Monday, April 18, 2005

Newsletter of 04/17/05

Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo
Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit—April 17, 2005

Mad Money
Although the issue has been aired on the Blog, the fact that parishioners were deliberately turned away from the Parish Finance Committee meeting and told that it was private, is very serious stuff and deserves some continued discussion.

The closed nature of even the existence of the meeting is very disturbing at a time when hundreds of parishioners are desperately looking for avenues through which the Pastor can be engaged on parish issues. He has dismantled each and every avenue for formal, open discussion in the parish—no wonder angry and confrontational episodes are beginning to occur.

The state of parish finances must be completely transparent—it is our money after all. What is the formal budget process for the parish? Why are second collections not being reported in detail? Are we really collecting more than our budget (including the percentage owed to the diocese each week)? If we are, then we should have no problem paying into the pension fund for our employees and fulfilling our legal obligation to that contract. None of these questions are private matters.

The Letter of the Day is P
As most know, a letter of concerns signed by over 250 parishioners is in the hands of the Pastor (see the Blog). He has yet to agree on a time to meet with representatives of the signees. We continue to pray for a healing of the parish, and hope that a meeting will be scheduled, and that we can all move forward together.

Breathing Together
“In the undergraduate class I teach, ‘Exploring Catholicism,’ we have just finished reading about the image Cardinal John Henry Newman in the 19th century used to describe the relationship between the whole people of God who encounter God’s revelation in their daily lives and the bishops who are entrusted with safeguarding that revelation. Newman spoke of a conspiratio fidelium et pastorum, literally, a “breathing together” of the faithful and the pastors. This is what I think needs to be restored in the church: a true consultation of the faithful, from the point of view of their experience of the Holy Spirit working in the church; and a true consultation of the bishops of the church, not just those in the Roman Curia or the hand-picked.” Sr. Mary Ann Hinsdale an associate professor of theology at Boston College (in the National Catholic Reporter On-line, April 18th)

Correspondence on the “Diabolical”
“This site is becoming diabolical...Does the university know that you use this site for tearing apart another human being which is our pastor....I personally like the changes in Holy Spirit and I feel free to approach our pastor and not the people who stare down at you at the office....Things need to be changed....and change is always healthy....So Mr. Brazier why don't you change your site to be peaceful and not so diabolical......This is quite disturbing to me and others......Thank you......Have a good our Lord Jesus Christ....A good and faithful parishioner who continues to enjoy the changes......” An e-mail sent to

As an academic, I always welcome the opportunity to discuss ideas, and even though put off by being characterized as “diabolical,” I was pondering a response to the above e-mail when…lo and behold (!) another e-mail arrived in which the true holder of the e-mail account that had sent the above message indicated that someone else (a volunteer at an upper valley Catholic school!) had been the one who had sent the message. The true holder of the account apologized.

It is difficult to imagine an honest dialogue about the parish with a person who wishes me “a good day in our Lord Jesus Christ,” and then signs someone else’s name to the correspondence. The issues raised in Somos el Cuerpo de Cristo may bother some people, and the opinions expressed may not be shared by everyone who reads them, but at least it is my name that appears at the bottom of each issue. Jerry Brazier

Walking to Emmaus
Hello, hello
I’m at a place called Vertigo
It’s everything I wish I didn’t know… U2

That pretty much sums up my feelings as I wait for the election of our new pope and think about where we are as Church.

The gospel of the Emmaus story hit home with me as a picture of our present journey. So many times it seems that we as church are walking with Jesus, but can’t seem to recognize His presence or where He is asking us to go. In this Year of the Eucharist, we seem more focused on making sure everyone is following the rules instead of wanting to break bread with all those who hunger. It is amazing to me that almost half of the churches in our country have people who want to celebrate the Eucharist but cannot because there are no priests available. Maybe, like the apostles in the Emmaus story, we are too caught up in the rules and the situation to realize that Jesus is present and in married men and women who want to answer the call but have been shut out. Why do we still hold on to notions that women are somehow inferior or unclean, and that married people, although living a vocation, are not capable or worthy of priesthood? Didn’t the Resurrection and our own Baptisms redeem us all? Are we not all brothers and sisters in Christ?
From a fellow parishioner

John Paul II—Two Popes?
Dorothy Day, when asked by young men what they should do about their draft-enforced participation in the Vietnam War, she said, “Fill the jails.” Now there’s some unambiguous moral advice, based on a reading of the Gospel. John Paul II has been hailed for his strong statements against war but he stood silent on the practical implications of those statements: Can I fight in this war or not? Dorothy Day didn’t stand silent.

John Paul II was not shy about explicit advice to individuals about the conduct of their sexual lives—advice generated from a moral theology that comes substantially from Stoic philosophy, since the Gospel stands almost completely silent on such matters—but would not tell American men and women to follow the explicit Gospel teaching, “put up your swords.”

Josemaría Escrivá and Oscar Romero—one a founder of Opus Dei, a religious congregation frequently described as secretive and ultra-conservative, and the other an Archbishop martyred for his standing with the poor and oppressed in El Salvador. John Paul II canonized one and deliberately distanced himself from the other. He talked beautifully and powerfully on peace and justice, but either ignored or silenced those who acted on that talk.

Prepared by RGV Parishioners for Progress and edited by Jerry Brazier. Copy this, and pass it on to fellow parishioners, either by e-mail or paper. If you want an opportunity for prayerful discussion of these and other issues about the parish or have any other comments, please contact us at

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