Monday, May 31, 2010

Preparing a parish for extinction

Some parishes have funeral cards printed up for the day of extinction. Supra: funeral cards for the day the parishes were taken: Holy Trinity (Slovak), Saint Stanislaus (Polish), both of Lorain, Ohio.
Now, these 58 or so churches, and their parish communities, that have been scheduled for execution were not killed the next day. They had all their possessions accounted for liquidation. The congregations were being prepared for the day of slaughter. The church staff was coached, the clergy was leaned on, so they would not stand tall. Some bent to different degrees, some snapped. They were being used to prepare their people, to keep them docile. They were brow beaten if necessary by those 'loyal' to the bishop.

Now, at Saint Lawrence, there had been no resident priest for years, and no pastor. Sacramental priests were usually the available Benedictines of the nearby abbey. Often the celebrant was the retired abbot, Clement Zeleznik; sometimes the current abbot, Christopher Schwartz; the youthful and energetic, Gary Hoover, OSB or someone else.

Near the very end there came nostalgic celebrants. Fr. Louis Papes, a 1953 Saint Lawrence school graduate and a missionary priest from the Jonestown, Guyana diocese came back. Unfortunately, he propagandised from the pulpit in defense of Lennon, the same day, 16th of May, signatures were collected refusing to accept surrender to the bishop. There was an open house, the same day, and everything was available for touring.

Before this came a former associate pastor, the titular bishop of Mercia, Edward Pevec. He celebrated his 60th year Jubilee as a priest with Masses at St. Vitus and St. Lawrence. Fr. Papes had been an altar boy for Bishop Gregorij Rožman. At one time all three were at Saint Lawrence with the long serving pastor, John Oman.

The last May crowning of Mary was on May 9th. On the 23rd of May, the last procession to the Fatima shrine during the rosary took place. Father Dominic Mondzelewski, OSB had a homecoming visit, and a diocesan priest Ralph Hudak, from neighboring Immaculate Heart of Mary, con-celebrated. Father Dominic has said Masses there for over thirty years. A parish dinner at the nearby Slovenian Hall (NASH) was held afterwards. This was the final parish celebration.

The week after, at the back of the nave souvenirs came. First a foto card of Fr. John Oman (pastor 1915-62) by the high altar. In the fifty years since a couple additional slabs of marble covered some of the flanking brick. Displays of fotos, documents, books were placed on tables.

The above holy card and medal of St. Laurentius (Lovrenc, Lawrence) was handed out by ushers on the 30th of May. St. Laurentius was the holy deacon of Rome, who when ordered to turn over the riches of the church, brought the aged, the crippled and the poor. He sent the Holy Grail to his native Spain, and dispersed the other valuables elsewhere. For this loyalty and defiance, he was grilled alive, and the gridiron is his iconic symbol.

The last Corpus Christi procession will take place this week. The Last Mass for the Faithful will be on St. Anthony of Padua and Lisbon (June 13). The Mass of Eviction will be in front of visitors and strangers on the 20th.

In 1901 seven slovenes petitioned the bishop for a parish. Days later St. Lawrence was authorised, and held its first masses in the basement of Holy Name. Now a century past, many more slovenes want the parish to endure, and this bishop says, "No."

Still there are stalwarts who will not surrender. One gave defiant speeches to crowds outside at Casimir's, Peter's, the cathedral, and City Hall on why St. Lawrence and other parishes should stay open. Letters are still being sent to Rome.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fundamental episcopal lies about ethnic parishes

Now, one of the many lies of Richard Lennon is prefaced by a sentence similar, if not always exact to:
"A group of people were told by the bishop of this diocese, 'you leave your parish, that you love, and start a new one.' "
This was true in the baby boom, and post world war ii rush to the suburbs. Few of those parishes are being closed, and they should not be. In these ethnic parishes that statement is often 100% false.

On the 4th of December 1901, seven men (one being a cleric) petitioned Bishop Horstmann for a slovene parish for Newburgh*. They were to buy the lots and provide all funding. The parlance of the time and place, the slovenes called themselves 'krainers'. Some heard 'greiners'. The ancient name for Slovenia was Karantanija, this anglicised is Carinthia. The alpine karantanijan slavs were divided and settled into the provinces Koroška, Štajerska, Primorska, Gorejnska, Notranjska, Dolenjska, Prekmurje and Benečija. Gorenjska, Notranjska, and Dolenska were together Carniola, from this --'Kranjska' you get krajnc and krajnci, and eventually german-english 'krainer'.

Cleveland had czech parishes that identified as bohemian. There also are moravian and silesian czechs. The largest province was representing the whole.

This multiplicity of identification goes beyond that. Slovenci (slovene) is a verbal form of slava (glory). Different forms of slav-, wend, or srb are substituted or similar to each other. The germans called some slavs, 'windischer', this became 'wends' in english, and in latin/italian 'veneti' and perhaps, that became Venetia, and the venetian slavs called their home, Benečija.

On the 12th of December, the bishop 'authorized' the parish of St. Lawrence, and told the 'krainers' to use the basement of Holy Name. Now, what does this history teach us? The people asked for the parish. The people financed and built the parish, and they promised this upon the initial petition. The bishop formally approved in days. People were not forced to leave a parish, they wanted a parish. Now, once that parish is created, it is to be perpetual.

Another lie that is slandering, and libeling Saint Wendelin's has the party line proffered, that it is not a slovak parish, because slovak has not been used at Mass in twenty-five years. This is complete bullshit. Fifty years ago the language in all ethnic Masses of the latin-rite in this diocese was in latin. Wendelin in 1903 was founded as a slovak parish. Saint Lawrence, which sings hymns in slovene, to this day, was founded as a slovene parish. To-day, the priest was slovak, and the altar servers african; it is still a slovene parish.

The truth is ― most, that means a majority, of the parishes extinguished are ethnic parishes; and often with monies and properties. He kills two birds with one stone. It is part of the ethnic cleansing of the catholic church in the USA. Now, people who counter or dismiss this argument, do so stupidly or dishonestly. They do so, because the truth is ugly. There is nothing accidental in the numbers. To dismiss them is to dismiss the foundation of philosophical truth, and the freedom of speech. Two and two are always four. When someone says they are four, and is then derided, their freedom is under attack.
*Newburgh was soon annexed to Cleveland.

Lennon takes St. Patrick's

When Lennon and his spokesmen say he was welcomed and people enjoy the new benefit his wisdom will bring to them, look at this photograph; not one person in it would agree. Now increase that by those who showed to the other masses, or stayed away so as not to greet Lennon. The camera did not have a wide angle lens to show additional refuseniks, and it doesn't show the people across the street, by the photographer. Click or open link for better detail.
Sometimes the pavement steps speak.
Recent Patrick graduates on the steps in solidarity with those against the lennonist plan.
No not just this congregation, but the entire church.
After the second Mass of Eviction on the 30th of May, a piper led the
parish forward as they retook the church, for a time, till they were seated to pray five decades of the Rosary.
A parishioner of Saint Patrick, and president of Endangered Catholics, Patricia Singleton-Schulte trying to engage the bishop in his forgotten promise of dialog.
The police were there in force, bored out of their wits, but paid by Lennon to bring firearms into the House of the Lord.
I was quite wrong, in that since, Lennon deviates practically not an iota, I thought he would be in a car at 1.30 p.m., after a diversion. That would have been at the time the first decade of the rosary would conclude. People were waiting (with a television cameraman, her reporter and a newspaper photographer at a side entrance). The reporter (Shannon O'Brien) said, on air (after 6.30 pm), that more people were outside the church than inside.
100th post

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cleveland shore to shore

St. Joseph seen from Lehigh University
An interesting turn of affairs occurred in the week. Monday morning I received a call from Bethlehem; Bethlehem of Pennsylvania near the Atlantic shore. A slovene parish had been closed. St. Joseph's had the ill fortune of laying betwixt an university and a casino. The casino had been built on the old steel mill. The caller advised me to get in touch with Franc Cardinal Rodé, and Boštjan Žekš, the Minister of Slovenes Living Abroad. Since the Pennsylvanians did not surrender about Allentown, the Clevelanders should hold strong. The bishop of Allentown [Edward Cullen, whose resignation was accepted a year ago to-day] was following the lennonist plan from Boston, when Cullen reduced parishes in 2008.
Minutes later, a telephone call came from the City of Angels on the Pacific coast of Alta California. A reporter of Pulitzer prospects would be on the south shore of Lake Erie past midweek. He had to be in Sandusky, but would drive into the Cleveland diocese.

Thursday there he was a-passing my house. I waved him back. He parked, and we met on the sidewalk cement. "So, why should you come more than half way across the country to find and talk to such an unimportant person such as myself?" He had seen my name in an article, and his boss thought there might be an article to be writ.

We had a fine far ranging conversation on religion, culture, history and the local situation. While in my house he called, and reached, the answering machines of "Baghdad" Bob Tayek, and Lennon. T'ere in me own kitchen, i heard the voice of the bishop, himself.
Fr. John Oman pastor of St. Lawrence 1915-62.
I showed him a few fotos that have appeared on this site, and some others. The one that interested him was a souvenir foto of the high altar of Saint Lawrence and, it's longest serving pastor, John J. Oman. From Minnesota's seminaries slovenes were sent to minister to other slovene-americans. Fr. Oman was to go east to Cleveland. He had first come to Saint Vitus in 1912. He became the third pastor of Saint Lawrence in 1915. His appointment lasted till his health failed in 1962.

Eucharistic Congresses were held in Ljubljana [1935] and Cleveland [1936]. Bishop Rožman and Father Oman became acquainted. The second world war intervened, with the expansion of communist tyranny to all of the states in the non-hellenic east of europe, and Rožman came to finish his days at Saint Lawrence. The parish had a bishop in residence for eleven years.
St. Casimir's great choir rose window
He also was impressed with some fotos of St. Casimir's. He went on to speak with friends from Casimir's, and Wendelin's in the late afternoon, and the early evening. He came to the feeling that from these three interviews, alone, there had been material for a story a week. I had suggested that we had been tugging, pushing and cajoling the local press from the beginning. He may have stories aplenty to write. As it stands now, we are an ace away form going national, "from the atlantical to the pacifican sea".

I had told a friend, in November, after the first prayer vigils of Saint Casimir-in-exile, that the story deserved to go national with the attention of a major paper, such as the Los Angeles Times, for they did do neighborhood parish stories, and then onto a national television broadcast. The story had to gather critical mass, and with greater frequency (shorter intervals) it would be like a snowball avalanching, or a cascading torrent. Rome would pay attention, and Lennon's stonewalling would fail only under constant barrage. The vox populi would be heard if the call of avanti popolo would take heart.

Steps of Cleveland's City Hall

Monday, May 24th, on the steps of Cleveland's City Hall there gathered a colorful rally of catholics and their banners, and other citizens and residents, and their elected representatives within Cleveland. Councilman Dona Brady (ward 17), she who was successful in battling the bishop, had gotten a reprieve, conditional ($$), on the grand St. Ignatius of Antioch, [SS. Philip and James had fallen to the axe], sounded like a member of the incensed catholic citizenry herself.

The councilman, TJ Dow (ward 7), and
the next State Representative from District 10, Bill Patmon pleaded the necessity of keeping these necessary [and financially sound] pillars of the community open and reopened. Councilman Dow proudly represents St. Casimir's. Bill Patmon, announced he was not an european ethnic, and not a catholic, but fully christian enough to support his brethren. All of these folk wanted to meet with the bishop for redress. Brian Cummins (ward 14) addressed the question of interior landmark protection. Kevin Conwell (ward 9) showed up late, but was there on the steps, as was Zach Reed (ward 2), who was there from the beginning.

The group, Endangered Catholics, had their executive officers open, and close the rally. A parishioner of St. Lawrence, and St. Casimir, read an open letter of defiance addressed to Lennon, as the traffic of noisy buses competed for sound, after he recognised the two women whom were the liaisons and nuncios to City Hall. Another Casimiri cited the patronage of the Divine Mercy of Jesus being in evidence. Three television cameras rolled, but very little footage was aired. The catholics brought their own video photographer, John Juhasz, and he posted below: part 1 (Kloos intro, Councilwoman Brady) part 2 (other councilmen) part 3 (our "color commentator") part 4 (Pat and Joe do the wrap).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wendelin's taken

Another milestone on the road to the devastation of the diocese of Cleveland, and to the creation of the diocese of Lennongrad. Saint Wendelin's the last surviving slovak parish has been extinguished, and its monies and properties are freed to be played with and dealt.

The timetable was rigidly followed as usual. Lennon was in the backseat of a car driven by his toadie's spouse, exactly 90 minutes after the beginning of the Mass of Eviction. His toadie, Armstrong, turned over 'his' parish to his employer. A half hour later the building was cleared. A heavy police presence was again in evidence, and they stood and watched for nothing to happen. People lost their parish and community. That being of no concern to the management and the authorities. A sustained attempt was made to squelch any public show of dissension. It failed. Some of Wendelin's parishioners were at the forefront of the greater diocesan dissatisfaction with Dickie the Destroyer. They were going to have a demonstration. It was an added closing charge to be taken from the kitty, the police will be paid. Frugality is not one of Lennon's bugbears.

It was a warm day. So to shield the congregation, from the protesters, the front doors were closed. The bishop's party were uncomfortable anyway.

Annunciation, Pentecost and Pax Christi

The main doors of Annunciation in Cleveland's West Park has two signs affixed, a prominent no death penalty one, and a small one reading: Our way of life is peace and non-violence. All weapons are forbidden on these holy grounds. In between the sentences there is a dove. One has to wonder if the signs will be there at the end of the month, and if they are, will Lennon's security abide with the latter's prohibition?

The second parish to close in Cleveland [the first ws the old cathedral] was its only French parish, Annunciation (Église de l'Annonciation de Cleveland), in 1916. Some of its patrimony came to St. Emeric's. Its activity ended just before the US entered the first world war. A second Annunciation parish began after the second world war, in 1946, in the newish section of West Park, which was thoroughly modern, and 'up to date' for the american working class. At the end of this month, that Annunciation will be no more, it will merge into Ascension parish. Saint Patrick, West Park, is also to be forcibly merged with Ascension which also dates from 1946. St. Patrick strongly, and sometimes rambunctiously, wishes to continue; it began a century earlier amongst, then, farmland.Annunciation is now a smaller parish, in a declining neighborhood. The post war boom times ended with the onset of the rustbelt years of the 1970s, and the continuing economic concentration that has fractured this country, and has sapped its vitality.

Annunciation has its own parochial culture. It is a peace church, a rarity for a catholic church in the US of A. Jesus called us all to be a peace church.The second Annunciation has read the leaves, it raised its finger in the wind, and realised it had no chance in this climate. For some years now, the parish had not a resident priest, nor a pastor. Such parishes are not acceptable to Lennon, the destroyer of parishes. Even these 'mild' and peaceful people are upset with their fate.
On about a score of Pentecosts [this will be the last] the parish has invited people to make a public vow, verbal or written, or a private vow for peace using the Pax Christi vow of non-violence. Written ones are kept in a bowl in front of the shrine of non-violence, which remembers three Cleveland martyrs; two of whom, Jean Donovan and Sr. Dorothy Kazel were depravedly tortured by their murderers amongst the El Salvadoran soldiery; and the third martyr, is Ralph Delaney, who was murdered in Cleveland while serving the poor. This parish tradition was started by their last pastor, Fr. Russ Banner. He also founded the Cleveland-West chapter of Pax Christi.

Pax Christi was formed in France at the end of the second world war to reconcile with the germans. Jesus's Sermon on the Mount is the core of its philosophy. It has since expanded to over 60 countries, and is recognised by the United Nations.

Pax Christi has the full cohort of pro-life agendas. They are against abortions, but they do not stop at that line. And because of their unflinching additional pro-life beliefs, they lose potential followers. For Christ's message of peace, and life, goes far beyond the rejection of abortion. They believe in peace, in a country that believes in war. This does not make them popular. As a group, they are against the death penalty, for the mercy Jesus offers he also requests from us towards others. Other peace and justice initiatives they also work for, of course not all initiatives are pressed with the same momentary intensity. Resources, including members, are too few, and people have only so much stamina. But still some good is done.

Amongst other peacenik and christian service activities, the parish has a peace liturgy, or programme, for New Year's Eve, at a pre-Guy Lombardo hour, that has been carried out in these years. In the last few years, luminaria in the form of small votive candles in plastic milk jugs have given a candle light witness, while people show signs to the drivers on W. 130th encouraging peace, and an end to the wars, especially those begun by gwbushjr.

The last gathering of Pax Christi at Annunciation was Saturday, the 15th of May. They reminisced, and they took their last 'action', which was to attach their names to Buffalo, New York's Franz Jägerstätter People for Breaking the Silence group's Ash Wednesday's letter, to the catholic bishops, to encourage nuclear disarmament and peace. Pax Christi is an international peace group, it is primarily a catholic organisation, although members can come from any tradition. The local chapter has members and friends whom are not catholic. The next gathering will be at the old Ascension parish.


RECOGNIZING THE VIOLENCE IN MY OWN HEART, yet trusting in the goodness and mercy of God, I vow for one year to practice the nonviolence of Jesus who taught us in the Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons and daughters of God...You have learned how it was said, "You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy"; but I say to you, "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way, you will be daughters and sons of your Creator in heaven."

Before God the Creator and the Sanctifying Spirit, I vow to carry out in my life the love and example of Jesus

  • by striving for peace within myself and seeking to be a peacemaker in my daily life;
  • by accepting suffering rather than inflicting it;
  • by refusing to retaliate in the face of provocation and violence;
  • by persevering in nonviolence of tongue and heart;
  • by living conscientiously and simply so that I do not deprive others of the means to live;
  • by actively resisting evil and working nonviolently to abolish war and the causes of war from my own heart and from the face of the earth.
God, I trust in Your sustaining love and believe that just as You gave me the grace and desire to offer this, so You will also bestow abundant grace to fulfill it._____________________________________

To the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,
Your Excellencies,
Does loving one another “as I have loved you” mean assembling and maintaining thousands of nuclear weapons with the capacity of incinerating millions and millions of people while spending billions and billions on “development and upgrades” as the world has done in the past decade? American Catholics helped produce the “Fat Man” that killed thousands of their fellow Catholics in Nagasaki. Could we possibly do that again to other baptized Catholics, loving one another as he has loved us?
We are a stiff-necked generation! Our generation refuses to heed your 1983 exhortation from “The Challenge of Peace, God’s Promise and Our Response”: "Deterrence is not an adequate strategy as a long-term basis for peace; it is a transitional strategy justifiable only in conjunction with resolute determination to pursue arms control and disarmament." That was nearly 30 years ago and the U.S. still spent some $52.4 billion in 2008 according to the LA Times, $145 million per day, to maintain its nuclear arsenal.
Nor has our generation heeded your 1993 call, from “The Harvest of Justice is Sown in Peace”, for a comprehensive test-ban treaty, effective action to halt nuclear proliferation and greater progress toward nuclear disarmament.”
You reminded this generation, “Part of the legacy of The Challenge of Peace is the call to strengthen peacemaking as an essential dimension of our faith, reminding us that Jesus called us to be peacemakers.” And you have told us, “Nonviolent strategies need greater attention in international affairs.”
Nevertheless, since your warning in 1983, we have further blurred the distinction between nuclear and conventional weaponry with “bunker busters”, depleted uranium, “dirty nuclear devices”, “low yield nuclear devices”, and the like. And proliferation now extends to as many as 9-10 countries with others working toward that end. The US has continued nuclear weapons threats which have been well documented. The oft-repeated “All options are on the table”, means just that.
Archbishop Edwin O’Brien was direct in his speech to the Strategic Air Command in July 2009, “Nuclear war-fighting is rejected in Church teaching because it cannot ensure noncombatant immunity and the likely destruction and lingering radiation would violate the principle of proportionality. Even the limited use of so-called ‘mini-nukes’ would likely lower the barrier to future uses and could lead to indiscriminate and disproportionate harm. And there is the danger of escalation to nuclear exchanges of cataclysmic proportions.”
All this - in contrast to the nonviolent teaching of Jesus, “Lay down your weapon” - and his very life example. And all this - in contrast to Blessed Franz Jagerstatter who sacrificed his very life as a martyr rather than participate in a sinful unjust war, which you have declared nuclear war to be.
How many millions are to die by a single error of human judgment? In the name of Jesus, could we do other than loudly declare the assembly and maintenance of nuclear weapons anything but SIN? Congressional voting for nuclear budgets, taxpayer cooperation without protest, military people accepting assignments to keep nuclear weapons on alert…should we not proclaim this all SIN?
Some of you have recently condemned these weapons, e.g., Cardinal George in July 2009; and Bishop Matthiesen in his book, Wise and Otherwise, said about contamination, “Now the pits that are the cores of the thousand of nuclear bombs we assembled during the Cold War are turning on us.” Yet we stand at A New Moment for Nuclear Disarmament. President Obama in his Prague speech gave us hope for a new future, a new road toward the nuclear disarmament you have called for, especially when he said that “moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon”.
Pope Benedict in his World Peace Day Message 2010, encouraged “the efforts of the international community to ensure progressive disarmament and a world free of nuclear weapons, whose presence alone threatens the life of the planet and the ongoing integral development of the present generation and of generations yet to come.”
Following your prophetic pastoral statements in 1983 and 1993, with the same determination and skill you are employing in your health care reform advocacy and your call for Immigration Reform, bringing your moral leadership to the process, we call upon you to: a) engage all Catholics to refuse to participate in any way in maintaining nuclear weapon systems; and b) in a new demand that the scourge of nuclear weapons be removed from the face of this shrinking planet. c) We further ask you to provide an education program for all Catholics, both young people and adults, on the nonviolent teachings and life example of Christ himself - helping Catholics to understand the immorality of these weapons, and all weapons of mass destruction; and helping them to join your call for eliminating this curse; and d) encourage active engagement with the actions now planned that are consistent with your prophetic calls, e.g., the “Spring 2010 Walk for a Nuclear-free World”, or your own creative non-violent action.
We pray for God’s grace and blessing on your leadership
Franz Jagerstatter People for Breaking the Silence

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Last toll for Lawrence


(In honor of our protector, St. Joseph. The church of St. Lawrence)

In this bell steeple there are three bells. Even people who have rung bells in their churches for years have come to their task after the initial installation, and may not realise their history, and the full power of their romance. After several years, electrical maintenance of wiring, and motors, may not always have been maintained, and they have become silenced. There are places, in which, neighbors, and government have silenced them; in others they have "gone out of fashion". Some places they have been superceded by electronic chimes. Bells are given names and 'baptised' by bishops, at least amongst all the catholics. They are harbingers of joy, sadness and alarum.

The church of Saint Lawrence (ECCLESIA ST. LAVRENTII) has three bells: St. Joseph, Blessed Virgin Mary and, the larger, Christ the King. Bells were rung thrice daily for the Angelus prayers at 6 am, noon, and 6 pm, and for regular Masses, and other events (funerals, marriages and disaters).

Now, supposedly this church's patrimony will be auctioned off by Richie Lennon. It is not so easy with the bells. Will he recognise their sacredness and baptismal character? They are clearly labelled, and are where they are supposed to be. The mold was made and the metal cast. Is he going to have the lettering ground off? Or will he puddle the bell for the scrap value of bronze?
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee..." ― John Donne 1624

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lawrence's ceiling

As it has been suggested here, Saint Lawrence, Cleveland is modest in size but uniquely impressive. The architectural and sacred presentation is atypical and lovely. One of these unique features is the ceiling. There is a painted wood panelled ceiling throughout: in the narthex, nave, sanctuary, and Marian chapel. It is dark wood, perhaps cypress, [mahogany, which is a generic term for rain forest], and within it, and suspended from it, are vents, electrical lamps, and fans. The panels are dark and the only sufficiently lighted panels are in the narthex, which are sun lit through the transept windows over the portico doors. They are decorated with floral, and geometric lace, interspersed with iconic portraits, and symbols of the faith. Wordless, scriptless, so one's accumulated identifying knowledge is taxed. And with common cameras, and the artificial lighting in use, and the insufficient sunlight in the main, it is not easy to capture good snapshots. But it is solidly handsome and memorable.
It would be a travesty to alter, or dismember, the ceilings. And again, the sum value is greater than the constituent parts. Saint Lawrence, the church building can only be a church, and should only be a church. If there is poetic justice, in the next world, in the fashion of Dante, and the forgers of greek pagan mythology, whom once sang and depicted verse, then every brick, pane and panel of Saint Lawrence's would be hauled on the malefactor's back, as the just burden of his sin of unwarranted possession, and ultimate dismemberment. Lawrence had humor at his end. Remember, the martyred roman deacon was grilled, and said to his executioners to turn him over, for he was done on the one side.
Supra (above) ceilings: top, a center section above the nave
Teresa of Avila, narthex panel (color tweaked, since sunlight has faded it)
Peter, over the baldachino over the high altar
panels of the Marija Brezje shrine, with angels flanking a panel of Sv. Marija Pomogaj [Mary, Help of Christians], which is above a large painting, whose supporting window covers a St. Mary window

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What Sunday is this?

For most of the catholic world this is the 7th Sunday after Easter; for the church of easy observance this is Ascension Sunday; on the old calendar it is Sunday within the Octave of Ascension. Here it is the middle one. I feel least comfortable with that option. For many it is not an onerous burden to have Ascension on Thursday as it was meant to be. Thursday is forty days after Easter. At one time in this non-catholic country, we were noticed, in part, on account of us having extra holidays, catholic holidays others did not recognise, and even snickered at, and demeaned. There are countries where Ascension Thursday is a public holiday [remember 'holiday' is another spelling of 'holy day']. It was a source of distinction, and a chance to share, and evangelise the faith; not so much now. With the new calendar, and the new Mass, one positive matter is the greater number of Scripture readings people hear in worship in the three year, and two year cycles. By the using of the middle option, the readings of the first option are not heard to-day.
Acts vii.55-60
Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit,

looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God

and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,

and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened

and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

But they cried out in a loud voice,

covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.

They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.

The witnesses laid down their cloaks

at the feet of a young man named Saul.

As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice,

“Lord, do not hold this sin against them;”

and when he said this, he fell asleep.

Apoc. xxii. 12-14, 16-17, 20

I, John, heard a voice saying to me:

“Behold, I am coming soon.

I bring with me the recompense I will give to each

according to his deeds.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last,

the beginning and the end.”

Blessed are they who wash their robes

so as to have the right to the tree of life

and enter the city through its gates.

“I, Jesus, sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.

I am the root and offspring of David,

the bright morning star.”

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”

Let the hearer say, “Come.”

Let the one who thirsts come forward,

and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water.

The one who gives this testimony says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

Gospel of John xvii. 20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:

“Holy Father, I pray not only for them,

but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

so that they may all be one,

as you, Father, are in me and I in you,

that they also may be in us,

that the world may believe that you sent me.

And I have given them the glory you gave me,

so that they may be one, as we are one,

I in them and you in me,

that they may be brought to perfection as one,

that the world may know that you sent me,

and that you loved them even as you loved me.

Father, they are your gift to me.

I wish that where I am they also may be with me,

that they may see my glory that you gave me,

because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,

but I know you, and they know that you sent me.

I made known to them your name and I will make it known,

that the love with which you loved me

may be in them and I in them.”

The stoning of the protomartyr Stephen and the apostle Paul's[Saul's] rôle is a story we need to hear. The second reading is virtually the last words of Scripture, there is only one more verse, it is a final salutation and "Amen". "Amen" is the last word of Scripture. Most, here, missed these words at church to-day.
supra windows: Ascension. John Cantius, Cleveland.
Stoning of Stephen. St. Stephen, Cleveland.
Alpha. Omega. St. Anthony of Padua, Akron.

New disclaimer and apology

Notice to reader: This series of essays are one man's words, mine. We all have thoughts. There are many writers and talkers, who, have the public's attention. My particular concerns are not often those of theirs. I do believe some ideas, and views, that have merit have not flourished in public, or are allowed a public airing. In different spheres there is an intersection or overlap, so some views are heard some places, but a certain combination of views are not heard, or read in the same venue.

As of now, there has been no tangible gain for this writer. This writer is not an agent of another entity or person(s), nor is he employed by any interest that he discusses. The contents include information, often academically and/or journalistically verifiable, that are available to the world, and a certain narrative point of view that is earnest, and is believed to be logically constructed. Of course, a reader would not be expected to be familiar, nor in agreement with every passage; that is not a real concern of the writer. You are free to have your own views, you may know of other factual information that the writer is ignorant of, and of facts that run counter the view (bias if you will), or logic presented. The writer does not need to agree with you. The writer may not accept certain presentations of others, he certainly will not accept parroted, or invented fictions, and absurdities, no matter how pressing they may be.

There is some sort of comment form available. Not all comments are posted, especially those directed personally at the writer. Advertisements disguised as comments are not posted. People upset with the writer should not expect an airing of their grievance.

I am one voice in the rustbelt. The rust belt is roughly the northern Atlantic shore to the lands spreading through the middle west before the land becomes prairie. This is where the greatest concentration of population existed, in the United States, from the late 19th to the middle of the 20th centuries, and therefore contributed the most to the country. This is a significant 'heartland' of America, that has come to hard times, and is being eclipsed. It is not the 'heartland' that some speak of which means to exclude the peoples, and the lands, that have created our democracy. That use is duplicitous, and mean-spirited.

This series of essays are theses that the writer wishes to explore. The writer would enjoy discussing ... say ― baseball, birds, old movies and significant literature. He does not often do so here. If one likes baseball, he can watch a game and see the plays; he can read accounts of significant players, plays and games; some of which is available on video. I can not tell you anything about Walter Johnson, or Chico Salmon, that you cannot find better told elsewhere, and few whom are interested in them would look here.

There is the old truism, that if you talk about religion, or politics, you will have trouble, and lose friends. It has also been noted, that nothing else is worth talking about. There is some truth in both views, and there are also degrees of latitude in that. This series of essays, or reports, were not meant to be a religious, or a political, "weblog". It has become the great source of essays, never-the-less. In northeast Ohio, on the southern shore of Lake Erie, currently, a topic of interest is the changing dynamics of the diocese. It was not the genesis of these pages, it has roiled the pages. Some items concerning this are written here and, perhaps, here alone. If something else draws the writer's attention, and he believes he can write, that, which others don't, can't, or won't ― he will. Some do not appreciate the criticism of certain authority figures. You need not cry for them, they have their minions, and access to power, and allies. They truly need opposition when they are in the wrong. Silence does not benefit the wronged. Even those with soft, and tiny voices need to speak in crisis.

Here follows the old 'disclaimer', it still applies:
I write these essays as I type, then they are posted. Initial proofreading is at a glance. After viewing, I correct errors. Some are obvious, and it is also obvious, that, no one else has read them before submission. Sometimes, I choose to skip conventional, american, english, stylistic fashion. Consider that an eccentricity, and not an error. I would like an audience, but I seem to be writing for myself.
postscriptum summer solstice 2013: Part of the above is to suggest 'trolls' will not be accommodated. Trollish behavior includes responses that are vicious, or rude attacks, and also inane arguments meant to disrupt or promote absurdities. So, i say to thee, "Troll — go back beneath yonder bridge from wherest thee emerged, and never shall thee departest from it".

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bishop Accountability comes to Cleveland

But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. — Matthew xviii. 6.
On Friday, 14 May 2010, before 11 a.m., there was a group from Code Purple outside the latin-rite cathedral (St. John the Evangelist) on E. 9th Street. Their primary guests were Anne Barrett Doyle, and Terry McKiernan of Bishop Accountability. Terence McKiernan is the president, and Anne Barrett Doyle is the clerk of that organisation, which is undertaking an exposé of this tragedy of moral filth and the lax nonchalance as its response in the US and Canada. Where the victims were second to the suppression of expression. Terry McKiernan (left), Anne Barrett Doyle (center)
As is obvious there are many problems with the episcopal administration of Richard Lennon. Transparency, or rather its lack thereof, is near the top. His leadership is shrouded in secrecy, in part, to cover a base meanness. What is not well known, in Cleveland, is that Lennon in Boston was quite the disaster. Cleveland was not a promotion. The Vatican is aware of his shortcomings. Some of this was presented and questions concerning Richard Lennon were asked. As has been true to his previous history, answers will probably not be forthcoming. Dialogue and conciliation have been no component in his reign.
After reading a statement concerning the lack of information made available by the Cleveland diocese concerning sexual abuse perpetrators, there were a series of mini interviews with local radio, television and print journalists. In between, there was a walk across the street to chancery offices, where the receptionist and a Cleveland policeman (who had been at the cathedral during the reading of the statement) entertained their entry, but shooed them away. Outside mini-conferences continued. There had arrived one police car outside the cathedral and one outside the chancery offices. The primary subject of the day was the hiding of the sexual scandal, its cover-up. No previous event, concerning Lennon as the bishop of Cleveland, has attracted the media's intense interest, and that interest formed immediately. Whilst the church closings have been a long drawn out process, and interest was scattered and focused, if at all, only in a scatter shot pattern.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Last day for Saint Barbara's

Window depicting Saint Barbara at Saint Barbara in Cleveland was paid for by the children of Saint Barbara's school.

Yesterday, was Mother's Day on the secular calendar. Lennon suppressed St. Barbara, and Our Lady of Mercy. He went from W. 14th and Denison to W. 11th and Kenilworth, with the connection of Jennings Freeway to I-90 and the W. 14th exit to Tremont and Lincoln Park at the door step of Saint Barbara's. It was a very convenient convoy.

On Saint Barbara's last day, Barbara's people were speaking about their last resident priest, their former pastor (listed as administrator), whom had just died. Lennon in his leaden, tone deaf manner mentioned it to the assembly.
Father Michael S. Dyrcz had been there from 1997. Father Dyrcz was removed from the parish accounting for his perceived unsuitability, due in part to his progressively worsening nerve ailment, and for unpolitic remarks concerning the new bishop.* Four of the five parishes Fr. Dyrcz had served in have been extinguished by Lennon (St. Wenceslas, Corpus Christi, St. Stanislaus (Lorain), St. Barbara).
before Sunday vigil Mass Lent 2010
2 catholic poles demonstrate during St. Barbara's Mass of Eviction
*this sentence was changed from a more undiplomatic earlier one

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Odium populi, odium plebes

One criterion for removal of clergy is odium populi, hatred from the people. The latest formulation of canon law has 1752 canons. It comes very near the end.
Canon 1741-3 loss of a good reputation among upright and responsible parishioners or an aversion [latin aversio, previously odium] to the pastor which it appears will not cease in a brief time;
Now, the theological reason for this is mentioned in the last canon:
Canon 1752 In cases of transfer the prescripts of canon 1747 are to be applied, canonical equity is to be observed, and the salvation of souls, which must always be the supreme law in the Church, is to be kept before one’s eyes.
There you have it—his continuance in office would hinder the salvation of souls. Cleveland has become the Lennongrad diocese, where people have been chased away from the Church. Some have been, and others will have their faith shaken and perhaps, destroyed. This problem is on-going, enduring, it will not evaporate away. Lennon does not love his people, and this is reciprocated. Now, in Cleveland he is irksome, his past is quite bad. He left Boston under an odious cloud, and when that breaks open fully, an ugly tempest will be apparent.

There is the Scranton solution and there is the French-Papal solution. Joseph Martino became odious to many in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He had closed a large number of schools, and this was not taken well by many. When national episcopal pronouncements conflicted with his, he roughly abrogated them. Politically he demanded all in the diocese to support the pharisaic faction of the Republican party. Some ethical teachings of the church required complete acknowledgment and lip service without even theoretical deviation, while all other teachings could be thoroughly abandoned if the former formulæ were recited.

Joseph Martino's voice recording was played in every parish the weekend that bridged January and February last year, using the reasons of clerical and monetary shortage, he announced the evisceration of half the diocese. June he resigned citing:
Canon 401 §2. A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.
Martino made no distinction between proper authority and absolute authority. Canon 401 was cited to save face; it was 1741 and 1752 that were actually applicable.

France was liberated in August of 1944. Vichy and the nazis were finished. The patriotic resistance was not amenable to the episcopal status quo. Valerio Valeri was papal nuncio to France from 1936, he would not be so at the end of the year. Angelo Roncalli became the new nuncio, before Christmas, and would stay till '53. The provisional government offered a List A of 24 (down from 33) bishops they wanted 'retired'. They were odious to the population as they were too identified with collaboration. Now the list was not perfect. Some names were omitted and some should not have been listed. The Sostituto (Deputy Secretary of State), Giovanni Battista Montini, and the ambassador to the Vatican, Jacques Maritain worked together in Rome. Pius XII in July '45 listed seven bishops to begin retirement in November. Roncalli agreed with De Gaulle's Director of Religious Affairs, André Latreille that 'odium plebes', hatred from the common people, was a valid reason for removal.

Maritain was the leading thomist philosopher and writer of the day; Latreille a professor of history. Roncalli is sometimes known as John XXIII; Montini, Paul VI. We will see if the United States will have such scholars and diplomats in to-day's hour of trouble.
confer: André Latreille. De Gaulle, la Libération et l'Église catholique. Paris. 1978

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mayday III - Prayer at Saint John's

Leaving Saint Peter's, going to Saint John's
Passing out prayer sheets before Divine Mercy Chaplet
Piper plays last lament
The future of the Church rushing to be pictured
A sign left behind

They gathered to pray a chaplet of the Divine Mercy. After this was over, they chanted the thought of the day, "Save Our Churches". They then began to sing. They sang Amazing Grace, America the Beautiful [twice but not consecutively], Let Peace Begin with Me, We Shall Overcome, the polish and hungarian anthems. Then a light rain fell.

During their prayer service, an ordination mass for deacons was ending. It was announced in the cathedral, that there were troublemakers out front, and a few people came out the main doors. An oversize key was left with a guard to find its way to Richard Lennon the bishop, apparently he never went to Saint Peter's to get it.

Mayday II - Suppressed Saint Peter's

pre-gathering greetings Reading a litany of closed churches with a bell a speaker defending the parishes closed and chastising their closer part of the crowd on Superior

People gathered at the recently suppressed, and very vibrant to the end, but now closed Saint Peter's, the first ethnic church of the diocese. They heard a litany of the churches taken and about to be taken by Richard Lennon. One of the speakers gave a list of indictments of the bishop who "has gone too far". Another speaker read a letter delivered to the bishop concerning the recent activity of the chancery against the people of the diocese and the letter of canon law. Both were the main officers of the Endangered Catholics. It seems Rome is also watching from inference of the speakers' remarks. Another speaker defended the closed parishes and also chastised the bishop for his failings, misunderstandings and hardness of heart. After all this they formed behind a gonfalon of the Divine Mercy of Jesus, and a fine spirited bagpiper, and processed to the cathedral. They arrived at the cathedral as the bells were tolling.

Mayday I - Sacred Heart's candles are going out

Tabernacle containing the Body of Christ
Seven Sorrows Of Saint Mary Statue
Naked and empty votive stand before the Seven Sorrows
The last of the burning candles removed from the votive holdings

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Cleveland will be suppressed to-morrow. To-day, the pastor opened the door to allow me an opportunity to pray there one last time, and take a few pictures. He then went to sweep the narthex. Sacred Heart could and should have remained open, but Richard Lennon had it on his list of to be purged ethnic parishes with healthy finances.