Thursday, February 3, 2011

of bishops and saints [and parishes]

“As a convert, I never expected much from the bishops. In all history popes and bishops and father abbots seem to have been blind and power loving and greedy. I never expected leadership from them. It is the saints that keep appearing all thru history who keep things going. What I do expect is the bread of life and down through the ages there is that continuity. Living where we do there certainly is no intellectual acceptance of the Church, only blind faith. I mean among the poor.

The gospel is hard. Loving your enemies, and the worst are of our own household, is hard.” – Dorothy Day (*1897, 1980†) from a letter to Gordon Zahn
(*1918, 2007†)

The Eucharist was initiated with the Last Supper. The apostles were the first bishops. They were at the table, and Judas Iscariot was amongst them. Bad bishops were there at the beginning. As centuries passed several bishops promoted heresies and schisms. A bishop was not a guarantee of saintliness, nor orthodoxy. In the centuries, there were many bishops that were political, and dynastic appointments. Many bishops were interested primarily in secular activities. No, a bishop is not equal to a saint. Many bishops persecuted those that were to be recognised as saints.

To-day, when we have a bishop that has become a martyr, such as Oscar Romero, a man that, truly, a call for "Santo Subito!" should have held, we see some in the church whom still oppose the man. What is true, is that, some bishops are exemplars of Christ and the friend to humanity, and others are not. The Iscariots are not equal in dignity to the Romeros, the Borromeos, the Baragas, and the Fishers. Some that fall far from universally accepted sanctity are not villains, but are merely joyless functionaries whom had ambitions. They will not be remembered in generations to come, while Augustines, Peters, Hilaries and Nicholases shall. And we have had horrible bishops of Rome:
Benedict IX, Sergius III, John XII

Now in Buffalo, parishioners appealed to Rome to keep their parish, Saint Adalbert open. They waited for a decision. Rome wants her open. It seems the local bishop [Edward Kmiec] is recalcitrant. Perhaps he does not need to listen to Rome, if he chooses not to. Perhaps he has forgotten Rome has made him a bishop.

Throughout the United States, parishes are being suppressed. Parishes were all created to be perpetual. Rome has been flooded with appeals. Being a bureaucracy, the Curia has an overwhelming tendency to agree with bishops. Many appeals are waiting. They have been on the table.

At least one recent decision allows the bishop to close parishes but not to sell the property. This sort of presents him the cake but forbids him to devour it. Has Rome had enough of arrogant american bishops acting as capitalist overlords?

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