Thursday, October 31, 2002

5 Top LA Archdiocese officials say "See Ya"

The LATimes reports that five top Archdiocesan officials have resigned.

Among those resigning from their posts was Msgr. Terrance Fleming, who as vicar general of the archdiocese serves, in effect, as Mahony's chief of staff.

The others are Sister Cecilia Louise Moore, who as chancellor of the archdiocese oversees its charitable foundations as well as its personnel office; Msgr. Richard Loomis, who heads the secretariat for administrative services; Sister Bernadette Murphy, who oversees the church's educational programs; and Thomas Chabolla, a layman who heads the church offices for pastoral and community services.

Church sources said some of the resignations were influenced by personal factors. Fleming, for example, had long planned to step down as vicar general to take a sabbatical, the sources said. Fleming, who is reportedly in England, was not available for comment.

Moore, who is 74, was nearing the end of her term of office and is undergoing treatment for cancer.

In other cases, the resignations appear to be tied more exclusively to the budget cuts and what some see as a distant and authoritarian style of decision-making by Mahony.

Chabolla, for example, heads the church secretariat that oversees the ministries hardest hit by the budget cuts. Those included outreach to ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, lesbian and gay Catholics, and ecumenical and inter-religious affairs.

One priest who had spoken with Chabolla said he felt he had been left out of the decision-making on the cuts. "They were left in the position of having to make these cuts and layoffs, and I think some of them felt really in a very bad position because they hadn't been part of the decision-making process," the priest said.

"There was very little consultation in a post-Vatican II church where people are consulted broadly," another priest said. "How could there be such an incredible decision of such magnitude and be such a surprise to everybody?"

Well see, here's the thing. Talking Vatican-II-talk and waxing eloquent about collegiality and shared decision-making and such is nice, but it's just talk. In my experience, authoritarians can hide anywhere, and they do.

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