Letters to the editor
Published Sunday, April 15, 2012

Church needs changes

In a letter to the editor in 2006, I criticized Bishop Gerald Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino. He had announced plans to abandon our Catholic church buildings in Banning and Beaumont. These would be replaced by a new and much larger place of worship located south of the freeway, far from the heart of either city.

Our bishop was responding to the growing crowds at our many weekend Masses, and the shortage of priests. I objected to his decree that we must build and furnish a megachurch. I said he was merely postponing the inevitable. I guessed that in 10 years not even one priest would be available for full-time ministry here in the Pass.

I was wrong. I didn't expect so many priests from other countries. In recent years, Father Hector from Columbia, Father Jesus from Mexico and Father Mario from Argentina have ministered to Catholics in Banning and Beaumont. We now have Father Joseph from Vietnam, Father Deebar from India and Father Demetrio from the Philippines.

Bishop Barnes should promote a bolder strategy. Combining parishes, closing churches and importing priests will accomplish little. Catholicism in Europe has already lost much of its vitality. Without reform, the same thing will happen here. We need an expanded and enriched priesthood, including married and single men and women.

Terrence Halloran
Beaumont


Letters to the editor published Friday, April 20, 2012

Catholic church issue

In a letter published on June 2, 2006 in the Record Gazette, I criticized Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino. He had announced plans to abandon our Catholic church buildings in Banning and Beaumont. These would be replaced by a new and much larger place of worship located south of the freeway, far from the heart of either city.

Our bishop was responding to the growing crowds at our many weekend Masses. He was also responding to the increasing shortage of priests. I objected to his decree that we must build and furnish a mega-church. I said he was merely postponing the inevitable. I guessed that in ten years not even one priest would be available for full time ministry here in the Pass Area.

I was wrong, of course. I didn't expect so many priests from other countries. In recent years Father Hector from Columbia, Father Jesus from Mexico and Father Mario from Argentina have ministered to Catholics in Banning and Beaumont. Currently we have Father Joseph from Vietnam, Father Deebar from India and Father Demetrio from the Philippines. Because our churches are small, they preside at a total of eleven scheduled Masses each weekend.

Bishop Gerald Barnes should promote a bolder strategy. Combining parishes, closing churches and importing priests will accomplish very little. Catholicism in Europe has already lost much of its vitality. Without deep reform, the same thing will happen here in the U.S. We need an expanded and enriched Catholic priesthood, including married and single men and women.

Terrence Halloran
Beaumont