Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Fr. Tanck Moves Against St. Thomas

January 27th, 2012, Promulgated by Gen

Surgite, eamus. Ecce qui me tradet, prope est.

With his words in this past weekend’s bulletin from Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, Fr. Tanck twisted the dagger he has already so skillfully plunged into the heart of every St. Thomas parishioner.

“In our planning, however, we still need to do more to contain our costs. Among the costs we presently carry are the maintenance, care and insurance coverage of several buildings that we do not use to their full potential because we are able to accommodate our offices, ministries, programs and divine worship in fewer facilities. Our developing Strategic Plan calls for us to divest ourselves of unneeded buildings and real estate; we will soon begin the process of doing so.
I am sure raising these concerns will open old wounds among some of our parishioners, but I hope all will see this as positive proof that we are moving forward as a new unified parish community and good steward of our resources.”

It’s funny how the same fellow who rebuked parishioners for being attached to a “building” can now seize upon the convenience of that notion in order to take further steps towards the dismemberment of the Faith in Irondequoit. Buildings which aren’t used are a burden on the “parish”‘s finances? No kidding, Father. Here’s a dynamic idea: use the buildings, rather than let them sit there leaking and gathering dust. When you have a worship space that accommodates around 1,000 people, it does not make sense to forsake it for whatever mindless reason Fr. Tanck has contrived.

I am making no effort to hide my vitriol for this man’s actions, for they speak of the prevailing passive-aggressive contempt the Diocese has for anyone or anything that dares to reflect a global Catholicism, rooted in Tradition more sacred than any of these “administrators” can imagine. Whether or not they care to admit it or not, these men who are as so many lords in their castles are soon to be shown to be as so many jesters in the court of the next bishop who shall reign here. Error has no rights, and there are few errors so egregious as the mistreatment of devout and charitable parishioners whose only desire is to praise God without the malicious intervention of men such as this. There is no excuse for the lack of pastoral sensitivity seen in this situation. “I am sure raising these concerns will open old wounds among some of our parishioners.” Are you, Father? You seem to be acting like a pediatrician who looks gleefully at his frightened and hesitant patient, and then says to her, “I’m going to give you a shot. It’ll probably hurt a lot, and you might cry and feel rotten, but it’s what you need.”

What adds a particular awareness of Fr. Tanck’s demeanor in this matter is the reference in the financial committee minutes to turning off the water, heat, etc. at St. Thomas.

“Andrew suggested that all of the following buildings (STA church, SS church, STA house, STA parish center) be ‘mothballed’. This would include turning off all utilities and placing antifreeze in pipes. This will save money on utilities. (This is similar to SMM school process. The school was “mothballed” until a buyer was found.)”

Ah, well, thank God we’ll be able to save some money by making parishioners sit in a cold dark church to offer their Rosaries. (Sorry, I made a mistake: “The daily recitation of the Rosary at STA could be moved to the Adoration Chapel.” Isn’t that generous, folks?) And, mercy of mercies, “Only one Mass a year is needed at the churches to ensure tax-exempt status.”

Now let’s read that for what it is. 1. Get the people out of St. Thomas itself. Fr. Tanck seems to favor an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to this matter. 2. The properties will be easier to sell. Note the sanctimonious tone through all of these quotes – I can practically see the “it’s for your own good” after every single one. 3. We’ll allow a Mass or two per year, not for the salvation of souls, but for the sanctification of our coffers. We’re still tax-free, you know!

I would offer more commentary, but I don’t think that’s necessary. Fr. Tanck and the Finance Committee have both spoken more through their actions than I could ever interpret here.

You can read the Bulletin here, and the Financial Committee minutes here.

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14 Responses to “Fr. Tanck Moves Against St. Thomas”

  1. order says:

    Yes. The numbers people sure know their stuff over there. The water bill, in my estimation, ought to be around $35.00, tops. And that’s for 3 months. ATTENTION BKT Finance Folks: Note a MONEY SAVING SUGGESTION: Leave the water on. It’ll cost more to put Anti – Freeze in all of the water lines than it would to simply pay the $140.00 annnual Water bill. Plus the worst thing that can be done is shut the water completely off. Ask anyone who’s in the plumbing business.

    Incidentally, doesn’t the property still need to be insured anyway? Your large parish ought to have at least one Insurance Agent in the pews. Ask him if they would rather insure a VACANT, un – occupied, never used structure, or one that is used periodically. I think you may already know the answer. We’ll be monitoring the Bulletin for further updates.

    Your true intentions, Fr. Tanck, will easily be revealed in how you act knowing that you have read this. To do what you intend to do at this point, will “cost you more”. And you know it.

  2. Dr. K says:

    In Bishop Clark’s response to Vatican’s inquiries into the status of St. Thomas the Apostle church, the bishop claimed that the church is still open to the people for occasional Mass, the Sacraments, and recitation of the rosary. If the church is to be physically closed and the utilities shut off, none of these claims given by Bishop Clark to the Congregation for Clergy would hold true.

    We’ll allow a Mass or two per year, not for the salvation of souls, but for the sanctification of our coffers. We’re still tax-free, you know!

    Very good point. It shows what their priorities truly are.

  3. Jim says:

    You nailed it Gen! There is no love loss between Fr. Tanck and St. Thomas Parish. I think he was just waiting for the right time to strike, and he covers his lofty words with appropriate scripture verses. It’s too bad he can’t take up a more permanent residence down in Houston!

  4. RochChaCha says:

    Wow. The parish and finance staff have a great handle on running a cluster. What a ‘cluster’ it turned out to be. Lay salaries are over budget, Parish programs are over budget. I’d love to take a good look at the books and really see what is going on. Sort of a independent audit. Think they would go for it?

  5. Gretchen says:

    The ‘mothballing’ of churches and other parish buildings is a time-honored tradition, apparently. A quiet way of going about the destruction of a parish. Don’t you think the root of this (aside from money) is the fundamental transformation of the Catholic faith? Get rid of everything that upholds the traditions, that sets Catholics apart, that speaks visibly to the Catholic faith in community life, and poof! the ‘troublesome’ parishioners are scattered and demoralized. It makes it much easier to effect change. Those who are left are usually elderly or lukewarm or blissfully ignorant.

    Gen is correct to characterize the DOR’s contempt for a universal expression of the Catholic faith. That hits the nail on the head. They have their own ideas of what constitutes the one, true faith.

    In solidarity with the suffering faithful at BKT parish.

    Gretchen from SOP

  6. Scott W. says:

    Great summation of the scorched earth policy being implemented in the DOR. I suppose the ray of hope is in that no one goes for scorched earth when they know their time is short.

  7. Scott W. says:

    That should read, “UNLESS they know their time is short.”

  8. Gretchen says:

    When we moved here a few years ago, I was amazed at how parishes not only had little to no communication between them, but that they actually fought against each other like sharks going after limited prey. Now I realize that it is a tactic used by Buffalo Rd. to scatter the faithful. Thanks be to God, the remnant is strong and growing. Every time I hear Fr. Tanck say that things have to die before they can be strong, I pray that the dying will be the heresies and discord here, and the strong will be new young priests espousing solid Catholic doctrine.

    Gretchen (not from SOP)

  9. Raymond F. Rice says:

    I would buy St Thomas and turn it into a columbarium. I would also continue to use it for Mass as they do the chapel in Holy Sepulchre. You would be visiting a cemetery but it would be more than that for you!!

  10. Jim says:

    Raymond, Fr. Tanck and Bishop Clark have already turned St. Thomas into a cemetery! We’re trying to reopen it as a church. In this weekend’s BKT bulletin, Fr. Tanck has already announced that he’s in the process of selling the St. Salome’s Church building!

  11. Richard Thomas says:


    This is SO diabolically clever. Can any pastor do what he is doing on his own? Of course NOT!

    He was told by the bishop to do this. But The pastor gives the appearance he is in charge. He is a good foot soldier for the bishop so he is the “fall guy! He takes the blame. The bishop gets no heat while he continues to dismantle orthodoxy.

  12. Jim says:

    Good observation, Richard…it sounds like someone should turn the heat up on the bishop!

  13. militia says:

    It is a tragedy the damage that Fr. Tanck has done to the reputation and perception of the Basilians in Rochester. What should have been a giving of self for the spiritual needs of the people has turned into being a ‘player’ in diocesan politics. For shame.

  14. Interstate Catholic says:

    1) Say bad things about the buildings.

    2) Say bad things about the people who oppose the selling of the buildings.

    3) Sell the buildings at top dollar.

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