Sunday, June 30, 2013

a letter to Richard

To-morrow, Monday, 1 July, Bp. Richard Lennon will receive a letter from the Community of St. Peter. The letter will say that the Community is not interested in continuing the "dialogue". The Community will continue as they are.

Monday, June 24, 2013

what are they drinking?

 “Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Kommunist.
Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.
Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten, habe ich nicht protestiert; ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.

Als sie die Juden holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Jude.
Als sie die Katholiken holten, habe ich nicht protestiert; ich war ja kein Katholik.
Als sie mich holten, gab es keinen mehr, der protestierten konnte.” 

Martin Niemöller *1892, 1984† was a naval officer in the First World War, and then a member of a post-war paramilitary group. He became a Lutheran minister. At first he supported the Nazis, and later was imprisoned by them. After the Hitlerite war, he gave speeches which variously phrased this adage:

When the Nazis came for the communists, I kept silent; I was no communist.
    When they locked up the social democrats,
I kept silent; I was no social democrat.
When they came for the unionists, I did not protest; I was no unionist.
When they came for the Jews, I kept silent; I was no Jew.
When they came for the Catholics, I did not protest; I was no Catholic.
When they came for me, there was no one left, who could protest.

Now, [here look who is always at top of the list in Niemöller's versions] this has been apropriated by many to include their group in it. Ms. Sysack, as did her deceased brother, has a political profile of interests and the desire and opportunity [click, click2, click3]  to express it. During the last presidential campaign this billboard advertised Ron Paul. These Paulists are fervent, and the intersection with the descendants of the John Birchers, known as teabaggers, is significant. These people are of a wont to believe in political conspiracies, often of the
tinfoil helmet type. There is a heavy strain of anti-intellectualism amongst them, and their literary heroine is the worst writer, and wretched philosopher, in the English language -- Ayn Rand.
These tinfoil libertarian populists love hyperbole, but they do not recognise it as such; neither do they recognise self-seving hypocrisy. The Sysacks have made and lettered signs for a livelihood. Nancy has made a couple of errors here, perhaps the older signs were lettered by Russell. Well, we have come accustomed to have errant spelling by Republicans/Teabaggers.
This billboard is in Old Brooklyn of Cleveland. Brooklyn is one of the five boroughs of New York City. At the end of the year, he is leaving the office of mayor after twelve years, and three successful elections. Michael Bloomberg is the seventh richest person in the United States.  
postscriptum: Two of the four Koch brothers are richer than Bloomberg. David was the vice president on the Libertarian ticket in 1980. They, as did their their father before them, fund national entities of the extreme political 'right'.

Oskar Neisinger *1919, 1985† of Würzburg had been an underground leader of Catholic youth during the war. He became an academic. Quoting him, Lächerlichkeit tötet nicht immer. Aber es kann tödlich werden, wenn ein Volk die Lächerlichkeit politischer Narren übersieht und das für ernst nimmt, was eigentlich im allgemeinen Gelächter untergehen müsste.

Ridicule does not always slay. But it can be deadly when a people overlook the ridiculousness of political fools and take seriously what should actually be drowned by common laughter.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

the will of the bishop

As i wrote in the last mention of St. Peter's, "Lennon is going after St. Peter's on E. 71 ... It is a campaign ... He is relentless." The latest action has made the front page, above the fold, of Cleveland's daily. To quote from a parish newsletter:
Sr. Susan has served as music director for Saint Peter Church/The Community of Saint Peter for the past 21 years. She has been a member of the Sisters of Notre Dame for over 50 years. In the discussions leading up to Sr. Gorman’s decision, Sr. Susan was told that among the reasons for this action was: that she was “helping it (the community) to succeed in direct opposition to the will of the bishop.” This decision is particularly confusing coming as it does in the midst of the so called “open discussion” between the CSP Board and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Cleveland, Richard G. Lennon. Yet, given the past history of the actions of the Diocese of Cleveland toward the members of Saint Peter’s, the decision to remove Sr. Susan from the community, sadly, comes as little surprise.

What is most disturbing, however, is the attempt by the church officials to dispirit our community by threatening a woman who has served the church faithfully for over five decades as a vowed religious, teacher and church musician. Clearly the recent order of ex-communication, and now this action by the Sisters of Notre Dame, relate not just to particular individuals, but also to the expressed desire to facilitate the eventual failure of the Community itself. While church officials talk about their desire for reconciliation, these actions reveal a system which must revert to threats, intimidation and punishment as a means to maintain control, and root out any possibility of disagreement or dissent. 
The next day, a story appeared, in the same paper, concerning St. Colman [click, click2]. Lennon is transparent, for those with a little ability to peer with a cursory penetrating glance. He is a mean, petty man. For the mediæval mind, intelligence was the primary mental faculty. For Martin Luther it was the will. Lennon is not a deep thinker, but he has the will of a despot and tyrant. This is not the quality of a shepherd. The quoting of Sr. Gorman's phrase the will of the bishopmay be the first time the local media has used this apt wording. Since he entered the diocese, that is all that matters. 
                                                           outside a Mass of Eviction [click]  
Now, Fr. Marrone writes that he is reminded of the Dr. Seuss's story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Grinch hated all the Whos in Who-ville, 
“And then they’d do something He liked least of all! Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, would stand close together with Christmas bells ringing. They’d stand hand in hand. And the Who would start singing. They’d sing! And they sing! And they’d sing! Sing! Sing! Sing. And the more the Grinch thought of this Who-Christmas Sing, the more the Grinch thought, “I must stop this whole thing!”
 13 December 2009. Holy Trinity Lorain Ohio.
These are not isolated incidents, neither are the parish evictions (often aided by armed police), nor the primacy of revenue. Lennon has dispatched many religious out of the diocese, he has made many abrupt personnel manœuvers. Many things that have occurred, and will occur, will not be known to the general public. These actions are the real Lennon. As long as he reigns, he is a present danger.

As Bishop of Cleveland, he is also bishop of the non-Catholics. We are fortunate that he has not attempted to exert the power of his office over them, it is within his right. In the modern world, this has not been evoked; and it would not work, but he has extended his authority beyond its scripted spheres and extents amongst Catholics; so he is only a tyrant over Catholics. Now, if he were a good man, he would have the power of moral suasion over the general community. He has none. Now such bishops as Dolan of New York City have heavily tried to influence public and national opinion in political matters, and outside of some Republican propagandists and voters have been unsuccessful. Remember they too are willful bishops.

Friday, June 21, 2013

jury layoff

 Citizens Jury Wheel. 1931. Cuyahoga County.
Yesterday, i got laid off from jury duty. I work in the trades, and have been laid off many times. At first, it was often insulting...hell, it still is; but i am now more blasé. When it was time to seat the jury, i was glad to be dismissed. The county took 25 people at random, and we were questioned in the 'voir dire', the jury interview. To seat twelve and two alternates, the twenty-third member was the last selection. The process was intrusive. The twenty-five were (presumably) strangers to each other. Everyone opened up in candor to events that were not the business of anyone.

On the elevator going down, i made a comment to the effect of  no one wanted to sit for that trial. One person differed. When we first sat down in the courtroom, the indictment was read, i was quite shocked. One comes and does not know what the case would be, but the rape and abduction of a child is horrible and repulsive, and i was not prepared for such proceedings. And this story won't make the press. Wednesday morning, before eight, a gaggle of media people were on the first floor on my way to the elevators. I asked, who are you here for. One man answered, "Castro".

First the judge (who bore a resemblance to Alec Baldwin) asked questions formed from the questionnaires the potential jurors answered, then the prosecutor, and then the defense attorney. It was alarming, that, several people had personal stories of great misfortune, or that of their close relatives: one man was shot during the theft of his automobile; another was robbed at gunpoint twice by different pre-teen children in New Orleans; a woman and her daughter were robbed, also under gunpoint, in Chicago; a woman's son was murdered at Marine boot camp (Camp Lejeune); a man witnessed a college roommate killed in Kent... 

It was also surprising, that, the three interrogators were acquaintanced with family members of the potential jurors. Two people were teachers/counselors that were questioned concerning students with sexual abuse. Three people had police relatives. One was a lawyer in a child related services. The thought crossed my mind, more potential jurors than twenty-five might be called. Several of those people were rejected from the impaneling. Eleven of us came Wednesday morning for jury duty, and Thursday afternoon it was over, and it was also over for other Wednesday jurors who were uninvolved in a case.
Isamu Noguchi sculpture. 1976. [click for another view]

Monday, June 17, 2013

Standing for Father Bob

 Saint Colman Prayer Service 17 June 2013
Father Begin started with a short introductory prelude in good humour. He was met by a standing ovation by more than nine hundred friends. They sang and prayed. They sang a Litany of Saints to pray for them.
Father Robert Begin authored a letter of mandatory retirement, but he requested to continue as pastor of St. Colman's Cleveland. He and the parish were astonished by the bishop's refusal of the request for continuation. Remember, this is a bishop who has repeatedly complained of a priest shortage, and has used that shortage as rationale for several actions.

Fr. Begin has been a priest of great integrity, and a loyal loving servant of Jesus Christ for seven times seven years, the last nineteen at St. Colman's. He has served with genuine humility and courage. No priest in the dioceses is so universally loved and respected by his, and other parishes' parishioners as is he.
Parishioners by ones, twos, and threes lined up to offer testimonials on what Father Bob means to them and the community. Each was followed by a chorus of Amens. Remarkably, and with the utmost naïve charity they referred respectfully to Bishop Lennon; but they were certain he was in error in this matter. Father Robert Begin is the man they want and need as pastor. They all were in agreement that Saint Colman is a place where the door is always open, and this shepherd is a welcoming gatekeeper.
Father Begin was joined by five priests at the end of the service to receive a blessing.
postscriptum 5.00 p.m. 28 June: A meeting took place between Bp. Lennon and Fr. Begin this morning. Further discussion may take place.

postscriptum 6.00 p.m. 19 July: Another meeting took place, Fr. Begin's pastorate has been extended to 30 August 1914.

postscriptum 10.00 a.m. 27 July: The Cleveland Plain Dealer's judgement yesterday was "Lennon was both wise and compassionate to let him stay".

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lennon boots another Father Bob

Yesterday, i did not go to Mass alone. That was fortunate, for i was not up to driving home. A feather would not have knocked me over, but a shove definitely would have. In the early hours of this morning i had sweated most of it out. I was weak enough to not be able to continue a phone call. Slightly after 11 p.m. the phone rang, i was openly non-enthusiastic. A friend of mine, thought i needed to know and comment on an article in Monday's daily. Lennon refused to allow Fr. Robert Begin to continue as pastor of St. Colman's. I went to check the electronic mail, and another friend had e-mailed me the article before 10 p.m.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer does not ordinarily record transitions in parish staffing. What can i possibly add? The author, Michael McIntyre, gave a succinct account with adequate background. One can draw the obvious conclusions, of course the paper's editorial staff would not do such a thing.

Robert Begin has integrity and courage. He saved his parish. Rome overruled the closures of eleven churches by Lennon, but those churches were not public for more than two years. That weakened those parishes in some respects. Begin's brilliance was to avoid that, by mounting an intense and immediate campaign (he did have allies on the behalf of the parish). Lennon relented with 'strings attached', the parish was on probation with guidelines to meet. They satisfied all requirements, including additional monies to cough up. 

The parish has increased its activities of outreach to immigrants, and the neighborhood's poor. They harbored an Hungarian parish while it was in exile. Statistics for Mass attendance, and reception of Sacraments have increased. The Cleveland Orchestra likes St. Colman's, many people do. Robert Begin is healthy, able, and willing, to continue his ministry to his people at St.Colman's. The parish is justly, very proud of their pastor.
16 May 2013 Fr. Robert Begin introduces the Cleveland Orchestra
Now, what would a pastoral bishop do? What would a bishop who complains of a priest shortage do? But, we should realise who we are referring to. What would a vindictive, and petty man do? And he has legitimate cover on this one. He does not have to extend his authority, this is within his authority. So, hit the road.

Lennon had two priests in the diocese that were not in fear of him. He ex-communicated Fr. Robert Marrone, and he has told Fr. Robert Begin to pack it in.

postscriptum 5.00 p.m. 11 June: Well, i was thinking of writing, that, a popular campaign could be done to request/demand the bishop to relent and change his decision. Well, it has begun.
there is an on-line petition [click

On Monday, 17 June there will be a prayer service in the parish church of St. Colman at 7 p.m.

postscriptum 11.20 p.m. 11 June: a local priest writes on the situation [click]

postscriptum 8.00 a.m. 12 June: A friend writes to me, "Golly, everytime one turns around Bishop Lennon is doing something crazy." One can write to the papal ambassador:

Apostolic Nuncio
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano
The Apostolic Nunciature
3339 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC. 20008

postscriptum 4.05 p.m. 12 June: the on-line petition, supra, has reached 1,000 signatories.

postscriptum 6.00 p.m. 20 June: the on-line petition has ended with 2,441 signatories; in addition over 800 paper signatures were collected.

postscriptum 3.50 p.m. 21 June: "This morning, the petition was delivered to Bishop Lennon.  It had a total of 3324 signatures, 2440 from the on-line petition and 884 on paper signed by those who could not sign on line.  It also included 48 pages of comments from the on-line petition. And we have received about 100 copies of letters you have sent to Archbishop Vigano.

Just today, in light of your clear and enthusiastic concern for the good of the Church in Cleveland, at my request, Fr. Donald Oleksiak, Director of Clergy Personnel, agreed to arrange a meeting with the Bishop to discuss his decision to accept my resignation."  

postscriptum 5.00 p.m. 28 June: A meeting took place between Bp. Lennon and Fr. Begin this morning. Further discussion may take place.

postscriptum 6.00 p.m. 19 July: Another meeting took place, Fr. Begin's pastorate has been extended to 30 August 1914.

postscriptum 10.00 a.m. 27 July: The Cleveland Plain Dealer's judgement yesterday was "Lennon was both wise and compassionate to let him stay".

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Truth, Justice, and the American Way

Jerome Siegel *1914,1996† and Joseph Shuster *1914,1992† were children of Jewish immigrants living in Glenville Cleveland. They created Superman. They lost Superman, and the franchise has made many millions. For several years in the mid-30s they worked out the concept and story. Superman was published in Action Comics #1 (June 1938). The duo sold their rights to the publisher for one hundred and thirty dollars. At auction, a copy of the first issue went for a million dollars.
the crystal gemstone tourmaline can pass for kryptonite
Superman became the first of the comic book superheroes. He was in the newspapers, radio, television, and the picture show. Many people have become familiar with the outline of his story, and many of the characters, and plot elements.

Siegel, Shuster, and Superman came to age in Depression, and New Deal America. Franklin Roosevelt was making a better America, and Hitler was creating a bloodthirsty empire. Siegel and Shuster were familiar with, and enthusiasts of, the picture show, and of science fiction and detective book cheapies. Such was the genesis of Superman.
  Superman's attic, boyhood home Jerry Siegel
For many years, Cleveland had not recognised Siegel, Shuster, and Superman.  Superman/Clark Kent is seventy-five. The Jewish cultural museum in suburban Beachwood has a permanent exhibit. A few markers have been put up in Glenville, and last fall a statue and exhibit were installed at a baggage carousel in Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Cleveland has a lot of public art, a large outdoor statue would be in order.

There is a comedian (others too had to make the connection) somewhere that made the observation on how simple it is to identify the character by using a pair of glasses, putting them on and taking them off, and again so, saying "Clark Kent. Superman...". Perhaps, the same fellow, spoke on the ending of The Fugitive, holding one arm behind his back while waving the other up and down. The Fugitive was based on Cleveland's doctor Sam Sheppard.

In 1972, DC comics named Metropolis Illinois as Superman's home town. Now a large colorful statue proudly stands in front of the town hall in a characteristic, undaunted, Douglas Fairbanks Jr.-Errol Flynn Robin Hood stance and the slogan, "Truth-Justice-American Way".

Currently in town, a couple of Hollywood movies are being filmed. One is a superhero movie, Captain America. Cleveland is in the habit of bending over backwards for outside money coming to town. If people are inconvenienced, so what? Also, this is interesting, some people make out in financial gain, hooray for them; others lose out, and miss income and so what? Whoever is quickest on the make wins. An 'entrepreneur' with the slickness of a confidence-man can make out like a bandit in Cleveland. Of course, the big money and corporations in town wheel a similar practice as standard operating procedure. Cleveland was the hometown of the once richest robber baron of them all, John D. Rockefeller, and many other millionaires. Their money did not trickle down.

A local reporter, Bill Sheil, did a good piece on the "authority"of filming "security". A highway was shut down Friday, and will be for two weeks. That caused a hellacious traffic jam on the suggested reroute, that along with other construction and filming downtown added to commuter immobility. That was the lead story on many of the editions on four Cleveland television stations. Not too many bosses will shrug off an employee coming late to work, especially when other workers (and he of course) are not in similar circumstances. Hey, but a few people get minimum wage jobs as extras, it beats jury duty. I am not paying for the movie tickets.