Church’s ‘Family’ Very Dysfunctional
November 5, 2007
To The Editor:
It never ceases to amaze me how some of the leaders in my Catholic Church manage to circumvent the Gospel and the law in decisions regarding just treatment of church employees.
It is sad that no progress was made in the way that a pastor, under the guidance of our bishop, could so easily fire a parish employee, even after all that the four of us women at Holy Spirit Parish went through with the unionization of parish employees five years ago.
This journey of ours included a court-ordered mediation between the bishop and us, including the establishment of a grievance process for all diocesan and parish employees and hiring and firing practices for all pastors. These agreements were filed in state court.
We continue to raise our voices in the struggle for those who work for the institutional church, precisely because of what happened last month in Pharr. It seems that, in spite of the mediated agreement to the effect that a new pastor cannot fire an employee until he has been there for at least 90 days, the bishop has found a way to circumvent those policies and guidelines.
St. Margaret’s former pastor fired the director of religious education the last week that he was there, doing the dirty work for the new pastor. The director now finds herself without unemployment benefits (the church doesn’t pay unemployment) and no health insurance (the church doesn’t pay COBRA). She served the community of St. Margaret’s for more than 26 years, the last six with the pastor who fired her.
Msgr. Maher, our vicar general, said five years ago that we didn’t need a union for parish employees because they are treated like family. Obviously, our church “family” is very dysfunctional.
And what about the bishop’s motto, “haz todo con amor” does he not get? What about the Gospel?
Yes, we need to forgive them, but they need to reconcile and do justice and put things in right order! Nothing less should be expected from them.
Ann Williams Cass
Also in the paper again... KMBH-TV.
In light of the fact that our bishop is trying to organize a diocesan fund-raising campaign for the Diocesan-owned TV station, the following link provides some interesting reading about their reluctance to disclose the utilization of federal funds that they receive. Be sure to read the "comments" section, as well. Click your "back button" to return to the blog.
Click here: http://www.valleymorningstar.com/news/smith_13078___article.html/station_kmbh.html