Response to Anonymous Letters Received March 23, 2018
To view the letters scanned to a single .pdf file, click here.
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This is what we are doing—serving the Lord with our hearts—hearts that are open to His law, His commandments, and His teachings with a commitment to comply with all that He has laid before us. We trust in His call and will continue our Campaign for Christ to spread truth.
We have taken it upon ourselves to research Church doctrine so that we are aware of the requirements made of us, take these requirements very seriously, and feel called to defend this doctrine where we find it being ignored or disobeyed. It's unfortunate that you decided to remain anonymous, because your choice not to identify yourselves shows a lack of courage. We, on the other hand, have willingly made ourselves known to the parishioners of OLA as we have nothing to hide and are brave enough to face the controversy that may surround our efforts.
To summarize the general message in your letters: while we are charged by scripture to forgive and not judge, we are also called to defend Church doctrine. Forgiveness, even in the Sacrament of Reconcilation, does not include acceptance of bad behavior, especially continuing, future bad behavior. And, sadly, your letters seem to indicate that forgiveness includes happily accepting John Farley’s bad behavior as a price for having him as our pastor. We can do better than that, but as long as he gets re-enforced by parish and diocesan supporters, then he has no reason to honor the priestly vows he took as a part of his “Oath of Fidelity” which includes, “I shall follow and foster the common discipline of the entire Church and I shall maintain the observance of all ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law.” Actually, it is pretty simple, all he needs to do is follow the clearly stated Church doctrine and be honest, humble, and sincere in serving his flock. There is no hate being shown towards John Farley personally, only of his fracturing of the OLA and St. Benedict parishes and Church doctrine.
Addressing your letters:
Your first letter begins with a descriptive list of various biblical characters in giant type, but the point of what you have written in the context of our list of decisions and actions taken by John Farley (see farther down) is unclear. Your handwritten statement at the bottom claims that by him witnessing “loving, charitable and welcoming behavior” will somehow redirect his own behavior so that he will treat his flock in these same ways and that he will follow Church doctrine in the future. We believe he has witnessed this many times from the OLA and St. Benedict parishioners since his arrival two and half years ago; but, from the beginning, he has chosen to make arbitrary decisions in running the parish (ignoring recommendations from the councils, not conferring with leaders of ministries, making misleading statements like those for the second collection each Sunday), etc., and liturgical decisions that directly violate Church doctrine as expressed clearly in the Code of Canon Law, the GIRM (General Instructions of the Roman Missal), the Code of Rubrics, and Church traditions (links to Church doctrine are at the bottom of this page). Witnessing positive behavior hasn’t impacted him so far, so how long do we have to wait?
In response to your statement regarding how we would treat our son or a brother, we have just as strongly confronted our children and siblings about their choices that are contradictory to Church doctrine and tradition. Yes, Christ said to forgive seven times seventy times; but as to forgiveness for John Farley, these transgressions are not being directed at us so we are not the ones who are asked to forgive. With his non-compliance with and disobedience of God’s laws, these require forgiveness from God. Even with God’s mercy and forgiveness, given there is true contrition, it is doubtful that his on-going rebellious, destructive behavior will stop.
Your second letter had the phrase, “Open your heart…” written on the backside of the letter. Our hearts are open, and we pray that John Farley’s will be also—to God, His Church and doctrine, and all of the flock that he shepherds.
Inside, you cherry-picked just three issues that don’t happen to be violations of Church doctrine from the long list—we wonder why? Each of the doctrinal issues can be substantiated by witnesses, photos (with technical data to establish exact date/time), and/or video recordings. All of these factual events where doctrine was apparently violated, and more, have been communicated to the bishop, vicar of priests, and John Farley via physical letters or emails with attached photos and links. Other than John Farley’s recent single sentence, “Every word of what you have written is wrong.” and then, like every other communication regarding his decisions and behaviors, not a single word to disprove our factual descriptions. While our suggested doctrinal reference for a event/decision might be argued, no one—not the bishop, nor vicar of priest, nor John Farley—has attempted to do so.
That tells us that we are on firm ground in what we have stated and defended as we are called to do by Canon Law, 229 §1. Lay persons are bound by the obligation and possess the right to acquire knowledge of Christian doctrine appropriate to the capacity and condition of each in order for them to be able to live according to this doctrine, announce it themselves, defend it if necessary, and take their part in exercising the apostolate.
As to the three issues you chose to call out, while it’s debatable in the first issue as to the condition and usage of the Voices songbooks and the prayer cards, it is factual that John Farley removed the songbooks and dumped them in the storage room because of his own choice and did not consult to see if these were still being used. The second item regarding parishioners selecting other priests to celebrate their Mass of Christian Burial, we know from a credible source that three long-time parishioners had specifically stated that they did NOT want John Farley to be a part of their funeral Masses. This is very different from wanting a priest friend to come here for their funeral Masses. And lastly, it has been over a year since a detailed “Profit and Loss” financial statement has been published in the weekly bulletin. Simple listings of the current DMF pledges or the made-up “giving goal” results are not a detailed accounting of parish finances. And when Profit and Loss statements were published, the account titles were so vague and confusing that it was impossible to determine what was truly happening (even with a minor in accounting).
Your description of our defending Church doctrine would seem to indicate a lack of detailed awareness of Church doctrine and accepting the content of it—all of it. The Code of Canon Law is very clear in that you either accept and live all of it to be able to call yourself a Catholic; or, if you chose to not accept any major point of it, then you can, at best, call yourself a Christian. Catholic doctrine is not a cafeteria plan where you can select what is easy and comfortable, and ignore the parts that are too challenging to accept and live. You have stated that our actions are “childish,” so we can only interpret this as saying that our defense of Church doctrine is childish, thus indicating that our adherence to Canon Law is childish—thereby minimizing, and basically dimissing, the importance of what these laws are calling us to do.
The entire point of religion is to make us humble before God and to open us to the path of love. Everything else is more or less a footnote. Liturgy, prayer, the precepts [doctrine] of the Church, the Commandments, sacraments, sacramentalsmdash;all of itmdash;are finally meant to conform us to the way of love. When they instead turn us away from that path, they have been undermined.
—Word on Fire Catholic Ministries
Sadly, the last sentence describes what has happened to the two parishes.
In Christ's name, Jacquie and Ed Stewart
The Bulletin and Ministers' Schedule are no longer being
made avaiable by the parish office for online access.
So, in their place, some thoughts for 2018—
Open your eyes . . .
Why was a dog a part of the 2018 Palm Sunday Mass entrance procession, an official part of the Mass—purposely disrespectful on one of the most holy days in the Church year. Seems the dog has more importance than parishioners.
Look at the choir and notice how many long-serving members are no longer participating; and, in addition, have chosen to attend Mass elsewhere.
Look around and notice how many parishioners are no longer attending Mass at Our Lady of the Assumption, with a number of those missing having been members of ministries and councils, and faithful volunteers. Also, the Mass attendance is no longer reported in the weekly bulletin.
Why were Masses being said in part of Lent and all through Holy Week, including Easter 2016, without a visible crucifix, contrary to the Code of Canon Law, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and Code of Rubrics?
Should the stone top of the altar, that was blessed with holy oil at our Mass of Dedication and is where the Consecration takes place, be removed and stored behind the wall in the sanctuary during various liturgical seasons of the year when in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, it states that, “The altar, on which is effected the Sacrifice of the Cross made present under sacramental signs, is also the table of the Lord to which the People of God is convoked to participate in the Mass, and it is also the center of the thanksgiving that is accomplished through the Eucharist?”
Should the sacred space of the sanctuary have been used for the community chorale, as it is stated in Rubrics that “the Ceremonial of Bishops and 2000 years of Church tradition reserve the sanctuary for the ministers of the Mass.” A further explanation states that, “The sanctuary is reserved for the ministers of the Mass. Ministers here refers to bishops, priests, deacons, acolytes, readers and cantors, not to the congregation or the choir.” If the choir is not permitted in the sanctuary, then a community choir should not have been permitted to enter this space either.
Has a dog been free to roam in that same sacred space—even during Mass?
Are the seats for the presider and the deacon supposed to be arranged with the seating of the congregation when the General Instruction of the Roman Missal states that, “The chair of the Priest Celebrant must signify his function of presiding over the gathering and of directing the prayer—with the most suitable place facing the people at the head of the sanctuary?”
Have you ever wondered why parishioners are no longer allowed to have a private confession (one that does not have to be scheduled where they can remain anonymous)?
Why were the Voices songbooks and the prayer cards taken out of the pockets on the backs of the pews and the chairs? Both are approved for use during the Mass.
Why are families of parishioners who have died asking other priests to come in and celebrate a Mass of Christian Burial?
Try to recall the last time you saw any accounting in the form of a Profit and Loss statement of the parish finances in the bulletin.
Pray to Our Lord so that you will clearly see truth!
Open your ears . . .
Listen to the explanation for the second collection (which is not subject to DMF tax)—why is it given the title of “Capital Improvements” when it is stated that this collection is for emergency repairs, maintenance (when these are normal operating expenses and should be paid from the first collection), and on-going restoration (when there is none, and this expense is a normal operating expense as well)?
Why were parishioners encouraged to give their annual parish tithing to the 2017 DMF campaign so that it could be refunded to the parish as overpayment to this fund; and, therefore, not be subject to any future DMF tax?
When there is a service that typically would include non-Catholics, why were earlier instructions (click here for YouTube recording) for the receipt of the Holy Eucharist so vague and confusing that non-Catholics freely received this beautiful sacrament? And why recently, were those instructions changed to, “Communion here is messy?”
Why was it necessary for our pastor to share sexually explicit information with the choir on Christmas 2016 during its practice before Mass and then minimize it as a “joke;” and more recently in a homily, why was it included in a list of rumors? It, most certainly, was not a rumor at all—it actually happened!
Pray to Our Lord so that you will be able to listen and discern the truth!
Open your hearts . . .
Seek enlightenment and take the time to read the doctrine of the Catholic Church so that you can be obedient to God’s law.
Lift up those who are working hard to restore the sanctity of the parish and pray so that we all will join together in obeying Christ and his teachings.
Pray to Our Lord so that you will be faithful to Him in all ways!