August 31, 2006
To the editor:
Monsignor Louis Brum, pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in McAllen, continues to ignore Bishop Peña’s direction and advice by leaving in place a ban on participation in parish ministries by parishioners who are members of Call to Action (CTA) or its local chapter, Call to Action-Rio Grande Valley (CTA-RGV).
In August 2005, Monsignor Brum instituted a formal policy of banning CTA and CTA-RGV members from full participation in the parish, calling the organization and its members “anti-Catholic” and “not in good standing with the Church.”
Troubled by this ban and alarmed by these characterizations, I wrote to Bishop Peña asking whether he was in agreement with Monsignor’s statements about CTA. On April 17, 2006, the Bishop replied, “Membership in Call to Action-Rio Grande Valley, in my opinion, does not per se cause a person to be ‘not in good standing’ with the Church.”
In later correspondence the Bishop has said, “I suggested for him (Monsignor Brum) to re-evaluate his policies and redefine the requirements regarding lay participation in various ministries of the parish" (June 6) and “...I have discussed the matter with him and encouraged him to resolve the matter amicably, as soon as possible. It is now up to him to respond to your needs" (June 20).
The exclusion from ministries not only deprives the parish the talents of these people but it shatters the unity of the Body of Christ. The policy must be changed and the damage that has been done must be repaired. Bishop Peña indicates as much when he says that the policy has no basis.
It is odd that Monsignor Brum, a priest who is constantly preaching about obedience to Church authority, persists in defying the Bishop.
Peace and Justice Reminder:
Please join the parish Peace and Justice Committee and the Valley's People for Peace and Justice in a demonstration for peace in the Middle East this afternoon (August 31st) between 4:30 and 6:00pm at the offices of Representative Ruben Hinojosa, on the corner of McColl and Trenton. At 6pm, we will join the Coalition Against the Dealth Penalty, at that same location, for a prayer vigil for Derrick Frazier, who will be executed by the State of Texas at that time. See you there!
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