Petitioning the Vatican - any Canon Lawyers out there?
  • It is reaching a point that three years after Benedict asked for the return of Gregorian Chant and Polyphony that well-meaning people are being fired from their positions, losing benefits and a livelihood, by working to follow Benedict in his view of the church as it should be.

    Without an army of protectors, we are truly sitting ducks.

    Is it time for us to consider petitioning for protection?
  • Maureen
    Posts: 675
    You need to talk to Father Z or one of the other Vaticanistas about this. There are certain ways of getting things done and finding the right people and terms, as with any human organization or filing system. I don't think most people here know enough about the Vatican to know what is possible and what isn't.

    One thing you shouldn't do is despair. In some places, good things are happening at speed. In other places, not so much, which makes it very hard.
  • Sign me UP!

    I wonder if maybe a letter-writing campaign to the Papal Nuncio in Washington would be beneficial. I believe there are enough of us who have ended up being fired or forced to resign because of uncooperative or unsupportive clergy who are willing to be manipulated by a select few in the congregation or who seize upon an opportunity to create a "scandal" or a "concern regarding an incident of inappropriate behavior" based on nothing, as a means of eliminating musicians who they see as a threat, whatever that perceived threat may be.

    In your letter, clearly and without editorializing or citing to anything other than the facts, state:

    What happened,
    When it happened,
    Who was involved,
    What process for grievance was followed or ignored at the parish and diocesan levels, and
    What was the outcome.

    Back up your letter with as many documents as possible, including but not limited to printouts of emails, copies of letters and memos, a copy of the documents governing the relationship between employee and employer and if possible any affidavits or supporting testimony of others involved. If you have a copy of your personnel file (something I HIGHLY recommend everyone request periodically; and something to which every employee is entitled BY LAW), send that as well, especially if it contains documents that are suspicious or, worse, does NOT contain documents that you have submitted for inclusion.

    Unfortunately there seems to be machinery in place within the Church that protects and favors the clergy over lay employees when it comes to some of these employment issues. More unfortunately, many lay employees, especially musicians, have neither the funding nor the time to consult an attorney who is familiar with both civil and Church law in these matters, and are quite often run rough-shod because of this lack of funding or decent legal advice.

    The other problem is the fear of losing one's credibility and having one's reputation so badly sullied that one would never be able to work in a church again. This is a fear not without merit, as quite often the clergy think nothing of engaging in the grave moral error of gossip, rush to judgment and calumny, and all with no fear or concern of discipline under canon law or penalties under civil law.
  • Mr. Z
    Posts: 159
    The Church is an "at will" employer (I am not a lawyer, canon or otherwise) and can basically hire and fire as she sees fit, which is kinda good when you have an employee espousing anti Catholic teaching, or sleeping around, etc. which might not be grounds for firing in some other places.

    If the pastor is not paying attention to the pope on this set of issues, then chances are not on others as well, and at a certain point, we might come to understand that that we are, with otherwise good music, being asked to put a "happy face" on a completely, or mostly broken situation, and perhaps it is best to move on to a real Protestant church (just kidding)- no really, to a better example of the true faith. Better musicians will eventually find better situations. I have been let go in certain places, and though brought about some pain and discomfort, but I think it is overall for the best that you don't throw pearls before swine - not that priests are swine, though in some cases their actions..? - but what about all of this ignoring the pope and his well founded wishes for the Church? -- you do know what I mean, I'm quite sure.

    I think sometimes we might need to go find a struggling parish with less resources that wants to do the right things liturgically - and let us see how the Lord can bless!
    Can I get an Amen, somebody? oh, I am preaching now!! Hallelujah!! Glory!!
  • The first thing you need to understand is that no one in the Church sees this as we do - save for perhaps the pope himself. Then again, he obviously TOLERATES the type of music sung in the US since he didn't issue an edict after being exposed to it.

    I'm not saying that we shouldn't fight the fight - but we must be prepared to move very slowly and receive little to no support from clergy - who, by the way, the Church will ALWAYS support over you. Don't be fooled: they will never take your side over a priest.

    My pastor is orthodox; conservative; and all other "good" things. He will probably be a bishop. He has stated flat out that he is not ready to alienate people from the Church over music. If it comes down to it, he would rather they have sub-standard music that makes them happy and have them STAY in the Church rather than leave it. Music is incidental.

    This is how everyone but you and me in the Church views it. Get used to it.
  • So does he preach sub-standard homilies to make them stay in the church rather than leave it?

    And who elected the Pope? And why did He do that?

    At the Vatican people who are not on board are replaced.

    No one is asking for an edict to ban the crappy music, most of us are asking that it, like the Latin Mass, be available.

    It's like the laws that insist that the disabled have access to public buildings. No one says that public buildings be built just for the disabled with no provisions for the non-disabled.
  • Z, AMEN!
    Describes my entire gestalt.
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    I'm convinced that the key to renewing a parish music program is a compatibility between pastor and DM. Compatibility can be a lot of things.

    --Equal levels of enthusiasm? Then you need a common vision. That is the best possible scenario.
    --Non-liturgist pastor? The DM can do anything, but only if there are not too many complaints from the PIPs.
    --Liturgist pastor who doesn't share your vision? Do whatever he tells you. That's the only way, because he's in charge.

    Best possible scenario is hard to find, but it's out there!
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,500
    Anyone who needs canon law help can contact these nice people But in the given situation, they'll likely tell you what Mr. Z said...
  • Kathy, thanks, have just now registered and asked my question of them.