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Church Militant's Kristine Christlieb was in the Gateway City Sunday. And in tonight's In-Depth Report, she reveals how the chancery chose to listen to one group but not another.
Clerics and chancery officials were fully deployed on Sunday to listen to and record the concerns of the LGBT community.
Marie Kenyon, director of the Peace and Justice Commission, St. Louis archdiocese: "I'm Marie Kenyon with the archdiocese synod team, along with Dcn. Chris, Joyce Jones, our chancellor, Nancy Werner, Fr. Mitch Doyen. We are here in the name of Abp. Rozanski. He knows we're here."
The basement of St. Cronan was at seating capacity with LGBT Catholics and their supporters.
Archdiocesan chancellor Nancy Werner encouraged participants to share their concerns.
Nancy Werner: "I would just encourage you to be open and to have these conversations for the next 45 minutes. If there are things that you don't think we really got into enough, I would encourage you to reach out to one of us."
Participants were given information about archdiocesan resources and were invited to join New Ways Ministry, a dissident pro-gay group.
Thirty minutes later and just down the street, a different group of Catholics was gathering on the steps of the Cathedral Basilica.
These Catholics were concerned about All Things New — that's the name the archdiocese is using to promote its restructuring plan, a plan that will dramatically reduce the number of parishes in the once-thriving archdiocese.
The gathering was a last resort.
Members of St. Louis Resistance, as well as other groups from the area, had been begging to meet with anyone from the archdiocese. But their letters and phone calls were ignored.
The crowd of more than 100 Catholics marched about two blocks from the Cathedral Basilica to the archbishop's residence.
Church Militant Resistance member Ken Battis: "We are here to pray for all 187 parishes, not just the mega-parishes that might survive All Things New."
And that's what they did, praying by name for each parish in the archdiocese.
St. Louis Catholics have cause to be concerned.
They've already put a church for sale here in the archdiocese of St. Louis, up for sale without any canonical decrees that we know of. We've asked them about it. So our worry is that there's very specific reasons when and how you can close a church. It's consecrated and sacred ground; it belongs to the generations of Catholics that built it before us, and it belongs to Holy Mother Church. So if it has to happen, let that be the last thing, the last possibility of closing it, and follow canon law when you do it.
Noticeably absent from the gathering was any member of the clergy. Not a single priest joined the group to pray for what is to become of the once-great archdiocese.
In 1999, Vatican officials banned the founders of New Ways Ministry from ministering to homosexuals.