who serve us as ordained sacramental priests and priest pastors must be considered as leaders above pastoral administrators. Ordained Deacons come under the leadership of the local bishop and the priests as servants to care for the poor and the sick and to proclaim the Gospel. The pastoral associate or pastoral administrator is not an ordained ministry in the Roman Catholic Church so they fall under the Deacons in the order of church authority. We must follow the installation of bishop , the ordained priests , the ordained deacons, and lastly the pastoral associates / pastoral administrators . We should be following the Church model, not the secular business model.

  6. avatar christian says:

    With regard to priests being married:

    1. Latin rite priests are not allowed to marry prior to ordination or after ordination. The exception to priests in the Latin rite being married are priests from a different rite, or different denomination such as Anglican/Episcopalian, or a minister from another denomination, who are given privileges by the Vatican to be a Roman Catholic priest after they have come into full communion/converted to Roman Catholicism.

    2. Priests in the Eastern Catholic Church such as the Melkites and Maronites, under our Pope, are allowed to marry before ordination. After ordination, they are not allowed to marry. If their wife dies, they are not allowed to marry again.

    Years ago, I was told by a Protestant co-worker the same conditions for ministers in her denomination and she relayed that there were other Protestant denominations which had the same conditions. She said they wanted a minister settled and stable. They didn’t want a minister out searching for a wife when he he is supposed to be taking care of a congregation.

    These conditions are also the same for Deacons in the Latin rite.

    3. It is not necessary for a married priest and his wife to take a mutual vow of celibacy so he can function as a priest in the Latin rite. Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled;… It is up to a wife and husband to what conditions they have regarding sexual relations.

    But celibacy in priesthood is much more than not having sexual relations. It is not being committed in a relationship with another person or having other serious commitments such as providing physical and emotional support for a family. It is to be alone in order to be totally open to serve others. (There are members of the celibate priesthood who don’t fully grasp that concept).
    I am not in any way downing married priesthood, as I think married priests also have an invaluable contribution. But I wonder how a mutual commitment of celibacy among a married couple who had been in engaging in sexual relations, would help that priest’s ministry. When a single man is ordained to the diaconate and/or priesthood, he takes a vow of celibacy as it is understood in the single life that sexual relations are not permitted outside of marriage, and he is not allowed to marry and remain in the priesthood. When a man and woman marry, sexual relations is considered to be an accepted state in their situation. What goes on between a man and woman in marriage is private, so how can they be expected to make public pronouncement to whether or not they are having sexual relations in their marriage before or after the husband’s ordination. It’s seems unusual and inappropriate.

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