Rev. Michael Mernagh fulfills dream by starting an ecumenical
By Christopher Hall
Special to The Courier-Journal
After joining a religious order and beginning his studies to become a priest, Michael Mernagh realized he couldn't continue within the confines of his religion.Good, we start by acknowledging right off the bat, that Fr. Michael Mernaugh is an apostate, at least he was 20 years ago- read on.
Now, nearly two decades later, he has come back to where he always wanted to be, though by another path.Ah, he has come back to the church, founded by Christ himself, and placed under the authority of Saint Peter and his successors- hurray, but not quite --
The Rev. Michael Mernagh has started a new church, Anamchara Catholic Community, an ecumenical church not associated with the Roman Catholic Church or the Archdiocese of Louisville.Not associated with the Roman Catholic Church of the Archidiocese of Louisville. OK, doesn't seem to associated with any other church as defined by the Vatican either. His "church" has no evidence of apostolic succession, and therefore not a church, but not accepting the decisions of the magisterium I highly doubt he will accept the church's definition of a "Church" - which BTW only included the Roman and the Orthodox Churches. But let's move on
Mernagh describes the church as "small 'c' Catholic" -- the word catholic meaning "universal" or "involving all" -- and is affiliated with the church that ordained him as a priest, Anima Christi Ecumenical Catholic Community in St. Louis.Okay, he isn't even a priest. "Priests" must be ordained by a Bishop who is still in communion with the church and has Apostolic Succession. I don't think the Ecumenical Catholic Community in St. Louis has that pedigree.
Anamchara is meant to be a place where all people are welcome, said Mernagh, who has a master's degree in theology focusing on ritual and liturgy.
Ah so he is highly qualified to invent his own ceremonies, rites and rituals. That's all very neat - he is very clever, but not being consecrated by a successor of the apostles, his rites and rituals and ceremonies confer no sacraments.
"I want to be really clear on one thing: Everybody is welcome at the table of the Lord at this church," he said. "The Eucharist is not a prize to be won, but food for the spiritual journey … We need to feed people."
Not being a priest, he can't make the Body and Blood of the Lord out of Bread and wine. That mystery can only be performed by a priest and not being a priest he can't do it, so the eucharist he "creates" isn't the Body and Blood of the Lord either, and therefore it requires no special preparation to ingest it. It remains bread it remains wine, and quite rightly is not "a prize."
The church's Web site, which currently is down for improvements, made a point to welcome those who are divorced and/or separated, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and others.It is all very good to welcome people to your table, when all you are giving them is bread and wine. When I invite people to dinner, I can invite any divorced, separated, LGBT friend I know, and they can eat my food, but then I'm not serving Our Lord.
A music minister for another church, Mernagh said he changed his path years ago because he "needed more breadth" than he felt he could find in the Roman Catholic Church. He said he also wanted to be involved in a church that made its decisions in "a more democratic fashion."Ah, yes, because we all know that God is a democratic entity. Cardinal Ratzinger said it best: "truth is not determined by a majority vote"
Mernagh also is a proponent of women's ordination and has disagreed with the Catholic church's teaching on sexual ethics.
Well, it seems that Mernaugh has more guts than the Church established by Christ himself on matters of Female Ordination. The church says it has no authority to accept female ordinands, but Mr. Mernagh apparently has that authority - good for him. But then to ordain women to serve bread and wine no problem with that. Even I can make and serve bread and wine.
Confecting the Blesses Sacrament is reserved for priests, which he isn't and women can't be. As an aside, anyone who has a problem with that take it up with Christ. On sexual ethics, is another debate so I will not discuss that here.
"It has been a lifelong call to minister to people as a priest, and I wanted to do that as a man of integrity," he said. "I couldn't do it in a church where I really couldn't teach what they were teaching."Unfortunately, if he desires to be a priest, his desire is unfulfilled. If he can't teach the tenets of the Faith, then quite rightly he shouldn't be a priest in the Catholic Church, and in point of fact he isn't a priest at all.
But Mernagh also wants to make it perfectly clear that he has no issues with any other denomination.
"I am in no way, shape or form trying to run down anybody else. I am out there to work with others in the vineyard. I want to collaborate with everybody … I and others simply needed another niche to grow," he said. "We are about building bridges, not burning them."
That's nice, no other religion or denomination is wrong, just the Roman one. How inclusive is that?
So the only person who can be found to support this guy is the "foundress" of another church. But they both fail to realise that neither of their church were founded by Christ, but by a man and a woman, and nothing more. Where is Christ, in their churches? What resides in their tabernacles? Neither being a priest, it cannot be Christ.
About 20 people showed up Oct. 21 for the inaugural Eucharistic celebration of Anamchara, which meets in the sanctuary of Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church on Sunday evenings.
One of those was Ann Rudrauff of Clifton, a board member for the fledgling church. Rudrauff, who attends Unity Church of Middletown, said she was excited for Mernagh building a church.
"I think it's important for people to have choices about where to practice their
spirituality, wherever that might be," she said.
The Rev. Carole Mahaffey, the minister at Unity Church of Middletown, sits on Anamchara's advisory council.
After pioneering her own church about five years ago, Mahaffey said she has a good idea of the challenges Mernagh will face and hopefully overcome.
"He's just beginning … It's not easy pioneering a church. It's very rewarding, but it can be challenging," she said.
"It's wonderful. To me, you really can't have too many churches … Our world needs it."