Priest with Annulment Charism Starts Lay Movement
SAN ANTONIO — A priest who claims he has been gifted with the charism of annulment has created a lay movement to help Catholics answer the call to invalidate marriages.
Rev. George Finnegan of St. Thomas More Catholic Church in San Antonio said he got the call to start the movement, which he has named Annulitas, after several couples he counseled began having severe marriage problems and divorced. “I took that as a sign that I could be used as a tool for something,” Finnegan said.
Soon after, Finnegan began holding Annulment Prayer Meetings for couples who were having marital problems. “It was amazing,” said Patti Bishop of the prayer meeting she attended in Dallas. “Father cupped his hands over my forehead and my husband’s forehead and yelled, ‘Annulment!’ We both fell on the floor and not a year later, our marriage was declared invalid.”
Scott Sanderson said the prayer meeting he attended in Beaumont was something special. “People were rolling on the floor, crying,” Sanderson said. “I told Father Finnegan that I thought that my wife and I had a hard case, that our priest told us our marriage was valid and we had no chance for annulment. Father Finnegan looked at me with such love. He gave me one of his handkerchiefs. I slept with it under my pillow for two years. Anyway, we got our annulment, praise God.”
Bishop and Sanderson, along with their new spouses, have joined the lay movement. As part of their apostolic commitments, Bishop and Sanderson distribute “Annulment: Why Not?” CDs at area parishes and sell annulment how-to kits over the Internet.
Sanderson said members are also encouraged to minister one-on-one to friends and family. “At a wedding reception I attended recently, I talked to the bride to get her thinking about whether her marriage was actually valid, and she threw a punch in my face,” said Sanderson. “I could tell she was mad, but at least I got her thinking.”
As for Bishop, she said she is starting to have doubts about the validity of her second marriage. “I am going to spiritual direction with Father Finnegan. He is having doubts, which gives me hope,” she said. “Father is a living saint.”
Catholics Already Incensed at the Church Being in Their Bedrooms Discover Church in Additional Rooms
SCRANTON, NJ — Thousands of Catholics across the country who have been angry about the Church being in their bedrooms were shocked to learn recently that the Church has infiltrated other rooms of their homes as well.
“First the Church was in my bedroom, and now the Church appears to have sneaked its way into my living room,” said Guy McNeal, a parishioner at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Scranton. “Last night, my friend Bill and I were watching movies on the DVD player in my living room, when he flipped over the remote control and said, ‘”Made in China”? Don’t you care what the Church has said about the human-rights abuses going on there? I never buy anything made in China anymore.’”
McNeal said his friend’s speech made no change on his buying habits or his plans for what should go in his living room. “I am not going to start buying expensive, higher quality electronic equipment just to save a few Chinese people from living bleak existences and being tortured.”
Sara Davis, a parishioner at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Huntsville, Alabama, said she was stunned to learn the Church’s reach extended to her kitchen. “I was helping myself to a few brownies when my daughter starts talking about self-control and gluttony and the Church and a bunch of other nonsense,” said Davis, who at 5″4′ weighs 170 lbs. “So first the Church is telling me how many kids to have, and now it is telling me how many brownies to eat? I thought gluttony was one of those sins that fell out of favor. I say heavy on the brownies, light on the kids.”
Some Catholics are feeling the Church’s presence in their workplaces, too, much to their dismay. Rob Greene, a graphic designer in Albuquerque, said he was blogging on company time when a Catholic coworker intervened. “He started recounting a homily he had heard recently about wasting time at work and stealing from your employer,” Greene said.
Greene dismissed the comment and was subsequently fired for not meeting client deadlines. “I could look at it like God was trying to send me a warning, but I’d rather be irritated with the Church for invading my space and trying to ruin a perfectly worthwhile hobby.”
Catholic Bookstore Staffer Puts Kibosh on Magisterium Teaching
GULFPORT, MS — Catholics are now free to join their local Masonic Lodge without fear of excommunication or eternal damnation, according to Meg Dupre, a part-time staffer at Our Lady’s Catholic Bookstore on Kent Street in Gulfport, Mississippi.
“I was in the bookstore, telling my brother-in-law that he couldn’t be a member of the Masons and still be a faithful Catholic, when the cashier walked up and told me that I was wrong,” said Cheryl Wilkinson, a manager at Pizza Inn in Pascagoula. “At first I felt really irritated, but she just spoke with such authority, I knew she was right.”
“I was pretty relieved when I heard the lady at the bookstore say you could belong to the Masons,” said Ted Kenecke, Wilkinson’s brother-in-law and owner of Restoration and Repair Services in Gulfport. “I am a member of the Masons, but I have always felt kind of guilty about it. The bookstore lady put my mind at ease. She said, ‘They say it is okay now,’ and that is all I needed to hear.”
Dupre, who has been working at Our Lady’s Bookstore for three weeks and is currently putting together a store display on Enneagram books, said she was glad to set the record straight. “We even sell a very positive book about the Masons here at the bookstore, so it’s all fine.”