by LarryD

This is a guest post by our friend LarryD of the fine blog “Acts of the Apostasy.” LarryD is one of the few remaining tax payers in metro Detroit; father of two, husband of one, chief of staff for the pet cat; blogging since March 2008; still waiting for that Great American Novel to write itself ; professional penitent; all around good guy even he is a Detroit Red Wings fan.

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You know how some people – mainly the progressives – complain that the Church is too focused on the Rules? Rules about contraception, rules about divorce, rules about annulments, rules about this that and the other. They say things like “Jesus didn’t care about rules. He only commanded us to love”. Or “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, so stop judging”.

It turns out that they’re only complaining about the Rules they don’t like. Because they’re totally okay with the rules Vatican II set out, like taking statues out of churches, or getting rid of Latin, or permitting Sr.Kumbaya and The Unifying Spirit Dance Company to take over the liturgy.

Hang on. I forgot – those are the rules they *think* are in Vatican II. So not only do they complain about and/or ignore the rules they don’t like, they also imagine rules that don’t exist.

Lest you think the progressives are above any sort of actual rules, a story came out yesterday that kinda proves the axiom that the best rule is a rule that gives progressives an advantage.

From the Priest Ordered to Pay Court Costs After Repairing Leaks Without Permission [my comments]

A priest and his church warden have been ordered to pay £100 each for repairing leaks to their church roof without permission from a church court.

Geoffrey Tattersall QC, Chancellor of the Diocese of Manchester and a judge of the Church of England’s Consistory Court, said he was “appalled” with the way the repair works to Saint Margaret’s Church, Halliwell, Bolton had been arranged without proper authority by priest in charge Rev Derek French and churchwarden Robert Abram, and in “blatant disregard” of advice that they were not suitable.

He ruled that some of Mr French’s evidence was “lacking credibility” and said that there had been an “attempt to conceal” that the works had already been carried out when they applied to the consistory court for permission.

The judge took the rare step of ordering both Mr French and Mr Abram to each personally pay £100 towards the cost of the proceedings to “mark the gravity of their behaviour”.

Mr French and Mr Abram had taken action to have the roof of the Baptistry repaired to put an end to 15 years of leaks at the church, which sometimes required several buckets to collect incoming rainwater.

[Okay – we have a leaky roof that has been in disrepair since the mid-1990’s. And Mr. Tattersall says they’re lacking credible evidence? Hello? 15 years??]

In late 2007, the Parochial Church Council decided that repairs should be carried out, at a cost of more than £3,000, and submitted a repair proposal to the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) for approval.

However, in September 2008 the DAC responded saying that it could not recommend the proposal because it was “inappropriate and lacking in detail”.
It criticised the specification of the lead to be used, as well as the use of polystyrene in the repairs, and the way battens were to be fixed. It advised consultation with the church architect.

[This is how I know the priest was dealing with liberals. Two years ago, he says he has to fix a roof that’s been leaking for 15 years. One year later, the committee responds with, in effect, “How many holes are there and show us exactly where they are.” And then declares that repairing the roof might result in environmental disaster – shown by the utter disdain for lead and polystyrene.]

On 29 September, a “disappointed” Mr French wrote back saying they had no intention of consulting with the architect for what was a repair job, and did not wish to incur additional fees. He provided answers to the DAC’s queries, and urged an “early and favourable response”, adding: “In the meantime I would ask the committee to bear in mind that the roof still leaks and the winter weather is drawing in.”

[Big mistake, there – expecting a liberal committee to respond to common sense.]
At a meeting on 6 October 2008, the DAC again rejected the proposal, deeming it “wholly inappropriate” and concluding that it would not solve the problem.
Nevertheless, the repairs were carried out between 13 October and 2 November, even though such work requires a “faculty” or permission to be granted by the consistory court.

The judge said that in the subsequent petition for a faculty, dated 19 November 2008, completed by Mr French and signed by both applicants, the question in Item 31, ‘How soon will work start after the faculty is granted’, was met with the answer “ASAP”, and the time estimate for completion given as two weeks.

However, during the course of the proceedings, Mr French revealed that the work had already been carried out “in order to stop the ingress of water that we have been experiencing for some time”.

He wrote in a letter to the judge in May this year: “You might be interested to know that we have had no ingress of water throughout this past winter.”

However, the judge in his ruling said: “Whilst I accept that the works undertaken have prevented the further ingress of water, it is self evident that only works of an appropriate specification will stop such further ingress in the longer term.”

[The priest gets the roof fixed anyway to prevent further damage and more expensive repairs – successfully, as there were no leaks throughout the winter and spring – but the judge says “So what? You failed to pay homage to the almighty committee, and thus you must pay for your sin.”

I imagine the priest and his warden consider the fine to be the best £100 they ever spent, just to avoid having to deal with the stupid committee anymore. And they have a dry church to boot, which I’m sure pleases the congregation.]

There are two lessons to be learned here. One, alluding to the start of this post, rules that progressives make are the only rules that must be followed. By everyone. No exception. We are experiencing that in society, and unfortunately in the Church as well.

But here’s the second, and it’s one that the Catholic Church should consider adopting. In order to curb liturgical abuses, the Vatican ought to authorize theCDF or CDW to develop a “GIRM Offenses To Cease Happening Assessment” plan. GOTCHA, for short. It would be applied when priests, pastoral associates, or liturgy committees commit liturgical abuses. Using Ritz crackers and grape juice? Slap! $1000 fine. Using inclusive language? Ding! 50 bucks please! Halloween Mass? $500, thank you very much. Playing too many MartyHaugen tunes? $250 per offense!

Alright, the last one is more of a pet peeve than an abuse. But who knows? This idea might provide sufficient disincentive and bring some of the worst offenders in line. And the collected fines could defray seminary tuition, or be donated to non-ACORN related charities.

After all, the progressives have been playing GOTCHA! with Church rules for a long time. Time to turn the tables.

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Be sure to check out LarryD’s blog Acts Of The Apostasy