[Thanks to Will Bloomfield for suggesting that I, being a resident of the Diocese of Richmond, blog on this subject. WARNING:
this is quite long.]
From The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot
VIRGINIA BEACH — Gruff, opinionated and iconoclastic doesn’t begin to describe the Rev. Thomas J. Quinlan , the gravel-voiced, chain-smoking priest of Holy Family Catholic Church in Virginia Beach. During his 47 years of parish ministry, “TQ” scorned public opinion – and doctrine as well, critics say – in colorfully preaching his interpretation of Vatican II Catholicism.My Comments:
Quinlan advocated vigorous lay involvement in the Mass and ministry, and salted services with attention-grabbing twists, such as a famous Palm Sunday motorcycle ride in the sanctuary of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Norfolk.
But his days as a priest in charge of a parish are numbered. After receiving a complaint from a visitor to Holy Family about the priest’s unorthodoxy, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo wrote to “strongly suggest” that Quinlan retire.
“I had a visit with him and told him I wanted another year and he said, 'No, I’m retiring you,’” Quinlan said last week after talking with the bishop. (emphasis added)
Finally, after 30 years of all manner of "progressive" lunacy in doctrine and liturgy under the leadership of now-retired Bishop Walter Sullivan, new Richmond Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo is bringing some semblance of orthodoxy to the Diocese of Richmond.[In fairness to Bishop Sullivan, in addition to his doctrinal and liturgical "liberalism", he was also "liberal" - in the true meaning of the word - in permitting celebration of the Tridentine Rite in the Diocese. He has also been very kind to me on a personal level.]
The positive changes began when Bishop DiLorenzo appointed a Diocesan Theologian and established a Doctrine Commission to act as enforcers of "orthodoxy". In an interview with The Catholic Virginian
, the Bishop's new Diocesan Theologian made the following comments about his new Ratzingerian role: "Everyone has a right to the faithful celebration of the liturgies and orthodox teaching."
One important function of the Diocesan Theologian via the Doctrine Commission is that Catholic organizations and parishes in the Diocese must seek approval of the Commission before inviting guest speakers. According to the Diocesan Theologian, for that to happen:
"There must be a submission of their name, topic and curriculum vitae. They also need a letter from their Bishop or Religious Superior with regard to their orthodoxy. In other words, are they non-dissenting. Dissent will not be tolerated in the diocese." (emphasis added)
"Every case will be decided according to the same standard: 'orthodoxy'. Orthodoxy is right teaching. Anything contrary to Catholic teaching will not fly. Don't expect anything about women's ordination in this diocese." (emphasis added)
With that standard in place, Bishop DiLorenzo then dismissed a member of the Diocesan Women's Commission who had used her role on the Commission to advocate in favor of ordination of women to the priesthood. When questioned about this dismissal, Bishop DiLorenzo responded as follows: "That woman is perfectly free to her opinion, but she can’t have it both ways. I can’t have her representing me on a diocesan commission when she is not representing the views of the Catholic Church."
Next, Bishop DiLorenzo dismantled one of Bishop Sullivan's pet projects, the "Sexual Minorities Commission", which, when established by Bishop Sullivan in the 1970's, was the first outreach ministry of its kind to homosexual Catholics. In the intervening years, it had become something of an official Diocesan gay rights advocacy arm, so the new Bishop disbanded it: "The commission carried a lot of baggage with it and so I made the decision to not let it continue ... I don’t think two retreats a year constitutes a ministry ... from what I can tell, no one on the commission was engaged in serious dialogue that had theological underpinnings."
And now, the Bishop has "retired" one of the worst "Spirit of Vatican II" offenders in one of the most "progressive" parishes in the Diocese. To get an idea of the mindset at Holy Family (and indeed, much of the Diocese of Richmond), one need only read the following quote from The Catholic Virginian
describing a parishioner's confrontation with Bishop DiLorenzo:
Tim McCarthy of Holy Family told the bishop he was saddened to see that he dismantled the Sexual Minorities Commission and chose to take his friend (Judy Johnson) off the Women’s Commission. He told the Bishop, "I want to be in right relationship with you but I would like for you to recognize our truth as we recognize your truth and I would like to be able to enter into a collaborative dialogue, although I fully recognize the important role that you have." (emphasis added)
Well, Timmy, I doubt whether the Bishop cares if you're in a "right relationship" with him, so long as you're in a "right relationship" with Jesus Christ. And as for recognizing "your truth" vs. "his truth", again, I think the Bishop is probably more interested in your recognition of The Truth
. I also doubt whether Bishop DiLorenzo, given the demands of his "important role", is too interested in entering a "collaborative dialogue" with you or anyone else regarding settled Church teaching on women's ordination and the sinfulness of homosexual acts.
In conclusion, after such an auspicious start to his leadership of the Diocese of Richmond, we can only hope for more of the same from Bishop DiLorenzo in the future.UPDATE:
[hat tip: Amy Welborn
]Check out Father "TQ"'s bulletin notes.
This story has also been blogged at A Saintly Salmagundi