Time to vent about the situation in my church.
The person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix has stripped St. Joseph's Hospital of its status as a Catholic hospital. I can't imagine that will affect the day to day operations a lot, but he chose to do it. This is another in a line of decisions which have come in opposition to fact and for the sole purpose of showing the riff-raff (or, as I prefer to think of us, the parishioners) of the Diocese who is boss.
A year and a half ago, I was forced out of the Newman Center when the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix took over the Newman Centers at NAU and ASU. Apparently, the people who ran the Newman Centers had turned them into such dens of iniquity, the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix felt that he needed to be more directly involved in the day to day affairs. In explaining this overthrow of the Dominicans and the Flagstaff parish, the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix said in a letter dated December 12, 2009 that the new priests in charge at the Newman Centers were to see "that the faithful and those who perform genuine liturgical ministries are imbued with the spirit of liturgy." This explanation indicates that the previous ministers, including me, were neither genuine, nor "imbued with the spirit of liturgy."
I would like to think that the 10 plus hours I volunteered to spend each week in prayer and work on music ministry at the Newman Center were genuine and imbued with the spirit of liturgy. I certainly tried to make them so. I followed all of the directives put forth by the parish, Diocese, and Vatican, even when those directives seemed arbitrary to me. I also chose music and music ministers with an eye toward the reverence and beauty of the Eucharistic celebration, as well as the joy of celebrating with the youth of NAU. Apparently this was not enough and I was not imbued with the spirit of liturgy. Perhaps I did not sing in Latin enough for the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix.
I can only imagine that the people who run St. Joseph's feel as shut out and betrayed by the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix as I do. They were even asked to have a theologian provide an ethical analysis of the case which brought about today's action. They did so and, despite being found to have acted appropriately by the duly appointed Marquette University theologian, the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix stripped them of their designation. Just as in my situation, they did what they felt they had been asked to do and they were savaged for it. I understand that neither of these situations make much difference in the grand scheme of things, but they certainly impact a few of the faithful.
There can be no ultimatum or profound moral stand at this point, in which I state my case and get returned to my post by acclamation of the faithful; that only happens in the movies. I know that the person in charge of the Diocese of Phoenix will never see this, but my friends, who may have wondered why I am less involved in the church I love than I used to be, will see it and, I hope, they will understand.
Thanks for reading. I'll try to do better next time.