Friday, August 9, 2013

Destructive Bishops

reprinted from: 25 July 2013 entry

I am writing to express a grave problem in the American church.

Boston's, and now Cleveland's Richard Lennon is one of many bishops that have caused people to leave the Catholic Church, and often Christianity. There are many actions they have committed to bring this ever growing departure. On top of that, they lack the candor and integrity to confess. How at Mass, can one say repeatedly 'through my fault' and beat one's chest, and not make an admission?

One hugely grievous programme of error is the eradication of parishes. And the pattern attacks the ethnic parishes first and foremost. So many of the Eastern Churches are defined by their national origin, that is the one factor of their distinctiveness and that which holds them together. Membership in these communities is usually by birth or marriage. In the United States there are many denominations. As meaningful, important, beautiful, and Christian as the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, and so many others may be they exist because of their culture and tradition. Now, when some Roman Catholic bishop unilaterally suppresses and causes ethnic parishes (and others) to become extinct can he not see the destruction of that Christian community causes the loss of Christianity in members, and causes a loss to the universal church?

Each parish (community in Christ) has its own personality and charism. Every parish in the United States (and everywhere) has a personality. Now, we are a nation of immigrants, so our parishes bring a culture and a flavor from the old country; but also that of what we have made here. In an hundred years from now those parishes will have more experiences, and more traditions. People psychologically need and want tradition. This layer of symbolism allows possession. To remove and destroy this is to destroy a community. When the English defeated the Scots at Culloden, the aftermath was to destroy all semblance of the Scots as a nation. The tartan, and the bagpipes were forbidden, and this prohibition enforced by executing the traditionalists and patriots. Similar measures have been implemented by others wanting a 'cleansing' of ethnicity. These things held emotional value, and were symbols of their existence as a people. Similarly the loss of ethnic components in church life is to eradicate those members of the church that love those items. These 'things' are not things, but symbols. For supposed religious people not to understand the value of symbolism is absurd.

Precisely this line of argument infuriates these destroyers of parishes, because they are on target. Of the several letters that i have written to the chancery, only the first received a response from Richard Lennon. In it, he quotes one of my sentences (These nationality parishes, often disregarded by the hierarchy, have greater integrity than the parishes of the suburban sprawl.) and proceeds to scold me. ...personally I am offended...I know not what standard of measurement you so boldly employ in this statement. ... Here is a great episcopal error: the parish is the primary Christian unit, not the diocese. In the parish people, over a course of years, experience their sacramental life in an organic folk community. 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. At one time, every peasant in the villages knew that; but in current America not so much; and the most invincibly ignorant is often the bishop.

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