COULD IT MAKE US LESS PROUD OF OUR CHURCH?
While there are no doubt many who find their support of St. Isabel Church necessary, or at least tolerable, it is important to remember what has actually happened over the past nearly four years. In the most underhanded and impossibly inexcusable way, the Bishop of this Diocese, has not only done his best to destroy the life of a good priest, but he has also destroyed a parish which was the envy of the Diocese. As if that wasn’t enough, the Bishop has exported his vile and vindictive behavior to Rome, convincing those who have never met Fr. Christopher, that he is a person deserving of punishment and “remedies” that could conceivably last the rest of Fr. Christopher’s earthly time. How did he do that? In the same blatantly nontransparent and underhanded way that he has accomplished everything – by depriving Fr. Christopher and his Advocate, Fr. Deibel, of their ordinary rights given to them by the Church’s Canon Law.
Could the Bishop have accomplished all that has been done alone? Absolutely not. The Bishop has surrounded himself with like-minded people who are easily deceived and who seem eager to do the Bishop’s bidding, including people from the parish who Fr. Christopher mistakenly once thought of as friends. With the Bishop’s staff – Chancellor, Judicial Vicar, Civil Lawyer, Priests, St. Isabel staff – the Bishop has wreaked havoc on so many, seemingly with no regard for their welfare or the state of their faith, something that should be of the utmost importance to someone who calls himself the chief shepherd of the Diocese.
It is in lieu of the above that we present to you the following exchange that took place between former parishioners and the Bishop’s civil lawyer, apparently with the blessing of the Bishop and the complicity of those in charge of the parish. We refresh your memories by recalling the December debacle involving Fr. Christopher’s removal of his personal things which were all (supposedly) loaded into the Church’s rectory. The day prematurely ended with the issuing of a trespass citation to Fr. Christopher by the Church’s office manager, Mrs. Khristy Scheer, and two additional trespass warnings issued to two parishioners. Those warnings would soon escalate into full-blown citations, only days later, when Mrs. Scheer stalked the parishioners as they attended a prayer service. Pointing them out to the police, the police that Mrs Scheer had called earlier. Her intention could only have been for them to arrive and harass the two older women, even though they were of no possible danger to the Church of St. Isabel.
In the days since December, many have been involved in trying to get those trespassing citations lifted, but to no avail, at least Not officially and not in print. The parishioners had been assured verbally that they could attend a church service if they so desired. Looking for assurance of that verbal offer, parishioners affected by the ban from the church wanted to attend the memorial Mass they had asked to be celebrated for a dear friend. They wrote the following note on July 8th to Bishop Dewane’s civil lawyer, Joseph A. DiVito. (You might recall his slanderous and unnecessary letter to the newly reformed St. Isabel’s Finance Council intended to convince them of Fr. Christopher’s guilt). The polite letter was only meant to seek the assurance of the Diocese that no upset would happen if, they chose cautiously, to attend the daily mass. Their letter is as follows:
Hello Mr. DiVito,
The subject Mass is in honor of a good friend of ours, and we paid to sponsor it (see bulletin) and needless to say, we’d like to attend it.
Your words in an email to [lawyer] Tim Murty back in a December email stated that the two ladies are free to come to worship at the church or visit the office. The Rectory is off limits.
My concern is that if we attend the Mass the Office person (Khristy Scheer) will call the Police and there will be a scene created at the service.
Would it be possible for you to send me an email stating that we can attend worship services without fear of arrest, and copy the Office person so we can avoid a scene?
I sincerely thank you and wish you good health.
This extraordinarily polite letter was answered on the same day by Bishop Dewane’s civil lawyer with the following:
From: Joseph DiVito <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: ROBERT KERN <email@example.com>
Date: 07/08/2020 2:21 PM
Subject: RE: St. Isabel Mass on July 12th
Since the conversation and correspondence with Mr. Murty last year, many things have changed. It is my understanding that you and your wife are now registered members of St. Columbkille parish and that St. Isabel is no longer your parish. The obligation to attend Mass has been suspended, and services now have limited attendance. Another change is that the Mass is live-streamed by many parishes, including St. Isabel, allowing Catholics to participate without being physically present. Thus, you may attend Mass on July 12via the live-stream. I am not going to discuss the past issues relating to your decision to change parishes other than to say your decision is respected. For all of the above reasons you are not welcome to return to St. Isabel.
Joseph A. DiVito, Esq.
It is truly hard to imagine a church that would write such a letter, or even allow such a letter to be written. It clearly ignores the canonical rights that all people have to attend church. Even excommunicated individuals can attend church if they wish! All of thoseissued no trespassing citations are not criminals, in spite of the fact that they have been treated as such by the Diocese. If that were the case restraining orders would have been issued.
What could possibly be the reason for the Diocese and the parish to deliberately refuse to issue anything in print suggesting that attending St. Isabel Church is possible, even with the no trespassing citations? What was the reason for no trespassing citations anyway? It is not as though they and hundreds of others haven’t been made to feel unwelcome by the parish staff and the last two Administrators/pastors? Would it be a sign of weakness or capitulation to exercise mercy towards those who wish to attend a specific Mass for a good reason? Over the last three-plus years Fr. Christopher from day one was prevented from celebrating the funeral Masses of friends, in spite of the pleas of spouses and children. Indeed, we are aware of several people who refused to have any funeral for their loved ones because of the tension filled climate at St. Isabel.
The above letter should be a source of embarrassment to anyone capable of embarrassment. The fact that the above letter was sent clearly shows that this Diocese is not only incapable of justice, fairness, and mercy, but it is also incapable of suffering any kind of embarrassment.