Loading
Pastor of NY parish withdraws support for sale of vacant convent to Muslim group
Pastor of NY parish withdraws support for sale of vacant convent to Muslim group
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- The pastor of a Staten Island parish in a controversy over the proposed sale of a vacant convent to a Muslim group has withdrawn his support for the sale after “careful reflection.” St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church has been considering selling a vacant convent to the Muslim American Society (MAS), which planned to turn the building into a mosque and community center.

Local opponents have voiced concerns about terrorism and respect for the victims of the 9/11 attacks, while the Muslim group has attributed opposition to fear and prejudice.

Fr. Keith Fennessy, pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish, said in a Thursday statement that he has concluded that the proposed sale “would not serve the need of the parish.”

“I wish to formally withdraw my support for the sale, and request that it not take place."

The Archdiocese of New York said that the contents of the pastor’s letter have been shared with the trustees of St. Margaret Mary as well as the representatives of MAS.

“In the light of Father Fennessy's letter as pastor, it is our hope that an amicable resolution can be reached between Saint Margaret Mary Parish and the Muslim American Society,” the archdiocese said.

In a Friday statement, MAS said it feels “strongly” that present events are being driven by “fear and hysteria, some of it being stirred up by professional groups that have a history of being prejudiced against Muslims.”

“We are American citizens and we love our country. We do not operate as an extension of any non-American religious or political organization. What have we done wrong to cause anyone to deny us the right to build a house of worship?”

The group added that it believes in the good will of the Catholic leaders and that “ultimately they will do the right thing and allow this sale to be completed.” MAS said the Catholic community has endured “some of the same prejudice and fear mongering.”

Opponents of the sale, who included relatives of 9/11 victims, said they had not been informed about the Islamic organization or its intentions before the deal was proposed, reports say. According to the New York Post, retired New York Fire Department Deputy Chief Al Santora, whose son was a firefighter who died in the terrorist attacks, characterized the land as “a burial ground” because victims’ remains had been scattered for blocks.

Critics also voiced concern about MAS’ alleged connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. They asked the group’s leader to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah, both of which are considered terrorist organizations by the U.S. State Department.

“MAS denounces any act of terror in the United States or outside,” commented one MAS leader at a June 9 community meeting after repeated questioning.

According to MyFoxNY.com, a video from 2000 shows the present national executive director of MAS, Mahdi Bray, cheering at a public event when someone asks to hear from Hamas supporters.

The pastor’s decision will not necessarily prevent the proposed sale, as two parish trustees must vote against it to form a majority.

Fr. Fennessy offered his resignation at the height of the controversy, an archdiocesan spokesman told SILive.com, but he remains pastor and it is unknown whether a new pastor will be appointed by the archbishop.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Nov
21

Liturgical Calendar

November 21, 2014

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Gospel
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Rev 10: 8-11
Gospel:: Lk 19: 45-48

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
11/21/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 19:45-48

Homily
Date
11/21/14
11/20/14
11/19/14