4 July 2012, Current Local Events

July 4, 2012 at 16:23 Leave a comment


Our Bishop recently appointed another four pastors for the parishes the Vatican ordered reopened. The anger, cynicism and snide comments are again making their way around. While this is not surprising, it is, at least for me, disturbing. I think it is indicative of the level of hurt and anger among the folks of our diocese. While our Bishop seems to be complying with the Vatican directive, his credibility, or lack thereof, is such that no matter what he does he is questioned, doubted, even attacked. While I hope I am wrong in my assessment, I still don’t think he can turn things around and begin a healing process. I think the only one who can begin any healing will be his successor.

I think the climate these pastors are walking into has been acerbated by the overall climate of anger and pain in the diocese, and their tasks are monumental. Some of the appointed pastors are said to have volunteered. This points out yet again the quality of priests in our diocese, their dedication, their courage, their trust in the presence of Jesus among us. Our diocese has a lot to be humbly proud of. Different parish groups are reacting to all this differently, and some somewhat unpleasantly. Our bishop and his style of operating are responsible for all this. While he is still on the scene I don’t see how things can improve.

Having said this, I am concerned for our Bishop’s health — mental, emotional, physical. I am not being sarcastic or cynical here. I really am concerned. I sincerely hope he is receiving help. What is going on in our diocese these days can have severely deleterious impact on him. While he has bought this on himself, and maybe ought to suffer the consequences of his choices, who among us has not been in similar situations? Times of growth in our lives have not always been enjoyable, but they were necessary and the results have had their plus sides. In the final analysis, I don’t think any of us enjoy seeing other folks suffer for whatever reason.

Recently there have been the meetings of priests with our Bishop. The tenor and content have varied from place to place. Anecdotally there have been indications that a number of priests did not speak up for whatever reasons. Each of us has to take responsibility for what we did or did not say. I, for one, was blunt, and spoke only for myself, and said what I meant, open to the possibility that I might be wrong. We cannot judge other priests or impose our standards or choices on them. Assuming we were following our consciences none of us needs to beat ourselves up for what we said or did not say, what we did or did not do.

Jesus said he will be with us always, even to the end of time. Our faith leads us to believe this and take him at his word. While he walked among us, he brought his Father’s love and healing to all who would accept it. I believe he makes the same offer today to and through each one of us. For me, one of the most profound theological statements of the millennium came from Benedict XVI when he said, “Every one of us is the consequence of a thought in the mind of God; every one of us is necessary, every one of us is important, none of us is an accident”. This includes our Bishop, the folks who are criticizing or attacking him, the newly appointed pastors, the folks in the parishes, and all of us. The question is what do we do with all this? We might have to figure this out for ourselves.

Ultimately, it seems the final decision rests with the Vatican. One wonders if they know what is going on, if they care, what their values are. How much of what is going on in our diocese is a result of what the Vatican is or is not doing in other places throughout the world? We don’t have too much say in what goes on at that level. There are good folks on all sides of these issues.

Our priests are a good bunch of guys, very dedicated, hardworking, really caring for the folks. There are many theological differences among us, but for the most part we seem to get along fairly well. This has been our history and our strength, and it continues to be these days. We have much more in common than what might divide us.

These are my thoughts, and mine only. I don’t claim to speak for anyone but myself. As it happens, I was just listening to the Declaration of Independence being read on the radio. There seem to be some similarities to our own times.

Just sayin  .  .  .

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Entry filed under: Catholic, Church Leadership, Cleveland Diocese, Current Church, Local issues, Priest. Tags: , , , .

Thoughts, 1 July 2012, # 2 4 July 2012, Thoughts on Recent Church Events

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