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President's Message - July 2015

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JULY, 2015ARCC banner 2


Patrick B. Edgar, DPA
TOGETHER.
SHAPING THE FUTURE.

It has been an exciting year so far.  Not only have we witnessed some incredible rulings from the Supreme Court and a strong admonition from Pope Francis about global warming and extreme capitalism, we have also had some interesting experiences at ARCC.  I realize that there are times people may wonder what we have been doing.  Much of our work takes place behind the scenes.  It is important to know that some issues related to rights of Catholics in the Church require confidentiality and delicate negotiations.  There are some things we can talk about though.


 


Bullying

I have recently been working with a group of people from a parish in Louisiana who have faced horrific challenges.  The conversation began with their concerns that the pastor was allowing a clique to run the parish to the exclusion of others.  He was also treating the other members of the parish very unfairly to the point of excluding them from ministries and undermining their efforts to run their own cemetery.  This involved taking away money and slanderous statements.  I found the complaints to be quite credible and just another example of clericalist misbehavior.  The priest was involved in spreading slanderous rumors about one of the members of the parish because he wouldn't go along with the shenanigans of the clique.
 
I advised the folks being mistreated to contact their bishop and copy to the nuncio and metropolitan.  They did as I suggested and set up a meeting with the vicar general of the diocese.  At first, the vicar general and others were sympathetic to the complaints and attempted to reconcile the differences between them and the priest.  Unfortunately, this was followed by several incidents of retaliation.
 
Ultimately, the retaliation reached the point of criminal behavior by members of the clique directed at the concerned parishioners.  Law enforcement is involved and a lawsuit against the diocese is in progress.  While I cannot go into details regarding the lawsuit or the criminal behavior because of the sensitivity of an ongoing case, I can say this is a classic example of bullying in a parish.
 
Bullying is not just something that takes place in school.  It is a common behavior among adults in organizations.  This certainly includes the church.  Many times, the bully is the priest.  At other times, it can be a small group in the parish.  It involves various forms of intimidation and abuse.  The victims are isolated and are in no position to defend themselves.  The other members of the parish will not do anything because they are afraid that they will be next.
 
The only solution to bullying is for the entire group (office, parish, club, etc.) to take a stand and refuse to accept bullying in their midst.  This requires the group to convene and identify behaviors that are not acceptable.  Whenever the sanctioned behaviors are observed, the people point out that they have all determined that this behavior is not acceptable. 
 
Bullies cannot stand to be challenged by the group. They rely on the bystanders to either allow the bullying to go on or even become willing participants.  Once they are challenged and reprimanded by the group, they will usually stop.  They may go elsewhere to find victims.  In cases of bullying there is no such thing as an innocent bystander.  Each of us should be willing to declare bullying as unacceptable.  

Selection of Bishops

Nienstedt
As you have seen in our newsletter, Archbishop John Neinstedt has resigned in Minneapolis - St. Paul,  .  This is good news as he was clearly one of the prelates that protected pedophile priests.
 

Of particular interest to us is that the people of the Archdiocese had actually taken our advice and conducted their own election of a replacement bishop.  They then submitted the names of the top vote-getters to the papal nuncio in Washington, D. C. for consideration as their next archbishop.  

 

We have endorsed this request and strongly urged the nuncio in a letter to accept their recommendation.  It is a great opportunity to finally have a voice in our leadership.  As we have published in this newsletter, there is a long-standing tradition from the earliest days of the church for the election of bishops.  We hope that more dioceses will follow the example of the Minneapolis archdiocese and conduct their own elections.  If this gathers momentum, it will be extremely difficult for the hierarchy to ignore it.  We, the People of God, have a right to a voice in the selection of our leadership.  We need not ask for it but should claim it instead.

 

ARCC workshop on clericalism at CTA
Fr. Tom Doyle to be presenter

Thomas P. Doyle
Finally, one of our board members, Bill Slavick, has arranged to have a pre-conference workshop at the next Call to Action conference in Milwaukee.  The topic of the workshop is about clericalism, and Fr. Tom Doyle will be the main presenter.  
 

This is a critical topic that must be addressed and challenged in the most forceful way possible.  It seems that many of the newly ordained priests desire to push us back into a past of total control by the priests.  We reject that concept utterly and urge all of you to do the same.

 

Clericalism is heretical and dangerous.  Pope Francis has stated clearly that it should not exist in our church.  More importantly, though, we the People of God must reject it and do everything in our power to stop it.  I hope that as many of you as are able will attend this workshop and show that we do have a voice and we intend to use it.

 

Thank you, Bill for arranging this workshop.

Patrick B. Edgar, DPA

President, ARCC
   
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