A couple who withheld a donation to their church and instead left a note protesting the closure of a Roman Catholic high school were suspended by the pastor.
“You raise your hand to strike at the parish that has nourished your faith through the years. That says volumes,” The Rev. Thomas Cappelloni of Our Lady of Grace church in Hazleton wrote in a letter to the couple. He said the parishioners should have talked to him if they were concerned about the closure of Bishop Hafey High School.
Cappelloni said he was temporarily suspending the couple’s registration at the parish “as long as you willfully seek to harm Our Lady of Grace by your nonsupport” and the termination would be permanent if the decision were not reconsidered. He added in a postscript that theirs was the only envelope out of 960 mailed out in which such a stand was taken.
The woman who sent the note told the Standard-Speaker of Hazleton that she was disappointed by the pastor’s response.
[Via The World IMHO]
Regardless of the prudence of the couples act (which I don’t agree with), I would think that the pastor is wrong in was he has done. First off the whole issue of registration is that it is an administrative invention and is something nowhere stated in Canon Law. It is a useful administrative tool to help give the parish and the bishop an idea of how many people attend a Church and is usually something a parish requires before someone can receive sacraments such as baptism and confirmation. Fr. Tucker had a good post on this subject before.
So exactly what does this pastor mean by a revoking of registration? If this meant that the couple was no longer allowed to attend that parish or to participate in Mass, then that is something just not possible for him to do. For this to happen there would have to be, I believe, an interdict against entering the church or a particular personal interdict. Though these types of interdicts can only be inflicted by the local bishop, not the pastor. Of course what they have done does not come close to being so grave as to require an ecclesial penalty in the first place.
“This is a matter between a pastor and a parishioner,” diocese spokesman Bill Genello said. “The pastor intends to discuss this with the parishioner.”
Translation: This is rather messy and we really don’t want to get involved regardless of the rights of the couple.