Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Cardinal's Appeal -- A Mixed Bag in Retrospect

Once again, the Cardinal's Appeal is upon us.  

Many of us have received he mailing.   And, we have probably heard the message read from the pulpit or altar re The Appeal.  In my parish, you could tell that it was only a half-hearted attempt at sounding excited about asking parishioners, in this economy, to give over and above the weekly collection. 

This year, the Archdiocese has touted that in 2013, more money was pledged, than every before.  And they are correct.  Not only that, but they actually took in more in 2013, than ever before.  So, you have to congratulate them on that.

Nevertheless, even with these increases in pledges and actual donations, you will notice on thing: There are fewer people giving.  

Since 2008, there are almost 4,000 fewer (3994 to be exact) people giving to the Cardinals Appeal than ever before.  

This is not good.  You really need to increase you base because at some point, the well will run dry.  And the Dreamer's, which the Archdiocese has so heavily counted on, will not be there.

Once again, I will not give.  If I decide to give, and I will, I will donate directly to my nearby Catholic school, so that they can purchase paper, supplies, etc. without the Archdiocese deciding. 

I urge you not to contribute, esp. after the Cardinal and the Archdiocese "threw Fr. Marcel under the bus."  It is the only message the Cardinal will understand.


Anonymous said...

Father Marcel Guarnizo threw himself under the bus with his public statement defending his actions regarding the Barbara Johnson incident. The statement is full of inaccuracies. The letter from the the Archdiocese of Washington regarding the dismissal of Father Guarnizo is accurate. There were several issues concerning Father Guarnizo's performance, while at St. John Neumann, that were not made public but were instrumental in his dismissal. I believe the talents he possesses would best be used in academia or at a seminary. He lacks the discipline and interpersonal skills to be a parish priest.




Thank you for taking time to read this blog. It is greatly appreciated.

Since you have stated that there were inaccuracies in his statedment, and issues with his performance, woould you care to share them? Also, it would be helpful if you could explain how you know these to be true? Were you a parishioner of St. John at the time of the event? Did you know the parties in question? How do you know them, etc.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

First let me say I appreciate your measured and fair questions. To some of your questions I can say yes. The vile criticism and conjecture I have seen posted on other blog-sites is disturbing. Honest, fair-minded opinion about the incident is valid and I hope any responses to my comments are in that vain.

I find it disingenuous that people doubt or will not accept the statements made by Bishop Knestout and Father LaHood regarding Father Guarnizo but blindly accept what Father Guarnizo states is accurate.

From Bishop Knestout's March 9th, 2012 letter "This action was taken after I received credible allegations that Father Guarnizo has engaged in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry,".

This statement accurately describes what I personally know of Father Guarnizo's interactions with the staff and others including parishioners.

Two days later Father LaHood, St. John Neumann's pastor, read this statement at the Sunday March 11th Masses.

“The issue discussed this week did not have to do with the distribution of Communion two weeks ago. Let me repeat that: The issue discussed this week did not have to do with the distribution of Communion two weeks ago. The issue pertains to actions over the past week or so.”

I know this to be true.

Father Guarnizo's statement that "that the letter removing me from pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Washington, was already signed and sealed and on the table when I met with Bishop Knestout on March 9". If true it was because this incident was the final straw and there was no more room for discussion.

Unknown to most parishioners was that Father Guarnizo was assigned to St. John Nuemann to have his abilities as a parish priest evaluated for one year. He was scheduled to repeat this process at two other parishes. His one year anniversary at St. John Neumann was nearing its conclusion when the incident happened. If Father Guarnizo had not made public his statement it is likely he would have returned to St. John Nuemann to complete his trial period.

Inaccuracies in Father Guarnizo's statement include his feigned surprise at how his actions were interpreted and his omission of details that reflect poorly on him.

Father Guarnizo says "The arrangements for the Mass were also not my own." While true Father Guarnizo had an opportunity to prepare properly for the funeral but neglected to attend. If he had he would have known of the Johnson's request to have two eulogies. Further it is likely he would have become aware of Babara Johnson's personal relationship. It was then that they could have discussed her not receiving Communion.

Father Guarnizo says he was physically blocked from exiting the sacristy, and he is correct the sacristy is narrow, but what he does not say is that the sacristy has two exit doors only twenty feet apart.

Father Guarnizo wrote, "We have collected more than a few testimonies and affidavits, testifying to what really took place during the funeral liturgy."
What he does not write is that other people who witnessed incident have made statements that differ from Father's version of what "really took place".

Barbara Johnson was not the person that brought the incident to the press. It was someone else attending the funeral. For a short time after the incident Ms. Johnson granted interviews with the press. To her and Father Guarnizo's credit neither has continued making a public issue of the incident. The only ones making an issue of it, and this applies to both sides of the issue, are those who attempt to use the incident to support their opinion.

While many regret Father Guarnizo is no longer a parish priest I believe it serves the Church better when he uses his talents as a speaker and writer.


Anonymous said...

If you are choosing to not donate to the Appeal, then you should be sure to contact the diocese and tell them why. Also, others should be encouraged to do the same. Otherwise, they will not know the reason for your action, and your protest could be in vain. This way, they unmistakably know why you are not giving, and it makes a powerful statement. This is the advice that Judie Brown always gives regarding boycotts. Of course, the diocese could be written to or emailed.


Anonymous said...

At our parish, the past two weekends a member of the parish council has made a pitch about the Appeal. It was the usual stuff about generosity and blah, blah, blah. Not once was a single thing mentioned about the benefits our parish gets from the Appeal. I guess charity does not begin at home.



I have informed the Archdiocese at least twice, that I will not give and why. Personally, as long as there is more money flowing in than the year before, I don't think that they really care.

Kurt said...

I don't give either, but my objections are from the left not the right.

More money but fewer people giving? That is because the Church's alliance with Big Business and the Republican establishment has alienated working class Catholics. All that is left are rich, whom the bishops increasingly cater to.