Friday, June 19, 2009

Inspiration: Pray the Devil Back to Hell

This evening I found myself on the couch watching TV out of sheer inertia. A few minutes into PBS' "Wide Angle", I began to get energized. The show featured Abigail Disney, producer of the documentary, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell" and her protagonist, Leymah Gbowee. It is a story of grass roots organization by Liberian women who wanted an end to war and the promise of a civilized life for their children.

This story illustrates the power of prayer, the working of the Holy Spirit and the true value of humanity. Ms. Gbowee is a radiant mixture of strength, humility, candor and intelligence.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Archbishop Dolan Comments on Our Lady of Vilnius

While covering the celebration of the 200 year anniversary of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral on Mulberry Street, Lincoln Anderson of The Villager addressed Archbishop Dolan regarding Our Lady of Vilnius:

"Asked later about the fate of another Downtown Catholic church, Our Lady of Vilna on Broome St. in Soho, Dolan told The Villager he was sure his predecessor, Cardinal Edward Egan, made the right decisions. More than two years ago, the archdiocese closed Our Lady of Vilna, citing its damaged roof and a dwindling congregation. But the church’s former members and its supporters in the city’s Lithuanian community contend it is repairable and that it still had a healthy-sized congregation. They filed a lawsuit against the archdiocese last year to reopen the church.

“After eight weeks, I’m hardly versed in all the particulars,” Dolan replied when asked about Our Lady of Vilna. “At a cursory glance, I would say that the decisions that Cardinal Egan reached were very sane.”

Told that Our Lady of Vilna’s supporters want to meet with him, hoping he’ll be more sympathetic than Egan, Dolan responded, “I’m always happy to meet with everybody, but if it’s to change the decision Cardinal Egan made, it might not be that productive.”

Read Mr. Anderson's article Dolan celebrates 200 years of love’at Old St. Pat’s in its entirety and add your comments to the forum.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Coming Clean

"Cleanliness is next to godliness," so they say. There is a certain relief, perhaps even joy, in "coming clean," an item from the North Bronx lexicon of my childhood. The lie or deception between yourself and its recipient goes away. A wall falls. Intimacy is restored and there is a homecoming. The Roman Catholic Church ritualizes this process in its sacrament of Confession, more recently named "Reconciliation." Would that the Church would look us, its members, in the eye and come clean instead of being dragged to the bathtub by the courts and the press.

Paul Vitello's NY Times piece, Bishop Avidly Opposes Bill Extending Time to File Child-Abuse Suits addresses one prelate's approach to proposed legislation that might result in more suits against priests. The print edition subtitles the article "Questions About Church-State Boundaries."

In addition to presenting Bishop DiMarzio's public statements on the topic, the article examines the role of Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who recently wrote a competing bill that would not lift the statute of limitiations on abuse lawsuits, and the forced resignation of Father James O'Shea from his post as executive director of Churches United.

dotCommonweal is already on this scene with Paul Moses' post "The Bishop, the priest and the pol".

Strike the harp and join the forum.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Matter of Death and Life

The closure of Our Lady of Vilnius has been a spiritual exercise of the highest order. All of this emotion and experience is crystallized in a concert that will take place at 7:00 PM on Saturday, June 5th at the New York Society for Ethical Culture at 64th Street and Central Park West.

We invite you to mourn and to rejoice.