Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester

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“The Buck Stops Here”

May 13th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

I have done some digging through my massive file archive on the Diocese of Rochester in order to assemble a few pages for the upcoming “Diocese of Rochester Wiki” which will be a part of Cleansing Fire 2.0. A very interesting article that I had saved away happened to catch my eye. The item of interest is an October 22, 2002 Democrat & Chronicle article entitled “Area Catholic Churches to Overhaul Operations.” This piece dealt with the upcoming second round of Pastoral Planning that was about to take place in the diocese at the time.

There are a few interesting and revealing comments made by a certain DoR Pastoral Administrator. That administrator is Ms. Barbara Swiecki, soon to be “Pastoral Leader” (to borrow Nancy DeRycke’s terminology) of Good Shepherd [Henrietta], Guardian Angels [Henrietta] and St. Joseph [Rush].

Here is a passage from the article, emphasis and commentary added:

“One of those lay leaders is Barbara Swiecki, pastoral administrator of St. Agnes Church in Avon, who has a master?s degree in theology.

In keeping with church law, Swiecki cannot be ordained a priest or a deacon, nor can she celebrate Mass. But she is in charge.

?The buck stops here,? she said with a laugh, adding that the parish has welcomed her warmly. ?The priest is here for the sacraments — and everything else administrative, even directing pastoral care, I do.? [Blatant violation of Church law, and a slap in the face to priests everywhere]

She said more people like her will be coming. [Dear God, help us!] ?I do believe this is where we?re going currently in the church,? she said. ?This is a very good model for lay involvement, and we do have a priest.? [In all honesty, Ms. Swiecki, this model will probably be thrown out by our next bishop beginning in 2012/3. And you, and all your cronies will be out of a job which should never have existed in the first place]

Our diocese claims to be following Church law, but it is repeatedly evident that they are breaking it, burning it, and throwing manure on top of it. The law is crystal clear; only a priest may direct the pastoral care of a parish. Period. In this article, Ms. Swiecki admits (yes, she admits!), “everything else, even directing the pastoral care, I do.”

Perhaps Ms. Swiecki is unfamiliar with the 1997 Vatican document Ecclesiae de Mysterio, which deals with lay involvement in the ministry of the priest. The document provides the proper interpretation of Canon 517.2 (Hear that Bishop Clark? There is a correct interpretation of the Canon). Here is what the document says about laypeople participating in the pastoral care of a parish:

The right understanding and application of this canon…requires that this exceptional provision be used only with strict adherence to conditions contained in it. These are:

a) ob sacerdotum penuriam and not for reasons of convenience or ambiguous “advancement of the laity”, etc.;

b) this is participatio in exercitio curae pastoralis and not directing, coordinating, moderating or governing the Parish; these competencies, according to the canon, are the competencies of a priest alone.”

Come on, Diocese of Rochester. The document clearly says that laypeople can’t direct the pastoral care of a parish, yet Barbara Swiecki admits that this is her duty. You’re not fooling anyone anymore, Bishop Matthew Clark, Fr. Joseph Hart, Fr. John Mulligan, Fr. Kevin McKenna and co. The diocese may say the right things in public, but their hand-picked administrators continue to spill the beans about what is really going on, and what their role truly is. These lay administrators are directing the pastoral care of parishes, they have been for almost two decades, and this is forbidden in the Roman Catholic Church.

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12 Responses to ““The Buck Stops Here””

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    I don't think Barb and co. know what a Church document is.

  2. avatar RochChaCha says:

    Aww shucks….I just got done eating my Oreos and after reading these comments from Barb Sewicki (that more people like her are coming) just made my stomach upset.

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    The Roman Catholic Church invites lay participation in the business and pastoral works of the parish.

    Lay Men and Women have been conducting lay ministries in hospitals, schools, slums, elderly care centers and recovery centers for years ! All in the name of the Roman Catholic Church and all in Jesus' name.

    You people seem to abandon any form of common sense when it comes to serving the people of God.

    YES, COMMON SENSE in the eyes of Our Most Precious Savior, Jesus Christ.

    It does not sound like the woman is actually saying the mass. It certainly sounds as her job fits the particular need in your diocese since you do not have enough male priests.

    The people are the church.
    And with you people handing out crapola, no wonder you are losing membership !

    Come and serve the LORD !

    Sure you will probably remove this because it is not the "truth that you want it to be".

    Or you will have some of your acclaimed 200 plus wonderful readers comment on The Holy Mass.

    Face it, if you can not get the priests, there is something wrong.

    Stop blaming it on your Bishop, you should have befriended the guy a long time ago so that you all could grow with a balance within a margin.

  4. avatar Dr. K says:

    From Bridget Mary's blog, right?

    "The Roman Catholic Church invites lay participation in the business and pastoral works of the parish."

    Re-read my post, specifically the citation from Ecclesiae de Mysterio.

    "And with you people handing out crapola, no wonder you are losing membership !"

    You may not be aware, but we live in the most progressive diocese in the United States. It's even worse here than L.A. The reason for the decline in membership, and this is painfully obvious, is the rampant heterodoxy and dissent in our parishes, and the poor catechesis by hippie priests who would rather make political statements about the Church than teach the Gospel.

    "Or you will have some of your acclaimed 200 plus wonderful readers comment on The Holy Mass."

    It's more like 400-500… but whatever floats your boat.

    "Face it, if you can not get the priests, there is something wrong.

    Stop blaming it on your Bishop, you should have befriended the guy a long time ago so that you all could grow with a balance within a margin."

    The problem is largely the bishop. Bishop Clark has rejected countless young men from pursuing the priesthood because he perceived them as too orthodox or conservative. Candidates have been dismissed as "rigid", "too conservative", "socially maladjusted" (that's a good one), etc. Candidates have been shown the door who actually agree with the Church's teaching on the ordination of men alone. The problem resides squarely at the feet of the bishop and the diocesan leadership.

    Thank you for visiting. God bless.

    ~Dr. K

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    I think we should throw some holy water on anon. The devil has clearly possessed her.

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    I may not agree with everything posted here, but one thing in particular really rings true to me. It has been written(and I paraphrase) that problems with attracting young men to priesthood are only exascerbated by the eroding going on here of what it means to be a priest. I read that snippet and I hear "I'm doing everything that I can possibly get away with and its ok because I have a little puppet priest to do what I can't get away with doing even in this diocese." With how hard it is to hear a calling with all the distractions and temptations of modern life I don't see THAT doing anything but hurting.

    CathMom's husband

  7. avatar Mike says:

    Anon. 8:53 (and CathMom's husband),

    You might find this article of interest. An excerpt follows …

    This worldwide community of [orthodox] youth nurtured by John Paul II is acutely well aware of what is going on in the Church and in dioceses around the world. When a bishop makes a strong statement in defense of orthodoxy, those young people inclined to religious vocations talk among themselves as to whether his diocese might be a good one in which to seek ordination. If that same bishop does something perceived as compromising the faith, their interest is withdrawn. A bishop who tolerates dissent is not even considered. A bishop willing to excommunicate pro-abortion Catholic politicians is likely to receive much interest from these young people. A bishop who waffles will not. A diocese which punishes good, orthodox priests or lay professionals while coddling or protecting dissenters will not. A diocese which punishes whistle-blowers while protecting abusers and active homosexuals in the clergy will not. A diocese where the bishop is ostensibly orthodox in his words but where the chancery, departments and clergy are dominated or ruled by dissenters will not.

    The extent of this orthodox youth underground is truly worldwide. I have encountered it in all my travels throughout North America and Europe. I have bumped into students I knew in Steubenville in St. Peter?s Square and in St. Stephen?s Cathedral in Vienna. A constant topic of discussion among those considering ordination or religious life is which dioceses and bishops are ?good? (i.e. orthodox). It is also important that the seminary a bishop uses is committed to solid Catholic formation and free of harassment, either sexual or religious, and that the bishop monitor it closely.

    There is no secret to attracting vocations. There are plenty of them out there. A bishop who tolerates dissent and ignores abuses will not attract them. A bishop who boldly stands up for Christ and His Church, and Church teachings, despite all costs and opposition, will attract them.

    These young people are the future of the Church. Whether or not they are welcomed into their rightful place to which the Lord is calling them lies in the hands of each individual bishop.

  8. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    "And with you people handing out crapola, no wonder you are losing membership !"

    So, as Mike's article suggests, you are falsely presuming that "we" are losing membership. "We" are not! Orthodoxy is strong and continues to grow both here in the DOR, in the USA, and the world.

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    Tell that to the bishop who mandated priest retirement 5 years before what is done in the rest of the country, just to create a priest shortage. But this bishop doesn't care if there are no ordinations because this will only push his agenda of ordaining married priests and eventually, women. I hope that man, going to be ordained a deacon and then a priest is single.
    This vocation crisis was engineered by him. He is responsible for the closing of parishes and the loss of countless souls who have left the church in this diocese over church closings.

  10. avatar Anonymous says:

    Sorry to repeat myself but, Our Bishop is a very good Protestant.

  11. avatar Anonymous says:

    Mike,
    I had a conversation today which struck me after having read your comments about youth earlier today. This week I was at a Confirmation at the Cathedral. An assisting priest was Father Laird from Palmyra. I don't know anything about him, but I'm guessing, even just from his posture and hand position in prayer on the altar compared to the Bishop and other priests, that he is pretty "old school". Today I was talking with someone from his parish, and she was saying he could be tough to take, pretty strict. Then she added "But the young people love him."

    CathMom's husband

  12. avatar Gen says:

    Fr. Laird is a good priest, very solid, and a lover of Tradition. He used to say the Latin Mass at St. Stanislaus. However, he was kind of "booed off the stage" when he gave a homily explaining how the people were blessed to have such a tradition-minded bishop as their shepherd. At least, this is what has been told to me by members of the community.

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