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Catholic Churches Shutting While Malone Fights Equality

October 6, 2009

There has been a lot of attention paid to the role the Catholic Church has played in the debate around Question 1 and it has been noted that Bishop Malone’s time, energy and special collections might be better directed to serving the poor, sick or disenfranchised. But it turns out even if he doesn’t want to look outside the Church and those who share his faith, he is prioritizing removing rights over the religious well-being of his congregants.  Mark Nordberg points this out in his poignant letter to the editor in today’s Lewiston Sun Journal:

One of the most enviable attributes of a Catholic parish is the sense of belonging and community it gives to its members. With the continued membership and support of the parish by its parishioners comes the parishioners’ expectation that the parish will provide for them at important events in life, from baptism to confirmation to marriage — all the way to burial.

My heart goes out to parishioners of St. Joseph’s and St. Patrick’s in Lewiston, who have faithfully supported their churches only to find their bishop is looking to break the deal by closing those parishes.

At St. Joseph’s, I have attended some of the most moving services I have ever experienced.

It must be doubly painful for parishioners there to see that their bishop has chosen to utilize substantial time, effort and money on his agenda to remove Maine’s gay marriage law, taking these resources away from parishes to the point that these two parishes will be forced to close. For their leader to choose a personal path of judgment and divisiveness over support for the health of his parishes is a strong message concerning church leaders’ values. The very real lack of concern about these parishes shown by the bishop’s decision is an unpleasant wake up call for parishioners.

While the bishop in Portland and his entourage may well be celebrating a victory on election day, there will be no victory for the parishioners of St. Joseph’s and St. Patrick’s in Lewiston.

No victory for parishioners
By Mark Nordberg
Published: Oct 06, 2009 12:24 am
One of the most enviable attributes of a Catholic parish is the sense of belonging and community it gives to its members. With the continued membership and support of the parish by its parishioners comes the parishioners’ expectation that the parish will provide for them at important events in life, from baptism to confirmation to marriage — all the way to burial.
My heart goes out to parishioners of St. Joseph’s and St. Patrick’s in Lewiston, who have faithfully supported their churches only to find their bishop is looking to break the deal by closing those parishes.
At St. Joseph’s, I have attended some of the most moving services I have ever experienced.
It must be doubly painful for parishioners there to see that their bishop has chosen to utilize substantial time, effort and money on his agenda to remove Maine’s gay marriage law, taking these resources away from parishes to the point that these two parishes will be forced to close. For their leader to choose a personal path of judgment and divisiveness over support for the health of his parishes is a strong message concerning church leaders’ values. The very real lack of concern about these parishes shown by the bishop’s decision is an unpleasant wake up call for parishioners.
While the bishop in Portland and his entourage may well be celebrating a victory on election day, there will be no victory for the parishioners of St. Joseph’s and St. Patrick’s in Lewiston.
Mark Nordberg, Litchfield
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