Glory to God...often through music as worship. Yet, at St. Gabriel's in Brighton, the lobbyists disguised as Roman Catholic priests will have to do a quick scramble to replace their cantor and organist, both victims of Sean O'Malley's politics.
Despite the Herald's love of scoop and concentration on its Catholic readership, the Boston Globe struck first on this one. Its coverage of the dustup in the nave is here.
The short of it is that under orders from the bishops, most compliant priests in Massachusetts have been shilling for the political and politically charged petition to put a vote on the 2008 ballot to rescind same-sex marriage. They announce and plead from the pulpit and have petitions available in the sanctuary to increase the peer pressure to sign.
When they performed this act Sunday, October 8th, the organist, Patrick Kilduff, had had enough. Despite his 28-year tenure, he chose to leave his instrument rather than play the closing hymn. The cantor, Colleen Bryant, had an American moment, choosing liberty and free thought over obeisance. She spoke to the congregation, saying that they did not have to sign the petition.
In the spirit Christian love and forgiveness...no, wrong script. The pastor, Rev. Justinian Manning, canned the cantor and the organist quit in higher dudgeon.
Recalling it to the Globe, Kilduff said he told the priests, "I'm done. I can't believe what you guys have done."
No one I know has ever claimed that the RC church is a democracy, but it's anti-democratic tack here seems to surprise parishioners and employees alike. The open politicization of the pulpit has been too much for some. As Kilduff puts it, "Deal with (political statements) at the rectory, at the school, not during church, not during a holy service."
Manning won't talk, but Sean O'Malley's talker, spokesman Terrence Donilon, will. "Any place and time we could reasonably expect a priest to promote those issues that are central to the mission of the church" is fine with the archbishop.
Kilduff had warned Bryant that he would protest the politics. She was inspired by his walk-off to speak out. Before singing two versions of "Now Thank We All Our God" a capella, she recalls saying, "that by no means should anyone feel obligated to sign this petition, especially those of us who, like myself, may believe or may think that politics do not belong in this house of worship."
She exhibits the class that O'Malley and Manning lack.