Letters to the editor: Pick your pew.
Oakville-Mehlville Journal.

After the January 1999 Papal visit to St. Louis there was a sense of excitement and spirit of enthusiasm. Almost everyone had something very positive to say about the great impact of the pastoral visit of Pope John Paul II to the Archdiocese of St. Louis. On a Sunday morning you could hardly find a pew in church for which to seat your entire family.

Now, six years later you can have your pick of any pew you want in church. Why? Because, over the years the Catholic Church has continued to fail its parishioners. Little by little the actions of the Church have eroded the unity of those who stood by, built and supported the Archdiocese.

As an example, a friend of mine who is divorced has been banned from receiving the Sacrament of Communion. The divorce is of no fault of hers (the husband abandoned the family). Her attempt to inquire about receiving an annulment was met with a dollar sign. Yes, you could obtain an annulment for a hefty price. Most of us know individuals in this situation.

This past year we heard about an 8-year-old girl who suffers from a rare digestive disorder and cannot eat wheat wafers. After the church's pastor refused to allow a substitute wafer, a priest at a nearby parish volunteered to offer one, and in May, the child wore a white Communion dress, and received the sacrament alongside her mother, who had not taken Communion since she herself was diagnosed with the disease. Recently, the diocese told the priest that the church would not validate the child's sacrament because of the substitute wafer.

On the local scene, there is the standoff of Archbishop Burke and the parishioners of St Stanislaus. I personally stand behind the parishioners. If liquidation is required, I would donate the money to a non-catholic church (i.e. Baptist, Lutheran, or Jewish). Perhaps consider giving the property and assets to the Reverend Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center.

This past November we all saw how parishioners are being told how they must vote.

Archbishop Rigali and his minions tried to shuffle under the carpet the sex abuse by priest and nuns. This is the straw that broke the camel's back. The saga of the pedophile priest has encouraged the parishioners to close their wallets, which is now the only action that gets the attention of the archdiocese.

The Catholic Church has failed its parishioners. You can see this documented fact by being able to pick your own pew.

Frank Longo

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