Oct 20, 2005

While Father Larry looks on ...

(Paula Doyle/THE TIDINGS)

The TIDINGS caption which accompanies the above photograph says it all ...

PARISH LEADERS --- St. Stephen parish life director, Sister Susan Slater, SHCJ (far left) helps to distribute catechetical materials during a recent Sunday liturgy while Father Larry Estrada looks on.
Even as Cardinal Mahony calls for a Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations, he is aggressively moving forward with a plan to appoint non-ordained persons (typically women religious of this variety) as surrogate "pastors" of parishes. This, the Cardinal has said, is the way of the future.

"Furthermore, I am committed to the implementation of this form of parish leadership, which is not a stopgap measure or temporary solution [emphasis mine] to the diminishing number of priestly and Religious vocations." [source]
Sister Susan Slater is one of the pioneers of this "new way of being church." She is the "Parish Life Director" of St. Stephen's Parish in the L.A. suburb of Monterey Park. Father Larry Estrada is the "Sacramental Minister" who comes in from the sidelines only when something needs to be done ex opere operato. Otherwise, Sister's in charge.

According to THE TIDINGS,

"[Sister Slater] likes to promote the idea, which she has voiced to anxious parishioners wondering who will pastor them, that 'many people pastor you.'"
This, of course, flies in the face of what the Church teaches about the unique and indispensable role of the priest for the life of the parish community. In the introduction to the document, THE PRIEST, PASTOR AND LEADER OF THE PARISH COMMUNITY, Pope John Paul II wrote:

"It is therefore of fundamental importance for the parish to have a priest as its pastor and the title of pastor is specifically reserved to the priest. The sacred Order of the presbyterate represents the indispensable and irreplaceable condition for him to be appointed pastor validly (cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 521, 1). Certainly, other faithful can actively collaborate with him, even full-time, but because they have not received the ministerial priesthood, they cannot replace him as pastor."
Sister Slater arrived at St. Stephen's as its first "pastoral associate" a number of years ago. In an October 2003 edition of THE TIDINGS it was explained ...

"After Sister Slater's pastor took a leave of absence from the parish in February, Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala and the Vicar for Clergy's office recommended she be given extra responsibilities as parish director for five months until a new priest administrator could be named for the parish in July. Sister Slater was able to perform child baptisms, offer Communion services (not Mass), preach the Word, direct funeral liturgies and witness marriages."
A new priest administer was never appointed.

Here is Sister Slater today, "embracing a parishioner [boundary violation?] in St. Stephen's vestibule."

(Paula Doyle/THE TIDINGS)

Sister told THE TIDINGS that ...

" ... she has been accepted as a pastoral leader by parishioners. When she wore an alb on the altar for the first time at a prayer service, "a lot of women said it was nice to see me up there --- even older women," confided Sister Slater, who feels Catholics can adapt to pastoral leadership changes."

Working six days a week, and always on Sunday, Sister Slater balances administrative and pastoral duties such as bereavement counseling, marriage preparation and visiting the sick. "I do whatever the pastor would have done," said Sister Slater. She greets parishioners before Mass and makes announcements following the liturgy. Parishioners know she is there for their spiritual needs.
"I do whatever the pastor would have done."

Yes, Sister is doing whatever a priest does except transubstantiate. Theoreticaly, she can even hear confessions. That is to say, she can listen to peoples' sins; she just can't absolve them. But very likely Sister doesn't believe in all that hocus pocus anyway.


Blogger Patrick said...

Ah, how lovely are the fruits of Father Pete Liuzzi's very special hands-on ministry of caring. Boundary shmoundary!

10:34 AM  
Blogger Tito said...

I'm getting depressed reading this posting Quintero.

Keep up the good work on your blog. A record needs to be established of all the abuses. Hopefully someone in the Vatican is noticing these transgressions.

11:27 AM  
Blogger John Hearn said...

Just nauseating...

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Quintero, more and more dioceses and parishes are going to be going this route, at least in the very near future.

What do you expect would be the fallout from falling vocations?

Given the dearth of vocations, and given the influence of the "Lavender Mafia" in the Church, I now support the ordination of married men with children. But I'm not talking about just any married men. I'm talking about men who aren't afraid of their own testosterone, men who are the antithesis of our swishy cardinal (and many of his "brother bishops") and the emasculated bureaucrats attending him (and those at other dioceses).

Preferably, the candidates would be ex-firemen, ex-policemen, ex-servicemen, ex-construction workers, ex-cowboys, etc.

We're going to have to fight the "Lavender" bastards sooner or later. Why don't we start ASAP? We need a cadre of the kind of men I'm talking about to challenge the swishies in high places -- and, eventually, replace them.

Yes, I know that ordaining married men poses a unique set of problems that the Church is not ready to deal with (divorce, contraception, spousal abuse, financial support from Catholics who aren't used to tithing, "preacher kid" syndrome, etc.). But ordaining married Protestant clergymen who convert sort of sabotages the necessity for mandatory celibacy, doesn't it?

Besides, mandatory celibacy is a discipline, not a doctrine. It can be changed. It should be changed so we can turn the priesthood into a spiritual Marine Corps, not an annex of the World Council of Churches (as it's rapidly becoming).

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Sock said...

Setting aside the lavenders for a moment, there still has been an emasculation and a corresponding feminization of the priesthood. I agree with Joseph and understand why he included ex-firemen, ex-policemen, ex-servicemen, ex-construction workers, ex-cowboys and so on. Personally, I would expand the list to include other groups of men who are not ashamed of their masculinity. Why not also include ex- physicians, accountants, business men, and yes, even ex-lawyers (I realize naming lawyers may put me on someone’s list of those who are damned, but I don’t care).

Let us have educated individuals who have accomplished something in their lives and have a track record of success, perseverance, strength of character, and, most importantly, an unshakeable faith and love of Jesus Christ. That’s the kind of man I could respect whether or not he’s a priest.

Anyway, getting back to the photo of Sister Slater embracing another parishioner.

musical accompaniment

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gee whiz! and YIKES!!

It looks like Sister is about to kiss the poor unfortunate woman!

Is she a lesbian!!??

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would not let 'sister' Slater touch me!!!!

As for married priests--yes, I know they do this in the eastern Rites--there is a theology of the priesthood and of a total giving of self to Christ for the sake of the Kingdom of God that simply cannot be done by a married man with family. That is why there is a diaconate as a place where they are to serve. The nuptial relationship of the priest who stands 'in persona Christi' and the Church is a gift and charism that cannot be messed with.

ave Maria!

3:08 PM  
Blogger Venerable Aussie said...

"Running wild in the Vineyard of the Lord"

"Taking over the Vineyard of the Lord"

"Becoming Protestants in the Vineyard of the Lord"

"Where are the Catholics in the Vineyard of the Lord"

3:09 PM  
Blogger The Dover Beachcomber said...

Great way to encourage priestly vocations! Show them that most of job can be done just as well by non-priests. Wow, those young men will think, I'll be *less* needed than priests used to be, so where do I sign up?

Is it any wonder that this disaster is happening in the Vocation-Free Zone that Cardinal Mahony has made of LA?

4:42 PM  
Blogger C S said...

And the tidings actually ran this picture of sister about to kiss a parishioner? I mean c'mon why else would she be in that position. Yeesh!!

6:02 PM  
Blogger Stu said...


And for the men out there, stand up, get involved in you parish and take charge. Too many of us are content to abdicate our responsibility to lead be the spiritual leaders of our families like a modern Adam.

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no hidden agenda here. It's right out in the open.

Language is used to confuse the issue and to blur the distinction between ordained priest and laity. Priests are no longer called "Pastors", they are now "sacramental ministers", "priest ministers", or "parish administrators", while Sister enjoys the title of "Pastoral associate", or "Parish Life Director".
The eventual goal is to eliminate all distinctions. I don't see how the cardinal can continue to proceed down this path without going into formal schism. His actions and words are in direct opposition to Rome.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Kaytlan said...

There sure are a lot of FAT WOMEN running the Church in L.A.

6:51 AM  
Anonymous barbara said...

FWIW, I believe Fr. Estrada was Mahony's priest secretary at one point. Can anyone confirm this? I'd look it up, but don't have the stomach to navigate the Archdiocese website. He was let go, without razor privileges.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If you click on the "Sacramental Minister" link contained in this post, it will take you to another L.A. Catholic post entitled, "(Sacramental) Monsters, Inc.", which states ...

"25 years ago, Father Lawrence Estrada was ordained a priest at the future Saint Vibiana Performing Arts Center/Hotel/Restaurant complex over on 2nd and Main. He's held several assignments throughout those years, including a stint as Archbishop Roger M. Mahony's priest-secretary, as well as serving as pastor of St. Stephen's Church in Monterey Park from 1996 to 2003."

12:02 PM  

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