Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Camden Diocese - Where did the haters come from?

I have been contemplating this post for a while. In the Camden NJ catholic diocese ( where I live) , Bishop Joseph Galante announced 16 months ago ago a sweeping reorganization of parishes that understandably has brought great consternation. Closing and merging parishes is traumatic and people will feel hurt and angry. This is understandable.

The Bishop and the chancery officials are not perfect and with such a large change they certainly made some missteps-- and to their credit made some adjustments when faced with additional data. In the end they face the same hard facts of many dioceses in the nation-- far less priests and far fewer active parishioners to support the current number of parishes. And it resulted in hard choices to consolidate many parishes.

What is disturbing however is the reaction of a small but vocal group of people who object to these parish consolidations and closings and have responded with regular on line attacks on the bishop, chancery officials and even local priests. The attacks have a few common characteristics:

**They are inevitably personal and accuse the priests and others of chancery with willful and intentional desires to destroy the local church

** The ignore all data and the experience of the rest of the Church in the US with pie in the sky statements that there really are plenty of priests, no need to close any church etc

**They, without any sense of irony, proclaim with all certitude their world view to be the true authentic Catholic church and the local Bishop ( appointed by the Vicar of Rome) and his officials to not be truly Catholic or legitimate and

**they hide their hateful venom on websites that are closed to respectful disagreement and only present their narrow view. Apparently as sure as they claim to be holders of the truth, they fear any post that would point out any weakness in their arguments.

More recently one hater has decided to slander a parish priest I know and respect, Father Ed Friel. At some point someone needs to take on this garbage.

Here is the post

I don't know who Byrnes is but I do know Father Ed to be a hardworking and down to earth priest who is trying to do his best in a difficult situation. Her rants are a disgrace and deserve a strong response. Alas, the website is only open to people who have drunken the kool-aid and agree with Byrnes and her fellow 'authentic Catholics'.


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