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HOMER GLEN, Ill. (ChurchMilitant.com) – A faithful Byzantine Catholic cleric is warming up over his spiky video messages.
Mgr.Thomas Loya, a priest of the Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Parish outside Chicago, was ordained by Mgr.Milan Lach, of the Eparchy of Parma in Ohio, to have his short reflective videos examined by an archdiocesan censor before publishing them on the page Facebook of the parish. Father Loya announced the bishop̵
“My bishop now requires that my daily messages go through a censor,” Loya told her viewers.
“This has taken us a little bit of reorganization, reform; and I ask for your patience until we can resolve this,” he continued. “In the meantime, if you’ve actually benefited [from] and I appreciated our messages, and in particular, the way we made them … maybe you can let my bishop know. “
According to a parishioner of the Annunciation, the revision order comes “because other priests and lay people have complained about the manner and tone of how [Fr. Loya] presents the arguments. “
“I touch the questions”, p. Loya told Church Militant: “I follow all the burning issues, so some people will disagree or protest. It comes with the ground.”
Creative – and, as described by some, slightly edgy – Loya’s videos are not intellectual theological reflections. Instead, they apply Scripture and Church teaching to the issues of the day.
My bishop now requires that my daily messages go through a censor.
To help her flock understand spiritual principles, Loya has created an alter ego, a character she calls “Southside Joe”, which reflects the struggles of the people in the pew.
Speaking of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, for example, Southside Joe urged viewers to pray for the soul of the Supreme Court of Justice, although he expressed hope that Trump will appoint a Conservative to replace her.
Southside Joe doesn’t hesitate to mention the controversy surrounding Ginsburg’s replacement, but the point of Loya’s post is to remind Catholics to pray for the soul of anyone who dies, especially anyone in authority, because God will examine those lives more carefully.
The priest’s alter ego, Southside Joe – who used the phrase “comie libs” – fell under censorship
The priest told Church Militant that the Catholic Church has the answer for every problem. It says that people find hope in the truth of the gospel.
“When the truth is brought to them by their priest with clarity, confidence and relevance, they have hope,” Loya explains. “They are learning that they can turn to their faith for answers.”
They can’t wait for someone to break through and bring them the truth.
“Right now, it’s so real to me: people are in absolute desperation for leadership. They are desperate for leaders who will tell the truth and call them to live that truth,” Loya commented. “They can’t wait for someone to break through and bring them the truth.”
“People are suspended in the air with nothing under them – and they know it,” the priest said.
Loya says he is honored by the impact his videos have had on people’s lives.
“Some of the comments people post bring me to tears,” confesses Loya. “People from all over the world are listening to the messages. There are numerous testimonies of faith conversions.”
P. Loya explains to followers online that it has been censored.
Despite the positive reception, Lach warned Loya about her messages. According to Loya, his critics suggest that his posts are too “obscure” and too critical of the American bishops.
But, Loya points out, she wants to be obedient to her bishop.
“Even if it’s a little uncomfortable, I’ll be compliant,” Loya reports. “They aren’t closing me down. Bishop Lach could have stopped me altogether, but he didn’t. In fact, it was encouraging. And the censor was kind and encouraging.”
Jo Ann Kemp Smith told Fr. Loya in the comments section after her announcement, “Southside Joe is something I have been looking forward to, you give spiritual information that is easily related to our daily life. Please don’t be discouraged. The blessings of GOD on you.”
For now, Southside Joe will continue to tell it as it is and give people a clear path to follow.
— Campaign 31877 —
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