Vilnius parishioners sue archdiocese. (updated)
Dan Mangan of the New York Post has the scoop.
You’ve seen the term “lay trustee” bandied about in stories about Our Lady of Vilnius. What does it mean? In New York, parishes are separately incorporated, and each is governed by a set of five trustees: the bishop, usually his secretary, the pastor, and two laypeople appointed by the pastor. In most cases, then, if a dispute like the one at Vilnius arises, the bishop has three of the five votes he would need to carry out his wishes. But at Vilnius, the two lay trustees and the administrator (pastor) aren’t on board with Cardinal Egan’s decision. Now, one might ask, what does it mean for a trustee of a parish to seek its demise? I imagine that question will be taken up in court today.
Update: Here is the follow-up story from the New York Post.
The New York Archdiocese should not destroy any of
the artifacts inside a shuttered Lithuanian immigrant church in lower
Manhattan, a judge ruled yesterday.
Peter Johnson, a lawyer for the archdiocese,
told the judge they weren’t destroying anything inside the Broome
Street church – and that items had simply been removed for safekeeping.
If this report is accurate, then the position of the archdiocese is demonstrably erroneous, if not willfully so. The photographs of the destroyed frescoes have been publicly available for nearly a week. Follow this link to see what the sanctuary used to look like. Notice the artwork above the icon. This is what it looks like now:
Of course, given Cardinal Egan’s opinion of the artistic value of the works in the church, one shouldn’t be surprised. In his March 5 reply to the chairman of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, who wrote to Egan in February asking him to reconsider closing Vilnius, Egan described the church this way: “it is really not much more than a simple building with no especially attractive or historic elements.”
Decide for yourself whether the church held “especially attractive” elements before Egan’s “safekeeping” crew got their hands on it: