Saturday, July 3, 2010

We are in Babylon (Lennongrad)

Why do we grieve so much? Why do we cling to our churches so much?

We are in exile. We want our Jerusalem, we are in Lennon's Babylon. We were forcefully cast out, and we remember where we came from, and we want to return.
1 A psalm of David, for Jeremias. UPON the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept: when we remembered Sion: 2 On the willows in the midst thereof we hung up our instruments. 3 For there they that led us into captivity required of us the words of songs. And they that carried us away, said: Sing ye to us a hymn of the songs of Sion. 4 How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a strange land? 5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten. 6 Let my tongue cleave to my jaws, if I do not remember thee: If I make not Jerusalem the beginning of my joy. ―from Psalm 136 DRC
Saint Emeric was the last of the parishes and churches in Lennon's first five year plan of destruction. The parish did not want to perish. They held out until the police enforced the threats of the eponymous Bishop of Lennongrad.

Some of these stalwart rebels were the children of '56. In 1956, in Hungary, there was a liberalisation of the dictatorial communist régime. The russian soviets militarily crushed the movement. Rebels fought the invaders, and lost. Refugees left their homeland unwillingly, and in desperation. They dispersed to several lands. Some came to Cleveland.

There were many people from the nations of eastern europe in Cleveland. One of several parishes with an hungarian (magyar) community was Saint Emeric, on the very near west side. After arriving here, Vatican II came and went. One of its fruit was the language of the liturgy went from latin to the vulgar (common) tongues, in the latin rite. Masses at parishes in the diocese of Cleveland were now in divers languages. Lennon likes neither latin, nor other non-english languages.
Now, in that generation, the poles, the russians, the hungarians, the ukrainians all celebrated a millennium of christianity. At Emeric's a mural was painted in 1973 that commemorated hungarian christianity, and american achievement in space. Apollo 8 orbited the moon 24 December 1968, and this iconic photo and quotation was the subject of a postal stamp. Above is placed the heraldic shields of Hungary, and the United States, and top centre: an icon of Jesus, I am the Way: the Truth & the Life. This was blessed by Cardinal Mindszenty on 27 May 1974. It is on the nave wall, marian side of the church. These catholics celebrated both their magyar and their american heritage. This is beyond Lennon's ken.

Now, the magyars are not alone in this sort of devotion and behavior. Many angry poles, as well as angry magyars, have said, "Even the communists did not close churches." Well, maybe not in Poland and Hungary; churches were torched in Jugoslavija, Stalin destroyed or found other uses for many in Russia and other soviet lands. But, many of these people here in Cleveland compare their bishop with the atheism of communist tyrants.

But even in parishes where there are not refugees and the children of refugees, there are the descendants of other émigrés. And from their meagre poverty they built their, sometimes grand temples, temples they thought would never be taken from them. In the Gospel of Matthew*, there is a parable, in which, a servant says to his lord,"Lord, I know that thou art a hard man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown, and gatherest where thou hast not strewed." He berates this servant whom does not have more money for him. He even recommends the practice of the sin of usury. This 'hard man' here is Richard Gerard Lennon.

Can one understand some of the rationale and cause of our desires now?
xxv. 24-7

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