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  Parish Closings (Thu Feb 26, 2004  4:34 pm)

Send a letter to your Bishop! (About closing of parishes)

Dear Bishop _________________,

Thank you for your dedication and work, for the Church in _________________. Our prayers and best wishes are with you.

A concern of many here in ______________ is who and what determine the morality and justice involved in the merging or suppression of parishes and confiscation of parish resources?

a) The parishioners (assuming there are enough to sustain the parish)?
b) The bishop (as the one responsible for the care of souls)? c) Canon Law (which gives parishes permanence and moral ownership)?
d) Civil Law (giving the bishops in the U.S. legal ownership)? e) The pastor (having canonical rights and responsibility for the parish)?

John Courtney Murray once described the democratic process as involving contending parties, "locked in civil conversation." "Locked" is the operative word here. The morality or justness of what a bishop decides is determined largely by whether the above process was honestly and openly engaged in by all the contending parties. Often diocesan clergy, and even bishops hide behind the "I'm only following orders" rubric.

I urge you to comply with the mandates of canon law and return ownership and financial responsibility of parishes to the parish community. Instead of carrying this burden unnecessarily, please, please focus your energies on the spiritual welfare of your people, and ponder what appears to be your resistance to God's will by collaborating with man-made laws that are depriving your people of the sacraments and priests. If God calls married priests in the Eastern Rite, how can we apparently forbid God to do this in the West? When God asks you about this, will your response be "I was only following orders"?

Sincerely yours,

______________________, Member
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church

Other voices

Another Voice

Questions From a Ewe

Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)

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