Compassionless Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland sends Hungarians packing

2010 június 22 6:40 du. Compassionless Bishop Richard Lennon of Cleveland sends Hungarians packing bejegyzéshez a hozzászólások lehetősége kikapcsolva

St. Emeric, a vibrant and financially solvent Hungarian parish in Cleveland is set to close on Sunday

Perhaps Bishop Richard Lennon is in need of a reminder that we live in a post-Vatican II world, where aloof church leaders can no longer expect parishioners, the laity and local priests to quietly toe the line, whenever the upper echelons of the Church hierarchy enact wildly unpopular decisions above their heads, without any meaningful consultation. Perhaps Cleveland’s Bishop Lennon will awaken from his 1950’s reverie, when he arrives on the doorsteps of the 105 year old St. Emeric Church this Sunday in order to ceremoniously pull the rug out from under the Hungarian community. Perhaps he will find himself before parishioners unimpressed by the pomp and circumstance of a deconsecrating mass, and deeply unsympathetic to Mr. Lennon’s seemingly perfunctory display of Christian piety.

Cleveland’s unflinching Catholic bishop is scheduled to shutter St. Emeric Church this Sunday, and as such, will summarily evict elderly Hungarian pensioners nearing the end of their life from the community that they built, he will expel Hungarian boy scouts and girl guides from their classrooms and order the church’s parish priest to pack up and hand over the keys.

Once Mr. Lennon expels the Hungarian community, he will not only have direct control over a valuable piece of real estate, but also the estimated $1.3 million in the parish’s bank account. The diocese has long claimed that it is not closing St. Emeric and other parishes in Cleveland in order to confiscate millions of dollars from ordinary parishioners, but will re-distribute this sum among the remaining churches. Yet reports suggest that these funds may be used for other, less widely advertised purposes as well. Diocesan spokesman Robert Tayek noted that the diocese entered into confidential legal settlements with sexual abuse victims, but quickly added that this sum came from a separate reserve, and not from amounts confiscated from shuttered parishes.

If the passionate protests surrounding the closure of another Hungarian parish in nearby Akron serve as any indication, Mr. Lennon may not receive a warm welcome from St. Emeric’s parishioners. But the consequences of the bishop’s distinct lack of compassion and his willingness to dismiss the sensitivities of thousands of parishioners in 50 shuttered churches will have repercussions that go far beyond the protests and resistance that Mr. Lennon will undoubtedly face when he ejects St. Emeric’s congregation on Sunday.

The diocese misjudges and miscalculates when it assumes that Catholics in the twenty-first century will simply accept the verdict, relocate to another parish and continue writing cheques and sending in their donations. If church-goers forward their donations en masse to lay-run charitable groups that represent the interests of evicted parishioners from all ethnic backgrounds and if the Hungarians of St. Emeric and other suppressed Catholics find creative ways to continue protesting the bishop’s actions and build solidarity across parish lines, Mr. Lennon will soon find that his flock is far less docile than he assumed.

Christopher Adam/Canadian Hungarian Journal


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