The Deacon's Bench

A few readers have been wondering just what kicked up the kerfuffle in Belleville, and what exactly Bishop Braxton had done to incur such animosity among his priests.

As usual, I turned to the definitive source on episcopal matters, and found a few newsworthy nuggets.

He has a very good overview of the situation right here. There’s also some interesting commentary from priests back in January, from the St. Louis Dispatch.

Any way you look at it, buying vestments with several thousand dollars that had been allocated for missions is unseemly. Then there’s the princely sum the new bishop spent renovating his residence. As Rocco noted:

Braxton’s 2005 appointment was greeted with presbyteral protest amid complaints that the clergy weren’t consulted — an outcry that grew after the bishop sought to renovate his residence. (While the diocese allotted $25K toward the spruce-up, Braxton’s friends kicked in the rest of the project’s reported $250,000 total.) Months later, frustrated over what one termed the bishop’s “imperial” style of governance, a third of the priests met publicly to sign a statement of discontent.

To paraphrase “Casey At The Bat”: There is no joy in Belleville.

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