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Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
February 18, 1990     Arkansas Catholic
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February 18, 1990

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PAGE 14 ARKANSAS CATHOLIC FEBRUARY "Stallings," from page 1 Stallings said. came to the conclu- sion after I desperately sought to work within the confmes of the Church and met opposition." Fr. Stallings has hinted in the past that he would form a new church. On a Baltimore television interview program, he said 0fhis relationship with Cardinal Hickey: "We are moving to a point in the African-American Catholic Congregation where in every sense of the word I will be his equal." Imani Temple spokesperson William Marshall said there is "`always a possibib it)," that Fr. Stallings would proclaim himself a bishop. He said Fr. Stallings has a "Kitchen Cabinet" of priests and professionals to guide the first steps of the new church. Through an excommunication state- ment issued by the Washington arch- diocese, the Church "has continued to flex its arrogant and imperialist muscle," Ft. Stallings said. "The Roman Catholic Church pulled out its biggest gun and said, "Pow Powl Powl You should be dead now because we've excommunicated you'," he said. q am alive and well and have never been freer in all my life." The Washington archdiocese said that Fr. Stallings had excommunicated himself "by his public declaration that he has separated himself from the Church and by his renunciation of Church teaching." Black Catholic leaders respond to Fr, Stallings' Washington (CNS) - Black Catholic leaders nationwide almost unanimously characterized as sad'` Fr. George A. Stallings' formal break from the Catho- lic Church. Most also expressed hope that some kind of reconciliation would have been possible, but some said the break was inevitable. Representatives of the Washington archdiocese declared that Fr. Stallings, founder of the African-American Catho- lic Congregation, had excommunicated himself from the Church based on the priest's self-proclaimed independence from the pope. ' Ne're all sorry that it's come to that," said Beverly Carroll, executive director of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Black Catholics. "We certainly regret losing one of our precious gems, Fr. Stallings, his gifts and talents outside of the Church." q think it's a very sad day," said Bishop Joseph L. Howze of Biloxi, MS. "`It's sad that the talent of a fine young man has come to this." Bishop Howze recalled when, as a seminarian, he first met 8-year-old George Stallings as an altar boy in New FURNITURE GALLERIES _MVINXI-F:L. FACTORY AUTHORIZED SALE Now thru March 4, 1990 our 2 most popular roll top desks 54" deluxe and a 54" computer version at 1989 prices. Don't wait ... limited quantities at these prices. ~ma~ ~mmm ~ua m~* oa~ laia~ All dh'amMwo ha~ dovo- tal~ ~, aaHdod aa(1 W W naam~L 54" Deluxe Rolltop Desk All (1rmvers featwe origkul full All ckmmrl fu4u~ c:4mpie~ o.~donskm Ac=~rte~ 9k~.o. mm=mJel Ioddnl syotaan. Bowman Curve Retail Center adjacent to Buffalo Grill West Open Daily 10 am-7 pro/Sunday 1-5 pm 227-7687 , Mmbe's Fr. George Stallings (CNS) Bern, NC, then later, when the bishop was pastor of a parish in Asheville, NC, the 16-year-old Stallings was a student in the ChaHotte diocesan seminary. "I saw a great future in that young man," Bishop Howze said. q think pride is the fall. I pray for him every day. I'd love to see him just to chat with him, but I'm afraid that would be difficult." New York Auxiliary Bishop Emerson J. Moore said, q'm saddened" and "`I cannot approve of his course of action," but later added, "I presume he's fol- lowing his own conscience." Bishop Moore said he has learned in his travels that Wr. Stallings is certainly the most talked-about black priest in the country, and people are taking seriously some of the accusations he has made against the Church. "So in that sense the issues he has focused upon are issues that remain with us still, and issues that all of us are going to have to face up to and resolve." A Washington archdiocesan state- ment said Catholics who become "`full and active" members in Ft. Stallings' new church' would incur automatic excommunication. Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Carl A. Fisher said Fr. Stallings was never kept from adapting the liturgy or his homb letic style to meet cultural needs, "yet he so vociferously complained that there was racism which prevented him from exercising his ministry. This is a great mystery to me." Bishop Fisher, who attended a Wash- inton-area seminary prior to ordination, said, q know some people who have joined Imani Temple," and told of his attempts at dialogue with one woman who informed him before Christmas she had joined the temple. "Unfortunately, she believes the state- ments of overt, hostile racism Fr. Stallings claims was so present in the Church," Bishop Fisher said. q ly heart bleeds for this woman." Auxiliary Bishop Joseph A. Francis of Newark, NJ, said that through excom- munication, Wr. Stallings has reached the point of no return.* Other groups have split from the Church as has Fr. Stallings, Bishop Francis said, but "`they don't have the-same kind of (public relations) he has, or don't want to use the media to further their cause." These breaks are "happening with increasing frequency," he mid. "This is a disturb- hag trend." The National Black Catholic Caucus had offered mediation Fr. Stallings and the Washington diocese, but Fr. Stallings never sponded to the group's overtureS. qt seems that Father tent on doing his own Warren Savage of caucus vice president. "`But with patience and perseverance, be turned around." Ft. Savage said the split could some internal conflicts within ranks," with black the pace of change within dioceses "`inclined to join, as some of our religious women." Barbara Horsham-Brathwalte, dent of the National Black Catholic Administrators, although "`the Church will has survived 2,000 years and itt continue to survive," there are present in the wake of Fr. Stallings'! excommunication. One danger may be to racism that is in our Church," sl ! because Catholics may not feel a to deal with it now that its most accuser has left the Church. Pretoria, South Africa (CNS' southern African bishops' has made its first-ever demand abolition of the death Africa, calling its use racially The conference also called South African government to all planned executions Bishop Reginald OrsmorV Johannsburg, vice president conference, said that a "`growing I ness that capital punishment just" had been heightened in Africa by "the realization penalty was fraught with t nation and used as an eliminate those fighting the apartheid." He said the death sentence is the symbol of an unjust and social order than a remedy justice and peace to society. clearly contradicts all that Jes0S and died for." Capital punishment is Bishop Orsmond said. Studies shown it is an ineffective major crime and that innocent are occasionally executed, he Amnesty International re 117 people were executed in Africa in 1988. Further believed to have been carried the "`nominally independent lands," created by South Aft organization said.