Braxton in Belleville

Braxton in Belleville

Maybe Bishop Edward Braxton of Belleville, Illinois, is not as bad as we’ve been lead to believe. After all, he’s being protested by all the “right” people. At his installation ceremony, a small group of people from the liberal group FOSIL (Fellowship of Southern Illinois Laity) protested outside. (They must have some tough truth-in-advertising laws if the fossils at FOSIL have to name themselves so accurately.) The FOSIL “fossils” were joined by the Call to Action “fossils” and if that isn’t an indicator I don’t know what is.

Meanwhile, a reader sends along the following firsthand account from Belliville:

Small story about the protesters -CTA- at the installation of Bishop Braxton. Wish I could send the pic’s. Bunch of old hippies on the sidewalk. One old boiler held a sign stating “inclusion”...amidst a sea of white faces. Not a man nor woman of color to be found. You might check the SOIL blog for more info.

Last Friday an old friend, who is a parish priest, and I went to the Bishop’s Residence to have a look see. The place was a dump before and now looks very nice. Fresh paint in and out and the grounds are nice and tidy. 50 year old light fixtures were replaced along with a new heating/ a-c system. Bad flooring was replaced as well: read 30 y/o carpet.( A sign on the back door suggests that visitor’s and guest’s use the front entrance.)  All with private monies.  No mention by FOSIL/CTA of the $50K private money [Altanta Archbishop Wilton] Gregory spent on the kitchen alone during his tenure here. And no mention of the $80,000 missing that Fr Clyde Grogan, a CTA/FOSIL ‘angel’ squandered/stole from a destitute parish in East St Louis.

Another friend happened to be driving past the Residence and saw the Bishop sitting on his front porch, reading a book. He pulls in, asks Bp. Braxton if he has time for a visit and was welcomed. They planned a bbq for later in the year.

The gist of the bitching and barking by a few priests and FOSIL is that they’ve had free rein to make it up as they go along, do as they please, ‘cause Wilton let them go in a million directions with disastrous results. All are CTA’ers. Liberals to the hilt. They fear sound theology and they ain’t gonna like it.

  • If they need sound theology, this Excellency ain’t gonna be the one to supply it. It’s rather bizarre that the liberal folk are protesting him, as he’s anything but a conservative—though he’s enough of a climber that he won’t indulge them, I expect.

    His chief problems are personal and pastoral, from what I know of his tenure in Lake Charles: he hurts the little ones of Christ the most, with his high handed haughtiness, which is really sad.

    I mean, he’s known to’ve dressed down a priest for leading his altar servers in the St. Ambrose Prayer before Mass because he didn’t consider it “theologically correct.” And do you think that his old diocese ever even announced the Year of the Eucharist? Uh … no.

    Sorry, folks.

  • I do hope the Bishop is the conservative the liberals think he is.  I have my doubts.  But if CTA dislikes him…..what’s the saying?  “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” 

  • FreeRepublic has an extensive discussion of the Bishop, which includes a link to a blog which has a lot of details.

    After I read that he installed a hot tub…

    He’s no “conservative.”  Period.

  • Lena Woltering of CTA sez: ‘The laity feel it’s time for structural change to bring about the transformation our church so desperately needs.”

    Gee, isn’t this nice?  We lay folk don’t have to trouble our pretty little heads deciding what we believe now that we have Miz Lena & Massa CTA to do it for us.  Just think, if it wasn’t for her, we never would have known we wanted this “structural change.”

    Is this crowd full of themselves or what???

  • One hopes for the best, but I must say that making his first priority the renovation of the bishop’s residence doesn’t quite leave the right taste in my mouth.

  • Guess what?  The Pope chooses the Bishops; not the priests, certainly not a bunch of yahoos with picket signs.  There are some serious problems in the Belleville diocese, most notably a severe shortage of priests.  Obviously John Paul felt a strong Bishop was needed.  He knew his days on earth were numbered and he didn’t have time to go through the usual process.

    Edward Braxton is an imposing figure because of his tremendous intelect and his appearance (he’s a big guy).  When he was in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, he was vicar general for deacons.  On the few occasions when I interacted with him, I found him to be gracious, if a little bit gruff.  You will have to look very hard to find a better homilist.

    As you said, Dom, some of the laity and priests have been having their own way under the previous Bishop and they’re afraid of the change.

  • I live in the archdiocese of StL too, and agree he is a powerful homilist.  However, he was not particularly popular here, and he is not, in my opinion, a conservative….though he may, sort of (aside from liturgical dancers at the installation Mass….)  be marching to that step right now because, well,  he has to. 

    Check out his formal portrait on the Belleville diocese website.  The pectoral cross he is wearing is….different….I had not seen anything like that before.