Letter was wrong, irresponsible

I write on behalf of St. Ignatius and Christ the Redeemer Parish Pastoral Council with respect to a letter purportedly written by an E. Green under the headline ‘Thoughts on the departure of Fr. Mike’ published in the 12 May, 2007 issue of the Cayman Net News.

Firstly, we are disappointed that the Net News should print such a personal, venomous attack on the character of an individual without first validating the allegations. Irreparable damage to a person’s life can result from this kind of unbridled and irresponsible journalism.

Unfortunately, as there is no E. Green registered as a member of the church community i.e. either of St. Ignatius Catholic Church in George Town, Christ the Redeemer in West Bay or the mission in the Sister Islands, we are obliged to respond in kind to what can only be described as unchristian, uncharitable, unwarranted and quite frankly deplorable act for one who purports to be associated with our church community.

The letter is not only a personal attack against our Pastor Fr. Mike Molnar, but against the Parish community of St. Ignatius and Christ the Redeemer.

It is also a misrepresentation of the facts.

In light of this, we would invite the Net News to adopt the policy of transparency and openness by requesting and printing the full name of the author of all letters penned to the editor.

This would ensure that in future the victim of such character assassination can know who their accuser is without the author hiding behind the mask of almost virtual anonymity.

The information attributed to Fr. Mike in an article headlined ‘Priest denies being pressured to leave by church members’ on 29 March, 2007 is correct.

Last year, Fr. Mike requested the Cardinal, who has responsibility for the Catholic Church community in the Cayman Islands, Adam Cardinal Maida, Archbishop of Detroit, to return to the Archdiocese and this was granted after the recent visit of Monsignor John Zenz, the Vicar General, who is responsible for the assignment of priests within the Archdiocese.

This fact has been attested to by a recent communiqué from the Cardinal earlier this month.

We can also confirm that at no time was an additional statement made by Fr. Mike on Rooster Radio Station regarding this issue as alleged.

Insofar as the appointment of principals of St. Ignatius Catholic School is concerned, Fr. Mike’s statement was indeed correct. All appointments are made by him, as pastor, on the recommendation of the Board of Governors.

Similarly, as has been the normal practice within our church community, the appointment of members of the Board of Governors is made by the pastor, in many instances based on recommendations of parishioners.

The members of the current Board of Governors are comprised of professionals. Therefore, to describe the majority of these professionals as rubber stamp or extension cord to all his stupid decision making’ is not only an injustice and disservice to these individuals who have given of their valuable time and service, but it shows an ignorance of the operations of the Board of Governors.

Under the policy guidelines of the Archdiocese of Detroit, each parish is required to produce financial reports annual revenue ad expenses in the spirit of transparency and accountability.

Fr. Mike has complied with this directive and annual statements are now distributed to parishioners.

This is a first for our parish and a welcome precedent. As for the allegation that Fr. Mike has spent more time on financial matters than any other priest, this is incorrect. All our priests are required to carry out the same fiscal responsibility and will.

At the request of the Parish Pastoral Council, periodically speak on the subject of stewardship, which includes the voluntary giving of time, talent and treasure in the service of the Lord.

There is no denying that over the past seven years Fr. Mike has built on the foundation that was laid by his predecessors.

Fr. Mike has contributed to the growth and development of the parish community including its spirituality. As Christians, we have embraced the expatriates brought in to assist in the economic development of our Islands who have joined our church community, including the Filipinos and Indians. They have become valuable members of our church community.

The rapid post-Ivan recovery of our church and school community was largely due to the driving force of Fr. Mike. He did not consider it demeaning to work side by side, day after day in the hot sun with maintenance workers struggling to clean up the hurricane debris and assist in the restoration and renovation works required. Through his personal efforts, substantial monies were raised from appeals to the parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit and beyond to assist in our recovery efforts.

E. Green also alleges that Fr. Mike spends a substantial amount of money on entertainment instead of on the poor. Contrary to these allegations, there are many poor individuals of whom we are aware that have been directly assisted by Fr. Mike, but do not believe that such charitable acts should be a matter of public dissemination.

To set the record straight, there is a line item under the heading Hospitality in the detailed financial format required by the Archdiocese.

That heading includes food and other supplies for the parish rectory, the annual Parish Christmas dinners and other special events such as the annual appreciation dinners for teachers and their spouses and those related to the visits of the Cardinal and Bishop to our Church community.

Unbelievable as it may seem to E. Green, there are parishioners and other residents who do entertain our pastors at restaurants, etc. from time to time.

We trust that this has served to enlighten, clarify and put into perspective the unfounded allegations.

Should E. Green have any further concerns/issues, we would invite him/her to address them directly to the Parish Pastoral Council so that he/she can be accurately informed.

Angela J. Miller – Chairperson St. Ignatius and Christ the Redeemer Parish Pastoral Council

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