Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Poor Fr. Pf. When I read the morning paper and see an editorial about the Church that is misleading, misinformed, or downright wrong, he had to hear about it. So in order to spare him my AM grumblings I thought to start a new occasional feature that will correct or broaden the view of editorials concerning the Church when they appear. The problem is finding the right name for this feature:

Ecclesial Editorial Editing?

Contra Imbicilos?

Rant: Counter Rant?

Any ideas?

Les Johnson writes in the Akron Beacon Journal about the closings of parishes in the Diocese of Cleveland. His hurt and disappointment at the closings are more than evident and understandable and there are many points in his letter that are worth debating.

That being said this is the second time in as many weeks that the word infallibility has been attached to the name of the bishop. There is no teaching whatsoever that a bishop can exercise infallibility. In fact, it is only on the rarest of occasions that the pope speaks infallibly. Readers of this blog may know and understand that but others more ignorant of Catholic culture and teaching may not get it and that only make the discussion more difficult. I think what Mr. Johnson wants to say that we have a bishop with a strong belief that what he is doing for the diocese is for the best of the diocese and in that he does not bend easily from the determined course of action. He would like it otherwise.

Further he says that our bishop comes from a different state to impose himself on us. It is almost always the case that a bishop comes from “someplace else.” There are just as many problems but of a different category when you have bishop ordained from within the local presbyterate. Where a bishop comes from is not an issue, it is rather can this particular man come to know, understand, love and lead this people and do what is best for them?

The good point in his article and one of grave concern is what happens when you are in your 80s and your local parish closes? It is one thing to say, “Well, go to the next church.” It is quite another to be elderly, of poor health, and not only having to go to the next parish (if you can) but also registering, getting to know different people and schedules, and learning the ropes of a new place. (That’s MY pew!)This can be quite difficult and intimidating even for a younger person in good health.

On the other hand, when should a parish close? Some group of persons will always be in the twilight of their years when a church closes. It will always be difficult for someone.

So, the constructive aspects of Mr. Johnson’s letter are, 1) Is the process we have in place too inflexible or not? 2) Does our leadership really understand what is best for the diocese? And 3) What should be done to help those who have difficulties leaving their home let alone finding a new parish and registering etc?


Cracked Pot said...


Excellent idea to address this topic periodically. We need help to understand and to counter misinformation, even if only for when talking to family and friends.

I kind of like "Rant--Counter Rant."

Or "Apologetics, not Apologies."

More tame could be "The Church in the News."

MJ said...

Ecclesial Rebuttal?

Anonymous said...

Voracious Veritas


Tenacious Truth


Chuck said...

"Truth or Consequence"
Growing up, I remember watching a game show called Truth or Consequences. I always liked the sound of that title, and was always ready to spell "con-se-quence" should it ever come around to me in our grade school spelling bee contests. I even looked up the definition: 1)something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions, or 2) importance with respect to power to produce an effect.

I also like "Myth Busters" or "Knuckleheads in the News". Whatever you choose, I look forward it.

MJ said...

How about Tantrums from the Temple or Temple Tantrums. Jesus did turn over tables in the Temple when He got angry!!

Anonymous said...

This is my worst temptation but you asked...

You find a parishoner that lives near him and offer him a ride to your parish and open your doors wide to him. You introduce him to all the groups (his age) and let him know if there is anything he needs, to ask, you care.

I didn't read the article/letter. But if you are going to do a rebuttal, the Bishops TOGETHER with the POPE can speak infallibly on a matter.

Cyndy Cook said...

We were parishioners at St. Mary's when it was announced that it would be closing. The news was more shocking than it might have been because by that time it was widely believed that St. Mary's was to be spared. Many people were extremely upset and even angry over the news. The day of the announcement, before Mass, a couple of people even stood up in the pews and attempted to organize some kind of militant protest to take to the Bishop. Everyone was waiting to see what Fr. Burba would say and I think they may have expected (hoped) for him to be just as angry and rebellious. Instead, he came out and talked very calmly and reasonably about the need for faith and obedience and you could actually feel a lot of the anger quietly leave the Church. Not all of it, of course, and I'm sure some people still called or wrote the Diocese. Maybe it was easier for my family to accept -- we'd only been going there for a few years, unlike the parishioners who had been baptized, received first communion, confirmation, been married, buried loved ones, etc. --but after that it seemed foolish and self-indulgent to be so outraged about the closing. We had always thought that as long as we had good number of people showing up to the Masses, we were safe. It wasn't until later that we understood that it was more complicated than that. Demographics and other circumstances change and like any living entity, the Church has to be responsive to them, if it is to survive. I'm still sad about St. Mary's, but like Fr. V. said a while back, the Mass is more than just the four walls that hold it --even if they are very beautiful solid marble -- and we love being a part of St. Sebastian. And I would be dishonest if I didn't acknowledge the stark differences between the two. Even eight years ago you could tell that St. Mary's parish was deep in the sunset of its years, and while there's no telling what the future may bring, St. Sebastian now is clearly in the prime of life. I admit it: it is thrilling to be part of such a thriving parish. This place buzzes with energy! Alexander Graham Bell said, "When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” I hope that the parishioners at St. Peter's and elsewhere can come to see the literal truth in this. Until then, they are just providing fodder for those looking for another reason to criticize and defame the Church, and that is a pity.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Dear Cyndy - - welcome to St. Sebastian parish! You gave a wonderful explanation and it sounds as if you have been feeling comfortable in our parish. I pray that you will become involved and spread the good news of our parish community!

Matt W said...

For a title, how about "No Catty-schism"?

Anonymous said...

I like No Catty-schism.

Another title for consideration ...
To Tell the Truth

(similar to Chuck's Truth or Consequences ... although, my favorite TV game show was 'The Gong Show' but not sure if that title would actually work here ...
'The Gong Post'??? nah.)

Nan said...

We're going through the same thing in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis; however, priests get the heads-up tomorrow and everyone else finds out on Saturday.

Faith and obedience are the important things right now.

Anonymous said...

Who is Les Johnson?

r m kraus

Anonymous said...

Back when I was was in high school, a man named Les Johnson was my PSR teacher. It could be the same person.

Fr. V said...

R M - He is the gentleman that wrote the editorial - I have no idea who he is.

On another note - did you know that Sacred Heart in Barberton is making an addition to the building?

Anonymous said...

2) Does our leadership really understand what is best for the diocese?

I think this question is the most important and its answer is complicated and is made so by all those who compete in promoting his or her idea of what is best for the diocese.

It seems that there are alot of ideas but not much in terms of passing on the faith, e.g. the recent Pew Research study that claims only 45% of Catholics belief in transubstantiation.