Parishioners Rally Over 'Priest Problems'

'They Are Very Cold Towards Everyone'

TheKCRAChannel/June 8, 2001

Sacramento -- In a place that associates itself with peace and tranquility, there is now tension and turmoil because of some new valley priests.

At a rally Friday, members of Our Lady of Guadalupe church expressed their frustrations, saying that since September, their church has not been the same. That's when the Sacramento diocese contracted with the Legionaries of Christ -- a group of catholic priests.

The parishioners say that they've had problems with the priests from the beginning. The parishioners are not able to talk to their own priests, and they want the new ones to leave. One parishioner said, "They are very cold towards everyone. They refuse to allow many of the activities that used to occur around the parish."

And there are more serious complaints from parishioners who do not wish to be identified.

"Last year, my children and the children of other parishioners went to confession at Our Lady of Guadalupe church. And we were shocked at the inappropriate questions of a sexual nature to which our children were subjected," a parishioner said.

The group met with Bishop William Weigand and auxiliary Bishop Richard Garcia Friday. "We listened to what they recommended, and we told them we have many responsibilities in the diocese. And we try to help listen to everyone as much as possible," Garcia said.

The bishop says that a priest was talked to after the confession incident, and the priests' "distance" is because they come from different countries and need to adapt to the American culture.

Two of the Our Lady of Guadalupe priests showed up at Friday's meeting to discuss the issue, but the group did not want them there and asked them to leave.

The priests said that they are upset and just want peace, but that they have no comment at this time.

At this point, there are no plans to remove the priests, but complaints are being investigated.

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