Skip to comments.Belleville Bishop Braxton in Brouhaha with his priests (title mine)
Posted on 04/24/2007 9:48:45 AM PDT by NYer
A disagreement between Bishop Braxton and some of his priests goes very public:
Belleville Bishop Edward K. Braxton set off a flurry of e-mail messages among priests and diocesan insiders when he told a 20-year-old Catholic woman she had not studied enough to allow him to confer the sacrament of confirmation.
The ensuing controversy regarding the woman's unsuccessful attempt on April 10 to be confirmed at St. Michael's Church in Paderborn raised questions about Braxton's ministerial style among some Catholics, criticism that was offset by a statement from the diocesan chancellor's office citing community praise for the bishop's interaction with parishioners.
The controversy also resulted in a statement from Braxton to St. Michael's pastor, the Rev. James Voelker, and by inference to all diocesan pastors, that they need to ensure that those who seek confirmation, whether adults or young people, should first receive the necessary educational and spiritual preparation.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, confirmation is "a sacrament in which the Holy Ghost is given to those already baptized in order to make them strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Christ." It is usually conferred at ages 12-13 by a bishop.
Nicole Schilling, of New Athens, where she attends church at a different parish, and nine of her relatives heard the bishop's decision moments before the ceremony and angrily left the event, said Voelker. Schilling, an employee of King's House in Belleville, a religious retreat run by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, did not bring a required baptismal certificate and was not known to the pastor of her home parish, Braxton said in a statement.
Schilling declined to comment.
Braxton told the woman she would need at least 10, one-hour education sessions and "some time for prayer and reflection," Voelker said.
"He has no capability of seeing anything other than his own views," Voelker said of Braxton.
While a diocesan spokesman said the bishop does not publicly discuss his private messages to priests, Braxton, in a written response to questions from the News-Democrat, stated, "The case in question involves a candidate who was presented to me moments before the celebration of the sacrament with no catechesis (religious instruction) of any kind, stating that she had been told, quite incorrectly, that as an adult she needed no preparation. ... This is simply not true and contrary to everything the Church intends in the sacraments."
Voelker said he was confident of the woman's sincerity. He said she had completed some earlier reading about Catholicism and he thought that was enough for confirmation.
"How many of us perform marriages when we know that people have very little understanding of the sacrament and all they really want is a nice setting? Do we stop doing them?" Voelker asked.
There's more. This is definitely a situation, it seems in which there is probably more to the story on all sides.
Duh, yeah. How do these people get to be priests? God bless Bishop Braxton.
Thank God Braxton is the Bishop and not Voelker.
Voelker needs prayers.
You took the words out of my mouth. What the hell is wrong with these priests?
<<<”He has no capability of seeing anything other than his own views,” Voelker said of Braxton”>>>
Fr. Voelker? Who is the boss?
<<<”How many of us perform marriages when we know that people have very little understanding of the sacrament and all they really want is a nice setting? Do we stop doing them?” Voelker asked.”>>>
I haven’t been married since 50 years ago. Isn’t the rule of 1 year before people can get married in affect?
Yes, stop doing them or instruct them. The ball in your court.
YES, you thick-headed man! You are a PRIEST, P-R-I-E-S-T, with the awesome power to administer a Holy Sacrament . . . not a Wedding Planner.
If they want a "nice setting", send 'em to the Chapel By The Lake, or something.
I thought the Oblates were pretty orthodox, and I doubt that they put her up to this. She sounds like a flake; and in any case, as you say, the bishop did the right thing.
Consider that Bishop Braxton’s predecessor was Bishop Wilton Gregory. I am sure the good Bishop Braxton has inheirited a mess.
Why on earth would that be considered controversial? As I asked my CCD classes, when they complained that it took three years of classes to prepare for Confirmation, "Why would you want to be confirmed into a religion about which you know nothing?"
**I haven’t been married since 50 years ago. Isn’t the rule of 1 year before people can get married in affect?**
A year? The baby would be born by then!
An excellent question! Most youth view this process as a right of passage, a coming of age accompanied by a nice party and lots of $$$$ gifts. You, on the other hand, have a better understanding of how the gifts of the Holy Spirit are the ones that truly matter and will provide the greatest return on investment. God bless you in this work!
Bishop Glen Provost was installed on Monday (April 23).
Bishop Braxton was in attendance...
Some people just want a church wedding -- they do not view it as a sacrament.
It is traditional that the Catholic church will not allow a marriage to be performed if the bride is pregnant. That is grounds for annulment later, and the church tries to avoid that.
I guess this is what you call a "walk in".
Unlike hairdressing salons, they're usually unwelcome in Confirmation ceremonies.
ROFL!!!! It's remarkable that a priest could defend this to his bishop.
Before we could be received into the Church and confirmed, we had several LONG conversations with the rector, including one in which he gave two hours of his valuable time to discuss all the potential issues with us. Since we were coming from a very "high" Episcopal church there were not any significant theological differences (other than the validity of Anglican orders and the supremacy of the Pope, which obviously we didn't have a problem with because there we were). And I am one of those strange people who reads the Church Fathers and medieval theology for fun, so we were obviously not your typical Protestant converts.
But he still assigned us some books to read and we read them thoroughly and discussed them with us, before he decided that RCIA would not be necessary in our case.
My daughter was a little sore because she had just been confirmed in ECUSA . . . and then had to go through Catholic Confirmation Class 4 months later! But she admitted afterwards that it was a Good Thing -- the Episcopal class had consisted mostly of "getting in touch with your feelings" and lots of gas about "faith journeys", where in the Catholic class she actually learned stuff. And she met a lot of nice kids, and they did interesting things besides just studying (charitable service and field trips, etc.)
But the point is, we didn't just show up without our baptismal certificates and demand to be confirmed!
I would think a certain priest should worry about in which diocese he is incardinated.
. . . . not!
In my archdiocese, candidates for confirmation must take more than 10 hours of special classes before they are deemed sufficiently prepared. If that young lady has not received adequate preparation, then she should sign up for a confirmation course instead of expecting the good Bishop to confirm her nilly-willy.
God bless Bishop Braxton.
Obviously he has his work cut out for him and has inherited a mess. Here’s another article about a “protest” because he won’t release details about pedophile priests.
When there is a shortage of priests because liberals has mismanaged the diocese, and when many of the priests you have are disloyal, then the bishop is between a rock and a hard place.
Where do you draw the line? Is it better to have a bad and disobedient priest like the one in this story, who can say the Mass and give people communion but is a source of scandal, or is it better to have no priest in that parish at all? Hard choices.
“To obey is better than sacrifice, and hearkening than the fat of rams.”