looking very lay in L.A.

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 01, 2005

Brace yourselves, Angelenos. Parish Life Directors are coming your way. Cardinal Mahony explains:

Some few parishes in the Archdiocese are already being led by competent laypersons. However, beginning on July 1, 2006, this number will likely increase considerably. I am fully supportive of the efforts of the Task Force as they begin to identify those parishes that will soon be served through the able ministry of a Parish Life Director. Furthermore, I am committed to the implementation of this form of parish leadership, which is NOT A STOPGAP MEASURE OR TEMPORARY SOLUTION to the diminishing number of priestly and Religious vocations.

My emphasis. Were that paragraph written by anyone but an ordained clergyman I'd tend to be skeptical. Read on:

Two important remarks are in order here. First, a parish served by a Parish Life Director may at a later time be served once again by a resident priest pastor. Second, a parish led by a Parish Life Director is NOT PROPOSED AS THE MODEL FOR MINISTRY NOW OR IN THE FUTURE, but is one response to meet the pastoral needs of our Local Church AT THIS TIME, a valid and valuable expression of Church leadership for which there is provision in Canon Law.

In other words, a stopgap measure. I'm relieved.

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  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2005 2:45 PM ET USA

    Our Diocese in Northern Michigan has had "pastoral administrators" now called "Parish Life Coordinators" for more than a decade now currently either Deacons or Religious Sisters. In the beginning there was a lay woman in the mix and a scandal ensued when a Deacon pastoral administrator left his wife and family to run off with the lay pastoral administrator. The Bishop now leans more toward closing/consolidating parishes as the number of priests declines.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2005 7:55 AM ET USA

    In the diocese of Rochester, they are called "Pastoral administrators" and have been here quite a while. Mostly women, it turns out. When our parish was assigned one in 2003, we were introduced to the concept by way of a video produced where? The archdiocese of Milwaukee! Lord, save us!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2005 3:23 AM ET USA

    Of the 5 parishes in the LA Archdiocese that I am most familiar with (my home parish & those that I attend occasionally), all of them have at least one South Asian, Filipino or Nigerian priest (usually as an associate pastor). They are not only orthodox, but those whom I have made confessions to (3 out of 5) are also helpful in the confessional. Bonus: these priests from Asia and Africa whom I know are all sweet-natured. Some of the US-born priests can be grumpy & unapproachable at times :-(

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2005 11:30 AM ET USA

    Our diocese has had nuns, deacons, lay people running parishes for several years now. Does it work? It depends on whom you ask. I think it is changing the nature of the parishes and of the church.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Oct. 02, 2005 6:32 AM ET USA

    continued... It is my opinion that what needs to be avoided are "ministers" who try to impose an agenda on their chapel. My fear would be a Parish Life Director who has a MTh from a Weston School of Theology who would try to impose his radical vision of the church on the holy people of God.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Oct. 02, 2005 6:26 AM ET USA

    This is not new. In south america where I work it is quite common that a parish priest will have several chapels often of equal sizes as his parish church. Each chapel has a neighbor who opens the doors and mantains the building depending on the abilities of the people he or she may also be chief catechist, eucharistic minister, or sacrastan. All generally have a vocation of service to the church and not a hidden agenda (feminist, progressive, or reactionary). A sort of Jacksonian model.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Oct. 01, 2005 11:44 PM ET USA

    Yes, this is part of Cdl. Mahony's master plan: clericalize the laity & laicize the clerics. It is a fact that many of his words, spoken & in print, as well as his actions, are often in direct opposition to the Church, the Holy Father & the Magisterium. He has a choice in this matter. He has the names & phone numbers of several bps. & archbps. in Poland who have many more priests than parishes... just waiting to be called on mission to the USA. They would bring the "oxygen" of orthodoxy to L.A.

  • Posted by: opraem - Oct. 01, 2005 8:59 PM ET USA

    pray that the district attorney and the grand jury have the strength of their convictions in investigating the rampant sexual abuse problems in the la archdiocese. it takes evidence of gross episcopal malfeasance before the pope will intervene. if the evidence is as devastating as indicated in the orange settlement, benedict will have a new archpriest for one of his roman basilicas. the new bishop can stop this insanity.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 01, 2005 7:23 PM ET USA

    Good point Catholicity but only if you assume that Cardinal Mahony wants to solve this problem - he doesnt. This is his way to force the issue of married priests and women priests.... remember he is the direct protege of Cardinal Bernardin. If you check everything that is wrong in the Church in the USA, the trail will always lead to Bernardin's work.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 01, 2005 3:59 PM ET USA

    I beg to differ that Cardinal Mahony has no choice in the matter. Bishop John D'Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese has for years brought in missionary priests from countries that are experencing a bumper crop of vocations. These priests are wonderful, and the program works. My parish priest is a Salesian from Sri Lanka. He is as orthodox as the day is long. So what is the problem in L.A.? Orthodoxy?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 01, 2005 2:16 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Mahony has no alterrnative but do this! The reason he has no alternative is his own destruction of vocations and the seminaries. From the beginning this has been the day he has worked for. His actions have been deliberate, planned and well executed. He is not a bumbler but a dedicated foe of Holy Mother the Church and Christ himself. Chicago which is a diverse urban archdiocese has 7 times as many seminarians per Catholic as L.A. This is no accident -

  • Posted by: - Oct. 01, 2005 12:19 PM ET USA

    Holy Father - I beg you, please step in!