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Transferred Priest

March 14, 1994

It is not surprising that Hispanic Catholics at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Monterey Park feel frustrated and demoralized because the archdiocese transferred the parish's Spanish-speaking priest and shifted the parish mission to attract Asians ("A Painful Choice Between a Parish and a Church," by George Ramos, March 7).

The divisiveness and loss of control experienced by parishioners show the inevitable problems of any organization that makes ethnic numerical goals overriding ambitions.

Leaders of the Catholic Church predominantly hold social and political views far to the left of their parishioners. But ironically, many of their parishes turned into ethnically divided, segregated conclaves. Ethnic groups cling to priests of similar backgrounds. Clubs, activities and liturgies are designed for people of individual ethnic groups rather than to appeal to everyone in a parish, with charges that the church caters to particular groups.

This mentality has torn apart parishes spiritually and distracted parishioners from what should be the church's goal of bringing people closer to God. The archdiocese cannot ignore the problem, nor can it downplay its crisis of parish disunity.

CAROLINE MIRANDA

North Hollywood

The treatment St. Thomas Aquinas Parish is receiving from the Los Angeles Archdiocese is an outrage which makes me ashamed to be Catholic. Cardinal Roger Mahony refuses to meet with the Hispanic representatives and also with Councilman Sam Kiang. Father Gregory Coiro offhandedly comments that the church is a hierarchy, not a democracy!

Allow me to suggest that the church is the last vestige of the feudal system and that in this case the prince does not care to mingle with the peasants.

No, I am not Hispanic, but I have deep respect for the significance of the parish to our Hispanic Catholic families. Why does this seem special to me, and not to those who are ordained to represent Jesus in this world?

EILEEN BIGELOW

Whittier

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