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Radloff Facebook letter

Radloff Facebook letter

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Open letter posted on Fr. James Radloff's Facebook page May 8
Open letter posted on Fr. James Radloff's Facebook page May 8

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Published by: National Catholic Reporter on May 09, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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06/15/2014

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1
Holy ommunion Evangelical atholic hurch
Rev. James A. Radloff 2660 NE Hwy 20 Suite 610-406 Bend, OR 97701 May 8, 2014 Dear Friends; Since my recent announcement of serving as a priest at the new Holy Communion Evangelical Catholic Church in Bend, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and excited by the enthusiasm this news has generated. It will take me a lot of hours to respond to all the cards, letters, texts, emails and private Facebook messages. I appreciate many sharing with me their thoughts and heartfelt advice that guided my decisions. I also understand the confusion and concern that this has created for some. This past year has been the most challenging of my life
 even more challenging than fighting cancer. I poured my life and soul into my priesthood and into the Roman Catholic Church and I have no regrets. I know I was called by God to this ministry. But I have really taken a beating by the betrayal I felt in not  being allowed to act as a priest. At times, with the great stress and the torment I suffered, my personal feelings became less Christian than I would have liked. I am sorry if my passion for the priesthood and the salvation of souls was not always expressed in as loving a manner as humanly possible. Now I am ready to shift from the past to focus on the bright possibilities of the future. I hope that you, like me, will find hope and healing as we move beyond this sad experience. With me no longer restricted from meeting and speaking with friends, I have heard a number of questions that deserve clarification which should help us in our moving forward.
QUESTION 1:
 
Why, after 20 years, have you decided to continue your Catholic ministry and faith outside of the Roman Catholic Church? 
 
Please understand that I did not make this decision lightly. I have gone on retreats and spent many hours in prayer and discernment. I devoted months to exploring what options were available to me under Canon and civil law so that I could remain acting as a Roman Catholic priest. I hope that everyone recognizes that I love God and the Catholic faith and have been very fulfilled in my service to others. I  pray that I have and will continue to be able to make a difference in the lives of many. I am grateful and feel justified that at each level of the appeal process from the bishop to the Vatican,
my  priesthood was affirmed!
 I am a priest in good standing. However, I had been restricted by the bishop from serving as a priest anywhere, which included not performing Masses, weddings for friends, attending to funerals, etc. Furthermore, I was not permitted to live in Bend, could only go to Mass in Madras, and was not sanctioned to get together with my friends! In short, I was
a “Priest
in Good
Standing” but hardly a
 priest. Because of my strong belief in the Catholic Faith and desire to serve as a priest, I found myself with several undesirable options.
 First 
, I could remain a Roman Catholic priest with no assignment or  priesthood.
Second 
, I could change religious denominations.
Third 
, I could leave religious life all together and start a gardening business. None of those options had any interest to me.
 
2
I am a Catholic and I want to CONTINUE serving my faith and inspire others as a priest in a valid Catholic Church! So I was brought to a
 Fourth
 option; the Evangelical Catholic Church. This church offers the traditional Catholic sacraments and beliefs in a welcoming environment under more transparent governance.
QUESTION 2:
 
Bishop Cary has recently reached out to you seeking reconciliation and peace. Will you reconsider your decision?
During this whole difficult process I have been deeply touched by the very large number of friends and supporters who have remained by me to encourage, pray and do whatever they could to help me. The hundreds of letters written on my behalf to so many people, including the Pope himself, have been extraordinary. Because the opinions of others truly do matter to me, I went to many of you to ask how I should respo
nd to the bishop’s
invitation to walk through the open door of reconciliation and peace. The response to my inquiry was varied but beneficial. Many questioned why the bishop chose the forum of a statement on a website over a phone call and first meeting with me face-to-face. Most found the way I had been treated and was continuing to be treated as unacceptable behavior for me to endure any longer. A small minority encouraged me to accept what they perceived to be an olive branch. So I listened to the thoughtful advice and waited to be contacted  personally by the bishop through the letter he said he had written me. When the letter arrived my immediate response was one of more confusion and disappointment. I showed it to my closest family and friends to see if they saw in his letter an open door of reconciliation and peace. They did not. In fact they saw in it a threat, especially in
the phrase “serious negative consequences for you personally”. Then
, most importantly, I have taken the letter to prayer. What does the Lord think about everything the bishop was doing? It was not as much what was in the letter, but what was missing, that guided my response. It was difficult to see where there might be an olive branch or an offer for reconciliation and peace. What was missing was a proposal to rescind any of his previous restrictions on my ministry or how I would be able to serve as a priest within the Diocese of Baker or anywhere in the church in the future. The bishop wanted me to not remove myself from the priesthood but at the same time he was not allowing me to function as a priest in any way anywhere. In continuing in the Evangelical Catholic Church I could choose instead an option that would allow me to live out my priesthood for the salvation of souls through offering valid sacramental ministry to those who were not being ministered to. I wish my
repeated requests
 for formal reconciliation over the past few months had been accepted earlier, instead of after my resignation. I wish I had been able to have a constructive discussion with the  bishop
before
 I was forced to resign. As I have said multiple times over the last year, I had continued to  pray for the day when I could stand next to Bishop Car 
y, “brother to brother”
, and put this behind us. I am still ready to do so as Christians with a common love of God, but not as a member of the Roman Catholic Church. I need to move on for my good and the good of all the faithful.
QUESTION 3:
Starting a new Church in Bend seems vindictive to Saint Francis and the Diocese of Baker. Is that part of the reason for starting a new Church here?
Absolutely not! I spent over 20 years serving in the Baker Diocese. During that time I worked with several bishops and thousands of parishioners to build strong and vibrant Catholic communities. I want the Catholic faith to flourish regardless of which church a person attends. I love the Catholic faith, which is why I and others are continuing that faith with the Evangelical Catholic Church.

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