New Orleans Catholic protesters lock themselves in rectory

New Orleans Catholic protesters lock themselves in rectory

No one can deny New Orleans has been through a lot, and the Catholic archdiocese as much as anyone. So the decision to close some parishes or not re-open others has been made based on some very real consequences. On the other hand, the people have been through a lot and to have your parish survive the hurricane only to be shut down later is wrenching.

However, if you’re going to start a sit-in protest against the parish closing, you should really be more prepared.

St. Augustine Church, founded in 1841 by slaves and free people of color [which color?- Ed.], is among the parishes the New Orleans Archdiocese plans to consolidate as it deals with money worries and smaller congregations since Hurricane Katrina. St. Augustine was merged last week.

Church officials have stressed that the building itself will still be used for Sunday Mass. But members say that’s not enough. “It’s heritage,” said John Powell, a church member locked into the rectory along with nine community workers. “This is our roots, where free blacks [Oh, that color - Ed.] and slaves worshipped together with owners.”

Powell said they planned to stay until the archdiocese followed church law for closing down a parish. However, neither he nor protesters sitting in front of the rectory knew what that process should be.

If they’re going to complain that canon law wasn’t followed or demand that it be, shouldn’t they find out just what the law requires. For its part, the archdiocese says the law has been followed.

About half the protesters are parishioners and the rest are “community workers.” Huh? What are they? My guess is that it means liberals with nothing better to do than meddle in the Church’s affairs. And once again we see that the media makes a big deal about a very small group. Twelve people out of 250 in the parish (which is itself already a tiny number for a Catholic parish) is a pittance.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli