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.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Venerable Solanus Casey's respect for bishops

"On another occasion a group of pilgrims visiting him had occasion to complain about some action of their local bishop. Solanus could not tolerate such criticism of the church whose representative the bishop was. He roundly scolded the complainers for their lack of love and respect for God's chosen minister."

-- Meet Solanus Casey: Spiritual Counselor and Wonder Worker by Brother Leo Wollenweber, OFM, Cap

As I read this passage, I could not help but think of my own Bishop Matthew Clark, currently recovering from surgery. He, and the Diocese of Rochester, have been frequent targets of criticism in some circles.

Certainly some actions and decisions in this diocese and by Bishop Clark can be criticized, but the sometimes personal, mean-spirited attacks are troubling.

I wonder what Father Solanus would say to such people were he with us today?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

He would probably suggest that personal, mean-spirited attacks are always troubling, not just sometimes.

The difficulty we face as lay people is the lack of a serious forum (and I don't include the internet) for a bishop to receive appropriate input.

My recollection of Bishop Clark in the 80's was that he was a skilled listener, and that he attempted to conduct public forums to receive input from the laity.

That sort of thing is looked down upon in Rome these days, and I don't know if the well in Rochester is poisoned to the point where little or no trust remains on his part.

I do hear of other bishops who would be inclined to receive lay input, but the tenor of private communication, from both Rome and mean-spirited laity, tend to discourage all of it.

My only addition for Solanus Casey's scolding is that it should extend to any person who is unwilling to address a problem directly in a calm, respectful manner with a posture of listening in return. The first office that should inspire respect is not that of bishop, but of child of God.


3:00 PM  

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