Priest sues his archbishop

Priest sues his archbishop

A New Orleans priest has sued Archbishop Alfred Hughes saying the archbishop defamed him by suspending him from ministry after being accused of abusing a child in the mid-80s.

The Rev. Michael Fraser also charged that Hughes violated the church’s own procedures when he relieved Fraser from ministry as pastor of Visitation of Our Lady Parish. He said Hughes acted before the completion of a preliminary investigation, as church policy requires. Hughes relieved Fraser of all priestly duties and ordered him to leave Visitation last January. That was a day after the Archdiocese of New Orleans received a complaint from a man who said Fraser had sexually molested him as a child at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Pearl River in the mid-1980s.

Fraser claims that the archbishop acted too quickly, implicitly defaming him with the public allegation before the preliminary investigation/

Almost every article I’ve read about the parish closings has been full of misunderstandings and misstatements about the reality of the Church, proper ecclesiology and the understanding of the parish in the Church and the life of the individual Catholic. Finally, I’ve read one that gets it right. In a story about a merger in Gloucester, where four parishes have become one, we see the following:

Paula Demetri, 58, said she was ready to accept the change. “For me, it’s not about the building,” Demetri said, “it’s about God.”

Yes, exactly! It’s not about the building, it’s about God and I would even add that it’s about the community. And no one says that the community of people who used to attend one parish cannot now attend all together at a new parish.

I’ve said it before: the main difference seems to be between those who have lived in more than one parish and those who have only known one parish their whole lives. I think that as you get a broader sense of the universality of the Church, especially when you’ve worshipped in other countries, you begin to see the practice of your faith as less about where you worship and more about how you worship.

  • If the last 40 years have taught us anything, they have taught us that our faith is not so much about architecture, music or art.  We’ve been tortured with the lack of it and being berated for wishing we had it.

    Don’t get me wrong—art, music and architecture can nourish faith, but it’s not the point of faith.  God is.

  • Amen! We cannot belittle the fact that the primary experience Catholics have had and historically have been formed has been at the parish level.

    The our Faith has a long tradition of communicating the Eternal Realities art, music and architecture to incarnate souls (the Church Militant). We should not minimize the sensual associations the arts play in forming our visual (temporal) associations with the Divine.

    I sympathize with the angst one feels when such visual associations are removed or suppressed from one’s Faith, particularly if. For many the Parochial experience (and formation) has been the sole conduit to the Faith.

    I wish Catholicism was as simple as “Plug and Play”. Maybe that’s why the Jew’s got rid of the tent and built the Temple when they came out of exile. It’s this that is the root of our architectural partrimony: the Domus Dei. These “buildings” house the Sacred and should never be referred to in a profane utilitarian way.