Saturday, August 01, 2015

American Catholicism's decline continues: Parish closings

Lower East Side church closes after 90 years. "How's that 'renewal' working out for youse?" Institutional American Catholicism will keep shrinking like this and will bottom out. Even the old powerhouse, New York, will have only a handful of parishes. The good news: they'll be conservative. Liberal Catholics are dying off and their descendants leave the church.
Well, I hope the Vatican will overturn some of these closings before long.
Anglican semi-congregationalism accidentally taught me Catholicism after Vatican II, plus you see conservatism among the American Orthodox and the Polish National Catholics in America for the same reason, so it has a point. That said, you don't want to fall into a Protestant mindset about these disciplinary and administrative matters. (Like those few Italians who became Episcopalians.) The bishop has this authority. The diocese is the church's basic unit; the bishop its "apostle." In the good old days, parishes sometimes closed and you didn't see the faithful having Sixties-style protests about it.
Well, it's very different these days. The people in the parishes have rights and shouldn't be treated as if they and the parishes that their forefathers built are just pawns to be pushed aside by the bishop at his discretion. This is especially true when you're dealing with ethnic parishes, which preserve the culture and religious traditions of a particular group. The diocese has to show sensitivity and respect towards the people they serve. We are not in the dark ages anymore.
Don't fall for modernity.
It's not "modernity." It's the way we Catholics have always seen our religion, as an incarnational experience. We experience God and his presence at the local level, our our parishes that were built by the hands of our own ancestors. Our religion isn't just a set of cold doctrines and disciplines that we can just move around from place to place regardless of where it is. It's a loving experience of God and Christ that we find in our churches, families, neighborhoods, and communities. That's the big thing that Italian Catholicism embodies. That's why I care so much about preserving it as opposed to just being absorbed into the larger, mainstream Catholic Church here.
You have several points but our faith is also objective and hierarchical. Obedience is part of it. Catholicism is localized as well as universal but making an idol of the local community puts one outside the church.
Nobody has called for disobedience to the archbishop or any other bishop for that matter. The Church in her canon law has a process where Catholics can appeal a decision made by the hIerarchy that they unjust. Just because a man is a bishop, it doesn't mean that he has a right to abuse his flock and commit injustices. Even the bishop should show some respect towards his people as they do to him.
True but the protest mentality is modern and un-Catholic.
Says you. This is the 21st century and we demand the right to be treated as human beings with dignity and respect for the institutions we've created. The Church has to change a little in showing compassion for the flock she serves. Also, would you feel the same way about having a "protest mentality" if your archbishop ordered every Latin Mass in your archdiocese suspended? If something like that means a lot to you, then you should, at least, try to respect that which means a lot to others within the Church.

I also never "made an idol out of the local community." Caring about one's own people and homes isn't worshipping it or placing them above the Church. If I were to insist that we separate from the Vatican institution and form our own religion then I could see your point. However, just opposing something like a church closing and wanting to appeal it doesn't mean a person has placed themselves outside of the proper authority.
Say the magisterium and the saints. You've got the best intentions (sin often works that way) but you've bought into the "Enlightenment," the French Revolution. Regarding "making an idol out of the local community," for example, I'm talking about the Italians in Hackensack, New Jersey, who just wanted a neighborhood parish and went into schism when they didn't get one. The church eventually gave them one, but some remained outside of the church, becoming Episcopal (St. Anthony's). And ACROD: it was our fault they left the church but they bought into the sin I'm talking about. And Orthodoxy generally: Greekness, Russianness, etc. set in opposition to the church.

If the archdiocese took away the Tridentine Mass, Pope Benedict's Mass is not heretical, plus there's the Greek Catholic option.
If it's a sin to appeal a decision if the bishop that one thinks is unjust then why is there a process in canon law for it? The Church obviously thinks that it's an okay procedure.
I'm not saying it's a sin; just warning that protesting and appealing in church court the American way isn't the traditional Catholic way.
Well, there's nothing we can do about it. This is a necessary thing. It wasn't the traditional Catholic way for bishops to just randomly start closing down parishes in order to pay off their diocese's bills either, but this is what has been occurring.

I and those like me are only fighting for our rights to keep open and maintain the churches our forebear instituted. We have the right to appeal to the Vatican if we think a decision of the Church is unjust. Nobody is talking about setting up a separate Church. We just want a fair hearing and justice. BTW, John, the Enlightenment won the day. We are all citizens with a set of basic rights, not serfs to anyone.

In the old days, the laity were just seen as pawns made to "pray, pay, and obey". Now, since Vatican II, we are seen as being more then just that. I'm happy for this change and have no desire to see things go back to the bad old days simply because it's a "tradition."
Again, we can appeal to Rome, and semi-congregationalism's worth considering (how many other traditionalists say that?), but the American rights-based mentality lends itself to the Catholic liberals who want to turn us into a liberal Protestant denomination. Vatican II has its points, but "just say no" to its spirit.

Liberalism does not reproduce itself. It is parasitic that way.

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