WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) – The newly-formed Virginia Chapter of a more than 50-year-old Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, was refused access to Holy Family Church in Virginia Beach for their organizational meeting in the Diocese of Richmond as they were not a diocesan organization.
Retired Richmond Bishop Walter Sullivan, a former president of the international movement, was one of the featured speakers. He, along with Marie Dennis, the global-concerns director for Maryknoll, a Catholic religious community of priests, nuns and laypeople, keynoted the event, which was held at Virginia Wesleyan College.
Asked Tuesday by Steven Vegh, a reporter from the Virginian Pilot, why the event was rejected, Vincent Sansone, the diocesan theologian stated that Pax Christi is not a diocesan organization.
Bishop Sullivan and other chapter organizers expressed surprise at the decision of the diocese.
The “Guidelines for Speakers in the Richmond Diocese” state that those “from outside the diocese must be approved through the Office of the Diocesan Theologian. Keep in mind that the approval process must be completed and the proposed speaker must be approved before an invitation is extended to the speaker.”
According to the qualifications instituted shortly after the installation of Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo in 2004, speakers must be in good standing in the Church, possess proof that they have taken a course regarding child abuse, provide their curriculum vitae and a letter of confirmation regarding their orthodoxy from a bishop or pastor. [reference]
Well considering the dubious orthodoxy of so many in Pax Christi this decision is not surprising. Pax Christi concentrates on a subset of social justice issues and has been know to support contraception and homosexual acts. It is also not surprising that Bishop Sullivan is associated with them.