The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pigs know where to rub their skin.

The other day my wife brought home an article that she had printed after finding the read very interesting; she knew it was something that I would have liked to read. The article hit the nail on the head about a topic of discussion that has been flying around the four corners of our home for some time. The conversation always begins with the question: "what's going on with St. Thomas More?" The article was about Church bosses.

Does your Parish have any bosses in it? Let me clearly state my disclaimer before someone assumes that my views are that of the Archdiocese of Nassau, therefore: "the opinions expressed by bahama CATHOLIC guy do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Archdiocese of Nassau." Until I am ordained a Deacon in the Catholic Church, I am going to be the voice of fairness and sensibility where I see wrong being committed. For the record, I am not in any formation process or considering the diaconate program, just in case you were wondering.

With transfers and appointments of Priests and Deacons being somewhat of a norm among Churches, St. Thomas More has had its share of priests being moved around, with the latest appointment being that of Fr. Junior Calixte who was assigned as Associate Pastor. Fr. Calixte took over from Fr. Noel Clarke who was transferred to St Anselm Parish, Bernard Road Fox Hill. Also assigned to oversee St. Thomas More Parish as the administrator is Fr. Anselm Russell, the pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Shirley St. Since the announcement was made of the new appointments I can state unequivocally that it did not sit very well with a fairly large group of St. Thomas More members. As the Backstreet Boys sang in 1999, "I want it that way," in essence, their way.

It saddens my heart that from the time the newly elected priest "Fr Calixte" was appointed to St Thomas More, there have been numerous complaints to the Archdiocese, along with a signed petition that was taken around requesting members to stand with them (the bosses) to affect the roles of Fr. Calixte and Fr. Russell. Let me say that as a career pilot of 27 years I am proud to say that I have never been approached by anyone to transport or engage in any illegal substance or activities, and the reason for that is simple, people know who will be willing to cross that line. Similarly, it makes me happy to know that the individuals who were given the task of acquiring signatures on the said petition never once came to me with such a request, but I truly wish they had. As an old saying goes: "pigs know where to rub their skins!"

I don't know what to say about St. Thomas More anymore, only to say that we are becoming a lost community and will only fail. It's a crying shame that members have come together to petition against a priest who is following orders from his shepherd "the Bishop." We must understand that there can only be one boss in a Church and that is the person who has been appointed as Rector or Administrator. We can not use our Parish Priests as our puppets to do what we want them to do, regardless of how long we have been members. We want to be permanent fixtures in our Parishes with no one telling us how our Parish should function because in our minds we believe that we were there longer and therefore we would know better.

After much research on this matter pertaining to bosses within the Church, I see everything that I learned about the topic happening right within my beloved St Thomas More. I've spoken with several members who I have a good relationship with and they also agree that it is terrible what is happening right under our noses. We have a very serious problem that has to be prayed for because I believe that it is too far gone for more talk. A lady from my office asked me a few weeks back when St Thomas More was going to have their Steak Out and Mini Fair. It broke my heart to tell her that I didn't think we were having one. I thought right!

I can not recall a year when St. Thomas More did not have a Fair/Steak Out until this year. The "bosses" did everything in their power to ensure that the event was not going to happen. For the record, I was asked by both Fr. Calixte and Fr. Anselm to spearhead the Steak Out and Mini Fair this year. As a committed member of my Parish, I said "absolutely" because I knew it needed to happen as this was our big fundraiser for the year. After careful consideration and much thought on the matter I had to write them both back and rescind my offer. It was not something I was pleased to do, but I realized that support of the majority of the members was needed and I felt that it just was not there. In addition, I knew I would have my hands full of opposing members who may have only made the task very difficult, maybe even impossible,

Church bosses may not even know that such a title exists, they only know that they take the lead because no one else will or because they were never opposed by anyone against their actions. Presumably, they could feel that their length of service to the Church or the number of times they have been called upon to perform a task within the Parish automatically awards them this prestige title. If they are a prominent figure in their society, then this too can make them feel as though it is without say that they can take charge and have the biggest voice. A Church boss want things done their way and will oppose the Parish Priest (if allowed) when the views of the Priest does not align with their views. Servanthood and sacrifice, two of the greatest attributes of a Christian fly out the door when power steps to the forefront. Church bosses can make members very uncomfortable, to the point of even switching Churches or Masses within the Parish. They begin to squeeze the life out of the members,

When there is friction and tension within a Church, you can rest assured that Satan has already taken deep root in it. By causing members to turn on one another and on the administration assigned to a Parish is welcoming an evil that is only following the lead of the one who is being energized by his/her followers. I'd rather leave my Parish (more to come on this) than to be caught up in the evil that is engulfing the hearts and minds of those who have been quietly nominated as the Church boss. In closing, let us be reminded that we do not have any ownership in the Parish that we worship in. The buck stops with the Rector or Administrator, through the advice of the Archbishop.

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