From readers – February 8, 2018

| February 8, 2018 | 6 Comments

Out of proportion

I am surprised that The Catholic Spirit gave so much press to Father [William] Baer’s funeral when so many other priests who have died received very little space in your paper (Cover photo, “He loved being a priest,” Jan. 25). Other priests who have died made just as significant a contribution to the archdiocese. To give so much attention to one priest is a disservice to many others.

Father Terry Rassmussen
St. Joseph, New Hope

Identifying local Church’s suffering

Our Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been in bankruptcy (Reorganization) for three years, since January 2015. Recently, some of the retired priests of the archdiocese met as one of the deaneries of the archdiocese to assess the sufferings and pain which the archdiocese has endured during the years of the bankruptcy, apart from the impending financial decisions. It was not our intention to name the Church as a victim in these last three years. The persons who suffered child abuse by priests are the victim survivors. We admire their courage.

We saw the need to identify the suffering which the Church has endured and to try to come to terms with that suffering as part of a healing process which we, as a Church, are now undergoing. These are the pains which we see as having been endured during this process:

  • Numbers of parishioners have left the Church in the last three years, in part because of the bankruptcy.
  • A cloud of sadness and inactivity has covered the Church, making it difficult for us to take needed steps forward by developing a) a pastoral council, b) a pastoral plan for the future, and c) a diocesan synod.
  • The people of the Church have been embarrassed by the bankruptcy.
  • The people have lost confidence in their diocesan leadership during this process.
  • One parishioner said the pain is not about finances, but about a lessening of spirituality for him, but the process would never take away his faith.
  • The archdiocese is said to have no financial “savings account” with the result that new initiatives are hard to undertake because of a loss of financial freedom to initiate new programs.
  • There has been a preoccupation of the time and energy of diocesan leadership by the bankruptcy process.
  • There has been a negative impression about the Church given by some of the media coverage of the bankruptcy process.

The end is not yet in sight.

Father Kenneth Pierre
A dean of retired priests, St. Paul

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Category: From Readers