Who owns St. Sabina parish anyway?

Fr. Pfleger’s executive assistant objects to the arrival at the St. Sabina rectory of the new priest.

“Can you just imagine somebody moving into your house that really was not invited by us,” said Kimberly Lymore, the Associate Minister at the Faith Community of St. Sabina.

She’s been misled. It’s not her house, nor the parish council’s. That matter was decided a long time ago, when “trusteeism” was squelched in the American church by Rome.

Trusteeism controversy

ca. 18151840

In its infancy, the Catholic Church in America relied on the initiative and benevolence of laypeople to an extraordinary degree. Lacking priests, many early parishes were established and managed by laity. As the nation grew and the clerical personnel of the Church increased, priests and bishops sought to standardize the Church’s organization in accord with canon law and common practice. The result in some localities was tensionand sometimes hostilitybetween pastors and bishops on one side and lay trustees on the other. Significant battles over control of parishes occurred at St. Mary’s in Philadelphia and in New York, among other places.

Indeed, there is little new under the sun when it comes to the Roman church, periodic clerical chutzpah notwithstanding.

One thought on “Who owns St. Sabina parish anyway?

  1. You comments about trusteeism and church ownership notwithstanding, there’s a certain level of civility and courtesy that ought to be upheld by Christians with differing opinions. The announcement by Fr. Smith that he would be moving in in the next few minutes (plus his clear effort to put Pfleger down in his prior TV interview) violate those norms in my opinion. The best comment on that from Sabina I heard was from Vince Clark, who asked, “Can you imagine something like this happening at a church on the north shore?”

    All that being said, Jim, I marvel at your ability to make interesting points and add a measure of wit to so many issues of the day. Do you ever sleep?


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