Jesuit Priest blocks access to Buddhist Temple (again)

We have been down this road before…literally. Shrine Road in Auriesville, NY to be precise. The scenario plays out like this, a financially troubled Catholic Shrine sells off a chunk of its land including a former Jesuit dormitory to the Buddhist World Peace and Health Organization, who refurbish the building making it their headquarters, home and temple. Originating in China, the group renames it the Western Supreme Buddha Temple. At first they share the land harmoniously with the Jesuit Priest Murray who is very cordial and accommodating to the WPHO. In 2012 Father Murray moves on to another assignment in Buffalo and Jesuit Belgarde takes his place. Belgarde is not at all like his predecessor and begins a campaign of terror against the Buddhists, first by blocking all the access roads to their property and then refusing to meet with them to discuss the situation. This ends up in court with a dismissal after Belgarde’s supervisor, Jesuit Provincial David S. Ciancimino grants the WPHO access to their building from both Shrine Road and the gravel road off of Ripley Road built by the Buddhists and aptly named Friendship Road. This blogger documented the history of Belgarde’s campaign of terror. It can be found in the following series of links.

Angry Jesuit Blocks Entrance to Buddhist Temple

Buddhists move forward despite Jesuit roadblocks

Belgarde Bug Out

A Provincial Reply

Apparently Belgarde does not follow orders very well. This year his harassment resurfaced like a failed exorcism. He had his maintenance worker block Shrine Road again and also block off part of Friendship Road built by the WPHO! Once again he refuses to communicate with the group and when they begin to protest the action, he has his maintenance worker tear up the road in front of the Buddhist Temple with a backhoe. When the Chinese Buddhist students begin to protest on their own property, Belgarde calls the Montgomery County Sheriffs Department. The WHPO calls the NYS State Police and we have a confrontation resulting in an injury to a 100lb. female WPHO student who was shoved to the ground by a 300lb. male Lieutenant in the Montgomery County Sheriff Department. The student was treated for her injuries in a local hospital. This incident and other unnecessary use of force during this peaceful protest was documented in still images and video. Over a dozen police officers responded when an inexperienced police officer called for backup.

The WPHO hired attorney Sarah Green to represent them and protect their rights. As much as people would like to believe otherwise, there is religious intolerance and racism inherent in this incident. There is no reason why the two groups can not exit harmoniously on this beautiful piece of land overlooking the Mohawk Valley. The Auriesville setting exudes peace and tranquility, it is too bad Jesuit Belgarde can’t see that.

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

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4 thoughts on “Jesuit Priest blocks access to Buddhist Temple (again)

  1. Marie Colistra Pacino

    Jerry, this makes me very sad to know that this behavior is being done by a Jesuit priest! What is the reason for this? I am embarrassed. I would think that the Bishop be contacted and become involved in this.

    • Marie, we don’t know why Belgarde is behaving badly, he refuses to communicate. The Shrine is owned and run by the Jesuit order who do not fall under the the jurisdiction of the Albany Catholic Diocese. It is under the supervision of a Jesuit Provincial who is based in New York City. The WPHO will be paying him a visit later this week.

  2. Brandon

    They had no problem cashing the check…
    I’m ashamed I was ever brought up in a Catholic Church when I read this. I’ve been there. Even volunteered at the Temple for an afternoon. We simply cannot just love our brother, can we… We have to one up everyone…

    Here is the harsh truth, Catholic Church… You are shameless in your arrogance and woeful in your actions. When morality is your ‘product’ you must first be moral. You have failed every opportunity it has had to be a spiritual leader… Failure in faith… You made our parents liars. You made our governments look bad. You have had no respect for the faithful and have had you congregations mopped up by revivalist that talk a better game than you…. Am I angry, yes. This is beyond egregious.

  3. The Pope is a Jesuit. I would think that he would be quite interested in this. He has a Twitter feed. I think I will send him a tweet.

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