Tuesday, September 28, 2010

St. Stanislaus Lorain Mourned

Yestereve, there was marked in sad, dreary and practically dreich weather one year of suppression of St. Stanislaus of Lorain. Many of the mourners valued most an umbrella. There was almost as many press as participants. The press did ask them the important questions of what are you doing now for Mass and church attendance. The people are still grieving, and discouraged in their practice of the faith. Their pastoral leader is a miserable failure. After the press left, the Poles sang national Marian hymns, while some held glowing candles.
interviewing supra, singing infra
Just recently, it was announced that nearby St. Ladislaus's (Magyar) four buildings were sold for c. $200,000. That was far less than half of a recent remodel. Similarly, the asking price for the Stanislausky campus is less than their recent remodel, and it should be remembered, that, it was being hawked before their final Masses were said.

Sacred Heart (Magyar) Elyria was sold for $145,300. Trader Lennon sells what many people held dear for cheap. What else is still available in the county: SS. Cyril & Methodius (Slovene), St. Vitus (Croat), Holy Trinity (Slovak) and St. Joseph (German). Holy Cross (Polish) of Elyria was the first to be sold. The pattern is clear: close ethnic churches, sell their stuff cheap, and move on.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Labor Priests

Now, there used to be a breed of priests that were heavily involved in social issues. They would be marching for civil rights, peace, and other social issues. There were also 'labor priests'. The drama of their parishioners lives would draw them into activism in order to care pastorally for their flock. We need more of them. To-day's America forgets that many jobs involving physical labor are dirty and dangerous, because few deaths and physical hardships happen in offices. In many of these jobs there are present dangers, that, could be alleviated, and the wages and benefits improved. Some priests realised.

Father James Renshaw Cox *1886, †1951, was from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, In January 1932 Fr. Cox came with 25,000 jobless Pennsylvanians to Washington, D.C. It was the largest such demonstration, up to that time, in the capital. President Herbert Hoover was not pleased, and had Cox investigated to see if it was a Catholic plot on the government.

Msgr. Charles Owen Rice *1908, †2005, also from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for many years wrote for the diocesan newspaper, and presented a radio programme on two local stations. Msgr. Rice gave the invocation at the founding of the C.I.O (Congress of Industrial Organizations) in 1938.

Msgr. George Gilmary Higgins *1916, †2002 from Chicago, for many years wrote the bishops' annual Labor Day message. From 1945 to 2001 he wrote "The Yardstick," a column, often on labor and other issues of justice. From 1951 he wrote about farm workers; and he became a friend of the UFW and Cesar Chavez. He considered his labor work as a 'ministry of presence'.

Msgr. Higgins was a peritus (expert) during Vatican II, and worked with Father John Courtney Murray on the Declaration on Religious Freedom. He worked with the UAW. He became a friend of Lech Wałesa as he was a liaison between Solidarność and american unions.

There were others: Fr. Martin B. Mangan *1929, †2001 of Decatur, Illinois; Edward F. Boyle S.J. *1931, †2007 the Executive Secretary of the Labor Guild of the Boston Archdiocese, Msgr. John J. Egan *1916,2001 of Chicago.

The only one to be fictionalised was Father John “Pete” Corridan, S.J. *1911, †1984. The Jesuits of Manhattan were involved on the docks of New York City, and New Jersey. This was two generations before. Before the large steel trailers, when much more physical, manual labor needed to be done. The cargo had to be unloaded, broken down, and loaded again, from trains and ships to ships and barges. The International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), in NYC in the '30s, '40s and '50s was a crooked union. The incest between company officials (sometimes mobsters) and their agents, union officers, and politicians was rife. Any union and that cut deals that does not benefit their members is run by Judases. An alternative clean democratic union was needed, even with Corridan's well known efforts, such a union was not to be certified by the rank and file.

Father Corridan spoke to Malcolm Johnson, a reporter for the New York Sun. The articles won a Pulitzer in 1949. Corridan said, "Men are hired as if they were beasts of burden, part of the slave market of a pagan era."

Budd Shulberg wrote the screenplay, On the Waterfront, which won Academy Awards in 1954. The 'Waterfront Priest' that Karl Malden †2009 would play in the movie as Fr. Pete Barry was Fr. Corridan. Malden would give the lines, "Christ is on the waterfront" over a dead longshoreman.
...It's forgetting that every fellow down here is your brother in Christ. But remember, Christ is always with you - Christ is in the shape up*. He's in the hatch. He's in the union hall. ...
*shape up is the line up and selection of men out of a group for that day's work

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Right Reverend New Dealer

But the press let the story leak
And when the radical priest
Come to get me released
We was all on the cover of Newsweek
--Paul Simon (album released Jan. '72)

Now, Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard is not a narrative song, it is a lyrical song of pastiche. Some of the lyrics are nebulous, even to Paul Simon. It just came to him. Some of it has referents. Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, which printed the first excerpts in June 1971. He was soon in detention. The Fathers Berrigan, and Ellsberg made the covers of magazines and newspapers over Viet Nam and war. Yes, once America had "radical priests".
Monsignor John Augustine Ryan , *25 May 1869, 16 September 1945.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president four times beginning in 1932. America truly became America for a greater percentage of its residents than in any other period of its history. Mr. Roosevelt chose the first woman cabinet secretary, Frances Perkins. She was Secretary of Labor in the period that labor was finally respected by most of the US government (the Supreme Court was notoriously regressive until 1937, constantly disallowing labor rights).

Ms. Perkins did us all well. She was not the only one, of course Mrs. Roosevelt did much. Mr. Roosevelt also had Msgr. John Augustine Ryan, or as the 'radio priest' whom turned away from and then against Roosevelt, Fr. Charles Coughlin, called him--the "Right Reverend New Dealer".

Monsignor Ryan was perhaps the rarest of individuals, his avocations were practically an oxymoron, he was a moral theologian and an economist. He was born on the farm in Minnesota, the eldest of eleven children of irish parents keenly aware of the social injustice english protestantism wreaked on the old country.

His doctoral dissertation was published in 1906 under the title, A Living Wage. This was the academic argument that established a minimum wage in american political life, something that is still not accepted by one of the two major parties in the US. Where did he come by it? Leo XIII's encyclical, Rerum Novarum 1891 and the natural law philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas. People by light of reason could determine what was right and proper for living, and what rights they had been given by God. All God's children were meant to have a right and reasonable life.

Ryan argued for the Child Labor Amendment, trade unions, social security, women's and children labor rights and protection, an eight hour day, protection for union picketing and boycotting, unemployment insurance and decent working conditions; beyond labor rights he also advocated public ownership of utilities, mines and forests, regulation of monopolies and capitalism, and an income tax in 1909's, A Programme of Social Reform By Legislation. Msgr. Ryan became a professor, brilliant and boring, at Catholic University of America in Washington, DC from 1915 on. These causes in the first three decades of the twentieth century were mixed in success, during the european war and before there was some advances in progressivism, then three terms of 'business Republicans' brought excess and then the Great Depression hit. In 1931 Ryan wanted a public works programme. Then Roosevelt swept the country. Msgr. Ryan became a member of the National Recovery Administration. Much of the programme became law. Since 1981 much of it has been under constant attack, often successful.

Roosevelt was called a 'communist' every day. The Republican invectives in 1936 were strong. They are still repeated, lies do not die. When his landslide in 1936 was greater than in 1932, he instituted prayers at his Inaugural. The Senate chaplain, a protestant priest ZeBarney Phillips, gave the invocation. Monsignor John Ryan gave the benediction. Fr. Ryan was a New Dealer, but Roosevelt showed that Catholic clergy were equivalent in public respect to protestant clergy, even in a land of yankee and klan prejudice.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła

A while ago, I was asked, by friends, to write a possible script to be read on polish radio. This did not occur. Here follows:

The situation in Cleveland, Ohio is troubling, but it is not the only US diocese that is declining, although it is brutally anti-pastoral. When a pole sees the names on the casualty list: Hyacinth, Stanislaus, Casimir and two Hedwigs, he knows polish parishes are being extinguished.

The poles are the most numerous of east europeans in America, and so they are in Cleveland, but they are not alone in this predicament. In the diocesan towns of Cleveland, Akron, Lorain, and smaller ones, parishes have closed by episcopal ukase and fiat. The presence of magyar and slovak parishes are almost completely gone in the diocese.

The reasons being given for this course of action have been false on their own terms. They have also been fluid in change. Those reasons are not theological, they are business reasons. In America, when one clothes their plans in the language of business, they are accepted without consideration or question.

The real reasons are too crass, unpleasant, petty and mean to voice. These churches, their property, and furnishings are convertible to money. That money is desired [in part to pay for scandals, episcopal mismanagement]. Parishes are now expendable.

The other reason is very hurtful. Many american bishops have no respect, or affection, for the nations these parishes represent. Over an hundred years before, the byzantine (greek) catholics were pushed away from the latin-rite church. A Polish National Catholic Church was formed from similar circumstances.

We are not being accused of not being catholic enough. We are accused of not being 'american' enough, and it is accepted sub voce.

In Cleveland, the bishop is named Lennon. To the european ear, this sounds 'Lenin'. We all know 'Lenin' was no friend to christians. Some in the diocese say they live in Lennongrad. We know Leningrad became, once again, Saint Petersburg. Perhaps, Lennongrad will be Cleveland again.

Bishop Lennon is a hard man, without sentimentality. He has no poetry in his soul. A son of Hyacinth's parish became a cardinal. Karol Wojtyła prayed and preached at Casimir's. The bishop of Ljubljana spent his last eleven years at St. Lawrence. One of the Martyrs of El Salvador came from and taught at St. Robert's. This meant nothing to Lennon.

One of the many parishes appealing to Rome for recension of suppression, St. Peter's, has celebrated two Sunday Masses in rented quarters. Bishop Lennon has, codedly, threatened a blanket ex-communication.

Masses were held by christian communities against the will of governments since the beginning of our Faith. Nero did not want Peter to say Mass in Rome. In Cleveland, the bishop does not want St. Peter's to have Mass. He does not want the community, that parish is, to stay together. What pastor breaks up and scatters the flock?

Another parish, St. Casimir's, since they were evicted on 8 November 2009 (8 November 1917, Lenin took Russia), has met on the street before their dispossessed church every Sunday since. This summer, four other parishes are doing the same.

At St. Casimir they sing Mazurek Dąbrowskiego, "Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła" [Dabrowski's Mazurek, "Poland has not yet perished"]. It is an accident of language that the english for zginął, and parafii are pronounced identically--perish and parish. Some parishes will not perish. They refuse.

--24 August 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

We vigil on

Anyám, jőjj segíts imádkozni !
Mother, Come help us pray!
looking about after service
one of the crows on top of one of St. Casimir's steeples
It is not the camera or the photographer that makes the photograph interesting, it is the subject captured in the instant of the shutter snap. Yesterday, the Catholic exiles continued their sidewalk prayer and witness at five parishes.

At St. Emeric's a hand wrote a plea on a portal sandstone block. Virtually, all the parishioners at Imre's park in the adjacent West Side Market lot. West 22nd is a cul-de-sac, with the parish, and a tenement apartment building. You drive on the cul-de-sac, you meant to go there. There is not passing traffic. There seems to be always one vehicle that sweeps buy during the service. The first week, it was a 2nd district police cruiser. Yesterday, it was a red pick up truck. He drove the circle, and slowly came to a stop at the right angle corner dead end of W. 22 and Bridge. He got out of the truck with a large video camera, stood with his back to the cul-de-sac, looked at the scrub tree growth, and went back in the truck and drove away.

As St. Casimir's was preparing for their vigil, a sheriff's car drives up, Joe Feckanin (the english language prayer cheerleader) chats with the two deputies. Both were Catholic, one belonged to the suppressed St. Wenceslaus. Near the end of the service on Sowinski and E. 82 a Cleveland police cruiser stops at the intersection, and gives the crowd the 'thumb up' gesture and a smile of approval. A couple of black churches have services nearby, and some of their folk wave a greeting as they travel on E. 82. It is not a very busy street Sunday mid-day. People do see a couple of dozen other people pray and sing, and the poles always have some banners and other items to catch the eye. What do they think?

As the lennonists say, "it is not the bricks and mortar, that make the parish, it's the people". The parish continues outside the "
bricks and mortar", yet they have affection for the "bricks and mortar".

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lennon lectures

Tuesday night, the 7th of September, Bishop Richard Lennon came to St. Martha (newspeak: Blessed Trinity) in Akron. He spoke to nearly an hundred. It was part of a series of gatherings with speakers sponsored by Summit County parishes. The printed brochure announced the address as, TBA, it became "The Diocese Going Forward." He explained that his title implied that something, then, had already occurred. He gave summary histories of post war catholicism, and the diocese, especially the last ten years, ending with the last "closing Masses in June", and a quick broad sweep of twenty centuries of the Church and its success or lack thereof. His threads and examples of historical argument were mostly correct, but he did misunderstand the "dark age century" to the extent of giving a non-Catholic interpretation. He then talked on the importance of the "new evangelisation." Never did he indicate any sort of connection, or bridge, between the closing of parishes and evangelisation. It was a total non-sequitar.

During his presentation he mentioned, several times that, 14 parishes have made "recourse to Rome." At the last mention he said, that was "too gracious", it was not like all 800 [in the parish] petitioned, in some cases only three individuals. He took several questions, and people had several concerns. The first questioner asked whether "consolidation was complete?" He did not get a full answer. In a response to another question Lennon said, only two or three of those parishes had items removed, and that "for safe keeping", such as an altar but nothing off the walls. Someone else made a plea for the unborn. Another worried about the young not coming to church. The last question was a statement asking for mediation in regards to appealing parishes. Bishop Lennon maintained he had answered all questions earlier; mostly in letters of March 2009; he was upfront with all matters; and the fate of the last fourteen parishes rested with Rome.

Singers sing

If a singing act dances, they can't sing (apologies to Gene Kelly, whose Dancing in the Rain was wonderful, but it is doubtful it was one take, and Mr. Kelly always considered himself a dancer). Dancing as a performance must be seen. Singing must be heard. The two arts appeal to two different senses. Dancing is successively enhanced by music. Singing is distracted by dancing. Sure, there is an audience for that sort, but there are audiences for many entertainments that are questionable.

Sometimes, for many people, a lyric fails to be achieved in singing for the want of breath that is needed for walking alone. Singing and marching is an effort. Dancing takes even more breath. Singing and dancing simultaneously by a performer is doubtful. Dancing and moving lips to recorded "singing" is more probable. The singing is immediately secondary, and if it was primary, what is the dancing for?

Singing on records and radio works well. One can enjoy the performance, the singing, away from the invisible singer. There was a story of some great conductor introduced to the phonograph. He was very pleased, he could enjoy the singing without seeing their faces.

Worldwide there has been a tradition of the blind singer, and other musicians. These performers are not impressed over their own appearance, how can one visually approve of what he cannot see. It is not only the blind who sing with eyes closed. Before the electric lamp, with fire and moonlight alone to illuminate the evening, people sang before their circle of companions. They were not performing visual spectacles.

Tune and lyric, and if fortunate, tone and timbre are the essence of song. Words add to the art and depth, but nonsense lyrics suffice for song. It is possible that early song was wordless. Tune and tone and the emotion to propel them are song, certainly music.

Dancing 'singers' may make millions in their shows and have devoted fanatics, but they are not real singers. You see my point. Still, argument (reason) only convinces some, perhaps few. If you had come across this essay, without coming across the earlier essays, and it had been about politics or religion--few people would have made it to the end.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Is Labor Day the last in summer?

'Tis the last rose of summer
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
To give sigh for sigh.

I'll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter,
Thy leaves o'er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
From Love's shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit,
This bleak world alone?

--Thomas Moore

By the modern American calendar's rhythm to-day is the last day of summer, the astronomical calendar gives us a fortnight, and sometimes longer. Here in the industrial heartlands, now the rustbelt, it is rare to get another hot day; though, Thursday, the 2nd we saw 90s°F, for the fifth consecutive day. Here it was not so bad, Russia burned. Muscovy sits in thick and tall forest. Europe uses only Celsius, Russia if they used a two digit Fahrenheit display would have to find another digit holder.

Moore was an early romantic poet who left us with at least a couple of songs of great beauty. The last rose speaks of melancholy and constancy. Through two centuries of hybridisation and genetic play we have more roses, but there had been a shorter season, and to the sentimental psyche the passing of the last sentinel of beauty could evoke poignancy.

In the US, labor has travailed greatly. It must be remembered, that in the US of A there was a time, when it was illegal to join an union, but slavery was protected by many statutes. Under Franklin Roosevelt labor was truly free, and since Reagan the protections created by Roosevelt's New Deal that prevented a second Great Depression had been continuously removed, hence the predicament we now have that was delivered to us by gwbjr.

The corporate establishment has been successful in besmirching free labor.
Their representative groups such as the Chambers of Commerce and front and allied groups, and their anti-labor party have employed newspeak. The current activist Republican Supreme Court has allowed a plutocracy to challenge democracy, and the plutocrats are spending heavily. Local television is filled with their propagandist lies, what they do with language is mendacious degradation, but not unsuccessful. What was partly honest in the term, 'pro-business' [which every sentient being had to know meant anti-labor] is being substituted with 'pro-job'dirty, filthy liars. The press is forecasting a horrid election day in November, to-morrow is Cuyahoga county's primary.*

Labor Day is also the traditional beginning of the election season. Vice-President Joseph Biden and Governor Ted Strickland were in Toledo's parade, this morning. Last night Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, candidate for the US Senate, polkaed with his Missus amidst the Poles at St. John Cantius [alma mater of Dennis Kucinich] Cleveland. There was also a candidate's family politicking against Dennis.

It turned out, they [the Fishers] were acquainted with the Bishop of Cleveland and needed only be asked to sign a petition to protest the unjust suppression of St. Casimir's. Only two people were chatting amongst the crowd appealing St. Casimir's fate with pen and paper. It was easy getting most people to sign. In about three hours, over 160 did, and only a handful refused, and only one tried to shoo away a petitioner. Some people were boisterously dissatisfied with Lennon, the bishop, a particular term that was repeated was 'prick', and enthusiastically signed.
* i originally wrote, "to-morrow is this year's movable Ohio primary." No, the primary was in March. This is an odd development here, and of course an opportunity for tax levies. Politics on these levies is different, when propaganda is spewed over taxes, it is usually over income taxes. Here the press speaks differently too. People often vote against particular levies. Politicians often endorse these taxes, because the rich and corporations hold their income, and percentage of the whole as sacrosanct.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

to build there, or not to build there

I have not studied this closely, and am therefore, ignorant possibly of cogent details. Such a situation does not stop americans to have opinions, including those in government or journalism. The topic in reference is a proposed mosque in New York City, either on, or near the former destroyed World Trade Center.

President Obama was quite correct that moslems have the right to build a mosque. This is in accord with the First Amendment. The governmental authority is the local city, New York City, and it has building codes that regulate construction.

National opinion is not particularly friendly to Mohammedanism, or Islam if you prefer. In Jefferson's America, in the America that fought for separation from the english and british empire, the free exercise of religion from an ensuing and succeeding government was understood, but needed to be guaranteed in the very document of government.

Now that should be admitted. Sensitivity to other matters suggest strongly that it is more than just a bad idea for such a building at such a place.

Agent assassins of a militant mohammedanism co-ordinated to kill people not only there in New York City, but also in the District of Columbia and ultimately in Pennsylvania. The proposed builders and the assassins were different people. They do share versions of the same faith, and much of America has difficulty in disentangling the two.

Some apologists have tried to liken this to anti-catholicism of a past age. This does not fit. Only in fantasy, fiction and the boldest of lies was there a catholic agency of assassination to harm the United States. Though catholic churches were not wanted in many places, and some were burned to the ground, no parish thought of securing a location liable to gall other americans. Of course, to some americans any catholic church anywhere was one too many, and there are americans to-day that still think the same, and a greater number may think that for a mosque.

There is the concept of reciprocity. Moslems in the Americas, Europe, Australia and elsewhere are, relatively extra-ordinarily, free to be moslems. Every christian in Turkey or in Pakistan is liable to be an instant martyr. There are mosques in european capital cities, perhaps in all of them. Turkey wants to join the european union. All of what is now 'Turkey' had been part of the christian byzantine world. Turkey declares itself a democracy. How many churches are open in Turkey? How many in the arabian peninsula? Spain defeated, and then exiled the moslem moors in 1492. To-day there are a million moslems in Spain. In the fantasies of some jihadists, there is a demand for the restoration of the caliphate of Cordoba.

As manifest globally, mohammedanism does not recognise reciprocity. Now, conquest is recognised and appreciated. If a mosque is built in such a Manhattan location, it will be used as a point of such reference to some. It is an unnecessary provocation to a nation still wounded, and a monument to triumph for others.
Here, in Cleveland, existing parish congregations are not harassed or censured by the public, or by government, but are extinguished by their clerical overseer. These congregations are not only denied their existing property and patrimony, but the freedom of association. If we are suppressed, why should we be upset when others are only denied a location?