Aug 092012

“The lay Christian faithful called to give assistance at liturgical celebrations should be well instructed and must be those whose Christian life, morals and fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium recommend them.”

When I read this statement from  Redemptionis Sacramentum I think of people like Alex Baldwin. Well maybe not, but this one parish seems to think that this active abortion and same-sex marriage proponent who constantly proclaims vitriolic hate towards conservatives is fitting as a Lector.

For most, a Sunday church service is a moment for peace, worship and reflection — unless Alec Baldwin is in your congregation.

Sources tell us that some of the parishioners at Most Holy Trinity Parish in East Hampton are so sick of Baldwin’s blustering that a group stood up and turned their backs on the hot-tempered star as he gave a reading from the pulpit.

A source told us of the protesting parishioners on July 29: “Alec loves to be the center of attention and often reads from the pulpit, which really annoys some in the congregation. It is so bad that, one recent Sunday, he went up to read, and part of the congregation stood and rudely turned their backs on him.”

The source said, “Even though he has generously given a lot of money to the town, there are people who just don’t like him. He has a need for attention and shows up at every event. When people go to the church, they don’t want to see the movie star up there.”

Another source suggested that those who turned their backs were staunch Republicans who disagreed with outspoken Baldwin’s liberal views.

Baldwin, who has an eight-acre spread in East Hampton, and new wife, Hilaria Thomas, are regular parishioners at the church, of which he’s a generous benefactor. Last year, he donated a set tour of “30 Rock” to a church fund-raising auction.

Rev. Donald Hanson, the pastor, told Page Six, “Alec Baldwin reads from time to time at the church, and read again on Sunday two weeks ago.” Asked about parishioners who turned their backs, Hanson said, “I was told that happened, but I did not personally witness it, as another priest was saying the Mass.”

And about the reason for the public protest, he added, “I am not going to comment, as I wasn’t there.”

A representative for Baldwin said, “Alec was focused on the prayers, so he has no way of knowing if this happened. But does someone violating the sanctity of a church even deserve a response?”

Glad he is going to Mass, but his Twitter stream is not fitting for a Lector.


  12 Responses to “Upon this 30 Rock”

  1. Since this is happening under Bishop Murphy’s watch, we can only assume he knows about Baldwin’s public “ministry” at Mass and approves it.

    I am wondering if Mr. Baldwin supports homosexual “marriage,” abortion and is in a licit Catholic marriage with the woman he is living with. These are all questions for Bishop Murphy to answer as he is the shepherd and moral teacher for his diocese and is responsible for the liturgical practices of his diocese.

  2. It seems to me that this particular call is up to the pastor of the parish. Obviously, it is sticky situation for the pastor as Mr. Baldwin is a generous benefactor and it is always hard to lose a big donor from the parish. But as a pastor he needs to decide what is more important, the extra money or the souls of his parishioners who could be getting scandalized by Mr. Baldwin’s publicly held beliefs that are not consistent with Church teaching and his public ministry in the Church.

    Either way, I don’t think this is a case for the Bishop to step in.

  3. P.S. I didn’t read the entire article that this post references, but if this is truly how the parishioners “protested,” it is not the time nor the place and it sends only one message – only certain people belong in this Church. Go to the pastor in private or send letters to the pastor. Just my 2 cents.

  4. I agree with Wayne, but I think not only of the effect on other parishioners, but also on Baldwin himself. I know nothing about the situation, so this is a question and not an assessment.
    If he is so active in his parish, is the pastor taking the opportunity of his availability to bring to his attention the beliefs he holds and the behaviours he displays that are contrary to the teachings of the Church? If he is, then the apparent silence may be explained. If not, is a great opportunity being missed?

  5. I had the same feeling that Wayne had. But I do not have all the facts as to what steps the parishoners took to voice their concerns that were rebuffed.

    The mass is not a place for protesting, although I would imagine that someone reading at mass who is so public about his opposition to the Church in which he is reading would be difficult for many.

    Let us continue to pray for him

  6. Wayne, Roberto,

    I would agree that the way the parishioners have handled this was not appropriate.

    I would not agree though that it was a decision the priest should have made. I do see how he could possibly defend Alex Baldwin as having fidelity to the Magisterium. As of now this is pointedly not the case. You just can’t make pastoral decisions that totally ignore Church instructions.

  7. They should talk to the priest and express their feelings instead of turning their back on Baldwin, fellow Catholic, it is not charitable, I am sorry, whatever Baldwin’s fault, if any, it should be dealt with in more Catholic style way.

  8. PS. It might be that Baldwin is a reader as he possibly reads well – personally I am tired of readers in my own parish Church that do rush throught the text in the way that one can hardly follow them or mumble something under their noses.

  9. Just to clarify, I was only wondering whether the pastor has been proactive in discussing Baldwin’s personal situation (of which I know nothing) with him, in light of all the concerns raised.
    As to whose responsibility it is to do what, I have no idea. As they say, it is beyond my pay grade and my knowledge, so I just pray for all those involved.

  10. If the lector starts preaching during the readings I’m getting up and leaving. I don’t care how much money Baldwin gives the to the parish the pastor needs to put the dram queen in check.

  11. I’m not sure I’m reading your response correctly here, Jeffrey. My impression is that you are saying the decision to not let Mr. Baldwin be a lector for the scandal that it causes the parish should not be left to the pastor but should be made by someone higher (i.e., the bishop). Clearly, Mr. Baldwin’s personal beliefs (which he publicly displays) go against that of the Magesterium as you point out, but this is still the pastor’s decision. Which, I might add, shouldn’t be a hard one.

  12. Wayne,

    No I am saying that the priest does not have the authority to override for pastoral reasons what is stated in regards to the appointment of people who provide assistance at liturgical celebrations. Mr. Baldwin should never have been appointed an lector since he publicly dissents from the magisterium.

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