Thoughts from Some Fellow Parishioners of Holy Spirit—February 5, 2006
The Last Waltz
…the church bells all were broken and the three men I admire most,
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died. Don McLean
We sit here forty-seven years after February 3rd, 1959 (Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, etc.), and have our own death of music to think about.
The Reverend Monsignor lied in his letter to Ed—the firing was disciplinary, which the Reverend Monsignor very explicitly said in his conversation (!) with Ed. If “the truth shall set you free,” then what are the consequences of falsehood? The letter to Ed drips with hypocrisy and duplicity and isn’t even worthy of the talents of whatever lawyer the ordinarily inarticulate Reverend Monsignor drew upon to compose it.
The foolishness about Call to Action (CTA) comes up yet again as a reason for Ed’s dismissal. The whole business about CTA is a red herring—if there were no such organization active in the Parish, some other excuse would have been latched onto. There is only one reason for any of this—the maintenance, not of authority, but of power.
Ed is a real mensch, standing up for his friends and speaking the truth—so now he is free.
“[Bishop Raphael] Fliss [of Superior, Wisconsin] said, ‘With regard to Fr. Ryan Erickson, I admit and regret that I did not respond appropriately nor in a timely manner. He did incite considerable division within the parish by his pastoral style, his manner of teaching and even his vesture. I was duly made aware that sides were being formed. I should have intervened sooner, if not at once. I acknowledge I neglected the complaints and did not listen carefully to the parishioners.’ ” from the National Catholic Reporter, 2/3/06.
Our Bishop Peña should take a lesson from his brother bishop and avoid further embarrassment to himself and the Church in the Valley by ceasing to ignore complaints and start listening carefully to the parishioners of our Parish. It is inconceivable that he would allow the Reverend Monsignor to continue on this destructive path even after he (the Bishop) has formally scheduled mediation efforts with several parishioners. Either the Reverend Monsignor or the Bishop (or both!) are not acting in good faith in the period preceding these mediations by carrying out (or allowing) the provocative act of dismissing Ed Arguelles. Again, is this servant-leadership?
FYI—Three Bits of Canon Law
A) When the ministry of any pastor becomes harmful or at least ineffective for any cause, even through no grave personal negligence, the diocesan bishop can remove him from the parish.
from The Code of Canon Law (Canon 1740)
B) The causes for which a pastor can be removed legitimately from his parish are especially the following:
1. A manner of acting which brings grave detriment or disturbance to ecclesiastical communion;
2. Ineptitude or a permanent infirmity of mind or body which renders the pastor unable to fulfill his functions usefully;
3. Loss of a good reputation among upright and responsible parishioners or an aversion to the pastor which it appears will not cease in a brief time;
4. Grave neglect or violation of parochial duties which persists after a warning;
5. Poor administration of temporal affairs with grave damage to the Church whenever another remedy to this harm cannot be found.
from The Code of Canon Law (Canon 1741)
C) If an investigation shows that there exists a reason mentioned in Can. 1740, the Bishop is to discuss the matter with two parish priests from a group stably chosen for this purpose by the council of priests, at the proposal of the Bishop. If he then believes that he should proceed with the removal, the Bishop must, for validity, indicate to the parish priest the reason and the arguments, and persuade him in a fatherly manner to resign his parish within fifteen days.
from The Code of Canon Law (Canon 1742)
There is an indication in an e-mail sent to several parishioners that the Bishop will conduct such an investigation with “parish priest consulters,” beginning in the week of February 11th. This shouldn’t take too long, so it looks like it will be early March when the “persuasion” begins, right?
An Honest Peace, A Just Peace
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, peace is the presence of justice.”
This quote has stuck with me, although at the moment who said it escapes me. It resonates with me because peace is what I so desperately want for my church. But I want an honest peace, a just peace. I don’t want a bury-my-head-in-the-sand and just pretend peace. Like so many, I pray that my parish family will be based on trying to live the gospel and not secretive power games. I was not taught in Catholic school that Jesus came with a message of “my way or the highway.” I was taught that Jesus said, “Come to me.” I was taught that Jesus set a high standard based on love of God and neighbor, and that Jesus offered blessings and not bannings.
Many of us have lamented that we are now at a point where it will take a miracle to heal our broken parish family. Please remember that miracles happen every day, and that miracles can happen one person at a time. One of the most remarkable characteristics of Holy Spirit Parish has been its strong sense of community, its sense of an extended family. I have found that attending mass with members of my extended family has made such a difference. Share meals together, spend time talking and supporting one another. The miracle of peace can begin by experiencing “wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there I am.”
from fellow parishioner, Michelle Peña
According to the Sunday Bulletins, in the past sixteen weeks parishioners have donated $24,077.14 less than the $232,000 the parish budget called for during that period. If the spending patterns of the last fiscal year have continued (13.4% over budget), then during this sixteen-week period an additional shortfall of $31,076.16 was created. This gives a total of $55,153.30 of red ink (versus budget) for the sixteen-week period ending January 29th. Stretching that pattern for an entire year, the Parish would fall short by $179,248.23.
If the people lead, the leaders will follow. Anonymous
You must be the change you want to see in the world. Gandhi
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who perpetrates it. Dr. Martin Luther King
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends. Dr Martin Luther King
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 mailto:email@example.com
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