Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Inside the Mind of a Lay Administrator

December 3rd, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

It’s scary when these administrators reveal their inner thoughts. From Charlotte Bruney’s latest ramblings in the St. Vincent DePaul bulletin:

“I have spent 17 of the past 20 years serving in two different Roman Catholic dioceses as the appointed leader of one or more parishes. In my religious tradition, the title ‘Pastor’ is reserved to priests only; however ‘pastor’ has been my job description.”

Perhaps Ms. Bruney, and several self-described experts in the DoR should reread the Vatican instruction “On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of the Priest, which says:

“The exercise of such tasks does not make Pastors of the lay faithful, in fact, a person is not a minister simply in performing a task, but through sacramental ordination. Only the Sacrament of Orders gives the ordained minister a particular participation in the office of Christ, the Shepherd and Head in his Eternal Priesthood. The task exercised in virtue of supply takes its legitimacy formally and immediately from the official deputation given by Pastors, as well as from its concrete exercise under the guidance of ecclesiastical authority.

This doctrine needs to be reaffirmed especially in the light of certain practices which seek to compensate for numerical shortages of ordained ministers [i.e. Rochester] arising in some communities. In some instances, such have given rise to an idea of the common priesthood of the faithful which mistakes its nature and specific meaning. Amongst other things, it can encourage a reduction in vocations to the (ministerial) priesthood and obscure the specific purpose of seminaries as places of formation for the ordained ministry [Which we indeed have seen here. Remember, we will have 3 straight years of no priestly ordinations to close out Bishop Clark’s tenure]. These are closely related phenomena. Their interdependence calls for careful reflection so as to arrive at well considered conclusions in their regard.”


“Temporary deputation for liturgical purposes ? mentioned in Canon 230, ? 2 ? does not confer any special or permanent title on the non-ordained faithful. [The title of Pastoral Administrator as a permanent title is wrong. How many years has Ms. Bruney been a P.A.? Well over a decade. That’s seriously abusing the idea of making temporary use of a layperson during a time of true necessity, unless of course it was the DoR’s intention all along to create a permanent need for lay leaders by promoting a shortage of ordained priests. Many worthly priestly candidates have been turned away for being too “rigid” or “conservative” either while in discernment, or as late as 2nd-3rd theologies! Some of these who continued to pursue ordination were indeed ordained in other dioceses. Also, didn’t our bishop just write a book about the wonders of lay ministry?]

It is unlawful for the non-ordained faithful to assume titles such as “pastor”, “chaplain”, “coordinator”, ” moderator” or other such similar titles which can confuse their role and that of the Pastor, who is always a Bishop or Priest.” [And what could be more confusing than calling a person a “Pastor-al Administrator” which implies that this person is the one pastoring a parish. This is even confirmed when these laypeople list their names above the priests in their bulletins]


participatio in exercitio curae pastoralis and not directing, coordinating, moderating or governing the Parish; these competencies, according to the canon, are the competencies of a priest alone.” [If the layperson may not govern the parish and may not “pastor” a parish, as this document indeed makes clear, what then are our DoR Pastoral Administrators doing? Both of these duties are not permitted, so they should not be doing them]

To summarize, to ‘pastor’ is a job reserved for the ordained minister. Sacerdotal orders are required to lead a Catholic parish. I’m sorry, Diocese of Rochester, but the position of “Pastoral Administrator” does not appear to be lawful in the eyes of the Church. Lay people can’t run/govern/lead/pastor parishes. Period.

Ms. Bruney also reveals some (inside?) information about her next assignment in June of 2011. If your parish fits this description, be on the lookout, as she may be on her way there:

“… my next assignment will most likely be either a large suburban parish or a multi-site cluster parish.”

Tags: ,


2 Responses to “Inside the Mind of a Lay Administrator”

  1. Bernie says:

    That the sacramental priesthood is not legitimate and that women should be able to function in any position within the Church are points of view held by many intelligent and informed persons. Those are points of view, of course, that simply have no support in Roman Catholic and Orthodox Tradition and so would seem to have no chance of ever becoming part of those Traditions. Those who hold unorthodox views know that they could never win the theological argument. By subterfuge, however, they can attain their goals: avoid the intellectual argument and simply introduce practices that eventually create, de facto, the situation you desire. That is what is happening in the Rochester Diocese and in other dioceses with leadership holding similar views. The supposed shortage of priests is the excuse used to undermine the sacramental priesthood and promote the priesthood of all believers. The vested and liturgically active pastoral administrator is only the most obvious strategy to get people used to the changes. In most parishes of the Diocese on any given Sunday one will see a host of laymen running around doing what priests used to do, often while the priest sits and waits for them to do it! Given the number of them and the frequency of their use the Extraordinary Ministers of Communion are anything but extraordinary. How many times have I seen con-celebrating priests sitting during the distribution of Communion while laymen did the priests' job? Lots of times.

    Charlotte Bruney's comment says it all: "In my religious tradition, the title "Pastor' is reserved to priests only; however 'pastor' has been my job description." It's a fait accompli, people!

    I don't resent the unorthodox intellectual views of leaders. I don't resent their legitimate activity to promote change to a situation more to their liking. What I resent is the subterfuge, the dishonesty.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. I agree with your last sentance plus I do resent the things you said you don't resent.

Leave a Reply

Log in | Register

You must be logged in to post a comment.

-Return to main page-