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More Bullying From the Roman Catholic Church

When most people hear the word Catholic, they think of the monolithic Roman Catholic church and that's how the Holy See likes it.  Unfortunately for the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant movement wasn't the only stream of Christianity to break away from what they saw as malpractice within the Roman Catholic Church – a few groups that remain, steadfastly, Catholic also broke away while maintaining the continuity of Apostolic Succession and adhering to the Nicene Creed.  Among those Catholic denominations are the Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic Apostolic Church of Antioch.  Like many religions, orthodox/fundamentalist in particular, the hierarchy of the big churches are filled with bullies and the Catholic Church has proven themselves to be among the biggest bullies over the ages.  Far from following Jesus' example of turning the other cheek and taking responsibilities for their actions, they feel more comfortable dominating and hiding any dissent they can't easily quash (this is not to say that Catholics, in general, are insensitive, hypocritcal bullies – just that the church itself, like many major corporations, tends to act in its own self interest and doesn't always play well with others).

Case in point: Ten priests from East Falls, Manayunk & Roxborough PA took unction to a listing of an 8-month old church's listing as a Catholic church in a local paper's church directory that they sent a letter, cc'd to the Phila Archdiocese, the regional bishop and the paper itself requesting the priest of the offending church to list his house of worship under a more suitable heading

“Dear Reverend St. George,” the brief note begins. “We, the Roman Catholic priests of the East Falls, Manayunk and Roxborough areas, respectfully request that your listing in The Review be placed under an appropriate heading. Some people might be mislead [sic] into thinking that St. Miriam is a Roman Catholic institution. You and we certainly don't wish to misrepresent ourselves to the public.” Philadelphia Daily News

Needless to say, Rev. Jim St. George, the priest at the not Catholic enough for Roman Catholic Churches, was patently offended.  Rev St George's church is an Antioch Catholic church and the Roman Catholic hierarchy really hates the fact that Antioch churches don't abide by their papal doctrine and could easily take Catholic market share away if more liberal parishioners knew there was a way to remain Catholic and do so in good conscience.  You see, the Antioch stream of Catholicism ordains priests regardless of gender or sexual orientation and doesn't prevent clergy from marriage, let alone mandate celibacy.  As for parishioners, Antioch churches allow them to make personal choices about contraception and aren't hypocrites about divorce.The 10 priests went public with their request to Rev St. George so he responded in kind with a response, taking out a full page ad not in the local paper that published the directory (they declined the ad as too controversial) but in another local paper.

“You see,” Rev. Jim wrote in the Oct. 9 ad, “Saint Miriam accepts all those whom you reject: the gay and lesbian, those of differing opinions or denominations, those in mixed-religious marriages, those who are divorced or did not receive or seek annulment, those who are otherwise and somehow 'just not right' – everyone.”

The response, in general, to the ad was quick. . .and positive, except that of the Roman Catholic Church.  Monsignor Joseph McGeown, the only one of the 10 priests with the testicular fortitude to sign the initial missive, is aghast at the idea that Rev St. George would air the dispute in public – I don't wonder why.

x-posted at the disenchanted forest

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