Monday, August 30, 2010

... I saw St. Augustine

I dreamed I saw St. Augustine
Alive as you or me

28 August was St. Augustine's Day. I heard on college radio a cover of Dylan's "I dreamed I saw St. Augustine". The beginning couplet is patterned after, "I dreamed I saw Joe Hill". Joe Hill was an immigrant, and an union man. The copper bosses had him framed on a murder charge. In Utah, they use, a firing squad, and pin a paper heart on the condemned. Joe Hill was a martyr and a prophet for the working man. He wrote songs and organised.

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night,
Alive as you and me.

Augustine was the most read church father in the west, and uneclipsed, till Aquinas more than eight centuries later. From late antiquity till the high middle ages, Augustine was central to theological and intellectual study. His two best known works are the Confessions, a spiritual autobiography, and the long City of God, written after the turmoil of the Visigoth sack of Rome. Luther's and Calvin's misreading of Augustine were part of initial protestantism.

And I dreamed I was amongst the ones
That put him out to death

Augustine was not put to death. He died during the Vandal siege of Hippo. The singer may suppose the Vandals were involved in his death. The singer is uneasy and guilt ridden. Bob Dylan does not answer questions distinctly. A surreal lyric often has to be accepted without probing. It is an interesting song, full decipherment is not likely.

Dylan's lyrics inserts Augustine for Joe Hill. Dylan moved in and out of christianity from judaism. He never seemed to want, or present, a public persona. Certainty about cloudy words is really not the thing, you have to accept the song as a song.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

42nd Rendez-vous

foto from an earlier gathering
This is the forty-second rendez-vous the Casimiri have kept. They have prayed and sang (St. Jerome counts that as praying twice), and depended and expanded their camaraderie. They have welcomed new parishioners, some of whom, have never entered their cathredalesque church. Now their ceiling and roof is God's sky alone.

This parish-in-exile began their rendez-vous the Sunday after the parish endured a Mass of Eviction. They almost had a revolt. The Mass, immediately before, was very well attended and was in the language of the old country. They had an outdoor Eucharistic procession, that was seen by supporters of the parish, and by protesters against the bishop's parochial suppression.

The 8th of November was warm and sunny. Monsignor Telesz had been ordered to participate in the bishop's Mass. A 96 year old acolyte and concentration camp survivor pulled the power to Richard Lennon's microphone. What caused Lennon's jaw to drop was the singing of the polish national anthem (refer to the movie Casablanca), and Marian hymns. The parish had demonstrated to him, in no uncertain terms, and in tune in polish, their refusal to consent to his pogrom programme... Of course he did not understand a word, but he readily recognised defiance. Even with police presence and episcopal planning (he had already renamed another parish St. Casimir), this was dumb founding.

During these street sessions, two dozen individuals are sure to be there. These began in polish, but soon became bi-lingual with english. Visitors have occasionally come--the local councilman, press, alumni, old parishioners currently in town, people from other victimised parishes. All are welcome. Their constancy and steadfastness continues. Rain, wind and snow were not deterrents. They receive no recognition from the chancery.
To-day there was joy that a member of the parish, who was there last week, came back after being hospitalised with a heart attack. He, along with the Adamczewski family, created a miniature of the Gdansk Solidarność Memorial Monument, that, debuted to-day. St. Casimir had a replica of the original (it is now at Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cleveland). It joins the canvas of the high altar that is part of the portable parish's art.

The parish has an appeal pending in the papal court. The signer of the appeal does not come to the convening parish. Recently, some parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston, which Lennon had left a shambles, have received a roman letter that allows for their demise. The sanhedrin hierarchy that makes up the Apostolic Signatura, and it's prefect, the extremist Raymond Burke, is wont to protect, most jealously their prerogatives. Plebeian parishioners are of little consequence other than as income sources.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Sometime ago, a friend of mine related an incident to me. He was opposed to lennonism, and he was of acquaintance to a young man who served as an altar boy in Cleveland's latin-rite cathedral. The altar boy disapproved of my friend's activism. He said to him, "obedience is more important than faith". My friend was taken aback, in his mind that would allow all sorts of horridness and injustice.

To me, I was immediately reminded of the Grand Inquisitor chapter in Dostojevskij's, Brothers Karamazov. Ivan, who may be mad, is relating his unwritten poem to his brother Aleksej (Aljosha). In 16th century Seville, Jesus returns. He has been performing miracles, and he is brought to the aged inquisitor. The old man is furious, and proceeds with a long speech. He is upset with Jesus.

The three temptations that Jesus refused in the wilderness were the genesis of his argument. They who have led the church have controlled mutinous man quite well. They have lied to men for their own well-being. They have corrected Jesus' work. Jesus would not surrender freedom. Now man has, for obedience. And now the obedient flock will bring the coals to burn Jesus, to-morrow, in an auto-da-fé.

Aljosha interrupts Ivan. He is upset, he realises the story absurd, the old man is insane. He says to his brother, that is not our Orthodox faith, it is not even the (Roman) Catholic faith, it is only the worst elements of catholicism.

He asks Ivan how does the story end. Jesus had looked into the old man's eyes throughout, and said nothing. He desires a response, after a time Jesus kisses him. The old man angrily lets Jesus go.

Obedience. Lennon's defenders complain of priests whom would break their vow of obedience to their bishop. They complain of the laity who dare rebel. Oh, these are terrible, disreputable, sinful people.

Lennon issues statements on 'unity'. It is a doublethink term for 'obedience'.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Endangered Parishes

Richard Lennon came from Boston, which he left in bad condition. Ten Boston parishes have received word that their appeals have been denied. Lennon has been an extremely divisive figure in Cleveland. Now, what waits Cleveland's parishes?

Where will we worship? Catholicism is a communal religion that spans the many generations.

The diocese says it is important to register in a new parish when your parish is extinguished. Why?, since under lennonism any parish can be suppressed at any time without reason, or question.

The diocese says, through their spokesman Bob Tayek, that 2500 people are needed for a parish. With this ROUND of closings, there are many parishes well below that threshold. Is that the forewarning of future rounds of closings?

Jesus is satisfied with two or three to form a parish. Canon law had encoded that. Now, it seems interpretations are promoting the absolutism of a bishop's will to the abrogation of all laws and precepts. Does a local bishop override Jesus?

Who are the faithful? Those in the streets? or those in the chancery?

Who are the conservatives? Those who wish to conserve their parishes and rights? Or an activist, authoritarian bishop who can reform a diocese in his own image?

To Jesus and centuries of Catholics, the parish was quite dear; to Lennon it is a disposable, administrative unit. A most ominous diocesan memo hints at more turmoil, and an extended time of troubles. Cleveland's only salvation will be the departure of Lennon.
For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
supra: in front of St. Casimir, infra: in front of St. Emeric, both 22 August 2010.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To the defenders of episcopal authority

The first rule of catholic ethics is the ends NEVER justify the means. OK, if you disagree, please stop reading, we can not have a discussion. You will get upset. I will give no credence to anything you say, nor will I entertain it.

Are you still there? For those who disagree, at best you have some utilitarian notions, at worst your worship of authority (in these matters) is fascistic. Those who disagree with the prime ethical directive fall into a Nuremberg defense. Obeying orders is sinful/criminal if the obedience does evil. Civil courts and police do not allow people to go scot free when people plead that my friend made me do it.

The internet has some communication and information that one can acquire. I used a search engine for 'Richard Lennon' 'news'. One item came up as 'catholic blogs'. They mostly dealt with St. Peter's and Lennon. St. Peter's was found disobedient, and is equivalent [to them] as gravely wrong. The diversity of these 'blogs' was virtually zero. The catholic universe they surveyed was quite narrow. They were of a stripe of conservatism that gave primacy to episcopal authority, some in catty and combative defense. I have to wonder what the parameters of 'catholic blogging' were. Certainly, it is not indicative of the breadth of catholic opinion. I could not find an opinion that was near mine, nor anything between mine and theirs.

Some Catholics believe we are to model our lives after Christ Jesus, and attempt to do His Will. Some Catholics believe we should obey our bishop. Somehow, I have an inkling if our bishop was in the mold of Oscar Romero, Joseph Bernardin, or Dom Helder Camara their support would not be rock steady.

A few quote St. Ignatius of Antioch, they probably would shy away from St. John Chrysostom. At times catholic bishops were in a minority of christian bishops. There were arians, nestorians and other heretics. Now if one's bishop becomes an unitarian or a pelagian, or invents his own theology are we required to profess his errors? Here in Cleveland the bishop is not a party of those heresies. He is just a tyrant with skeletons (see just the flagrant Paul Shanley molester case a, b, c, d, e) in his closet. Those who oppose lennonism are taken to task for their motives, methods and past, but not a modicum of scrupulosity is directed towards Lennon.

The pope is infallible in matters of faith and morals, even this limited. The sisters taught us, that infallibility does not mean impeccable or all knowing. He is subject to arithmetic errors. Beyond that, theologians say, he may even believe heretical ideas, but the Holy Spirit prevents him from teaching these ideas. Since the promulgation of this doctrine, it has been invoked twice, both over Marian doctrine that was well established for centuries and believed by the mass of catholics.

The pope is bishop of Rome. The bishop is the chief teacher in his diocese. Local bishops do not share in petrine infallibility!

At times people have chosen their own bishops. Also, in the past, sovereign princes have chosen bishops and Rome has complied. Some were horrible choices. Truly moral, ethical, political, and sexual scandals happened. Was absolute fidelity to such scoundrels' will beneficial to one's soul? Certainly, you can not suggest that every, or any bishop, is sinless as Jesus and Mary? Bishop accountability is a good and necessary idea.

Now, in this current matter, some individuals expect us to obey Richard Lennon unreservedly. Their absolute tendency is not to examine the character or even the consistency of Lennon, nor the justice of his actions, nor the quality of his manner. Not one question of whether he has acted counter to the Gospel, canon or civil law, or the spirit of Jesus. Wow.

The bishop is supposed to be the chief pastor of the diocese. A pastor is to to hold his flock together. Jesus the Good Shepherd implores to seek the lost sheep. Lennon's words, and actions, are "Let them go." There are catholics mentioned in the local paper who are saddened by the closings, and some of them have received mailings from protestants to join their faith. Others, too, are proselytizing those Lennon rejected. Lennon is derelict in his chief office--the salvation of souls. Perhaps others are interested.
this church recognises the situation
Lennon is interested in the imposition of his will. Everything else is a farcical façade. What is his will? The concentration of money and parishes. Cleveland has the highest bishop's tax (diocesan assessment) in the country at 11 1/2 and 16 1/2 %. This is why some people are advocating 'boycotting the basket', and making specific, reserved and dedicated gifting to parish use alone. The drying up of chancery income is something he will notice. Pleas and protests he ignores, and hires cordons of police to make sure his will is done. He is implementing the elimination of national and personal parishes that are permitted, and encouraged by canon law.

There is a base meanness in him, where he exalts himself above others. He in private becomes furious when questioned. No one has knowledge, or rights he cannot trod upon. Lennon and his flunkies have given contradictory and changing statements of rationale for his great 'reconfiguration' of the diocese. Lennongrad is shaping up horribly. The latest directive, if applied, will have the minimum parish at 2500 people. That means another round of closings. Several parishes and many parishioners have appealed to Rome over the current reductions: please deliver us from Lennon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

8-20 Hostage Television

Recently, the owner of Fox News Corp, Rupert Murdoch, gave a mere million to the Republican Governor's Association. Just the usual "fair and balanced" manner of his business. At times, in the last few years, one could hardly know whether Faux News wrote the Republican script, or vice versa.

When Russia was under communism, it was said of two big newspapers--Izvestia (News) and Pravda (Truth), "there is no news in Izvestia, and no truth in Pravda". But the russians were not naïve, nor gullible. Fox's relation with news and truth is similar, but Fox has its adherents. As Goebbels was club footed, Faux News is ham fisted. Goebbels was considered intelligent and a fine speaker, while Faux is staffed by bloviating bullies.

Fox cannot be considered a normal news organisation. Fox is pure propaganda. All that is needed to make it complete is a formal merger between the party and business.

Now, I have been to local chain stores where televisions are set up with that channel on. This is a management decision. It goes to the character of the manager. There is a tendency for such individuals to be self-important, paranoid pricks. Fox enthusiasts feel their opinions are not heard enough by the public, and they often proselytise. Many customers are hostage to this. They can complain to the manager, or shop elsewhere. The latter would be bad for their business. That might be a dilemma, which master to serve?

8-19 Ending of a War

To-day a war ended. There is no great jubilation as V-E Day or V-J Day in 1945. The government, and military public relation flim flam called it "Operation Iraqui Freedom", formerly "Operation Iraqui Liberation [OIL]". The world's history books call it the Second American-Iraqui War (or Gulf War), or George Bush Junior's War.

Over four thousand americans were killed, some by their own hand, some by their fellow troops in error. They killed many, many more. Civilians were uncounted, one hundred thousand is the lowest of approximations, and may be several times that. Allied troops and journalists were killed. War is killing.

Many of those returning will suffer for years, and so will their families. There are gold star families that have buried their children. There are wives and children that will be divorced from these soldiers. Readjusting to stateside, to America, will be traumatic for at least some. For some it will be disastrous -- suicide, homelessness, insanity. These servicemen served their country. It was not just time they gave. Their souls were often scarred. One can see the physical wounds, one can see some of the wounded actions. These men will need support.

The war was crafted on lies. Those in the mendacious cabal skated. Much of the public has forgotten the actions that created the cataclysm. The attention of the country is now on the great recession, which in part was caused by the war. Unintended consequences of cause and effect are not appreciated.

8-15 Mass of Reunion and Inauguration

The last Liturgy that Saint Peter's had in their original building was on Easter. Thereafter the bishop took possession. The parish, though suppressed, was not extinguished. It was still pleading in Rome. It continued to meet in small groups. On Sundays they read the morning office, and later, the Liturgy of the Word.

They formed a charitable trust, the Community of Saint Peter, and rented space in a former electric car factory from the early part of last century. After renovation and approval of construction, they finally held a Mass. This was no surprise. Over three hundred came, the space was standing room only a half hour before entrance. The atmosphere was light, and people were in joyful anticipation. And it was fulfilled.

A handbell quartet chimed in the return of the paschal candle that had exited the old church on Resurrection Sunday. Beforehand, and during, a small classical ensemble and choir played and sang.

Some of the old church was there: an icon of Jesus, a crucifix, and the sconce candles of consecration. Yes, the wall candles that signify that the building is forever to be a temple of God, as long as stone stands upon stone.

Pieces of glacier granite from Nova Scotia were given to all those in attendance. The chips came from the rock that is now the holy water stoup. Peter was the rock Jesus built his church upon, he is also the parish's patron. The souvenir is symbolic, in a faith that is ripe with symbols.

Afterwards, a reception was held where food and companions were enjoyed. The parish cohered and is evident in the world. The local daily deigned to cover the event.

This was not pleasing to Richard Lennon. He, the ordinary, had forbidden them to celebrate. He had even alluded to ex-communication.

By Tuesday, his spokesman, Bob Tayek, commented that the bishop wanted to talk, and financial health of a parish was not a requirement, but 2500 people were. It appears to the public, that a happy, active, solvent parish was irrelevant. What was needed was the current protestant megachurch model.

Trustees of the Community and their pastor, Fr. Robert Marrone did not receive an invitation, formally. They also would be in no mood to be lectured at disapprovingly, and hear rubbish about "pastoral care across the diocese".

The parish held a Mass, their first Mass after several months of interruption and suspension. It is the function of a priest to say Mass. The Mass is central to Catholic worship. They were repeatedly told, "a parish is not a building", so they met where they could.This is normal activity. Mass can be held anywhere.

Lennon sees this as disobedience and defiance, but he would carpet bomb a mosquito. It was no surprise. The parish always intended to meet again.

Lennon wrote an essay for his paper, Universe Bulletin, it was also to be inserted in each parish's bulletin. The version distributed was the third version written. It was disjointed, and full of quotations. His definitions and interpretations are peculiar to him. Any non-dictated, non-approved action is defined as disunity by Lennon. This matter of unauthorised Masses was the most "urgent" in the diocese. All must comply.
He says he wishes to talk; no, he wishes to dictate and order. The trustees of Peter's invited him to visit. They insist on a third party to be present if a discussion is held. On the 22nd Mass was celebrated again by the parish community of St. Peter's. They also added one member to the faith, a child was baptised.

8-8 Eucharistic Solidarity

A restorative gathering of christians took place at Saint Colman's (Cleveland). They celebrated a Mass of Eucharistic Solidarity. 8 August was the anniversary of the second atomic bombing. Nagasaki was the only christian city in Japan. It suffered more than decimation, it was obliterated as the bomb detonated above the cathedral.

At Saint Colman there was an unique intention for the Liturgy -- Eucharistic Solidarity. Solidarity is a most catholic concept. It is serendipitous, then, that the name of the movement, that began at the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk, that led to the fall of communist tyranny in Europe (outside of Jugoslavija), is Solidarity.

Cleveland's diocese has been reduced through malicious dispossession into the diocese of Lennongrad. Many parishioners have been displaced. Many of these former communist countries produced displaced persons, 'DPs' for short. In Cleveland and elsewhere 'DP' was used most disparagingly, often with the same contempt to the individual as the term 'nigger' was towards other people. These 'DPs' went to 'DP' churches. Now many of these churches have been displaced, and we have a large cohort of displaced parishioners -- a new generation of 'DPs'.

Cleveland had a parish that was, perhaps, an uniquity -- the Community of Saint Malachi. It was granted parish status by Bishop James Hickey in 1975. Canon Law 516 refers to a quasi-parish as "a definite community of the Christian faithful". Also, it is "equivalent to a parish", but not erected as one yet. In 1975 it was. Now, that Community existed without a physical structure. It cohabited with the Parish of Saint Malachi. They are now in an unhappy merger.

Some members approached Fr. Robert Begin of Colman's for a Mass. Colman's parish invited members of other closed parishes for the Mass of Eucharistic Solidarity. More than four hundred came. The Mass's entrance number was performed in hungarian by members of St. Emeric's. The displaced from other parishes acted as lectors, and Eucharistic ministers. The lengthy Communion distribution allowed a second song, the spiritual that sings of the discouraged whom feel their prayers are in vain, but there is a Balm in Gilead, that makes the wounded whole.

Before the Eucharistic Liturgy, there is the Liturgy of the Word which includes an homily. Father Bob spoke of economic liberalism which judges as good all that makes money. Criminals also follow that premise to the same conclusion. Unguided youth see what society judges as successful (good), just as economic liberalism and crime does; but all that which brings more money is not the real good. These old neighborhoods with old churches now closed, often in a heavy handed manner, is not to the good, and they might have been able to teach those children the truth.

In the closing comments of the homily, Father Begin described the injustice of forced parish closures, and their lack of clarity and charity. He also mentioned the harsh blow that was done to the 'freedom of association' all catholics are entitled to. After the Mass, nearly half retreated to the former crypt church, that now serves as a social hall, to exercise the opportunity to associate in an opportunity not available in the diocesan 'reconfiguration' of eviction and suppression. A lengthy coffee 'hour' was enjoyed. The bishop's paper sent a writer and photographer, no chancery personnel were involved in the events otherwise.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

housekeeping notice

I believe it was the day after the previous post was posted, my computer had a catastrophic failure. I have also been quite unpleasantly busy in the last two weeks.

I have had very limited computer access since. The next few essays were written longhand and then put on the 'net' days after.