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

Friday, July 02, 2010

Look at what they did...


Cleveland Church closings.
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First they stripped the churches bare, and now they are closing them.  Vatican II hardly closed before they removed every sign of devotion, every indication of Roman Catholicism - accomplishing in a relatively short time what took generations for the Protestant revolt to accomplish centuries ago.  Catholics forget that some of the hatchet men involved in these closings were parish priests who helped implement key aspects of the iconoclasm which swept the Church after the Council.  And some of these guys are now bishops.  We are told Catholics left the Church in droves?  But who, what drove them away?
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Churchspeak on church closings.
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The Bishop of Cleveland had these words of encouragement regarding the recent closure of the 50th church in Cleveland:


"The Church is about people and their faith, not about buildings, and we will always be here to serve the people,” said Bishop Lennon in a March 2009 statement announcing the closures. “The task for the Church is to be faithful to what God asks of us, which is to bring the message of Jesus Christ to all people, to reach out and serve the poor and marginalized among us, and to become holy and bring people closer to God.” - CNA


Sacrifice and hard work.
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The people who built these churches were mostly working class immigrants, sacrificing for the glory of God and the propagation of the faith.  I was once part of the old St. Ambrose in St. Paul - not the old, old one that was sold to the 7-Up company, but the new one, built by Italians on the lower east side of St. Paul.  Families donated the marble altars and communion rails - which were later ripped out to update a still new church which had been built in 1960.  To add insult to injury - the church was later sold and the name transferred to a mega-church in the suburbs.  The good priest never understood the parishioners sense of betrayal and anger over the easy squandering of funds their donations represented.  Wreck-o-vators and iconoclasts were not always men in business suits - some wore cassocks and capes and beanies.
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Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis
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This fall we will be facing the results of a new strategic plan for our Archdiocese as well - probably not much different than Cleveland's.  I think our Archbishop guided similar changes in Detroit - a thankless job I'm sure.  There aren't as many beautiful churches here as there were in older cities such as Detroit and Cleveland, but there are still a few 'shells' left - although the glorious interiors have long been destroyed.
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Once again it is the laity sacrificed. 
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Laity in this archdiocese have been asked repeatedly to keep the Big Picture in mind... using much of the same churchspeak echoing Bishop Lennon's appeal.  Here are some classic quotes from our Archdiocesan plan:
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"Parish leaders are also asked to see “the bigger picture” — what’s good for the whole of the archdiocese, not just what’s good for their parish."
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“We can’t expect everybody to agree with everything or even to like everything, but what we want people to know is that we respected enough to ask them.”
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“We need to tell people that we expect the best of them, and we have to keep reminding people of that,”
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Changing parish configurations entails pain and loss, but Catholics need to have courage and offer self-sacrifice.

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“When you give up yourself to Christ . . . you’re going to be doing these big, big things.  We may think, ‘We’re losing everything. We’re losing our little church.’  Wait a moment. If you’re in Christ, what makes you think there won’t be greater things to come?”
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Church structures are living, and therefore changing, he said. When parishes are asked to combine, members must keep this understanding at the forefront.
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“It means that something is alive, it’s dynamic, it’s growing, it’s going onward, it’s going upward."

Up yours.*
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Obviously it's a "they" and "we" thing. 
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Photo credit: Closing Catholic Churches in Cleveland  First they stripped the altars and the sanctuary and protestantized the church - and now the churches are sold off to the highest bidder.
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Link:
Strategic Planning articles on Stella Borealis
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*no disrespect intended.

13 comments:

  1. OH poo. You deleted the best sentence of the post! It made me snort my coffee. Oh well. Such is blog life here at Abbey-Roads. ;-) Love coming here and reading your "processing." I find your perspective and approach on many matters refreshing!

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  2. Sorry - I just didn't want to come off as disrespectful to a priest. "Up yours" worked so well with "It means that something is alive, it's dynamic, it's growing, it's going onward, it's going upward!"

    If a lay person had said it I would have left it in.

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  3. Dr. Eamon Duffy has a book, "The Stripping of the Altars", about the decimation of the Catholic Faith during the times of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.
    And Terry, you are so "right on" about how what took YEARS to happen in England was a matter of a few months here in this country.
    In Canon Law there is a term, "alienation of church property".
    And yes, dearest brother, this happened so quickly and is now so commonplace that the English "Reformation" looks like a tea party (however we haven't instituted drawn, hanged and quartered yet...give Obamanation some time and may we WILL!:<)!...just kidding!?!)
    But God has the last word; not Evil, not Satan.
    Pope Benedict has said this several times...evil does NOT have the last word...
    Our very poor and very modest attempt to "restore the sacred" in a very humble, out-of-the-way-place in rural Wisconsin, where the Catholic Faith thrived due to a great missionary, Fr. Charles Goldsmith, is a small act of reparation for all the "iconoclastic" b.s. that has taken place all these years and a way to make a "place for God, for His honor, for His Son, Jesus Christ";
    we have statues galore, the original altars, hand carved, are still present; we returned the high altar to its rightful place and have Mass "ad orientem" in both Forms of the Roman Rite; we pray the Divine Office there and have Adoration twice a week.
    It's such a pittance compared to what you describe happening in such historic and beautiful Catholic Churches; somehow, I pray this is some kind of consolation to the Hearts of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph.

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  4. Thanks Father.

    KM - I put it back with a notation: no disrespect intended.

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  5. "Changing parish configurations entails pain and loss, but Catholics need to have courage and offer self-sacrifice."

    hahahaha- sometimes parents do this. It's when they tell their children -there wasn't enough money to buy clothing so that they could buy a new boat..car.. house... truck... mower....and now they're simply out of money.

    Loss, pain and sacrifice from you. From them? not so much.
    ******
    I've made and painted many statues and it gripes me to no end when my work is discarded, removed or disapears. The stuff meant something to me.. the little gifts I've made for Christ. It's kinda like a mom throwing her childs art work from school into the trash. It hurts people.

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  6. So sad. And it seems that the churches that are retained by dioceses are often the monstrosities built in the 70s and 80s while they sell the beautiful old churches to become breweries like the church in Pittsburgh, I forget the name. I was in St. Joseph's in Martinsburg last week and wanted to cry. It's lovely from the outside, but the ruinators got to the interior. I posted about it with photos here: http://maryannkreitzer.blogspot.com/2010/06/st-josephs-in-martinsburg-where-jesus.html

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  7. Terry, I did not read your comment referring to what certain individuals could do in a 'vertical kinda' way as disrespectful. (And I don't mean prayer, here).
    In fact, I thought it was funny and applauded it. Quite appropriate.
    But then again; I'm a child of the '60s...ya know...rebellious, "in you face", naughty, obscene....fine...if the "shoe fits" may its pointy toe fit up your a....
    That's my take on it.
    It'll be another thousand years in purg for that one!!:<)!

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  8. Thanks Father - we'll go to confession to the pope as a team then. LOL!

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  9. I think that, as far as closings go, both sides have to be looked at. If everyone has moved to the suburbs, how is it good stewardship to maintain a monstrous church in the downtown that is sparsely attended? These aren't easy questions, and there are no easy answers, but sometimes people really DO get too attached to a building, and don't even consider what it would cost to keep the doors open.

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  10. Thom sfo...

    You bring up good points...utilities, insurance, maintenance, modernizations (such as electric, plumbing, phones, handicap accessible)..all take money..

    Oftentimes it is simply more cost effective to rebuild than to renovate..especially if the funds just aren' there, as is oftenthe case of inner city/downtown churches..

    By the way...I LOVE the first photo, so serene, peaceful, such a quiet place to be at one with God without alot of visual distraction..very similiar to our Trappist monastery...

    Sara

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  11. Austringer10:26 PM

    Terry, you perfectly expressed my frustration...and in just two words.

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  12. There really are two issues here;
    the "destruction" of churches in the '6os and '70s and the present need to deal with the shift in population from the inner cities to the suburbs.
    I am seeing a "revival" in our diocese of returning the sacred space to something of grandeur and beauty; it's happening slowly but perceptibly. Hold on, folks. It may be coming to your area! Just pray and trust in the Lord!
    In our rural diocese, rather than closing churches down, there is a plan, to be implemented over a course of years, that churches without a resident pastor would be kept open as "liturgical centers" where Sunday Mass would be celebrated each week; they would be joined to one, two, maybe three other parishes, under one parish priest, with maybe one or two other assistant priests (parochial vicars)...the local parish church would in name be under another parish but would be kept "open" and have the Mass offered there regularly.
    This seems viable to me; it may take some time and adjustment for people, but we are seeing this happen even now; closing buildings may not always be the best answer; having a "plan" to keep open churches, esp. historic churches, ethnic churches, might be an alternative to simply closing and selling church property...just a thought.

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  13. 4mercy8:32 AM

    Great post!! Ugly churches tell a lie about God who is the fullness of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. He generously fills the natural world with indescribable beauty and what do we give Him in return in our Worship? Minimalism and ugliness!
    "Behold this Heart which has so loved the World and is loved so little in return"

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