View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Quit complaining; do something positive

(Yeah - I've got more shots from the vacation!)

I was at a Catholic bookshop today. A customer was talking to one of the clerks about churches closing in the Diocese of Rochester - and in some other New York dioceses (such as Buffalo).
He then made a crack about how things will get better when Bishop Clark goes.
I was annoyed. Other dioceses are facing problems, too. Ones that have had traditional or conservative bishops. It's a dilemma faced by many dioceses in the Northeast, no matter what kind of bishops the dioceses have. And who is to say what will happen when we do get a new bishop? I don't think it will substantially change things in and of itself.

Moreover, complaining does not improve things. In fact, it can make things worse by creating an environment of nonsupport and negativity. It turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Then I thought of St. Francis. The Church in his day was in a mess. Did he just complain about the bishop? No. He responded to the call, "Rebuild my church." Simply, humbly, actively, and positively.

So instead of complaining, take action. Do something positive to improve things - like the people who created the new Padre Pio Chapel here in Gates.

2 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

Lee,

I guess I agree with both you and that guy in the bookstore.

You see, there are an awful lot of us out here who feel betrayed by Bishop Clark, Fr. Hart and the rest of the DOR management team. True, there are those who just sit on their butts and complain, but there are many, many more of us who are actively involved in our parishes and schools.

These are the people who ask questions about parish closings and who get inconsistent, incoherent or sometimes patently false answers, if they get any answers at all.

These are the people who are ready, willing and able to invest their time, talent and treasure in their parish schools, only to be told that their idea of Catholic stewardship conflicts with a plan developed by a committee of the well-off and the well-connected meeting in secret and reviewing data that will never be made public.

Fr. Andrew Greeley has ofter written, "Everyone knows that the laity don't count." That statement is no truer anywhere than it is right here in DOR.

Will a new bishop change any of this? Obviously nobody knows, but it's awfully hard to imagine how a new bishop could make things any worse than they already are now.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

"Fr. Andrew Greeley has ofter written, "Everyone knows that the laity don't count." That statement is no truer anywhere than it is right here in DOR."

Actually, one of the complaints I've heard against Bishop Clark is that he sometimes lets the laity do too much - such as preaching, or running parishes!

I think the issue comes down to whether he allows particular lay people to do what THEY want. The subtext generally is that people of a traditionalist bent feel he does not listen to them.

I will grant you, there have been times when I thought he moved too slowly - such as with bringing back the Latin Mass (a lay-led movement). But he has allowed lay initiatives - Irinaes Center (sp?)for example. Or the Padre Pio Chapel. And I was involved with a lay developed health center back in the 80s, and a lay developoed homeless shelter.

Moreover, some of the people who have pushed for the more traditional things have also been some of his most vocal and uncharitibale critics, so I suspect there's been a certain lack of trust in them and their true intentions (even when that has not been justified).

Finally, some of the things happening here have been happening in dioceses across the Northeast - including ones led by more traditional bishops. Schools and parishes are closing in a lot of places, priestly vocations are down in many of them.

I am not praying for Bishop Clark's departture, but when that does happen I would like to see us get bishop who is an evangelical/outgoing one - one who is out there visiting and preaching and inspiring. Bishop Clark is a quiete man, and he has been dogged by ill-health for the last decade.

7:50 PM  

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