The news was conveyed by faithful messenger boy Mark Dupont, in a particularly hateful letter to the editor of the Springfield Republican.
It's more proof that the decision to name the warm n' fuzzy robo-magazine replacing the Observer "The Catholic Mirror" was a mistake. The true "Catholic Mirror" in the diocese is Mark Dupont: he clearly reflects the policies of Bishop McDonnell. The policies are flawed, but the reflection is perfect.
The letter is laced with extremes. On one side are the "legal", "good", "quiet", "prayerful", parishioners of Holy Cross, who are "trying to make the best, not the worse" of the situation. These parishioners are the ones that have "legitimate rights".
According to this spin, the sudden appearance of Fr. Alex with a diocesan security goon 3 days before Christmas to snatch the Baby Jesus, the Three Kings and assorted shepherds from a creche that was set up and in use was not a case of kidnapping at all. Rather, it was a "simple, thoughtful act", that has been willfully distorted by that most reliable and yet convenient whipping-boy, the secular news media, though whom Bishop McDonnell broadcasts his complaint.
For McDonnell, it seems always to boil down to a question of rights. The rights of the new parish (just as the rights of the new parish in Adams) are all-important. The rights of faithful Catholics that dissent do not exist.
It is particularly galling for the Bishop to attempt to portray this as a goodwill gesture. Last time I checked, "goodwill toward men" was a celebrated phrase within a profoundly Christian context at a most sacred time of the year. If the desire to move the plaster figures was motivated by goodwill, as the Bishop claims, then why did it not occur to these good people to converse with the people at MD? Why did they not give them the courtesy of a phone call or email or......anything, really.....rather than just show up unexpectedly, stuff the Baby Jesus in a box, and drag him away?
From this actions, and the defense of them, it's obvious that the Bishop's definition of "goodwill" does not extend to former parishioners of MD who are still worshipping within the building. That is wrong.
For his penance I strongly recommend that the Bishop reflect on the following reading, which is not found in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, but in the "Merchant of Venice" Act 4, Scene 1.
It gives some good pointers on what mercy, and goodwill, are all about.
The quality of mercy is not strain'd
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.