What is Going on in the Peterborough Catholic Diocese?

What About the OTHER Parishioners of St. Michael’s Cobourg?

[ ED NOTE: Mbrandon8026 from the Freedom Through Truth blog was kind enough to send me this essay from his blog. The original can be read here. ]

I don’t receive a lot of Comments to my blogs, not a lot of readers either. But I received this comment to the Keep Barb Hall Out of the Catholic Church post I did a while back, and it touched me, and so I am repeating it here, and using it as the start of the detailed blog post I have been working on about what I think is going on in the Peterborough Roman Catholic Diocese.

“THANK YOU SO MUCH for this blog. Out of the several pundits and blogs that have commented on this situation, yours is the only one that I found which genuinely articulated ‘Truth in Charity.’

As a man with same-sex attractions deeply in love with Jesus and His Church and striving to be faithful to her teachings, I’m familiar with the pain that come from a Church that is still trying with all good intentions to effectively minister to these her sons and daughter. I don’t believe we as a Church have reached that point yet. This experience deeply hurts because there are many men and women with ssa who, by grace, see through the shallowness of the ‘gay lifestyle,’ have met Christ and are faithful to His Church. Sadly however, many of their brothers and sisters do not know what to do lovingly respond to their sensitive situation. I applaud Bishop DeAngelis for intuiting dynamic in our Church by responding to in light of the Word of God, particularly St. Paul’s admonition on idols: He did not attack Corcoran but urged him in Christian charity to avoid scandal.

That being said, there is definitely more to the story than the “gay man vs church” spin off which is what is being regurgitated everywhere. Placing a church into the hands of the state is deeply troubling for me, especially in a context where secular power whose double standard will easily interfere in Church matters yet will silence her from the public square. I much appreciate your emphasis on prayer as ultimately, this is in God’s hands. From him all will receive their just sentence.

p.s. “Consider it all joy” Omne gaudium existimate is not from St. Paul but from St. James. (1:2) =)” ” Ed. Note. My bad on my bible quote.

But here is what I have been working on. I read Jim Corcoran’s blog and the news pieces and realize that the whole story is out there, but it’s not Out There. Seems that there’s a lot of history in the Peterborough RC Diocese, and particularly in St. Michael’s Parish, most of which Bishop De Angelis inherited, and as it clears itself up, or as he himself has to clear it up, the inevitable convergence of manure and fan blades occurs and feathers have gotten ruffled.

And the Ontario Human Rights Commission is the very last place for this to get sorted out. It is a Catholic Church internal matter.

When I read people commiserating with Jim Corcoran on his blog and taking his side against the “12”, with really only his side of a very deep story that makes him out to be the victim I find it very frustrating. He is not lily white in this thing, and it makes me want to puke.

Some of this is my conjecture. I am not trying to write a treatise on the subject, but trying to figure out a bit of the insanity that is driving the participants, and people in the background to behave as they are so doing, because people only act in accord with their perceived paybacks. (At least that’s what Dr. Phil says.)

This story did not start recently but begins probably over 30 years ago, when the so called “12” were raising their families in St. Michael’s Parish. The latest responder to Jim Corcoran’s Blog post Welcome (I think), Amy Coghill calls them narrow minded and old fashioned. Not so, methinks. The only narrow minded person I have seen thus far appears to be Jim Corcoran, though the Ontario HRC is far more narrow in their mind set than he can ever imagine.

These people (the 12) all live within a short distance of the parish, and it has been their life blood for probably their entire time living there. They have hatched, matched, and dispatched from there, while attending years of Midnight Masses, Easter Vigils, euchre parties, church picnics, and other social events. The men are probably Knights of Columbus and the women are in the Catholic Women’s League. Their children attended the Catholic schools, and received First Communion, and Confirmation, and might have been married there, as well. It is in their blood. They love St. Michael’s.

They probably served on Parish Council at various time, and attended parent teacher interviews. Their kids all grew up together. Unless you have tried to raise children in a Christian church setting, while holding onto values that you were taught to believe in you cannot understand where they come from historically.

This may not be their exact experience. In effect, I am juxtaposing the experience of my parents and myself as a child being raised in St. Michael’s Parish in London Ontario. However, I am betting that it is pretty close.

I bristle at ignorant people calling our eminents grises, old fashioned and narrow minded. They deserve to be understood, and listened to, not demeaned and have their values ridiculed where they feel they have nowhere to turn and have to write letters to the Bishop to be heard over their concerns.

The people of St. Michael’s have been traumatized over the last several years.

Back as far as 1998, their much loved pastor, Fr. Ed Cachia first openly showed support for the ordination of women priests, and there should have been but was no negative communication to him from Bishop Doyle. However, when Bishop De Angelis became the leader of his diocese, one of the early things he did was attempt to quiet the disruptive dissident mouthings of Fr. Cachia, in the short term unsuccessfully, I might add.

A friend of mine a number of years ago taught me a lesson about obedience to church leadership. One afternoon, we had been working together, and I invited him to go for a beer. He had been a bouncer in a bar in his younger days and had liked a few pops, so I thought nothing of the offer. But, he said to me, that a few years back he and his wife had joined a Baptist Church, and that he no longer drank alcoholic beverages. His explanation to me was that if you were going to be a member of the club and wanted to be, then it was appropriate to follow the rules even if you would like to do other things. It made sense to me then for him, and it makes sense to me now for me, and it makes sense to me for all Catholics.

So, my answer to all the naysayers to what I am about to say is, if you are not Catholic, your opinion does not matter to me about the Church since you have not been there, and cannot understand, any more than I can understand your way of life, other than anecdotally. If you are a Catholic and want to be in disagreement with the Church teachings on something, and want to live out that disbelief as opposed to just explore your thoughts and feelings, then you are not really a Catholic and need to go someplace else. Being a Catholic is not for the faint of heart and it is not a smorgasbord. Sorry, but as Walter Cronkite said every evening at the end of his broadcast “and that’s the way it is”.

Fr. Ed Cachia was very much loved by his parishioners at St. Michael’s Parish in Cobourg, as I understand, and as I also understand it he was by and large a pretty good priest. But, Ed Cachia has a serious blind spot about female ordinations for some reason. In July 2005, 9 women declared themselves ordained as priests or deacons in a wacky, yet secret ceremony on the St. Lawrence River and Fr. Cachia called this a momentous occasion, basically declaring himself a wack job as well. He said in an interview with the Osprey News Network, and in open defiance of the teachings of the Catholic Church:

“I believe that this is the beginning of a new and awesome change in the life of the Church.I feel a deep sense of respect and admiration towards these brave women. I would like to congratulate them for following their conscience and responding to the call of becoming priests and deacons.”

Catholic Church teaching about female ordination is well documented, and readily accessible. It is not going to happen. So anybody performing some kind of female ordination is outside the Church in doing so. There is a formation process for priests that is onerous and lengthy, and it does not end in a secret ceremony on the St. Lawrence River. What is not put forward by those in favour of this nonsense is that of those allegedly ordained, several are homosexuals, whose views of homosexual sexual activity are not in conformance with Church teaching. As well, some are pro abortion, and pro birth control measures that are not acceptable to the Church. This is not simply about ordaining women. It is about overthrowing Church teaching on many important topics. Do your homework before you support this stuff.

Bishop De Angelis had no choice practically but to give Fr. Cachia time to think and recant his public pronouncements of support. When he did not recant, and in fact set up a Church of his own outside St. Michael’s Parish, Bishop De Angelis had no practical option but to confirm that Father Cachia had in fact excommunicated himself from the Roman Catholic Church. Frankly, those who have suggested otherwise are talking through their hats. If you have a child, and your child defies you, as a parent you have no choice but to stand by what you have said and take the appropriate disciplinary action. Otherwise your authority is lost. Make no mistake the Catholic Church is not and should not be a democracy. I don’t recall Jesus ever putting anything up to his disciples for a vote.

Fr. Ed Cachia VIOLATED his parishioners when he broke his own oath of obedience to the Bishop of his diocese, and his vows of ordination. To say he felt moved by the Spirit to do what he did is a crock of BS. The devil is smarter than Ed Cachia, and loves to twist the truth around to make something that seems innocuous, yet is wrong, look good.

So, in early 2006, the parishioners of St. Michael’s were violated by, and lost, a friend, a confessor, a parish priest. I don’t know about you, but this would be very traumatic for me. In fact, when it happened that a priest that I really liked as a youth left the priesthood, it had a serious impact on my faith life for several years.

Things bumped along until the arrival of Fr. Alan Hood in August 2008. Fr. Hood among other things is a loyal and esteemed member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. It seems to me that his involvement in that august order has left his head in the clouds as it relates to his pastoral charge.

Father Hood appears to have taken St. Michael’s Parish by storm, as it were, and ruffled feathers on the way, after his arrival in 2008. It seems that there was no money in the kitty for building repairs, but he went ahead anyway, in spite of objections by the building and finance committee. At least that is how I read it. He moved his mother into the rectory, probably without as much as a “by your leave.” And he seems to have gone about p?ssing people off at will, probably more by his style than anything else.

One of the things he did that got their goat, was creating an adult altar society of servers, and setting Jim Corcoran up as the leader, which occurred in the Fall of 2008. Jim and his partner David had started coming to St. Michael’s from their home in Grafton about 65 km away in August 2008, when Fr. Hood came on board.

There certainly has to be some question as to how sensitive it was of Fr. Hood to invite Mr. Corcoran to the position he offered him. From an optics standpoint, if nothing, when a man, any man who starts coming to church when the Pastor arrives, and suddenly becomes head of ad adult Altar Society, that is peculiar. What about all the other faithful members of the Parish? I am not big on political correctness, but I am big on sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others, and this has a high repugnancy index for me.

So once again the parishioners felt VIOLATED. First, Fr. Cachia, and then 2 1/2 years later, Fr. Hood. As I said in an earlier post, this happens, and people sometimes leave or they may react. In this case, both happened. Some letter writing occurred because the people felt that violation, and felt disconnected from their new pastor. Big surprise there!

The letters were mainly about finance issues and other issues with the leadership of Fr. Hood. I can see why Jim Corcoran is a supporter of his. He has no sense of history (nor does Fr. Hood), and he got what he wanted, until the Bishop asked him to step down.

Corcoran said De Angelis urged him to take his dismissal from the altar in the spirit of Paul’s advice to the Romans on the issue of meat sacrificed to idols (Romans 14:13-23) — refraining from scandal. Instead, Corcoran said that the bishop should have confronted the 12 parishioners and their prejudice. Somehow this got to be all about Jim Corcoran and his partner. News Flash Jimmy Boy, it’s not all about you. In fact, it’s not about you PERIOD, and it never was.

“This is a man (De Angelis) who needs some help in understanding how to deal with confrontation in his diocese. The Human Rights Commission helps people do that,” Corcoran said. Well, he can run a spa, so a Catholic Diocese should be a walk in the park. What an idiotic thing to say.

But the take of Mr. Lawless, one of the 12 parishioners in the Corcoran crossfire is somewhat different: “We have not discriminated. We have simply asked the bishop to act on a situation which we had been informed on very good authority was in violation of church policy”. That sounds like a reasonable request to me.

Anyway, be all of this as it may, you might have been surprised to know that Ed Cachia surfaced at Ste. Anne’s Resort, which is run by Jim Corcoran, as an unofficial chaplain in April 2009. But then this story is somewhat Kafkaesque anyway isn’t it?

Timing is everything and there really are no coincidences in life. So that puts Ed Cachia back into the picture. Call him a fly in the ointment if you will, and not my idea of someone who I would choose to be having around me for spiritual direction at a time when I was in conflict with the Catholic Church.

Wally Keeler has some things to say that make sense to me here.

And you know what, somehow faithful Bishop De Angelis has to clean up this mess after first Fr. Cachia violated his parishioners, then Fr. Hood violated them once again, and then Jim Corcoran ran off screaming at the top of his lungs that he had been discriminated against.

Trying to look at it from the perspective of the parishioners of St. Michael’s Parish, that’s what it looks like to me.

How terribly sad for ALL concerned, and I mean ALL.

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2 Responses to What is Going on in the Peterborough Catholic Diocese?

  1. Seraphic says:

    Very well researched. Very well thought out. Very well written. This post deserves a much bigger web presence.

  2. Oh definitely – Mbrandon deserves a much bigger audience than he receives. I think he only started up a few months ago, though – so hopefully his audience will expand with time.

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