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!"

"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.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Very Bad Sign

On May 24th (A New Void in the Blogosphere) I sadly noted the end of Bob Arihood's blog, Neither More Nor Less. Tonight, I must note that Brooks of Sheffield is following suit and ending Lost City with his post Goodbye to All That. Salient quote:
"I began the blog because I was incensed and alarmed at what the city was becoming. It was losing its grit, its fabric, its very character. It was losing its New York-ness, and gaining nothing but Subway franchises and luxury condos. Since none of my editors would let me write about it, I became my own editor. I was gratified to soon find that there were a lot of people out there who felt the way I did. And it wasn't too long before there were other bloggers who took on a similar mission, like Jeremiah Moss at Vanishing New York and EV Grieve at the blog of the same name. Taken together, we made for quite a few howls in the wilderness. And, tragically, we never ran out of things to report.

But, in the end, they were just howls, as ineffective at Lear's on the heath."
Last year Brooks posted on our stay of execution Good News for Lithuanians - For Now. As of today we are still awaiting a ruling. May Our Lady of Vilnius be the phoenix that rises from the ash, carrying everyone's spirits upward.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Is everything that I value facing extinction?

Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times

The June 6 edition of the NY Times ran a piece about local response to a longstanding religious procession, honoring St. Cono, in Williamsburg. The piece, titled "Still Taking to the Streets to Honor Their Saints" described the different views of the procession from newcomers and oldtimers. Three examples:
“It used to be the whole street was waiting to give money,” recalled Lucy D’Alto, a longtime resident of Devoe Street. “We don’t see that now. They don’t understand. They see it as something superficial. They don’t respect us, all these young kids — artistes, whatever you call them.”

“It was a tiny parade, and they shut down Graham Avenue?” said Mr. Tocco, 26, an actor. “There was one float and a horrible marching band. It was very ironic. The Latino parades are more festive.”
"Which is not to say the newcomers do not relate to saints, just in a different way. Inside an old storefront, Jack Szarapka was going over preparations for a juice bar he was about to open. In one window, a statute of St. Francis Xavier towered over a patch of wheatgrass.

The statue, he said, was owned by his landlord and business partner, who grew up in the area. They had hauled it down from a stairwell and put it in the window. They might — or not — name the place the Saint Francis Xavier Juice Bar. “We have a collection of odd things in here,” he said. “This is another odd thing. We have bottles for a lamp fixture, found objects.”

Kudos to Jack Szarapka for his very "Our Lady of Vilnius" response to the statue of St. Francis Xavier. And to Mr. Tocco, may one of your compeers write a script about growing up in Williamsburg and may you be cast as an Italian-American Williamsburg native carrying the statue of St. Cono behind a horrible band!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

NY Daily News Item: Religious leaders promote stiffer penalties for vandalization of sanctuaries

Celeste Katz of The Daily Politics blog of The NY Daily News posted this item yesterday evening: Klein, Religious Leaders Join Forces to Protect Sanctuaries. Salient quotes:
"As of now, there are protections for religious items inside such buildings. Current law punishes intentional damage to the property of a house of worship as a class “A” misdemeanor, regardless of the amount of damage caused or the context in which the damage was caused. Klein and Latimer’s bill creates a new “E” felony crime when property is damaged in an amount greater than $150.00, and also broadens the law to protect property on the grounds of sanctuaries."