Friday, July 23, 2010

Victory in Midland Beach!

The anonymous board of trustees of St. Margaret Mary church finally met and anonymously voted against the plan to sell the vacant convent to the Moslem American Society. This is wonderful news. However, it is a disgrace that the Archdiocese and the pastor allowed this contentious issue to linger for so long, creating so much bitterness and ill-will. This plan never should have been approved in the first place, but once it became public knowledge and the intense opposition materialized, the archdiocese should have expedited a decision on this one way or another. Instead, for 2 months they've allowed this issue to boil over. There have been weekly protests, with signs like "Get out of my country"; there have been dueling Facebook pages; we've been lectured by our own Archbishop on tolerance; and the national media has focused its gimlet eye on Staten Island and its supposed bigotry. As we've seen in numerous other instances, our Church is utterly clueless about public relations; it's like they purposely do whatever will reflect most negatively on the hierarchy and Catholicism.

Nevertheless, we achieved victory eventually. And the lesson we can take away from this is that a significant percentage of the clergy and the bishops are wolves in sheep's clothing who don't give a damn about ordinary Catholics or Catholicism and who would sell us down the river for 30 pieces of silver or a pat on the head from the liberal media. It was a defiant and united people who stopped this outrage and forced the church to do the right thing in the end. Let us not forget that we ordinary Americans and Catholics have real power when we stand together and fight.

So, the mosque plan is finished. Good. But now what will be done with the vacant convent? In all this hubbub about the MAS, have Catholics experienced any shame at the fact that our religion is declining so rapidly that we are forced to sell off our religious buildings? Does the hierarchy experience any shame at the lack of vocations illustrated so dramatically in this vacant convent, not to mention the legions of shuttered churches? I wonder how many of the anti-MAS protesters are A&P (ashes and palms) Catholics, or simply functional pagans; I didn't see too many people at Mass when I visited St. Margaret Mary. I would hope that this controversy would impress upon us the need for a mass rededication to the Faith. We shall see.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Correspondence with the Archbishop

I recently sent a letter to Archbishop Dolan expressing my displeasure with the MAS situation, and urging him to stop this deal immediately, instead of inexplicably allowing the issue to linger and fester throughout the summer. I received the following absurd form letter, which defended Fr. Fennessy, whom I never even mentioned in my letter, and criticized me for blaming all Muslims for the World Trade Center attack, an accusation I never made.

Dear Mr. ***********

Thank you most sincerely for your letter of...Your thoughtfulness is deeply appreciated.

Father Keith Fennessey is, in my judgment, a fine priest and pastor of the archdiocese, undeserving of the criticism that he has been receiving.

As to the proposed sale of the convent to the Muslim American Society, the archdiocese consented to it when the pastor wrote in favor of it. Since then, he has decided to withdraw his support for the sale, and the parish is attempting to resolve the matter.

The Muslim American Society is in dialogue and communication with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and as such one must be careful about drawing conclusions. Also, as your bishop, might I suggest that it is very unfair to link all Muslims to the attack on the World Trade Center. It was not that long ago when Catholics in the United States were suspect because of their ties to the Vatican, and such bigotry should not be revisited by Catholics on others.

With prayerful best wishes, I am,

Faithfully in Christ,

Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan Archbishop of New York

Friday, July 16, 2010

Archbishop Dolan shows support for gay groups?

Michael Voris recently publicized a visit by Archbishop Dolan to a Manhattan parish which is well known for being "gay-friendly". I encourage everyone to watch this video. During the visit to St. Francis Xavier, Archbishop Dolan was videotaped smiling and cheering as the parish's gay and lesbian groups were presented to him. A defender of the Archbishop could say that the speaker's description of these gay groups was somewhat ambiguous, as they were lauded for their efforts to help "LGBT Catholics return to the Sacraments and find an adult place in the Church of their youth", so the Archbishop could easily have thought that they were faithful Catholic groups trying to help gays live chaste lives in accordance with Catholic morality. However, an examination of the facts would disabuse us of that notion. The Archbishop is well aware of the stance of this parish and their gay groups; they march in the Gay Pride Parade every year under the banner of the parish and are quite public in their affirmation of the gay lifestyle. The archbishop wrote a letter to the lisping, effeminate pastor ordering him not to allow the gay groups to march under the church's banner. They complied by simply turning the banner around, an act of passive aggressive defiance, as everyone knew exactly who they were and who they were affiliated with. I bring up this story because it tells us New Yorkers something disturbing about the man who was appointed to be our spiritual shepherd. But on a more local level, I ask if this man is really going to have enough courage to quash the deal with the MAS, if he doesn't even have enough backbone to deal with an openly gay advocacy group in a Catholic church.