It’s official

It’s official

The official decree declaring St. Albert’s in Weymouth as a parish again has been issued ten weeks after Archbishop O’Malley promised to do so.

Methinks that people at the parish came through this with a faulty understanding of the Church and ecclesiology.

“I think you have seen that David did slay Goliath,” said Mary Akoury, cochairwoman of the parish council, to the hurrahs of about two dozen parishioners who came last night for the evening prayer session.

The next time these people are asked to faithfully embrace a hard or difficult teaching of the Church I don’t think the assent of the faithful heart will come so easily to them.

The round-the-clock sit-in continues at least until Friday while their list of additional demands remains unanswered by the chancery: They want their bank accounts back, their full sacramental schedule, their parish records and “the return of church groups that existed before the parish closed.” I’m thinking the last one refers, at least in part, to their Voice of the Faithful chapter.

The lesson here is that if you want something from the archdiocese, hold a protest, occupy the property, and ignore the authority of the archbishop. The irony is that conservative Catholics (and I use that term specifically) tend to shy away from such actions. They are more inclined to obedience, to following the rules, even if they disagree.

That may change. When the pleas of the people of Holy Trinity Parish’s Tridentine Mass community fall on deaf ears, will they occupy the building? Will it matter if they’re not getting the same fawning attention from the Boston Globe that St. Albert’s did?

Will parents disgusted with Talking about Touching set up a tent city on the chancery grounds until the archdiocese acknowledges that it can’t forcibly strip the innocence from every Catholic child in the archdiocese? Without powerful patrons like Secretary of State Bill Galvin will anyone listen to them if they do?

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5 comments
  • “The next time these people are asked to faithfully embrace a hard or difficult teaching of the Church I donicies are all comfortably established in positions outside the Archdiocese, while the remnant who has continued faithful to the Church gets punished by having the churches their ancestors built get sold to pay for others’ mistakes.

    Did I get those reasons wrong?

    The real reasons for closing so many parishes: no evangelization, no solid preaching, no reverence in the liturgy, no good catechesis for 40 years, and a clerical culture that put the reputation of sinful clerics above the well-being of the children and parishioners entrusted to the care of the clergy!

    The solution we’ve been offered? Close the churches, and continue the same problems.

    Great; in 20 years maybe we can close another 80 churches. If we continue to work really hard, maybe we’ll get to finally all join together for Mass every Sunday at the Cathedral, or maybe just the chapel in the Archbishop’s residence.

    The process applied to every church in the Archdiocese, not just St. Albert’s. That said, whether you or I would be comfortable with that “bunch of nitwit baby boomer Carey Landry-singing whiners” (otherwise known as Catholics), they were no more treated with charity by the Survivor-modeled process than any other parish (like Bl. Kateri T. in Plymouth; closed; then, “Oops”, we forgot to notice that we just opened this parish in the fastest growing town in Massachusetts; OK, you’re open again!). Like Holy Trinity, whose parishioners were not able to be involved at all because the pastor/administrator had decided ahead of time what would happen.

    As for the “oh-so-hip” priest formerly at St. Albert’s, it wasn’t the people who trained him, ordained him, and assigned him as pastor. That would have been the bishops of the Church of Boston. If the people have been taught a way of life that is less than the full Gospel of Christ as has been handed on to us by the Church, is it primarily the people’s fault, or the fault of their sacred pastors who have a responsibility to hand on the Tradition?

    Even referring to this process as “Rebuild My Church”, taken from the words of Christ to St. Francis of Assisi, is just a bit crazy. St. Francis went about rebuilding chapels like San Damiano with his bare hands, then preached to fill the churches. Here in Boston, we demolish churches, alienate the faithful by treating them as children, and then wonder why the Chuch in Boston continues to decline.

  • Steve…

    There WAS parish involvement.  There were clusters of parishes who were supposed to get together and make recommendations as to which church in the cluster could potentionally be shut down.

    From the Archdiocese’s website…

    “The process began on January 9, with the call to pastors to gather in cluster meetings with the lay leadership of their parishes.  Cluster reports were due to the Vicars Forane March 8.  The Vicars He will then draft his decision and with his reasons present it to the Presbyteral Council for their consultation.  The Archbishop will then make his final recommendation and parishes will be notified of their status.  This should occur some time in May.”

    Ironically, attendance at weekly Mass jumped in the period of time between 9/11/01 (remember that?) and February 2002 when the Globe broke the homosexual priest scandal.

    Other than that, I agree with you about the underlying problems of the Catholic Church in the Boston area.  It is not that way in all parts of the country however and I have hope that we (the laity) in Massachusetts will ‘help’ the Archdiocese to improve the situation.

    However, could there be a correlation between the lack of faith here and the continual re-election of ‘Catholic’ politicians who vote for same-sex marriage and embryonic stem cell research?

  • Lynne,

    There was parish involvement in SOME parishes. There were also parishes in which there was darn little, often because the priests in charge discouraged it (e.g., Holy Trinity in the South End).

    Yes, Mass attendance jumped right after 9/11. But then church attendance nationwide jumped. So did the purchase of canned goods and duct tape. But once fear of immediate terrorist attacks subsided, so did a lot of the behavior that immediated followed the 9/11 attacks.

    I am sure there is a correlation between lack of faith (or lack of evidence of faith) and re-election of politicians whose voting records seem to be unaffected by their professed Catholicism. The results of decades of decadent catechesis and preaching.

  • While I think the actions of St. Albert’s parish was wrong and possibly scandalous, this is nothing new. Think of the citizens of Rome who tore off the roof of the conclave, forcing the Cardinals to elect a new Pope…

  • Rob,

    The most interesting canons I’ve found on that subject are:

    The Canonical Condition of Physical Persons (96-112)
    Parishes, Pastors and Parochial Vicars (515-552)
    Vicars Forane (553-555)
    Sacred Places: Churches (1214-1222)
    Recourse Against Administrative Decrees (1732-1739)

    In particular, read cann. 102, 107, 515, 516, and 518.  Under canon 515 s. 2, the Archbishop can alter parishes, i.e. alter the terms of HT from a personal parish to a territorial one, from a German national parish to a Latin Mass parish.  He must have “heard” the presbyteral council before altering notably, suppressing or erecting a parish.  Canon 516 s. 2 requires the Archbishop to provide for the pastoral care of any community which he has not established as a parish or quasi-parish.  Canon 518 differentiates between territorial and personal parishes, gives the “general rule” that parishes should be territorial, but allows personal parishes for “rite, language, nationality…or even for some other reason”.  Through domicile (defined in can. 102), one acquires his pastor (can. 107).  I don’t know how one switches membership between personal and territorial parishes, if one retains his territorial parish and acquires a personal parish by the act establishing that parish, or if there is some election made.

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