Assumptions are not valid pieces of evidence. They usually make asses of you and me. But I must make some anyway in this case because I will never get the real truth. I can now understand the rage and disgust Martin Luther must have had for the Catholic Church in the early 1500’s because of its corruption. Corruption is still around today but in much subtler forms. I stayed up all night last night tossing and turning, wondering why would the Catholic Church remove me from their permanent diaconate program. I made good grades at Our Lady of the Lake College in our permanent diaconate studies. I go to church every Sunday. I love God and neighbor. So I kept piecing bits of pieces together of what went down yesterday. The following is what I assume happened.
First, these are the known facts. I was called a couple of weeks ago to attend a meeting with Father Jamin, the priest in charge of deacon formation in the Baton Rouge dioceses. We are all humans and naturally I suspected bad things but I put a positive spin on the matter telling myself that they wanted me to help out somewhere. So when I arrived early for the meeting, I noticed Fr. Tom Ranzino was at the chancery. That would not necessarily be unusual since Rev. Tom Ranzino is vicar general for the dioceses. He is also parish priest for St Jean Vianney church. He passed by me the first time without acknowledging me but when he came through again, he looked at me with what I would describe as a devilish grin. (I assume he knew exactly what was going down, being the vicar general and all.) Next I saw my formation director enter the building, Dan Borne’, and we talked about my recent trip to Rome. You must realize that I was never told what this meeting was about or who was going to attend the meeting. So after a few minutes, Father Jamin came and got me from the waiting room and brought me into this room occupied by John Veron, a permanent deacon in charge of the program, deacon Dan Borne’, Father Jamin and another older gentlemen who I do not remember his name.
Father Jamin began the meeting by stating that they had decided to ask me to leave the permanent diaconate program. I immediately asked them for their reasons. Father Jamin said there were several, one being that he was not impressed with my answers to the annual assessment questions. Here are the two questions and answers he raised specifically: “Describe the distinctive role and mission of the laity in the Church and world using your own words. The role of the laity should be the encouragement and formation of their neighbors yet I see that most are distant and confused about their purpose in the church. Most do not know scripture and they could care less that they know so little. Freedom from sin and salvation of souls should be the primary role yet familiarity and use of the sacraments may have to suffice. Is your vision of the Church and the Diaconate shaped and formed by the documents of Vatican II and subsequent ecclesiastical documents? In what ways? No, my vision of the church is shaped by the early documents of the church like the Didache, apostolic constitution and the writings of the church fathers.” He stated the second answer failed to mention the significance of Vatican II reestablishing the position of the permanent deacon in the Catholic Church. After telling me that many Catholics are well versed in the bible, then he stated that I was now a part of that laity. Other reasons given were the fact that I failed to find a new spiritual director after my first year in the program. My first spiritual director was an old retired priest who was very nice and extremely intelligent. But we seemed to have gotten off to a bad start from day one. When I arrived at his house for our first meeting, I immediately detected his surprise that I was not the Kent Mayeux who he knew and with whom he had attended a mission trip. But we persevered and I assumed that we would continue our monthly meetings for the second year. When time came, I called him and he stated that he would not be available for the second year. Classes started and I failed to recruit a new spiritual director for the whole second year. Also mentioned was the fact that my recommendation letter to the program was not from a priest but from a deacon. Another reason was that I had not shown a sufficient intension of service within the Catholic Church. I have been singing in the choir since before 1998 when the new church at St. Jean Vianney was built. I continued to sing at MBS and St Jude. We sang every Sunday and extra holiday Masses and practiced every Wednesday night.
But the reason which was most stressed at the meeting was the issue of my writings, writings made public in self-published books and on my blog. The most significant issue was my mention that baptism after the death of Christ may no longer obviate original sin since Christ’s death achieved that for us. For which sins did Christ die I asked, original, personal or both. Once forgiven, we are always forgiven I argued. First, know that I wrote these statements before I entered the diaconate program. Second, we all know that the Catholic Church teaches that we are born with original sin, even those of us born after the death and resurrection of Christ and we must be baptized to dispense with that sin and then we become members of the church. This last statement was expressed in my book. But this issue is still a legitimate question for which I have still not found a sufficient explanation. Also mentioned was my apologetic quip that Protestants cannot be saved. I now know that anyone can be saved, even the Muslim terrorist.
And now comes the assumptions. But before I make assumptions, I have to give some back ground. I attended Most Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church (MBS) for years and I sang in the choir. Father Mike Collins, a most blessed soul and now recently deceased, was the pastor. His deacon, Don Musso, wrote the letter of recommendation for me to enter the diaconate. We sold our home that was a mile from MBS and bought a house near St Jude the Apostle Catholic Church. Father Mike, then retired, was living with the pastor of St Jude, Father Trey Nelson. So we decided to attend St Jude, which was our parish church and since we could still attend Mass with Father Mike who was helping with Masses. I began singing in the choir at St Jude. One Sunday at a Mass at St Jude, I noticed one of my homosexual, married neighbors who lived two door down from me in our new neighborhood, acting as a Eucharistic minister. He and his “spouse” would attend Mass together, kiss during Mass to express a sign of peace and then he would proceed to the altar to dispense the Eucharist as a minister. I was now in deacon school and had concerns with such behavior being allowed by Pastor Nelson. Being naïve as I am and instead of speaking with Pastor Nelson first, I wrote a letter to the Bishop explaining what was happening at St Jude. I received a written response from Rev. Tom Ranzino, the vicar general for the dioceses, saying that I should speak to Pastor Nelson. So I called Father Nelson and we set a meeting. When I arrived, I noticed a tension in the air as I checked in with the secretary. After a few minutes wait, he sat me down in his office and began lecturing me about the need to love our neighbor and the chain of command in the Catholic Church. I immediately knew this was not going to be a pleasant meeting because of his displayed anger and malice directed toward me. He made a comment that I should not have gone directly to the bishop but spoken with him first. I apologized for my actions but that was not received well. He commented on the fact that I was in deacon school and that he did not write my letter of recommendation. He very clearly implied that I should not be in deacon school and that he had friends in high places. I was very cordial and pressed him on the issue of the meeting without any response. The openly married homosexual continued to dispense the Eucharist during Mass after our meeting. So I decided to write Archbishop Gregory Aymond in New Orleans about the issue. He wrote back directing me to Bishop Muench. I responded back to Archbishop Aymond’s letter and I carbon copied my letter to Pope Francis and the Chairman of USCCB. Here is the text of my letter. ”Thanks for your response regarding the theological and pastoral issue regarding Eucharistic ministers. Your letter suggests that I speak to Bishop Robert Muench and Father Trey Nelson. I have contacted Bishop Muench by letter and Father Trey in person without any formal decision. This situation however, an openly married homosexual dispensing communion, still exists in our Church. I have attached bible verses, pages 6-7 of the Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia by Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archdiocese of Philadelphia and a response to a question I posited to a cannon law lawyer on cannonlawmadeeasy.com. These documents clearly state that homosexuals are not allowed to become extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. This situation creates a scandal in the church. This situation portrays to our congregation, and to any other congregation that allows this, an acceptance by the Catholic Church of gay marriage. We love our gay brothers but not to the detriment of the whole congregation, especially to the detriment of our vulnerable children. After this couple kisses as a sign of peace, the congregation sees this gay man approach the altar and dispense Holy Communion. I find this situation objectionable and despicable. He should not be offered the sacrament, much less dispense it. Will the Church’s capitulation on this issue eventually lead to the Church performing gay marriages? Please provide your sheep with some much needed guidance.” I never heard anything again from Archbishop Aymond, Pope Francis or the USCCB. We stopped attending St Jude church and now attend another Catholic Church outside of our parish. I can only assume that the homosexual stopped dispensing communion at St Jude, because they have since sold their home in our neighborhood and moved to another civil parish within our diocese. One can find the very well written response to my question by the cannon lawyer on her website, cannonlawmadeeasy.com under “Who is qualified to become an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion? Posted on August 18, 2016 by Cathy Caridi.” These are the background facts.
And finally the assumptions. You may be able to make them yourself after reading this blog post but here goes. I can only assume that I was kicked out of the diaconate program for “political” reasons. I assume that Father Trey Nelson put pressure on his friend, the most Rev. Tom Ranzino, to get rid of me. Rev. Ranzino seems to be running the dioceses because Bishop Muench will soon be writing his request to retire. And if by coincidence, my own formation director, Dan Borne, is the deacon at St Jean Vianney, where Father Ranzino is pastor. I know that Deacon Borne was the facilitator of the process of removal by openly expressing my thoughts on baptism to Father Jamin. I can only assume that he began pushing the idea of removing me through the prodding or command of Ranzino. I cannot assume that Borne or even Father Jamin had evil intentions because they seem to be very good men. I must assume that Nelson and Ranzino had evil intentions. All of these assumptions may be a figment of my depraved imagination. Maybe I was just not deacon material and they simply carried out the will of God. I like this last explanation the best since I know that revenge is for God alone.
I am not knocking the Catholic Church. Hell, they probably would not have been able to make a good deacon out of me anyway. I am too outspoken and still a sinner. But know this, I am 100% convinced that the Catholic Church is the real church that Jesus established 2000 years ago. I have no doubts or assumptions about that question. My visit to Rome confirmed that fact. The thing I am most perturbed about is the politics within the church and the attempt by some to protect homosexuals and even encourage homosexuality. When you put humans in charge of divine things, what can you expect but human results? If these clowns were in charge when St Augustine was writing and if the internet was available then, they would have probably kicked Augustine out of the church for condemning people and the many times he changed his mind about theological issues. I am not angry with anyone. I love my neighbors. I was just so excited that I, a reformed sinner, would be given a chance to tell others about the saving nature of God’s grace. Being a deacon was not God’s will for me. An ordained deacon must devote considerable time in the service of God’s people within his assigned parish, time which is diverted from family. I must find another outlet to express the insight and the fire in my heart that God has given me. God bless.