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.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

On uncharitable comments about Bishop Clark

26. That the Servants of God should honor Clerics.

Blessed is the servant of God who exhibits confidence in clerics who live uprightly according to the form of the holy Roman Church. And woe to those who despise them: for even though they [the clerics] may be sinners, nevertheless no one ought to judge them, because the Lord Himself reserves to Himself alone the right of judging them. For as the administration with which they are charged, to wit, of the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which they receive and which they alone administer to others—is greater than all others, even so the sin of those who offend against them is greater than any against all the other men in this world.

- St. Francis of Assisi; Admonitions

15 Comments:

Blogger Rich Leonardi said...

[Members of the laity] have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ's faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals. -- Canon 212, Section 3

2:17 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

The key word in the title is "uncharitable."

3:01 PM  
Blogger Dr. K said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

It's good that you are honest enough to admit that some of the comments are uncharitable.

While I think the bishop has made some poor decisions and mistakes, I think you paint too stark and a not completely accurate picture of him.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Lee,

Yes, some of the comments regarding Bishop Clark have been uncharitable including, I'm sure, some of mine. That does not mean, however, that they have been inaccurate.

I cannot recall a single DOR deviation from orthodoxy and/or orthopraxy, whether overtly promoted by the bishop or merely tacitly approved, that has not been well documented.

It is extremely frustrating to watch what was once a great diocese slowly slide into oblivion. This death spiral did not have to be, as other, more orthodox dioceses are showing the world every day.

Is that stark? Probably. But it is also accurate.

10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lee - I am posting anonymously simply because I don't intend to be a "regular". I only come to this site from time to time. I am here to comment about uncharitable comments and to comment not on your site but another.

I have visited Mr. Leonardi's site "Ten Reasons" since my parish in Brighton was clustered with another parish. This has caused a good deal of anxiety and frustration among our parishioners and I thought Mr. Leonardi's site might offer some comfort.

What I have found has been a Bishop Clark bashing site. Over and over, the bishop is lifted up as the worst person alive. I do not agree with Bishop Clark's decision to cluster the Brighton parishes. Yet I do not believe that this gives me the right to question his faith or try to smear his reputation to everyone.

What I have noticed on Mr. Leonardi's site is that if anyone questions a comment or supports Bishop Clark - that comment is removed by Mr. Leonardi the next time you go back to see it.

So I guess Mr. Leonardi believes that he and those who think like him can criticize and put down our bishop all they want, but if anyone criticizes them, they are in affect silenced. I guess double standards are everywhere.

Mr. Leonardi, if you are willing to make such harsh and sweeping judgements regarding another man's life, profession, and faith - you should be open to receiving the same.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Rich Leonardi said...

What I have noticed on Mr. Leonardi's site is that if anyone questions a comment or supports Bishop Clark - that comment is removed by Mr. Leonardi the next time you go back to see it.

This is a lie. I have removed comments from those who attack other posters anonymously, as you are doing here.

What I have found has been a Bishop Clark bashing site.

This is also a lie, or at least a distortion. The fact is that by any measure, Rochester under Bishop Clark has been a disaster. Any criticism I make, I back up with facts. Would that you did the same. Moreover, you fail to mention that I have removed comments from those who stepped over the line in their criticisms of the bishop and his employees.

The key word in the title is "uncharitable."

Another key word is duty, at least from the perspective of canon law. Lee, I enjoy your site and recognize that you have many valuable things to say. I especially salute your commitment to the defense of the unborn. But have you ever criticized a policy of Bishop Clark on your site? If you have it's escaped my attention.

4:13 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

"But have you ever criticized a policy of Bishop Clark on your site? If you have it's escaped my attention."

Rich, from last February 27 on the lack of Priestly vocations -

"But, Bishop Clark, while a good man, is, to be honest, not an inspiring leader. He is a mild man, and his preaching is intellectually fine, but, frankly, dull. We need someone to fire up the people here - much as Pope John Paul II fired up the wider Church.

I also think Bishop Clark has allowed the diocese to be infected by some folks who distort Catholic teachings. When I was at the diocesan newspaper, I was disturbed by some of the things I saw being allowed to happen and grew increasingly frustrated at his inaction. In the Corpus Christi situation, for example, I think he waited way too long to act. Father Callan should have been suspended several years earlier. In addition, various liturgical abuses were allowed to continue around the diocese too long."

-- Rich, you were the first person to comment on that post, so it must have caught your attention.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Rich Leonardi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:05 PM  
Blogger Rich Leonardi said...

Rich, from last February 27 on the lack of Priestly vocations -

So you offered one criticism 11 months ago (which makes many good points, I think.)

-- Rich, you were the first person to comment on that post, so it must have caught your attention.

I thought your readers would find it interesting to know that they have rights recognized by canon law. Moreover, you visit my site frequently -- which I welcome -- and have made similar complaints before.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Rich - don't change the subject or your request.

You asked if I had ever offered a criticism, and I cited an instance. You did not ask me if I had done so on multiple occasions (I have, by the way).

Further, you said that if I had it had missed your attention. Yet you responded to the very post I cited, and in fact, it led to a bit of a back and forth.

A simple gracious "Oops, you did. I forgot." would have sufficed!

6:15 PM  
Blogger Dr. K said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Rich Leonardi said...

Further, you said that if I had it had missed your attention. Yet you responded to the very post I cited, and in fact, it led to a bit of a back and forth.

A simple gracious "Oops, you did. I forgot." would have sufficed!


Like I wrote, you cited a post that is 11 months old. I may have forgotten about it because it's a rather mild critique.

Rich - don't change the subject or your request.

I'm not sure what this means, but it doesn't seem very gracious.

I'll withdraw from further comment as I don't believe any additional back and forth will be productive.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:58 pm "anonymous" is Ray Grosswirth again, the Rochester "priest" who has become obsessed with Rich Leonardi's site and bashes him and those who agree with him. He follows Rich everywhere, posts anonymously, attacks Rich, and repeats this process over and over again. He even admitted to it on his own blog. He also apologized for doing this and said he'll stop, but he continues. And who are you to criticize people who criticize Bishop Clark? It's acceptable for you to criticize but not for Rich or his readers? Rich has just as much a right to criticize as you do to criticize him. And you're complaining about double standards, what a joke.

You said "I have visited Mr. Leonardi's site "Ten Reasons" since my parish in Brighton was clustered with another parish. This has caused a good deal of anxiety and frustration among our parishioners and I thought Mr. Leonardi's site might offer some comfort."

Stop lying, stop making up stories, stop pretending to be people who you are not Ray Grosswirth. Are we seriously supposed to believe that you went on a quest to find solace after your parish was clustered (which you don't belong to), stumbled upon Rich's site (which you were well aware of), and then became violently ill at seeing that there was a criticism of Bishop Clark? Come on man! And you thought his site was going to bring you comfort? What kind of nonsense is this. Where did you think you were going to find comfort? And what exactly would you define comfort as being? Does comfort mean the site will be a shrine to Joan Sobala with religious music playing in the background and prayers to her included? Joke!

You also said "Yet I do not believe that this gives me the right to question his faith or try to smear his reputation to everyone."

Ray Grosswirth, Rich has not questioned his faith. You're lying again. And what reputation? Anything stated is backed with facts on his site. If anyone is ruining the Bishop's reputation it is the Bishop himself with what he does. Don't forget Ray Grosswirth that you have made posts on Rich's site questioning Rich's faith, calling him un Christian. What a joke.

You also said "
What I have noticed on Mr. Leonardi's site is that if anyone questions a comment or supports Bishop Clark - that comment is removed by Mr. Leonardi the next time you go back to see it.
"

Are you hitting the reload button every 2 seconds Ray Grosswirth? You really are obsessed with the guy. Get a life.

-Mark

6:46 PM  
Blogger Ray Grosswirth said...

This is to clarify that anonymous postings attributed to me HAVE NOT BEEN MINE! This can be verified via computer I.D.s.

I have rarely posted to blogs anonymously. I did so last December in response to an anonymous poster at Rich Leonardi's site who repeatedly attacked me and tried to sabotatge one of my sites (was able to identify hia computer I.D. # with help of police).

I am responding to the preceding post because a friend called my attention to it.

To be perfectly clear, I DO NOT STALK RICH LEONARI AROUND THE WEB, AS CHARGED BY THIS ANONYMOUS POSTER. At best, I respect Rich as a theologian and have said so in a December post to my blog. I have not mentioned him since and have made NO ANONYMOUS POSTINGS AT HIS OR ANY OTHER SITE!

Blogs would be better utilized if each poster were to use his or her real name.

It seems that whenever anyone defends Bishop Clark anonymously at a blog, it is assumed I am the poster. It is no secret that I admire Bishop Clark, and whenever I defend him, I use my REAL NAME!

What follows is the very last time I mentioned Rich Leonardi (December, 2008). This was an attempt on my part to draw a truce:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hoping for a Middle-ground Church
Dear Blog Visitors:

First of all, I want to wish all of you a very blessed holiday season.

Secondly, I want to articulate my hope for a middle-ground church - a church where conservatives and liberals can have dialogue in a respectful way.

Unfortunately, I allowed myself to get trapped into a name-calling contest at a website facilitated by Rich Leonardi of Cincinnati (former Rochester resident). To be fair, I respect Rich as a conservative thinker, theologian and writer. It is therefore extremely sad that some of the dialogues at his blog have resulted in personal attacks on me, Bishop Matthew Clark and the Rochester Diocese. In an uncustomary manner for me, I responded to a name-caller in a similar fashion, which only added fuel to the fire.

Jesus gave us much wisdom concerning debates that have often become heated at Catholic blogs. We all know that turning the other cheek can be challenging when we are attacked. However, I am finding it is sometimes easier to sit back and let conservatives attack me, without my saying a word in response. The result is letting the attackers look foolish, as opposed to my being drawn into the same type of diatribes or insults. Jesus also warned his followers that they may be mocked/ridiculed for their beliefs. So, while I may not be following all the dictates of the 'institutional' church, I do believe I am following the example of Jesus in my ministries. So, I feel I must apologize to those at Rich Leonardi's site who I allowed to draw me into the type of discourse I hate. In the future, I will simply ignore them.

We need some good theological, ecclesial and historical discourse in the Catholic Church. As stated, I respect Rich Leonardi as a person who possesses a brilliant mind. If people at his blog continue to attack me, I will ignore them in the future and I hope that Rich, in turn, will steer his posters away from name-calling, and instead encourage them toward dialogue that can perhaps help us to move constructively toward a middle-ground.

Peace to all,
Ray Grosswirth

9:38 AM  

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