Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/

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

June 6, 2010


"Uncivil Society" by Stephen Kotkin (The Modern Library,NY, 2009)indicates its content by its subtitle, "1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment". The Communist establishment is the "uncivil society" because of its harsh political and economic dogmatism backed by Soviet force. This rigidity brought about the implosion of these Communist societies when faced with the successful market economies and democratic societies of the West.The "civil society" consisted of parties and groups seeking release from oppression by the writing, publishing, and organizing activities of the intellectuals, labor unions, the common people, and, especially in Poland, the strong presence of a Catholic people, energized by the charismatic Pope John Paul II. But Kotkin, by his analysis of the experiences of East Germany, Poland, and Romania, demonstrates that the collapse of these communist entities was caused more by their own internal dynamics than by external forces.They

Our beloved Church is in deep trouble. By its own inner priorities. Its sexual abuse scandal is so widespread as to appear systemic. Is it possible that the Church, like the Eastern Europe communist nations, is imploding because of something of its internal dynamics that must be searched out and eliminated. I suggest that the diagnosis made in November 2009 by the Irish Governmental Commission to investigate the Archdiocese of Dublin provides an answer, applicable not only to Ireland but also to the Church crisis in the US and Europe: "Pre-occupations...were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, protection of the reputation of the Church, and preservation of its assets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. [The Church] did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the State."

There it is! The Church, by its own minions, has been put ahead of truth and justice; has been put ahead of Jesus! Is a comparison with Dostoyevsky's Grand Inquisitor too much? A "Church first!" culture has taken over. Some time ago,a full page ad appeared in several Catholic magazines. The lede, "Come follow me!" Then a photo of Benedict XVI and a text, "Yes, we must follow Benedict XVI!" I am sure B16 would not approve. But did no one catch it? Proof readers? Publishers? Bishops? Did anyone cry out, "Blasphemy!"? Are priests, bishops, the faithful to accept this so readily? Is this an alien culture that has invaded the Church of Jesus? Putting "Church first", ahead of truth and justice? ahead of Jesus? This is the culture about which Bishop James Moriarty said, on resigning after the Irish report implicated him, "From the time I became auxiliary bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture." It is this still prevailing culture that must be challenged.

Regretably, Pope and Vatican encourage all this. Centralization of control and power continues, as does creeping infallibility. Ordinary doctrine becomes "definitively defined". Popes keep canonizing other popes. Please! That's more than a little much. Japanese bishops are told that liturgical translations will be done in Rome,not in Japan. English translators, disliked by Rome, were replaced, their years of work discarded. The highly criticized new English translation has been imposed. Collegiality forecast by Vatican II and encouraged by Paul VI was dead-ended by JPII. Check his synods of bishops. Rome's appetite for control seems insatiable. Desite Vienna's Cardinal Schonbrun's overtures, married priests can't even be discussed. Celibacy is a control mechanism: over a priest's private and public life, his income, residence, and retirement! Rome won't readily surrender that instrument of control. Does not the glass ceiling keeping women below male authority have some causal relation to the disappearance of nuns and the exit of many women, especially the young, from the Church? JP II's stone-facing of Sister Teresa Kane?

A humble Church, relaxing the tight fist of control, developing collegiality, transparency, priorities for truth and justice, listening to the faithful and helping them see the value they contribute to the enterprise - these are instruments against implosion! Control and command are to be replaced by conversation and persuasion. And sandals instead of Ferragamo shoes!


Blogger 彥君彥君 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 8, 2010 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger pbyrne said...

Hot stuff, Uncle Harry! Time to write a book exposing the Vatican.

Hey how about this:

June 10, 2010 at 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you‘ve got a great personality!............................................................

June 15, 2010 at 5:14 AM  

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