See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Monday, August 31, 2009

Good bye good men redux.


The resignation of Bishop Martino.
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As expected, Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino, 63, announced his resignation today, citing health concerns, specifically fatigue and insomnia due in part to the pressures of his pastoral assignment as the reason. The resignation was accepted by the Holy Father in accord with Canon Law.
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"For some time now, there has not been a clear consensus among the clergy and people of the Diocese of Scranton regarding my pastoral initiatives or my way of governance," Martino said. "This development has caused me great sorrow, resulting in bouts of insomnia and at times a crippling physical fatigue." - Source
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The Bishop's resignation and announcement seems to me to be rather extraordinary. Reports describe him as autocratic and a hardliner, while suggesting he lacked support not only from the more liberal elements within his jurisdiction, but from his fellow bishops as well. At the same time, it appears he may not have always supported the USCCB either - does that mean he was not in line with the bishops or simply refused to toe the party line as far as politically correct policy statements and diplomacy?
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"We don't want to isolate ourselves from the rest of America by our strong views on abortion".
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All of this comes on the heels of Santa Fe's Archbishop Sheehan's sharp criticism of outspoken bishops in civic life while advocating for a more collaborative arrangement with the culture of death.
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"The bishops don't want to have a battle in public with each other, but I think the majority of bishops in the country didn't join in with that, would not be in agreement with that approach. It's well intentioned, but we don't lose our dignity by being strong in the belief that we have but also talking to others that don't have our belief. We don't lose our dignity by that," he said
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Sheehan told NCR that at a meeting of the bishops last June he said that " to make a big scene about Obama -- I think a lot of the enemies of the church are delighted to see all that. And I said that I think we don't want to isolate ourselves from the rest of America by our strong views on abortion and the other things. We need to be building bridges, not burning them. We'd be like the Amish, you know, kind of isolated from society, if we kept pulling back because of a single issue." - Source
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"This development has caused me great sorrow..."
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It will be interesting to see what others have to say about all of this. I think it is obvious that in many cases priests who are chosen to be bishops tend to be the more pastoral type - Vatican II-speak for permissive and tolerant. Evidently, tough guys do not do well.
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During his farewell press conference, Martino was unapologetic. "I did what my mother told me to do," Martino said, "She would always say, 'Well, you do the right thing.' And my conscience is clear." He said he wasn't trying to become a rallying point for the most vociferous foes of abortion, but he then defended them, saying they are often dismissed too readily by the media and even within the church because of their "passion."
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He praised vocal pro-lifers as "very dear to the Lord" because of their outspokenness, and said "bishops should encourage them" as they try to "overturn a profound cancer in our society, this sin, frankly, of murdering 50 million people (referring to the number of abortions since Roe v. Wade in 1973). I think we have become quite blasé about that, and that scares me very much." - Source
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Personally, I don't get it - I should think strong men ought to be made bishops - not collaborators with evil and the effeminate.
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Priests do not need so much spiritual mothers as they do strong father bishops.

5 comments:

  1. Nice thoughts, Terry.

    I'd bet there is more to this story.

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  2. Well done, Terry. I agree with Ray. Our Church needs more bishops like Martino, not fewer.

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  3. I am very distressed over this news. Hits a bit too close to home. Bp. Martino was the embodiment of my hope that Bp Clark might be replaced by someone like him...and not Clark. :(

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  4. Something fishy is up with Martino and his suffragan.

    I wonder if it will ever come out.

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  5. Is the strong man the one who attempts to lift the one ton boulder and fails or the one that recognizes he cannot lift the boulder but organizes his men so that they may be able to do so in the future? From what I understand, Martino had a knack for alienated those that were sympathetic to him.

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