Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lord, to whom shall WE go?

"To whom shall we go?" is the motto on Archbishop Timothy Dolan's coat of arms, and he periodically posts to his blog, The Gospel in the Digital Age, under this excerpt from scripture.

The most recent of these posts, dated June 23, 2010, addresses the phenomenon of blaming "the archdiocese" for all of the discontents that we experience as Catholics in our parishes and localities. In this post he attempts to lightly dismiss common criticisms as myths and phantoms, providing a few factual cases to make his point.

Two interesting quotes that made me scratch my head:

"That’s because the perception is that the Catholic Church is a “top-down” organization — at least according to most newspapers, magazines, and radio/TV news — where decisions are always secretly made way at the top, and the “little guy” is ignored. That’s not only true of the secular media. In a recent edition of a prominent Catholic journal, published in New York, I counted six blasts at bishops and the Pope in the first six pages!"

AND
"A decision to sell any parish property initially rests with the pastor of the parish, who should act in close concert with his parish and finance councils and must act in close concert with the parish trustees. In the current case, the pastor concluded after prayerful reflection that the sale would not be in the best interests of his parish and recommended its withdrawal."
  • Didn't I once hear a representative of the archdiocese say that, because the Roman Catholic Church is hierarchical, Cardinal Egan had absolute power in the Archdiocese of New York and could do as he pleases?
  • Who made the decision to close Our Lady of Vilnius and why?
  • Why was Our Lady of Vilnius not included in the realignment?

If any member of our friendly and transparent archdiocese (at any level above the laity) would come forth with the true causes and supporting documentation, we would be very happy to collaborate in dispelling the popular myth of the opaque and omnipotent hierarchy that so vexes Archbishop Dolan.

2 comments:

Carl said...

Our Lady of Vilius was closed because very few people attended Mass there. The past drove a taxi in his spare time for goodness sake. This is not a vibrant parish. The location is terrible. There is no significant Catholic Presence in the immediate area and there are plenty of options for the faithful to go to Mass. The Church is more than a church. A church is just a building where faithful meet to pray and worship in communion. The Church is the community of Catholic Christians. Naturally, people become attahced to buildings, but the problem with Urban areas where immigration is prevelant is you wind up with many parishes in close proximity because ethnic groups settled in areas but wanted there own church and languages. So, we ended up with too many churches near each other. St. Vilnius is an example where the population is no longer there. The parish wasn't getting the support it needed. Keeping a church open just to keep it open doesn't make sense anymore. There aren't enough priests to service all of these buildings. Let her go. Cherish your memories there but let her go.

Nobody's Wife said...

Carl,

Thanks for sharing your opinion, but some of your facts are off. If you blindly accepting the story told by the Archdiocese of New York, you may be getting the truth, but not the whole truth. Our Lady of Vilnius was closed abruptly and without consideration for the value of the community of faith it housed. Other churches were part of a realignment program under which the parish council had an audience with Bishop Dennis Sullivan to present the unique merits of their parish. Our Lady of Vilnius had no such opportunity. There was never a dialogue, and there was not attempt to preserve the "parish family" and find a home for it within another parish. The Lithuanian worshippers were told that they could worship outside the archdiocese and the non-Lithuanian parishioners were left to their own devices. The Archdiocese did not act with compassion and consideration. I am going to bat for a parish and a principle, symbolized by a building, not a building alone.