Les Femmes


***Are we getting our money’s worth? The last issue of the newsletter went from the printer to the post office on March 9. Many people didn’t receive it until mid April; some not at all. Since Les Femmes has no control over the U.S. Postal Service we won’t apologize. [We don’t believe in apologizing for things we didn’t do.] We’ve contacted the local office [which was not responsible], the regional office, and even a Northern VA congressman. At this rate we are putting our trust in God for the delivery of future newsletters and have added SAG (St. Anthony, guide) to our mailing page. We trust that the Blessed Mother, with a little assistance from the patron saint of mail, will speed the newsletter on its way.

***Standup comic or hypocrite? Les Femmes did a double take when we read who came to Arlington in February to talk about ethics. The Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes held a two-day symposium including a talk titled “Ethical Questions and Sticky Wickets.” Guess who facilitated – Jim Verrecchia, “Administrator (of Holy Innocents Episcopal Church in Atlanta) and former Catholic priest.” [Gosh…Our own Fr. Jim who committed adultery with a parishioner at All Saints, impregnated and later married her, and robbed her husband of both his wife and four children which precipitated a heart attack. Talking about ethics? Pass the smelling salts!] The conference webpage carried this background description: “Jim A. Verrecchia was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. He attended Roman Catholic seminaries in Philadelphia and Erie, PA and graduated from seminary in Emmitsburg, MD. Ordained in 1983 for service in Northern Virginia, he served as Associate Pastor in several parishes, as a high school chaplain in the Catholic school system, and as pastor of the largest Catholic parish in Virginia. [Wow! Are we impressed?] Concurrently, he served as the Bishop’s Master of Ceremonies for 15 years and as an associate judge on the Diocesan Tribunal. [Judging marriages while cheating with another man’s wife – what a qualification!]  Mr. Verrecchia left active ministry in early 2000 [after causing great scandal], married [his pregnant paramour] and moved to Atlanta GA, where he currently serves as Parish Administrator of Holy Innocents and as an organist for HIES. [Bet he plays Gather Us In and Kumbaya really well.] He has four step-children [who should be with their father] and 2 children.” [Adultery appears to be a requirement for employment in ECUSA (Episcopal Church USA) these days. Jim McGreevy, former governor of New Jersey, who resigned when his adulterous relationship with a gay man came to light is studying to be an Episcopal minister. No doubt he’ll be a bishop in a few years.]

***And what did Jimmy talk about? Here’s what the announcement said: “What is the role of the parish administrator when ethical dilemmas arise in the church? [like sexual affairs?] What should you do if you know there is something unethical going on with other staff members or members of the congregation or the vestry? [Let’s see…call the bishop?] This confidential discussion will provide participants with an opportunity to bring real issues to their peers [to brag about them?] and think strategically about how best to move forward.” [That’s easy…imitate Woody Allen who justified his affair with his adopted daughter saying, “The heart wants what the heart wants.” This illustrates exactly why the Episcopal Church is in moral freefall. It also shows the utter shamelessness of Jim Verrecchia and reminds us to expect no justice this side of heaven. Verrecchia, the adulterer, has gone on to a successful career where he preaches about “ethics” to people who apparently don’t laugh. Fr. Haley, a faithful priest who tried to get the bishop to do something about Verrecchia’s affair, ends up homeless, living in a motor home out in the cold. His exile illustrates what the church means when it talks about “long-suffering.” In the end every wrong will be righted. Until then…PRAY! And you might consider sending Fr. Haley a check.  Les Femmes will be glad to forward it.]

***While we’re on the subject of priests who are out in the cold what’s happening to Fr. Joe Clark? It’ll be two years in August since Bishop Loverde suspended him for correcting a deacon at Holy Family. Father’s been in limbo ever since [Yes, Virginia, limbo exists. It’s the place bishops send priests who 1. report  on porn collections in the rectory closet; 2. don’t fingerprint; 3. raise money without using the official fundraiser; 4. try to protect children from sex ed;, etc.] Although the Congregation for Clergy called for Fr. Clark’s reinstatement last year, the bishop appealed to the Signatura (the highest ecclesial court) where the case now sits. And the persecution continues. According to a friend of Les Femmes from St. Andrew’s in Centreville Fr. Clark was scheduled to speak at a day of reflection June 16, but was removed. By whom? Who knows? The retreat organizer says it wasn’t her and the pastor says it wasn’t him. Our friend is still trying to find out who did it. [Les Femmes put our ID – investigative department – on the matter and can now reveal the truth. The villain was Mr. Nobody – he also banned Les Femmes from buying an ad in The Herald. His M.O. is always the same. He works in the dark and NOBODY (except Nobody, of course) knows who’s responsible. In our case the editor and the ad manager assured us it wasn’t them and they had no idea who it was. Mr. Nobody you see.] Our friend at St. Andrew’s tells us Fr. Clark was the last to find out about his removal. Several upset parishioners asked for refunds before Fr. Clark got the word he was nixed. [Mr. Nobody, besides hiding behind everybody, is rude as well. Poor man must have no mother.]

***Let’s revisit the 2005 Holy Family Mass  that caused a faithful priest’s banishment. Les Femmes recently spoke to two eyewitnesses of the event that got Fr. Clark in hot water. James and Juanita Donaghey attended the Mass where the deacon, Gerald Moore, mishandled the Precious Blood.  The congregation was small. (The church itself is small.) The Donagheys were sitting in the front pew and left immediately after the recessional because they wished to speak to Fr. Clark. “It was a small congregation,” James said, “there were maybe 20 people in front of us.” They reached the back of the church within a minute or so after the end of Mass. The parishioners dispersed and the Donagheys stood in the back alone waiting to talk to Fr. Clark. He and Deacon Moore were in a side room about twenty feet away, but clearly visible. Fr. Clark was sitting and Deacon Moore was standing. [Now who is in the dominant position in this scenario?] The Donagheys sent the bishop a notarized statement on October 31, 2005 detailing what they saw. “We witnessed Fr. Clark and the deacon in conversation as we were waiting to greet him. We were twenty feet or so from them and waited for several minutes until we realized that this was a serious matter and would be protracted.  There was no shouting and they were both speaking in such a low volume that nothing of their conversation was audible. We did not see, hear, or ascertain anything that could be characterized as violent or aggressive. It was not public nor was there a group of people around who were watching. We were not scandalized by what we witnessed and believe that Fr. Clark should be commended rather than censured for his ardent devotion to the Holy Eucharist….We send this letter to state that we were witnesses to the conversation between Fr. Clark and the deacon, at the time and place so stated in the letter. We have described the conversation as we saw it. We therefore state, ‘It is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’. We would be happy to swear on the Bible, if required.”

***Bishop Loverde clears Fr. Clark! Right? Wrong!  The Donagheys got the same form letter sent to everyone we know who wrote to defend Fr. Clark. It was signed by Fr. Avella, then Delegate for the Clergy. The letter stated that “The events involving Father Clark were investigated thoroughly in accord with diocesan policy and canon law.” [Hmm…what was the nature of the investigation since the only eyewitnesses to the event were never interviewed?] “Father Clark participated directly in that canonical investigation, and had ample opportunities to present his side of the story.” [Let’s see…Fr. Clark was summoned to the bishop’s residence and handed a letter of suspension dated the day before. Exactly what was the nature of his participation? We have it on good authority that the bishop never discussed the situation with Fr. Clark.] “Bishop Loverde considered Father Clarke’s account of the events, as well as those of eyewitnesses.” [Who were the eyewitnesses since the only ones in the back of the church besides Fr. Clark and Deacon Moore were the Donagheys?]

***Canon law: on bishops and their duties Can. 384: “The diocesan bishop is to attend to presbyters (i.e. priests) with special concern and listen to them as his assistants and advisers.” Can. 392 §2. “[The bishop] is to exercise vigilance so that abuses do not creep into ecclesiastical discipline, especially regarding…the celebration of the sacraments.” [Fr. Clark defended the Eucharist. Why is he being punished? Why was he summarily exiled? Why does he continue to be banished after almost two years? Why were the Donagheys ignored? Priests are the bishop’s spiritual sons. Scripture asks, “What father among you will give his son a snake if he asks for fish, or hand him a scorpion if he asks for an egg?”  Les Femmes echoes scripture’s question. Aren’t two years of exile more than enough? Please, Your Excellency, restore Fr. Clark to us.]

***And then there are the other priests:   Some bishops seem a little confused about who the good priests are vs. the other kind. In San Francisco Fr. Stephen Meriwether is pastor of Most Holy Redeemer in the Castro section of the city, a gay enclave. Fr. Meriwether blesses gay pride parades, has numerous links to gay groups on the parish website, and allowed the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” a group of drag queens  to lease the church hall for a monthly lewd bingo game. The “sisters” whose motto is “go forth and sin some more” offered sex toys among the prizes. The diocese cancelled the contract with the “sisters” after a public outcry from faithful Catholics. Fr. Meriwether has since been transferred from his position as Chancellor of the diocese [Yes, you read that right; he was the Chancellor since 2004 despite his aggressive support for the gay lifestyle.] to Director of Ecumenical and Religious Affairs. [Don’t our separated brethren deserve better?] Fr. Meriwether continues as pastor of MHR. [Question: When will this bad priest be suspended for his antics?]

   Fr. Jean Michael Lastiri of Fresno was transferred from parish ministry a few years ago for soliciting gay sex on the internet and stealing $60,000 in parish funds. One of his gay buddies molested a child at his parish. There’s lots more, but we haven’t room to elaborate here [Visit our website]. Suffice it to say the padre went to St. Luke’s, was reassigned to a parish that rejected him, and then took charge of jail ministry. [Don’t prisoners deserve better?] Recently his bishop, John Steinbock, assigned him as administrator to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a parish with 800 families. [Question: why wasn’t Fr. Lastiri suspended? Why is the diocese endangering children by putting this disordered  priest back in a parish?]

***In God we trust purged from coin face: Thomas More Law Center urges citizens to boycott the new dollar coin saying, “Congress has… done what atheist litigants have been unsuccessfully trying to do for years – erase all reference to God from our money." The words, nearly invisible, are on the edge of the coin – for now. How long before they’re dropped down the memory hole?

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