PRIEST FEDERATION 1
Priests Federation of Altoona-Johnstown
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Lord:
Whereas the rights and dignity of priests in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown are threatened by forces both external to the community of believers and internally by our bishop and his staff.
Whereas, in response to this threat, the Priests Federation of Altoona-Johnstown was secretly formed by 26 clErgy of this Diocese to demand the rights and dignity of all priests be respected and protected by our bishop.
Therefore, we, the Priests Federation of Altoona-Johnstown, joined with our fellow clergy, ask the following from our bishop:
Whereas our bishop insists on publicly defending lawsuits against this diocese and thus increasing the threat that more names of our priests be exposed in the media, we demand that our bishop cease and desist his public defense of any and all lawsuits concerning alleged priestly misconduct and instead settle these cases out of court so as to protect the reputation and well being of those priests so named and others that may be revealed in the course of any trial.
Whereas our bishop threatens and harasses homosexual priests into fearing for their office, we demand that our bishop cease and desist any and all harassment of homosexual clergy and instead work to protect the reputation and well being of clergy of all sexual orientations.
Whereas our bishop placates those who attack our diocese and its priests, we demand that our bishop turn the attention of his legal representation towards stopping the hateful and homophobic actions of George Foster, Brian Barcaro, Dr. Brian Kopp [FReeper "Polycarp"], et. al., who are set upon destroying the reputations of homosexuals priests and this diocese.
Whereas our bishop ignores the actions of certain priests who consistently act against the unity of this diocese, we demand our bishop suspend Fr. James Foster and Fr. John Nesbella immediately, for repeated and constant acts which threaten the unity of our community of faith.
Whereas our bishop removed Dr. David Brown [of "GoodBye, Good Men" book fame] from his position as intake psychologist and from candidacy for the permanent diaconate program due to the incessant demands of several Talibanic conservative clergy and laity, we demand our bishop reinstate Dr. Brown both to his position as intake psychologist and to the permanent diaconate program.
Whereas our bishop has ordained several men to the priesthood over the last several year who are unfit to serve the modern, post-concilular (sic) church, we demand our bishop conduct a complete review and overhaul of the priestly recruitment program:
I. Review the psychological reports of the men ordained since 1995 and order to counseling all those who are deemed to have serious mental deficiencies or proven inability to serve in the church of Vatican II.
II. Cease and desist sending seminarians to the present rigid seminaries used by our diocese and begin to use more pastoral seminaries for formation.
III. Deny orders to the present candidate for ordination to the priesthood because of a very negative psychological report and his inability to serve the present day church.
IV. Examine all present and future seminarians in greater psychological depth to determine their fitness and desire to serve the modern church.
We believe that it is better to have fewer clergy and more lay involvement than to have many rigid and juridical priests who drive women and men away from the community of believers.
Whereas the present staff our (sic) diocesan finance office (Larry Sutton, et. al.) shows no respect for our clergy and little if any knowledge of the day to day life of our clergy and our parishes, we demand that our bishop retrain or replace the staff of the finance office so as to respect the dignity of our clergy and their office.
Whereas our chancery shows little care or concern for our retired priests at Dimitri Manor or elsewhere, we demand that our bishop review and overhaul the priests retirement program so as to provide them with the comfortable retirement due to them after many years of thankless service:
I. Immediately increase the present monthly retirement benefit payment to $1,500.00.
II. Fully fund all future retirement needs 20 years into the future in a pension trust fund so as to guarantee monthly payments regardless of the future financial state of the diocese.
III. Separate all retirement monies from diocesan funds so as to protect them from being taken in lawsuits.
IV. Immediately form a committee to examine the deplorable living conditions at the Dimitri Manor priests retirement home.
Whereas the compensation of our priests under the present formula is inherently unjust as priests whose workload is heavy due to parish size are paid the same as priests in small parishes, we demand that our bishop install a new payscale to reflect a more appropriate and just salary based on workload and parish size.
We believe this list of demands is the same list Jesus himself would ask for if he were a priest of this diocese.
If our requests are not met, we ask our fellow clergy to prayerfully consider ways of peaceful protest. Ech should follow his or her conscience in discerning ways to show civil disobedience to our hierarchy until our voice of change is heard.
Sincerely in Christ,
Priests Federation of Altoona-Johnstown
N.B.: The PFAJ is a group of priests of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown united in a pursuit of justice and sworn to complete secrecy to avert the very real threat of retaliation by our diocesan bishop.
Brother Priests & Deacons
National Catholic Reporter
Centre Daily Times