Cleansing Fire

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Those Who Have the Bishop’s Ear [Updated]

July 12th, 2011, Promulgated by Dr. K

In 2005 the Diocese of Rochester hired the Reid Group to help it formulate a new strategic pastoral plan for the next five years. In order to gather ideas for this plan, the bishop convened a diocesan pastoral council  comprised of sixty-seven laypersons from all parts of the diocese. The discussions from this meeting have been preserved in a forty-three page document available here.

If you have ever been curious what kind of suggestions Bishop Clark receives in his conversations with the laity, check out the first twenty or so pages in the document. The lay input ranges from the idiotic (several calls for more diversity/inclusivity and the clossure of a large numbers of churches) to the dissenting and heretical (repeated push for women priests and defying the Vatican).

Behold the fruit:

  • “Get rid of all of our buildings and properties and focus on ministry to those most in need”
  • “Need to have strong community churches. Have Eucharist in different ways.”
  • “Rochester/Monroe County has to bite the bullet that rural parishes have done. Too many parishes in Rochester.”
  • “50% fewer parishes & 50% more active Catholics and 100% more lay ministers”
  • “Allow married priests & women to perform duties of priests and risk the wrath of the Vatican [emphasis]
  • “Establish a leadership academic for girls to inspire and educate them to assume ordained and non-ordained roles in church and society.”
  • “fully ordain deacons as priests move toward ordination of women”
  • “Embracing the greater involvement of women into leadership roles of the church”
  • “Ordain married men—priests and women deacons”
  • “Every faith community is led by a lay leadership team and priests were servants to the community(ies)”
  • “Put women on the alter [sic]
  • “Video mass to other parishes when no priest is present”
  • “We would be more prophetic in welcoming and in challenging the Church hierarchy in the question of who is ordained.”
  • “Sell our possessions to help fund ministries to serve the poor, disenfranchised and marginalized among us. Churches would be borrowed places and buildings not grand and glorious. “
  • “We would stop pitting community against Eucharist, would abandon the fear of repercussions from the Vatican and we would allow the parishes to continue to survive and thrive even if the mass cannot be celebrated within each parish each Sunday “
  • “The DOR would issue a simple statement that theologically supports the ability of priests to marry. There was not sound theological reason for the original change.”
  • “Deacon celebrate mass by teleconferencing at remote sites “
  • “More challenging to the hierarchy to who is to be ordained. “
  • “Have more people ordained.”
  • “Ordain women, promote catholic schools”
  • “Ordaining deaconesses”
  • “We need to ask every baptized Catholic to tell us about their faith and where they are. More prophetic: serving poor, marginalized, the least among us. We would have married priests.”
  • “We need to issue a statement theologically allowing priests to marry. Would renew the faith, standing up for what’s right. More families would attend church, new spirit, renewed enthusiasm”
  • “Ordained women.”
  • “Married priests”
  • “Women would be on the road to ordination and the local church would be involved in true discernment of chrisms of members in our community”
  • “Remembered that Jesus asked for followers, not worshippers [sic]
  • “Bishop Clark is the last ordained person in the pastoral center”
  • “Continued growth in inclusiveness and celebration of diversity”
  • “Continual empowerment of lay ministries”
  • “Lay leadership – administrators with priests “
  • “Role of women squeezed in major issue – need to be at table; ordination”
  • “Rules around ordination impending to vocation”

Our next bishop has his work cut out for him.

Update 7/13: Click here for a list of 2005 DPPC members. The above comments likely originated from some or many of the persons in this list.

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23 Responses to “Those Who Have the Bishop’s Ear [Updated]”

  1. avatar Bruce says:

    Appoint Cardinal Burke to burn off the deadwood of the diocese and run off the heretics. Then, when that is done, bring in one of his hand-picked successors to run it properly for the next decade or so until all the baby boomers are either dead or in nursing homes.

  2. avatar Kevin says:

    Wow, I think I just had a short period of amnesia where I cried hysterically after reading that. What went wrong with these people who were polled? I pray that this is just some sort of sick joke the diocese is playing.

  3. avatar Kevin says:

    Whoever is the next bishop, I pray that he can fix all these problems. I will rejoice if things turn out well.

  4. avatar Susan of Corning says:

    Wow. Not much diversity of thought among the 67 laypersons, is there? Our invitations must have gotten lost in the mail….

  5. avatar Catholic Dad says:

    Hi Friends- Question: How were the 67 laypersons chosen to serve on this diocesan pastoral council?

    The 43-page document looks like a really bad Monty Python script.

    I wish everyone a blessed day!

  6. avatar Bill B. says:

    After reading the document, I see the items listed above were chosen for printing because of their nature out of many items thrown out there. So many others appear quite “Catholic” in nature; which leads me to look at this documents lists as “brainstorming.” Brainstorming is taking in everything no matter what how off the wall they may be. Then, the listing gets boiled down into workable statements that can be worked on. I would not take this document too seriously, besides, it is now out six going on seven years. Concentrate on prayer life that what is focused, is focused on the good. We must work in our parishes to keep our spiritual heads above water. The Holy Spirit is the guide, we seem to have given up on Him here.
    @Bruce>> Be carefull who you “blame.” They are victims as well. There is almost an entire world of unchurched people out here in our diocese. The battles we choose to fight should include their persuit.

  7. avatar Anonymous says:

    To Bruce

    We would have to close at least several churches, sell off all their assets just to be able to afford Cardinal Burke’s liturgical clothing allowance.

  8. avatar Bill says:

    Cardinal Burke is three times the Catholic that I or you are combined Anonymous.

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anonymous 18631. Enough with the thinly veiled hatred of Cardinal Burke. You don’t really care about his vestments. What you really hate is what he stands for.

  10. avatar annonymouse says:

    What I don’t get is why all these laypersons polled bother to remain in a Church which they find so problematic and with a leadership they so disrespect. Why don’t they just join the Anglicans? The Anglicans have all of the things they crave!

    What I also don’t understand is why so many Catholics feel free to impose their own personal wishes and desires upon the worldwide communion of the Church? They all believe they know best just how to “fix” the Church. While the laity have a right and duty to let their opinions be known to their leaders, should the laity have the audacity (sinful pride) to regularly reject virtually everything the Church proposes?

    And Bruce, if I were a betting person, I would bet that a Cardinal Burke protege’ will be our next bishop.

  11. Bill B., many of those items have come to fruition in the parishes around the DOR. This is a lay-run diocese, after all. And the DOR has lost a large percentage of its parishes, and has certainly sold off many church properties in order to build low-income housing for the poor and disenfranchised. I think the list is a good representation of the direction this diocese took.

    Problems must be exposed and acknowledged in order for correction to take place. Denial is fatal in the long run.

  12. avatar Anonymous says:

    Cardinal Burke Fans

    Cardinal Burke may be brilliant, however his track record as a diocesan bishop is not so great. Look at LaCrosse and St. Louis. I believe there were reasons why he was moved from both of those diocese into an administrative position.

  13. avatar Dr. K says:

    After reading the document, I see the items listed above were chosen for printing because of their nature out of many items thrown out there

    There are FAR more of the above type comments than constructive, faithful suggestions.

  14. avatar Anonymous says:

    What were the problems in LaCrosse and St. Louis?

  15. avatar Anonymous says:

    Although it is true that brainstorming involves listening to every crazy and non-crazy idea, the fact remains that this council is comprised of hand-picked individuals whose ideas and views are already well-known. It is NOT a random sampling of average parishioners but the views of the movers and shakers of the diocese.

  16. I can’t speak for LaCrosse but in St. Louis they did have the schism with St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

  17. avatar Anonymous says:

    That schism was of a rebellous priest and his parish council who were in favor of women priests and all the homosexual stuff. It’s too bad it happened on his watch but he did nothing to cause it. But I think he did excommunicate the culprits.

  18. It (St. Stanislaus’ problems) also had to do with church property and parish control of the property. Also was the fact that they had not been assigned a parish priest in 17 months as a punishment for not cooperating with the diocese on the property issue. Actually, the parish management structure is similar to what you see in the Polish National Catholic Church. And it had been that way for over 100 years without trouble until Archbishop Burke took over the St. Louis diocese.

    The rebellious priests (3) at this parish are all male. Nothing written on the church website to suggest that women will be ordained any time soon for the parish.

  19. avatar RochChaCha says:

    At first I was a bit surprised by the content of this ‘brainstorming’ session but then I became repulsed by it. When I recognized some of the names of those who participated, it all made sense. There are some I recognized on this list whom to this day continue to disobey the Church and spread falsehoods and lies. I don’t know how you came across this material but one thing for sure is that it really sheds light on just how complicit the Bishop has been in taking the DOR to the sad state it is in today. Pray for Bishop Clark.

  20. A stacked deck for sure.

  21. avatar Mike says:

    I don’t know how you came across this material …

    Those two files were distributed to workshop participants and other interested parties. Copies were also on the diocesan web site (www.dor.org) until they did some housekeeping a year or two ago.

  22. avatar Bill B. says:

    The planning appears not to be current to the plan if we are not hearing about it six years later. Probably getting ready for the new Bishop quietly. That in mind; perhaps we should be too. See what the new guy will have to offer. I’m afraid of you, stay open; you, close; you, cluster with St. X, Y and Z. Dictated from the top. Oh well, what is coming is coming. Must be prepared for any…

  23. avatar Bruce says:

    What is to stop us from creating our own “suggestions” or “brainstorming” list?


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