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Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/contact:larchstar@aol.com

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

March 22, 2007

"...A DECENT RESPECT TO THE OPINIONS OF MANKIND..."

The blog here of 3/14/07 reported on the Vatican's order that the delete button be used 1) by a Mexican bishop in his report, and his refusal, to delete the expressed wish of his people that permanent deacons be ordained as priests to make the sacraments more available; and 2) on the diaconate program itself, where the bishop's predecessor, Bishop Sam Ruiz, had established 400 deacons, where, on a deacon's death, his widow would continue his ministry.
Comments received noted 1) that the bishop undoubtedly expected some logical reason for the order and 2) that he and the public expected a logical explanation for terminating the diaconate program. No public response came from the Vatican.

This should not surprise. The Vatican feels that its authority alone is sufficient; no reasons need be given. But does the Vatican not care that the faithful and the wider world hold it and its Church in esteem? Is it enough that it satisfies and fulfills its own expectations and cares not how it looks to others? Does it not realize that many of its own faithful are embarrassed by this self-sufficiency of its leaders and dissociate themselves from it?

Classic example: Cardinal Bernard H. Law, driven from Boston by his priests and his people for covering up and reassigning miscreant priests, is received in Rome, appointed as Rector of the prestigious Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, given luxurious housing and a six-figure salary, and remains on several Vatican governing bodies including the one that oversees the governance of bishops! No reasons given; no respectful reasons possible. For many, this was a proverbial last straw as they reacted in anger or simply quietly walked away; outsiders could only be dumfounded that an institution could be so unconcerned what others thought of them.
This is where a reform should begin. A principle can be taken from our own Declaration of Independence. After indicating what is happening, the Declaration states: "...a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they declare the causes that impel them..."

Our Church has so much that evokes such "decent respect" of mankind. But much has been lost, much will continue to be lost. Pope and hierarchy must demonstrate "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind".

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