Janitor Takes A Bolt Cutter to the 'Spirit of Vatican II'Written by Michael J. Matt | Editor
Mark Kenney, 59, who grew up in the parish, had worked at St. Cecilia Cathedral for three years. Around 8 a.m. on Jan. 29, he went to a work shed, picked up a pair of heavy-duty bolt cutters and ascended to a catwalk high above the mostly empty nave, or main sanctuary.
He looked through a peephole, he said, to make sure he wouldn’t hurt any people. And then he cut a steel cable, which sent a suspended, umbrella-carrying, hat-wearing Mary Poppins figure crashing to the floor.
Kenney then went downstairs and removed a cardboard Buddha figure from the Nash Chapel, which also featured costumed mannequins from “The King and I.” He threw the Buddha out one door and proceeded to toss costumed mannequins out two other doors.
Someone alerted the pastor, the Rev. Michael Gutgsell, who ran from the rectory next door to the church and saw Kenney.
“Mark,” he called out, “did you see who did this?”
“Father, it was me. You need to call the police.”
Gutgsell had known that his custodian had misgivings about secular displays in the church but says he was dumbfounded and didn’t understand why Kenney would take such drastic action. In a brief meeting that week, the pastor said, he had asked for Kenney’s promise not to be disruptive.
Now the priest was shocked, saying, “You promised!”
In response, Kenney said, he lashed out. “I started screaming, ‘Father, this is BS! We can’t have this in the church. This isn’t culture, it’s Disney crap!’ ”
Kenney … then knelt at the communion rail and prayed until officers arrived and handcuffed him.
He spent a night in jail before he was bailed out and pleaded no contest. He said he is scheduled for sentencing “on Holy Thursday,” March 24.
Damaging items at the flower festival was wrong, and Kenney said in an interview this week that he will make restitution. But he says secular items such as movie characters are inappropriate in the sacred space of the cathedral and amount to sacrilege and idolatry.
Gutgsell, a former chancellor of the Omaha Archdiocese and a Catholic University-licensed “canon lawyer,” an expert in church laws and rules, disagrees.
“Obviously, context is everything,” the priest said, noting that the cathedral also is home to about six concerts a year. No sacrilege or disrespect is conveyed…” READ MORE
REMNANT COMMENT: Maybe you need a spoonful of sugar, Father, to help your medicine go down. Somebody, please, make that janitor a Knight of St. Gregory!
Michael J. Matt has been an editor of The Remnant since 1990. Since 1994, he has been the newspaper's editor. A graduate of Christendom College, Michael Matt has written hundreds of articles on the state of the Church and the modern world. He is the host of The Remnant Underground and Remnant TV's The Remnant Forum. He's been U.S. Coordinator for Notre Dame de Chrétienté in Paris--the organization responsible for the Pentecost Pilgrimage to Chartres, France--since 2000. Mr. Matt has led the U.S. contingent on the Pilgrimage to Chartres for the last 24 years. He is a lecturer for the Roman Forum's Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy. He is the author of Christian Fables, Legends of Christmas and Gods of Wasteland (Fifty Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll) and regularly delivers addresses and conferences to Catholic groups about the Mass, home-schooling, and the culture question. Together with his wife, Carol Lynn and their seven children, Mr. Matt currently resides in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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