Aug 25, 2006

The Wanderer and Church Closings

I've subscribed to The Wanderer newspaper for almost 40 years, even before highly respected Walter Matt (1915-2002) resigned as Editor and formed The Remnant newspaper. At times, I've thought The Wanderer did a great deal of good, especially informing Catholics of their faith; at other times, I wondered if I shouldn't do without them. An example of what I'm talking about can be see in the example May 26, 2006 front page with two articles that seem to be goo-goo-eyed over the appointment of Archbishop Levada of San Francisco as the prefect of the Congregation of the Faith.

The Wanderer's policy is governed by two rules: (1) never criticize the Bishop of Rome, no matter what administrative decision he makes; and (2) criticize the other Bishops all you want (but not quite all of them). The problem with the first rule is that the Pope is not impeccable--he can and will make some mistakes, and recent Popes have made some doozies. The problem with the second rule is that The Wanderer assumes that if they expose a problem, then faithful Catholics will be able to fix it. Wrong, again!

In addition to prayer (always effective), faithful Catholics have three tools to deal with bad Bishops and their bad decisions--only two of which are somewhat effective. Lay Catholics have their voice, their feet, and their pocketbook. After 40 years of using voice and pen, I can vouch for their almost complete INeffectiveness in stopping the bludgeoning of orthodoxy and traditional Catholic practices. First of all, very few Bishops will respond to a problem identified by a layman. Second, try as you may (and in concert with many others) the Pope won't respond--except in a very few instances. Oh, yes, the local Bishop may send back a nice letter--but you'll have a hard time getting most Bishops to effectively respond to serious problems. [Fortunately there are a handful of exceptions in the U.S. and these good Bishops are increasing]

So where does that leave a Catholic who wants to attend a local church not infected by Modernism? He can vote with his feet and attend a Novus Ordo (NO) church that retains a semi-traditional priest who has made compromises to stay an active pastor, but yet promotes a few traditional practices and gives acceptable homilies. Or a Catholic can transfer his membership to a church affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Some of my friends over the past 40 years went one way and some went the other.

Those who stayed in a NO church came to realize that this solution usually was temporary, so off to another church they went--in some cases, even to a church in another diocese. It wasn't until the indult Latin Mass was allowed in a very few places that a third choice was available. Even then, Catholics who attended the indult Mass were often viewed as temporarily on the fringe of the Church until they could be fully reintegrated into the NO community.

Back to The Wanderer. The new issue of August 24, 2006 has several good articles that make me happy that I've not yet canceled my subscription. First of all is an article (second of three parts) with a lot of irony about "How Anne Burke Surprised the U.S. Bishops." Mrs. Burke is the Illinois Supreme Court Justice who was second-in-command of the Board appointed by the U.S. Bishops to study priestly pedophilia. She assumed leadership when Gov. Keating resigned in disgust. There's a fair amount to disagree with in the article of her interviews by Thomas F. Roeser, but it is an interesting read of why some liberal Bishops seem to wish they had never heard her name.

The second article is on a local subject, "Cloning Measure Would Ax Laws Regulating Abortion." Jennifer Brinker outlines the November 7 ballot initiative on the "Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative." She points out that Missouri has several laws dealing with aborted human beings that would be overturned if the Initiative passes.

The third article of interest is about a New Hampshire parish merger and likely church closings. A woman (state legislator) is appealing to the Vatican, asking the Holy See to reverse the merger of three parishes in the Lakes Region and to prevent the closure of a parish. [The lady admits this effort is not likely to succeed.]

Church mergers/closings in New Hampshire are occuring as a result of recommendations from Cluster Task Forces (example here) assembled for long-ranging planning--a process that sounds very similar to the Task Forces being set up in the Kansas archdiocese. Some of the comments of the appellant woman include:
The real reason for the consolidation is to retire the debt.... Once you merge, the money all goes into one pot. There's no reason for this merger other than the money....

...input from the parishioners was given short shrift in the [Task Force] process. They allowed people to come and talk, but they didn't act on any of those suggestions. They didn't listen. Their minds were made up. The whole thing was a farce.

You mean to tell me the mighty Catholic Church can't get a priest to come to St. Agnes (the parish to be closed) for one hour a week?
Finally, another woman supporter noted:
In this town we have an Episcopal church, a Methodist church, and a Baptist church, and none of them have the amount of people going to their churches that we have. But they're not giving up their churches.

1 comment:

Curmudgeon said...

Well, Dusty, I'm still letting my Wanderer subscription run out. Paul Likoudis' notion of news reporting is stealing stuff from other people's blogs (including my own). I can read the blogs for free, and I don't have to put up with their ridiculous and uncatholic fauning over and justifying every misstep the Holy Father makes.