Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

More bad faith from Catholic leadership

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The Catholic church, like many bureaucracies, works hard to keep its operations—and most important, its mistakes—a secret from those it claims to serve. The latest example of bad faith is not allowing parishioners access to closing documents so that they can appeal the closings. (Local leaders really do not like being held to account, so their use their power to protect themselves—and then lie about it.)

From Sharon Otterman’s article in the NY Times:

For aggrieved parishioners at churches ordered closed or merged by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan last November, it seemed like a simple task: Get a copy of the formal decree of his decision on their parishes, so they could properly appeal to the Vatican.

So across the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, they began calling and writing letters to Cardinal Dolan and his senior aides, asking for the decrees. Some seven weeks later, a definitive answer came back: No, they could not have copies.

But archdiocesan officials said they would allow parishioners to view the documents — under certain conditions.

There could be no photographs and no transcriptions. Notes could be taken, but sometimes only after the document was out of sight. Viewings were by appointment, monitored by archdiocesan officials, parishioners who saw their decrees said.

The rules bewildered parishioners, who feared they might be stymied in filing their appeals. And several leading canon lawyers interviewed this week said they represented a highly unusual departure from church norms.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I can’t imagine its purpose, except to prevent the parishioners from exercising their legitimate appeal rights,” said Nicholas P. Cafardi, dean emeritus at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

On Wednesday, a day after The New York Times sent a detailed inquiry about the matter, the archdiocese abruptly reversed course. After months of refusals, 50 decrees that ordered the mergers of more than 100 parishes in the archdiocese were suddenly posted on the archdiocesan website.

A spokesman for the archdiocese said on Wednesday that the failure to do so earlier was an “oversight.” [That is quite obviously an outright lie. Too bad the spokesman is unnamed. – LG] But that explanation did not ring true to the parishioners who had been fighting to get copies. To them, the stonewalling, and the turnabout, seemed indicative of the lack of transparency the sweeping process to consolidate New York parishes had from the start.

For more than a year, the archdiocese had emphasized the democratic nature of the consolidation process, citing the involvement of teams of lay people from each parish. But in many cases, the final decisions from the archdiocese contradicted the recommendations from the parish committees. By not providing the decrees, the archdiocese, according to canon lawyers and upset parishioners, had gone further, apparently in an effort to limit churches’ ability to appeal. . .

Read the whole thing.

Written by Leisureguy

13 February 2015 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Religion

One Response

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  1. Reblogged this on Brian By Experience.


    Brian Dead Rift Webb

    14 February 2015 at 12:08 pm

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