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Conservative commentator calls for Catholics to cease supporting their church

Conservative commentator calls for Catholics to cease supporting their church with cash
Archdiocese of New York seeks to funnel traditional Catholics into gay-friendly parishes

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
June 17, 2014

Michael Voris, the voice behind of The Vortex – a hard-hitting traditional Catholic commentary on the Internet, is calling outright for truly faithful Catholics to stop dropping their hard-earned money – coins, folding money and checks – in the collection plate as a form of protest against the creeping liberalization of the Catholic Church. He is fed up with gay parishes, the closing of churches, and the decline of an authentic Catholic spiritual life.

"Simply stop giving your money to the Establishment Church," he wrote in his June 16 Vortex episode. "Forget the diocesan pledge drives, forget the so-called social justice initiatives, like CRS (Catholic Relief Services) and CCHD (Catholic Campaign for Human Development). Let them get their money from the government, whose interests they serve over and above the Church’s anyway ... Giving the Establishment Church, and any group that supports it, is like enabling an alcoholic."

What got Voris' dander up was his growing awareness that the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, under the leadership of Timothy Cardinal Dolan York (XIII New York), is about to announce its latest round of church closings and parish yokings.

Voris, a no-holds barred apologist who is fearless in defending the traditional Catholic faith, is no fan of Cardinal Dolan. He is still smarting over the fact that the New York cardinal rolled out the red carpet for President Barack Obama at the Al Smith dinner, an annual white tie fundraiser for Catholic charities held at the famed Waldorf-Astoria. Voris called the 2012 dinner a "photo op" and pleaded with the Cardinal not to invite the President who, at the time, was running for re-election. However, the chummy cardinal is taking Obama to task over the Affordable Care Act, which compels employers to provide birth control measures, something which the big Apple's prelate considers a First Amendment Freedom of Religion issue.

The American Catholic Church is struggling with the same spiritual malady that The Episcopal Church is suffering – the church is slowly being painted in rainbow colors coupled with the destruction of the Faith once delivered unto the Saints as the church embraces the secularized American culture.

Gay-marriage became legal in the State of New York on June 24, 2011, when the Marriage Equality Act was implemented. At that time three Diocese of New York Episcopal bishops eagerly embraced the impending new law including: Mark Sisk (XV New York); Andrew Dietsche (New York coadjutor); and Andrew Smith (New York assistant) as well as some neighboring New York Episcopal ordinaries. Bishop William Franklin (XI Western New York); Bishop Lawrence Provenzano (VIII Long Island); Bishop Skip Adams (X Central New York) and Bishop Prince Singh (VIII Rochester) all eventually hopped on the gay-marriage bandwagon. Bishop William Love (IX Albany) was the only Empire State Episcopal bishop to distance his diocese from the implementation of the state's same-sex marriage law.

As of September 1, 2012, clergy in the Episcopal Diocese of New York are permitted to officiate at full same-sex marriages; meanwhile Cardinal Dolan stands by traditional Catholic teaching on gay-marriage and clergy in his Archdiocese are forbidden from officiating at same-sex marriage ceremonies. Other than forbidding gay-marriages, the New York Catholic cardinal does allow other gay activity to openly take place in his New York City-based Archdiocese.

The Episcopal Diocese of New York, established in 1787, and the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, founded in 1808, cover the same territory: three New York City boroughs – Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island – and seven New York State counties – Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester. The Episcopal Diocese of New York, now under the spiritual direction of Bishop Andrew Dietsche (XVI New York), has fewer than 200 parishes and mission churches while the Archdiocese has more than double that number. For the time being, the Archdiocese puts its current number of churches at 405.

There are more Roman Catholics in the Archdiocese of New York -- 2.6 million souls -- than in the entire Episcopal Church. There are just over two million Episcopalians total of whom 58,000 are in the Episcopal Diocese of New York where fewer than 19,000 show up on Sundays. The Archdiocese of New York chancellery at 1011 First Avenue is not far from Episcopal Church headquarters at 815 Second Avenue – a 15-minute stroll away.

The Vortex reports that insider sources say that at least 50 Archdiocesan Catholic churches are coming under the axe. High on the hit list is Holy Innocence, on the edge of the Garment District in Midtown Manhattan.

Apparently, Holy Innocents, which was founded just after the end of the Civil War in 1866, has become a strong, thriving, and solidly orthodox Catholic parish where, starting in 2009, the traditional Tridentine Latin Mass is celebrated daily. That same year Archbishop Dolan was transferred to New York from the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

There are six priests associated with the Manhattan parish. A beehive of daily and weekly spiritual activity goes on in the church – three Masses daily in English and Latin, the praying Daily Office, daily rosary, novenas, Eucharistic processions, multiple opportunities for Confession, as well as other scheduled Catholic devotional practices.

"The Archdiocese of New York isn’t especially fond of tradition," Voris tells his Internet audience. "Parishioners are in a state of disbelief. They collected all kinds of money, restored the building to a high degree, have developed a deep devotional life, are attracting new parishioners, fostering vocations, getting young men excited about the faith and are a witness to traditional Catholic values right in the belly of the beast – New York City."

Not far from Holy Innocents – only a mile away – is another Catholic parish, St. Francis Xavier. The church calls itself a prophetic welcoming inclusive parish and is a hotbed of LGBT activity. The church's aisle runner is a long rainbow-striped floor flag leading up to the altar. Parishioners are deep into social justice and supporting feminist Sisters. The church offers only two daily Masses (none in Latin) and four weekend Eucharistic celebrations. Only two priests serve the church. They provide for Confession once a week.
It is this St. Francis, which has Catholic Lesbians and Gay Catholics groups, that Cardinal Dolan champions saying that the homosexual Catholics at the parish are returning to the Sacraments. The church also has an Interfaith Committee, a Peace & Justice Committee and a Zen Meditation Group.

"Why not close down this abomination of a parish as opposed to targeting Holy Innocents?" Voris queries.

St. Francis Xavier is not the only St. Francis congregation on Manhattan Island embracing the LGBT crowd. St. Francis of Assisi, staffed by Franciscan friars, is located between St. Francis Xavier and Holy Innocence in the Korean area of the borough. The church, which is dwarfed by surrounding skyscrapers, is engaged in urban ministry. In fact, St. Francis Assisi was the canonical working parish of Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM, the gay Franciscan fire chaplain who lost his life when he rushed to the World Trade Center to give Last Rites as the twin towers collapsed in 2001.

St. Francis of Assisi has 17 Franciscans friars of the Holy Name Providence attached to it. There is also a lone Benedictine caring spiritually for the Koreans in the congregation, a Franciscan Handmaid of Mary sister serving as a spiritual director, and three Franciscan Friends of the Poor are in residence. Nine Masses are celebrated on weekdays; the church also celebrates various daily devotions and holds daily Confessions. There are a dozen Masses over the weekend in English, Spanish, Korean and Filipino.

However St. Francis of Assisi has a strong gay ministry. The LGBT Outreach is designed to provide a "loving and safe environment to our gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, as well as their families and friends."

It is to St. Francis of Assisi that Cardinal Dolan apparently has designs to funnel Holy Innocents parishioners toward after he closes the red doors of their church.

"This is the parish that Cardinal Dolan and his team are considering exiling traditional Catholics to," Voris laments. "Seriously, can you for one moment consider what would happen to the faith life of traditional Catholics ... going to Mass with a group of Catholics who don’t really believe everything the Church teaches?"

Voris calls the two gay-friendly St. Francis parishes "communities of human beings who were baptized Catholics but no longer believe and hold dear what the Church teaches". He believes that they have abandoned Gospel truth to embrace heresy and modernism.

St. Francis of Assisi has scheduled a Gay Pride Mass for June 28 to coincide with New York City's Gay Pride March the next day (June 29) that culminates the city's Gay Pride Week. A Gay Pride Parade has been marching through New York City streets since 1970. St. Francis' scheduled "Pre-Pride Mass" is currently being publicized in St. Francis Xavier's Sunday bulletin.

Michael Voris is livid that St. Francis of Assisi is involved in the Gay Pride events. He is seeing red not rainbow colors.

"Call it judgmental all you want. So what?" he says. "It is a judgment based on the pure fact that a parish, that purports to be Catholic, joins itself in any manner to a parade that celebrates men having sex with men – where drag queens throw condoms from floats, where demands are made of the culture to accept their perversion or be labeled bigots and haters.

"How can anyone in his right mind consider this even remotely Catholic? Hell, it’s diabolical! And to even consider the idea of driving faithful Catholics into such an atmosphere is diabolical in itself," he continues. "Dissident Catholics are running the show. It's homosexual clergy, among whom who New York insiders point to as one of the main forces driving the decision to close down Holy Innocents and merge it into a 'gay-friendly' parish while letting a notorious 'gay parish' stay open.

"Since money seems to be the only thing that motivates the Establishment Church – it is more than time for the faithful to begin withholding contributions," Voris suggests. "Why give money to a (arch) diocese that is going to use that money to keep the status quo going – to abuse faithful Catholics while supporting fake Catholics – parishes and individuals."

Apparently, Holy Innocence members aren't the only traditional parishioners who may be facing displacement at St. Francis of Assisi.

"Guess what?" Voris asks. "The Cardinal’s advisors want to close St. Michael’s and send those parishioners to guess where? ... Yep, homosexual-friendly St. Francis of Assisi."

Word is out that Cardinal Dolan is also eyeing to close St. Michael's in Hell's Kitchen on 34th Street between Ninth and Dyers avenues and send those orthodox members to St. Francis six blocks away.

"Take Holy Innocents off your hit list, Cardinal Dolan. Tell your advisers, it's off limits," Voris warns. "And while you’re at it ... leave St. Michael’s in Hell’s Kitchen alone as well."

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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