Wednesday, February 8, 2006

What is role of parish consultant?

Not all the print content of the Catholic Herald is published online; letters to the editor are not, for example. The post title is that given a letter to the editor from M. Holasek of Cudahy in the February 2, 2006 issue.

Holasek writes that

A recent letter (Catholic Herald, Jan. 19, 2005) praised a liberal social activists more controversial stands and was signed by a "parish consultant" of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

The liberal social activist was Rev. Martin Luther King, and the parish consultant was Mark Peters. It was one of those letters that "reminds" us that King's work against segregation, for which he is commemorated, was followed by years of more radical advocacy. (See this Common Dreams post on the recent death of Mrs. King.) Defenders of segregation had earlier tried to use allegation of leftist sympathies to discredit King's work for integration. They failed. More recently, there are attempts to use King's work against segregation to bolster support for his later overt leftist views. These also fail.

Holasek was concerned that Peters' political views color his work for the Archdiocese. Based on my parish council experience, I would say not. Rather, as you might see from this post at Ten Reasons, the work of parish consultants is a part of why I say after being on parish council Dilbert is funnier than ever.

Most likely there will be a reply to Holasek from Peters, who I assume can walk it down the hall at the Chremlin Cousins Center. In an August 25, 2005 letter about Catholics for Peace and Justice, he caused a stir when he wrote

inspired by the same Catholic vision of a world in which respect for life--all life, from birth to death and every stage in between--

He must have heard there was some feedback on his "from birth." The September 22, 2005 issue of the Catholic Herald carried his backtracking letter even as his oversight was being pointed out in letter from Ralph Scrima of Waukesha.

Eva J. Diaz, another of our archdiocese's parish consultants, is a regular contributor to the "Scripture Reflections" column in the Catholic Herald. Rather than all these letters, maybe it should just have Peters write some social justice op-eds, preferably also published online.

One topic might be why our archdiocese's suburban headquarters and shuttered inner city parishes are irrelevant to the credibility of its social justice preaching.

Update: Parish Consultants are one of the ministries supported by the Catholic Stewardship Appeal.

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