How One Small Town Ridded Themselves of a Heterodox Priest August 10, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, different religion, episcopate, error, General Catholic, horror, priests, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, the struggle for the Church, true leadership, Victory.
I’m not necessarily advising the below. I will say, however, that concerned laypeople, making use of private investigators and using assumptions that almost always prove to be true, have driven even unworthy bishops from their dioceses. The former Bishop of Miami is one example.
I’m low on time, but I am curious to know what you make of this (I do add a few comments below):
But I could not imagine what would happen when a new pastor arrived. Fr. Stan, who was in his mid-40s, was creative, an “innovator,” and he set about his “reforms” with unflagging self-confidence. His first move was to hang garish banners from high over the altar. They weren’t exactly “un-Catholic,” just unnecessary, these broad, pastel bolts of cloth with images of birds, candles, or sunflowers, and saccharine messages, likePeace, Harmony, and Sonshine. Next was the invasion of gentle Jesuit junk in the new hymnals, which no one could sing. So Fr. Stan found a woman who believed she had talent, a divorced lady with a lot of time on her hands, it seems. She became the “Music Minister,” stealing our last fifteen minutes before Mass for “rehearsal,” waving her arms in front of us like one of the “weird sisters” in Macbeth, as if trying to conjure up the ghosts of Woodstock. The parishioners just frowned at her in stony silence, which visibly irritated our new pastor.
Fr. Stan gave up on the muzak, a minor setback, but not on his protégée. On the contrary, he decided to promote her. She then began to function as an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister, the first this parish of barely 200 souls had ever seen. But when this became a little too “ordinary,” she started standing beside the priest during the Canon of the Mass, now vested just like him, hands outstretched and mimicking his every gesture during the Consecration. Then she started uttering all the prayers in unison with the priest. Finally, the coup de grace: After the Prayers of Consecration, Fr. Stan started taking a seat behind the altar-table, and Ms. Lomsheck became the only source for receiving Holy Communion. [This has happened hundreds if not thousands of times all over this country]
This was too much for the farmers, ranchers, mechanics, feed-store owners and large-animal veterinarian, who spent all week in dirt, grime and worse. They were not about to have a priestess take over their one hour of transcendence, and more or less have to become Methodists without any say in the matter. The parish council drafted a letter to the bishop with a simple message: we want something Catholic for Mass. The bishop’s response was artfully courteous. He thanked the letter writers for their love of “being church,” but assured them that Fr. Stan had his complete confidence. He was certain that by following the lead of their appointed shepherd ever more closely on their “faith journey,” they would all arrive harmoniously, somewhere, together. [Typical. Another unworthy shepherd, more concerned with keeping his priests happy – no matter what damage doing so might cause – than serving as a true shepherd of souls. In all likelihood, he shared the priest’s sentiments towards a different religion]
The parishioners were not reassured. Attendance at Mass dropped dramatically. For many, Sunday became a group rosary day, at alternating farmhouses. Others were making the 50-mile drive to the nearest alternative Mass. With a car so badly rusted I could see some of the road through the floorboard, I had to join the rosary group. The Sunday rosaries spawned a Saturday afternoon offshoot, as another group began quietly meeting inside St. Isidore’s Church at about two o’clock, so as not to relinquish all claim to a building their great-grandfathers had lifted skyward with their own hands. When Fr. Stan learned that the parishioners, who now refused his Masses, were using his church for a “protest” rosary, he started locking the building all week and required the parish council to turn in their keys. Only he and the priestess could let themselves into the church.
Barely six months had passed between Fr. Stan’s arrival and the climax of this confrontation. But the dramatic end took place with even greater speed. One Sunday, as I was preparing to head out to a group rosary, I received a phone call: “Mass in the church in about an hour!” Fr. Stan was gone, there was a new visiting priest, and in a few weeks, a new permanent pastor was to arrive. Our prayers were answered. How exactly had this miracle come about?
Later that week, I ran into the head of the parish council at the Greyhound Diner. Mr. Pulaski (who was also the town pharmacist) was hesitant to answer my questions about Fr. Stan’s abrupt departure, but he finally relented. He himself had conceived the plan that was endorsed by the entire council. They had written Fr. Stan a letter, anonymously, of which the entire message was essentially this:
We know what you are doing. We have photographs and other evidence.
If you do not leave NOW, we will take it to the bishop and the police.
What had they discovered, I wondered? What kind of evidence? How had they uncovered it? “Nothing,” said Mr. Pulaski, “We had no evidence of anything. Just an assumption. It was a pure bluff. And it worked.” I was dumbfounded. How on earth had anyone imagined that such a dubious ploy, which seemed so desperately phony, could ever have the desired effect? [I say good on these people for having the strength of faith, and right understanding of human nature, to pull this off. Good for them for standing up for themselves, their children, and the Church.]
“Well, it’s like this,” Mr. Pulaski continued. “Pretty simple, really. When a priest hates the Mass as much as Fr. Stan obviously does, it is a sure bet that he is involved in some great immorality, possibly something illegal. Having to preach a Gospel he doesn’t believe in makes him bitter and angry with the Church for ‘forcing’ him to be a hypocrite. He takes it out on the parishioners. We didn’t know what was wrong in his private life, but we were sure it was a damned mess.”
………Some years later, with a sense of morbid curiosity, I tracked down the priest who had been the source of all the trouble. Was he at some other parish, I wondered, among people more willing to be “innovated?” No, it turns out that he had become a sociology professor at a Catholic university. [and thus gets to infect even more Catholics with his different and incompatible religion]
The practical, day-to-day crisis in the Church in this country, and around the world, in a nutshell. Bishops and priests who don’t believe, whose unbelief is powered by an addiction to sin. Just like Luther. It drives them to reject Catholicism in favor of a worldly, indifferent, man-made religion. And they use their great numbers and influence over the levers of power in the Church to persecute the faithful, whether they be priest or layman.
Anyone know of any similar tales where such tactics have worked, or may have? Have any of you ever considered retaining a private eye to investigate the behavior of local churchmen? Did Roman Catholic Faithful do that for a while, and turn up a very great deal that was very, very bad?
Is this a viable way for the faithful to try to reclaim the Church, or is it unscrupulous to stoop to such tactics? Do the ends justify “punitive” means, or do the faithful have a right to know? Are we not called to be wise as serpents and simple as doves? If the latter, why aren’t such investigations – which have been successful several times – more frequent? I have to believe scandals such as those in Miami and the anecdotal story above are depressingly frequent.