Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why the OLGC parishioners (aka, the "vigil"antes) have no choice but to camp out in the church building right now:

Parishioners have plenty to reflect on today as they occupy the church - the parish learned Tuesday morning that a judge rejected a case to keep the church open.

Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese explained to church members, four of whom brought a civil suit to court to try to stop their church's closing, that they were in fact not members of the legal congregation. Under the legal definition, the congregation includes the archbishop, his vicar general, OLGC's pastor, the Rev. Pat Collum, and two (empty) layman seats.

Link courtesy of Poppy Z.

Why this Jewish girl cares about some Catholic churches:

-I live in New Orleans. The demolition of private homes is bad enough. Take away the communal gathering places that help make this city what it is and this place shrinks even more than it already has. Plus, there have already been some significant church demolitions and some church saviors here. Why subject parishioners to even more heartbreak? Oh, right, that greenback bottom line. I guess houses of worship are supposed to be money mills.

-There are few guarantees that these churches will stay churches once they are sold. I'm not sure if this holds true for Catholic churches, but I know that once a synagogue becomes a Christian house of worship (or one of another denomination or sect), it cannot be reconsecrated as a synagogue. If the church buildings are especially lucky, perhaps alternatives to selling them to the highest bidder could be found - remake them as museums, or property buyers could purchase them from the Archdiocese and donate them back to the parishioners.

-Another possible alternative is to open the church up to other communities for worship, with those communities paying fees to help with the church upkeep. If it's money that the Archbishop wants, this is one way to keep it coming.

-I saw a few building wars in NYC related to the dwindling Conservative Jewish congregations having to give up the ghost, and they were not pretty. One building was nearly sold out from under a congregation due to the executive director and president having made a deal without consulting the synagogue's board. The fur certainly flew there. They all compromised over rental of the building.

-Well, I guess this still counts as an explanation for why I am supporting the parishioners here.

Once again, best of luck to the St. Henry's and OLGC communities.

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