Thursday, April 23, 2009

Prayer Request: Diocese of Rochester (New York)

Bishop Fulton Sheen, sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester

Rochester Catholic is asking that we join many hurting brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Rochester in prayer. There have been many +Ponderings+ entries on the current situation within the Diocese and most can be found HERE. There is a counter on the front page of their website where you can let them know how many rosaries/decades you have prayed for their intention.

From Rochester Catholic, a glimpse of the dire situation:

  • The diocese permits a canonically forbidden practice of allowing non-ordained persons to give homilies at Mass. The diocese justifies this practice by describing these homilies as “dialogue homilies”. The claim is that these homilies are a dialogue between the presiding priest and the non-ordained homilist. In truth, a dialogue homily is generally recognized as a practice that is to be occasionally utilized at Masses for children. The dialogue is supposed to be between the priest or deacon and the children. The most liberal interpretation of these dialogue homilies would be the allowance for a dialogue between the ordained minister and the congregation. A dialogue between the ordained minister and a non-ordained homilist does not fall under this understanding. Beyond this, the diocese’s non-ordained homilists are not engaging in dialogue with anyone. They preach the homily, without dialogue, in the same manner as a priest or deacon. Many have objected to this practice by sighting Canon Law. These written and verbal protests have not been successful.
  • The diocese has been rapidly clustering and closing parishes. These clusterings and closings often result in the governance of the parishes being turned over to non-ordained pastoral administrators. The priests that serve these parishes are then relegated to the position of “sacramental ministers”. Many times, these administrators are women who assume a liturgical posture that is confusing to many of the faithful. These administrators wear albs, preach homilies, preside over baptisms, and alter the liturgy. Some of these administrators are active in the Women’s Ordination Conference. They often bring an agenda which is contrary to the Church’s official recognition that only men can be ordained to the priesthood. These various offenses have been damaging to the faithful, and have driven many individuals and families out of their home parishes.
  • The diocese has become a destination of choice for dissident Catholic speakers. These speakers are here on a regular basis, and often appear under the sponsorship of parishes and Catholic Chairs at college campuses. For example, the notorious Roger Haight, who the Vatican has banned from teaching Catholic theology, has now been here two years in a row. He has spoken to Catholic audiences at the U of R, RIT and St. John Fisher. Speakers like this are rarely, if ever, censured or challenged by anyone in authority from the diocese. The faithful are never warned about the danger that these speakers present to their listening audiences, many of them young and poorly catechized.
That is just a small yet bitter taste of the problems that exist. They will have NO ordinations in either 2011 or 2012 and Mass attendance is steadily plummeting. Our parish, in the Diocese of Buffalo, has many people in the pews every week who travel to our church for Mass and devotions. Some drive as long as 40 minutes to attend Mass with us. Please include our brothers and sisters of the Diocese of Rochester in your daily prayers.

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