12 February 2008

More Problematic Theology at St. Cronan's

There were two items that came to my attention this week concerning some more serious issues of sacramental and moral theology at St. Cronan's.

These issues have come to light in relation to a person who was a parishioner at the parish, and who has recently died. I would ask that everyone pray for her eternal repose, and I do not intend to disrespect her or her family or friends by pointing out some practices at the parish that are at the very least questionable in light of the sacramental theology of the Church. In other words, this isn't about her, or any individual person, it is about the sacramental practices of a Church that lays claim to being a Catholic parish.

First, an article from a local "alternative" magazine, The Vital Voice, from 2006 shows that the dissent from the natural moral law and Church teaching regarding the disordered nature of homosexual acts, and the nature, sanctity an indissolubility of marriage, goes further back than the recent flap from this winter. The article focuses on several same-sex couples and their Catholic experiences or upbringing. It focuses on one particular couple at St. Cronan's:

By this time, the couple had become members of St. Cronan’s parish in South City, which has a reputation for welcoming out GLBT worshippers. Everyone agreed, though, that holding the ceremony there might draw the wrong kind of attention from the archdiocese. After a wedding at the Metropolitan Community Church, a GLBT congregation in the Central West End, the two women stood before the congregation at St. Cronan’s, as a couple, and received the blessing of their parish.

Of course, granting community approbation in any respect of an intrinsically gravely disordered relationship is a serious concern. In this case, if the article is relating the facts accurately, it means the St. Cronan's allowed a blessing of a sham marriage in violation of natural law and crystal clear Catholic theology. It creates confusion among the faithful of the nature of marriage and gives scandal in that it leads their parishioners to believe there is nothing wrong with such a putative marriage.

One of these persons recently passed away. This week's bulletin thanks parishioners for their support for the decedent and her friend.  It stated that Members of
Saint Cronan ...anointed them, brought them communion...
did healing touch with them...

The emphasis is mine. What is unclear at best about the above is whether non-priests are attempting to administer the sacrament of extreme unction, or anointing of the sick. I certainly hope this person had access to a priest for confession, extreme unction and viaticum. But it is not clear from the above, and perhaps even counter-indicated.

Again what I want to emphasize here is that I do NOT want to comment negatively on the efforts of parishioners to provide comfort and support to their friends in this person's last illness. I will take it as a given that the actions above were done in good faith and with the person's best interests at heart. This is not to denigrate her life, and I make absolutely no judgment on the state of her soul. I would not presume to do so.

While realizing that potential for being misunderstood exists, I think it is so important--especially if people in good faith aren't aware of the requirements for, and benefits of, the Church's sacraments for the sick and dying-- that the parishioners of a Catholic parish have free and unfettered access to the sacraments. That the rights of Catholics are respected and ensured to have access to them in need.

This is what is at stake for the Church, and why what appears to be a local "obedience" issue has practical spiritual ramifications. Christ came to save us, and gave us the Church and the
Sacraments as aids to salvation. It is serious business to create and maintain falsehoods in the name of compassion that place access to these salvific aids at risk. Every Catholic deserves the truth that sets us free.

I pray that the people of St. Cronan's, and of every Catholic parish, will be given pastors who guard their flocks zealously according to the mind of Christ and His Church.


Anonymous said...

Very well-written, Timman.

Anonymous said...

I saw this last week. Very sad. Let us pray for the repose of her soul!

Anonymous said...


You are truly incredible!

First. You take a note of heartfelt thanks from the grieving family and friends of a deceased St. Cronan parishoner copied virtually word for word from the St. Cronan bulletin. and post it on you blogsite. Did you ask permission of the family? Did you bother ask permission of St. Cronan to publish the letter? Did you consider at all, the feelings of the family?

And then, without bothering to verify ANY of the facts concerning our sister's death and attendant rites, without talking to anyone who was there you launch into a diatribe about "questionable sacramental theology" and "obedience having practical spritual ramifications" (an oxymoron if ever there was one!)

But of course, you CYA by stating:"I do NOT want to comment negatively.....and I do not intend to disrespect her or her family or friends by pointing out some practices at the parish that are at the very least questionable in light of the sacramental theology of the Church. In other words, this isn't about her, or any individual person, it is about the sacramental practices of a Church that lays claim to being a Catholic parish."

Wrong. It IS about her, and the faith community of which she was so inextricably a part. To speak against one is to speak against the other.

Were you there? Did you speak words of comfort to the bereaved? Did you offer any help?

Is that all you can do; stand at the edges of a true faith experience for the family, for the community and throw stones? You coward.

There was an invitation given by one of the other St. Cronan parishoners to come to St. Cronan, to visit the community, to talk with, not at, but WITH the people of St. Cronan instead of skulking in the back, without a name, looking for 'questionable spritual practices' to report to the Archbishop.

You just might find that they are not aging, Commie, queer-loving dissenters, but a people of Faith, living the Catholic creed - Christ's creed.

Anonymous said...

"You just might find that they are not aging, Commie, queer-loving dissenters, but a people of Faith, living the Catholic creed - Christ's creed."


Stop your calumny. I did attend your "church" on two different occasions when I first moved back to St. Louis. I saw multiple gay couples, hand in hand, receive the Sacrament from your good Fr. Kleba. Check your Catechism, you shouldn't be in a state of mortal sin when receiving Communion.

Purcell, it is perfectly ok (with the devil) for you to believe what you want to believe. You just can't do it and call yourself a Roman Catholic. You owe, I'll repeat myself, you owe obedience to your bishop. It's not an option. If his Excellency asks you not to host a bogus cleric like Susan "I Spit On Your Religion" Talve, or Peter "I'm ok and We're All Going to Hell" Phan, you don't do it. Furthermore, you shouldn't have to have been ordered to do so, if you weren't such a den of dissent and deceit. From what I have seen, your "parish" might as well be a Masonic Temple, such is the anti-Catholic smoke of hell that emanates from within its walls.

Fr. Kleba, et al. are leading all of you to hell. Remember what your Catechism says. Come to your senses. Be Roman Catholics. Repent before it is too late.

thetimman said...

Admin note-- the comment immediately above was sent for moderation and I have posted it here in a slightly edited form.The only reason I edited it was because I wanted to keep the level of discourse focused on the issue and not on personalities.

I was not going to respond to Purcell's comment, despite its tone, and just let the post speak for itself. I am used to the type of comment made. I appreciate the person's comment immediately above, but I want to keep this focused on the religious issue without clouding it unnecessarily.

I will allow further comments on this post, but I ask everyone to be circumspect.

Penitent said...


Sorry, for the lack of circumspection. This last post and a couple of other posts that this Purcell character has made are emblematic of why the Church has fallen on such hard times.

Agents of the deceiver call themselves "catholic" and then call true believers all sorts of (insert the bigotry here)-phobics, in an effort to discredit the true Church. I have been to St. Cronan's on a couple of occasions. That is not a Roman Catholic Church; it's a charnel house of Luciferianism. They even cover their altar crucifix in pink cloth.

To be a Roman Catholic requires that you follow the rules of Holy Mother Church. Purcell and his ilk spit on the rules and then call Roman Catholics names for adhering to them.

The obit was pretty bad.

At the risk of sounding like I'm not being circumspect, Purcell is a Catholicphobe.

Anonymous said...

If the family wanted privacy then they should have told St. Cronan's to leave it off their website. Once you post it on the web it is "out there". That is why we should all be careful of what we put on the internet because you never know who will get their hands on it.

I'm very close to know the pain of a family member having (or claiming to have) homosexual relations. The Church talks strongly about this situation and it is a mortal sin to act on your feelings. It breaks my heart to hear the bitterness and anger in your post, but I do sympathize as well because the struggle of "welcoming" practicing homosexuals into the Church is just wrong. They have to repent and embrace their cross, struggle with that daily and realize their way to heaven is NOT through those practices. I have someone very close with me that struggles immensely with this and it's very heartbreaking to watch him struggle with going and not going to Church. . . .for him, it's truly a roller coaster ride and of course Original Sin will not allow it to be easy for him.

I pray for you and your Church that you find the peace and love you need to embrace the Catholic Faith of ALL it's teachings and follow the Archbishops AND the Pope as you should.

God Bless you.

P.S. You can read the Congregation for the Faith on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons here: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html

I'd like to point out #7 and the second to last paragraph of #17

Anonymous said...

Cmziall: I'm assuming your friend knows about *Courage?* Have you discussed this Apostolate with him? He should seriously consider going to a meeting. He would meet like-minded persons struggling as he does, and have the support needed to live a faithful, Christ-centered life. If you need info, ask Timman for my email.

Anonymous said...

St. Cronan's parish is a sad case. Let us pray for an end to abuses there.

Anonymous said...

Jeron. . .thanks for that info! Now I shall pray and talk with my husband about passing the info along. I did go to their website www.couragerc.com (I think that's right). He actually lives in Illinois, a little south of Chicago. Thanks again and God Bless!

Anonymous said...

This is for P. Purcell.

P. Purcell, you could deflate all the hot air from this discussion, and do us all a great big favor, by simply stating whether Fr. Kleba (or someone else who had canonical authority) administered Communion and Last Rites.

Your silence on this point is just short of deafening.

I understand that you may not know. However, if you do know and you will not tell I must take my direction from the Bulletin's very, very coy dance around the topic.

The bulletin says "We...annointed them, brought them communion...did healing touch with them.."

It says "WE".

I know a lot of people have really gotten into this "WE ARE CHURCH" business. And I suspect that this whole controversy may rest upon an excess of "low-church" prose style used characteristically by the Bulletin.

However, in point of fact "WE" do not administer sacraments except through a priest, or deacon or, minister of the sacrament.

I hope you do see my point. The deliberately "peek a boo" style of the bulletin text is what has generated this outcry.

Purcell buddy. This is not about the deceased. It is about language.

The Cronan's Bulletin is coy through and through. It is coy, for instance, about who is running Cronan's. The Pastor is listed as "JESUS". Fr. Kleba is listed as just a member of the "pastoral team".

The whole bulletin every week, winks and nods as to who is functioning as priest. AND since this is the same community which had Hudson and McGrath at their for Advent Vespers, can you really blame us for wondering? With all this teasing vagueness about roles, the communities outspoken endorsement of "women priests" it's not a crazy speculation to think that the sacraments took place in some peculiar circumstances.

And there is more cute, coyness beyond the above. I pray you. Try to understand.

When you put the sacraments on the same level as "cooking" or "healing touch" you're inviting speculation that someone who usually cooks or gives massages also administered the sacraments. In other words a woman or a masseur.

C'mon. We may not agree on church politics but we can at least agree on language.

So the discussion is really not about the decedent.

The discussion is about cute, too cute word choice.

Stop the tease.

Just tell us. Who gave last rites to that poor dying girl? Tell us and end this discussion.

Best Wishes in hope of common understanding.

Anonymous said...

I feel as if what is happening at St. Cronan's has been brewing for many years in most every Novus Ordo parish.

My husband and I have been teaching Pre-Cana classes for the Archdiocese of St. Louis for about 10 years, 2-3 times a year, each class has about 20 couples from all over the archdiocese.

We are frustrated and quitting because over 98% of all of the couples in our class are living together, and proud of it!

They have told us that their parish priests say nothing to them about this mortal sin, and marry them, even giving them communion! Even after the class, most don't care if it is against the church.

This to me is the pot that brews what is happening at St. Cronan's. Children must learn their faith, and priests must preach it from the pulpit. It is a matter of heaven or hell.

Anonymous said...

It's time to kick out all the people who are living together and unmarried, all the "gays" and "lesbians", all the people who speak out against Church Doctrine, all the nuns who won't wear habits, all the people who divorce and remarry, all the people who have had affairs, all those who intermarry, all those who have never been to a true Latin mass, all the priests who would give communion to these people, all the bishops who would allow these priests to give communion to these people, ... then we will have a church worth fighting for again!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"It's time to kick out all the people who are...then we will have a church worth fighting for again!"

Dear Anonymous,
I don't follow your reasoning. If you kicked out of the Church all those people you mentioned there would be no reason for the six of you to fight.

Anonymous said...

P. Purcell, I ask you again. Who is administering sacraments to the faithful at St. Cronan's. You don't seem to think it's important or you don't want to answer. Why?

Anonymous said...

You are truly ill. You say you don't want to muckrake, yet you are stuck full well in the mud. I've posted here several times and never had my comments posted. You are a coward - and commenting on this matter goes way below the belt. I pray for the repose of your soul, lest it be flawed or disordered, you still deserve your rest.

thetimman said...

A. I have never rejected posts because they disagree with me-- so either you are lying, as I suspect, or you had profanity in your comment, which will not be posted.

B. I can only suppose that your accusation of my cowardice is part of the gospel of love at St. Cronan's, as is your prayer for the "repose" of my soul. As I am still alive, I guess this is some kind of strange death threat. Very kind. Your own bravery is confirmed, of course, by your anonymous posting. God bless you!