Thursday, December 17, 2009

Parish in exile

On the 8th of November, the bishop of Cleveland, Richard Lennon attempted to suppress Saint Casimir parish with a Mass of Eviction. The congregation opposed him. They still do.

The parish has continued to meet every Sunday at 11.30 a.m. They are communally active, and they are far more than the minimum required by Jesus and canon law. That number is three. On the 13th of December, about forty souls sang and prayed in a continuous rain that was just above freezing. It traditionally has taken a full century to finalise a suppression. That suppression would entail no meeting of the parish community. The first grains of the sandglass have not descended. The parish has not been extinguished.

Richard Lennon did not build these parishes, but he is selling their parishes as cash cows, because they have property and possessions. In a parable the servant says to his lord, "I know that thou art a hard man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown, and gatherest where thou hast not strewed." * Here the poor and beleaguered one issues a modest and accurate assessment of his superior. It is a devastating indictment.
Yet, this is not how the parable is presented in a protestant, capitalistic establishment, such as American society, a society of social darwinists. We, Americans, (especially in the last generation) weigh against the poor and the laborer; and weigh for the rich and for management and authoritarian power. That parable about the talents has been spun falsely. A talent is a vast weight of coins, it is not the gift of ability. The hard man in the parable angrily admits to the accusation, and berates the servant, and in the beratement demanded of the servant the transgression of religious law.
And his lord answering, said to him: Wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sow not, and gather where I have not strewed: Thou oughtest therefore to have committed my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received my own with usury.
The lord demanded money. He did not care how it was accumulated. Now, this is against the first principle of Catholic Christian ethics, ends must be achieved by honorable means.

A duty of a bishop is the salvation of souls. Richard Lennon is drivings souls away from the church. In many afflicted parishes there are people that will leave the church of their families of ages past, not just that destroyed parish, but the one true church that Jesus founded and left to his apostles. Some will follow or take comfort in another faith community, some will become totally inactive. This is the reconfiguration that Lennon is forging. He wants what he wants, and does not care about consequences. He does not act as a pastor but as a despot. There are many in the diocese who do not wish to be steamrolled.

Many of the fervent and tenacious congregants of Saint Casimir were born in the old country. Some saw nazi, and then communist, suppression of their church and society. They did not like to be bullied in Poland, and they do not like to be bullied in the United States.

They, like St. Faustina, believe in Jesus and his Divine Mercy. They trust in Jesus. They do not trust in Lennon. They are Christians, and not leninists, nor lennonists.
* Matthew xxv. 24

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