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Belleville Bishop Braxton in Brouhaha with his priests (title mine)
Open Book ^ | April 23, 2004 | Amy Wellborn

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.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology
KEYWORDS: belleville; bishop; illinois; missouri

1 posted on 04/24/2007 9:48:47 AM PDT by NYer
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To: Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Bishop Braxton
2 posted on 04/24/2007 9:49:35 AM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer
Belleville Bishop Braxton in Brouhaha with his priests (title mine)

A Ramble through My "New Catholic" Wish List {RCIA referenced]

Help with RCIA (Vanity)

Catholic Liturgy - Funeral Masses for a Suicide And More on Confession for RCIA Candidates

Confession for RCIA Candidates And More on the Prayer of the Faithful

RCIA and Holy Saturday

3 posted on 04/24/2007 9:54:57 AM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: All
Restored Order of the Sacraments of Initiation? Confirmation and First Eucharist together? (Vanity)
4 posted on 04/24/2007 9:57:38 AM PDT by Salvation (" With God all things are possible. ")
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To: NYer
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.

Duh, yeah. How do these people get to be priests? God bless Bishop Braxton.

5 posted on 04/24/2007 10:08:27 AM PDT by stop_fascism
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To: NYer
"He has no capability of seeing anything other than his own views," Voelker said of Braxton.

This priest should be in some deep, serious doo-doo for saying this to the press.
6 posted on 04/24/2007 10:27:47 AM PDT by Antoninus (Have you donated to FR yet? What are you waiting for?)
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To: NYer
"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.

Apparently, the same goes for Holy Orders...

Good gravy. This priest gets the "better-to-remain-silent and-be-thought-a-fool-than-to-open-your-mouth-and-remove-all-doubt" award.
7 posted on 04/24/2007 10:30:49 AM PDT by Antoninus (Have you donated to FR yet? What are you waiting for?)
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To: NYer

Thank God Braxton is the Bishop and not Voelker.


8 posted on 04/24/2007 10:35:27 AM PDT by Nihil Obstat (Kyrie Eleison)
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To: Nihil Obstat

Voelker needs prayers.


9 posted on 04/24/2007 11:05:25 AM PDT by Jaded ("I have a mustard- seed; and I am not afraid to use it."- Joseph Ratzinger)
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To: stop_fascism

You took the words out of my mouth. What the hell is wrong with these priests?


10 posted on 04/24/2007 11:32:50 AM PDT by Straight Vermonter (Posting from deep behind the Maple Curtain)
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To: NYer

<<<”He has no capability of seeing anything other than his own views,” Voelker said of Braxton”>>>

Fr. Voelker? Who is the boss?


11 posted on 04/24/2007 2:59:40 PM PDT by franky1
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To: Antoninus

<<<”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.


12 posted on 04/24/2007 3:04:20 PM PDT by franky1
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To: Antoninus
"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.

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.

13 posted on 04/24/2007 3:08:38 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: sandyeggo

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.


15 posted on 04/24/2007 4:12:40 PM PDT by livius
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To: NYer

Consider that Bishop Braxton’s predecessor was Bishop Wilton Gregory. I am sure the good Bishop Braxton has inheirited a mess.


16 posted on 04/24/2007 8:32:12 PM PDT by MockTurtle
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To: NYer
did not bring a required baptismal certificate?

Oooo-kay.

17 posted on 04/24/2007 9:06:09 PM PDT by Patriotic1 (Dic mihi solum facta, domina - Just the facts, ma'am)
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To: 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; annalex; ...

.


18 posted on 04/24/2007 9:38:20 PM PDT by Coleus (Roe v. Wade and Endangered Species Act both passed in 1973, Murder Babies/save trees, birds, insects)
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To: NYer
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.

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?"

19 posted on 04/24/2007 10:19:11 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: franky1

**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!


20 posted on 04/25/2007 12:01:34 AM PDT by Macoraba
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To: SuziQ
"Why would you want to be confirmed into a religion about which you know nothing?"

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!

21 posted on 04/25/2007 12:15:46 AM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer; Salvation
The Diocese that Bishop Braxton left to go to Belleville was just filled on Monday -- the Diocese of Lake Charles.

Bishop Glen Provost was installed on Monday (April 23).

Bishop Braxton was in attendance...

22 posted on 04/25/2007 4:54:04 AM PDT by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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To: franky1
That happened in my family when a relative was forced to get married. The pastor of the church refused to allow the marriage. It is unclear if my relatives were going regularly to that church or not.

Some people just want a church wedding -- they do not view it as a sacrament.

23 posted on 04/25/2007 5:00:24 AM PDT by topher (Let us return to old-fashioned morality - morality that has stood the test of time...)
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To: topher; franky1

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.


24 posted on 04/25/2007 5:18:03 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
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To: NYer
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.

I guess this is what you call a "walk in".

Unlike hairdressing salons, they're usually unwelcome in Confirmation ceremonies.

25 posted on 04/25/2007 5:42:36 AM PDT by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow
I guess this is what you call a "walk in".

ROFL!!!! It's remarkable that a priest could defend this to his bishop.

26 posted on 04/25/2007 6:13:07 AM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer
You know, speaking as somebody who came into the Church without going through RCIA, this just smells to me.

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!

27 posted on 04/25/2007 6:43:55 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: Antoninus

I would think a certain priest should worry about in which diocese he is incardinated.


28 posted on 04/25/2007 7:17:56 AM PDT by Siobhan (Agios o Theos, Agios Ischyros, Agios Athanatos, eleison imas.)
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To: AnAmericanMother; sandyeggo
No doubt there's more to this story than is being reported. I admire this bishop for examining the record on these candidates and not simply trusting that all was in order. It would seem he suspected something from the outset. He has earned the Bishop's Spine Award.


29 posted on 04/25/2007 8:01:59 AM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: marshmallow

. . . . not!

30 posted on 04/25/2007 8:04:37 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: NYer

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.


31 posted on 04/25/2007 8:06:11 AM PDT by AuH2ORepublican (http://auh2orepublican.blogspot.com/)
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To: NYer

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.

http://www.belleville.com/100/story/19062.html

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.


32 posted on 04/25/2007 8:10:10 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: Cicero

“To obey is better than sacrifice, and hearkening than the fat of rams.”


33 posted on 04/25/2007 8:11:35 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: NYer

brava


34 posted on 04/25/2007 4:02:26 PM PDT by Notwithstanding ("You are either with America in our time of need or you are not" - W? No, 'twas Sen. Hillary 9/12/01)
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To: Cicero
Interesting article - clearly he is a target. That is what happens to an orthodox bishop placed in a liberal diocese. It's like being handed a bag of cats.

It's a worthy question you raise - in my own experience, I think it's more damaging to leave a bad priest in place, because the people will become numb and the next generation will walk away. When your only spiritual food is "caring," and "sharing," there's no reason to stay.
35 posted on 04/25/2007 7:38:57 PM PDT by MockTurtle
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