Sunday, August 17, 2008

Petition against church closures in Leeds

Please sign the petition: it is not an act of disloyalty to the bishop, but a cry for help to Rome. Bishop Roche's actions, in relation to a whole string of planned church closures (we reported a particularly outstanding case here) has been high-handed to an extraordinary degree. Announcing the plans to his own priests by DVD is shocking; refusing the answer the letters of the faithful, or even of their MPs, suggests that he is losing his grip on reality. In fact bishops are obliged, by the nature of their office, to listen to their flocks: they are his children, not his slaves.

See Damian Thompson's excellent commentary here. The text of the petition is this - click to go to the site to sign it here. (You do NOT have to make a donation to the website,!)

We are collecting signatures of ordinary people supporting the situation of the Parish of St John the Evangelist, Allerton Bywater before forwarding them to the Papal Nuncio & the Congregation for Clergy. This Petition states that:

We object to the planned closure and demolition of so many Catholic Churches in the Diocese of Leeds. We believe this plan to be detrimental to the wider community, and urge the authorities to think again. We have no confidence in the Bishop of Leeds, who is refusing to listen to the people.

We deeply regret that, despite our repeated requests, we were not given the opportunity to discuss our legitimate desires with Bishop Roche, and that he did not even do us the courtesy of replying to any of our Proposals or letters. Even letters from from local MP's Yvette Cooper & Colin Burgon have gone unanswered. As our spiritual father, his continuing silence is baffling and deeply hurtful. Our letters were courteous and respectful and were presented in accordance with Canon 212;2, and the express wish of the Second Vatican Council that 'the laity should disclose their needs and desires with that liberty and confidence which befits children of God and brothers of Christ' (LG 37). Lumen Gentium and the Catechism remind the Bishop that 'He should not refuse to listen to his subjects whose welfare he promotes as of his very own children'� (LG 27 # 2, CCC 896).

How can the bishop reconcile this situation with Canon 383;1: 'A diocesan bishop is to show himself concerned for all the Christian faithful entrusted to his care.' We have been abandoned, uncared-for, and ignored by our Bishop. We believe that he has signally failed in his duty of care for these parishes and has failed to observe his canonical obligations. We are deeply saddened and scandalised by events.

No comments:

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen