Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

A D&C Article with Balance

September 2nd, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

Something I don’t get to say very often.

Today the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle published an article about the recent decision of Fr. Norm Tanck to shut the doors of St. Thomas and St. Salome churches beginning this fall. Unlike previous articles in this particular publication, opinions from both sides in the matter were received and printed. Instead of using, say, Margi Ochs as the voice of STA, the D&C selected a parishioner who actually wants to see their church stay open (there are over 400 who do).

A couple of items caught my eye in this piece. The first is Fr. Tanck’s comment below:

“The status of St. Salome and St. Thomas the Apostle is unclear. The Rev. Norm Tanck, pastor of the clustered churches, said that after the announced dates, “We will not be having Masses for the time being.” He said the parish will be able to hold funerals at the churches, and a chapel at St. Thomas will be useable. He also said the churches will not be used for daily Masses after the announced dates — but reiterated that the parish is not saying the churches will close.”

So now the two churches are not “closing”? This is the same little game the IPPG, influenced by Fr. Norm Tanck, has been playing all along. At every step in the process, the leaders would say “no decision has been made” and “no churches are closing.” However, as each step in this process has unfolded, we get closer and closer to that ultimate reality predicted from the beginning. Deny it all you want, Fr. Tanck, but your true intentions are clear. To suspend all Masses at St. Thomas and St. Salome is to effectively close these churches. You are attempting to show that these churches are unnecessary for the survival and good health of the Irondequoit parish. Boy, are he and the diocese going to be in for a rude awakening after they celebrate these “final Masses.”

I encourage the people of St. Thomas to NOT attend an Irondequoit parish church (Christ the King, St. Cecilia, St. Margaret Mary) after Fr. Tanck closes the doors on STA. Find a parish outside the IPPG sites (such as OLV, St. Stanislaus, Holy Cross).  Do not let this little experiment being carried out by the diocese succeed in any way. If minimal losses to attendance occur, then the diocese and Fr. Tanck have justification to close STA and SS. They will be able to claim that neither worship site is really necessary, and most people have easily made the transition to the new parish. If you do not proceed to the new Irondequoit parish, however, then their experiment will fail and they have nothing to point to to suggest that permanently closing STA and SS is a wise and pastoral decision.

There is one more passage in the article I would like to touch upon:

“The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester has largely kept out of the dispute, saying Bishop Matthew Clark accepted recommendations from a planning group of members of each parish.”

Once again, Bishop Matthew Clark and co. are holding their hands up in the air, trying to convince you that they are clean of the blood of this atrocity. One can easily see the red liquid dripping from their finger tips. Who appointed Fr. Tanck in charge of STA and SS? Bishop Clark. Who has ignored the complaints of the people about Fr. Tanck’s  shabby pastoral care and obvious desires to shut down these two burdens placed upon him? Bishop Clark. Who signed a decree calling for the merger of the five parishes into one? Bishop Clark.

The bishop is very much involved in this dispute, and he has been from day one. He and Fr. Tanck can try to hide behind these hand-picked lay committees all they want, but it is their will which is being carried out, not that of the people. To all the lay committee folk making the bishop’s decisions: how do you sleep at night knowing that you are just being used pawns in Bishop Clark’s chess game? The only reason you people were selected is because the diocese and pastor found they can manipulate you to get the outcome they desire. Do you honestly think you would have been appointed if they expected any kind of disagreement to the plans they already had in mind? You were selected because they knew they could use you, and you would smile and enjoy the power trip of being on a special planning committee. Enjoy the fun while it lasts. You’ll probably be appointed to committees in the new parish too. Good for you and God bless you… I hope you’re happy with what you have done.

Bishop Clark and Fr. Tanck, own up to your own decisions and stop hiding behind your hand-picked laypeople. If you want to play games with 800 souls, then at least play fair.

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10 Responses to “A D&C Article with Balance”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m going to Holy Cross when and if the masses really do stop! I’m still praying though. If it does happen, I hope I see you there.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Holy Cross is a wonderful parish and Fr. Wheelan a good priest and loving father of his parish. My husband and I would be proud to go there. We also feel right at home at St. Stanislaus. What a beautiful church in the old fashion. Heartwarming and I’m sure we’d be welcome; in fact, they have already extended an invitation to us. We would also consider St. Michael’s except there is no English language Mass on Sunday mornings. Our Lady of Victory is also an option. But I truly think that if all of STA attends Holy Cross, not only would we be welcome, we would be making a statement. Of course, Holy Cross might have to add another Mass to accommodate us all. Let’s make that statement. May God bless us in our efforts to right the wrong done to us.

  3. Sfomo says:

    Dr. K, I thank you for your posting as you expressed my thoughts better than I could have. Your paragraph about the hand-picked lay committee doing the diocese’s dirty work is right on. We know for a fact that there were volunteers for that committee who were turned down because they had a different agenda than that of the diocese. And yet the diocese wants us to believe that these “closings” were a grassroots decision. I am so tired of my government and my diocese treating me like I am stupid.

  4. Mike says:

    Anon. & Anon.,

    Holy Cross already has 5 weekend Masses (5:00 pm and 7:00 pm on Saturday and 8:00 am, 10:00 am and Noon on Sunday).

    The 10:00 am Mass is the unofficial Family Mass, with a Children’s Liturgy of the Word during Mass, a coffee hour immediately after and Religious Ed instruction for children in grades K through 8 starting at 11:30. All of this makes it our best attended Mass (we have a lot of families with younger children).

    According to our fall 2009 attendance numbers, the average 5:00 pm Mass easily has room for another 250 people, the 7:00 pm Mass has room for another 300, the 8:00 am Mass another 275, the 10:00 am Mass another 150, and the Noon Mass another 200.

    And so, if the worst does happen, give us a try. We’ve got plenty of room and we’re right across the river.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I attend Holy Cross, and I would like to know where we’re going to fit 150 people at the 10:00 Mass? Most of the time I have people practically sitting on my lap. I’m not complaining. I think it’s great to have Holy Cross flourish. They have three wonderful, holy priests. But Mike you are right, there is definitely plenty of room to fit the parishoners from St. Salome’s and St. Thomas the Apostle, especially when they do offer five weekend masses.

  6. benanderson says:

    Dr K.,
    Your comment about giving lay people roles reminded me of something…

    I once had a cordial dispute with a priest over a doctrinal matter. We both were calm, although we vehemently disagreed. As I left he said he really wanted me to be a lector, that that would be a great ministry for me. I didn’t even know how to respond. I just told him I wasn’t interested. It’s kind of like when my kid is driving me crazy while I’m trying to do something and I hand him a duster and say, “here you go – help me out”. We all know I’m just trying to placate him. Let them pretend they are involved, then we can push whatever agenda we want.

  7. Mike says:

    Anon. 12:32,

    My “available space” numbers came from the attendance numbers Holy Cross sent to the diocese last fall. HC reported that the average attendance at the 10:00 am Mass throughout October was 308 and that the church has seating for 475. That left a difference of 167 which I “rounded down” to 150.

    I do have to agree, though, that it would be one very packed church.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am a STA parishioner.

    If the STA parishioners really want to make a powerful statement I would suggest…
    That beginning with the first 9:30AM Sunday mass all who are going to any STA mass attend that one. That would be 500+ at one mass.

    If everyone who attends STA would ask one parishioner who has left to attend these 9:30 Sunday masses there could be 700-800 in attendance. If that would happen, I would bet that STA would always have a mass on Sunday. How could you close a parish with that high of attendance. If they did they you would see their true intentions and color.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t it nice that they’re finally giving us back our 9:30 Mass after three years…only to close us down eight weeks later. Well, for them it’s mission accomplished!….Let’s create a Mass schedule guaranteed to cut down on attendance… an 8:00AM and an 11:00AM time slot for three years. That will frustrate the parishioners and send them elsewhere, and eventually empty the church. Then we’ll make them happy with their 9:30 Mass for eight weeks…and then close the doors! “if they only had a hart”….

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think you should all just keep showing up at STA and find a retired priest to help you out.

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