Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Saint Albert the Great Parish: a case for excommunication?

Last week, a Benedictine priest and I were discussing the recently re-opened Saint Albert the Great parish in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Rather to my surprise, this ordinarily mild-mannered fellow stated heatedly that everyone involved in the "sit-in" should be excommunicated.

"Reversing the decision to close that parish was a big mistake," he told me. The overt disobedience of the parishioners didn't bother him so much as did what he called the "flagrant abuse of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament."

(During the months-long "sit-in," parishioners held Sunday Communion services; the Sacrament reportedly provided by a "sympathetic priest.)

My friend thought the Archbishop should have explained why he was excommunicating the particpants by simply saying: "You do not hold your Savior hostage!"

As for the "sympathetic priest?" He should not only be defrocked, opined my friend, but excommunicated as well.

Furthermore (for a rather quiet guy, this guy was loud and firm about this issue) my friend declared, the Archbishop should "de-sanctify the church building and sell it immediately."

Strong words, no doubt about it. But then again, people are always telling me that excommunication can be used as a charitable tool -- a radical way of teaching Catholics the difference between what is right and what is very, very wrong.

As I read the above-linked story, I wonder what really was learned in this entire affair.