Monday, May 23, 2005

To Cardinal Sterzinsky (Dan Powers)

His Eminence Georg Cardinal Sterzinsky

Dear Cardinal Sterzinsky,

I read with great concern the article in the Tagesspiegel of May 3rd that the All Saints parish was being closed and forced to go to St. Bernhard. While the article attempts to justify the closure, the content of the explanation is extremely weak, and seems to be the function of an arbitrary, administrative decision. Certainly, the reasons are not credible, which call into question the motives of the Archdiocese.
The first reason given of integrating German and English speaking Catholics is not credible because that is what All Saints is currently doing. This is “crowd control” at the cost of a real community.
The reason given of creating sensible pastoral structures is not credible because they have two priests who have been serving the community; the same priests that you have ordered to stop saying Mass.Even though St. Bernhard has an English speaking priest, this priest does not allow girls on the alter at all. Will you decommission the girls that serve at All Saints as you decommission All Saints itself? The reason given that there is no guarantee that All Saints will be financially solvent in the future is not credible either. What kind of hypocrisy is it that allows a bankrupt diocese to close a Catholic Community that is financially self-sufficient? In fact they are so successful at this endeavor that they also financially subsidize your diocese out of their pockets, in addition to paying the normal church taxes out of their wages, and paying their own rent. They do not cost your diocese one cent. What guarantee does this small community have that St. Bernhard will still be in business in the future? I lived in the apartment building just to the left of the front door of this Church, and I attended Mass there every week. I was one of the Americans that lived in Berlin both while the wall was there, and after it fell. I was one of the soldiers who would have died if the Russians came over the wall. I was one of the Americans who did not run when the Russians threatened to fire artillery shells over the wall into West Berlin. When the Russians tried to convince the West Germans that the Americans would run when the bombs came, we said, "We will never run…we will fight!” And the Russians said, “Then you will die.” And we answered, “Then this is where we will die!” We would never turn our backs on the community the way the diocese is doing to All Saints. I was there. I went to this Church. I would have died there for my friends. I have earned the right to stand up for the All Saints Catholic Community and suggest that the archdiocese reconsider this decision, especially in view of the extremely weak reasons given by your spokesman as printed in the Tagesspiegel.
Having made this decision to close this community, I am assuming that you have personally visited these people. I hope that this is not a case of closing a community without ever visiting or getting to know them. This, I suppose, would be an extreme insult, which would not be indicative of a Catholic diocese.


Dan Powers, Sergeant Major (Retired)
United States Army
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