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April 9, 2005

Bishop of Diocese of St. Petersburg Transfers Terri's Pastor Day After Her Mass

Topics: News

Before now, I'd already had enough of Bishop Lynch's indifference to the truth about Terri Schiavo - but this is over the top, even for him. I've tried very hard not to be critical, but no longer ...

- Spirit Daily

The day after the funeral Mass for Terri Schiavo, which garnered national attention for its touching moments and heavy attendance, Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, informed the church's pastor, Fr. William Swengross of Most Holy Name of Jesus Church and pastor to the Terri's parents, the Schindlers, that he will be transferred in June to St. Stephens Church in Valrico. This church is located out of the diocesan mainstream, far away from Pinellas County, where the Schiavo drama played out.

Previously Bishop Lynch also found himself in the midst of controversy for disallowing exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the diocese. While remaining obedient, as is right, to the bishop, parishioners are sending around a petition protesting the move by Most Reverend Lynch, who can be contacted here.

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Posted by richard at April 9, 2005 4:57 PM

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Oh, I've seen this kind of thing before... I suspect when a particular priest starts drawing a huge following, the issue starts becoming whether his personal charisma is perhaps overshadowing the gospel itself. You don't want people to rely on just one priest for their spiritual nurishment.

I used to know a priest of such extraordinary speaking talent, that he was practically secretive about which parish he'd be preaching in each week, because people would follow him from parish to parish. He felt quite awkward about it. (He was a high school teacher, and not attached to a particular parish.)

Becoming so attached to one priest that one could lose one's faith without him, is dangerous and too big a burden for any one man to carry for so many people, because as we know from the last couple of years in the Church, priests are just human beings. As deeply rooted in their faith as the Schindlers are, I suspect they would agree, at least in theory.

It is too sad that Bishop Lynch took this drastic action before the limelight faded. Had he waited a month or two, it wouldn't have looked so, shall we say, vindictive on his part.

Posted by: Suzanne. at April 9, 2005 10:46 PM

Suzanne -

Regarding the timing issue - I know here in Philadelphia, clerical appointments are usually announced around this time of year. I believe it is due to the anticipation of the new ordination class and, the closing of the school year in June. Plus, priest being human, if they are moving along, they need some time to get themselves settled, change addresses, bank accts., car registration, etc. I don't read anything into the timing of this.

Posted by: Blogging Beth at April 10, 2005 8:36 AM