Help!

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Buddhist Master Ziguang Shang Shi
Leader of the World Peace and Health Organization

Fr George Belgarde, SJ Director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs

Fr George Belgarde, SJ
Director of the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs

These men are religious leaders, both having reached a certain level of authority among their devoted followers. Holy Master Ziguang Shang Shi and Father George Belgarde, S.J. share the same age bracket. They are neighbors living within a few hundred feet of each other but that is where the similarities end. In reality, they are just about as different as one can get. They are from different parts of the world, have greatly differing belief systems, cultures and general demeanor. The Holy Master is jovial, kind and understanding while the Jesuit is angry, hostile and rude.

The Chinese Buddhist and the American Jesuit do not communicate and it is not for lack of trying on the part of the Buddhist. My attempts to communicate with Fr. Belgarde were also rejected. We cannot know his true motive because he refuses to communicate but it seems retaliatory and childish. His intent seems evil in nature.

The frustrated Buddhists are looking for help from whoever may be able to break through this impermeable barrier and foster the hope of a peaceful solution to this ever-increasing tension and hostility they now suffer. It has affected their overall mission and outlook on the local community. They feel the sting of discrimination and prejudice. This writer is a witness to this unholy war deployed by the Jesuit against his neighbor and fellow spiritual leader. Belgarde and his maintenance worker have erected a total of three barricades, blocking all access roads to the Western Supreme Buddha Temple and residence without any explanation or warning.

The third barricade blocked an old unused access road yesterday, July 9, 2013. Yellow crime scene tape was stretched across the road with a no trespassing sign taped on a post with duct tape. This barricade came with a Montgomery County Sheriff Deputy who threatened to arrest the Buddhists for entering the Shrine’s property. The Buddhists in turn called NYS State Trooper Ramieriez who explained that once informed by a police officer, they can in fact be arrested for entering the Shrine property. Trooper Ramierez also discussed the situation with Friendship Road, an access road built by the Buddhists that was also blocked in June by Belgarde who insisted the four-year old road was partly on Shrine property according to a survey he just had done. He placed a pole in the middle of the road forcing the Buddhists to enlarge the access road.

Feeling imprisoned on their own property, the Buddhists sought help from local government officials but nobody was willing to intervene. A civil lawsuit was filed in Montgomery County Supreme Court with Judge Felix Catena proposing a meeting between the groups to settle differences. This was described in my previous post Belgarde Bug Out

The next court date is July 18, 2013 at 10:00am.

Barricade

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Friendship Road
(after widening the road)

Friendship Road

Friendship Road

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NYS Trooper Ramirez explains the situation to the Buddhists

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Old unused access road recently blocked by the Shrine.

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Statue of Christ maintained by the Buddhists for Shrine visitors who used to enjoy praying by it. Access to this memorial has been severed by Belgarde.

Dedication on the back of the Christ statue's base.

Dedication on the back of the Christ statue’s base.

The Buddhists hope NYS Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk and NYS Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara will intercede in this matter.

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Categories: Equality, Human Rights, Law, Politics, WPHO | Tags: , , , , ,

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6 thoughts on “Help!

  1. Rob

    I wonder if the Catholic Hierarchy (Bishops, Cardinals, etc…) are aware of this priests’ actions?

    • Jesuits are a separate order in the Catholic Church that do not fall under the local Catholic Diocese. There are Provincial Jesuits who supervise large areas and one Superior General Adolfo Nicolás Pachón who answers to the Pope in Rome.

      This is the name and address for the local Supervising Provincial:
      David S. Ciancimino, S.J.
      Provincial of New York Province
      39 East 83rd Street
      New York, N.Y. 10028

      Maybe we can start a letter writing campaign.

  2. I feel very sad about this….I do not understand why Father Belgarde is doing this. It is not that something would be condoned by Jesus! It is only a tiny piece of land……why would he not offer to sell the tiny parcel to the Buddhists if that is the problem?

  3. This seems to be a war of words against peace. While both sides have their beliefs, it appears that one side has less clout then the other. I am glad the the Buddists are going the legal route, because that is the best way. Even though we may not believe in the same things, to put a barrier up to block others from exercising their God Given right to do that in America is wrong.

  4. Carol, this situation is being driven by a lack of respect and basic human dignity on the part of the Shrine. Discrimination also comes into play and Montgomery County legislators who are predominately Republican, back the Catholic Shrine. I discovered that prejudice when I stopped them from donating taxpayer money to the Shrine.

    Our rights as Americans are governed by the Constitution, not a belief in deities.

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