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, September 27, 2009

Okay, I was wrong

Last Monday, with pro-life activities on my mind, I groused about the Diocese of Rochester's lack of active involvement in the issue (in the way I would like to see), and said I was not going to give to the Ministry Appeal until I saw some diocesan personnel out there with us, and more strict enforcement when it comes to some liturgical abuses in parishes.

I was wrong in declaring that.

I'd still like to see those things, but the Ministry Appeal does help so many people in so many ways and pays for so many diocesan services. I and my parish benefit from those services, as do so many other people and parishes in the diocese.

Plus, if I don't give, my parish has to make up the gap. They have a hard enough time paying their bills.

So I will give. And I urge other people to give, even if you don't agree with some of the things going on in the diocese.

But I'd still like to see some diocesan personnel out there praying in front of Planned Parenthood.

23 Comments:

Blogger David Marciniak said...

Humble pie. Never tastes good. Like castor oil when we were kids - you know it goes down hard but you just gotta do it.

I eat slices of humble pie regularly. One might call me a connoisseur. Nonetheless, you are right; the charity is important to too many to allow the (mis)management staff of the diocese to interefere with our spirit of giving. Kudos.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surprise surprise.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you think you were wrong? I will not give a red cent untill the Bishop wakes up and realizes his diocese is a mess. Yes we end up paying anyway by our parishes being taxed, but those running the diocese need a reality check.

Ben

1:48 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I was wrong because while I disagree with some things going on, the diocese does many good things and deserves my support for those. I would feel petty hurting the people who do get helped, and huirting my parish just because I was upset at some things. And I do benefit from many things the diocese does, so it hardly seems fair to use diocesan resources when they suit my needs, but not pay.

I don't think the diocese as a whole is a mess. There are good things going on.

And I don't think my refusing to contribute is going to send any more of a message than the diocese is already getting.


I face the same challenge with taxes.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Anonymous 12:21 - Huh?

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Lee et al

DO NOT give money to the CMA

give what you would give to the CMA to the parish, instead. That way the parish does not have such a high tax burden to the diocese and you don't have to directly give to the CMA

3:57 PM  
Blogger Mr. B said...

Lee,

I understand your sentiments, but disagree with you.

There are many parishes who are struggling to keep open. These parishes don’t need the added burden of strong-arming by the DOR.

I just don’t get it. If a parish doesn’t live up to it’s quota of “charitable donations” as determined by the Diocese, the “difference” will have to be made up.

The word “extortion” comes to mind.

I will not become part of this scheme.

I save until a missionary comes to our Church. I then give all that I have and start again…

There are many charities that do good without the need for extortion…

I will not capitulate to these strong arm tactics. If that means that my Church closes, I’ll have to travel farther for mass.

Every closure is a hash mark against our Bishop.

I don’t want to have any part of this fiasco…

God Bless.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Mr B - you have to remember that parishes were taxed for years before Bishop Clark arrived. He instituted the TGA and dropped the "tax" - or even the required payments for a while - but that did not work. So they put back in the parish quota.

It is not extortion.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Matt - there are many good things the diocese does, and I have no problem supporting them. It's difficult to track down all the programs individually and give to them separately.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Mr. B said...

Lee,

Just because something has been past practice doesn't mean that it's right.

God Bless.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Nor does it make it wrong. It is the way it was, and is, and it's right for a Catholic to support the good works of his diocese.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Canon Law allows any diocesan bishop to levy a tax on all parishes to support the administration, charitable works and ministries of the diocese. This is the church's law. Bishop Clark did not make it up. If we are called to be obedient to the law of the church in liturgical matters (such as who can and cannot validly preach the homily), than we must not find ourselves dissenting from this part of church law. One of the old precepts of the Church is to support the charitable works of the Church. If we dissent from this, we are no better nor worse than "those others" whom we might classify as "Cafeteria Catholics".

7:59 PM  
Blogger Rich Leonardi said...

If we are called to be obedient to the law of the church in liturgical matters (such as who can and cannot validly preach the homily), than we must not find ourselves dissenting from this part of church law. One of the old precepts of the Church is to support the charitable works of the Church. If we dissent from this, we are no better nor worse than "those others" whom we might classify as "Cafeteria Catholics".

Please. One does not "dissent" by declining to participate in the annual appeal or finding Bishop Clark to be excessive in the exercise of his administrative powers. And one can fulfill the precepts without supporting this project.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Canon Law allows any diocesan bishop to levy a tax on all parishes to support the administration"

Parishes, not parishioners. He can take the money from the parishes, but I am in no way required to submit one damn cent to the bishop.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Persis said...

Choir,
I feel your pain!
I too am deeply conflicted about the CMA. I benefit from it, yet the mis-management I see astounds me!
I must agree with Anonymous 7:59 though, if we are going to insist on enforcing the rules we all must follow all of them!

12:16 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Anonymous 7:59 - Ah, thanks for that heads up. I looked it up:

Canon 1263

"Can. 1263 After the diocesan bishop has heard the finance council and the presbyteral council, he has the right to impose a moderate tax for the needs of the diocese upon public juridic persons subject to his governance; this tax is to be proportionate to their income."

5:32 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

anonymous 12:04 - and from whom does the parish get that money to pay the assessment?

I suppose if you are going to go this route, you will contribute to your parish an extra amount to cover the per capita assessment. So if it works out to, say, $50 a head, you'll drop an extra $50 into the colection.

5:37 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

There are also:

Can. 1262 The faithful are to give support to the Church by responding to appeals and according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops.

and

Can. 1261 §1. The Christian faithful are free to give temporal goods for the benefit of the Church.

§2. The diocesan bishop is bound to admonish the faithful of the obligation mentioned in ⇒ can. 222, §1 and in an appropriate manner to urge its observance.

which leads us back to ...

Can. 222 §1. The Christian faithful are obliged to assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for the works of the apostolate and of charity, and for the decent support of ministers.

--- "obliged" is a pretty strong word.

6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Can. 222 §1. The Christian faithful are obliged to assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for the works of the apostolate and of charity, and for the decent support of ministers."

Which would go back to why I give my money to my parish, and not directly to the diocese. If the diocese wants it, they have a Canonical right to extract it from the parish. But I will not be responsible should the diocese mismanage the money, since they extracted it themselves. That means should a pro-abortion group accidentally get funded, as has happened elsewhere, I won't feel guilt for this move.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Hopefully you give extra to your parish so your parish won't be hurt when the diocese taxes it for your share.

8:43 PM  
Blogger In the choir loft said...

Did anyone hear a rumor that the diocese wants to start another appeal. This time just for the inner-city of Rochester? Remember I said it was just a rumor. Has anyone heard it aside from me?

10:42 PM  
Blogger Brother said...

Lee, God loves a cheerful giver - try to give without wanting to get into the management and or it will get ugly. You have a wonderful spiritual life to focus on.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Tmac said...

I have a suggestion for those of us, myself included, who think that the diocese could do a better job at allocating the CMA funds - and I'm considering doing this myself. Mail your donation with a respectful letter addressed to Bishop Matthew Clark and ask him to strongly consider increasing the allocation of CMA funds to Catholic education, ministry, poor, etc. Who knows, maybe if the Bishop received enough of these letters, he would be forced to act.

1:10 AM  

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