People who stated a view towards retaining our church building without alteration were referred to as ‘Plymouth Brethren’ — a singular and hurtful insult to Catholic people who appreciate and defend their true Faith to be categorized as members of some unorthodox group.
This attitude, together with the changes to almost all forms of worship and devotion and a lack of reverence in the church, has caused confusion, uncertainty and a serious degree of division amongst the Faithful of the parish.
Those who possess a good understanding of the Catholic Faith are both shocked and dismayed, Those who are not as familiar with the teachings are bewildered and, sadly, are being deceived. Consequently and as a result of a lamentable growing aversion to the Team Ministers it is noticeable that many parishioners who were hitherto devout Catholics are not now seen in our church. Some attend a non-Catholic Church in Benalla, whilst some visit other parishes to fulfill their Sunday obligation. Most unfortunate of all is the number of the youth who do not now attend Mass because they can see the distortions! (Who will be responsible before God for the souls of these people?) Many parishioners are contemplating reducing or discontinuing their planned giving; some have already done so.
The above listed irregularities constitute abuses contrary to the directives laid down in the official Liturgical books, documents and Instructions of our Church. Amongst these documents we call to mind that of `Inaestimabile Donum’ by the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship.
We cordially and respectfully make these submissions to you Reverend Fathers, hoping that you will lend your efforts to solving these problems on the local level here in the diocese without having to take them elsewhere.
We include in this letter certain references to assist you in your deliberation.
CANONS REFERRING TO THE RIGHTS OF THE FAITHFUL
Canon #212 which refers to the right of the faithful to express their views on the good of the Church to pastors and other faithful.
Canon #213 which refers to the right of the faithful to be assisted by their pastors, especially with the Word of God, and the Sacraments.
Canon #214 which refers to the right of the faithful to worship according to their rite (the Latin Rite in the English tongue for us); and to follow the form of spiritual life of their choice (within the law).
Canon #217 which refers to the right of the faithful to sound and true Christian Education.
CANONS REFERRING TO SPECIAL RIGHT
Canon #226 referring to the fact that married people have a serious right and duty to educate their children according to the Church’s teaching.
Canon #229 which refers to the right of the laity to be advisers to their pastors and even at Councils.
CANONS REFERRING TO RECOURSE
Canon #221 which refers to the fact that the faithful may defend their rights in the competent ecclesiastical forum.
Canon #1737 which refers to the fact that anyone who contends he or she is injured by an ecclesiastical decree can have recourse to the Superior of the author of the decree.
Canon #1738 which refers to the fact that anyone pursuing legal recourse has the right to the services of an advocate or procurator.
We make these submissions not in bitterness, hatred or animosity, but after much prayer and in a spirit of true charity for the welfare of the souls of pastors and for the spiritual welfare of the People of God in the parish of Benalla.
Yours in Christ
Parishioners of St. Joseph’s Parish Benalla