Thursday, April 13, 2006

Hysterical hierarch

I'm totally slammed with work, but I have to pass this one along: Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans has closed St. Augustine Parish, one of the oldest African American parishes in the country (founded in 1841), because it has been "desecrated." How, you might ask?

By it's own people, it turns out, who were protesting its merger with nearby Peter Claver, which would leave St. Augustine open only for Masses, weddings, and funerals but without its own members, leadership, and pastor. The protesters, including the president of its pastoral council, evidently interrupted Sunday Mass. and are now are occupying the rectory. Said parish council president Sandra Gordon: "We will continue to peacefully occupy the facilities because this is our parish." I'm with you, Sandra. Hughes said the church could only be "reconsecrated" after an expression of remorse by the protesters.

The theological idiocy of the whole things aside--desecrated indeed! as if consecration was some magic spell banished by a protest sign--post-Katrina New Orleans must have finally pushed Hughes over the edge. What a thing to say--that baptized people could somehow "desecrate" their own church building simply by interrupting what is, in the end, their own liturgy.

We need more Sandra Gordons, more women and men of faith who, fed up with episcopal autocracy, clerical malfeasance, and ecclesial financial ruin ($1.5 billion and counting), finally say: Enough! It's time for the sheep to rein in their shepherds so we can agree on a new model that doesn't leave laypeople on the short end of the crook.


At 7:15 AM, Anonymous Hanoverian said...

Interesting blog...


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