Monday, July 15, 2013

it has been a long, hard haul

The first of the parishes that had their Roman decrees enacted have been public for a year now. There has been various degrees of success in rebuilding the parishes. But the author of the troubles is unbowed. The people in the parishes do not see that they need to stand together against the common adversary. He resents their continued existence.

The two groups that publicly challenged Lennon are inactive. The first group, Endangered Catholics, disintegrated after the decrees came. Several members, including the president and the vice-president of the group, could not see the necessity of holding together and being resistant to the bishop's tyrannical behaviour. They were too narrowly focused on their own parishes. With a new bishop, this might not have been so bad; but with no change in the episcopacy, this was a foolhardy self inflicted wound. Richard Lennon is a mean, nasty prick, and always will be one. Overall, Lennon greatly benefited in the great reluctance his opposition showed towards him, and the deference they still had. The other group, Code Purple, shared significant overlap in its membership, and were more radical. They are a smaller group, but more willing to be confrontational. For those two reasons, they were far less mentioned by the press. Just too few Indians in the tribe, and to convenient to ignore them.

The parish is the Christian unit, not the diocese. The diocese was a Roman governmental administrative unit of subprovinces. The parish is a community of believers in God. The true founder of every parish is Jesus. We all know this...Jesus told us, “For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”. * And what God has put together, man should not destroy. And we know this too, or at least some of us do. In the old country every peasant knew the faith did not allow the destruction of parishes; but in current America not so much.  St. Vincent of Lérins, †c.445, told us how to recognise what is Catholic, “quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est” (that which is believed everywhere, always, and by all). Later, this is what Bl. John Newman meant by 'sensus fidelium' (sense of the faithful). Those arguments have not been permitted to air in Cleveland's public square. Again, to the great benefit of the bishop.

In the fourth century, and some time thereafter, emperors and a majority of bishops were not trinitarian Catholics, but Arians. At the Council of Nicæa which wrote the Creed we recite at Mass, the Catholics prevailed over the Arians. St. Nicholas, depending on the translation of the verb, either hit, slapped, or punched Arius at Nicæa. After Nicæa it was not the bishops, Roman emperors, and Germanic kings that kept the faith, but the lay faithful. In liberated France, the people with Charles de Gaulle were so disgusted with non-representative bishops, whom were collaborators with the fascists that the French government had to negotiate with the Vatican to 'retire' several bishops. The two chief Vatican negotiators, both became popes.

De Gaulle was a solid, conservative Catholic, from a very Catholic family. After this he had no desire to go to a cathedral any longer, only his parish church in Colombey-les-Deux-Églises. Compare St. Louis, King of France, who is remembered for saying, I think more of the place where I was baptized than of Rheims Cathedral where I was crowned.. The parish is the Christian unit.

Cleveland's Catholics will suffer until, at least, Lennon's last day here.  At times there were glimmers of hope, the candle has long since been snuffed. An occasional skirmish may be won. Some defenses, and territory may hold; but it is going to be a long, slow trek in a dark tunnel.
* Matthew xviii. 20.

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